Three senators are moving for the repeal of Republic Act (RA) 10592 or the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) law, after public outcry over revelations a town mayor convicted of rape and murder was about to be freed, in addition to the release of more than 200 prisoners.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Sen. Panfilo Lacson and Sen. Richard Gordon on Monday filed Senate Bill (SB) 993 that seeks to scrap the GCTA law that effectively shaves off jail time of prisoners due to good behavior.

SB 993 seeks to repeal the amendments in Articles 29, 94, 97, 98 and 99 of the Revised Penal Code as contained under RA 10592.

Sotto, Lacson and Gordon said the intention of the authors of Senate Bill 3064, introduced during the 15th Congress and which brought about RA 10592, was primarily to grant good conduct allowance to persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) while their case is still pending.

The purpose of GCTA, they said, was laudable in decongesting the overpopulated prison cells.

“However, when it was enacted into law, it caused an absurd interpretation and its very provisions needed harmonization,” they said.

RA 10592, enacted on May 29, 2013, was put to the test as its implementation was supposed to cause the release of former Calauan, Laguna Mayor Antonio Sanchez.

Sanchez had been sentenced to suffer the maximum penalty of seven counts of reclusion perpetua for one the most sensational crimes in the 1990s, the rape and murder of Eileen Sarmenta and the murder of her friend Allan Gomez – both students of the University of the Philippines Los Baños.

Gordon’s committee on justice and human rights, along with the committees on constitutional amendments and revision of codes, public order and dangerous drugs, finance and blue ribbon, had conducted an inquiry into the alleged early release of Sanchez and the implementation of RA 10592.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said on Tuesday the Department of Justice (DOJ) could re-arrest 1,914 heinous crime convicts, including three convicts for the rape-slay of the Chiong sisters in 1997.

“The DOJ has valid and legal reasons to seek re-arrest of the 1,914 prisoners serving a life sentence but were wrongly released by the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor),” Drilon said.

“The law should be interpreted to give justice to the victims. An interpretation that unqualifiedly and unjustly favors the oppressor, rather than the victims, may cause people’s trust in our justice system to erode,” he said.

“It was clearly established that the procedures were not followed and on that basis and in accordance with the case of People vs. Tan, they can be re-arrested. Let them question it in the Supreme Court,” Drilon said.

Also on Tuesday, Sen. Risa Hontiveros proposed amendments in the law’s implementing rules and regulations.

She called for the revision of Section 3.I (Prison Rules Violations) of the Uniform Manual on Time Allowances and Service of Sentence, explaining that the provision enumerates the violations of prison rules that would result in the non-entitlement of a PDL of the grant of GCTA for the month where the violation took place.

“I immediately noticed that the list of violations were not clustered by severity. Therefore, Sanchez’s offense of smuggling drugs inside the statue of the Virgin Mary – ‘receiving, keeping, taking, or drinking of liquor and prohibited drugs and smoking’ – will only have the same effect as ‘willful waste of food.’ I find this absurd, given the obvious gravity of drug smuggling. I propose that certain severe offenses have the effect of cancelling previously earned good conduct credits, so that the consequence on the PDL is greater,” Hontiveros said in a letter to Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra.

The opposition senator also called for a parole reporting system as well as a temporary suspension of the retroactive implementation of the GCTA. (