President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. urged member agencies of the Justice Sector Coordinating Council (JSCC) to pursue the streamlining and digitalization of their frontline and back-end services as part of its nationwide jail decongestion efforts.
In his message delivered by Executive Secretary Lucas P. Bersamin, President Marcos welcomed JSCC’s initiative on spearheading the National Jail Decongestion Summit held in Manila on Wednesday.
“By embracing technology and innovative practices, we can enhance our efficiency, reduce delays, and ensure swift and fair legal proceedings,” said President Marcos, who remains in COVID-19 isolation.
The summit aims to bring together legal experts, government agencies, international organizations, and advocates to discuss and establish new policies and initiatives to expedite the processing of criminal cases and alleviate chronic jail congestion in the country.
The President expressed confidence that discussion that would transpire during the summit will pave the way for better policies and initiatives.
Marcos also emphasized that the event is in line with the administration’s priority to decongest Philippine jails and prison facilities, and to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the country’s justice system.
“This gathering is most welcome, as it demonstrates the commitment of the entire government to expedite the processing of criminal cases and alleviate the chronic problem of jail congestion,” he added.
“Indeed, it would require a whole-of-government approach to ensure the efficient, effective, and compassionate administration of justice in the country.”
The country’s first National Decongestion Summit entitled, ‘Decongest and Reintegrate: A Conference to Unlock Solutions to Jail and Prison Overcrowding,’ focuses its plenary sessions and workshops on jail decongestion efforts and best practices of other countries.
Among efforts to decongest jails nationwide is the annual recommendation of Executive Clemency to qualified inmates or Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDLs).
Based on recent report by the Board of Pardons and Parole, there are 856 PDLs that were recommended for executive clemency from July 2022 to October 2023.
This list included 794 PDLs qualified for commutation of sentence, one for absolute pardon, and 61 for conditional pardon without parole condition.
For his part, Bersamin urged everyone to unite together not only to realize the goals of the gathering, but also to pursue the “Bagong Pilipinas” that the government envisions for the Filipino people.
“As Executive Secretary and former Chief Justice, I likewise assure you of my support in your endeavors. I look forward to the positive changes that we will create together,” Bersamin said.
The summit will run until tomorrow, December 7. PND