IBP backs SC’s ruling GCTA is retroactive; blames DOJ’s lack of transparency, consultation for ex-mayor Sanchez’ firestorm
The Integrated Bar of the Philippines said the Department of Justice and top prison officials should have been more transparent and consulted victims’ kin to avoid a firestorm in the possible release of convicted rapist-murderer Antonio Sanchez.
IBP president Domingo Cayoso said Cayosa said the abogado organization supported the public clamor that DOJ “carefully review” the cases of Sanchez and other inmates found guilty of heinous crimes in their application to reduce their sentences under the Good Conduct Time Allowance system of Republic Act 10592.
“We suggest that the basis for and evaluation of ‘good conduct’ and the computation of shortened imprisonment be made more transparent. Uploading these on the websites of the DOJ and of the penal institutions as well as informing the private offended parties and their families much earlier, would be welcome,” said Cayosa.
Cayosa said that despite stirring a hornet’s nest, the IBP believed GCTA was valid and for good purposes -reformative and meant to decongest jails.
He said said the Supreme Court’s decision to apply it retroactively (which allowed Sanchez’s 1993 case to be covered by the 2013 law) was in accordance with constitutional principles and the clear mandate of Art. 22 of the Revised Penal Code.
In the case of the former mayor of Caluan, Laguna, Cayosa said the public was caught by surprise that Sanchez was among the 11,000 eligible for release under the GCTA as the DOJ failed to reveal how his 40-year max sentence has been reduced (he has so far served 24 years) and the families of University of the Philippines-Los Banos students Eileen Sarmenta (raped and murdered) and tAllan Gomez (tortured and killed).
Cayosa cited the need for the DOJ to “decisively address the doubts, fears, and perhaps the reality that our penal system is flawed or corrupted.”