Not all of the 178 former prisoners of the Iwahig Corrections Facility (ICF) who have voluntarily surrendered to local jail authorities after they were released under the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) law were heinous crime offenders.

“ICF spokesperson Levi Evangelista said on Friday they will await instructions from the National Bilibid Prisons (NBP) on what to do with the cases of each of those detainees who voluntarily surrendered as the 15-day deadline imposed by President Rodrigo Duterte lapsed last Friday.

“Hindi lang GCTA yong nagpa-custody. Those who are were paroled, may nagpa-custody na rin. Hindi namin masagot kung ano ba talaga ang instruction ng Pangulo. Tinanggap namin sila as voluntary surrender whether their case is heinous crime or not. ” Evangelista said.

Evangelista told Palawan News they are not considering the returnees as regular inmates, even as their movements are restricted inside the facility.

“We are waiting for further instruction from NBP (National Bilibid Prison). Stand by lang kami waiting for further instruction. Intact lang ang mga tao dito. On our part, tinitignan kasi namin yong welfare nila na maging maayos para wala rin naman sila masabi,” he said.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) earlier ordered the suspension of the re-arrest of individuals freed through Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) who did not surrender within the 15-day deadline.

Evangelista said the returnees are allowed some privileges not available to regular detainees, including the use of phones and extended visiting hours until 3 pm. He added that food supply is provided to the returnees along with the medical support through health officials of the IPPF.

“Marami talagang surrenderee. Dito nga sa Iwahig, masyadong malaki ang figure pero still nandito sa amin yong record nila kaya confined namin sila kasi voluntary naman sila nag-surrender. We have no rights na sabihin na ‘hindi ka kasama’, walang instruction na ganoon,” he said.

He said that they do not have yet an idea when will the suspension last but they are expecting that the returnees will not stay longer inside their custody in consideration of the individuals who have already established themselves back in the society through their found jobs.

Evangelista said that the decision will come from the headquarters of Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) if they will hold or release the returnees. He expressed his hope that there will be an update regarding the suspension in the coming weeks.

“The mere fact na nagboluntaryo sila ng pag-surrender, tatanggapin siya of course. Hindi pa rin ilalagay sa maximum cell, still for verification pa rin, ihahalo pa rin natin sa surrenderees. Pero kapag nagkaroon na kami ng manhunt at na-confirm yong mga pangalan, iti-trace namin kung saan yong address then yong manhunt operation will happen,” he said.

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is one of the senior reporters of Palawan News. She covers agriculture, business, and different feature stories. Her interests are collecting empty bottles, aesthetic earrings, and anything that is color yellow.