DILG, DOJ to enforce uniform manual on inmates’ time allowances

MANILA � The departments of Justice and Interior and Local Government on Friday launched the first uniform guideline that would decongest jails and prisons through standardizing the computation of "good conduct" and specify time allowances and service of persons deprived of liberty (PDL).

Justice Undersecretary Reynante Orceo, chairman of the DOJ-DILG joint committee, said the Uniform Manual on Time Allowance and Service of Sentence would be used by the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), which is under DILG, and the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor), an attached agency of the DOJ.

Orceo said jail authorities expect a 20 percent decrease in the population of inmates, as credits for their "good conduct" would be properly computed, pushing for the reduction of their jail terms.

Ngayon, uniform na natin yan. Pinag-isa na natin yun sistema ng dalawang ahensiya para sa mga persons deprived of liberty (Now it's uniform. We merged the systems of two agencies for the benefit of persons deprived of liberty), Orceo said.

The uniform manual was created pursuant to Republic Act 10592, an act that amended several provisions of the Revised Penal Code (RPC).

The manual stresses the law authorizing credit of preventive imprisonment and the revision of good conduct time allowance of PDLs.

The law also allows the BuCor Director General, the BJMP Chief, and wardens of provincial, district, municipal and city jails to grant time allowances for good conduct, studying, teaching or mentoring, and loyalty.

The purpose is really to, well the decongestion is the effect that we'll have if we have this uniform manual. It's actually for the benefit of persons deprived of liberty that eventually had been convicted and they will lessen their designated sentence, Orceo added.

He said training would be conducted for the local jails "on how to compute and how to give time allowances to persons deprived of liberty.

We want to have a unification, a uniform [process], and we want to help and want on to train the local jail because, although the law mandated the local to also give time allowances, they still not implementing it for some reason they don't have the knowledge and the capabilities, he explained.

Orceo added that copies of the manual would be distributed to local courts.

Prior to the creation of the manual, Orceo said that the BuCor, BJMP, and local courts had different approaches in giving time allowances to PDLs.

So what happened in the process is we have a dysfunctional administration of justice that is detrimental to the person deprived of liberty, he said.

You can just imagine the BJMP has a different computation and it's not yet automatically credited when the persons are convicted and transferred to the Bureau of Corrections, he added.

The BJMP handles jail facilities that detain persons facing trial, while the BUCOR oversees penal colonies where convicted individuals serve time.

For his part, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said the uniform manual bolsters the reformation aspect of our justice system.

It harmonizes the policies and the interpretation of the law on the computation of Good Conduct Time Allowances (GCTA) and other time allowances under R.A. No. 10592, Aguirre said.

Uniformity eliminates fragmentation and it imposes order amidst confusions. Unity is essential for the effective administration of justice in all of its aspects, Aguirre added.

Source: Philippine News Agency