By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Malacañang clarified that despite his dead-or-alive order, President Duterte did not want inmates released under the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) law who are yet to surrender dead but said police would have to defend themselves if push comes to shove.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo made the statement as the 15-day deadline Duterte gave the released inmates to surrender lapsed Thursday.
In an interview, Panelo said that inmates who failed to surrender by Thursday will not die if they won’t do anything wrong when they get arrested.
“Hindi, kapag nanlaban. Kapag nanlaban lang hindi naman iyong babarilin mo na lang (It will only happen if they fight back). If they resist arrest, they fight it out,” he said.
“Kung nanlaban ‘di mas gusto niya na patay mong dalhin sa akin dahil nanlaban (If they fight back, then he prefers that they are brought to him dead),” he added.
Early this week, Malacañang appealed to inmates released under the GCTA law to surrender to the authorities because President Duterte will make true his promise that they will be treated as criminals if they would not turn themselves in.
“As the President said, when the 15-day deadline lapses, then they will be deemed to be fugitives from justice and they can be arrested,” Panelo earlier said.
“The fact is there are 400 of them coming in. Could be that the others may [just] have known of the deadline. But just the same, the order of the President remains,” he added.
President Duterte warned on September 4 that he will treat the released inmates as criminals if they will not surrender within 15 days. He added that he is thinking of putting a bounty of P1 million for each of their heads if they failed to turn themselves in after the given time frame.
The Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) continued to be under the Senate’s investigation because of the questionable release of inmates because of the GCTA law.
The controversy led to the sacking of former BuCor chief Nicanor Faeldon who took over from former PNP chief and now Senator Ronald dela Rosa who resigned from the said post when he ran for the Senate. Former jail warden Gerald Bantag was recently appointed to head the national penitentiary.