DOJ: Ex-Calauan mayor Sanchez, thousands others set for release

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 21, 2019   •   879

The Department of Justice (DOJ) said former Calauan, Laguna Mayor Antonio Sanchez will likely to be released from the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP).

According to Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra, Sanchez is among the thousands of inmates who are eligible for recomputation of good conduct time allowances (GCTA).

“He may actually be released already. No idea how soon,” Guevarra told reporters.

The GCTA is based on Republic Act No. 10592 and Supreme Court ruling which states that the length of an individual’s imprisonment can be reduced based on their good conduct in prison.

“So many prisoners’ good-conduct time allowances would be subjected to recomputation. Maybe one after the other they would be released,” Guevarra said.

Sanchez was sentenced to seven terms of reclusion perpetua in 1995 after he was convicted for the rape and murder of student Eileen Sarmenta and the murder of her boyfriend, Allan Gomez in 1993.—AAC

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

Robie de Guzman   •   September 20, 2019

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.

Duterte wants to speed up release of sickly, aging prisoners

Robie de Guzman   •   September 18, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is eyeing to speed up the release of sickly and aging prisoners at the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP).

Duterte specifically wants to fast-track the release of inmates who are 70 years old and above.

“I’ll ask the administration, whoever will take over or the Secretary of Justice to fast-track ‘yung mga may sakit na at talagang matatanda na. Ako mag-set ako, 70 years old or 75, 70,” he told reporters in an interview in Malacañang.

The chief executive pointed out that elderly and sick prisoners within the said age bracket can no longer run nor commit criminal acts. Most of them also do not want to be released anymore.

“Hindi na marunong mag-holdup ‘yan. Hindi na makatakbo ‘yan,” he said.

Duterte made the statement in the wake of the controversy on the early release of heinous crime convicts from the NBP through the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law.

The president earlier set a 15-day deadline for some 1,914 heinous criminals freed due to the GCTA rule to surrender or face re-arrest.

READ: Duterte orders freed heinous crime convicts to surrender

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

Two days before the ultimatum lapses on Sept. 19, Duterte offered a P1 million bounty for each heinous crime convict who failed to comply with the order. RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

DOJ orders warrantless arrest of GCTA-freed PDLs who won’t surrender by Sept 19

Maris Federez   •   September 17, 2019

Two days more to go before the expiration of the deadline set by President Rodrigo Duterte for the persons deprived of liberty (PDL) who were freed by virtue of the good conduct time allowance (GCTA).

In the latest Department of Justice (DOJ) data, only around 700 of them have surrendered and are now under the custody of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).

This prompted the DOJ to mull over coordinating with the Philippine National Police (PNP) in capturing these freed PDLs even without warrants of arrest, should they fail to surrender after the September 19 deadline.

“Each minute, each hour, each day that you refuse to turn yourself in is a continuing commission of an offense and for that reason, law enforcement agencies may arrest you even without a warrant,” DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra said.

The DOJ said they are ready to face anyone who will elevate the matter to the court.

“He may go to court and ask for any relief you wish to obtain from the court, but for now that is how we intend to (do it) and the DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government) through the PNP (Philippine National Police) is ready to do so after the 19th,” said Guevarra.

Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila College of Law Dean Attorney George Erwin Garcia, however, said this is a blatant violation of the Constitution.

Garcia said that based on the Constitution’s Bill of Rights, every individual has the right to due process and can only be detained if there is court-issued warrant of arrest or if he is caught in the act of committing a crime.

Garcia said any convict who wishes to challenge this government’s move may file a Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus before the Supreme Court.

The Writ of Habeas Corpus orders an individual or government official who has custody of a person to bring that person to the Court to determine if his detention was legally done.

The latest DOJ data shows that of the 1,914 PDLs freed under the CGTA, 692 have already surrendered and are now under the custody of BuCor. (from the report of Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf

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