PNP sends tracker teams to find inmates freed due to GCTA
The head of the Philippine National Police ( PNP) on Thursday said he ordered deployment of tracking teams from the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group ( CIDG) to find freed inmates if they choose to not surrender after the 15 days period given by President Rodrigo Duterte.
"Following the orders of the President, I have immediately directed all police units nationwide to receive and account for about 1,700 convicts of heinous crimes who were earlier released through Good Conduct and Time Allowance (GCTA)," Police General Oscar Albayalde said in a press briefing.
"Those who will heed the order of the President, and opt to surrender are given 15-day grace period to register and have themselves accounted for in the nearest police stations," he said.
Albayalde said those who will not surrender will be considered as fugitives and can be subjected to warrantless arrest. The PNP has not received surrender feelers from any convict.
Albayalde also clarified the "dead or alive" statement of the president saying they will only shoot the convicts if they fight back.
"(He) just wants to emphasize that these people, especially involved in heinous crimes must be arrested. It is not necessarily that you will kill them even if they are not fighting back. That's not what the president means," he explained.
He said the PNP has CIDG personnel nationwide who will lead the manhunt operations.
The PNP chief also directed National Capital Region Police Office chief, Major General Guillermo Eleazar, to get names and addresses of these convicts from the Bureau of Corrections and to determine the procedure of turnover.
"If they want to surrender they can go to the nearest police station. They will undergo medical examination and booking process after that we can already deliver them... that's why we are coordinating with (other agencies) to determine if they will be brought to the Department of Justice or directly to the Bureau of Corrections," said Albayalde.
He said surrendered convicts will be held temporarily at police stations while it is still being determined whether they will be brought to DOJ or BuCor.
"They will be back to jail to continue with their sentence... pending that they will be held in different stations," he said.
The PNP chief said the release of inmates with heinous crimes is void in the first place since they should not be granted with GCTA.
"The granting of GCTA is unlawful and void from the very start," he said.
On the actual count of released inmates, Albayalde said they have yet to receive the list from DOJ.
"We want to clarify that to DOJ because it appears that not all the more than 1,700 inmates were involved in heinous crimes. But while we determine that, we go to the more than 1,700 (inmates) because it is the order of the president and DOJ," he said.
Albayalde said this is not the first time that a release order will be reversed.
Asked if this will be hard for them to arrest all freed inmates, Albayalde said they will work with all concerned agencies.
"It is not only the PNP who will look for these people. We also have the Armed Forces of the Philippines to help us provide information and they can also conduct warrantless arrest. Besides, we have the National Bureau of Investigation so we don't see any problems but this will be a big challenge to us," he said.
For those who will leave the country, a lookout bulletin was released by the Department of Justice that may help the Bureau of Immigration to hold these people from leaving.
"We also have coordination with the Interpol," he told reporters.
"We encourage them to voluntarily and peacefully surrender," he said
Duterte on Wednesday told the more than 1,000 freed inmates to surrender to nearest police stations or military detachments as he believed there is something wrong with the computation of their good conduct time allowance. Ella Dionisio/DMS