Heinous crime convicts entitled to shorter terms — SC

TIM HUFNER —UNSPLASH

THE PHILIPPINE Supreme Court (SC) came out with a ruling that reaffirmed the entitlement of convicts of heinous crimes to a shortened prison term through the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) mechanism.

In a decision penned by Justice Ma. Filomena D. Singh, the SC en banc ruled that the Department of Justice (DoJ) went beyond its authority under subordinate legislation when it barred persons convicted of heinous crimes from the benefits of the New Good Conduct Time Allowance Law (R.A. No. 10592).

“The Court…is clear that any convicted prisoner is entitled to GCTA as long as the prisoner is in any penal institution, rehabilitation or detention center, or any other local jail,” the decision read.

It determined that when R.A. 10592 modified Article 97 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC), it employed the connecting word “or” to indicate that either (1) “any offender eligible for credit imprisonment under Article 29 of the RPC” or (2) “any convicted prisoner in any penal institution, rehabilitation center, or detention facility in any other local jail” could access the benefits provided by the law.

The 2019 implementing rules and regulations (IRR) broadened the application of R.A. 10592 by omitting “recidivists, habitual delinquents, escapees, and individuals convicted of heinous crimes from gaining good conduct time allowance credits,” despite the law not explicitly excluding them. — Chloe Mari A. Hufana