126 inmates released on Independence Day 2024

A total of 126 inmates from various penal institutions have been released as part of the country's Independence Day Celebration.

BuCor Director Gregorio Capatang Jr. reminds inmates not to waste the second chance given to them by the government. A total of 126 inmates have been released from prison as part of the country’s Independence Day Celebration. PHOTO from BuCor PIO.

MANILA, Philippines — A total of 126 inmates from various penal institutions have been released as part of the country’s Independence Day celebration.

Including the 126 inmates or persons deprived of liberty (PDLs), the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) said 14,324 have already been released during the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

The government has been struggling to reduce the jail population as there are inmates who are already considered “overstaying,” meaning they have been in prison longer than the penalty imposed by the court.

In Bilibid alone, the inmate occupancy rate was at 477 percent in 2023, and the congestion rate was at 377 percent, considering that it has a capacity of only 6,435 inmates.

BuCor, together with the Public Attorneys Office (PAO) and the Board of Pardons and Parole, has been polishing records of PDLs to identify who completed their service of sentence and who are qualified for pardon and parole.

The 126 inmates were from the Correctional Institution for Women (CIW) in Mandaluyong and Mindanao, the Davao Prison and Penal Farm, the Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm, the Leyte Regional Prison, the New Bilibid Prison, the Sablayan Prison and Penal Farm, and the San Ramon Prison and Penal Farm.

Of the said number, 31 were released due to acquittal, one for conditional pardon, 72 for the expiration of their maximum sentence, while six were granted probation and 16 were given parole.

“Not everybody was given a second chance, so kapag binigay ang chance na ganito sa iyo, make sure na worth it ka at huwag mo sayangin (if you were given this kind of opportunity, make sure it is worth it and do not waste it),” BuCor Director General Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. reminded the inmates.

Catapang said that, aside from a culminating activity, 95 personnel will be promoted as part of an effort to reward workers who have been good at their jobs and continue to be assets for the agency.

Those who will be promoted include a Corrections Chief Superintendent, four Corrections Superintendents, three Corrections Technical Chief Inspectors, five Corrections Chief Inspectors, a Corrections Senior Inspector, 10 Corrections Senior Officers IV, 27 Corrections Officers II, and four Non-Uniformed Personnel, while 13 new Non-Uniformed Personnel will take their oath of office.

“For BuCor personnel who are doing well, keep up the good work. We thank you for restoring the good image of our institution. Rest assured that if you keep on the right track, we will not hesitate to promote you to the next higher rank. Do your job well, do it right, and you will be rewarded with promotion,” Catapang said.