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Palace backs temporary cancellation of inmates’ privileges

Malacañang on Thursday backed the temporary cancellation of privileges of inmates to address the recurring problem of illegal activities in the seven penal institutions that are under the supervision of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).

Privileges were revoked amid the alleged continued entry of contraband items into penal institutions, including the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City, despite crackdowns in the past.  

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said he does not think the temporary ban on visitations and recreational activities would violate human rights of prisoners.

"Kung temporary lang naman eh siguro that’s a measure undertaken by the authorities to prevent the proliferation of the illegal drugs," Panelo said at a news conference. "If it’s a privilege, you can lift privilege – it’s not a right."

Panelo also slammed the Commission on Human Rights for opposing the policy. The CHR called for improvements to the jail management system instead of implementing a "blanket punishment" such as cancellation of inmates' privileges.

"Lahat na lang ng ginawa ng administrasyon mali," Panelo said.

The CHR is also a critic of the heavy-handed approach to the administration's war on drugs, which has killed more than 5,000 people--based on government data--since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office in June 2016. — Virgil Lopez/RSJ, GMA News