Originally published by CNN Philippines on 21/04/2020
The Department of Justice (DOJ) approved simpler rules and faster processing of requests for parole and executive clemency as Philippine authorities rush to decongest jails amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In a statement, the DOJ said the order removes most of the paperwork required for persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) seeking parole and executive clemency.As background, the Board of Pardons and Parole can grant parole or early release to an inmate who has served the minimum period of his sentence. Meanwhile, only the President can grant executive clemency, which involves the reduction of jail time or the removal of a person’s criminal liability.Prisoners aged 65 or older are also able to use the easier parole process, provided that they have served at least five years of their sentence. Those with serious medical ailments that will be able to prove that their continued imprisonment will worsen their condition may also use the easier parole process, but would need certification from a designated doctor from the Department of Health or the Malacañang clinic director.These guidelines do exclude from its coverage PDLs convicted of heinous crimes or in cases involving illegal drugs, or those classified as high risk by the Bureau of Corrections.