DOJ prefers no arrest of GCTA-freed inmates while review is pending
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) has asked the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to put on hold the arrest of inmates freed under the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) while they are still reviewing the list of heinous crime convicts.
However, Undersecretary Markk Perete also clarified during the press conference on Friday afternoon that only the Office of President can suspend the arrest of the inmates, as the verbal order came from President Rodrigo Duterte.
“We requested the DILG to put on hold their operation for the re-arrests. However, it must be emphasized that it is only the Office of the President who can put on hold officially the re-arrests because the original order came from the President himself,” Perete said.
Previously, DOJ admitted that there are errors in the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) list of heinous crime convicts freed through Republic Act No. 10592, as prisoners acquitted, paroled, and pardoned inmates are also included in the 1,914 inmates concerned.
This has prompted a review of the list, especially as a total of 2,009 GCTA-freed inmates have already surrendered to authorities on Friday morning — exceeding the initial list provided by BuCor. This means that some of the surrenderees may have been not required to surrender.
The errors have prompted Philippine National Police (PNP) to suspend the re-arrests, which was supposed to occur after Duterte’s ultimatum for the freed inmates to surrender ended on Thursday, September 19.
Malacañang later on clarified that arrests would continue, although Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles clarified that the arrests should have “pinpoint accuracy.”
Perete assured though that they are in communication with the PNP officials, who vowed to exercise prudence in conducting re-arrests.
“We have been communicating with officials of the PNP, but again as of an hour ago, the Office of the President already made an announcement that there is no suspension of the arrests,” Perete explained.
“Well we hope, as well as doing everything that we can, to ensure that no untoward incident will happen,” he added./ac
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