The Supreme Court (SC) has ordered the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to comment on the petition of New Bilibid Prison (NBP) inmates who questioned the revised implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law.
Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin told reporters on Thursday (Oct. 3) the DOJ and DILG were given 10 days to submit their comment on the petition.
“Rule making is internal to the DOJ and we do not interfere,” he said at the sidelines of the National Summit on the Dangerous Drugs Law held at the Manla Hotel.
“But now if the guidelines were already issued and there is a case filed, we have to require the other party, that is the government, to comment through the solicitor general,” he explained.
The petition questioned the revised IRR of Republic Act 10592, the law that was passed in 2013 and amended provisions of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) to grant more GCTAs to inmates to allow their much earlier release.
The DOJ and DILG made the revised IRR to stress that recidivists, habitual delinquents, escapees and heinous crimes convicts are excluded from benefiting from RA 10592.
However, the petitioners have asked the SC to declare as invalid several provisions of the and regulations IRR including the exclusion of recidivists, habitual delinquents, escapees and heinous crimes convicts from its benefits.
In their petition, their lawyers explained “it becomes clear that the deprivation of application of the greater GCTA and consequent prolongation of imprisonment of herein petitioners and those similarly situated constitute violation of their substantive rights.”
“Absent any showing that they are not eligible for GCTA, they have to be made beneficiaries of the same, regardless of the nature of the crime they were convicted of,” read the petition.
“They must be accordingly released by the DOJ (Department of Justice) and BUCOR (Bureau of Corrections) regardless of whether the same will cause public outrage,” it added.