MANILA, Philippines – Justice Secretary Leila de Lima announced yesterday that President Aquino is poised to pardon qualified aged and sick inmates at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa, as a gift to Pope Francis on occasion of the pontiff’s January 2015 visit to the Philippines.
“We are considering the aged and sick inmates, especially the terminally ill,” said de Lima, who went to the NBP to personally see to the verification process of inmates applying for presidential pardon.
De Lima clarified that the list of inmates being considered for clemency has not yet been finalized, but that she would submit her recommendations to the President.
The justice secretary did not identify any of the inmates under consideration, nor did she reveal if any of these are “high-profile” convicts.
Bureau of Corrections director Franklin Jesus Bucayu, however, told reporters from local news source, The STAR, that the list does not include Rolito Go, convicted of murder and afflicted with stage-four colon cancer.
“He is not included. I was told that there was strong opposition from the victim’s family,” Bucayu said.
Go, who has been allowed hospital to go to the hospital on several occasions,on account of his illness, was convicted for the murder of Eldon Maguan in 1991.
The construction magnate was sentenced to 40 years in prison for fatally shooting 23-yeard old Maguan, a De La Salle University graduate, along Wilson Street in Greenhills,
San Juan, after the young man figured in a traffic altercation with Go.
On November 27, of this year, the Board of Pardons and Parole (BPP) came up with a roster of 47 inmates it deemed fit for executive clemency. The president is yet to give his final approval of the list, as well as of de Lima’s recommendations.