Detained voters critical in senate, council races

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MANILA, April 14, 2013—Politicians should carefully study the stance they will take on issues concerning Death Penalty and Juvenile Delinquency as detainees and prisoners can help make or break the race of national and local lawmakers. 

Rudy Diamante of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care (ECPPC) said the 72,000 prisoners participating in the upcoming May polls may dictate the results of the national senatorial race and the local election of councilors. 

“The right to suffrage is a basic human right that should not be taken away if you are detained. This is why prisoners, despite being deprived of their liberty, are instrumental in naming the 12th and 13th senate seat occupants,” he said. 

Diamante urged politicians to also visit jails and other detention facilities to make their stance regarding Death Penalty and the full implementation of the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act 2006 known to prisoners.

On a different note, Diamante hailed the 15th Congress for enacting Republic Act 10389, which releases an indigent detainee under the custody of a qualified member of the barangay, city or the Church where he resides through the concept of recognizance. 

“Inmates who cannot post bail because they cannot afford to can still be released to the custody of qualified members of his community because of this legislation,” he said. 

Diamante said the “act institutionalizing recognizance as a mode of granting the release of an indigent person in custody as an accused in a criminal case” is set to take effect this April. 

The law aims to promote restorative justice, especially among indigent detainees, whose offenses are not punishable by life imprisonment or death. 

“This legislation will also help decongest crowded jails and prison facilities by up to 70 percent because this number represents the detainees that are qualified to apply for recognizance,” he added. (KB/CBCPNews)

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