MANILA — Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go has expressed support for President Rodrigo Duterte’s order for the immediate re-arrest of nearly 2,000 heinous crime convicts who were freed early due to the erroneous application of the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) law.
“I believe that their re-arrest is a crucial step to correct the error committed by prison authorities in releasing the convicts and will also protect our people from those who may still be considered potential threats to society,” Go said in a statement late Wednesday.
Duterte gave these former prisoners 15 days to surrender to the nearest police or military stations, shortly after firing Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director General Nicanor Faeldon for “disobeying” his order to prohibit their release.
Go warned that those who refuse to comply will be treated as fugitives and may be shot dead if they resist arrest.
“Monday pa ako nagsabi na heads will roll. Ngayon, nag-order na si Pangulong Duterte na ipahuli ulit ang mga prisoners na pinalaya na hindi naman dapat qualified for GCTA (I have already said on Monday that heads will roll. Now, President Duterte has ordered to re-arrest the freed prisoners who are not really qualified for GCTA),” Go said.
“Sa ngayon, binibigyan sila ng oportunidad na mag-surrender. If ayaw nila mag-surrender, considered fugitive na sila at danger to the public so shoot to kill if they resist arrest (For now, they were given an opportunity to surrender. If they won’t surrender, they will be considered as fugitives and danger to the public so [there will be a] shoot-to-kill [order] if they resist arrest,” he added.
He noted that he has already filed Senate Bill No. 1003 which seeks to amend the Revised Penal Code that had been previously modified by the GCTA Law, or Republic Act No. 10592.
“In order to resolve the concerns regarding the application of the GCTA benefits, I am pushing that Congress clearly state the intent and policy of the law by excluding recidivists, habitual delinquents, escapees, and prisoners who were convicted of heinous crimes from the application of GCTA benefits,” Go said.
He said the bill specifically enumerates the heinous crimes in order to remove any ambiguity.
The bill also provides that any release of prisoners on the basis of time allowances will be subject to the review of Department of Justice and that the BuCor will be required to submit to Congress its report twice a year.
The Bucor will also be required to publish the list of all prisoners who are released on the basis of the grant of time allowances.
“It is our duty to promote the general welfare of our people and protect them from any threat or harm to their person and liberty,” he said.
“Being a legislator and a Senator of the Republic, it is my mandate to craft laws that will secure justice for the victims of heinous crimes. I will continue to support the government in its continuing and relentless fight against illegal drugs, criminality, and corruption,” he added. Filane Mikee Cervantes / PNA – northboundasia.com