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GOOD CONDUCT TIME ALLOWANCE LAW (RA 10592) ARE THOSE CONVICTED OF HEINOUS CRIMES ALSO COVERED?

 Guevarra said heinous crimes should be excluded, while


 was signed in 2013 under then-president Benigno Aquino Orcelo said heinous crimes are still "technically"
III. included.
 It amended several articles under the Revised Penal  Senate President Tito Sotto is for amending the law,
Code, including Article 97 which lays out the allowance for while Senator Franklin Drilon is against such move
good conduct for persons deprived of liberty (PDLs).
 In a nutshell, the GCTA law allows for deduction of sentences COMPUTATION OF THE GCTA
of PDLs, depending on how well they abide by rules and  For the first 2 years of imprisonment: For each month
regulations inside “any penal institution, rehabilitation, of good behavior, 20 days will be deducted from the
or detention center or any other local jail.” total sentence. If a convict behaved well each month,
 *It essentially awards good behavior and recognizes 480 days, or roughly one year and 3 months, will be
rehabilitation deducted from his prison term.
 For the 3rd to 5th years: For each month of good
 The 2013 amendments to the Revised Penal Code also behavior, 23 days will be deducted, or a total
expanded the application of the GCTA to the preventive maximum deduction of 828 days, or roughly two years
imprisonment period, increased the number of days that and 3 months, from the prison term.
may be credited, and allowed additional deductions,  For the 6th to 10th years: 25 days for each month of
among others. good behavior or a total deduction of roughly 1,800
days, or roughly 4 years and 1 month, from the prison
WHO IS COVERED BY THE GCTA LAW term.
 The GCTA law initially was planned to prospectively cover  For the 11th and successive years: A month of good
convicted inmates behavior equals a 30-day deduction. This means that a
 The IRR of the law, penned by then-justice secretary person serving 25 years who was well- behaved every
Leila de Lima and interior secretary Mar Roxas in 2014, month from his 11th to 25th years would get a prison
provide for prospective application. term reduction of 14 years and 7 months.
 In addition, an inmate shall get 15 days additional
*Why prospective? According to Section 4 of the reduction for each month of study, teaching, or
IRR, the rules provide “for new procedures and mentoring service.
standardsofbehaviorforthegrant ofgood conduct
time allowance…and require the creation of a
*This means that a PDL who has been in jail for 25 years and
Management, Screening and Evaluation
who showed good behavior during imprisonment, can have
Committee.”
as much as 19 years deducted from his or her jail term.

