De Lima seeks Congress approval of bill granting medical parole to terminally-ill inmates

Published November 10, 2018, 10:49 AM

by AJ Siytangco

By Mario Casayuran 

Detained opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has sought congressional passage of her bill granting medical parole that would allow terminally-ill inmates to serve their sentence under the care of their families or seek better medical care outside the correctional facilities.

If enacted into law, De Lima’s Senate Bill (SB) 2084 would grant medical parole, also known as “compassionate parole,” to qualified inmates on humanitarian or medical grounds.

Senator Leila de Lima (REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco / MANILA BULLETIN)
Senator Leila de Lima (REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco / MANILA BULLETIN)

De Lima chairs the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development

“The grant of medical parole presupposes that the conditional release of a prisoner will not constitute a threat to the safety of the society,” she said.

Medical parole is defined under the bill as the “conditional release of a prisoner from a correctional institution on the ground that he is suffering from a terminal illness or an incapacity that renders him incapable of managing his own affairs.”

As an active advocate of prison reform, de Lima explained that establishing the medical parole not only provides for a humane treatment of terminally-ill or permanently-incapable prisoners.

It will also rationalize the correctional practice by allowing the conditional release of prisoners who are no longer capable of serving their sentences within the correctional facilities due to their conditions, she added.

“This bill is meant to allow prisoners to serve out their sentence under the care of their families or seek better medical care outside the correctional facilities,” de Lima, a justice secretary during the Aquino administration, noted.

De Lima also pointed out that her proposed measure provides a mechanism for citizens and interested parties to oppose any application as a matter of check against any improvident or even fraudulent grant of medical parole.

Under SB 2084, also known as Medical Parole Act, the grant of medical parole may be opposed depending on the severity of the inmate’s illness, or his release will be a threat to public safety or the inmate is likely to commit an offense while on medical parole.

Last July 21, De Lima filed Senate Bill 1879 which seeks to integrate the management of the country’s jails and prisons under one agency tasked to provide better treatment and rehabilitation program for all detainees and prisoners.