CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines — This city’s 2nd District Representative Rufus Rodriguez on Wednesday (Sept. 11) advised convicts who were freed on the basis of the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) law not to turn themselves in to authorities but instead wait for the issuance of the warrant of arrest for them so they could go back in to the correctional facility where they were detained while serving their conviction.
Rodriguez said only an arrest warrant issued by a judge of the court where a convicted person was handed the sentence could compel an inmate to return to jail.
The lawmaker is the co-author of GCTA or Republic Act 10592, the law that is embroiled in controversy following the recent release of more than a thousand convicts by the Bureau of Corrections.
In a phone interview, Rodriguez said persons deprived of liberty who were released on the basis of the GCTA must not surrender nor be arrested as only an arrest warrant could have the power to return them to the penitentiary.
On the case of those who surrendered to the police, he said “there is no legal basis for them to be brought back to jail. These convicts should be advised by jail officials to wait for their warrant of arrest.”
“They (freed convicts) are not escapees, they were released legally,” he said, adding, “the Department of Justice should already direct its prosecutors all over the country to go to the court of origin and file the motion for issuance of warrant of arrest.”
The court of origin is the court where the convict was handed his or her sentence, Rodriguez said.
As of Tuesday (Sept. 10), eight inmates from Northern Mindanao have already turned themselves in to the law enforcement authorities, particularly the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, according to the information provided by the Philippine National Police-10. (davaotoday.com)