MANILA – The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Friday said it is finalizing details for the uniform manual on Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA), particularly for the ill and elderly persons deprived of liberty (PDLs).

“(W)e are setting meetings by video conference to finalize the manual. But even pending finalization of the manual, and for humanitarian considerations, the release of PDLs in the vulnerable/high-risk category not guilty of heinous crimes or of other serious offenses is being expedited,” Justice Undersecretary and spokesperson Markk Perete told reporters.

The implementation of the expanded GCTA law earlier hit a snag last year after reports noted that PDLs not entitled to its benefits such as those convicted for heinous crimes had been allowed to get credits under it.

The DOJ earlier assured that the country’s justice system has measures in place to ensure humanitarian treatment for old and sickly PDLs even before the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic broke out.

The agency had instructed the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) and the Board of Pardons and Parole (BPP) to expedite the release or grant of executive clemency to old and sickly PDLs serving their sentence, for humanitarian reasons.

The BuCor and the BPP service the needs of inmates serving their sentence while the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) houses PDLs before conviction in pending cases before courts.

Prison officials earlier said any release of PDLs must be based on existing laws as they assured strict implementation of health and safety standards in the country’s jails. (PNA)

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