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Thursday, June 13, 2024

CHR urges release of oldest political prisoner in PH

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The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Friday urged the government to expedite the release of the country’s oldest political prisoner, who has served over a decade of his prison term.

It invoked that 85-year-old Gerardo dela Peña “is already entitled for release after being qualified for executive clemency, including other political prisoners and persons deprived of liberty” under Resolution No. OT-08-02-2023 of the Board of Pardons and Parole.

The resolution grants release for one who is at least 70 years old and has served at least 10 years of their sentence.

Dela Peña was arrested on March 21, 2013, at the age of 74 in Vinzons, Camarines Norte. He has served his sentence with over 12 years of detention, not including the total good conduct time allowance points he has accrued.

“In his decade-long imprisonment, his health has now declined with his eyesight and hearing also deteriorating,” CHR said.

It also cited that since the Philippines is a state signatory to the Basic Principles on the Use of Restorative Justice Programmes in Criminal Matters, the government should put primacy to efforts to ensure a humane correctional system in the country.

“We take this opportunity to call for the release of persons deprived of liberty who have demonstrated good behavior and have met the legal standards for executive clemency as this would greatly help toward the government’s ongoing jail decongestion efforts,” CHR said.

It called on the House of Representatives to pass the National Preventive Mechanism bill in compliance with the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

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