Ombudsman sacks three correction officers over so-called ‘GCTA for sale’
The Office of the Ombudsman on Wednesday ordered the dismissal from government service of three Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) officials who were accused of demanding P50, 000 from an inmate in exchange for an early release under the hugely-controversial Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA).
Also in a 16-page resolution, Ombudsman Samuel Martires ordered the immediate filing of direct bribery charges and for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act against BuCor Documents Section Chief Ramoncito Roque and BuCor officials Maribel Bancil and Veronica Buño.
The information will be filed against them before the Muntinlupa City regional trial court.
Apart from dismissal and indictment, the three correction officers were likewise disqualified to hold any public office, and their retirement benefits forfeited in favor of the government.
Graft probers found prima facie evidence against them for grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the public’s interest.
“This Office finds probable cause to indict the respondents for one count of direct bribery under Article 210 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) and one count of Violation of Section 3(e) of R.A 3019,” the resolution read in part.
The three were previously suspended for six months over the so-called ‘GCTA for sale’ scheme where an inmate could avail of an early release from prison in exchange for money.
Whistleblower Yolanda Camilon accused them of extoring P50, 000 supposedly to facilitate the release of her husband from the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa.
The Ombudsman said that as public officers, the three BuCor officers “are strictly prohibited to demand or receive money in connection with the performance of their official duties.”
“In administrative proceedings, only substantial evidence is required to warrant disciplinary sanctions. Substantial evidence is consistently defined as such amount of relevant evidence which a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion,” the Ombudsman said.
The controversy over GCTA came to light after the botched release of former Calauan mayor Antonio Sanchez hogged the headlines for weeks.
Sanchez was convicted for the 1993 rape and murder of University of the Philippines Los Baños students Eileen Sarmenta and Allan Gomez.
The verdict was handed down on March 11, 1995 by Judge Harriet Demetrio who said that the rape and murder of Sarmenta and Gomez were “a plot seemingly hatched in hell.”
The SC upheld the Laguna regional trial court ruling in 1999 against Sanchez, who is currently serving his sentence of seven terms of reclusion perpetua at the New Bilibid Prisons in Muntinlupa City.