Also victims of grave injustice

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Why indeed doesn’t President Aquino release sick and old prisoners as the Samahan ng Ex-detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto, a human rights group, urged in a statement?

Why is President Aquino antipathetic to prisoners? Wasn’t his own father jailed for seven years? Does he not recall his own family’s sufferings on account of his father’s incarceration? Even God, according to the Bible, cared for prisoners.

Memorandum Circular No. 155 dated Nov. 17, 2004, provides that deserving elderly inmates who are 70 years old and above be considered for executive clemency out of compassion and based on humanitarian grounds.

Since President Aquino assumed office he has practically ignored and set aside the recommendations of the Board of Pardons and Parole (BPP). At one time the President extended executive clemency to a prisoner who was five days dead. Then last Christmas, upon the prodding of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, he released only eight of the 61 elderly inmates recommended by the the BPP.

In fact, there are 500 aged inmates and 3,000 others who have served sentence but are still languishing at the New Bilibid Prison. To make an inmate overstay even for one day in prison is a grave injustice not only to him/her but also to his/her family. Besides, the NBP is overcrowded and needs to be decongested; also, giving justice to the 3,500 overstaying inmates will save the government P100 million a year.

Have a heart, Mr. President. Please show a little compassion to your fellowmen.

—LIBERATO PANGANIBAN,

Mabini Brotherhood,

Talaga, Tanauan City

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