39,000 NBP inmates score jail-behavior amendments

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Inmates of the national penitentiary New Bilibid Prisons (NBP) have petitioned the Supreme Court (SC) to issue a writ of preliminary injunction barring Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas 2nd from enforcing the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRRs) of Republic Act (RA) 10592.

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The petitioners, officers of about 39,000 inmates of NBP in Muntinlupa City (Metro Manila), on Thursday sought to rule as unconstitutional the IRRs on the classification system for good conduct and time allowances under RA 10592 that took effect on April 18, 2014.

The inmates’ 39-page petition questioned the IRRs, which mandate a prospective application of the law instead of making it retroactive for their benefit.

The petitioners pointed out that the IRRs are unconstitutional because they violate their constitutional right to due process of law.

They said de Lima and Roxas committed grave abuse when they issued the IRRs that  violated long-standing “jurisprudential rules”  mandating retroactivity application of penal laws that are beneficial to the accused and the inmates.

The petitioners are the heads  of the Bilibid Malinis Organization, God’s Marshal Rescuer Inc., Sputnik Brotherhood Organization Inc.,  Geunine Ilocano Group, Batang City Jail International 32, Commando Organization and Inter-faith Ministry.

RA 10592, which  amends Articles 29, 94, 97, 98 and 99 of RA 3812, or the Revised Penal Code, took effect on April 18, 2014.

In a two-page resolution, dated July 22, 2014, signed and promulgated by lawyer Enriqueta Vidal, Clerk of Court of the en banc, but was released only recently, the High Court ordered de Lima and Roxas to give their comments within 10 days.

Under the IRRs, in the first two years of detention, the inmate shall be allowed a deduction of 20 days (up from five days) for each month of good behavior during detention.

For the 3rd to 5th year, inclusive, of his imprisonment, he shall be allowed a deduction of 23 days (up from eight days) for each month of good behavior during detention.

For the succeeding  years until the 10th year, inclusive, of his imprisonment, the prisoner shall be allowed a deduction of 25 days (up from 10 days) for each month of good behavior during detention.

And in the 11th and successive years of his imprisonment, he shall be allowed a deduction of 30 days (up from 15 days) for each month of good behavior during detention.

At any time during his imprisonment, he shall be allowed another deduction of 15 days, in addition to deductions from the first to the 11th and successive years of his imprisonment for each month of study, teaching or mentoring service time rendered.

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