Marcos wants more qualified PDLs released to decongest jails

Marcos wants more qualified PDLs released to decongest jails

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Tuesday directed the Department of Justice (DOJ) to release more persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) who are qualified for parole to ease up congestion in the country’s correctional facilities.

In a press release, Malacañang said Marcos made this directive in his first Cabinet meeting of the year.

Citing his experience as governor of Ilocos Norte, Marcos said most of the PDLs are languishing in jail because they could not afford the services of good lawyers.

“Wala naman silang magaling na abugado (They don’t have good lawyers). So that’s why we are in favor now to release many of them. They just needed representation to set them free. So let’s continue with that,” Marcos was quoted as saying during the Cabinet meeting.

He expressed support for the DOJ’s plan to transfer hardened criminals to an Alcatraz-type prison that would isolate them from the general inmate population.

The President also cited the need to transfer inmates to special facilities to “isolate them properly” and avoid corruption within the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).

Based on its 2022 accomplishment report, the DOJ said it released almost 3,000 PDLs from July to December last year as an immediate step to decongest correctional facilities.

The DOJ, likewise, fast tracked the processing of the release of qualified prisoners by digitalizing the systems of the Probation and Parole Administration.

This year, the DOJ is eyeing to decongest prison facilities by transferring the maximum security compound in Muntinlupa City to a dedicated correctional facility in Sablayan town, Occidental Mindoro.

It is also planning to establish separate heinous crime facilities in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

In December last year, the BuCor allowed for the first time “inmate to inmate” visits, where inmates were allowed to visit loved ones held in another prison.

BuCor allowed 300 inmates from the Correctional Institution for Women (CIW) in Mandaluyong City to visit their husbands at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City on Christmas and New Year’s Day.

“The physical presence of their family will give PDLs the courage to fully serve their sentences and maintain good behavior so that their release may be expedited,” said BuCor Officer in Charge Gregorio Catapang.

Under the Mandela rule, convicts are categorized as PDL as they are entitled to minimum humanitarian treatment under the United Nations protocol. (PNA)

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