Manhunt on as Duterte orders rearrest of 19 freed convicts

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 4)— President Rodrigo Duterte has directed the Philippine National Police (PNP) to resume its manhunt for 19 heinous crime convicts who failed to surrender within his 15-day deadline.

In a statement Friday, PNP spokesperson PBGEN Bernard Banac said police tracker teams have been mobilized to capture convicts released from jail early due to the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) policy, a provision in the Revised Penal Code which shortens prison time for good behavior.

The police said its operations will be limited to search and arrest in line with guidelines set by the Justice Department.

Duterte, in a speech in September, ordered the freed heinous crime convicts to surrender within 15 days or they will be considered “fugitives.”

A total of 1,914 heinous crime convicts have been freed since the implementation of the new GCTA policy in 2014. According to the Bureau of Corrections, majority of the inmates released were convicted of murder and rape. Other prisoners who availed of early release include those guilty of robbery, illegal drug law violations, parricide, kidnapping, and destructive arson.

The good conduct policy has been under scrutiny following the reported early release of former Laguna town mayor Antonio Sanchez, who was convicted for the 1993 rape-slay of University of the Philippines Los Baños students Eileen Sarmenta and Allan Gomez.

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