Senior citizen persons who are deprived of liberty (PDLs) aged 70 and above may be granted executive clemency as part of decongesting jails under the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).
This possibility is being studied by the BuCor as the move was implemented during the presidency of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, according to its officer-in-charge, retired Gen. Gregorio Catapang Jr., in an interview on radio dzBB Sunday.
Speaking in Filipino, Catapang recalled there was a law or executive order in Macapagal-Arroyo’s incumbency which allowed those 70 and above “to be given parole or be released from prison because they said people that age could no longer think of committing crimes.”
Catapang told the radio station that possibility was being studied right now to decongest the Bucor, whose Bilibid population alone was around 30,000, some 17,000 of them considered maximum security inmates.
Department of Justice spokesperson Mico Clavano earlier said Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla would prioritize the decongestion of jails under the BuCor, as the New Bilibid Prison was found to have a congestion rate of 300 percent.
He added Remulla was seeking to transfer the maximum-security prisoners of the NBP to the Sablayan Prison in Occidental Mindoro and the minimum-security inmates to Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija.
Catapang said more than 1,500 elderly PDLs could be transferred to the facility in Fort Magsaysay, which is a drug rehabilitation facility “that was not used much.”
“There are two bays (at the fort) there that could probably fit about 1,000 to 1,500 PDLs per bay. Secretary Remulla’s order is to bring there the elderly or those who are just waiting to be released,” he added.
A television report in September showed that several elderly PDLs have been praying to be included in the list for executive clemency.