By Aaron Recuenco
Maj. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, director of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), has ordered all precinct and station commanders to coordinate with barangay officials in Metro Manila for the identification of convicts who were freed under the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) but ordered by President Duterte to surrender in 15 days.
The purpose, according to Eleazar, was to facilitate the surrender of the GCTA-freed convicts in compliance with the President’s order to bring them all back to the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) amid allegations of anomalies in the implementation of the law.
“They should take advantage of the grace period given to them. President Duterte could have ordered for their immediate arrest but I believe he has good reasons why they were given 15 days to surrender instead,” said Eleazar.
If not, Eleazar said that his order for his commanders to coordinate with barangay officials for the location of the freed convicts will serve as the basis for police operations to arrest them after the 15-day period lapses.
Based on the data of the Department of Justice (DOJ), there were a little over 1,900 convicts who were released under the GCTA Law.
In the latest data of the Philippine National Police (PNP), there were at least 25 freed convicts who have gone to police stations across the country to turn themselves in.
Of the figure, at least 21 of them were convicted due to murder and rape-related cases.
Eleazar said another reason that they took the initiative of talking to the freed convicts or their relatives was that some of them could still be unaware of the President’s order.
In the absence of the convicts themselves, Eleazar said that the family or relatives of the freed convicts could play a key role in convincing them to surrender rather than playing hide-and-seek with the police.
“So this is an opportunity for them to do the right thing. If they (convicts) believe that they went to the proper processing of their release, then their surrender would serve as a gesture of their sincerity that they really underwent the proper process,” said Eleazar.
Eleazar said they were banking on their partnership with Metro Manila barangay officials, who he said, should be aware of what was going on in their respective communities.
The PNP leadership earlier said that they would deploy the tracker teams across the country once the 15-day grace period ends.
The PNP leadership earlier received an initial list of the GCTA-freed convicts.