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

Maris Federez   •   September 17, 2019   •   353

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

Muntinlupa Police creates task group to investigate Santos slay case

Maris Federez   •   February 20, 2020

MUNTINLUPA CITY, Philippines — The Muntinlupa City Police has created a special investigation task group to focus on the killing of suspended Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) legal officer Atty. Frederick Anthony Santos.

The police said neither the closed-circuit television camera (CCTV) installed in the vicinity of the crime scene nor the dashcam of Santos’ vehicle was able to capture the shooting incident that took the life of the official.

Muntinlupa City Police chief PCol. Hermogenes Duque Cabe, however, said they can still check on all the CCTV in the possible route that the suspects took in fleeing the crime scene.
 
“Ongoing ang investigation pa rin hanggang ngayon,” Cabe said.

Based on the autopsy, Santos sustained two gunshots in the head, one on his neck, and three on his left arm.

Witnesses said the suspects left the crime scene on a motorcycle.

The Department of Justice, on the other hand, has earlier ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to conduct its own investigation on the killing of the suspended BuCor official.

The DOJ doesn’t discount the possibility that the shooting is connected with the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) controversy at the agency.

Santos was supposed to return to work on March 12 after the six-month suspension meted out on him by the Office of the Ombudsman due to anomalous implementation of the GCTA.

Meanwhile, Senator Ronald dela Rosa believes that the drug lords in the New Bilibid Prisons are behind the killing of Atty. Santos.

“’yung nagpapatay dyan sa mga tao natin sa BuCor, yan din yung mga nakakulong na drug lord dyan na kumbaga hindi nasunod yung kanilang kagustuhan. Marami pa yang pera at galamay sa labas na pwede kang ipapatay. Tinatakot nga ang mga judge, mga piskal,” dela Rosa said. —(from the report of Correspondent Sherwin Culubong) /mbmf

DOJ orders NBI to probe slay of suspended BuCor exec

Robie de Guzman   •   February 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) has ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to look into the killing of Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) legal division chief Atty. Frederic Anthony Santos.

In a directive issued on Wednesday, February 19, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra ordered and granted authority to NBI director Dante Gierran to conduct an investigation and case build-up against those behind the murder.

Santos was shot dead on Wednesday afternoon by unidentified gunmen while waiting to pick up his child in front of a school in Muntinlupa City, just a few meters away from the gate of the New Bilibid Prison.

He died instantly after sustaining gunshot wounds to head, neck and left arm based on an autopsy conducted by authorities.

Guevarra also ordered the NBI to file appropriate charges against persons found responsible for the crime if evidence warrants.

He also directed Gierran to submit to his office reports on the progress of the subject investigation and case build-up within 30 days.

In a separate statement, the DOJ chief said that Santos’ fatal shooting is still under investigation but is “very likely” connected to the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) issue.

Santos was suspended by the Office of the Ombudsman last September 2019 in relation to the alleged misapplication of the GCTA law and other time credits to prisoners.

He was supposed to return to work in March after serving six months of suspension.

Santos was among the resource persons in a Senate Investigation into the GCTA mess.

Irregularities in the GCTA law application grabbed headlines following reports on the possible early release of former mayor Antonio Sanchez, who was convicted for the rape and murder of Eileen Sarmenta and her companion, Allan Sanchez in 1993 after his sentence of 7-term Reclusion Perpetua was shortened.

The issue led to the revelations of the release of some heinous crime convicts and the anomalies in the BuCor. It also led to the dismissal of Nicanor Faeldon as BuCor chief, and President Duterte to set a deadline for the surrender of nearly 2,000 GCTA-freed convicts or be hunted down by police.

Manhunt launched vs. assailants of BuCor top lawyer in GCTA controversy

Marje Pelayo   •   February 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Authorities are now investigating the motive behind the killing of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Legal Service Department chief, Atty. Fredric Anthony Santos on Wednesday (February 19).

Santos was shot by two still unidentified gunmen in front of his daughter’s school near the New Bilibid Prison as he was supposed to pick her up.

Witnesses said the suspects immediately left the crime scene onboard a motorcycle after the incident.

Santos became controversial after appearing in a Senate inquiry as a witness in the alleged ‘freedom for sale’ inside the BuCor in connection with the inmates’ Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA).

The BuCor official sustained gunshot wounds in the head and died on the spot, according to the responding rescue team from Muntinlupa City.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Thursday (February 20) ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to conduct an investigation on the killing of Santos.

The SOJ also ordered a case build-up and eventually charge those who are behind the murder.

Secretary Guevarra believes that the killing of Santos is likely linked to his role in the GCTA investigation.

National Capital Region Police Office (NCPO) Chief PDG Debold Sinas, meanwhile, assured the safety of Santos’ family following his death.

“We have coordinated with BuCor for the security of the Family na nakatira doon sa BuCor Compound,” he said.

Santos was suspended in September last year by the Office of the Ombudsman for alleged grave misconduct, gross neglect of duty, and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service for allegedly allowing the questionable release of prison convicts.

Following Santos‘ death, Senate President Vicente Sotto III revealed that he was informed that the BuCor official promised Senator Panfilo Lacson that he (Santos) will divulge everything he knew about the irregularities in the granting of GCTA privileges inside the New Bilibid Prison. – MNP (with details from Sherwin Culubong)

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