By Argyll Geducos
As the number of persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) contracting the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) rises, the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) has identified the elderly prisoners who may qualify for early release, President Duterte said in his report to Congress.
In his fifth weekly report to Congress, Duterte wrote that out of 3,384 elderly PDLs who are 60 years old and above and charged with light offenses or those punishable with arresto menor (one day to 30 days imprisonment) or arresto mayor (one month and one day to six months imprisonment), “1,927 have existing medical conditions and only 804 [are] non-recidivists, who may qualify for the proposed early release.”
The BJMP, which runs jails for detainees awaiting or undergoing trial, has declared a lockdown on all its 468 supervised jail facilities nationwide to address the threat of COVID-19.
It had also identified 222 isolation areas and established four regional isolation centers.
The BJMP, according to President Duterte, had transferred all probable and confirmed cases of COVID-19 either to isolation centers or hospitals for proper medication and health monitoring.
It was reported last week that nine personnel of the BJMP and nine PDLs tested positive for COVID-19. The PDLs were among the 21 inmates of the Quezon City Jail who were isolated after being in close contact with another inmate suspected of having the disease.
On Friday, the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) reported the death of an inmate who tested positive for COVID-19.
On Saturday, the BuCor said 27 inmates at the Correctional Institute for Women (CIW) tested positive for COVID-19 and were transferred to Site Harry at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).
Meanwhile, in his report to Congress, President Duterte said the Department of Justice has approved the Board of Pardons and Parole (BPP) resolution which simplifies the requirements and procedures for the processing of applications for parole or executive clemency.
Executive clemency is made available to those over 65 years old who have served at least five years of their sentence, or those whose continued imprisonment is certified to be inimical to their health.