By Riyaz ul Khaliq
ANKARA (AA) - Hundreds of freed convicts in the Philippines are surrendering to authorities before a deadline set by the country’s president, local media reported.
The country’s Justice Undersecretary Mark Perete told reporters that a total of 1,025 convicts had surrendered by Wednesday, a day before the deadline ends, daily Philippines Star reported.
Official data from the Philippines Bureau of Corrections revealed that 1,914 convicts of "heinous crimes" were released since 2013 under the Good Conduct Time Allowance Law (GCTA).
"But the Department of Justice said that in its interpretation of the law, heinous crime convicts are ineligible to the benefits of the law that expanded time credits for prisoners' good conduct," the daily said.
President Rodrigo Duterte had said those freed convicts who do not surrender until Sept. 19 would be considered fugitives.
Announcing a one million Philippine Peso ($19,181) bounty for their capture, Duterte called for the arrest of those who did not turn themselves in on time, saying: "dead or alive but maybe dead would be a better option."