PNP halts manhunt vs. GCTA-freed convicts

MANILA The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Friday put on hold the manhunt against persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) who were released through the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) following an order from the Department of Justice (DOJ) pending the issuance of the revised list of prematurely released heinous crime convicts.

The arrest of GCTA-freed PDLs is suspended for now. We are waiting for the list from the DOJ and then, we will resume the manhunt. However, we advise the police officers on the ground to process those who will surrender and turn them over to the Bureau of Corrections, said PNP deputy spokesperson, Lt. Col. Kimberly Molitas, in a press briefing held in Camp Crame.

Molitas said the measure will ensure that they will only arrest those who were prematurely released through GCTA.

We need the list to make sure that our tracker teams will arrest the right persons. We also advised all regional directors to create also their own tracker teams to assist CIDG (Criminal Investigation and Detection Group), she added.

Meanwhile, Interior Secretary Eduardo AAo said that as directed by the President, the PNP tracking teams are ready to rearrest all heinous crime convicts who have not voluntarily surrendered to the PNP and the BuCor.

In light of the mass surrender of convicts at the BuCor last night, the DILG will await today the final list of those unaccounted individuals from the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the BuCor. As soon as we receive that list of unaccounted individuals today, we shall begin the manhunt to bring them to justice for evading the full service of their sentences, AAo said in a statement.

In Metro Manila, four PDLs were arrested by tracker teams from the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) shortly before the DOJ order came early Friday.

"Hawak natin sila ngayon (They are now under our custody) but we will just wait for further guidelines and probably turn over to Bureau of Corrections," NCRPO chief, Maj. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, told PNA.

Eleazar said tracker teams have been deployed starting 12 a.m. Friday to look for 176 PDLs in Metro Manila who were released through the GCTA following the lapse of the 15-day deadline given by President Rodrigo Duterte for the freed convicts to surrender.

Of the four convicts, two were from Manila, one was from Makati and one was from Muntinlupa, who were all convicted of rape.

A total of 1,914 convicts were released through the GCTA since 2014. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency