Quantcast
Latest Stories

Aquino pardons 8 inmates but not ‘Abadilla 5’

By

The hopes of the “Abadilla 5,” in prison since 1996, that they would be home for Christmas have been dashed.

President Benigno Aquino III did not act favorably on the recommendation of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to grant executive clemency to the five convicted killers of Lt. Col. Rolando Abadilla, an intelligence chief of the Philippine Constabulary who gained notoriety as an alleged torturer of political prisoners during martial law.

“I’m hoping that it would be acted upon in time for Christmas. I think there’s a chance. But of course that’s the prerogative of the President,” De Lima said in an interview at Ateneo de Manila University in Quezon City almost two weeks ago.

Those who got a Christmas gift from President Aquino in the form of executive clemency were eight elderly inmates—seven men and one woman.

Six of the inmates were granted conditional pardon: Agustin Caballero, 71; Nicanor Medel, 72; Clarita Miranda, 71; Pablito Estrada, 73; Felipe Gahit Sr., 72; and Venerando Generalao, 83.

The pardons were signed by Mr. Aquino on Dec. 21 and the convicts were immediately released the next day, De Lima said on Friday.

Two inmates had their original sentences commuted: Aurelio Amolong, 85, and Celerino Sanchez, 82. They were deemed to have served the minimum of their prison terms and may apply for parole.

Humanitarian act

“This humanitarian act on the part of the President is a signal that the recognition of the principle of restorative justice prevails in our justice system. We recognize that crimes must be punished.

“But, at the same time, we also acknowledge that true justice means that those who have recognized and suffered for their mistakes, and who have shown not just their remorse but also their sincerity in becoming better citizens and members of the communities, deserve to be given a second chance,” De Lima said.

 

Family, love, forgiveness

“These inmates, furthermore, are in the twilight years of their lives. We don’t only wish to give these inmates the gift of freedom, but also to give them and their loved ones the opportunity to spend this period of time together as a family. After all, that is what Christmas is about to us Filipinos: Family, love and forgiveness,” she added.

The Department of Justice’s Board of Pardons and Parole recommended the commutation of the sentences of the Abadilla 5—Lenido Lumanog, Cesar Fortuna, Joel de Jesus, Rameses de Jesus and Augusto Santos—in November 2011, but De Lima pushed for conditional pardon instead.

In a commutation of sentence, a convict has to acknowledge guilt. No such requirement is called for in a conditional pardon, but it could be revoked if the convict commits another crime.

Lack of reasonable doubt

In an earlier interview, she explained the main reason for her recommendation of executive clemency to the President. “To me there’s a moral certainty about the lack of reasonable doubt,” the justice secretary said.

De Lima noted that some justices dissented in the Supreme Court decision upholding the conviction of the Abadilla 5.

She also said that when she chaired the Commission on Human Rights, questions about the credibility of the witness nagged her.

The Supreme Court affirmed in February 2011 the Court of Appeals’ decision upholding the conviction of Lumanog, Fortuna, Santos and Joel de Jesus and Rameses de Jesus by the Quezon City Regional Trial Court.

The five insisted they were innocent and accused their police captors of torturing them into admitting the crime.

 

Hit squad

Abadilla was killed while his car was stopped in traffic on Katipunan Avenue in Quezon City on June 13, 1996.

The communist-led hit squad Alex Boncayao Brigade (ABB) claimed responsibility for the killing. As proof of the deed, they turned in Abadilla’s watch to “running priest” Robert Reyes.

Conditions

The pardoned convicts, meanwhile, were required to report to their parole and probation officers.

They are barred from changing their addresses without the consent of the Board of Pardons and Parole (BPP). They must also permit the local police and BPP officials to visit them and they must truthfully answer the authorities’ questions.

The terms of the pardon state that the convicts shall indulge in no injurious or vicious habits, shall avoid places or persons of disreputable or harmful character, and shall not commit any crime and conduct themselves in an orderly manner.

“The moment they violate these conditions, they will be sent back to prison,” De Lima said.

She said the Bureau of Corrections “temporarily deferred” the release of one of the inmates as the agency was awaiting the schedule of a ship that would bring him to his destination.

Philippine Presidents traditionally grant pardons and commutations during Christmas, Easter and other important occasions.


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Abadilla 5 , Aquino Administration , Executive Clemency , Leila de Lima , Lt. Col. Rolando Abadilla , Pardon , President Aquino , President Benigno Aquino III




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  2. Save the queen? Aide takes fall for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  3. Palace prepared to charge its allies
  4. Senator’s kickback from pork bigger than those of Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – Lacson
  5. Napoles turnaround alarms whistle-blowers
  6. What Went Before: Malacañang allies alleged involvement in pork scam
  7. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  8. Timeline: Napoles tell-all
  9. HK apology: Why Estrada and not Aquino?
  10. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  3. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  4. Bernice Lee arrested by NBI team
  5. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  6. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  7. Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  8. Reckless driver endangered lives of Aquino, entourage–report
  9. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  10. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  8. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  9. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia
  10. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
Advertisement

News

  • Drilon denies involvement in pork scam
  • Complex health care system for California’s elderly and poor explained
  • Malang the croc must regain strength before return to swamp, says mayor
  • Palace: Lacson’s version of Napoles testimony to be evaluated
  • Scientists eye iceberg bigger than Guam
  • Sports

  • Pacquiao has to go through PBA Rookie draft
  • Guiao summoned by PBA for name-calling incident
  • Promoters Dela Hoya, Arum in talks for Pacquiao-Alvarez—report
  • Benzema guides Madrid to 1-0 win over Bayern
  • Suns’ Goran Dragic win NBA’s Most Improved Player award
  • Lifestyle

  • Gongs and southern dances star in a workshop at San Francisco Bayanihan Center
  • This woman ate what?
  • Photos explore dynamics of youths’ sexual identity
  • 12th Philippine Food Expo set at the World Trade Center
  • No tourist draw, Malang the croc will remain wild
  • Entertainment

  • Smithsonian wants photos, videos for ‘Day in the Life of Asian Pacific Americans’
  • What Garcia Marquez left behind
  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • Sony developing live-action Barbie comedy
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Business

  • Metro Pacific acquires stake in Victorias
  • How ‘one percent’ economic elite was uncovered
  • Facebook profits triple as mobile soars
  • Insular Honors Sales Performers at Testimonial Rites
  • Apple increases stock buyback, will split stock
  • Technology

  • Enrile in Masters of the Universe, Lord of the Rings?
  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 24, 2014
  • Talking to Janet
  • Respite
  • Bucket list
  • JPII in 1981: walking a tightrope
  • Global Nation

  • Obama to visit Filipino soldiers in Fort Bonifacio
  • Fil-Am youth conferences unite under one theme
  • Embassy advisory: Filipinos still need visas to enter US
  • No travel restriction to Mideast, DFA clarifies
  • PH-HK relations repaired, but families of victims still being courted
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement