MANILA, Philippines – More convicts freed under the Republic Act 10592 that expanded good conduct time allowance (GCTA) for inmates have surrendered to authorities following President Rodrigo Duterte’s order.
Data from the Philippine National Police show that as of 12 a.m. of Sept. 5 (Thursday), at least 13 convicts have turned themselves in on the second day of Duterte’s 15-day period.
Of this number, five were convicted of murder, three of rape, two of robbery with rape, one of murder and robbery, one of attempted rape with homicide and one of illegal drugs.
They are now under police custody after surrendering to authorities.
Duterte earlier ordered convicts, especially those who were involved in heinous crimes, freed under the GCTA law to present themselves within 15 days to the nearest police station or to the military.
The president told them to submit themselves for investigation to recompute their good conduct credits.
Duterte warned they will be treated as fugitives from justice, if they fail to comply.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) earlier said police will arrest GCTA beneficiaries who will not surrender as ordered.
They will also track their movement and bring them back to jail after the deadline.
The RA 10592 was passed and signed in 2013 during the time of President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III. Last June 2019, the SC ruled that the law could be applied retroactively.
Since the law’s enactment in 2013, more than 22,000 persons deprived of liberty (PDL) have been released due to good conduct credits, 1,914 of which had been convicted of heinous crimes, based on BuCor data.
But some quarters insisted that the release of some of these convicts was invalid as they do not qualify for the policy.
The GCTA law has recently been placed under scrutiny following reports that convicted rapist-murderer Antonio Sanchez could be among the 11,000 persons deprived of liberty who are eligible for early release for good behavior
Sanchez was convicted in 1995 for the rape and murder of student Eileen Sarmenta and the murder of her friend, Allan Gomez. He has been in jail for 25 years for seven terms of reclusion perpetua.
This controversy has led to allegations of corruption and ‘GCTA for sale’ in the national penitentiary involving some Bureau of Corrections employees.
READ: GCTA for sale? Witness claims ‘paying’ BuCor officers for husband’s early release
Due to the controversy, the implementation of the GCTA rule has been suspended until further notice.
Duterte also fired Nicanor Faeldon as BuCor chief, and the Office of the Ombudsman launched an investigation into the matter.