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Bishop to ask clemency for convicts in Ninoy case

August 21, 2007 4:08pm

A senior official of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said on Tuesday that he is willing to personally ask President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to pardon the 15 soldiers convicted of killing former senator Benigno “Ninoy" Aquino Jr.

Palawan Bishop Pedro Arigo, chairman of the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care (ECPPC) said the soldiers “deserve to be free because they have suffered long enough"

“And for all you know they might have started innocently and they are also victims of injustice," he said.

However, Arigo said the CBCP-ECPPC will have to study and review the cases of the soldiers first before asking clemency for them.

Titingnan muna natin in person iyong mga taong iyon. Kung sa tingin natin talagang …(dapat) na ibalik sa community at lalong lalo na ibalik sa family then let as give them iyang sinasabi na executive clemency," Arigo added.

Once the ECPPC completes its review, Arigo said the commission will present its recommendation to CBCP president and Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo and ask for the stand of the entire CBCP.

Ang purpose talaga ng punishment ay hindi naman just to punish, to destroy... Ang purpose talaga tulad ng sinasabi ng Bureau of Correction, to correct and to restore sa community iyong mga tao after they have undergone ‘yong sinasabi nating “rehabilitation o kaya in the perspective," he said.

Arigo said that since Aquino was gunned down 24 years ago, not a single investigation, conducted from the time of President Ferdinand Marcos up up to the present, produced strong evidence that would put behind bars the real perpetrators of the crime. - GMANews.TV