Nograles: Gov’t wants ‘pinpoint accuracy’ in arrest of GCTA-freed convicts
MANILA, Philippines—Government is making sure that the rearrest of convicts believed to have been erroneously freed under the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) law should be with “pinpoint accuracy,” a senior Palace official said Friday.
“In effect hindi pa ma-implement practically muna ng PNP (Philippine National Police) ‘yung warrantless arrest hanggang makuha nila from DOJ (Department of Justice) ‘yung final list,” Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles told reporters in Malacañang.
“Although legally speaking pwede naman i-effect ‘yung warrantless arrest but siguro the PNP just want to have ‘yun tinawag nga nating pinpoint accuracy kung sino talaga ang hahanapin nila,” he added.
The PNP earlier suspended its crackdown on GCTA-freed convicts, after the DOJ supposedly spotted errors in the list of convicts for rearrest which was submitted by the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).
President Rodrigo Duterte has set the deadline for the surrender of close to 2,000 convicts of heinous crimes who were released due to “good behavior” on September 19.
He said freed convicts should make themselves available for the recomputation of their GCTA and should turn themselves to authorities or else they would be treated as fugitives.
The implementation of Republic Act 10592 or the GCTA law, which shaves years off an inmate’s prison sentence for good behavior, has come under scrutiny after the justice department announced that convicted rapist-killer Antonio Sanchez might be released from prison early because of alleged good behavior.
According to BuCor data, close to 2,000 heinous-crime convicts were released through the good conduct time allowance law since 2014.
Recidivists, habitual delinquents, escapees and persons charged with heinous crimes are not entitled to benefit from the GCTA law.
Nograles insisted that the suspension of the hunt for GCTA-released convicts is not a suspension of the President’s order.
“I think it’s just more of … we just want to make sure na ano ‘yung final list na hinahanap. Kasi like I said, pwede naman ieffect ng PNP ‘yan but they need to know lang ano ‘yung final list. Depende kung sino ‘yung nagsurrender, sino pa ‘yung hindi nagsusurrender,” he said.
The DOJ reported that a total of 1,950 convicts released based on good conduct have surrendered to PNP and BuCor before the deadline on September 19.
But records from BuCor showed only 1,914 convicts of heinous crimes were released from prison since the GCTA law took effect in 2014. /muf
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