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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 (Philstar.com) - 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.

BUREAU OF CORRECTIONS DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE MENARDO GUEVARRA NEW BILIBID PRISON NOVEL CORONAVIRUS
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The numbers are still modest, with only Armani, Dolce & Gabbana and Etro inviting an audience to their men's Spring/Summer 2022 collections.

"This is the dress rehearsal of the return to normalcy," Federica Trotta Mureau, editor of the Italian fashion magazine Mia Le Journal, told AFP. 

The shows represent baby steps but the effect of the live events, instead of the video presentations or short films relied on since early last year when coronavirus cut short the twice-yearly shows in Italy's business capital, would still be appreciated, Mureau said. — AFP

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The novel coronavirus has killed at least 3,835,238 people since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP at 1000 GMT on Thursday. 

At least 176,966,040 cases of coronavirus have been registered.

The vast majority have recovered, though some have continued to experience symptoms weeks or even months later. —  AFP

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The US death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 600,000 on Tuesday, although officials hailed progress towards a return to normality as its world-leading vaccination program promised to turn the page on one of the worst health crises in American history.

The United States has racked up by far the largest national death toll  ahead of Brazil and India  after a heavily-criticized early response to the pandemic, but has since organized among the world's most effective immunization drives.

Progress against the coronavirus was underlined as New York announced more than 70 percent of adults had received at least one vaccine dose and the last of the state's restrictions could be lifted.

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