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DoJ eyes nearly 1K PDLs for clemency

PRESIDENT Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is expected to pardon «close to 1,000» persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) during the Christmas holidays, the Department of Justice (DoJ) said Friday.

In a Palace briefing, DoJ spokesman Jose Dominic Clavano 4th said that the recommendation for clemency is part of the agency's efforts to address prison congestion.

«It happens every year. The Justice Secretary does it on the President's birthday and on Christmas [Day]. We give a list to the PPA (Parole and Probation Administration), and then eventually, it will be forwarded to the Executive Secretary,» Clavano said.

«I'm not particularly sure of the number [of recipients], but last year, it was close to 1,000. We're expecting a similar amount this year,» he added.

Among those qualified for the amnesty program are the elderly and persons with disabilities.

«There is no priority list, it's more of whether they are qualified or not. So, as long as a person is qualified for pardon, for parole, probation those are the only ones that we include in the list,» Clavano said.

«It is just a matter of whether a person is, let's say, an elderly — if a person has disability or is extremely ill — those are qualified for pardon because keeping them detained won't be humanitarian and it won't do them any good if they're already elderly,» he added.

However, Clavano said the pardon does not cover sex offenders, regardless of age.

Clavano also mentioned the parallel effort to decongest the court dockets by promulgating rules on custodial hearings and requiring bail.

He cited the National Justice Information System as the agency's support on digitalization that further increases the effectiveness and efficiency of courts to resolve cases.

«This is a program that is led by the Supreme Court. They will be promulgating rules on custodial hearings and requiring bail — so, that's one way to decongest the jails,» Clavano said.

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