300 surrendered cons to be freed

September 25, 2019

JUSTICE Undersecretary Markk Perete yesterday disclosed that the government is set to release 300 convicts who earlier surrendered even if they were not the subject of police manhunt.

“These are non-GCTA related cases for immediate release,” Perete said.

According to Perete, these convicts were previously released due to acquittal, commutation of sentence, pardon, and parole.

“The Oversight Committee on Corrections has constituted a panel to verify each and every release. We have met in the past days and will meet again this afternoon with the relevant BuCor (Bureau of Corrections) officers whose task is to justify each and every recommendation for release.”

“In the meantime, the Joint Task Force continues to comb through the prison records and carpetas at the Senate. As of yesterday, they have reviewed close to a hundred records.  We will eventually use their output to come up with a cleaned up list of GCTA-related cases,” Perete said.

Just the other day, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra ordered the immediate release of more than 300 freed convicts who earlier turned themselves in even if they were not the subject of the manhunt that President Rodrigo Duterte had ordered.

Guevarra reiterated that authorities were only after prisoners sentenced to life imprisonment for heinous crimes who were prematurely freed by the BuCor from the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City and penal colonies due to GCTA.

As of September 23, the DOJ said the BuCor has already taken custody of 2,221 released prisoners, or 307 more than the 1,914 heinous crime convicts who were unlawfully freed for “good conduct.”

“(Freed convicts) who should not have surrendered must be released immediately,” Guevarra said.

“They did not commit heinous crimes that’s why they were not included. We are still evaluating the remaining ‘persons of interest’ that the police should locate,” he said.

Asked why prisoners who were not convicted for heinous crimes decided to yield to the police and the BuCor, Guevarra said they had yet to interview them.

“But I suppose (they surrendered) out of fear. Or maybe they respect the authority of the President. That’s also a possible explanation,” he said.

“But primarily, I guess the fear that something may happen to them if they don’t surrender voluntarily (was the main reason),” he added.