Arrest of GCTA convicts on hold but tracking continues

DEPARTMENT of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año said on Monday, September 23, that he instructed the Philippine National Police (PNP) to continue tracking the heinous crime convicts who were released early from detention, but to hold off any arrest.

“Ang instruction ko sa PNP through (PNP chief Oscar) Albayalde okay ituloy natin ‘yung pag-track hanggang wala ‘yung listahan wag muna tayo mag-arrest,” said Año.

(My instruction to PNP through Chief Oscar Albayalde is to continue tracking the convicts but hold off arrest while we don't have the cleaned-up list.)

The Department of Justice still has to come up with a new list because the first list released by the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) contained double and erroneous entries.

The BuCor list contained 1,914 names of the heinous crime convicts who were released based on good conduct time allowance (GCTA) from October 2014 to August 13, 2019.

However, more than 2,000 convicts heeded the recall order of President Rodrigo Duterte.

The new list from the DOJ would be the basis for the operation of the tracker teams headed by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.

The granting of GCTA credits came under fire after reports came out about the release of heinous crime convicts.

Under Republic Act 10592, heinous crime convicts are not eligible to receive GCTA credits, which could shorten a convict's prison sentence.

The implementing rules and regulations (IRR), however, allowed heinous crime convicts to avail of the benefit. The IRR has since been revised.

The GCTA scheme is the subject of a Senate inquiry and a parallel investigation by the Ombudsman, which has preventively suspended 30 BuCor officials for six months without pay.

Duterte had ordered the released convicts to surrender by September 19 and have their GCTA credits validated.

Those who failed to surrender have a P1-million bounty on their heads, dead or alive. (SunStar Philippines)


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