The case of CITY WARDEN OF THE
In celebration of Law Day on
Respondents asked petitioner Rosendo M. Dial, City Warden of the Manila City Jail, to effect their release on the ground that they had already served their sentences, less time allowances for good conduct. Respondents invoked Arts. 97 and 99 of the Revised Penal Code which provide:
Art. 97. Allowance for good conduct. - The good conduct of any prisoner in any penal institution shall entitle him to the following deduction from the period of his sentence:
1. During the first two years of his imprisonment, he shall be allowed a deduction of five days for each month of good behavior;
2. During the third to the fifth year, inclusive, of his imprisonment, he shall be allowed a deduction of eight days for each month of good behavior;
3. During the following years until the tenth year, inclusive, of his imprisonment, he shall be allowed a deduction of ten days for each month of good behavior; and
4. During the eleventh and successive years of his imprisonment, he shall be allowed a deduction of fifteen days for each month of good behavior.
Art. 99. Who grants time allowances. - Whenever lawfully justified, the Director of Prisons shall grant allowances for good conduct. Such allowances once granted shall not be revoked.
In the resolution of
The trial court held that (1) the Director of the Bureau of Corrections no longer has jurisdiction over city and municipal jails, and it is thus legally impossible for him to grant time allowances for good conduct to herein respondents who are inmates of the Manila City Jail; (2) respondents had been denied the equal protection of the laws because “national prisoners, who are still under the authority of the Director of the Bureau of Corrections, may be dispensed benefits by him under Art. 97, whereas local prisoners, over whom he lost authority, control, and supervision, are left with no one to dispense benefits under Art. 97”; and (3) that the certifications issued by petitioner City Warden constituted sufficient basis to grant respondents’ release under Art. 97. It held that in the exercise of its “equity jurisdiction” under Art. 9 of the Civil Code, it could fill in “the hiatus or gap [in the law] on who is to grant local prisoners good conduct time allowance under Art. 97.”
The Solicitor General appealed to the Supreme Court, contending that the trial court erred IN RULING THAT CITY WARDENS MAY GRANT GOOD CONDUCT TIME ALLOWANCE UNDER ARTICLES 97 AND 99 OF THE REVISED PENAL CODE.
The Solicitor General contends that despite changes in the organizational structure of the prison system, the Director of the Bureau of Corrections remains the exclusive authority for granting good conduct time allowances and, therefore, it was error for the lower court to order the release of respondents on the basis of certifications issued by the City Warden as to time allowances for good conduct that respondents are entitled to.
The trial court held that the Director of the Bureau of Prisons, now the Bureau of Corrections, no longer had the authority to grant good conduct time allowances to inmates in the provincial, city, and municipal jails in view of the enactment of R.A. No. 6975, otherwise known as the Department of the Interior and Local Government Act of 1990, which places provincial, city, and municipal jails under the supervision and control of the Bureau of Jail Management.
The Supreme Court rejected the said conclusion because it assumed that the authority to grant good conduct time allowances flows from the grant of the power of supervision and control, so that only those vested with this power can grant good conduct time allowances to prisoners. But this is not so. Under the Revised Charter of the City of
There is no inconsistency between Art. 99 and R.A. No. 6975. Repeals by implication are not favored. To the contrary, every statute must be so interpreted and brought in accord with other laws as to form a uniform system of jurisprudence. For there to be an implied repeal, there must be a clear showing of repugnance. The language used in the later statute must be such as to render it irreconcilable with what has been formerly enacted. An inconsistency that falls short of that standard does not suffice.
There is no basis for the conclusion of the trial court that it could rely on the certifications issued by the City Warden as to the good conduct time allowances of respondents because the Director of the Bureau of Corrections would also have to depend on the same anyway as respondents are not under his control and supervision. The question here is who has authority to grant good conduct time allowances, not on what basis such allowances should be made.
Citing past cases, the Court held that the trial court had no power to grant the petitioner time allowances for good conduct because in accordance with Article 99 of the Revised Penal Code it is the Director of the Prisons who shall grant allowances for good conduct if such good conduct has been observed by the prisoner concerned. A provincial warden cannot grant credit for good conduct to a prisoner and order his release because Art. 99 of the Revised Penal Code vests the authority to grant prisoners good conduct time allowances exclusively in the Director and in no one else.
Moreover, there are good reasons for holding in this case that the trial court could not rely on the certifications issued by the City Warden in crediting respondents with time allowances for good conduct. In the first place, the certifications issued by the City Warden lacked data on the dates when respondents started serving sentence.] Such data are important because, as has been observed, good conduct time allowances under Art. 97 may only be earned by prisoners while serving their sentence. While Art. 29 of the Revised Penal Code provides that time spent in preventive imprisonment shall be credited in full or four-fifths in service of sentence, it does not say that the prisoners shall earn the credit for good behavior under Art. 97 during such period of preventive detention.
Needless to say, the writ of habeas corpus remains available as a remedy against any abuse of the authority granted by Art. 99 of the Revised Penal Code to the Director of Prisons, but that is altogether a different kettle of fish from the question posed in this case. Here, the question is whether a court may rely on the certification of the City Warden as to good conduct time allowances in ordering the release of prisoners by writ of habeas corpus. We hold that it cannot, in view of Art. 99 of the Revised Penal Code vesting the authority to grant good conduct time allowances solely in the Director of Prisons.
In view of the foregoing, the Court ordered the re-arrest of all of respondents. Itr held that it could be done without placing them in double jeopardy of being punished for the same offense because their re-incarceration was merely a continuation of the penalties that they had not completely served due to the invalid crediting of good conduct time allowances in their favor.