BuCor hit for including Napoles in freed convicts' list

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 12) — The Bureau of Corrections was attacked for the erroneous list of freed convicts that it provided the Senate and security forces ordered to carry out arrests.

BuCor provided a list of the 1,914 heinous crime convicts who benefited from the contentious Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) law, which allows an inmates' early release because of good behavior. But Senate Blue Ribbon Committee Chairman Richard Gordon said there are several errors in the "haphazardly-made" list, citing some mistakes on those released when sacked BuCor Chief Nicanor Faeldon was in office.

The list erroneously said convicted plunderer Janet Lim Napoles, who is still facing multiple plunder charges over misused pork barrel funds, was freed on November 12, 2018. The charge attached to her name was rape, not plunder. Rolito Go was also included in BuCor's GCTA list, but he was already ordered released by the Supreme Court in 2016.

"Sa 800 nga pinalaya during Faeldon's time, halos 10 percent ng record mali. 197 of the 800+ na kaso na papalayain sa panahon ni Undersecretary Faeldon, 'yung sinubmit niyo mali. Mali ang kaso, double entry. Mahirap talaga siguro kapag walang pampadulas ano?" he asked BuCor officials during the fifth Senate hearing into the GCTA law.

[Translation: Of the 800 convicts freed during Faeldon’s time, almost 10 percent or 197 of the 800+ of the information on the record is wrong. It included wrong cases, double entry. I guess it’s hard to do your job without bribes?]

BuCor documents processing chief Ramoncito "Chito" Roque admitted the mistake and attempted to explain the reason why.

"Iyan ang pinaliwanag ng computer section namin, na nagkakaroon ng double na pangalan po... ang list na yan, mabilisan pong pinagawa sa amin. Magpe-press conference po kasi sa Palawan during that time kaya hindi po talaga namin nacheck ng nabuti po yan," he said.

[Translation: That’s what our computer section explained that there were double entries. That list was done on short notice so we weren’t able to double check it.

But Gordon did not buy Roque's explanation. Instead, he hit Roque for his incompetency.

"Inaaral mo ba ang ginagawa mo? May staff ka doon. Ito ang kasaysayan ng tao na siguro hindi naman kagalingan pero kunyari masipag. Nabigyan ng trabaho pero ang daming palpak," he said.

[Translation: Do you know what you’re doing? You have a staff. It shows that there are people who are not good at their jobs, but get by looking hardworking despite their blunders.]

Sacked BuCor Director General Nicanor Faeldon said the problem stemmed from the agency's records section. He also assured that despite the error, Napoles is still detained at the Correctional Institution for Women.

"Kapapasok pa lang niya, ilang buwan pa lang. Impossible na mare-release na siya... 197 under 2019 ang nag-doble na pangalan. There's really something wrong with the record keeping. It included Napoles at rape pa 'yung kaso," he said. 

The Philippine National Police is using the list provided by BuCor to rearrest released convicts who fail to surrender to authorities after the September 19 deadline set by President Rodrigo Duterte. The convicts who fail to surrender will be considered fugitives. Police said they “can use force” if the said convicts resist arrest.