ILOILO City – Of the 144 convicts from Western Visayas that the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) freed in line with the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) Law, 62 managed to beat the 15-day ultimatum set by President Rodrigo Duterte. The 82 who failed to surface yesterday – the deadline – are now subjects of a manhunt.
“We are warning these 82 convicts. Surrender peacefully to our tracker teams. Do not put up a fight,” said Police Lieutenant Joem Malong, spokesperson of the Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6).
These convicts have a P1-million bounty each for their arrest.
Law enforcers may employ “reasonable force if the subject of the arrest violently resists and endangers the security of the arresting officers,” Justice secretary Menardo Guevarra earlier said.
In Camp Crame, Quezon City, Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesperson, Brigadier General Bernard Banac said the manhunt will be done with or without a reward, “though a reward may be helpful to entice possible informants.
The 62 convicts who surrendered, on the other hand, were from Aklan (12), Antique (three), Capiz (nine), Iloilo City (five), Iloilo province (16), Negros Occidental (13), Guimaras (one), and Bacolod City (three).
Those in Panay Island were now in the custody of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology’s (BJMP) Iloilo District Jail in Barangay Nanga, Pototan, Iloilo while those in Negros Occidental and Bacolod City were now in the BJMP’s Bago City prison facility.
Police Brigadier General Rene Pamuspusan, PRO-6 director, said BJMP had transport vans and other logistics that ensured the safe transport of the surrendered convicts.
The respective BJMPs will take charge of the transfer of these surrenderers to the nearest BuCor penal colony in Sablayan, Mindoro, said Pamuspusan.
Their time served in prison would be reviewed if indeed they were qualified for early release under the GCTA.
The GCTA Law has come under scrutiny after the Department of Justice announced that convicted rapist-killer Antonio Sanchez, former mayor of Calauan, Laguna, might be released from prison because of supposed good behavior.
According to Department of Justice (DOJ) spokesperson Undersecretary Markk Perete yesterday, they would be transmitting to the Department of Interior and Local Government a cleaned-up list of convicts “prematurely released because of the erroneous application of the GCTA Law.”
The list will include pertinent data to ensure that only those who ought to be returned to prison would be rearrested.
“This should minimize incidents of mistaken identity and save government resources related to its manhunt operations,” said Perete.
Nationwide, 1,914 convicts were released by BuCor applying the GCTA Law./PN