Justice Secretary Approves Release of 97 Inmates to Decongest Prisons

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla
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Justice Secretary Approves Release of 97 Inmates

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla has given his approval for the release of 97 persons deprived of liberty (PDLS). This decision was made upon the recommendation of Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director General Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr.

The inmates who are set to be granted freedom have served at least 40 years, including time allowances. Among those to be released, 47 were from the New Bilibid Prison, 23 from Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm, 12 from Sablayan Prison and Penal Farm, 6 from Davao Prison and Penal Farm, 5 from San Ramon Prison and Penal Farm, and 4 from the Correctional Institution for Women.

Although all of these individuals were sentenced to at least one count of reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, their time served with time allowances has already exceeded their maximum sentence. This calculation is based on the old provisions of the Revised Penal Code.

Decongesting Prison Facilities

This initiative is in line with the Department of Justice (DOJ) Order 652, which aims to decongest prison facilities. Under this directive, the release of all PDLS incarcerated in national penitentiaries with expired sentences must be approved by the BuCor Director General or his authorized representative. This is in accordance with the mandate of the Bureau to exercise authority and jurisdiction over matters pertaining to the operations of the prisons.

However, it is important to note that the release of PDLS sentenced to life imprisonment or those classified as high-risk/high-profile requires prior approval from the Justice Secretary.

Contextualizing the Decision

Understanding the context of this decision is crucial, especially for an international audience. In many countries, laws exist to ensure that individuals who have served their sentences and demonstrated good behavior are given the opportunity to reintegrate into society.

In the Philippines, the Revised Penal Code provides for the possibility of time allowances, which can reduce an inmate’s sentence based on their behavior and participation in rehabilitation programs. This allows for the review and reassessment of an inmate’s eligibility for release, taking into account the time already served.

The decision to release these 97 inmates is a result of a careful evaluation of their cases and compliance with the established guidelines. It is a step towards addressing the issue of prison overcrowding and ensuring that those who have served their sentences can contribute positively to society.

It is worth noting that the release of PDLS sentenced to life imprisonment or those classified as high-risk/high-profile requires additional scrutiny. This is to ensure that public safety is not compromised and that appropriate measures are taken to mitigate any potential risks associated with their release.

By approving the release of these individuals, the Justice Secretary and the Bureau of Corrections are demonstrating their commitment to upholding the principles of justice, fairness, and rehabilitation. This decision reflects a balanced approach to addressing the challenges faced by the prison system while considering the rights and welfare of the inmates.

As the justice system evolves and adapts to changing societal needs, initiatives like the one mentioned here play a crucial role in ensuring that justice is served and that the prison system operates in a manner that is both effective and humane.

Source: The Manila Times

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