Tracker teams step up hunt for 19 GCTA-freed convicts in NCR

MANILA The National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) on Tuesday said it is currently hunting down 19 heinous crime convicts in the partial list of erroneously released convicts under the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) law.

"Tracker teams from the NCRPO are now in possession of this information and are now conducting operations to see to it that these convicts are placed behind bars at the New Bilibid Prison at the soonest possible time. We would like to assure the public that we are doing everything we can to expedite their apprehension," NCRPO chief, Maj. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said in a message to the Philippine News Agency.

The youngest of the 19 convicts is 46 years old and has four months and 15 days remaining in his sentence.

Meanwhile, five convicts are in their 70s. The oldest convict, aged 73, still have four months and 26 days remaining in his sentence. His original sentence was commuted to 39 years in 1999.

A 67-year-old man has the shortest remaining sentence of one month and 16 days.

All 19 have less than a year left unserved except for three convicts.

One of the five septuagenarians has the longest remaining unserved portion of his original 40-year sentence with three years, one month and 29 days left to be served.

Under the GCTA law, among those not entitled to its benefits are those convicted of heinous crimes among others.

NCRPO chief Guillermo Eleazar earlier announced the creation of tracker teams to go after the men.

The identities and last known area of residence of the men have not been disclosed here to prevent interfering with law enforcement operations.

The convicts failed to surrender as of Monday noon, more than a week after the 15-day deadline given to them by President Rodrigo Duterte to surrender had lapsed.

Eleazar also called on convicts to surrender peacefully.

"The best option is for them to surrender. We want to get them alive but if there is aggressive behavior on their part and they resist, we are obligated to defend ourselves, he added.

Eleazar earlier said each of the 26 police stations would form a team consisting of four personnel to track down the PDLs released under the GCTA.

"The police precincts, police stations and our offices here at NCRPO are open 24 hours, and we shall be ready to arrange for (the PDLs') turnover to the proper authorities," he said.

"To those protecting them, they will be charged by a case of harboring criminals. If the convicts were arrested in their premises, they would be held liable," Eleazar warned.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the partial list was transmitted to the Department of the Interior and Local Government on Monday.

The PNP may now resume the search for these heinous crime convicts prematurely released. The Bureau of Corrections, assisted by the DOJ, will release more names in batches every week or as soon as reviews of individual carpetas/case records are completed." Guevarra told reporters. (with reports from Benjamin Pulta/PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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