PNP suspends hunt for GCTA-freed convicts
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) suspended on Friday its crackdown on convicts believed to have been erroneously released under the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) law, after the Department of Justice (DOJ) spotted errors in the list of convicts for rearrest submitted by the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).
“On hold. We are just monitoring. Our local police were advised to closely monitor [the convicts] in their areas of responsibility,” PNP deputy spokesperson Lt. Col. Kimberly Molitas said in a press conference when asked about the status of the tracker teams from the police.
She said the PNP will wait for the “sanitized” list from the BuCor before reactivating its tracker teams which were deployed on Friday, a day after the 15-day grace period given for freed heinous crime convicts to surrender has lapsed.
In an interview with DZMM, DOJ Undersecretary Markk Perete said the department has identified in the BuCor list 40 convicts who have been pardoned or paroled and should have been excluded.
So far, Molitas said the PNP have only rearrested four freed convicts, who were all convicted of rape. The freed convicts were rearrested in Metro Manila and will be turned over to the BuCor, Molitas added.
Perete said the rearrests will resume once the BuCor list has been verified.
The DOJ said a total of 1,950 convicts who were released based on good conduct credits have surrendered to the PNP and the BuCor before the September 19 deadline. This number includes freed convicts of non-heinous crimes who still chose to surrender to authorities.
BuCor records show that 1,914 convicts of heinous crimes were released from the country’s penitentiaries since the GCTA law took effect in 2014. /muf
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