More prisoners pardoned under Duterte's term: DOJ
MANILA - The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Friday defended President Rodrigo Duterte from criticisms after issuing an absolute pardon to a US serviceman convicted of killing transgender Filipina Jennifer Laude.
“Itong panahon na si Mr. Duterte ang ating presidente mula siya ay maupo kalagitnaan ng 2016 hanggang sa kasalukuyan ay 139 prisoners na ang binigyan n'ya ng pardon,” DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra said.
Of the total, 135 were Filipinos and only 4 were foreigners who were granted executive clemency by the President.
“Itong number na ito, 139 pardonees na binigyan ng kapatawaran o executive clemency ng Presidente, ay mas marami ‘di hamak doon sa buong termino ng previous administration. In other words, mas maluwag ang Presidente sa pagbibigay ng pardon,” he said.
Most of the Filipinos granted pardon were poor, elderly and those who had been languishing in prison.
Of the 4 foreigners pardoned, two were under prison swap agreement with the United Arab Emirates.
“Biro mo, dalawa lang ang pinawalan ng Pilipinas, mahigit 40 kung ‘di ako nagkakamali ang Pilipino na patatawarin naman ng UAE government,” he said.
The figures, he said, would only prove that Duterte is giving Filipino prisoners enough attention when it comes to granting of pardon.
“At meron pang 2 taon na naiiwan sa termino ng Presidente at nakikinita ko na sa dalawang taong natitira na ‘yan ay marami pang Pilipino na deserving lalo na 'yung matatanda at may sakit ang mabibigyan ng Presidential pardon,” he said.
Duterte has granted absolute pardon to Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton convicted of killing Laude on Oct. 11, 2014 at a motel in Olongapo City.
Many had questioned the granting of pardon to Pemberton.
-- ABS-CBN Teleradyo, 10 September 2020