MANILA — Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Friday said the redemption of the country’s corrections system may include an overhaul of the law covering it.
“I am beginning to think that the law itself that supposedly strengthened the BuCor (Bureau of Corrections) and consequently diminished DOJ (Department of Justice) control over it may have to be reviewed,” Guevarra told reporters.
Guevarra said at present, Republic Act 10575 made the BuCor a line agency of the DOJ from its previous status as a constituent bureau.
“Since its passage, the DOJ can only exercise administrative supervision over the BuCor instead of control,” Guevarra said.
Meanwhile, DOJ Undersecretary Markk Perete said the Joint Review Committee has completed its work and submitted the draft IRR for the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) to the secretaries of justice and of the interior and local government.
“In the meantime, the Department will pursue, within the mandate and limits imposed by the law, reforms within the BuCor and in its operations. The crafting of a revised IRR for RA 10592, the secretary’s creation of the oversight committee over the BuCor, and his final recommendation,” Perete said.
He added that “the crafting of a revised IRR for RA No 10592, the Secretary’s creation of the Oversight Committee over the Bucor, and his final recommendation to the President of a possible new BuCor Director General are important first steps towards our direction for reform.”
Justice officials earlier said they will include in its investigations the alleged irregularities in the Correctional Institute for Women (CIW) including supposed nepotism in the top posts.
“Allegations of nepotism would have to be investigated. There is an express prohibition against nepotism under our civil service rules, specifically Sec. 30 of RA No. 2260. But each case would have to be evaluated on its own merits,” Perete told reporters.
Aside from the “GCTA for sale” racket, various witnesses told Thursday’s Senate hearing about different money-making schemes involving prison officials.
Among these are the entry of prostitutes for high-profile inmates at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) and the “hospital pass for sale” scheme, where Bilibid hospital officials are bribed by inmates who fake their illnesses so they can later be confined at another medical facility outside the prison.