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Sotto cites intel report saying freedom under GCTA may cost millions.

One may have to spend millions in pesos to be released from prison through the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) given to prisoners, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said.

Sotto made the revelation on Wednesday as reporters at the Senate were asking him if he thinks those illegally released from prison should be rearrested.

'Nasa kamay ngayon ng DOJ [Department of Justice] 'yan, ang pagre-review niyan kung alin doon ang talagang qualified o hindi. We cannot say that outright all 1,900 are unqualified,' he said, referring to the 1,914 heinous crime convicts released since 2014.

'Ang uunahin diyan tiyak, yung mga heinous crimes because they did not qualify. And then another one na siguradong dapat unahin, ay lahat ng pumatak sa period ng elections or the campaign period dahil bawal,' he said.

Asked if the rearrest of such illegally freed convicts in view of the election ban would need the approval of the Supreme Court, Sotto said: 'Hindi kailangan yun because they were illegally released.'

'They were illegally released in the first place parang tumakas yun. Ngayon, ito ang maganda, parang tip ko na ito sa mga convicts na nakinabang diyan, magkusa silang bumalik agad. Baka sila pwedeng mag-qualify ngayon sa STAL-Special Time Allowance on Loyalty, di ba?' he said.

'Bigla kang qualified doon. Bumalik ka na agad, mali pala yung pagkakarelease sa akin, teka, di ba? Unless nagbayad ka at nanghihinayang ka sa binayad mo. Yun ang kasunod na tsismis doon, napakarami daw pera ang umikot,' he added.

Pressed further, he said: Milyones daw, yun ang kwento.

'We have intelligence reports already that I already shared with Senator [Panfilo] Lacson, so in the hearings tomorrow, we will see if we have to uncover them or not,' he added.

The Senate has so far conducted two investigations into the implementation of the GCTA law.

It would resume its investigation Thursday afternoon.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Sep 4, 2019
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