517 prisoners in BJMP facilities positive for coronavirus
MANILA, Philippines – There are now 517 prisoners detained in Bureau of Management and Penology (BJMP) facilities who are positive for coronavirus, according to Malacañang's weekly report to Congress.
BJMP prisoners are those still on trial. For convicts under Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) facilities, there are 117 positive for coronavirus as of May 15.
"As of May 19, 2020, the BJMP has identified 703 suspected, 86 probable, and 517 confirmed detained in 10 various facilities," Malacañang said in its latest weekly report submitted Monday, May 25.
Cebu City Jail is among the worst–hit prison facilities.
Malacañang said the BJMP has implemented swab testing of prisoners and personnel there, established isolation centers, and intensified contact tracing.
Malacañang did not include in its report if there have been deaths in the confirmed cases in BJMP facilities. International group Human Rights Watch has called on the government to investigate deaths during the pandemic, coronavirus–related or otherwise, in congested prison cells.
The Supreme Court is yet to act on a petition for a humanitarian mass release of prisoners. (PODCAST: Law of Duterte Land: Legal difficulties of a prisoner mass release)
Malacañang reported that there have been 53 elderly prisoners released through different lower court orders, "31 of whom are non-recidivists and 21 have pre-existing medical conditions."
In BuCor facilities, there have been 5 coronavirus deaths. Rappler reported in a two–part exclusive that at least 60 have died per month in the New Bilibid Prison since the lockdown, with dozens of them dying of unknown causes and who were never tested for coronavirus.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has relaxed the application process for parole and clemency.
Malacañang reported that as of May 15, there have been 144 convicts granted parole, and 653 with pending applications. – Rappler.com