Cagayan de Oro 2nd District Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, who is the co-author of the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) law or Republic Act 10592, insists that only an arrest warrant issued by a judge of the court where the convicted person was sentenced and is now free due to the GCTA could force the convict to return to jail. (PIA photo)

The co-author of the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) law or Republic Act 10592 insist that only an arrest warrant issued by a judge of the court where the convicted person was sentenced and is now free due to the GCTA could force the convict to return to jail.

Cagayan de Oro 2nd District Rep. Rufus Rodriguez on Wednesday said in an interview with the Philippine News Agency said persons deprived of liberty (PDL), who were released on the basis of the GCTA, “must not surrender nor be arrested as only an arrest warrant could have the power to return them to the penitentiary”.

He also advised PDLs freed due to GCTA not to turn themselves in to the police without an arrest warrant.

 “They (freed convicts) are not escapees, they were released legally,” he said.  He advised the the Department of Justice to direct all prosecutors to go to the court of origin of each freed PDL to file a motion for issuance of a warrant of arrest.

Asked about the case of PDLs who already surrendered, Rodriguez stressed that there is no legal basis for the PDLs to be brought back to jail.  “These convicts should be advised by jail officials to wait for their warrant of arrest”.

Former Supreme Court spokesperson Atty. Theodore Te said bringing back to jail the PDLs freed on account of the GCTA would violate the Constitution and provisions of the Revised Penal Code

“Sending back those who were set free on GCTA, even if they were serving sentences for heinous crimes, would be a retroactive application of the law in a prejudicial manner which is prohibited by the Constitution as an ex post facto application of law, Te, who is also a criminal law professor said. (Rommel F. Lopez)