DOJ eyes mechanisms to monitor released inmates
MANILA, Philippines — Armed with her grooming kit, travel documents, and transportation allowance, ate Aida finally walks out of the Correctional Institute for Women (CIW) a free person.
“Served sentence na ako [Ii have served my sentence],” Aida said in an interview after the culminating activity for the release of 401 inmates or persons deprived of liberty (PDLs).
She is one of the 25 CIW inmates given a chance to turn a new page in their lives after Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla signed their release papers.
She said she would return to her hometown in Benguet to find a new source of livelihood.
Her children and sister-in-law came to CIW to fetch her.
On the other hand, Cynthia, who has been at the CIW for two and a half years, is alone.
Longingly looking at her “sisses” getting hugs and kisses from excited family members, she said she would return to Zambales to surprise her family.
“I called them and told them I will be released, but they do not know when. So I will surprise them,” she said in Pilipino.
She was convicted of falsification of public documents.
Asked what her plans are, she said, “hindi ko pa alam [I do not know yet.].”
But one thing is certain; she said, “Hindi na ako uulit” [I will not do it again.].
Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said there has to be “monitoring after the release” of PDLs.
As of now, he believed that there is no such mechanism leaving the PDLs who rejoined society to fend for themselves.
“We will be formalizing this mechanism so we can have feedback about what happened to the PDLs,” Remulla said.
They are also eyeing a tie-up with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) to help PDLs find jobs.
“Skills training and education, we will incorporate that to the reforms that we are doing in our correction system,” he said.
Remulla said they would continue releasing qualified PDLs from detention as part of the Marcos administration’s “compassionate justice” policy.
“Hindi lahat ng nagkasala ay mya kasalanan alam namin yan at nangyayari po yan di po perpekto ang hustisya kaya ang gusto ng Pangulo ay may pusong hustisya o compassionate justice [We all knew that not all those incarcerated have committed a crime, it really happened since the justice system is not perfect that’s why what the President wants is compassionate justice],” Remulla explained.
Since July last year, 4,994 PDLs have been released from detention after completing the maximum prison sentence, acquittal, and parole or pardon.
The Pardon and Parole Administration, formerly the Board of Pardon and Parole, said they expect more PDLs to be released soon as they continue reviewing their records.
In the Sablayan Prison and Penal Farm in Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro, the agency has already interviewed over 1,000 inmates, with 200 deemed qualified for release.
Of those deemed qualified for release, 15 have already completed their maximum prison sentence.
Similar reviews have been undertaken at the San Ramon Prison and Penal Farm in Zamboanga City and Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm in Palawan. The Public Attorneys’ Office is also helping review PDL records.
Releasing inmates is part of the government’s measure to decongest jails with over 300 percent over capacity.