MANILA — The Department of Justice is looking at recommending around 300 inmates for executive clemency to coincide with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s 65th birthday on Sept. 13.
The plan was first bared by Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla on Monday, during the Justice department’s flag raising ceremony.
“In 8 days’ time, the President himself will be celebrating his 65th birthday. And I asked the PPA (Parole and Probation Administration) and the BPP (Board of Pardons and Parole) within our family to prepare the list of people who may be pardoned or released through executive clemency as part of the legal tradition,” Remulla said.
“The tradition of the Department of Justice throughout the world is that it is also called the Department of Grace and Justice. That's why people who are incarcerated are given a second chance in life through a process given to us by the law, and through the Parole and Probation Administration (PPA), and of course the Board of Pardons and Parole (BPP),” he added.
Justice spokesperson Mico Clavano confirmed the plan on Tuesday, saying they are targeting around 300 inmates to be recommended for executive clemency.
“We usually do this sa Christmas. So every Christmas, we have a list of PDLs (persons deprived of liberty) na sina-submit sa OES (Office of the Executive Secretary) para they can afford itong executive clemency. This year, at least in this administration, gagawin na namin, we will submit the list on his birthday which is September13, next week,” he said.
“So the list is being prepared by Undersecretary Deo Marco. There are about 300 of them that are going to be up for executive clemency and this will come from the BPP,” he added.
Executive clemency could range from absolute to conditional pardon with or without parole conditions. It could also cover reprieve or deferment of implementation of the sentence, and commutation or reduction of sentence.
Clavano said the nature of the executive clemency to be granted will all depend on the President and the Executive Secretary since the DOJ’s role is “purely recommendatory.”
“The 300 will still be up for consideration. The final say as to whether it will be conditional pardon, absolute pardon will ultimately rely on the decision and consideration of the Office of the President and the Office of the Executive Secretary,” he said.
Clavano said he has yet to see the list of the 300.
“The recommendatory list will probably be kept confidential because of course it will still depend on the higher level, but the list of those that will be given the pardon will be made public,” he said.
Clavano said the move could aid jail decongestion efforts of the DOJ.
“The 300 will help of course with the decongestion. We are again at 330 percent congestion rate sa NBP (New Bilibid Prison). And we are hoping that these 300 will at least contribute to the decongestion of the NBP,” he said.
Remulla had earlier said he intends to focus on decongesting jails in his first 100 days in office, saying the DOJ is asking for 300 to 500 carpetas a week from the Bureau of Corrections so they can process who among the inmates are already eligible for release.
He is also eyeing the construction of a maximum security prison facility in Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro to address high congestion rate at the NBP.