AUTHORITIES signed revised rules on the release of convicts for good conduct after illegally freeing about 2,000 felons convicted of heinous crimes.

Under the new rules, all recidivists, escapees, habitual delinquents and convicts of heinous crimes are excluded from parole, Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra said at a briefing yesterday.

Heinous crimes include murder, rape, destructive arson, parricide, kidnapping and serious illegal detention, and violations of certain provisions of the Dangerous Drugs Act.

Mr. Guevarra said while those convicted of heinous crimes are disqualified, they may still avail themselves of parole but with lower time credits.

While time allowances are credited monthly, its grant will take effect on the second, fifth, tenth, and eleventh year of imprisonment, according to the implementing rules drafted by the Department of Justice and Department of Interior and Local Government.

Meanwhile, more than 600 of about 2,000 convicts who got illegally released for good conduct have surrendered after President Rodrigo R. Duterte threatened to hunt them down “dead or alive,” the Justice department said.

Justice Undersecretary Markk L. Perete said the 612 heinous crime convicts were now in the custody of jail officials. The rest of the convicts have until Sept. 19 to yield, he added.

President Duterte has fired Nicanor E. Faeldon, head of the Bureau of Corrections, after he allowed the illegal release of the felons convicted of heinous crimes for good conduct.

He also ordered his and other prison officials’ probe by the Ombudsman for corruption.

The Ombudsman has ordered the suspension of about 30 jail officials in connection with the botched release of ineligible prisoners.

Mr. Faeldon headed the Bureau of Customs but was forced to resign at the height of a controversy involving the shipment of billions of pesos worth of crystal meth from China. He was reappointed to the Office of Civil Defense before heading the BuCor in 2018.

Opposition Senator Franklin M. Drilon earlier said Mr. Faeldon was not only incompetent but also lied under oath to evade accountability for the planned early release of ex-Calauan Mayor Antonio L. Sanchez.

The release of the former politician, who was sentenced to seven life terms in 1995 for the rape and murder of two University of the Philippines students in 1993, was suspended after a public outcry and a Senate investigation of the plan.

Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra has ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to probe the reported sale of hospital passes to inmates at the Bureau of Corrections.

GMA News earlier reported that prisoners inside the maximum security compound of the national jail in Muntinlupa City had been allowed to transfer to less crowded jails after illegally paying for hospital passes.

Mr. Guevarra earlier ordered a review of the rules on early release as well as a separate probe of corruption at the bureau after reports that parole grants have become for sale.

During a Senate hearing early this month, a witness accused some prison officials of selling parole to families of convicts. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas