GMA EYES CLEMENCY FOR INMATES 70 AND OLDER
MANILA, December 15, 2004 (STAR) By Marichu Villanueva - There is life after 70 for inmates especially this holiday season when they are given back their liberty.
In the spirit of Christmas, President Arroyo has ordered the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor), Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) and the Board of Pardons and Parole (BPP) to submit the names of inmates, aged 70 and above, to whom she can grant executive clemency.
Her directive was contained in Memorandum Order 155 issued last Nov. 17, a copy of which was obtained by The STAR yesterday.
"The President holds the power to grant executive clemency to inmates who have been convicted and are serving their sentence by final judgment, and such powers may be bestowed from the private and gracious act of the President," Mrs. Arroyo said in the MO.
She noted there is a considerable number of inmates who are 70 and above and are serving sentences by final judgment at the New Bilibid Prisons in Muntinlupa City and other prisons all over the country.
"It is the policy of the Arroyo administration to extend executive clemency to deserving elderly inmates out of compassion and based on humanitarian grounds," she said.
Mrs. Arroyo instructed the three agencies to immediately forward to the Office of the President the records of eligible inmates, including those who are about to turn 70, for review.
The directive was specifically issued to BuCor chief retired police general Vicente Vinarao, who supervises the state penitentiary.
The BJMP, which is under the Department of the Interior and Local Government, supervises police jails all over the country while the BPP, an attached agency of the Department of Justice, reviews all appeals for pardon and parole.
Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi
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