AN inmate at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) on Monday surfaced at the Senate to corroborate the “GCTA for sale” at the national penitentiary.
Godfrey Gamboa, testified at the fourth public hearing of the Senate blue ribbon committee on the alleged misapplication of the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) law in releasing prisoners.
It was Senate President Vicente Sotto 3rd who subpoenaed Gamboa to testify on what he knew about the GCTA scam. He was sentenced to four years imprisonment in 2017 for falsification of public records and was due for release in October.
Gamboa corroborated the testimony of his partner, Yolanda Camilon, regarding the alleged “GCTA for sale” scheme at the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) to cut short prisoners’ jail terms for good behavior.
Camilon last week testified that BuCor officer, Capt. Ma. Belinda Bansil, in February told her to shell out P50,000 to expedite the release of her partner.
Bansil claimed that she gave the money to Ramoncito Roque, BuCor’s documents record chief.
The BuCor officials denied Camilon’s allegations of a cash transaction.
“Sabi ng asawa ko me mag-pa process ng papel. Sabi ko, ‘E, di maganda.’ Tinanong ko kung magkano. Sabi niya, ‘Basta ganun ang usapan sa loob. P50 [P50,000] daw.’ Kaya ba natin? Tingnan natin muna. Na-delay dahil wala pa kami pera (My wife told me that someone will process the paper [to facilitate my release]. I said, ‘Well, that’s good.’ I asked how much. She said, ‘That’s the supposed agreement inside [NBP]. Apparently, it’s P50,000.’ [I asked her] Can we afford it? [She said] Let’s see. There was a delay in the payment because we don’t have money [that time],” Gamboa said.
Gamboa deplored that convicts in the NBP’s maximum security area were prioritized for release under GCTA rather than aging and sick prisoners housed in the minimum security compound.
“Ang dami ng matatanda doon na hindi lumalaya. Hindi nila nakamtan na makasama ang pamilya. Maximum lumalaya. Namamatay na ‘yung nandun sa minimum (There are many old inmates who never had the chance to be free. They never had the chance to be with their families. [Only those in the] maximum [security compound] get released. Those in the minimum [security compound] die),” Gamboa said.
Gamboa expressed fear for his life for exposing alleged corruption at the BuCor. “Pag bumalik ako, patay. Alam ko na mangyayari sa akin (If I go back [to NBP, I’ll be] dead. I know what will happen to me.”
It was here that the Senate opted to take custody of Gamboa.
The blue ribbon and justice committees, both headed by Sen. Richard Gordon, invited former BuCor chief Nicanor Faeldon again to explain his alleged violation of the GCTA law in releasing heinous crime convicts, such as Antonio Sanchez, the rapist-killer and former mayor of Calauan, Laguna.
Sanchez was sentenced in 1995 to seven life terms for the rape-slay of University of the Philippines Los Banos student Eileen Sarmenta and the murder of her friend and fellow UPLB student Allan Gomez in 1993.
Sanchez was also meted two life terms in 1996 for the murder of Nelson Penalosa and his son Rickson in 1991 who were reportedly supporters of his political opponent.
“We are going to wait for others to come forward. But you can see what we are trying to build in the case is that there is a build up of an atmosphere where it is ripe for corruption,” Gordon said.