Kapatid calls on Supreme Court to hasten writ of kalayaan promulgation
MANILA, Philippines — Support organization for families of political prisoners Kapatid has urged the Supreme Court to speed up its promulgation of the writ of kalayaan to decongest jails, especially as correctional facilities remain in lockdown over rising COVID-19 infections.
The writ of kalayaan provides an extraordinary legal remedy persons deprived of liberty (PDL) can invoke when there is an extreme need for relief, especially amid the congestion in the country’s prison system amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
In Kapatid’s statement issued on Tuesday, Reina Mae Nasino, an activist detained for three years even when her infant daughter died after they were separated, were among those who called for the High Court to hasten promulgating the said writ.
“I hope the Supreme Court heeds our appeal to give Tatay Gerry (Gerardo Dela Peña) a chance at freedom which they did not give me to save my baby,” said Nasino as she held a photo of 83-year-old Dela Peña who has been in jail for 10 years now despite failing health.
Meanwhile, Kapatid spokesperson Fides Lim pointed out the iniquity in political prisoners and other individuals who are criminally guilty.
“It is a travesty of justice that pork barrel mastermind Janet Napoles has been acquitted along with her cohorts who are now sitting senators but NO political prisoner whose cases are made up has been included in any of the trumpeted mass releases of elderly PDLs since the start of the pandemic in 2020,” said Lim.
The group also delivered a letter to Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo, seeking his “active intercession” for Dela Peña — whose release papers, said Kapatid, have been held up by the Bureau of Correction.
“Gerardo Dela Peña’s abject condition exemplifies why the SC writ of kalayaan should at the soonest be institutionalized to protect persons deprived of liberty whose right to life, right to health, and the right against cruel, degrading or inhuman punishment are violated not only by substandard prison conditions but also by snail-paced bureaucratic procedures,” said Lim in the letter.
According to Kapatid, the SC should reconvene the Technical Working Group on the writ of kalayaan to speed up the finalization of its rules and framework.