In October, Catholic Church officials scored the Aquino administration for being too âtightfistedâ in granting paroles and clemency to prisoners.
âFrom the time of Marcos, weâre used to seeing 100 or 300 prisoners being released on the Presidentâs birthday or on Independence Day,â said the New Bilibid Prison chaplain, Msgr. Bobby Olaguer.
âBut nowâŠ nothing. Those being released are only those who have already served their sentence,â Olaguer said.
In July 2011, Mariano Umbrero succumbed to cancer four days before he was granted presidential clemency. Umbrero, a cancer-stricken political detainee, died on July 15. President Aquino signed his pardon on July 19.
Executive clemency is the power of the President to commute sentences or to grant conditional or absolute pardon.
The Board of Pardons and Parole, which is under the Department of Justice, comes up with a list of prisoners recommended for executive clemency.
The list is usually finalized and sent to MalacaĂ±ang before Christmas.