By NITZ ARANCON, Correspondent
with FROILAN GALLARDO, Special Correspondent .
OVER two dozen convicted criminals were released from the capitol-run prison facility in the last five years based on the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) law, and it would likely free more on court orders, a prison official revealed yesterday.
Since the implementation of the law in 2014, 32 convicts were released, said assistant provincial jail warden Maricris Mulat.
Mulat however pointed out that the released convicts had minor criminal offenses with imprisonment sentences not exceeding three years.
“Ang naka-avail sa GCTA law, kadto rang among mga inmate nga dunay sentinsya nga pagka-priso sa three years pa-ubos,” Mulat said.
Provincial jail warden Dominador Tagarda said more prisoners would likely be released from the provincial jail because a regional court ordered officials to continue computing the good conduct time allowance of convicts based on RA 10592, otherwose known as the GCTA law.
Tagarda cited a Sept. 5, 2019 memorandum from Regional Trial Court clerk of court Kristine Mendoza that was approved by Judge Gil Bollozos. He said the memo directed provincial jail officials to submit a report to the regional court about the convicts who are entitled to benefit from the GCTA law.
Mulat said unless Congress amends RA 10592, the controversial law would continue to be implemented despite the controversy surrounding the questionable release of convicted criminals hounding the Bureau of Corrections (Bucor).
Mulat however stressed that provincial prison officials leave the good conduct time allowance computations involving convicts with imprisonment sentences exceeding three years to officials of the Davao Prison and Penal Farm in Panabo, Davao del Norte.
“Sila na sa Bureau of Corrections ang mag-compute kon maka-avail ba sila o dili sa GCTA law,” she said.
Meanwwhile, two convicts freed due to the GCTA law, surrendered to authorities in Valencia City, Bukidnon Monday.
Supt. Surki Serenas, chief of the Valencia police, said convicts Larry Canunay, 48, and Elias Berdin, 61, went calmly when police fetched them in their respect villages.
Canunay was convicted for rape and arson in March 22, 1991 and has served his sentence for 28 years at the Davao Prison and Penal Farm until he was released on March 22, 2019.
Berdin, on the other hand, was convicted for murder and frustrated murder on Aug. 5, 1993 and has served 26 years in Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm in Palawan until he was released on July 16, 2019.
Sereñas said Canunay and Berdin immediately contacted their barangay officials after news that President Duterte ordered the re-arrest of all heinous crime convicts freed based on the controversial law.
“They seemed to be resigned that they are going back to prison life which they have served for half of their lives,” Serenas said.
Serenas said both of the convicts complained that their friends no longer stay in their villages or have died while they were in prison.
“They stayed mostly in their houses during the entire time of their release and rarely go out,” he said.
Serenas said Canunay and Berdin would be returned immediately to prison once they received the instructions from higher headquarters.