Travel records of GCTA-freed inmates under review: BI

MANILA The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Tuesday said it is currently checking the records of close to 2,000 prisoners who were released from the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) under the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law.

BI deputy spokesperson Melvin Mabulac added they are coordinating with the Port Operations Division (POD) regarding the matter.

We are verifying kasi kahapon, nag-start kami mag-check ng travel records ng mga tao (because yesterday, we started checking travel records of the persons). It is not easy to check travel records especially if they do not have information such as birthday. We are still in the process, he said in an interview.

We will going through them one by one. We will check the surname and the names and some are very generic. We have to check travel records of those who have availed of GCTA, the BI official added.

Upon receiving the names last week, Mabulac said they have encoded the names one by one.

We are working on 24/7. The encoding was done Sunday. We started checking travel records on Monday. You have to be sure, if generic name, you have to double check to avoid errors, he said.

The immigration official noted that they cannot confirm if there are people on the list that have already left the country.

We could not verify. We are going through the records. We may have seen namesakes but their details differ. It is difficult to give information if you are not yet sure. It's very complicated, The BI is now checking, verifying, he said.

The GCTA that has set free close to 2,000 heinous crime convicts since 2014.

The law, which was passed in 2013, however do not cover habitual delinquents, escapees and persons charged with heinous crimes.

Last week, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered heinous crime convicts freed by GCTA to surrender to authorities.

Among those who have been recently freed were four Chinese drug lords and three suspects in the Chiong sisters rape-slay case in 1997.

On Tuesday, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said it will tap the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) to place convicts who have left the country under a 'red notice'.

A red notice forces police worldwide to go after criminals hiding in their respective countries.

PNP chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde said that as of 10 a.m. Tuesday, 188 released convicts have surrendered to the PNP so far.

Of this figure, 27 have already been turned over to the Bureau of Corrections.

For the classification of crimes, 64 were cases of murder, 62 cases of rape, 21 cases of robbery with homicide, nine cases of homicide, seven cases of rape with homicide, five cases of robbery with rape, four cases of dangerous drugs and parricide, two cases of kidnapping with murder, frustrated homicide and murder and frustrated murder, and one for murder and robbery, attempted rape, carnapping, robbery, rape and arson and kidnapping, Albayalde said.

Albayalde said the PNP has obtained the official list of the 1,914 convicts released through GCTA but it does not provide the photo and the last known address of the prisoners.

He said such information is vital for easily tracking down the convicts, particularly if they refuse to show up within the 15-day ultimatum set by Duterte.

Albayalde also admitted that aside from the verbal order of the President, there is no written order from MalacaAang or the justice department that nullifies the release of the inmates.

He said after the 15-day ultimatum, the released convicts will be considered fugitives and will be subjected to pursuit operations by the tracker teams.

Well, we have yet to receive a formal letter from DOJ (Department of Justice). We will wait until the end of the 15 day grace period but of course the basis there is their sentence. Remember these people are already facing sentences. These were already convicted. There is seemingly an irregularity in granting them GCTA, he said.

It does not necessarily mean that if they go back to jail, they will continue serving their sentence because I am sure the President know that some of these people are really qualified for GCTA. Those who are really qualified for GCTA will be eventually released, he added. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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