More convicts released through the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) law have surrendered voluntarily to the Iwahig Corrections Facility (ICF) on the sixth day of the 15-day deadline issued by President Rodrigo Duterte for them to be accounted for.
From the first batch of GCTA-released persons deprived of liberty (PDL), the number has gone up to 27, including three who checked themselves in Tuesday to the ICF from Narra municipality.
Senior Superintendent Geraldo Aro, chief of the ICF, said aside from those who voluntarily surrendered with the help of city officials and other personalities, they also have “walk-ins” or those who went on their own to give in to President Duterte’s call.
“Mayroong nag-walk in, mayroong kasamang konsehal — ‘yong sa first batch, media at Philippine National Police (PNP). Lahat ‘yon ay welcome sa amin. Nasa kanila ‘yon kung saan nila gustong [sumurender] pero sa amin walang problema kung dito sila didiretso. Ang problema d’yan ay ang lumaya dito sa amin na malayo rito — kung baga outside of the province kaya doon sila sana makipag-coordinate sa nearest BuCor, police station, at Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) detachment,” he said.
Aro said they have the addresses and contacts of all convicts previously released because of the GCTA. Those who went out of Palawan to return to their province will receive letters from them with instructions to return.
On Tuesday, Narra police chief P/Maj. Carlito Valdez appeared at the ICF to accompany three returnees who were included in the list granted freedom due to the GCTA.
“Tatlo lang sila sa Narra na galing sa region ‘yong list. Pinaikutan lang sa amin kasi may order si President Duterte. Ang sabi ay bisitahin at i-encourage sila to consider na sumuko,” Valdez said.
Valdez said they did not encounter any resistance from the three because they also voluntarily surrendered.
The former convicts were Jomar Deocades (murder) released in December 2018, Toribio Catamora (murder) released in March 2017, and Alberni Dupali (rape) released in February 2019.
“Sabi ko sa kanila na sila ay pinapa-account lang at kailangan nila ma-verify talaga kung sila ay kasama sa binibilang para sa GCTA. Mas maganda rin na ma-verify at malaman kung sila ay kasama,” Valdez said.
Families can visit voluntary surrenderers
Aro said the families of the ex-convicts can visit them in Building 4, their temporary holding area while their GCTAs are being recomputed.
Previously, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) suspended the GCTA for 10 days to give way to a thorough joint review of its implementing rules and regulations.
“Puwede silang bisitahin ng mga pamilya nila doon sa Building 4. Welcome sila ditong bumisita para bisitahin sila. Pati tuwalya binigyan sila,” Aro said.
Aro said even without families bringing food, they are fed in the corrections facility and are also given toiletries to use while in the holding area.
Procedures for returnees
Aro said the voluntary surrenderers have to be submitted to their assistance desk for validation if included in the GCTA list.
They are then submitted for medical check-ups to ensure their health status, then proceed to the Document’s Section to be issued temporary identification papers. They will undergo another validation process and recording before they are brought to Building 4.
“May kasamang check-up sa pagtanggap sa kanila para masiguro ang kalusugan nila. Meron ngang pumunta dito at sumurender na naka-catheter siya pina-eksamin para maasistehan habang nandito,” he said.
Aro said he cannot say until when the returnees will stay in the holding area. The decision will depend on the order of their central office, he said.
“Reading between the lines, mayroon lang 10 days na suspension ng GCTA. So probably, around that period, but I cannot tell exactly when,” Aro said.
Aro is calling on the relatives, friends, and families to help in the return of the GCTA-granted individuals and not wait for the 15-day order to expire.
“Kasi kapag nag-expire na ‘yon at sila ay na-consider na fugitive, mandate namin to hunt them down, hahanapin namin sila at ibabalik dito. ‘Yon ang gagawin namin, inherent mandate namin ‘yan — duties and functions namin. Ayaw naman namin na umabot sa ganyan,” he said.