More than 350 convicts who walked free under the contentious Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) law have surrendered to the authorities, the Philippine National Police (PNP) announced today.
Based on the data released by the PNP, as of 6am today, 353 convicts have surrendered to various police precincts all over the country. While a complete breakdown of the crimes done by the convicts was not released, 115 of them committed murder and 108 were rapists.
Other convicts who remain at large have less than a week, until Sept. 19, to surrender. That’s marks the end of the 15-day grace period imposed by President Rodrigo Duterte. Last week, the president ordered those convicted of heinous crimes who were incorrectly freed under the GCTA to turn themselves in or else be considered fugitives.
Duterte has insisted that, based on Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra’s advice, a released convict can be re-arrested anytime there is a “wrong construction or a faulty interpretation” of the law.
The GCTA has been surrounded byu controversy since it surfaced that 2,160 prisoners convicted of heinous crimes have been released in the past six years. Those releases were in contravention of a provision that specifically excludes those who committed heinous crimes.
Convicted murderer-rapist Antonio Sanchez was almost freed because of the GCTA, but his release was shelved due to widespread public outrage. The former Calauan mayor was convicted in 1995 for the rape-murder of college students Eileen Sarmenta and Allan Gomez.