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Saturday, May 25, 2024

SC to fast-track guidelines in handling cases involving women in conflict with law

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The Supreme Court (SC) has vowed to hasten up the crafting of protocol or the procedures in handling cases of women in conflict with the law (WICL).

This came after the SC through Associate Justice Maria Filomena Singh visited the Correctional Institution for Women (CIW) in Mandaluyong City to gather information from the persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) on their conditions and experiences that deal with the treatment of their cases.

The SC said the information gathered by the technical working group (TWG) of the Committee on Gender Responsiveness in the Judiciary (CGRJ) would help in drafting the improved guidelines. Justice Singh co-chairs the CGRJ together with Associate Justices Henri Jean Paul Inting and Jhosep Lopez.

On the SC’s visit to CIW, Justice Singh told the PDLs not to lose hope. “As long as we live, let us believe that there is hope…. I want you to look at yourself and believe that there is still good within you. Always remember that. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise,” she said in Filipino.

“Do not allow the decision in your case to make you believe that you are bad and worthless. Your life still has meaning. Remember the people waiting for you outside—your children, siblings, parents, spouses, and loved ones,” Justice Singh also told the PDLs.

The panel interview of CIW’s PDLs was conducted by CGRJ Vice Chairperson Associate Justice Maria Theresa Mendoza-Arcega of the Sandiganbayan, with Associate Justice Jaime Fortunato Caringal of the Court of Appeals, Assistant Secretary Randolph Pascasio of the Department of Justice, and Judge Bernard Bernal of the Taguig City Regional Trial Court, Branch 70.

During the visit the SC held an outreach program at CIW as the culminating activity of its 2024 Women’s Month Celebration. Organized by the Employee Training and Development Division of the Office of Administrative Services in coordination with the CGRJ.

The SC brought donations in kind, like sacks of rice and toiletries, received by CIW Senior Superintendent Daisy Castillote and Senior Superintendent Cynthia Andrada.

The high court also said its visit to CIW was done after it came out with a decision that allowed even PDLs convicted of heinous crimes to avail themselves of the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA).

Under the law, credits for good behavior under GCTA shorten the jail term of a PDL.

Justice Singh urged the PDLs to earn GCTA credits so they can be reunited with their families soon.

Earlier, the SC likewise released its revised guidelines for handling cases involving children in conflict with the law (CICL).

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