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Shadowy group defends Teehankee release in newspaper ads

October 14, 2008 8:19am
MANILA, Philippines - A shadowy group defended Tuesday the controversial early release of convicted murderer Claudio Teehankee Jr, saying it strictly followed the legal process for release.

In ads titled "Setting the Record Straight" and placed in Metro Manila newspapers, the group said Teehankee sought release December 2003, and the application was granted October 2008.

"While we ought to remain vigilant in preventing criminality, as a civilized society, we are encouraged to hate the crime but not the criminal, and so we should deem it as well our civic duty to exercise compassion and ensure faithful administration of the penal laws towards fulfilling the reformative and rehabilitative functions of our correctional system, by assuring convicts and inmates, after they have served a substantial portion of their sentence and made reparation and availed of the legal procedures for parole or executive clemency, the just opportunity to rejoin society and turn a new leaf on life," it said in its ad.

The ad also carried the message, "to err is human, to forgive is divine."

Teehankee, who was convicted in 1995 for shooting three teenagers in 1991, left the New Bilibid Prison last week, managing to avoid the media in the process.

Several sectors questioned the circumstances of his release, saying it smacked of preferential treatment for the rich and connected.

Earlier, Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez admitted Teehankee's brother Manuel, an envoy to the World Trade Organization in Geneva, "reminded" him about Teehankee's case. - GMANews.TV
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