Eight inmates from the New Bilibid Prison filed a petition before the Supreme Court questioning the constitutionality of some of the provisions of the revised IRR of the GCTA law.

The revised implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of Republic Act 10592 or the Good Conduct Time Allowance law will take effect on Friday.

But as early as last week, a petition had already been filed by eight inmates from the New Bilibid Prison questioning the constitutionality of some of its provisions.

Among them, sections excluding recidivists, habitual delinquents, escapees and persons deprived of liberty charged or convicted of heinous crimes from the benefit of GCTA and other time allowances.               

Petitioners said these provisions go beyond the law and are tantamount to executive legislation because they were not found on the text of the law itself.

The petitioners also wanted to declare void the transitory provisions that created a distinction between inmates before and after the effectivity of RA 10592 as violative of the equal protection clause.

Under the IRR, a disqualified convict who was detained or started serving their sentence before RA 10592 took effect can still enjoy the GCTA granted not under the new law.

However, under the Revised Penal Code (RPC), those detained or sentenced after will no longer gain any time allowance credits whether under the RPC or the new law.

Both the Justice and Interior departments welcome the petition.

 “We actually expected petition coming from them. So, I think the revised implementing rules and regulations that we prepared will withstand yung legal scrutiny,” DOJ Usec. Markk Perete said.

“Every citizen has the right to question and petition anything to the Supreme Court so we are ready for that. We are ready to answer to the best of our capacity and ability,” DILG Sec. Eduardo Año said.

They insist the revised IRR has sufficient legal bases.

“We’ve culled a number of laws in order to come up with the interpretation that is most suited based on the provisions of RA 10592 and we’ve also relied on existing jurisprudence and that’s where our confidence is based against this particular challenge,” Perete said.

“We also asked the framers of these law kung ano talaga yung intent and it is the same to what we have drafted, recommended and approved,” Año said.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra left it to the Office of the Solicitor General to comment on the merits of the petition and looked forward to the Supreme Court having the final word on the matter.               

“Considering that some important provisions of RA 10592 have been interpreted differently by various groups, I have as much interest as anyone in knowing the correct legal interpretation. Only the Supreme Court has the final word on the issue and I hope that it will affirm mine.” Guevarra said.

The public uproar over the possible release of convicted rapist and murderer former Calauan Mayor Antonio Sanchez forced the DOJ and Bureau of Corrections to abandon its earlier interpretation granting GCTAS to all convicts.

It also forced President Rodrigo Duterte to order close to two thousand prematurely released inmates to surrender.

The DOJ and the Bureau of Corrections are in the process of cleaning up their list for transmittal to the DILG, which will be used by the Philippine National Police in hunting down those who have yet to surrender.

Meanwhile, the BuCor has so far released 87 surrenderers who did not in fact benefit from the new GCTA law. (Jasper Camilo)