CBCP agency calls Aquino too slow on clemency

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MANILA, Feb. 5, 2014— President Benigno Aquino III is pretty unique in granting clemency requests— he’s just too slow, a group that represents the Catholic Church’s prison ministry said.

Rodolfo Diamante, executive secretary of the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care (ECPPC), said Aquino lags behind the past administrations in clemency matters.

Aside from the executive clemency to a dead man in 2011, Aquino has also failed to act on recommendations to grant pardon to almost 16, 000 prisoners, some of them are old and sick.

“My God! How many more years are necessary? Some of them are already imprisoned for more than 30 years. How come PNoy refuses to exercise executive clemency?” Diamante said.

“We really cannot understand… It has been four years (since Aquino assume the presidency in 2010) already and he has yet to exercise executive clemency,” he lamented.

It will be recalled that the President’s first executive clemency in 2011 came four days late after convicted kidnapper Mariano Umbrero died from cancer before Malacañang gave him freedom.

“Many of our prisoners (deserve to be granted clemency). You will see that if you visit them,” said Diamante.

“Considering their number, it is very rare that we hear cases of inmates escaping from prison,” he added.

The ECPPC official revealed that they are making a formal appeal to Aquino to speed up the clemency process to deserving prisoners.

“Hopefully, he will not be passing it (the letter) on to his aides this time,” Diamante also said.

In 2011, Aquino explained the delays in the clemency process because he wants the system reviewed especially for those convicted of crimes such as rape and drug pushing. (Roy Lagarde)



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