DOJ orders immigration lookout for heinous-crime convicts

Vivienne Gulla, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 05 2019 08:57 PM | Updated as of Sep 05 2019 09:30 PM

MANILA—The Department of Justice will put on immigration lookout heinous-crime convicts freed under the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law. 

Lookout bulletins won’t stop the convicts from leaving the country, but only courts can issue hold departure orders.

“The DOJ will issue ILBOs that means Immigration Lookout Bulletin Orders, para namo-monitor ’yung movements ng subject, whether here or abroad,” Sec. Menardo Guevarra told reporters after the Justice Department’s budget briefing before the House Committee on Appropriations.

For now, the DOJ has yet to consider tapping Interpol to aid in the re-arrest of freed heinous-crime convicts abroad after President Duterte on Wednesday gave them 15 days to surrender.

“Paano kung outside the country? S’yempre wala tayong jurisdiction du’n. Hihintayin na lang natin ulit na sila ay makabalik. ’Pag andito na, may jurisdiction na ulit tayo,” Guevarra said.

“Wala tayong magagawa du’n,” he added.

“Winarningan ka na namin, binigyan ka na namin ng grace period na 15 days. Sumuko ka na ng kusang loob, pero ayaw pa rin, evasion of sentence na ’yun. Kasi hindi pa siya tapos ng sentensya niya, pinagtataguan na niya, umiiwas na siya. That’s another crime, evasion of sentence. Kaya pwede siyang hulihin kung saan siya makikita,” Guevarra warned.

Freed heinous-crime convicts can surrender to the nearest police station, according to the DOJ.

“I-report niya na isa siya doon sa mga convicted ng heinous crime na pinalaya because of good conduct, so ibibigay niya ’yung mga detalye sa police station, then ’yung police station na ang makikipag-communicate sa Bureau of Corrections,” Guevarra said.

“ ’Yung mechanics kung paano siya dadalhin, sino ang susundo sa kanya pabalik sa prison, pag-uusapan na ’yun. Ang mahalaga nasa custody na siya ng government. Kahit hindi siya deretso agad sa penitentiary, at least nasa custodian na siya ng police at military, OK na ’yun. It’s just a matter of bringing him later on to the penitentiary, wala namang problema kung gusto nilang bumalik sa penitentiary, so much the better.”

After Duterte fired Bureau of Corrections chief Nicanor Faeldon, who approved the release of several heinous-crime convicts, the Justice secretary said he could designate an officer-in-charge to take over the BuCor, until Duterte appoints a replacement. Among those being considered for the temporary position is recently appointed BuCor deputy director Milfredo Melegrito.

“Bago lang si Gen. Melegrito. Kaka-appoint lang sa kanya. Maaaring siya ’yung highest, pero baka dahil baguhan siya, baka hindi pa niya alam ’yung pasikot-sikot, but we will consider him,” Guevarra said.

Guevarra, meanwhile, admitted having knowledge of plans to move jailed witnesses against former Justice Sec. Leila de Lima to another facility, during Faeldon’s stint at the Bucor. He, however, is unsure if the plan pushed through.

“Na-inform ako na may ganu’ng arrangement, kasi pino-prosecute na nga ’yung kaso ni Sen. De Lima, kaya na-update ako ng prosecution panel,” Guevarra said.

“May balita noon na for security considerations, baka mapatay sila sa loob, kaya nagkaroon ng sort of usapan na ilagay natin ’yan sa mas safe na lugar. Napag-usapan nga ’yung marines facility. Hindi ko alam kung implemented na ’yun, kung meron nang memorandum of agreement, pero may napag-usapan na ganun noon.”