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PNP: Releasing thousands of Bilibid inmates not cause for concern

MANILA, Philippines – The mass release of thousands of convicts under a retroactive law on good conduct time allowance (GCTA) should not be a cause of concern for the public, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said on Thursday, August 22.

"Having served their time at [the Bureau of] Corrections (BuCor), we believe that they are not security threats to the community," PNP spokesman Brigadier General Bernard Banac told reporters in Camp Crame.

He added: "Naniniwala tayo na after serving their time, may pagbabago na naganap sa kanilang buhay (We believe that after serving their time, their lives have changed)."

What thousands of prisoners? A recent Supreme Court ruling made Republic Act No. 10592 or the GCTA law retroactive or applicable to convicts sentenced prior to its 2013 enactment. BuCor chief Nicanor earlier said this would lead to the mass release of around 11,000 National Bilibid Prison inmates, but on Thursday changed this number to around 1,000.

One of the convicts who may benefit from the decision is former mayor Antonio Sanchez of Calauan, Laguna, who was sentenced to 9 terms of life imprisonment. 

He was behind what the SC had described as a "plan hatched in hell," involving the rape and double murder of college students Eileen Sarmenta and Allan Gomez; as well as the double murder of father and son Nelson and Rickson Peñalosa. 

The PNP's warning: Banac said those who would be released would be monitored either by authorities or the community.

Asked if the PNP would monitor those to be released, Banac said: "The criminal justice system has a way to monitor. The PNP is included there, also the community."

He said just like any ordinary citizen, former convits would be brought back to jail if they commit crimes.  

"If they commit crimes again, and if they get involved again, we will enforce the law and make arrest, definitely," Banac said.  – Rappler.com

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers security, crime, and the city of Manila for Rappler. He was chosen as a Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.

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