Mercy and compassion? Aquino fails to pardon some inmates during Pope visit
MANILA, Philippines – The original plan was to release a list of aging and sick inmates that the President would pardon, as a gift for Pope Francis.
But the Pope has come and gone and President Benigno Aquino III has yet to release the names of those he would be granting executive clemency.
On Monday, January 19, shortly after Pope Francis left Manila, Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma said the Office of the Deputy Executive Secretary for Legal Affairs is still reviewing the list recommended by the Department of Justice (DOJ). The DOJ submitted the list to the Palace weeks before the arrival of the Pope.
Coloma explained the delay, saying Malacañang wants to vet it carefully without rush or pressure.
“Of course it should still be based on merits. It cannot be perfunctory just because there’s an occasion. They’re doing complete staff work or due diligence to ensure the decision of the President will be equitable, fair and just,” he said.
Coloma added it isn’t Aquino’s style to rush decisions on important matters, emphasizing the primary consideration should not be the occasion since it may decrease objectivity. He said the government wants to avoid “an omission or error in judgment.”
“I hope our people will understand that we were short on time,” he said.
Aquino, as President of the Philippines, has the power to pardon a person convicted of a crime, or to reduce their sentences as stated under the Constitution. Malacañang traditionally releases the list of criminals he will pardon during the Christmas holidays.
The Pope was in the country for a state and pastoral visit from January 15-19. – Rappler.com