DOJ eases rules for pardon, executive clemency in time of COVID-19 pandemic
Calls for the release of vulnerable PDLs in our overcrowded jails and penal facilities in the time of COVID-19 pandemic continue to mount.
The STAR/Krizjohn Rosales, file
DOJ eases rules for pardon, executive clemency in time of COVID-19 pandemic
Kristine Joy Patag ( - April 22, 2020 - 5:10pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Justice is easing application for parole and executive clemency to hasten decongestion of penal facilities in this time of COVID-19 pandemic.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra approved a board resolution on the Interim Rules on Parole and Executive Clemency which is part of DOJ’s “study for the release of prisoners on humanitarian considerations,” said Justice Undersecretary Markk Perete.

The Parole and Probation Administration defined parole as conditional release of a prisoner in correctional institution after serving the minimum period of prison sentence, while an executive clemency is the commutation of sentence, conditional pardon and absolute pardon that may be granted by the president.

Under the interim rules, parole or executive clemency review of inmates who are elderly, sickly or suffering with terminal, life-threatening illnesses or with serious disability will be prioritized.

Documentary requirements for parole review and executive clemency cases are trimmed down to only include court certification of no pending case, court certification of no appeal and records check with the National Bureau of Investigation.

Board members are also directed to “take up twice the amount of their regular load in order to expedite the grant of parole and recommendation for executive clemency.”

Requirements for parole eligibility remain

Perete explained that “general requirements for eligibility of parole remain.”

Under DOJ rules, the following are eligible for parole:

  • Inmate serving an indeterminate sentence the maximum period of which exceeds one year
  • Inmate has served the minimum period of the indeterminate sentence
  • Inmate’s conviction is final and executory
  • Inmate has no pending case
  • Inmate is serving sentence in the national penitentiary, unless confinement in municipal, city, district or provincial jail is justified

Other proposals to decongest penal facilities are still being vetted, Perete said.      

More PDLs made eligible for executive clemency

Perete said those who are not eligible for parole “may apply for clemency if they meet the criteria set under the resolution.”

Persons Deprived of Liberty who are 65 years old and above who have served at least five years of their sentence or whose “continued imprisonment is inimical to their health” are eligible for executive clemency.

Heinous crimes, drug convicts excluded

These new guidelines, however, do not cover convicts of heinous crimes or illegal drugs-related crimes, or those classified by the Bureau of Corrections as high-risk.

The resolution however did not define who are considered “high-risk” inmates.

The resolution will be effective while the state of national emergency is in place.

The number of COVID-19 cases in the Correctional Institution for Women (CIW), under BuCor, has risen to 20.

National tally of COVID-19 meanwhile is at 6,710 infections.

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: November 28, 2020 - 5:18pm

Follow this page for updates on a mysterious pneumonia outbreak that has struck dozens of people in China.

November 28, 2020 - 5:18pm

More than 400,000 deaths from the novel coronavirus have been registered in Europe, according to an AFP tally compiled from official sources around 0800 GMT Saturday.

The second-worst hit global region after Latin America and the Caribbean, 400,649 people have died of Covid-19 in Europe among 17,606,370 confirmed cases. Of these, 36,147 occurred in the past week alone -- the continent's worst seven-day total since the pandemic began.

Britain accounted for almost two-thirds of the European deaths at 57,551 from almost 1.6 million infections, followed by Italy with 53,677 deaths and 1.5 million infections, France (51,914 deaths, 2.2 million cases), Spain (44,668 deaths, 1.6 million cases) and Russia (39,068 deaths, 2.2 million cases). — AFP

November 28, 2020 - 4:04pm

The Department of Health confirms 1,893 new cases of the coronavirus disease. Total cases now at 427,797.

Out of the confirmed cases, 31,402 are registered active. There are 79 additional fatalities and 474 new recoveries.

November 28, 2020 - 3:31pm

Parts of Europe will reopen stores on Saturday in time for the holiday season after progress in containing the coronavirus, but Los Angeles will halt nearly all gatherings with the pandemic surging across the United States.

Most countries hope to ease their virus rules for Christmas and New Year, allowing families a respite before bracing for what the world hopes is one last wave of restrictions until a clutch of promising new vaccines kick in.

Stores will lift their shutters in France on Saturday, while Poland's shopping centres will also reopen. — AFP

November 27, 2020 - 4:12pm

The Department of Health reports 1,631 additional coronavirus cases. This brings the nationall tally to  425,918.

Of the confirmed cases, 30,047 are registered active. There are 370 more recoveries and 46 new fatalities.

November 27, 2020 - 12:14pm

An official says Germany's coronavirus infections pass one million.

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