Guevarra says return to jail of released foreign drug lords still possible
MANILA, Philippines — Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Monday said there is a possibility that the foreign drug lords currently detained at the Bureau of Immigration (BI) may be brought back to the national penitentiary.
“Is there a possibility that they can still be brought back to Muntinlupa [New Bilibid Prison] and the Davao Penal Colony?” Senator Panfilo Lacson asked Guevarra in a joint Senate hearing into the implementation of the Republic Act 10592 on the good conduct time allowance (GCTA).
Lacson was referring to the foreign drug lords he earlier bared were released from prison under the GCTA.
“There’s a possibility. But I cannot make a very assured answer to that question because we are still reviewing the guidelines and implementing rules and regulations,” the justice chief answered.
“We still have to deal with the very sensitive question of what to do with PDLs [persons deprived of liberty] who might have committed heinous crimes but who might have already been released. So, that is a very sensitive legal question,” Guevarra added.
Malacañang has said that convicts of heinous crimes freed under the GCTA law must be sent back to prison.
Guevarra further said that has has already ordered the suspension of deportation proceedings of several Chinese drug offenders released from prison.
“We have been informed by the Bureau of Immigration that these PDLs who were released is still in the custody of the Bureau of Immigration and I have ordered the Bureau of Immigration to hold any further deportation proceedings,” Guevarra said.
Guevarra issued this answer after Lacson asked for an update on Chen Tiz Zang, a Taiwanese drug lord who he said was released from the Davao Penal Colony in April.
It was Lacson who revealed that several foreign drug lords have been released from prison due to their reported good conduct and has since been turned over to the BI.
BI Deputy Spokesperon Melvin Mabulac later confirmed that these foreign nationals are detained at the BI’s warden facility awaiting deportation “for being undesirable alien for being accused and/or convicted of a crime.”
This developed after the Bureau of Corrections and the Department of Justice (DOJ) said more than 10,000 inmates, including convicted rapist-murderer former Calauan Mayor Antonio Sanchez, may walk free pursuant to the said law.
Sanchez was convicted and facing seven life imprisonments for the brutal killing of two University of the Philippines-Los Baños students in 1993.
But following public outcry over Sanchez’s possible release, Guevarra has since suspended the processing of the early release for good conduct of the said inmates. /jpv
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