CEBU CITY, Philippines (UPDATED) – A convict released on good conduct time allowance (GCTA) surrendered to police in Bogo City, Cebu, on Thursday, September 5.
Jesus Ranoco Negro Jr, 50, had served 30 years on 8 counts of murder. He had been in prison since 1988 prior to his release on good conduct time allowance credits in 2018.
His voluntary surrender came a day after President Rodrigo Duterte issued a 15-day deadline for inmates to return to prison if they were released due to the GCTA law. (READ: Duterte tells released heinous crime convicts to surrender)
Negro is the first convict to voluntarily surrender in Cebu since Duterte issued his deadline.
According to government data, 1,914 heinous crime convicts have been released since 2013 after the GCTA law was passed.
A probe of the release of convicts was called by the Senate after the possible release of convicted rapist and murderer Antonio Sanchez sparked public outrage.
Article 99 of the Revised Penal Code, however, states that once a release is granted based on GCTA, it cannot be revoked.
Duterte said previously that he would take responsibility for his order despite legal questions about it. He added later during a press conference that those released on wrong interpretation of the law may be rearrested.
"There is a law, as relayed to us in the Cabinet meeting by [Justice] Secretary [Menardo] Guevarra, that when you are released on wrongful interpretation or faulty construction of the law, you can be arrested any time, because you have to serve your sentence fully, as the [release] order is null and void," Duterte said during a press conference on Wednesday, September 4. (READ: Guevarra provides Duterte legal basis for rearrest of freed convicts)
Negro was redetained after being processed by local police and transferred to a jail in Cebu City. His case is now being reviewed.
More convicts surrender
Two more convicts surrendered to Cebu City police on Friday, September 6.
Conrado Naraga Cortes was serving a 28-year sentence on robbery and homicide charges before he was released last June 2019.
Danilo Toring, meanwhile, was released in December 2018 after serving 30 years at the San Ramon Penal Farm in Zamboanga City.
Both are currently being held at the headquarters of the Cebu City Police Office while authorities determine if they were improperly released under the GTCA law.
Convicts in Chiong murders being monitored
Other high-profile Cebuano convicts released on GCTA – particularly Josman Aznar, Ariel Balansag and Alberto Caño, who were serving life sentences in New Bilibid Prison for the 1997 murder of the Chiong sisters – are being monitored if they have returned to Cebu.
It was revealed during the September 2 Senate hearing on the release of heinous crime convicts that the order release of the 3 was signed on August 16. (READ: Lacson: Some convicts in Chiong sisters murder case now out of prison)
Cebu City Police Office Director Gemma Cruz Vinluan told reporters in a press conference earlier this week that her office would monitor the 3 convicts and would re-arrest them if there is a court order determining that they were improperly released. – Rappler.com