By Jeffrey Damicog
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has admitted experiencing difficulty in sifting through the Bureau of Correction’s (BuCor) list of 1,914 freed convicts to determine who among them shouldn’t have been released.
“The remainder would be those who have been convicted of heinous crimes,” said DOJ spokesman Undersecretary Markk Perete.
Convicts of heinous crimes are excluded from benefiting from the Republic Act 10592, the law which was passed in 2013 and amended provisions of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) to grant more good conduct time allowance (GCTA) of inmates and allowed their much earlier release.
The list of the BuCor is supposed to contain the names of convicts who have been released since 2013 because of GCTA.
However, the list also included those who were released not on the basis of GCTA.
“We are in the process of removing from that list of the inmates who have been pardoned, those who have already been on parole and granted clemency by the president,” Perete said.
The spokesman also pointed out those who received harsh penalties do not equate to having committed heinous crimes.
“If you go over the residual list the penalties imposed on certain individuals would be reclusion perpertua or reclusion perpetua to death. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the crime they committed may be heinous,” he noted.
“That became the basis for us to request first the records from the BuCor so that we could ascertain with finality who among the individuals in the residual list are in fact convicted of heinous crimes,” he explained.
Aside from this, Perete lamented the records of the convicts in the list were not easily available.
“Unfortunately, the records are now at the Senate because the BuCor has transmitted those records for the purpose of inquiry being conducted by the Senate,” he said.
So far, there have been 2,009 surrenderers after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered those in the BuCor’s list to surrender due to concerns that many of them were unqualified to be freed.
Among those who surrendered, 615 are now at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City; 42 at the Correctional Institution for Women (CIW); 96, Sablayan Prison and Penal Farm; 174, Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm; 283, Leyte Regional Prison; 418, Davao Prison and Penal Farm; 145, San Ramon Prison and Penal Farm; and 235 at the various provincial regional offices of the Philippine National Police (PNP).