The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Friday morning commanded the police to suspend the warrantless arrests of the heinous crime convicts who failed to surrender on the due date given by President Rodrigo Duterte.
President Rodrigo Duterte on the first week of September gave the freed inmates 15 days or until 11:59pm of September 19 to surrender and register with BuCor. Failure to do so, they will be considered fugitives and will be arrested without warrants. Therefore, the rearresting of convicts was being done by the police.
Justice Secretary Markk Perete said DOJ instructed PNP, which is under the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), on Friday morning to temporarily stop the rearrest order. His reason was that they still had to polish the list of heinous crime convicts, because it was prematurely released for their supposed good behavior under the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) law.
1,914 names are on the government’s list. However, it is not clear if every name on the list are heinous crime convicts.
Perete said they made the decision of stopping the arrest as the number of surrenderees exceeded the 1,914 names of freed heinous crime convicts on the list. There were 1,950 who have surrendered themselves in, according to DOJ.
He told DZMM radio that they have identified 40 names who were deprived of liberty (PDLs) and should have not been in the GCTA list.
According to him, those 40 individuals were already paroled or pardoned and weren’t freed due to avail of the GCTA.
DOJ order, however, came in too late because the police on early Friday morning began doing their manhunt. As of 7am, at least 5 convicts have already been arrested from their homes in Makati and Manila City.
Even Metro Manila police chief Major General Guillermo Eleazer has not yet received the DOJ order, he said that they will implement it.
“Because of the news, we gave instruction to just monitor them, [they will not yet get arrested],” he told CNN Philippines.
Duterte said his order is a risk he would be willing to take.
“[Translation: I am taking a risk by ordering their rearrest. But it’s because the rules aren’t there, there is no mention of ‘heinous crime’ there.]” he said on September 11.
The President even previously offered a bounty of P1 million for each heinous crime convict who would be captured after the deadline.
The arrest will resume after all the names on the list are verified. There will be tracker teams from the Metro Manila that will pursue those 176 convicts who were prematurely released under the GCTA law.