MANILA, Philippines – The list was submitted two weeks ago, but President Rodrigo Duterte has yet to act on the recommendation to grant executive clemency to 134 inmates, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said on Tuesday, January 3.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said they wanted to secure the release of the inmates before Christmas or New Year, remembering Duterte’s campaign promise to free inmates who are over 80 years old or who have spent 40 years behind bars.
The list, Aguirre said, consist mostly of elderly and sickly inmates from the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City, the Correctional Institution for Women in Mandaluyong City, and other penal colonies of the Bureau of Corrections.
“I already sent messages to Duterte and [Special Assistant to the President Christopher] Bong Go to expedite action on our recommendation,” Aguirre said.
The DOJ recommended absolute pardon, conditional pardon without parole conditions, conditional pardon without parole conditions, or conditional pardon with parole conditions for the 134 inmates.
Another 100 were recommended for commutation of service.
Asked if the list includes political prisoners who have been requested freed by the National Democratic Front by virtue of the ongoing peace talks, Aguirre said he could not recall.
Last November, Duterte granted executive clemency to actor and supporter Robin Padilla. Padilla was convicted in 1994 for illegal possession of firearms. He served for three years before being granted the conditional pardon by then President Fidel Ramos.
It was during this time that Duterte announced he was considering granting pardon to sick and elderly inmates in time for the Christmas season. – Lian Buan/Rappler.com