PNP chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde yesterday said the option to use Special Action Force (SAF) commandos is on the table after Sept. 19, the last day of President Duterte’s 15-day deadline for the convicts to surrender.
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PNP-SAF joining convict manhunt
Emmanuel Tupas (The Philippine Star) - September 16, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — With only four days to go, the Philippine National Police (PNP) is gearing up its elite troops to go after the thousands of convicted rapists, murderers and drug criminals who have quietly walked free under a good behavior program.

PNP chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde yesterday said the option to use Special Action Force (SAF) commandos is on the table after Sept. 19, the last day of President Duterte’s 15-day deadline for the convicts to surrender.

The PNP said a total of 431 convicts have surrendered to various police units nationwide as of yesterday. Of the number, 252 were turned over to the custody of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).

At least 40 prisoners have returned in Metro Manila.

They were among the 1,914 prisoners who were convicted of heinous crimes but granted freedom under Republic Act 10592 or the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) Law.

On Sept. 4, the President ordered the released prisoners to surrender and register with the BuCor within 15 days or they would be considered fugitives. They have only until Thursday to turn themselves in.

Duterte voided the release orders following reports of irregularities and corruption in the computation of prison sentences under the GCTA law.

Albayalde said the SAF troops will act as an augmentation force in the event tracker teams face resistance from the convicts, which could put their lives at risk.

“The SAF will only be used as security forces in case the arresting team foresees a possible resistance,” Albayalde said.

Among the convicts still at large include Josman Aznar and James Anthony Uy, two of six men sentenced to death in 2004 for the 1997 kidnap, rape and murder of Chiong sisters in one of the country’s most high-profile cases. Their sentences were later commuted to life imprisonment. Two of the convicts Ariel Balansag and Alberto Caño surrendered earlier.

Albayalde pointed out tracker teams might need assistance from the SAF in hunting down high-profile prisoners convicted of large-scale drug trafficking.

Reports of large-scale drug trafficking among prisoners prompted authorities to call in the SAF to maintain order in the New Bilibid Prison in July 2016.

National Capital Region Police Office chief Maj. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said 23 of those who surrendered were among the 202 convicts based in Metro Manila while 17 others came from the provinces.

The regions with the most number of surrendered convicts are Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan with 74 followed by Central Luzon with 43, Metro Manila with 41 and Western Visayas with 38.

Most of those who surrendered were convicted of murder (138) and rape (130). Meanwhile, 18 others were convicted of drug-related offenses.

Justice Undersecretary Markk Perete said the convicts who have surrendered will be treated as “prematurely released” and recommitted to complete their sentence.

Perete added they are checking out 28 of the convicts who have similar and common names.

He said the Bureau of Immigration is still verifying if some of the convicts have left the country. – With Evelyn Macairan, Non Alquitran

BUREAU OF CORRECTIONS GOOD CONDUCT TIME ALLOWANCE PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE SPECIAL ACTION FORCE
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