 In 2014, several National Bilibid Prison (NBP) inmates WHAT CAN AFFECT A PDL’S POSSIBLE EARLY
questioned this provision before the SC. Top human RELEASE?
rights lawyers, including Rene Saguisag and others from the
Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG), intervened in  Misdemeanors can make or break a PDL’s chance of an early
support of the petition release based on the GCTA law.
 The provision, FLAG said at the time, “discriminates,
without any reasonable basis, against those who would *the basis for disqualification from GCTA benefits is violation of
have been benefited from the retroactive application of any of the prison rules according to the uniform manual on
the law.” time allowances and service sentence released by the DOJ in
 On June 2019, voting unanimously, the SC granted the 2017
petition, making the GCTA law retroactive. In his concurring
opinion, SC Associate Justice Marvic Leonen said that
WHO ARE IN CHARGE OF REVIEWING TIME ALLOWANCE?
the prospective provision of the 2014 IRR “implies that
 The person deprived of liberty is screened by a time
all inmates detained or convicted prior to its effectivity
allowancesupervisorattheendofeachmonth
can no longer be rehabilitated for a successful
 The Management, Screening and Evaluation Committee
reintegration into society, effectively trampling upon
then reviews for appropriate action, including
their dignity as human beings.”
recommendation to prison authorities, of the grant of the
time allowance.
*According to Bureau of Corrections chief Nicanor Faeldon,
 The prison authorities will then act on the
1,000 inmates may be set for mass release
recommendation – approve, disapprove, or return it.
Decisions will be posted in various places inside the prison
facility June 25, 2019
The SC grants the petition and makes the GCTA law retroactive.
*Appeals can be made if there are errors or irregularities
seen in the evaluation *In his concurring opinion, SC Associate Justice Marvic
Leonen says that the prospective provision of the 2014 IRR
“implies that all inmates detained or convicted prior to its
TIMELINE FOR THE GCTA LAW effectivity can no longer be rehabilitated for a successful
reintegration into society, effectively trampling upon their
May 29, 2013 dignity as human beings.”
Pres. Benigno Aquino III RA 10592 or the GCTA law which
amended several articles under the Revised Penal Code,
including Article 97, which lays out the allowance for good August 20, 2019
conduct for persons deprived of liberty (PDLs); the GCTA law Reporters receive unverified information that convicted
allows for a reduction of sentences of PDLs, depending on how rapist and murderer Antonio Sanchez might soon be
well they abide by rules and regulations inside “any penal walking free
institution, rehabilitation, or detention center or any other
local jail.” August 22, 2019
 Senate Pres Vicente Sotto III files Senate Resolution No. 107
March 26, 2014 which seeks a review of RA 10592 with a view of
The law’s IRR document is released. Penned by justice amending it. Senator Panfilo Lacson supports the plan
secretary Leila de Lima and interior secretary Mar Roxas, the to amend the law.
IRR provides for a prospective application of the GCTA law  Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, the justice
secretary at the time Sanchez was convicted, dismisses
*The IRR takes effect on April 18 of the same year the need for amendments, saying the law is already
“good." He pins the blame on the Supreme Court
June 18, 2014 which decided that a certain provision was
unconstitutional.
At least 13 Bilibid inmates, represented by lawyer Michael  After a massive public backlash, Bureau of Corrections
Evangelista, file a petition for certiorari and prohibition against (BuCor) Director General Nicanor Faeldon says that
Roxas and De Lima, contesting the prospective application of while Sanchez is qualified to avail of the GCTA, he might
the GCTA Law still have to stay in Bilibid for several more years because
of misdemeanors he reportedly committed
July 14, 2014
August 23, 2019
Lawyer Rene Saguisag files a petition-in- intervention, Guevarra explains that the wording of Section 1 and Section 3 of
saying that RA 10592’s legislative history shows no intent of the law makes only the inmates eligible for credit of
being prospective in character. The High Court grants the preventive imprisonment (CPI, or the period of
leave to intervene. imprisonment prior to conviction) also eligible for GCTA
(applicable only to post-conviction imprisonment)
October 21, 2014
*To Guevarra, because those charged with heinous crimes are
Three NBP inmates file another petition-in- intervention not eligible for CPI, then they are also not supposed to benefit
against the provision. They are represented by the Free from the GCTA. “It’s been a tough process of interpreting the
Legal Assistance Group (FLAG); the provision, FLAG said at wordings of a law that has certain ambiguities in its
the time, “discriminates, without any reasonable basis, provisions. In the end, however, it is the spirit and the intention
against those who would have been benefited from the of the law that guided us in taking a position”
retroactive application of the law.”

October 24, 2014 August 24, 2019


10 inmates at the NBP’s Maximum Security Compound file a Guevarra says the DOJ is “considering seriously” the need to
petition for certiorari and prohibition against the suspend the processing of the GCTA of convicts pending a
prospective application of the law, saying that the IRR was review of guidelines for the early release of inmates.
“issued with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
excess of jurisdiction.”
August 25, 2019 (STAL) to prisoners. Section 4, Rule 1 of the IRR reads:
Guevarra says the DOJ hopes the SC or Congress will be able
to clarify whether or not inmates who are convicted of Section 4. Prospective Application. – Considering that these
heinous crimes can benefit from the GCTA law Rules provide for new procedures and standards of
behavior for the grant of good conduct time allowance as
August 26, 2019 provided in Section 4 of Rule V hereof and require the
Guevarra reiterates that the processing of early release of creation of a Management, Screening and Evaluation
inmates under the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law Committee (MSEC) as provided in Section 3 of the same
is briefly suspended. Rule, the grant of good conduct time allowance under
Republic Act 10592 shall be prospective in application.
August 27, 2019 The grant of time allowance of study, teaching and
mentoring and of special time allowance for loyalty shall be
Bicol Representative Alfredo Garbin Jr files House
prospective in application as these privileges are likewise
Resolution No. 260 which seeks a congressional
subject to the management, screening and evaluation of
investigation to help clarify whether or not inmates who are
the MSEC.
convicted of heinous crimes should benefit from the GCTA
law; in his resolution, Garbin says that the law “is a good
The petitioners assail the validity of the said provision of the
law” but that “there is a need to determine whether the
IRR on the ground that it violates Article 22 of the RPC,
criterion used in the implementing rules of the law is
which provides:
consistent with the very law it seeks to implement.”

Article 22. Retroactive effect of penal laws. – Penal laws


shall have a retroactive effect insofar as they favor the
IMPLEMENTING RULES AND REGULATIONS OF GCTA persons guilty of the felony, who is not a habitual criminal,
as this term is defined in Rule 5 of Article 62 of this Code,
although at the time of the publication of such laws a final
BASED ON COURT DECISIONS: Inmates of the New Bilibid sentence has been pronounced and the convict is serving
Prison, et al. vs. Sec. Leila M. De Lima, et al.; Atty. Rene A.V. the same.
Saguisag, Sr. vs. Sec. Leila M. De Lima, et al.; William M. In the decision, the Supreme Court took note of the
Montinola, et al. vs. Sec. Leila M. De Lima, et al. (G.R. No. definition of “penal laws” to be: “Penal laws and laws
212719) AND Reynaldo D. Edago, et al. vs. Sec. Leila M. De which, while not penal in nature, have provisions defining
Lima, et al. (G.R. No. 214637) offenses and prescribing penalties for their violation.”

