At least 50,000 indigent prisoners convicted of petty crimes may either be released or benefit from reduced sentences once amendments to the Revised Penal Code proposed by Senate President Pro-Tempore Franklin Drilon is approved by Congress.
“Retroactive ‘yan. As stated by the Public Attorney’s Office, it will benefit about 50,000 prisoners today, who may have been unjustly convicted, or serving sentence for a long period of time,” Drilon, a former Justice secretary, told reporters in an interview.
“We’re not saying that they will be released. We’re saying either their sentences will be reduced or maybe they have already served the whole period, so the may be benefited,” the senator stressed.
Drilon’s Senate Bill No. 14 adjusts the amount involved, value of property or damage on which a penalty is based on.
At the joint panel hearing conducted by the Senate committees on constitutional amendments and revision of codes, and justice and human rights, Drilon said the Revised Penal Code enacted in 1930 may be inflicting “cruel, degrading or inhuman punishment.”
Senator Leila de Lima, a former Justice secretary herself, was supportive of Drilon’s bill, saying it is “overdue.”
“This is definitely demanded by the times. There are indeed certain penalties embodied in the Revised Penal Code which rather than doing justice would actually create the reverse,” De Lima said.
Former Supreme Court Associate Justice Roberto Abad said the Senate proposal will bring about “fairness and justice.”
Resource persons from the Department of Justice, Commission on Human Rights, and PAO also backed Drilon’s bill, which the senator aims to sponsor before the end of the month. — Kathrina Charmaine Alvarez/RSJ, GMA News