Release ‘overstaying’ inmates – Atienza

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BUHAY Party-list Representative Lito Atienza urged President Rodrigo Duterte to direct all jail management heads to release inmates who may have overserved their sentences.

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“Many inmates have already served their sentences but continue to languish in jails because of the slow pace of our justice system anxd with no lawyers to defend and pursue their case. This is one of the reasons why we are against the death penalty. Because of our defective and disjointed criminal justice system, only the poor who cannot afford lawyers, will be sentenced to death. While the moneyed criminals buy their way through the corruption network and go scot-free,” Atienza said.

The senior deputy minority leader also reminded the government to focus not only on political detainees but on prisoners who are suffering from sub-human conditions. He cited Article III, Section 19 Par (2) of the Philippine Constitution, which provides that “the employment of physical, psychological, or degrading punishment against any prisoner or detainee or the use of substandard or inadequate penal facilities under subhuman conditions. Article I (1.) of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights also provides that “all persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person.”

Atienza said thousands of inmates are denied their right to a speedy trial.

“Many inmates who were supposed to serve short sentences end up being imprisoned for extended periods. This is contrary to what our Constitution guarantees. This is a classic case of justice delayed is justice denied. That is why I am calling on President Duterte to give attention to the cases of thousands of inmates. A speedy review of their cases and their release from detention this Christmas season would be a wonderful gift to their families,” the lawmaker said.

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