The Philippine National Police (PNP) put on hold its crackdown on convicts freed because of Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) after the Department of Justice found the list erroneous.
Justice Undersecretary Markk Perete said the DOJ issued an order to temporarily stop the rearrest when the number of surrenderees exceeded the list provided by the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).
The DOJ ordered the BuCor to sanitize its list of the heinous crime convicts before proceeding with the manhunt. There were 1,914 names on the list and 1,717 of them surrendered a few minutes before the September 19 deadline given by President Rodrigo Duterte.
The President’s ultimatum
Duterte gave an ultimatum of 15 days to all heinous crime convicts to surrender after controversies on GCTA were exposed. Failure to surrender will consider GCTA-freed convicts fugitives of the law. A bounty of P1 million pesos was also offered per fugitive.
The DOJ said there were 40 convicts found in the BuCor list who had been pardoned or paroled. They should be excluded from the BuCor list. A total of 2,009 convicts had surrendered to the authorities, including freed convicts of non-heinous crimes.
PNP calls off manhunt
The PNP’s tracker teams started its search of the fugitives when news of the order was received on Friday morning. They had arrested four convicts already.
“On hold. We are just monitoring. Our local police were advised to closely monitor [the convicts] in their areas of responsibility, ” said Lt. Col. Kimberly Molitas, PNP deputy spokesperson.
Major General Guillermo Eleazar said the order was implemented immediately despite not receiving any directive from the DOJ.
“Because of the news, we gave instruction to just monitor them, hindi muna huhulihin, ” he said.
The PNP tracker team will resume its crackdown on GCTA-freed convicts once BuCor has provided the correct list for rearrest.