Group calls for 'fair' implementation of clemency rule for old PDLs

Group calls for ‘fair’ implementation of clemency rule for elderly PDLs

By: - Reporter / @luisacabatoINQ
/ 02:25 PM January 20, 2024

Group calls for 'fair' implementation of amnesty rule for elderly PDLs

A downcast Gerardo “Tatay Gerry” Dela Peña holds the Bureau of Pardons and Parole list at the New Bilibid Prison Minimum Security Compound on January 15, 2024. Photo and caption courtesy of Kapatid

MANILA, Philippines — A local human rights group is calling for a “fair” implementation of a government policy granting pardons to elderly inmates, as it decried the alleged omission of an octogenarian political prisoner from the roster.

Kapatid claimed that 84-year-old Gerardo Dela Peña, who has been in jail for 11 years, was excluded from receiving executive clemency despite a resolution allowing consideration for the release of persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) 70 years old and above.


The group said dela Peña is the “oldest political prisoner in the country.”


“We ask Secretary Boying Remulla to take a direct hand to ensure the fair implementation of the BPP [Bureau of Pardons and Parole] resolution. Time is not on the side of an 84-year-old in the terribly congested conditions of the NBP [New Bilibid Prison],” Kapatid spokesperson Fides Lim said in a statement Saturday.

READ: Gov’t urged to release ‘country’s oldest political prisoner’

BPP Resolution No. 08-02-2023, which aims to decongest jail facilities, was issued in December 2023.

It states that PDLs aged 70 and older who have already served a minimum 10-year sentence are eligible for executive clemency. It also includes PDLs considered “high-risk” and those with terminal illnesses or serious disabilities.

Group calls for 'fair' implementation of amnesty rule for elderly PDLs

Bureau of Pardons and Parole list dated December 13, 2023. Kapatid points out No. 5 with name of Gerardo Dela Peña, “denied EC” – executive clemency.” (Photo and caption courtesy of Kapatid)

Kapatid stressed that dela Peña has a credit for good conduct and a time allowance based on his Bureau of Corrections record, making him qualified under the BPP resolution.

READ: Rights group seeks release of ‘oldest political prisoner’


Lim also emphasized the “conflicting signals” of government offices regarding the matter.

“Justice Undersecretary Jesse Andres said in news reports that the resolution has already benefited two elderly inmates and he specifically mentioned the name of Gerardo Dela Peña. But I visited Tatay Gerry at the New Bilibid Prison just last January 15. He gave me a list from the BPP dated December 13, 2023, returning his carpeta and prison records because he was ‘denied EC’ – executive clemency,” he said.

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“He [dela Peña] thought he could return home to his wife in Bicol because his fellow political prisoners told him they heard his name on the radio as among those who would be granted presidential pardon in time for Christmas,” Lim added.

TAGS: DoJ, Human rights, pardons, PDLs

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