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BuCor ang palpak! De Lima insists she, Mar Roxas ain’t to blame for GCTA mess

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Senator Leila De Lima has slammed President Rodrigo Duterte for blaming her and former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas over the controversy involving the early release of convicts of heinous crimes due to the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) Law, saying he’s barking up the wrong tree.

In a statement Thursday (September 12), De Lima accused Duterte of pinning the blame over the GCTA mess on her and Roxas to divert the attention away from the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) and the corruption within the penal system.

She said the GCTA Law, otherwise known as Republic Act 10592, and its implementing rules and regulations (IRR), are clear that inmates have to go through a screening process to be freed on the basis of good behavior.

“The questions should be: do the prison records of the released and almost released heinous crime convicts support the grant of GCTA, thus meriting their early release? Did they even go through the process mandated under the law, the IRR and the BuCor manual on the GCTA?” De Lima asked.

The senator said questions should also be raised on whether the Management, Screening and Evaluation Committee (MSEC) in charge of checking the inmates’ applications for early release are doing their jobs properly.

“If not, then anomalies and corruption are the real cause of this whole controversy, not the law, not the IRR,” she said.

Duterte told reporters Tuesday (September 10) that De Lima and Roxas should be held accountable for the loopholes in the GCTA Law’s implementation.

“Eh sila ‘yung gumawa ng batas sa panahon nila. ‘Yung IRR kanila. So tanungin natin sila, ‘Bakit ginanun ninyo?’ Hindi man amin ‘yan. Now we get the flak,” he said.

De Lima was Justice Secretary when the GCTA Law’s IRR was crafted while Roxas was the Interior Secretary.

The GCTA Law has come under scrutiny due to the discovery that the law was used to justify the release of several convicts of heinous crimes, such as five Chinese drug lords and four of the individuals convicted for the rape-slay of sisters Marijoy and Jacqueline Chiong in 1997.

A total of 1,914 convicts of heinous crimes have been released under the GCTA Law from 2014 until August this year.

The Office of the Ombudsman has asked De Lima and Roxas to explain the IRR as part of its investigation into the GCTA mess.

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