DOJ asks PNP to suspend re-arrest of GCTA-freed heinous crimes convicts

Robie de Guzman   •   September 20, 2019   •   488

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) has requested the Philippine National Police (PNP) to temporarily suspend the operation to re-arrest heinous crimes convicts wrongly released under the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law after the deadline for them to surrender lapsed.

In a radio interview on Friday, Justice Undersecretary Markk Perete said they made the request on Thursday night in order to thoroughly check the list of heinous crime convicts submitted by the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).

Perete noted the list contains some errors which could pose possible violence and other problems such as mistaken identity during the manhunt operation.

Also included in the list were some names of prisoners released under parole and pardon.

At least 1,950 persons deprived of liberty (PDL) surrendered to authorities as of midnight of Thursday when President Rodrigo Duterte’s 15-day deadline ended.

The number of surrenderers is higher than the 1,914 heinous crime convicts on the original list given by BuCor.

Perete said they already ordered BuCor to immediately release the persons who turned themselves in even if they are not included in the list.

The 1,914 heinous criminals were freed earlier because their sentences were shortened for good behavior under the Republic Act 10592.

Duterte earlier ordered these convicts to surrender within 15 days for the recomputation of their good conduct credits or be treated as fugitives from justice after the deadline.

He also offered P1 million bounty for the capture of each freed heinous crime convicts.

Implementing rules for Anti-Terrorism Act to be released before October 16 —Sec. Guevarra

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 1, 2020

The Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) for the Republic Act No. 11479 or Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 is set to be released before the October 16 deadline, according to Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra.

“We’re trying as much as we can sa pagda-draft ng IRR na mabigyan ng clarity iyong sinasabing (to draft the IRR and provide clarity on the) ambiguity of the law but we only do so much. Hindi kami pwede mag-legislate (We cannot legislate) because that is not our duty. We can only draft the implementing rules and regulations,” the DOJ chief added.

Guevarra said he is still reviewing and drafting the IRR which provides law enforcers and Armed Forces a basis on how to implement the said law.

He also admitted the difficulty in defining several of the terms in the law which includes the definition of the term ‘terrorism’, and the arrest of a suspected terrorist without warrant of arrest from the court.

Unang-una na diyan iyong tungkol sa definition mismo ng terrorism isang critical area iyan at saka iyong designation na tinatawag iyong  pag-identify kung sino iyong terrorist groups. Isa sa pinakamainit na isyu ay iyong pag-arrest at pag-detain ng isang suspected terrorist without a judicial warrant with all the petitions I think in all petitions tsina-challenge iyan (One of the critical areas is the definition of ‘terrorism. The designation of identifying terrorist groups. Another issue is the arrest and detainment of suspected terrorist without a judicial warrant. That is challenged by all petitions),” Guevarra said.

Meanwhile, the DOJ official said they are also expecting more petitions to be filed against the implementation of the Anti-Terrorism Act. There are currently over 30 petitions filed before the Supreme Court.

The petitions question the law’s alleged violation of constitutional rights, including freedom of speech and peaceful assembly.

Guevarra, meanwhile, assured that the law will be implemented for the safety of the public and that it will not violate human rights. AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)

DOJ spokesman Usec. Markk Perete resigns citing ‘serious reasons’

Marje Pelayo   •   October 1, 2020

Department of Justice Usec. Markk Perete

MANILA, Philippines — Department of Justice (DOJ) Undersecretary and spokesperson Markk Perete on Thursday (October 1) announced that he is quitting his post.

“After much thought, I have decided to submit my resignation from the DOJ effective today due to serious reasons,” Perete said in a test message to reporters sent 5:40 a.m.

The official did not reveal more about his reason for stepping down, only that it is “very personal.”

He said he will inform Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra about his resignation today.

Guevarra appointed Perete in October 2018 as DOJ’s undersecretary for immigration. 

Prior to his resignation, he was a member of ‘Task Force PhilHealth’ which mainly handled the investigation on the irregularities in the state-owned health insurer.

Police units join pursuit against Maguindanao bombers

Maris Federez   •   September 19, 2020

Map of Maguindanao

MANILA, Philippines — Police special fighters backed by light armor units have joined the pursuit operations against the suspects behind a roadside bombing in Maguindanao on Friday night (September 18).

According to a statement sent by the Philippine National Police (PNP) to the media on Saturday, the bombing resulted in the death of a Marine personnel and the wounding of four other military men.

The report said that personnel of the Maguindanao Police Provincial Office, the 2nd Provincial Mobile Force Company, the 404th Special Action Company, and the Light Armor Unit of the PNP-SAF were first to respond to the scene of explosion at 7:50 PM on Friday along the provincial road near the Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) in Shariff Aguak.

Police post-blast investigators have likewise sifted through the debris around the seat of explosion of the suspected improvised explosive device (IED).

The report also said that PNP Chief, PGen. Camilo Pancratrius P Cascolan, was informed of the incident thru the PNP Command Center.

Cascolan then immediately alerted newly-installed PRO-BAR Regional Director, PBGen. Samuel Rodriguez to mobilize maneuver units for tactical operations against the suspects.

The personnel of the Philippine Marines on board a troop carrier were reportedly coming from a military operation against BIFF elements in Barangay Salman when the bombing happened.

They were immediately rushed to the nearby IPHO by the responding PNP personnel. — /mbmf


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