Freed convicts can be re-arrested — Drilon

September 03, 2019
Franklin Drilon

SENATE Minority Leader Franklin Drilon yesterday reiterated that the Department of Justice (DOJ) could take steps to re-arrest the 1,914 heinous crime convicts, including three convicts for the rape-slaying of the Chiong sisters in 1997.

“The DOJ has valid and legal reasons to seek re-arrest of the 1,914 prisoners serving a life sentence but were wrongly released by the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor),” Drilon said.

“The law should be interpreted to give justice to the victims. An interpretation that unqualifiedly and unjustly favors the oppressor, rather than the victims, may cause people’s trust in our justice system to erode,” he stressed.

“It was clearly established that the procedures were not followed and on that basis and in accordance with the case of People vs. Tan, they can be re-arrested. Let them question it in the Supreme Court,” Drilon said.

“Ultimately, it is the Supreme Court that will decide on this,” he added.

On Tuesday, Malacanang ordered the DOJ to study the possibility of re-arresting those disqualified by GCTA law but were nevertheless released, such as those convicted of heinous crime. It also pointed to the case that was earlier cited by Drilon, People vs. Tan, where the Supreme Court ordered the re-arrest of a person who was erroneously released by a jail warden based on a GCTA, as a good legal basis for the re-arrest.

The Court in that case stated that “the prisoner’s re-arrest would not place him twice in jeopardy because his re-incarceration is merely a continuation of the penalty that he had not completely served due to the erroneous act of the warden; it is not a new or subsequent conviction. Neither would his re-arrest deprive him of liberty and without due process of law, because he was not yet entitled to liberty at the time he was released.”

Drilon noted that the release of these prisoners were erroneous due to the wrong computation of good conduct as none of their bad conducts were reflected in their carpetas.