SEPTEMBER 20, 2019 – Secretary to the Cabinet Karlo Nograles on Friday said the manhunt operations for unaccounted prisoners who were freed under the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law were temporarily stopped to give room for further validation.
In an interview, Nograles said the halted rearrest of GCTA-freed convicts did not mean authorities were not following Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s directive.
“I’m under the impression that they just want to be very sure about it. Sinisigurado lang nila and they’re just going over the list again and again, making sure na wala silang nakaligtaan,” Nograles said.
“We’re not going against the directive of the President, it’s just a matter of practical terms,” he added.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said he requested the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to suspend further law enforcement operations to ensure that nobody’s life and personal security would be endangered.
In a separate statement, the Interior department said it will await the final list of GCTA-freed convicts from the DOJ and the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) before taking action.
“As soon as we receive that list of unaccounted individuals today, we shall begin the manhunt to bring them to justice for evading the full service of their sentences,” Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said.
Pres. Duterte had earlier ordered 1,914 GCTA-released convicts to surrender to police until Sept. 19 or they will face warrantless arrest.
But the number of surrenderers exceeded that number as it reached 1, 950 according to the DOJ with some freed prisoners turning themselves in despite not being part in the initial GCTA list.
The National Capital Region Police Office, for its part, assured the public that its tracking teams are ready to resume the search once the DOJ and the Bureau of Corrections submit the final list of GCTA-freed convicts.
Republic Act 10592 or the GCTA law drew public criticism following the aborted release of convicted rapist-murderer Antonio Sanchez on the basis of good conduct. (Winona Sadia/ AAD)