The Supreme Court on Tuesday remanded to the trial courts a petition filed by 22 political prisoners, most of them sick and senior citizens, for immediate resolution of their appeal for release from detention.
During its regular en banc session on Tuesday, the SC resolved to remand the case of the 22 persons deprived of liberty to the trial courts where their cases are being heard due to the “issues involved (in the SC petition) are factual” or require determination of facts.
The SC ordered the lower court judges to resolve the PDLs’ petition “with dispatch,” an SC insider revealed.
The petition was filed by the PDLs last April who pleaded for their release, either through bail or other means, to decongest jails and prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 in their detention facilities.
In their petition, the PDLs also asked the SC to compel the government to create a Prisoner Release Committee, “similar to those set up in other countries, to urgently study and implement the release of all other prisoners in various congested prisons throughout the country.”
Among the petitioners include Reina Mae Nasino, 22 years old, who was five months pregnant at the time of the filing of the petition.
Published reports showed that Nasino has given birth in a hospital in Manila and was later returned to her detention cell with her baby.
The petitioners argued that while they have been charged with common crimes, the arrest, detention and charges against the petitioners are due to their political beliefs.
The petitioners assured the court that they are not hardened criminals and that “they will not evade trial nor flee from the charges.”
Among those named respondents in the petition were Local Governments Secretary Eduardo Ano, Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra, Director
Allan Sullano Iral of Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, and Director Gerald Q. Bantag of the Bureau of Corrections.