IN FOCUS: Rights of detainees and options for early release


Posted at Feb 21 2018 05:06 PM

Detainees stand up during a roll call at the Bacoor City Jail, May 8, 2017. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - In the country's overcrowded jails, detainees, including those wrongfully accused, could languish for years while going through snail-paced trial. 

Aiming to address this problem, the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have launched an awareness program aiming to inform detainees of their rights as an accused and ways to seek early release from detention. 

The BJMP and the ICRC worked together in producing easy-to-understand posters that enumerate a detainees' rights and options for release, and show contact information of agencies where they could seek help. 

The move, according to BJMP Chief Deogracias Tapayan, aims to "diversify paralegal works and innovate new means toward decongestion" in the country's crowded detention facilities. 

The awareness project also aims to provide detainees "actionable information leading to proactive availment of legal services including modes of early release," said ICRC protection coordinator Anna Camilla Matteucci. 

"Our visits over the years in your jails have provided us a unique opportunity to support your vision of an empowered Paralegal Force where jail paralegals have concretely contributed to decongesting jails through faster disposal of cases and actual releases," Matteucci said at the launch. 

The ICRC has also supported the BJMP in paralegal training and designing an electronic paralegal training module, among others. 

The BJMP said a total of 1,200 posters would be distributed in its facilities nationwide. 

Below are the rights of detainees:

Poster by the BJMP and the ICRC

Below are ways for detainees to avail themselves of early release from detention:

Poster by the BJMP and the ICRC