The Department of Justice (DOJ) confirmed on Saturday the release of the 52 prisoners who were first freed under the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) but surrendered again following the order from President Rodrigo Duterte.
According to a statement, DOJ spokesperson Undersecretary Markk Perete cited the confirmation from the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) and confirmed that the convicts from the first of two batches were released on Friday.
Those released included convicts who were not heinous crime offenders, acquitted of their offenses, and those rightfully pardoned and paroled.
Certificates of Release
Perete also mentioned that they were given certificates as proof of release, but these could not be made public.
“Unfortunately, we cannot make those certificates publicly available, but they should at the very least contain the following info: Date of and ground/basis for the previous release; date of surrender; re-evaluation finding; and basis (acquittal, the grant of parole, etc.) for re-release.”
All convicts residing in Metro Manila were immediately released while those from the province will have to wait while their transportation is still in process.
52 Out of 2100
The men were among more than 2,100 convicts who surrendered earlier this month after the 15-day ultimatum for heinous crime convicts released through GCTA.
It is recalled that Duterte gave the order because of the GCTA controversy. It includes irregular grants of early release on heinous crime offenders who should not be covered by the controversial policy.
The president further stated then that if the freed convicts refuse to surrender, the government would consider them fugitives.
“And you will be treated as a criminal who is evading the law and, well, you know things can go wrong. If I were you, mag-surrender na kayo to the nearest police or military detachment wherever you are now,” Duterte said.
Warrantless Arrest and Exceeded Number of Surrenderers
In line with the order, the President warned all those who missed the deadline to face warrantless arrests.
However, when the ultimatum had lapsed, authorities found that the number of those who surrendered already exceeded the list. It was found out that parolees not covered by the order also turned themselves in.