OUR Constitution has permitted us, citizens, to cast our votes as part of our duty to our country and we call it the right of suffrage.

But such a right is not only exclusive to those whose freedom is not regulated due to an infraction, offense, and violation of human rights and of the law in general.

The Supreme Court (SC) has made sure that Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDLs) also exercise such rights even behind bars.

The recently concluded presidential and local elections also involved the PDLs all over the country and we have a share of it insofar as PDLs are concerned.

Our jails here also allowed PDLs to cast their votes, and according to Regional Trial Court Executive Judge Raymond Javier, around 1,000 PDLs from various prisons from Bacolod City and Negros Occidental have participated in the elections by casting their votes on May 9.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) sent their personnel to man the conduct of elections to PDLs and it was an orderly, peaceful, credible and honest election.

“It is the right of every Filipino citizen to vote, that includes our Persons Deprived of Liberty. The SC makes sure that they are afforded this fundamental human right,” Javier said.

Some 338 PDLs voted in Metro-Bacolod District Jail - Male Dormitory located in Barangay Singcang-Airport while 245 cast their votes in Negros Occidental District Jail-Male Dormitory.

At the Talisay City jail, 117 PDLs cast their votes, 338 voters from Metro-Bacolod District jail-Male Dormitory annex and 128 voters from Metro-Bacolod District Jail-Female Dormitory in Barangay Handumanan.

Of this, there are a total of 1,166 PDLs who were able to vote on May 9 polls, Javier said.

Health protocols were also observed during the conduct of the elections as shown in the photo with someone using Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs).