President Rodrigo Duterte granted parole to at least 221 convicted prisoners as the country races to stop the spread of coronavirus disease in congested jail facilities in the country.
Duterte gave the update on the assistance given to PDLs in his latest weekly report to Congress Monday night, saying the parole for 221 persons deprived of liberty was approved by the Board of Pardons and Parole.
In May 2020, around 144 PDLs have been granted parole by the BPP and recommended the pardon of more than 1,000 PDLs.
Among those who were ordered released were prisoners sentenced to jail for six months or below, as well as qualified elderly and ailing prisoner.
The government earlier issued interim rules prioritizing PDLs who are old, sickly or suffering from terminal illness in the processing if parole or executive clemency.
The resolution also simplified the procedures by dispensing with some documentary requirements for application for parole and clemency.
Excluded from the interim rules are those convicted of heinous crimes or drug related offenses as well as those considered as high-risk prisoners.
A person granted parole must fulfill the conditions of the provisional liberty otherwise he will be brought back to prison to finish his sentence.
The government earlier said those who will be released on parole will have to undergo quarantine at a facility in their respective penal farm and colony before being freed.
Under the Constitution, the President has the power to grant reprieves, commutations, and pardons, and remit fines and forfeitures, to prisoners after conviction of final judgment.
Prison overcrowding has become an even greater problem since Duterte launched a drug crackdown in 2016 that has seen thousands sent to prison.
Meanwhile, The Office of the Solicitor General in Makati City has been placed on lockdown after an employee has tested positive for coronavirus during a rapid testing.
The OSG said one of its staff was tested positive through rapid testing, which is still subject to a confirmatory test.
The agency said while the office awaits the results of the confirmatory test, the premises will be on lockdown to all except certain personnel, including the sanitation and disinfection team.
“Likewise, no documents will be received or sent out until further notice,” the OSG said, in a statement.
During the enhanced community quarantine, the OSG was also closed, but its employees worked from home at the time.