2 more convicts in Chiong sisters rape-slay surrender
Seven men—most of them from prominent families in Cebu City—were imprisoned for the rape-slay of the Chiong sisters.
Screenshot from documentary "Give Up Tomorrow"

2 more convicts in Chiong sisters rape-slay surrender

(Philstar.com) - September 18, 2019 - 9:38pm

MANILA, Philippines — Two men convicted for the 1997 rape and murder of the Chiong sisters surrendered to Bureau of Corrections officials with only a day left before the 15-day ultimatum set by President Rodrigo Duterte lapses.

Department of Justice spokesperson Markk Perete told reporters that convicts Josman Aznar and Anthony Uy showed up at Gate 1 of the New Bilibid Prison at around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Perete added that the raw information on the surrender relayed to the DOJ is still being verified.

The two were among the four convicts in the Chiong rape-slay who were granted early release under the controversial Good Conduct Time Allowance despite committing a heinous crime.

READ: DOJ: Two freed convicts in Chiong sisters rape-slay yet to surrender

The two other convicts in the case, Ariel Balansag and Alberto Caño, turned themselves in last September 6, a couple of days after Duterte ordered the 1,914 freed heinous crime convicts to turn themselves in otherwise they would be treated as fugitives.

On Tuesday, Duterte said he would offer P1 million to anyone who would capture the freed heinous crime convicts under the GCTA dead or alive.

The DOJ has taken the position that prisoners convicted for heinous crimes are ineligible to receive GCTA grants.

A September 6 report of SunStar quoted Edgar Gica, Aznar's lawyer, as saying that Duterte’s re-arrest order is unconstitutional.

"This young man should now be allowed to rebuild his life... Hunting for him is like accusing him of the same crime again," he added.

"They have served their sentence. They have gone home and have a right to be left alone," Gica also said.

READ: Duterte offers P1M bounty for capture of freed heinous crime convicts

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, however, argued that the president's order is anchored on two Supreme Court rulings.

Guevarra cited the 1967 ruling of People v Fidel Tan and  the 2001 decision on City Warden of the Manila City Jail v Estrella et al.

In the Tan ruling, the inmate's GCTA was granted by the provincial warden of Samar. The SC held that the warden usurped the authority of the Director of Prisons in crediting Tan with GCTA.

It held: "The prisoner's re-arrests would not place him twice in double jeopardy because his re-incarceration is merely a continuation of the penalty he had not completely served due to the erroneous act of the warden, it is not a new or subsequent conviction." — with Kristine Joy Patag

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: September 30, 2019 - 8:53am

The Good Conduct Time Allowance law was placed on the spotlight after the Department of Justice said convicted rapist and murderer Antonio Sanchez may walk free within the next two months due to good behavior. Monitor this page for updates on the controversial implementation of the law. 

September 30, 2019 - 8:53am

Inmates at the New Bilibid Prison are asking the Supreme Court to review some provisions in the revised Implementing Rules and Regulations on the Good Conduct and Time Allowance Law (Republic Act 10592) that they say are disadvantageous to prisoners or are otherwise illegal.

The petition was filed before the SC last week.

September 21, 2019 - 3:16pm

The Department of Justice says that 130 more, who had been released from prison, surrendered as of 10:00 a.m. Saturday, bringing the total number to 2,139.

This number includes the 236 still in the custody of the Philippine National Police to be brought back to the Bureau of Corrections facilities.

September 19, 2019 - 2:31pm

Opposition Sen. Leila de Lima says the new implementing rules and regulations on Republic Act 10592 is a "remedial" move to cover up for "the most scandalous incident of corruption in Mr. Guevarra’s agency and this administration."

"With due respect to Sec. Guevarra, this is passing the buck to the Court. Any head of agency in charge of promulgating the IRR of a law should be convinced himself of the correctness of that IRR. He does not whistle in the dark because anyway, the Court is always there to chase away the ghosts this new IRR has created," De Lima says. 

"And for what reasons? To cover up the corruption of Faeldon and their negligence in the enforcement of the GCTA Law to the end that hardened criminals and multiple life sentence-servers did not easily go around the provisions of the law and buy GCTA credits with cash," she adds.

September 18, 2019 - 7:46pm

Josman Aznar and Anthony Uy, two of the four men convicted for the 1997 rape and murder of the Chiong sisters, have surrendered to Bureau of Corrections authorities.

Department of Justice spokesperson Markk Perete says that according to the raw information relayed to them, which they are still verifying, both freed convicts surrendered at Gate 1 of the New Bilibid Prison at around 6:30 p.m. today.

Two other convicts in the case, Ariel Balansag and Alberto Caño, surrendered last September 6.

September 16, 2019 - 4:09pm

A joint Department of Justice-Department of the Interior and Local Government panel has been given another 60 days from September 12 to work on the uniform policy and guidelines for the implementation of the Good Conduct Time Allowance Law.

The panel, officially called a joint review committee, completed its work on revised Implementing Rules and Regulations for GCTA—a mechanism to reward prisoners for good behavior by reducing their prison sentence—last week.

It has been found that close to 2,000 convicts of heinous crimes have been released—the Justice department says erroneously—through GCTA. The government says the convicts should have been excluded from GCTA release.

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