Gen Yutthasak yesterday quoted the governors of the southern border provinces as reporting that another group of suspected insurgents was preparing to turn themselves in to provincial authorities.
Only three of the 93 suspected southern insurgents who showed up last week have been charged under the Criminal Procedure Code and will be prosecuted.
The rest of the defectors were charged with violating the executive decree on public administration in emergency situations and many of them have already been punished, Gen Yutthasak said.
The defectors demanded protection from abuse by authorities and from attacks by other insurgents, he said.
Gen Yutthasak said most of the defectors will be acquitted by the court eventually due to a lack of evidence against them, but the process in getting to that point would be a lengthy one.
The government is considering a legal amendment to speed up the process.
"I think that it is good to welcome people who are repentant and look forward to peace.
"This will isolate the hardcore insurgents, who cannot exist much longer because the people reject them," the deputy prime minister said.
He emphasised that support from local people has played an important role in restoring peace in the far South.
Many people who disagree with the government actually want to fight for their goals through local politics, he said, and they should receive support.
Gen Yutthasak also expressed his satisfaction with the plan by the government and the opposition to discuss solutions to the southern violence at Government House today. Army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha will attend as well.
Gen Prayuth said the defection of insurgents in the far South was not a setup, and they had been convinced to leave the insurgency by relatives.
The army chief added that the Justice Ministry was looking into the possibility of reducing the punishments of those who have surrendered.
Opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said yesterday his side will raise topics concerning security officials and politicians in today's discussion on the southern violence.
In Raman district of Yala province, a couple was shot dead after leaving their rubber plantation yesterday morning.
They were identified as Sakariya Satu, 60, and his 51-year-old wife Simae.
They were shot dead with a shotgun while riding their motorcycle on their way home to Ban Pulasanor village on a road in Ban Meri village in tambon Jakua about 8.30am.