The leniency with which the Arroyo government treats rapist has practically transformed the government into a coddler of rapists ready to defy the rule of law to please its close political friends and allies.”



This was the statement issued by Gabriela Womens Party Representative Liza Largoza Maza accusing Malacanang of using the pardon and parole card as a political bargaining chip. “It will be recalled that it was in the middle of the night last December 30, 2006 when Lance Corporal Daniel Smith, convicted by the Philippine Court of raping a young Filipina in Subic, was whisked away from his detention cell to the US Embassy without any court order in an apparent desperate effort to please the United States. This year, its Mr. Romeo Jalosjos.”



The Gabriela solon also stressed on the need for Justice Secretary Raul Gonzales and Bureau of Corrections Chief Ricardo Dapat to set the records straight on the case of Mr. Jalosjos. “What is the status of Mr. Romeo Jalosjos now and what exactly is the government’s policy on the granting of parole, sentence commutation or pardon to convicted rapists? Much needs to be clarified amid conflicting statements and reports of virtual jailbreaks by Mr. Jalosjos.”



Maza also raised questions and demanded an inquiry into the executive department’s criteria and parameters for “good conduct” which is used for putting convicted inmates up for commutation or parole. “At whose prerogative exactly should rapists like Mr. Jalosjos be freed? Who should Filipino women hold accountable for this mockery of justice and insult to womanhood? And on what standards does the Department of Justice measure good conduct?”



If a convict donates a million pesos or builds a tennis court and a recreational center as Mr. Jalosjos did, does the DOJ Secretary already consider this as good conduct? How then will underprivileged and poor inmates show good conduct when their families can barely afford the transportation to be able to visit them regularly?”



A former Congressman of Zamboanga, Jalosjos was convicted for raping an 11 year-old girl in 1996. He has so far spent 13 years in jail for the heinous crime of rape. A commutation of his sentence to 16 years has recently been approved by Mrs. Arroyo upon the recommendation of the Bureau of Corrections on the basis of good conduct. #


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Filed under News Release, Political, VAW

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