MANILA - The public should not take literally President Rodrigo Duterte's remark that he would offer P1-million for the recapture "dead or alive" of each convict released based on good conduct credits facing legality questions, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Wednesday.
Duterte had ordered some 2,000 heinous crime convicts to surrender to authorities by Sept. 19, after which he said a "P1 million prize is available to those who can capture them dead or alive, but maybe dead would be a better option.”
"'Dead or alive' should not be taken literally," Guevarra said of Duterte's remark.
"Law enforcers are supposed to effect peaceful arrests, but they may use reasonable force if the subject of the arrest violently resists and endangers the security of the arresting officer," he added in a statement.
The good conduct time allowance (GCTA) that freed the convicts came under scrutiny following reports that it would benefit Antonio Sanchez, a former mayor convicted in a highly followed 1990s rape-murder case.
A total of 964 prisoners convicted of heinous crimes have surrendered, as of the eve of Duterte's deadline.
The justice and interior departments issued last Monday revised rules and regulations for the GCTA implementation, including a provision disqualifying some heinous crime convicts, recidivists, habitual delinquents and escapees from getting early release.
The Senate, meanwhile, will resume Thursday its inquiry into GCTA and the alleged corruption inside the Bureau of Corrections.