Two men gunned down the chief legal officer of the Bureau of Corrections while he was about to pick up his daughter from school Wednesday afternoon in Muntinlupa City, police said.
Personnel of the Muntinlupa City Rescue Team rushed Fredrick Anthony Santos to a hospital but he was pronounced dead on arrival due to gunshot wounds in the head.
Malacañang condemned Santos’ murder but said the ambush will not stop the government’s probe on the implementation of the Good Conduct Time Allowance.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said the incident was unlikely to affect the ongoing investigation, claiming other officials would come out to expose the irregularities at the national penitentiary.
We don’t know exactly whether or not this might be a retaliation from some personal wrongdoing he has committed,’’ he told reporters.
READ: 10 murders linked to mess at BuCor
Senator Richard Gordon said President Rodrigo Duterte and Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra should step into the case.
“This is very serious. I call on the President and the Secretary of Justice. Muntinlupa is under the Secretary of Justice,” he said in an interview.
Gordon, head of the Senate Blue Ribbon, said he was saddened that this happened because Santos was the 15th Bilibid personnel killed since 2011 “within and outside the gate” of Bilibid.
Initial investigation showed that the incident happened in front of Southernside Montessori School along Katihan Street in Barangay Poblacion around 1:50 p.m.
Santos was about to fetch his daughter at her school on board a Toyota Hilux pick-up when two armed men appeared and shot him at point-blank range.
Last year, Santos was one of the BuCor officials who were placed under the custody of the Senate after senators cited them in contempt for “lying” repeatedly during the probe into the nomalies in the New Bilibid Prison.
Santos was also suspended for six months without pay by the Office of the Ombudsman after finding that he, along with 29 other officials of the bureau, “allowed the questionable release of prison convicts” in violation of the expanded Good Conduct Time Allowance under the Revised Penal Code.
Senator Panfilo Lacson also accused Santos of using illegal drugs with Chinese drug lords detained at the national penitentiary.
At least three BuCor officials have been killed since September 2018, with the police saying they were investigating the possible connection of the killings with the release of hundreds of heinous crime convicts for good conduct.
In August last year, a lone gunman shot and killed 53-year old Ruperto Traya Jr., a chief administrative officer 3 assigned at the New Bilibid Prison in a parking lot near Amparo Street, also in Barangay Poblacion.
Traya was about to park his motorcycle when the gunman on board a motorcycle appeared and shot him in the head.
The BuCor acknowledged that almost 2,000 former inmates jailed for heinous crimes were among 22,049 inmates released since 2013 due to the passage of the GCTA law.
Four Chinese drug lords were among the inmates released, Senator Lacson said.
The possible release of former Calauan Mayor Antonio Sanchez, convicted for the 1993 rape and murder of college student Eileen Sarmenta and the murder of her friend, Alan Gomez, has ignited a public debate on the application of the GCTA law.
Government officials initially said Sanchez was automatically eligible for GCTA law coverage but changed their tune after a public outcry.
Lacson said 48 of the 1,914 inmates who availed themselves of the benefits of that law had been convicted for drug-related cases.
He said those being held for deportation should not be deported because they could come back using another name and resume their drug trafficking operations. With MJ Blancaflor and Macon Ramos-Araneta
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