Freed convicts keep streaming in after surrender deadline

September 22, 2019
Rodrigo Duterte

ANOTHER 130 prematurely released convicts surrendered over the weekend following President Duterte’s ultimatum.

This brought to 2,139 the total number of convicts who turned themselves in as of 10 am Saturday.

“As of 10:00 am today (Saturday), 21 Sept 2019, an additional 130 more surrenderers have been recorded from yesterday’s tally, bringing the total number to 2,139. This number includes the 236 still in the custody of the PNP to be brought back to the BuCor facilities,” Justice Undersecretary Markk Perete said in a statement.

The current number of surrenderers exceeded the 1,914 figure in the initial Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) list of supposed heinous crime convicts released on good conduct time allowance.

This showed that even non-heinous crime convicts had also turned themselves in.

President Duterte recently fired BuCor chief Nicanor Faeldon for causing the premature release of some of the convicts, and ordered freed inmates to surrender in 15 days.

They would be treated as fugitives from justice after the 15-day grace period and would be hunted down, Duterte said.

The issue on GCTA started after it was reported that former Calauan mayor Antonio Sanchez was supposed to be released last month.

This was because of a new law increasing the GCTA of prisoners (Republic Act 10592), and a recent Supreme Court decision applying this law retroactively.

Sanchez was convicted for the 1993 rape and murder of University of the Philippines Los Baños students Eileen Sarmenta and killing of her schoolmate Allan Gomez.

The verdict was handed down on March 11, 1995 by Judge Harriet Demetrio who the heinous crimes as “a plot seemingly hatched in hell.”

The SC upheld the Laguna regional trial court ruling in 1999 against Sanchez, who is currently serving his sentence of seven terms of reclusion perpetua at the New Bilibid Prisons in Muntinlupa City.