MANILA—Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Saturday said that convicts surrendering under President Rodrigo Duterte's ultimatum will be given "fair treatment" upon their return to prison.
"They (convicts) can be rest assured that they will be treated with utmost respect and fairness upon their return," Guevarra said in a text message.
Duterte on Wednesday ordered some 2,000 heinous-crime convicts that were released under the controversial good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law to surrender within 15 days or be considered fugitives.
The GCTA, which the justice department and the national prisons bureau have temporarily stopped in the wake of public uproar, allows prisoners to be released early depending on their behavior in prison.
As of 1 p.m. Saturday, 74 convicts have surrendered, the acting head of the national penitentiary said. Of this figure, 38 went back to Bureau of Correction facilities, while 36 turned themselves over to police.
"I am happy that PDLs (persons deprived of liberty, or inmates) erroneously released are voluntarily returning to their places of confinement to serve their remaining sentence. This act speaks well of their character and willingness to obey the law," Guevarra said.
The Philippine National Police previously said convicts who will not surrender within the time Duterte assigned will be placed under "warrantless arrest."
— Report from Isay Reyes, ABS-CBN News