Mr. Palengke peddles a fib


His first excuse upon being accused of recklessly authoring a seriously distorting set of implementing rules and regulations (IRR) for Republic Act 10592, the Good Conduct Time Allowance Act (GCTA), was that his accusers were merely distracting the public.

When a former senator pointed out his IRR’s flaws and suggested sanctions for the illegal release of convicts of heinous crimes, Manuel Roxas’ emotional response was purely argumentum ad hominem.

We all wish he’d go to jail. Well, maybe he did. But it is not what the public has been praying for since being victimized during his stints in government and despite the unprosecuted anomalies, scandals and controversies trailing this traditional politico.

This little pig did go to market. Not to buy, but to peddle a fib. That is, if we consider the penitentiary system as a trade and industry micro-economy given the abundance of commerce transacted inside its walls.

Roxas is one of two who crafted the IRR specifically for the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) to follow to the letter. Contrary to RA 10592 his IRR had, however, set the stage for releasing to an unsuspecting public even criminals convicted of the most heinous crimes. In the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearings, it was suggested that the insidious crafting of a flawed IRR was intended to monetize privileges granted to criminals turning the allowances into a money-making enterprise for campaign funding.

That makes sense. On the eve of the 2016 presidential election where one candidate was a former official in charge of the police hierarchy, it was recently reported that policemen had been freeing arrested drug lords for P50 million a head.

Obfuscating the debate, Roxas — several times rejected and repudiated by the majority of the electorate — is now banking on the public’s ignorance of the law and the IRR’s subtleties.

Roxas claims Rule IV, Section 6 of the IRR includes heinous crimes. It does. But Rule IV refers to persons under preventive imprisonment not convicts. Under Rule III, Section 1.v., “Preventive Imprisonment” is defined as “a temporary confinement in jail or prison while undergoing investigation or trial or awaiting final judgment.”

“Temporary confinement” is clearly not the same as “convicted with final judgement.”

A separate rule covers those convicted. And on that, Roxas’s flawed IRR conveniently excludes heinous crime criminals.

Read his IRR. Rule IV, Section 6.a is entitled “Provisional Release While Under Preventive Imprisonment.” Recidivists, habitual delinquents, escapees and persons charged with heinous crimes are excluded from premature release.

Now read Rule V, Section 1.a and 1.b both under the heading “Good Conduct Time Allowance” where the GCTA IRR fails to specify “persons charged with heinous crimes.”

To wit, GCTA Rule V, “Section 1. Who are entitled. — The good conduct of the following shall entitle them to the deductions described in Section 2 hereunder from their sentence as good conduct time allowance (GCTA) pursuant to Article 29 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, and to Sections 2 to 8 hereof:
a. A detention prisoner qualified for credit for preventive imprisonment for his good conduct and exemplary behavior; and
b. A prisoner convicted by final judgment in any penal institution, rehabilitation or detention center or any other local jail for his good conduct and exemplary behavior.”

Note the glaring absence in Rule V of any exclusion for those convicted for heinous crimes.

Array these under the appropriate titles of both rules IV and V and determine who has been lying and deliberately obfuscating the public discourse. Note that Roxas said, “If you go through the entire IRR, you will find that all of the said disqualifications may all be found in Rule IV, Section 6. What is clear, then, is that all disqualifications about which you have inquired are all in the IRR. All four disqualifications were included in the rules and none of them are missing as alleged by many commentators in recent days.”

Quoted verbatim and recorded, to Roxas’ misfortune, when scrutinized, under the IRR he crafted, including specific categories under which the rules lie, it is clear who is lying. His bullheaded refusal to admit to folly however raises questions on his true agenda.

Drop the farce. The public is not as stupid as Roxas thinks we are. The relevant rule followed by the BuCor in releasing convicted prisoners is Rule V and not Rule IV as Roxas peddles.