MANILA, Philippines – Former justice secretary and now senator Franklin Drilon threw his support for the expansion of the Department of Justice (DOJ)’s powers in overseeing the embattled Bureau of Corrections (BuCor). Instead of just “administrative” oversight, he wants “direct control and supervision.”
“This is one of the loopholes that we should look into. The corrupt officials in the BuCor took advantage of the law that gave too much power to the bureau to the extent that there is no more check and balance,” Drilon said in an interview with DWIZ radio on Saturday, September 14.
What’s the problem? The BuCor has been thrust to the public spotlight again after the explosion of the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) law issue, which then led to probes that exposed continuing corruption inside the bureau.
Aside from allegations of BuCor officers and officials selling GCTA for the early release of New Bilibid Prison convicts, the Senate on Thursday, September 12, presented witnesses who claimed that even medical records were faked by Bilibid doctors for inmates to be moved from the prison to a much more comfortable private hospital room.
Drilon’s solution: Drilon agreed with the incumbent justice secretary, Menardo Guevarra, who pointed to Republic Act 10575 enacted on 2013, which reduced the DOJ’s oversight on the BuCor to “administrative supervision.”
“We should give the DOJ direct control and supervision of the BuCor consistent with the Department of Order 953 that required that the release of heinous crime convicts must have prior approval of the justice secretary. This is a form of control but it is only a department order. We need to amend the law to provide a legal basis for this,” Drilon said. – Rappler.com
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