Two convicts in Chiong sisters' rape-slay surrender

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 7) — Two of three previously released convicts in the rape-slay of the Chiong sisters have surrendered to authorities following President Rodrigo Duterte's order for released heinous crime offenders to turn themselves in.

The Justice Department on Saturday confirmed the surrender of Ariel Balansag and Alberto Caño. Another released convict, Josman Aznar, is expected to surface next week, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said.

Release orders dated August 16 said the three have already served 40 years in prison upon the retroactive application of Republic Act No. 10592, an amendment to the Revised Penal Code. The law expanded the coverage of the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) which cuts inmates' jail time based on good behavior.

They were among 1,914 heinous crime convicts who were granted early release since the law was implemented in 2013. Duterte gave them two weeks to surrender. As of Saturday afternoon, at least 45 of them have surrendered to police nationwide. 

Aside from Aznar, Caño, and Balansag, also convicted in the 1997 rape-slay case were Francisco Juan Larrañaga, James Andrew Uy, James Anthony Uy, and Rowen Adlawan. Larrañaga, who holds dual Filipino-Spanish citizenship, was earlier extradited to Spain in an exchange of convicts arrangement. The two Uy brothers and Adlawan remain in prison.

They were sentenced to reclusion perpetua or up to 40 years imprisonment for the kidnap, rape, and murder of the Chiong sisters in Cebu. They were initially put on death row, but capital punishment has been abolished.