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Go on release of convicts: 'Definitely, heads will roll'.

President Rodrigo Duterte would not hesitate to fire Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Nicanor Faeldon if allegations that money changed hands in the release of almost 2,000 heinous crime convicts proved true, Sen. Christopher Lawrence 'Bong' Go said on Monday.

'Definitely, heads will roll [in the BuCor],' Go told reporters after the Senate inquiry into the botched early release from prison of former Mayor Antonio Sanchez of Calauan, Laguna province, who is serving seven 40-year terms for rape and murder.

'Faeldon is under the executive (department). What the President wants is to hold responsible, including (officials from) top to bottom, those who allowed this,' said Go, who had served as special assistant to Mr. Duterte.

Palace probe

'Besides the investigation we're doing in the Senate, the President himself has ordered an investigation. He wants to know if there's corruption involved here,' Go added.

Known for his populist policies, the President won widespread support for his campaign against graft and corruption.

In a meeting with Chinese business executives in Beijing last week, the President reiterated his firm stance against corrupt government officials.

Go, who continues to speak on behalf of the President after winning a seat in the Senate in May's midterm elections, said the Chief Executive had been 'very prudent' in reviewing applications for pardon and executive clemency, particularly of those convicted of drug trafficking and other serious offenses.

He said the President immediately directed Faeldon and Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra not to release Sanchez after learning that the former mayor was set to walk out of New Bilibid Prison for good behavior.

After hearing the testimonies of Faeldon, Guevarra and other jail officials, Go said it was clear that Republic Act No. 10592, the good conduct time allowance law, had 'dubious' provisions that should be amended.

Asked if he believed that the grant of good conduct credit was being sold to rich convicts in Bilibid, as raised by Sen. Risa Hontiveros, Go said: 'That's what we want to know.'

Fugitives

'For me, those who were released even if they are not qualified should be sent back [to prison]. They should be located and imprisoned again,' he said.

'If they don't want to surrender, then [there should be] shoot-to-kill [orders for them],' Go said.

The Philippine National Police chief, Gen. Oscar Albayalde, on Monday said the heinous crime convicts who had been freed would be treated as fugitives should the Department of Justice nullify the order to release them.

'They will become ordinary fugitives. It would be like they escaped from jail. If the release order is recalled, they would be sent back to prison and if they do not, they would become fugitives,' Albayalde said.

'They will be given due notice [to return to jail] but I am sure many of them would not,' he said. -With a report from Jeannette I. Andrade

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Sep 3, 2019
Words:565
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