‘Di pwedeng mag-piyansa! SolGen Calida opposes release of Reds due to COVID-19

‘Di pwedeng mag-piyansa! SolGen Calida opposes release of Reds due to COVID-19

The Office of the Solicitor General is weighing in on the issue of the 22 communist members asking for their temporary release.

Solgen Jose Calida has asked the Supreme Court (SC) to dismiss the petition filed which if granted would pave the way for the temporary release of the 22 communists members from prison due to the novel coronavirus 2019 disease or COVID-19.

“The petitioners, who claim to be political prisoners, are under detention for non-bailable offenses,” read the comment filed by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG).
Solicitor General Jose Calida
(photo credit to owner)

“To grant this petition would result in grave injustice not only to the People of the Philippines but also to the surviving relatives of the petitioners’ victims who are still waiting for justice to be finally served,” it added.
The OSG made a reminder to the Sc that the Rules of Court does not allow bail to persons “charged with a capital offense, or an offense punishable by reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, shall be admitted to bail when evidence of guilt is strong, regardless of the state of the criminal prosecution.”

“Similarly, Section 13, Article III of the 1987 Constitution explicitly states that those charged with offenses punishable by reclusion perpetua when evidence of guilt is strong, are not entitled to bail before conviction. In other words, bail shall be denied when the evidence of guilt for offenses punishable by reclusion perpetua is strong,” it cited.

The OSG reiterates that the petitioners cannot the reasoning used by former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile which granted him bail eventhough for a non-bailable offense of plunder.

The OSC cited the SC granted bail to the former Senate President for his fragile state of health and for not being a flight risk considering his social standing as former senator and his surrender to authorities.
“The petitioners, who are all high-ranking leaders of the NPA (New People’s Army), cannot be considered as non-flight risks. Although some of them may be of advanced age and in fragile state of health, their appearance before the court when so ordered or directed is highly unlikely,” the OSG stressed.

The OSG also disagreed with the petitioners who cited that many countries have released numerous prisoners due to the COVID-19 threat.
“The Philippine government is not expected to conform to the manner of releasing prisoners being adopted by other countries,” it stated.

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