DOJ chief: ‘Bato’ eyed BuCor authority to release convicts

By: Maila Ager - INQUIRER.net September 09,2019 - 01:14 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Monday bared that then-Bureau of Corrections chief Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa had requested that the authority to release persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) be delegated to the Bucor head.

“There was this letter coming from the Bureau of Corrections sometime in 2018 requesting that the authority to release  PDLs on account of expired sentences be delegated to the BuCor chief,” Guevarra told the Senate committee on justice hearing on the controversy surrounding the the early  release of heinous crime convicts because of good conduct.

When Senator Richard Gordon, chairman of the committee, asked who signed the letter,  Guevarra said he had no copy of the said letter.

But the DOJ chief surmised that the letter was signed by a  “higher authority” from the  BuCor.

When Gordon pressed, however,  Guevarra said that the request came from  now-Senator Dela Rosa.

“According to the draft memorandum  addressed to me—this was only a draft— but it made mention of a memorandum  dated June 4, 2018, from Usec Dela Rosa, director general of BuCor, requesting  for  the  grant of authority for the director general  to approve or act on the following requests enumerated in Department of Order 953,” said Guevarra.

“So nakalista but the first and foremost is the release of PDLs with expired sentences. No action was taken by the DOJ,” Guevarra added.

Under the Department Order he earlier mentioned,  an inmate sentenced to reclusion perpetua could not be released without prior approval of the Justice Secretary.

Dismissed BuCor chief Nicanor  Faeldon admitted that  he did not seek the Justice Secretary’s approval  when he recently signed a memorandum for the release of heinous crime convicts, including former Calauan, Laguna Mayor Antonio Sanchez.

READ: Faeldon admits not seeking DOJ nod on prisoners’ release

Sanchez was convicted for the rape and murder of University of the Philippines-Los Baños student Eileen Sarmenta, and  the killing of her friend and schoolmate, Allan Gomez. /gsg

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TAGS: authority, Bato, BuCor, chief, convicts, DOJ, eyed, release

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