MANILA (UPDATE) - The Philippine National Police said Monday it might seek the help of the International Criminal Police Organization in arresting heinous crime convicts freed on good conduct credits.
Some of the 1,914 heinous crime convicts freed due to good conduct time allowance (GCTA) since 2014 might have left the country after President Rodrigo Duterte last week gave them 15 days to surrender, said PNP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac.
"Talagang makikipag-ugnayan tayo sa Interpol upang matulungan tayo na ma-track down ang mga 'to, kung naroon man sa kani-kanilang bansa iyan," he told radio DZMM.
(We will coordinate with the Interpol to help us track down these inmates, if they are already in their respective countries.)
A total of 118 convicts have surrendered to authorities as of Sunday night and the PNP is arranging their return to jail, he said.
"Naghahanap ang PNP ng mga panggastos. Pinakamura rito ang by bus," he said.
(The PNP is looking for funds. The cheapest mode of transportation is by bus.)
The Bureau of Immigration said all convicts freed due to GCTA were still in the country, while a media report quoted Interior Secretary Eduardo Año as saying that some had left.
The justice department is verifying the basis of Año's reported statement, said its spokesperson, Undersecretary Markk Perete.
The GCTA spawned a Senate inquiry following reports that it could lead to the release of Antonio Sanchez, a former mayor of Calauan, Laguna convicted in 1995 of the rape-slay of college student Eileen Sarmenta and the killing of her companion, Allan Gomez, 2 years earlier.
Former BuCor Director General Nicanor Faeldon told lawmakers he recommended freedom for Sanchez but stopped the latter's release "because I believe he is not entitled" to GCTA benefits.
President Rodrigo Duterte fired Faeldon last week as lawmakers uncovered alleged corruption in the implementation of the GCTA.
Four Chinese drug lords and 3 suspects in the 1997 rape-slay of the Chiong sisters, however, were among those freed under Faeldon's term.
A Senate witness last week claimed prison officials sell GCTA credits for as much as P1.5 million, which Faeldon denied. Senators on Monday will resume their inquiry into the issue.