126 PDLs set free on Independence Day

By Marita Moaje

June 12, 2024, 5:40 pm

<p><em>(PNA file photo)</em></p>

(PNA file photo)

MANILA – A total of 126 persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) from various prison facilities nationwide were released during the country’s 126th Independence Day on Wednesday.

In a news release, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said Undersecretary Margarita Gutierrez and Bureau of Corrections Director General Gregorio Catapang Jr. led a ceremony for the release of the 126 PDLs.

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla advised freed PDLs not to throw away this second chance.

He also told the other PDLs that the event should serve as a constant reminder that there is a second shot at life after a positive transformation of oneself.

“You overcame the challenges and obstacles to become the better person you are today, may you continue to let your light shine as you embrace life outside prison to serve as an inspiration for the positive transformation of others,” he told the released PDLs.

BuCor said of the 126, 61 were from the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) maximum security camp, the medium security camp, and the reception and diagnostic center in Muntinlupa City; 16 were from the Correctional Institution for Women (CIW) in Mandaluyong City; 22 were from the Davao Prison and Penal Farm in Davao del Norte; 10 were from the San Ramon Prison and Penal Farm in Zamboanga City; eight were from the Leyte Regional Prison in Abuyog; eight from the Sablayan Prison and Penal Farm in Occidental Mindoro; and one from the Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm in Palawan.

Seventy-two of the released PDLs served their maximum sentence, 31 were acquitted, 16 were given parole, six were granted probation, and one with a conditional pardon.

Remulla lauded Catapang for the timely initiative in line with the nation’s observance of the Philippine Independence.

Data from BuCor showed that 14,324 PDLs have been released under the Marcos administration.

Free legal aid

The Public Attorney’s Office (PAO), in partnership with the Ateneo Legal Services Center (ALSC), and the Arellano University School of Law (AUSL), extended free legal services to PDLs at the NBP, and the CIW in Mandaluyong City on Wednesday, as part of the DOJs Katarungan Caravan.

The free legal aid caravan was also held in various Operating Prison and Penal Farms (OPPFs) nationwide including the San Ramon Prison and Penal Farm, Iwahig PPF, Sablayan PPF, Davao PPF, and Leyte Regional Prison Farm.

PAO lawyers extended free legal services to the PDLs which include legal advice/consultation, legal representation, and referral to PAO offices.

“As we celebrate the sanctity of our hard-earned freedom, it is essential that we take into consideration our collective responsibility to uphold not just the Rule of Law but the rights and dignity of our fellow Filipinos under reformation behind bars,” Remulla said. (PNA)