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Senate releases ‘GCTA for sale’ witnesses from custody

The Senate on Tuesday released from custody an inmate who claimed to be a victim of the supposed “GCTA for sale” racket at the New Bilibid Prison and his wife, who both testified in the hearing and accused Bureau of Corrections officials of being behind the scheme.

Blue Ribbon and justice and human rights committees chairman Senator Richard Gordon ordered the release Godfrey Gamboa and Yolanda Camilon.

The order, signed on January 21, stated that it is pursuant to the completion and termination of the hearings.

“This morning they were released already, the witnesses. It is OK, nakapag testify na sila, and besides nakapaglabas ng tayo ng GCTA [report] already,” Gordon said.

Gamboa and Camilon were taken into custody “for protection and to ensure their attendance” at the hearings.

The two said they were allegedly dealing with Ramoncito Roque, BuCor Documents and Record Section chief; and Corrections Senior Inspector Maria Belinda Bansil.

Gamboa said he has been a living-out inmate at the minimum security compound of the NBP since 2018 as he has already served the minimum of his four-year sentence. 

He said he was supposed to apply for parole. He spoke with Bansil—whom he got to know as she headed the program that handles inmates who are due for release—who said that Gamboa's name was on the list of inmates to be released November last year.

“Mabuti ‘yung iba lumaya na, tayo nakalista pa lang. Sabi ko sa asawa ko marami na palang lalabas, paano kaya itong mga lumalabas,” he recounted.

He said they paid P50,000 for his early release but it did not happen.

“Hanggang dumating sa punto na ilalabas ako sa March. Hindi naman ako lumabas. Galit na galit ako noon. Nakita natin si [former BuCor Director General Nicanor] Faeldon na lumabas sa opisina nina Roque. Sabi ko sa asawa ko kausapin niya si General, isumbong mo na ito kay General. Tumayo si Sir Roque sa harap kaya hindi namin nakausap si General Faeldon,” he said.

He said his wife attempted to get their money back because Roque and Bansil failed to deliver their promise that he would be released in March.

Roque and Bansil both denied involvement in the illegal activity. — BM, GMA News