Ailing ex-President pushes for medical parole-A A +A
Monday, October 22, 2012
MANILA -- Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo asked her colleagues in Congress on Monday to ensure the “expeditious passage” of a measure that could allow her to seek medical parole in case the Sandiganbayan convicts her for plunder.
The former President, who is under hospital arrest over plunder charges, filed House Bill 6608 or the Medical Parole Act of 2012, which will authorize the Board of Pardons and Parole under the Department of Justice to grant medical parole to ill prisoners.
Together with her son, Camarines Sur Representative Diosdado “Dato” Arroyo, she argued that sick prisoners should be granted parole “as a gesture of mercy and compassion.”
The Arroyos added that their proposal would allow the government to save on taxpayer’s money because sick prisoners cost taxpayers “nearly twice” compared to healthy inmates.
“For humanitarian considerations, the grant of medical parole should be allowed since all persons must be treated with dignity, whether in or out of prison, and irrespective of the crimes committed,” the Arroyos said in their proposal.
The bill was filed on September 26, a week before she was ordered arrested for plunder on October 4. It was referred to the House committee on justice led by Iloilo Representative Niel Tupas Jr.
Arroyo and nine others were charged with plunder over their alleged misuse of P366-million in Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) intelligence funds.
Last week, the Sandiganbayan granted her petition for hospital arrest.
One of the conditions of the anti-graft court indicates that the former President can stay at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) in Quezon City as long as she will shoulder all expenses.
Last year, Arroyo underwent three cervical spine surgeries. Recently, she was placed at the intensive care unit of VMMC after she was diagnosed with coronary ischemia.
The former President had been under hospital detention for eight months on charges of election fraud until a Pasay City court allowed her to post bail on July 25.
Under the proposed Medical Parole Act of 2012, the Board of Pardons and Parole may release a prisoner on medical parole if he or she suffers from an incapacitating physical condition, disease or syndrome.
The Board, however, may revoke the medical parole if the inmate is likely to pose a possible danger to the public.
“A prisoner will be eligible for medical parole if s/he does not constitute a threat to public safety and is not likely to commit an offense while on medical parole,” the bill states.
Furthermore, prisoners who have served 10 consecutive years or more in prison shall not be paroled until the Board receives a report on their medical condition and ability to adjust to life outside the prison from a licensed psychiatrist or psychologist. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)