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Remulla asked: Approve clemency of 84-year-old PDL

Ian Laqui - Philstar.com
Remulla asked: Approve clemency of 84-year-old PDL
This file photo shows the New Bilibid Prison.
The STAR / Miguel de Guzman, File

MANILA, Philippines — A political prisoner support group called on Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla to approve the clemency of Gerardo Dela Peña, an 84-year-old person deprived of liberty (PDL). 

Group Kapatid said that Dela Peña is the oldest political prisoner in the Philippines. 

“We appeal for the urgent approval of executive clemency for 84-year old Gerardo Dela Peña so he will be included in the next round of clemency grants for elderly PDLs,” Fides Lim, Kapatid spokesperson, said in a statement.

“We further appeal to please quicken action on his case since he is already very frail...“I hope you can find a solution to bring him back home — hopefully before Christmas Day,” she added.

Justice Assistant Secretary and spokesperson Mico Clavano said that the Department of Justice will look into Dela Peña’s eligibility and his records. 

“We will have to look at the eligibilities. We’ll have to study the records and make sure that everything goes through the proper process. You know, of course, these calls will be heard, but at the end of the day we have our own mechanisms by which we have to process all the PDLs,” Clavano said in an ambush interview with the reporters during the National Jail Decongestion Summit.

Lim penned a letter to Remulla on November 29, after the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) notified her that Dela Peña's plea for clemency had been postponed by the Board of Pardons and Parole. 

The deferral mentioned by the BuCor specified a timeframe of 15 years or until approval is granted by the Secretary of Justice. With this regard, Lim said that Dela Peña's fate is in Remulla’s hands.

“He will be 88 by then; in 15 years, 99 years old. Given the congested, difficult prison conditions, could he live that long? Time is not on his side. But Secretary Remulla wields that power to give it to give it to him. Bring him back home to his elderly wife in Camarines Norte–alive,” Lim said in a letter to Remulla. 

“Is being a political prisoner an insurmountable barrier to his release?“ she added.

BPP Board Resolution No. OT-08-02-2023, also known as the Revision to the Regulations on Parole and Executive Clemency, decreases the mandatory minimum sentence service period from 15 years to 10 years for PDLs aged 70 years and above.

According to June 2023 data by human rights group Karapatan, there are currently 778 PDLs in the Philippines.

vuukle comment

BJMP

BUREAU OF JAIL MANAGEMENT AND PENOLOGY

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

DOJ

PDL

PERSONS DEPRIVED OF LIBERTY

REMULLA

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