R.A. 10592 which was passed into law on 29 May 2013 Thus Justice Peralta, in granting the petition and declaring
amended Articles 29[1], 94[2], 97[3], 98[4], and 99[5] of the the IRR invalid in so far as it provides for the prospective
Revised Penal Code (Act No. 3815 or “RPC”). The important application of the grant of GCTA, TASTM, and STAL, stated
amendments under RA 10592, among others, are as in the decision:
follows:
“While R.A. No. 10592 does not define a crime/offense or
1.) It expanded the application of the good conduct time provide/prescribe a penalty as it addresses the
allowance for prisoners even during preventive rehabilitation component of our correctional system, its
imprisonment. provisions have the purpose and effect of diminishing the
2.) It increased the number of days that may be credited for punishment attached to the crime. The further reduction of
good conduct time allowance. the length of the penalty of imprisonment is, in the ultimate
3.) It allowed additional deduction of 15 days for each analysis, beneficial to the detention and convicted prisoners
month of study, teaching, or mentoring service. alike; hence, calls for the application of Article 22 of the
4.) It expanded the special time allowance for loyalty and RPC.
made it applicable even during preventive imprisonment.
“The prospective application of the beneficial provisions of
On 26 March 2014 an IRR was jointly issued by the R.A. No. 10592 actually works to the disadvantage of
Secretary of the Department of Justice, Leila H. De Lima, petitioners and those who are similarly situated. It precludes
and the Secretary of the Department of Interior, Manuel A. the decrease in the penalty attached to their respective
Roxas II. However, Section 4, Rule 1 of the IRR directed the crimes and lengthens their prison stay; thus, making more
prospective application of the grant of good conduct time onerous the punishment for the crimes committed.
allowance (GCTA), time allowance for study, teaching, and Depriving them of time off to which they are justly entitled
mentoring (TASTM) and special time allowance for loyalty as a practical matter results in extending their sentence and
increasing their punishment. Evidently, this transgresses the days of preventive imprisonment. (Amendments in bold,
clear mandate of Article 22 of the RPC.” italicized, and underlined words)
With the said ruling of the Supreme Court, and considering
the increased time allowances for GCTA, TASTM, and STAL [2] ART. 94. Partial extinction of criminal liability. – Criminal
under R.A. 10592 given to qualified inmates, there will be a Liability is extinguished partially:
substantial reduction in their respective penalties; which
1. By conditional pardon;
eventually will result in the decongestion of the jail system
in the country. 2. By commutation of sentence; and

