65 heinous crime convicts heed Duterte’s surrender ultimatum

MANILA — Sixty-five heinous crime convicts, who were released on account of “good conduct”, have surrendered as of Sunday, five days after President Rodrigo R. Duterte gave them 15 days to voluntarily submit themselves to authorities.

According to the latest data released by the Philippine National Police, 24 of the freed “prisoners” surrendered to the Police Regional Office (PRO) in Region 2 while 11 have responded to Duterte’s call in PRO-Mimaropa (Region 4-B).

The record also showed that 24 of the convicts have been charged with rape and 19 with murder.

The Department of Justice earlier said two of the three convicts who were charged with raping and killing Chiong sisters — Jacquelyn and Marijoy on July 16, 1997 have voluntarily surrendered on Friday (Sept. 6).

DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra identified the two as Ariel Balansag and Alberto Caño while the third freed convict, Josmar Aznar, is expected to surrender next week.

The three were among the so-called Chiong Seven, who were found guilty by the Cebu City Regional Trial Court Branch 7 in 1999 for the abduction of sisters Jacquelyn and Marijoy Chiong on July 16, 1997.

Marijoy’s body was found thrown into a ravine while Jacquelyn’s cadaver was never recovered.

Aside from the three, Francisco Juan Larrañaga alias “Paco”; Rowen Adlawan alias “Wesley”; James Anthony Uy alias “Wangwang”; and, James Andrew Uy alias “MM” were also charged for the crime.

The government has stopped the release of prisoners under Republic Act 10592 or the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GTCA) law following reports that some ineligible prisoners had been granted relief under its provisions.

In a televised press conference on Sept. 4, Duterte fired Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Nicanor Faeldon and gave the nearly 1,900 heinous crime convicts who were erroneously released 15 days to voluntarily surrender to authorities or they will be considered “fugitives of justice.”

In response, PNP chief, Gen. Oscar Albayalde has formed ‘tracker teams’ to go after the freed heinous crime convicts.

Albayalde said the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) will lead the hunting down of the convicts.

He added the convicts, who already fled the country, will be tracked down through the help of the Interpol (International Criminal Police Organization).  Christopher Lloyd Caliwan / PNA – northboundasia.com