Hunt on for 19 heinous crime convicts
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the 19 former convicts were in the partial list given to Secretary Eduardo Año of the Department of the Interior and Local Government as subject of a manhunt.
The STAR/Krizjohn Rosales

Hunt on for 19 heinous crime convicts

Non Alquitran (The Philippine Star) - October 2, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The manhunt is on for 19 former convicts who were erroneously granted freedom under the good conduct law, National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Maj. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said yesterday.

Eleazar stressed tracker teams are closing in on the former inmates and he expects arrests anytime soon. Two of the ex-convicts are still in Metro Manila.

“Tracker teams from the NCRPO are now in possession of information regarding their whereabouts and are conducting operations to see to it that these convicts are placed behind bars at the NBP (New Bilibid Prison) at the soonest possible time,” Eleazar said.

“We would like to assure the public that we are doing everything we can to expedite their apprehension,” he said.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the 19 former convicts were in the partial list given to Secretary Eduardo Año of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) as subject of a manhunt.

Guevarra said the 19 have a few months more to serve their sentence but were prematurely released under the erroneous computation of their sentence in applying the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) law, or Republic Act 10592.

“Secretary Año is expected to give the go-signal to the PNP (Philippine National Police) to start the search at midnight (Monday evening going to early hours of Tuesday). More names to follow,” he added.

Guevarra said he deferred until late Monday to submit the list to the DILG because he was waiting for Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) director general Gerald Bantag to sign the attached list. 

“Let’s wait for DG Bantag because he might make changes in the list. One thing is sure, this list is a partial list only,” Guevarra said.

He said the BuCor, assisted by the DOJ, will release more names in batches every week or as soon as reviews of the prison records of each of the thousands of former inmates are completed.

The BuCor said a total of 1,914 inmates were granted freedom under the GCTA law since 2014.

In the list, however, are hundreds of convicted rapists, murderers and drug criminals, which officials said is a clear violation of the GCTA that excludes those convicted of heinous crimes.

Authorities are scrambling to track down the former inmates prematurely released due to what was perceived to be wrong application of the GCTA law and possible corruption of BuCor officials.

A number of former inmates, who surrendered following the deadline imposed by President Duterte, filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition asking the Supreme Court (SC) to clarify certain provisions of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the GCTA.

Año, for his part, welcomed the petition, saying it would be an opportunity to settle the issue of validity of the IRR.

“While we are confident of our legal position, the final arbiter will be the highest court of the land whose decision we shall honor and respect,” he said.

Año defended the IRR which he said they crafted together with the Department of Justice to clarify the ambiguous provision of the GCTA law.

“The revised IRR addresses the many inadequacies of the old IRR that were abused and taken advantage of by corrupt correctional officials,” Año said.

Sen. Franklin Drilon said the Senate inquiry into the reported racket in the implementation of the GCTA will continue despite the petition filed before the SC. – Emmanuel Tupas, Cecille Suerte Felipe, Evelyn Macairan

  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?
Login is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with