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De Lima pushes medical parole

Detained Sen. Leila de Lima yesterday renewed her call for Congress to pass the measure granting “compassionate parole” or medical parole to terminally-ill inmates of the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City based on humanitarian grounds.

De Lima, who is currently incarcerated at the Philippine National Police headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City, made the call following recent reports of 29 NBP inmates who died inside the national penitentiary in 17 days.

“While it is admitted that we need to improve our healthcare services, including those in our jails and correctional facilities, we can also look into the policy of granting medical parole to those who truly deserve them,” said De Lima, who filed Senate Bill No. 1146 for this purpose. “The grant of medical parole presupposes that the conditional release of a PDL (Persons Deprived of Liberty) will not constitute a threat to the safety of society,” she stressed.

Medical parole, also known as compassionate parole, refers to the conditional release of a prisoner from a correctional institution on the grounds that he is suffering from a terminal illness or an incapacity that renders him incapable of managing his own affairs.

De Lima said terminally-ill PDLs should be given a chance to serve out their sentence under the care of family members. They should also be allowed to seek better medical care outside the correctional facilities as long as they will not be a threat to the safety of society.

Earlier, Ernesto Tamayo, NBP Hospital chief, disclosed that the conditions in the State penitentiary have increased the mortality rate of inmates who contracted illness or diseases during their incarceration.

Of the NBP’s population of around 26,000, figures show that the mortality rate is 20 percent, with most of the deaths occurring due to infectious diseases in overcrowded cells. (Hannah Torregoza)