ART. 29. Period of preventive imprisonment deducted from 3. For good conduct allowance which the culprit may
term of imprisonment. – Offenders or accused who have earn while he is undergoing preventive
undergone preventive imprisonment shall be credited in the imprisonment or serving his sentence.
service of their sentence consisting of deprivation of liberty, (Amendments in bold, italicized, and underlined
with the full time during which they have undergone words)
preventive imprisonment if the detention prisoner agrees
voluntarily in writing after being informed of the effects [3] ART. 97. Allowance for good conduct. – The good
thereof and with the assistance of counsel to abide by the conduct of any offender qualified for credit for preventive
same disciplinary rules imposed upon convicted prisoners, imprisonment pursuant to Article 29 of this Code, or of any
except in the following cases: convicted prisoner in any penal institution, rehabilitation or
detention center or any other local jail shall entitle him to
1. When they are recidivists, or have been convicted the following deductions from the period of his sentence:
previously twice or more times of any crime; and
1. During the first two years of (his) imprisonment, he
 When upon being summoned for the execution of shall be allowed a deduction of twenty days for
their sentence they have failed to surrender each month of good behavior during detention;
voluntarily.
2. During the third to the fifth year, inclusive, of his
If the detention prisoner does not agree to abide by the imprisonment, he shall be allowed a deduction
same disciplinary rules imposed upon convicted prisoners, of twenty-three days for each month of good
he shall do so in writing with the assistance of a counsel behavior during detention;
and shall be credited in the service of his sentence with
four-fifths of the time during which he has undergone 3. During the following years until the tenth year,
preventive imprisonment. inclusive, of his imprisonment, he shall be allowed a
deduction of twenty-five days for each month of
Credit for preventive imprisonment for the penalty of good behavior during detention;
reclusion perpetua shall be deducted from thirty (30)
years. 4. During the eleventh and successive years of his
imprisonment, he shall be allowed a deduction
Whenever an accused has undergone preventive of thirty days for each month of good
imprisonment for a period equal to the possible maximum behavior during detention;
imprisonment of the offense charged to which he may be
sentenced and his case is not yet terminated, he shall be 5. At any time during the period of imprisonment, he
released immediately without prejudice to the continuation shall be allowed another deduction of fifteen days,
of the trial thereof or the proceeding on appeal, if the same in addition to numbers one to four hereof, for each
is under review. Computation of preventive imprisonment month of study, teaching, or mentoring service
for purposes of immediate release under this paragraph time rendered.
shall be the actual period of detention with good conduct
An appeal by the accused shall not deprive him of
time allowance: Provided, however, that if the accused us
entitlement to the above allowances for good
absent without justifiable cause at any stage of the trial,
conduct. (Amendments in bold, italicized, and underlined
the court may motu propio order the rearrest of the
words)
accused: Provided, finally, that recidivists, habitual
delinquents, escapees and persons charged with heinous [4] ART. 98. Special time allowance for loyalty. – A
crimes are excluded from the coverage of this Act. In case deduction of one fifth of the period of his sentence shall be
the maximum penalty to which the accused may be granted to any prisoner who, having evaded his preventive
sentenced is destierro, he shall be releases after thirty (30) imprisonment or the service of his sentence under the
circumstances mentioned in Article 158 of this Code, gives
himself up to the authorities within 48 hours following the effective in 2013, shall not be entitled to any type of good
issuance of a proclamation announcing the passing away of conduct time allowance (3rd paragraph, Section 1, Rule XIII)
the calamity or catastrophe referred to in said article. A
deduction of two-fifths of the period of his sentence shall 4. Heinous crimes are the same heinous crimes defined under
be granted in case said prisoner chose to stay in the place Republic Act 7659 or the now-repealed death penalty law. It
of his confinement notwithstanding the existence of a is the DOJ's view that RA 7659 was repealed only insofar as
calamity or catastrophe enumerated in Article 158 of this imposing the death penalty, but not the definition of heinous
Code. crimes (Section 1n, Rule II)
This Article shall apply to any prisoner whether 5. To increase transparency, the Management, Screening and
undergoing preventive imprisonment or serving
Evaluation Committee (MSEC) shall publish the list of
sentence. (Amendments in bold, italicized, and underlined
prisoners who may be qualified for release on 3 conspicuous
words)
places within the jail premises and/or uploaded in their
[5] ART. 99. Who grants time allowances – Whenever respective websites subject to the Data Privacy Act (Section
lawfully justified, the Director of the Bureau of Corrections, 3c, Rule VIII)
the Chief of Bureau of Jail Management and Penology
and/or the Warden of a provincial, district, municipal, of 6. The MSEC shall invite representatives from accredited civil
city jail shall grant allowances for good conduct. Such society organizations to appear as observers during
allowances once granted shall not be revoked. deliberations (Section 4, Rule VIII)
(Amendments in bold, italicized, and underlined words)
7. To encourage sustained good behavior, the new IRR says
accrued time allowances shall be granted at the end of the
prisoners' 2nd year, 5th year, 10th year, 11th year and every
WHAT IS INSIDE THE REVISED 2019 IRR OF THE GCTA
LAW? year thereafter (Section 2, Rule IX)

However, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra recognized


The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of the
that the law itself said GCTA shall be granted on a monthly
Interior and Local Government (DILG) have revised the
basis. Guevarra said a revised manual would further discuss
Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Good
this section, and would define certain types of offenses that
Conduct Time Allowance law (GCTA law), responding to
could disqualify a prisoner from GCTA, in order to encourage
public outcry over the near-release of high-profile convict
sustained good behavior. The DOJ and DILG joint committee
Antonio Sanchez.
has been given another 60 days to complete the revision of
The new IRR of Republic Act 10592 or the GCTA law now the manual.
categorically excludes heinous crime convicts like Sanchez
8. The grant of time allowances to a disqualified prisoner,
from the benefits of the GCTA Law.
whether under the previous or present Rules, shall not
Here are the salient amendments in the new IRR: extinguish criminal liability (Section 1, Rule X)

1. Recidivists, habitual delinquents, escapees, those charged


with heinous crimes and an accused who, upon being
summoned for the execution of his sentence has failed to
surrender voluntarily before a court of law, are excluded
from good conduct time allowance under RA 10592 (Section
2, Rule IV)

2. Prisoners disqualified under RA 10592, such as heinous


crime convicts, but who were convicted before the law
became effective in 2013 shall be entitled to good conduct
time allowance under the Revised Penal Code (2nd
paragraph, Section 1, Rule XIII)

3. Prisoners disqualified under RA 10592, such as heinous


crime convicts, and who were convicted after the law became

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