MANILA – Senator Robinhood “Robin” Padilla on Wednesday said the rights of the persons deprived of liberty (DPLs) should be upheld under the proposed regionalization of the penal colonies in the country.

This, as Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla supported Padilla’s Senate Bill 235, seeking to set up penitentiary systems in at least 10 regions nationwide.

Remulla said it is about time the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City be moved outside of Metro Manila.

He recommended that those under the minimum security be relocated to Laur, Nueva Ecija, while those under medium and maximum Security be move to Sablayan penal colony in Occidental Mindoro.

Ang mga nasa medium at maximium security compound ay maaaring mailipat sa Mindoro, doon kasi malawak ang lupang sakahan pwdeng magtanim at mag-alaga ng mga hayop at magbabago ang kanilang pagkatao” (Those from the medium and maximum compound may be transferred to Mindoro where they can do farming and animal raising to rehabilitate them),” Remulla said during the organizational meeting of the Senate committee on justice and human rights.

Padilla said distributing PDLs to their respective native regions may reduce boredom since their families can visit them more often.

He reminded the DOJ and the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) to uphold the rights of inmates, especially those who are to be moved to provincial colonies.

Padilla, who experienced life as an inmate for more than three years, noted that some 80 percent of inmates are poor people who do not have legal representation and are unlike the so-called hardcore criminals.

"Nais ko ipaalala sa ating kumite, ang mga bilanggo, sila po ay protektado pa rin ng ating Konstitusyon. At hinihingi ko po sa ating lahat na anuman ang plano natin sa ginagawa lang ng iilang siraulong demonyo diyan sa BIlibid, huwag naman maapektuhan ang karamihan. Iilan lang yan na sagad sa kaluluwa ang kasamaan nila (I wish to remind our committee that inmates are protected under our Constitution. I am asking that whatever we are planning to address the acts of a few bad criminals, it should not apply to the majority of inmates. Only a few of them are hardcore criminals)," Padilla said.

Under the bill, the penal farms to be established will have a "standard and uniform design" for the prison, reformation and administrative facilities.

The bill mandates the BuCor to create an infrastructure plan, coordinate the construction of the regional penitentiaries, and carry out the decentralization and transfer of prisoners to the regional penal farms. (PNA)