SC voids a section in the IRR of RA 10592
The Supreme Court declared invalid Section 4, Rule 1 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act No. 10592 in so far as the said IRR provided for the prospective application of the grant of time allowance of prisoners for good conduct, study, teaching, and mentoring service, and loyalty.
With this, all prisoners regardless of whether already serving his/her sentence or undergoing preventive imprisonment may qualify for the reduction of their sentence pursuant to the time allowances under R.A. 10592.
The decision was in connection with the following consolidated cases: Inmates of the New Bilibid Prison, et al. vs. Sec. Leila M. De Lima, et al.; Atty. Rene A.V. Saguisag, Sr. vs. Sec. Leila M. De Lima, et al.; William M. Montinola, et al. vs. Sec. Leila M. De Lima, et al. (G.R. No. 212719). Reynaldo D. Edago, et al. vs. Sec. Leila M. De Lima, et al. (G.R. No. 214637)
R.A. 10592 which was passed into law on 29 May 2013 amended Articles 29, 94, 97, 98, and 99 of the Revised Penal Code (Act No. 3815 or “RPC”).
On 26 March 2014, an IRR was jointly issued by then Justice secretary, Leila H. De Lima, and then DILG secretary Manuel A. Roxas II. However, Section 4, Rule 1 of the IRR directed the prospective application of the grant of good conduct time allowance (GCTA), time allowance for study, teaching, and mentoring (TASTM) and special time allowance for loyalty (STAL) to prisoners.
The grant of time allowance of study, teaching and mentoring and of special time allowance for loyalty shall be prospective in application as these privileges are likewise subject to the management, screening and evaluation of the MSEC.
The petitioners assail the validity of the said provision of the IRR on the ground that it violates Article 22 of the RPC.
In the decision, the SC took note of the definition of “penal laws” to be: “Penal laws and laws which, while not penal in nature, have provisions defining offenses and prescribing penalties for their violation.”
Thus the SC in granting the petition and declaring the IRR invalid in so far as it provides for the prospective application of the grant of GCTA, TASTM, and STAL, stated in the decision:
“While R.A. No. 10592 does not define a crime/offense or provide/prescribe a penalty as it addresses the rehabilitation component of our correctional system, its provisions have the purpose and effect of diminishing the punishment attached to the crime. The further reduction of the length of the penalty of imprisonment is, in the ultimate analysis, beneficial to the detention and convicted prisoners alike; hence, calls for the application of Article 22 of the RPC.
“The prospective application of the beneficial provisions of R.A. No. 10592 actually works to the disadvantage of petitioners and those who are similarly situated. It precludes the decrease in the penalty attached to their respective crimes and lengthens their prison stay; thus, making more onerous the punishment for the crimes committed. Depriving them of time off to which they are justly entitled as a practical matter results in extending their sentence and increasing their punishment. Evidently, this transgresses the clear mandate of Article 22 of the RPC.”