PNP halts hunt for freed cons

September 20, 2019

ALL Philippine National Police units yesterday were ordered to put on hold the arrest of  convicts freed through the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) law until a final “clean list” of those who must be returned to prison is released by the Department of Justice and the Bureau of Corrections.

The latest DOJ order froze all planned PNP tracker teams’ operations to account for the convicts who failed to beat the 15-day deadline given them by President Duterte to surrender or be hunted.

Meanwhile the police will monitor the freed prisoners, ready to resume operation once ordered.

“Intensify monitoring operations of all PDLs released thru GCTA who failed to surrender on your respective AOR to effect their immediate arrest once the clean list will be issued,” said PNP Director for Operations Brigadier General Emmanuel Luis D. Licup in a memorandum to all 17 Police Regional Office and the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.

PNP deputy spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Kimberly Molitas said the PNP will wait for the “sanitized” list from the BuCor before reactivating its tracker teams.

The PNP action came amid confirmation that there were errors in the list of convicts for re-arrest submitted by the Bureau of Corrections to the Department of Justice.

“On hold. We are just monitoring. Our local police were advised to closely monitor the convicts in their areas of responsibility,” Molitas said.

So far, Molitas said the PNP have only rearrested four freed convicts, who were all convicted of rape. The freed convicts were rearrested in Metro Manila and will be turned over to the BuCor,  she said.

As of midnight Thursday, BuCor authorities had already received a total of 1,950 PDL’s or persons deprived of liberty, which is higher than the 1,914 convicts on the original BuCor list which officials admitted was “hastily made.”

The big number of surenderers is believed to have been triggered by the President’s order which prompted even those not on the list to yield to the police.

The Philippine National Police headed by General Oscar D. Albayalde said that as of 10 a.m. yesterday, a total of 697 freed convicts have yielded to the police, 410 of them already turned over to the BuCor.

National Capital Region Police Office director Major General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar said he stopped his men from arresting 170 freed convicts in their list while they wait for further orders from the PNP national headquarters.

Eleazar said that since the deadline expired Thursday midnight, four rape convicts released through GCTA have been arrested by his men, one each in Makati and Muntinlupa and two in Manila.

Journal Group sources said that the DOJ order was issued amid conflicts on the real number of convicts included in the list released initially by the BuCor and amid apprehension that some of those named in the list should not really be there, one of them convicted road rage killer Rolito Go.

Sources said that DOJ Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra held a meeting with Go’s legal counsel, noted lawyer Estelito P. Mendoza, and told the latter that Go should not be on the BuCor list since he had already served his full term.

Apart from Go, there are other freed convicts who should not be on the list of those to be hunted since they have already served their complete term or are not covered by the President’s order.

Mendoza clarified that Go was released by the BuCor on the strength of a Supreme Court decision in December 2016 and it would be wrong to include his name in the list of nearly 2,000 convicts freed thru GCTA  who have been ordered by President Duterte to yield within 15 days or be hunted by security forces.