Court: Prisoner, 73, has to stay at NBP

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THE Court of Appeals (CA) has junked a petition filed by a 73-year-old prisoner in connection with his prolonged imprisonment at the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP) in Muntinlupa City (Metro Manila) despite his contention that he has fully served his sentence.

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In an eight-page decision dated December 5, 2014, the CA’s Special 12th Division, through Associate Justice Carmelita Salandanan Manahan, denied Francisco S. Santos’ prayer for the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus and for the privilege of the writ because of its manifest lack of merit.

In the petition, Santos alleged that the restraint on his liberty has become illegal and unconstitutional as he had fully and faithfully served his sentence for estafa.

As for his conviction for the crime of illegal recruitment constituting economic sabotage, he claimed that the same had been decided with gross miscarriage of justice.

Impleaded in the petition were Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, Bureau of Corrections Director Jesus Bucayu, Bucor Supt. Fajardo Lansangan and Bureau of Pardons and Parole Executive Director Reynaldo Bayang.

In the ruling, the CA held that Santos’ “assertion that he already completed his service of sentence is patently conjectural.”

The prison record reflects that Santos already served 35 years and 25 days as of September 1, 2014.

The CA, however, stated, “Considering that [he]was meted the penalty of life imprisonment, which, per Supreme Court Administrative Circular No. 6-A-92 (21 June 1993), is without any definite extent or duration, his continued confinement in the [NBP], is verily in accordance with judicial and executive processes[.]”

Thus, the appellate court said Santos “service of sentence for lifetime imprisonment is pursuant to a valid conviction by a court of competent jurisdiction.”

Concurring with the decision were Associate Justices Romeo Barza and Elihu Ybanez.

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