President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. instructed the Department of Justice (DOJ) Tuesday to continue releasing persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) who are qualified for parole to decongest the country’s correctional facilities.
During a Cabinet meeting in Malacañang, President Marcos said that based on his experience as governor of Ilocos Norte, most of the PDLs are languishing in jail because they can’t afford the services of good lawyers.
“Wala naman silang magaling na abugado. So that’s why we are in favor now to release many of them,” Mr. Marcos said. “They just needed representation to set them free. So let’s continue with that,” the chief executive added.
The President also backed the DOJ’s plan to transfer hardened criminals to an Alcatraz-type prison, isolating them from the general population and putting a stop to their criminal activities as they were still able to direct operations while behind bars.
President Marcos also pointed to the rampant corruption inside the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) as he underscored the need for inmates’ transfer to special facilities.
“Iyan ‘yung mga ganoon we have to do that para hindi na ka maka-contact. Alam mo, we have to isolate them properly,” Mr. Marcos said.
In its 2022 accomplishment report, the DOJ said it released almost 3,000 PDLs from July to December 2022 as an immediate step to decongest correctional facilities.
The DOJ also fast-tracked the processing of the release of qualified prisoners by digitalizing the systems of the Probation and Parole Administration.
This year, the justice department is eyeing to decongest prison facilities by transferring the maximum security compound in Muntinlupa City to a dedicated correctional facility in Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro.
The DOJ is also planning to establish separate heinous crime facilities in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
For the first time, the BuCor allowed last December “inmate to inmate” visits, where inmates were allowed to visit loved ones held in another prison.
On Christmas and New Year’s Day, the corrections bureau allowed 300 inmates from the Correctional Institution for Women (CIW) in Mandaluyong City to visit their husbands at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City.
“The physical presence of their family will give PDLs the courage to fully serve their sentences and maintain good behavior so that their release may be expedited,” BuCor Officer in Charge Gregorio Catapang said.