MANILA - Ten high-profile Filipino and Chinese convicts, including drug lord Peter Co, were transferred to the custody of the Philippine Marines last June, a military official confirmed Thursday.
Capt. Felix Serapio Jr., director of the Marine Corps Public Affairs Office, told ABS-CBN News that Co and the other convicts were transferred on June 12 from the custody of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) to a detention facility at Marines Barracks Rudiardo Brown in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.
Serapio said the BuCor inked a memorandum of agreement with the Marines for the transfer. He did not say why the transfer happened and how the convicts were chosen.
Just sacked BuCor chief Nicanor Faeldon, under whose watch the transfer happened, was formerly a Marine captain.
Serapio said the BuCor was still in charge of securing the convicts, with the Marines as support group.
Co was sentenced to life imprisonment and sent to the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City in 2001. President Rodrigo Duterte earlier named him as one of the top suppliers of shabu in the country.
Other convicts transferred were:
- Vicente Sy
- Hanz Tan
- Jose Chua
- Froilan Trestiza
- Jojo Baligad
- Allan Sinugat
- Nonito Arile
- Joel Capones
- Rico Caja
The Marines confirmed the transfer amid controversy over the early release of heinous crime convicts, including rapists, murderers and drug offenders, under the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law.
BuCor data earlier showed some 2,000 heinous crime convicts have been released since 2013 through GCTA, which grants freedom prisoners based on good behavior.
This led to public outcry and official scrutiny of the GCTA law, especially after convicted rapist-killer Antonio Sanchez, former mayor of Calauan, Laguna, was nearly released under the law.
Duterte on Wednesday fired Faeldon for allowing the release of heinous crime convicts. He also ordered that those freed early be returned to prison.
- Reports from Zhander Cayabyab and Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News