DOJ: 117 inmates granted parole, to go home after mandatory quarantine
Executive Clemency: Elderly inmates are seen holding their certificates of commutation of sentence during a ceremonial turnover at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City in this photo taken on March 7, 2017. Edd Gumban
The STAR/Edd Gumban, file
DOJ: 117 inmates granted parole, to go home after mandatory quarantine
Kristine Joy Patag ( - May 21, 2020 - 4:48pm

MANILA, Philippines — More than a hundred convicts may soon walk free under simplified guidelines for parole — crafted in response to the COVID-19 crisis — the Department of Justice said.

Justice Undersecretary Markk Perete said the Board of Pardons and Parole (BPP) reported that 117 Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDLs) have been confirmed eligible for parole as of Wednesday, May 20.

They are set for release, “subject to completion of mandatory quarantine,” Perete, who is also DOJ’s spokesperson, explained.

There are 424 other PDLs “deemed possibly eligible for parole” but are awaiting clearance from the National Bureau of Investigation, he added.

These PDLs confirmed eligible for parole under the Interim Guidelines for Parole and Executive Clemency which took effect on May 15. These guidelines, effective while the state of national emergency is in place, were crafted as part of the department’s study “for release of prisoners on humanitarian considerations.”

Under the new guidelines, the minimum age of executive clemency application is reduced to 65 years old from 70, and documentary requirements for parole review have also been trimmed down.

Convicts of heinous crimes and illegal drugs-related crimes are excluded from the relaxed rules.

Perete said that the BPP is set to receive a new batch of applications for evaluation this week.

Penal and detention facilities across the country are known to be overcrowded, where social distancing and proper hygiene—practices meant to deter spread of the novel coronavirus—are practically impossible for inmates.

The Supreme Court has likewise issued guidelines that may help decongestion detention facilities in the country as the country implements measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The Philippines on Thursday recorded 213 new infections, bringing the national tally of COVID-19 cases to 13,434.

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