PRESIDENT Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos has ordered the Department of Justice (DOJ) to continue the release of qualified persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) to further decongest the country’s jail facilities.

In a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, January 10, 2023, Marcos cited his experience during his stint as the governor of Ilocos Norte, where he saw that most of the PDLs are languishing in jails because they cannot afford the services of good lawyers.

“Wala naman silang magaling na abugado (They don’t have access to good lawyers). So that’s why we are in favor now to release many of them,” Marcos said.

“They just needed representation to set them free. So let’s continue with that,” he added.

Marcos said he is also in favor of transferring hardened criminals to an Alcatraz-like facility in order to stop their illegal activities even while inside prison.

“Iyan ‘yung mga ganoon, we have to do that para hindi na maka-contact (We have to do that to criminals like them so that they will no longer have contacts). Alam mo (you know), we have to isolate them properly,” Marcos said.

The DOJ said from July to December 2022, almost 3,000 PDLs were released on the basis of parole, completion of maximum sentence with good time allowance and being acquitted from charges.

The agency also fast-tracked the processing of the release of qualified prisoners by digitalizing the systems of the Probation and Parole Administration.

For 2023, the justice department eyes to decongest prison facilities by transferring the maximum security compound in Muntinlupa City to a dedicated correctional facility in Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro as well as the establishment of separate heinous crime facilities in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. (SunStar Philippines)