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Payback time! Ombudsman asks De Lima, Mar Roxas to explain GCTA rules

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Ombudsman Samuel Martires has asked Senator Leila De Lima and former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas to clarify the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) they issued during the Aquino administration regarding the early release of inmates based on the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) Law.

In a letter dated September 6, Martires noted the discrepancy between the GCTA Law, otherwise known as Republic Act 10592, and its IRR issued in 2014.

Martires said that while the law exempts recidivists, habitual delinquents, escapees and persons charged with heinous crimes from computation of GCTA, the IRR disqualified recidivists, those who have been “convicted previously twice or more than times of any crime,” and those who failed to surrender before a court upon being summoned.

De Lima was Justice Secretary when the GCTA Law was passed.

Martires asked De Lima and Roxas to submit within three days a written explanation on “why the foregoing provision in the IRR does not contain the same disqualifications as enumerated in the last paragraph of Article 29 of the Revised Penal Code.”

Congress is now reviewing the GCTA Law because it was used to justify the release of close to 2,000 convicts of heinous crimes since 2014.

Controversy erupted after convicted rapist and murderer Antonio Sanchez was reported to be due for early release because of the GCTA Law.

President Rodrigo Duterte last week ordered heinous crime convicts freed by GCTA to surrender to authorities within 15 days.

Meanwhile, a witness told a Senate hearing last week that some Bureau of Corrections officials are offering good conduct credits to inmates in exchange for a fee.

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