by Jose Cielito Reganit
MANILA — A party-list legislator on Thursday said he is alarmed by the reported inclusion of convicted plunderer Janet Lim Napoles on the list of prisoners released because of good conduct time allowance (GCTA),
ACT-CIS Rep. Eric Go Yap said this only reinforces the need for a deeper and thorough probe on the alleged “GCTA for sale” issue facing the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).
“Nakakabahala ang napabalitang pagsasama kay Janet Napoles sa listahan ng posibleng makalaya dahil sa GCTA. Noong una kong nabasa ito, akala ko fake news. Lalo tayong nangangamba baka may nangyayari nga na GCTA for sale sa BuCor,” Yap said in a statement.
(The reported inclusion of Napoles on the list of prisoners possibly freed due to GCTA is alarming. At first, I thought it was fake news. We are now more afraid that there might be a GCTA for sale at the BuCor).
A list provided by the BuCor to the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee showed Napoles’ name as one of the 1,714 prisoners released under the GCTA law.
Napoles was convicted of plunder in the pork barrel scam case of now-Senator Ramon Bong Revilla Jr. last December 2018 and is currently detained at the Correctional Institution for Women (CIW) in Mandaluyong City.
Yap said it is not enough that BuCor officials be relieved from their posts.
Last Monday, the Office of the Ombudsman suspended for six months without pay 30 BuCor officials and personnel suspected to have been involved in the questionable release of prisoners.
The Ombudsman has started investigating the release of convicts, including those imprisoned for heinous crimes, under the GCTA Law (RA 10592).
Data from BuCor shows that a total of 1,914 prisoners convicted of heinous crimes have been granted early release since 2014 because of the said law.
The release of the heinous crime convicts was bared after the near release of former Calauan, Laguna Mayor Antonio Sanchez who was convicted in the 1993 rape-slay of University of the Philippines Los Baños student Eileen Sarmenta and the torture-killing of her companion Allan Gomez.
“Dapat na patuloy na gumulong ang pagdinig ukol sa GCTA mess na kinakaharap ng BuCor. Patuloy nating babantayan ito at hindi tayo tatalikod sa nasimulan nating pagtutol sa pag-abuso sa batas na ito na magpapalaya sa mga katulad ni Janet Napoles,” Yap said.
(The probe on the GCTA mess facing the BuCor should proceed. We will closely monitor the investigations, and we will not turn our backs on our cause of fighting the abuses committed against this law that will free convicts like Napoles).
Yap said he will formally file a bill that will strengthen RA 10592 and rid it of any defects or loopholes that are being used to circumvent the real spirit and intent of the law.
“We will file a bill defining good conduct and providing conditions in the grant of good conduct time allowance that will amend Article 97 of the Revised Penal Code as amended by RA 10592,” Yap said. (PNA)