Transfer of detainees to local jails or BuCor suspended until Sept. 30 – SC

Robie de Guzman   •   September 2, 2020   •   248

The Supreme Court’s Office of the Court Administrator announced that it has extended the suspension of issuance of commitment order for the transfer of newly-arrested individuals to local jail units or of convicted persons to the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).

In a new circular posted on SC’s social media account, Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez said the two circulars suspending the commitment orders for the transfer of persons deprived of liberty (PDL) to different jail facilities are extended until September 30.

Marquez said the extension is in consideration of the different levels of community quarantine still being enforced in the country amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The SC earlier said the suspension of the issuance of commitment orders for newly-arrested or convicted inmates will last until August 31 to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 and to minimize the movement of inmates.

In the first circular, the SC said newly-arrested persons should remain in the custody of local police units unless local Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) jail units are already able to admit newly-arrested persons.

The second circular, meanwhile, states that all convicted PDLs who should have been transferred to the BuCor should remain in the facilities of the BJMP.

Detained persons awaiting or facing trials are placed under the custody of the BJMP while those convicted are under the BuCor.

Both the BuCor and the BJMP have recorded cases of COVID-19 in their facilities with reported fatalities.

BuCor launches ‘Oplan Bura Tatak’ to efface tattoos of gang members in prison

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 29, 2020

The Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) has launched a program effacing tattoos of gang members in prison to promote peace and order.

BuCor on Wednesday (October 28) launched “Oplan Bura Tatak” in hopes of maintaining peace between the groups, or so-called ‘gangs’ at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) and other penal colonies.

BuCor Chief Director General Gerald Bantag said they aim to remove gang mentality among persons deprived of liberty (PDL).

“Nandoon pa rin iyong culture nila ng gang so hindi matanggal talaga hangga’t nandun iyong mga tatak nila (The culture is still there. It will not be removed if they still have the tattoos),” he said.

The leaders of 12 groups took an oath agreeing to dismantle gangs in detention centers. Several of their members have also surrendered guns, ammunition, and other sharp weapons.

“May psychological na influence ito na maganda. Kahit papaano nararamdaman nila na seryoso tayo sa ating paghadlang sa karahasan (This will have a psychological influence which is good because [PDLs] will be able to feel that we are serious in preventing violence),” Bantag said.

During the first day of the initiative’s launch, 218 inmates had their gang tattoos removed.

Gangs in the NBP began around 1963, two groups emerged: the Sigue Sigue Gang and Oxo Original. More groups emerged throughout the years, totaling to 12 groups. BuCor said these groups would usually start disputes which lead to riots. AAC (with reports from Mac Cordova)

81,888 PDLs released during COVID-19 pandemic — SC

Marje Pelayo   •   October 23, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta has noted the use of technology, specifically video conferencing, in expediting the cases of persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) even amidst the prevailing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

During Friday’s (October 23) ‘CJ Meets the Press’ briefing, Peralta reported that from March to October this year, a total of 81,888 PDLs had their cases resolved and been granted freedom.

The Chief Justice added that the majority of the more than 110,000 cases that they have deliberated on virtually were criminal cases.

The proceedings yielded 88% success rate and only 12% failed due to poor or intermittent Internet connection.

According to CJ Peralta, several PDLs were granted a reduced bail, particularly the indigent ones, to qualify for release while reading of sentence to minors was temporarily suspended.

“Napag-aralan namin na kakaunti lang makapag apply ng bail dahil karamihan dito ay mga indigent,” Peralta explained.

The decision to expedite the release of PDLs was to decongest jail facilities across the country where the risk of COVID-19 transmission is high.

Because at that time we felt na yung COVID-19 ay nag-i-spread na sa mga jails, not only in BJMP jails but also in provincial jails, municipal jails and detention centers ng ating mga pulis,” the official noted.

Of more than 28,000 employees of the Judiciary, 252 contracted COVID-19 which is only 1% of the government branch’s total employee population.

Meanwhile, Peralta said the Supreme Court is now looking into the delays in the processing of cases of more than 1,700 detained quarantine violators.

The Chief Justice stressed these violators shouldn’t stay long in detention as they can be released by just paying a penalty or fine. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Supreme Court Chief Justice Peralta wants probe on ambush of CamSur Judge

Robie de Guzman   •   October 21, 2020

Supreme Court Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta

MANILA, Philippines – Supreme Court Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta has called on law enforcement agencies to immediately investigate and arrest those behind the attack on a Camarines Sur Regional Trial Court judge and her aide that left them injured.

“I strongly condemn the recent attack on Judge Jeaneth Gaminde-San Joaquin of Libmanan, Camarines Sur and her companion. I urge all law enforcement agencies to immediately investigate the matter and ensure that the perpetrators of this crime are apprehended,” Peralta said in a statement posted on Twitter.  

“An attack on our judges is an assault on the Rule of Law. This has no place in a civilized society like ours,” he stressed.

An initial police report showed that Camarines Sur Regional Trial Court Branch 26 Judge San Joaquin and a member of her staff, Rocelle Martinez were aboard their vehicle going to Naga City when they were attack by two unidentified gunmen.

The incident occurred on the afternoon of Oct. 20 in Barangay Puro Batia in Libmanan, Camarines Sur.

The two sustained injuries and were taken to a hospital for medical treatment.

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