DOJ links GCTA mess to slay of BuCor exec
Bureau of Corrections official Fredric Santos, who testified in the Senate’s inquiry into the good conduct time allowance law, was shot dead Wednesday afternoon. ABS-CBN NEWS “The reason why we put the heat on him is (that) he was the one who said, ‘I gave the information on executive order by the Department of Justice No. 953 that nobody can be released without the permission of the Secretary of Justice’,” Gordon said. MANILA – The Department of Justice (DOJ) believes the killing of suspended Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) legal chief Fredric Santos was “very likely connected to the controversy over good conduct credits granted to prisoners. Meanwhile, Sen. Richard Gordon said that President Rodrigo Duterte must act “immediately” on the killing of Santos, who served as BuCor’s legal division chief. DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Thursday that the motive of it was “very likely” due to the GCTA (Good Conduct Time Allowance) issue, adding the investigation on the ambush is still ongoing. Santos had testified before Gordon’s Senate Blue Ribbon Committee when the panel investigated into BuCor for allowing heinous crime convicts to walk free without seeking the approval of the DOJ. He was even cited in contempt supposedly lying. “I hope the President orders the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) to act immediately on the matter because the Bureau of Corrections is under the DOJ,” Gordon said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel. GCTAs are deductions to the sentence of a well-behaving prisoner. For years, the BuCor awarded GCTAs to all convicted prisoners, interpreting the law in a way that led to the early release of even convicts of heinous crimes. Santos was aboard his vehicle in front of his child’s school in Barangay Poblacion in Muntinlupa City on Wednesday afternoon when he was attacked by two gunmen in motorcycle. Santos, a former prison guard who rose through the ranks over the years to become the bureau’s legal chief, also described systemic corruption within the agency that he said was protected by a code of silence. He became a lawyer only in 2017./PN Santos was suspended by the Ombudsman last September in connection with the alleged misapplication of the law governing the grant of GCTAs and other time credits to prisoners. The preventive suspension was to last for six months. Guevarra also said that he ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to look into the assassination of Santos, who was the third BuCor official to be gunned down since 2018.