MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) wants to extend the suspension of the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) law, Secretary Eduardo Año announced on Tuesday, September 3.
“After we finish the review, we will recommend it to Congress, and probably Congress would have to amend the law. For the meantime, we can suspend the granting of GCTA,” Año said in a chance interview with reporters at the DILG headquarters in Quezon City.
He added, “Sa ngayon, suspend muna natin, maraming gray areas.” (For now, let’s suspend it. There are a lot of gray areas.)
The GCTA law has been suspended for 10 days since August 26 pending the review of its Implementing Rules and Regulations by the DILG and the Department of Justice. (TIMELINE: The GCTA law and the controversy it has stirred)
“Those 10 days are only for the review. So it (extension of suspension) could be treated separately after the review. We can continue the suspension if we still can’t find a concrete solution,” Año said.
Año said the suspension would not be indefinite, but could not give a concrete timeline for its implementation.
Año’s announcement comes as public outcry has been directed at the law after the July 2019 Supreme Court decision for its retroactive application, allowing for the possible release of convicted rapist and murderer Antonio Sanchez.
The Bureau of Corrections also earlier announced it had released 1,914 heinous crime convicts since the GCTA law’s enactment in 2013. Año reiterated the police’s stand that all of them should be brought back to prison – a view that has been contested by lawyers.
“If this is a serial killer, that would be dangerous, the likes of Antonio Sanchez…. We cannot release these kinds of people,” Año said.