MANILA - The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Saturday confirmed the release of 52 convicts who got out of prison early but surrendered after President Rodrigo Duterte issued an ultimatum on heinous crime prisoners granted early release on good conduct.
In a statement, DOJ spokesperson Undersecretary Markk Perete said the convicts, the first of two batches, were released Friday, citing confirmation from the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).
Those released included convicts who were not heinous crime offenders, those already acquitted of their offenses, and those rightfully pardoned and paroled.
They were given certificates as proof of release but these could not be made public, Perete said.
"Unfortunately, we cannot make those certificates publicly available. But they should at the very least contain the following info: date of and ground/basis for previous release; date of surrender; re-evaluation finding; and basis (acquittal, grant of parole, etc) for re-release."
Perete said the convicts residing in Metro Manila were immediately released while transportation was being arranged for those from the provinces.
The men were among more than 2,100 convicts who surrendered earlier this month after the President issued a 15-day ultimatum for heinous crime convicts released early on good conduct to turn themselves in.
Duterte gave the order amid the controversy over allegedly irregular grants of early release on heinous crime offenders who should not be covered by the controversial good conduct time allowance (GCTA) policy.
The President warned that those who miss the deadline would face warrantless arrests.
When the ultimatum had lapsed, authorities found that the number of those who surrendered exceeded its list, as parolees not covered by the order also turned themselves in.