MANILA, Philippines – The top lawyer of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) who was a controversial witness in Senate hearings on the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) controversy was shot dead on Wednesday afternoon, February 19.
According to the police report, lawyer Fredric Santos was gunned down by two unidentified suspects in front of his daughter's school in Muntinlupa City, as he was about to pick her up.
Santos sustained gunshot wounds in the head and was declared dead on the spot by the Muntinlupa City rescue team, police said.
Who is Santos? He was the legal division chief of the BuCor who was suspended by the Office of the Ombudsman and once detained by the Senate in September 2019 over controversies in the GCTA law's implementation. (READ: TIMELINE: The GCTA law and the controversy it has stirred)
Santos' office is not included in the process of screening for GCTA grants. But he was grilled by the Senate blue ribbon committee on his role in providing legal opinion on whether the BuCor chief needs the justice secretary's approval to release inmates sentenced to reclusion perpetua.
At the Senate, Santos said he had told then-BuCor chief Nicanor Faeldon of the rule requiring the justice secretary's approval for releases. But when Faeldon denied this, Santos backtracked and said he could not recall whether it was just relayed to a staff member. – with a report from Lian Buan/Rappler.com
Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.