Lacson Calls for Equal Opportunities on Parole Grants to Convicts, Seeks ‘Inventory’ of Parolees

With well-connected, influential and rich convicts apparently getting priority even in parole, Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson called on the Department of Justice Tuesday to make public an inventory of convicts in heinous crimes who were granted parole, with emphasis on their social status. 

Lacson said the list of those who benefited from pardon and parole may give the public a glimpse into whether the rich and influential are still putting one over the justice system, even after they are convicted for heinous crimes.

“The DOJ, through the Board of Pardons and Parole, should make public an inventory of convicts in heinous crimes who are pardoned or paroled, with emphasis on their social status. Are the rich and influential getting the better part of the deal? Patas ba ang laban (Is everyone getting a fair shake)?” Lacson said.

Convicted murderer Claudio Teehankee Jr., son of the late Chief Justice Claudio Teehankee Sr., was released last week, 13 years after he was convicted for the shooting of three teenagers.

Lacson noted that in Teehankee’s case, DOJ secretary Raul Gonzalez admitted that he ordered Teehankee’s case reviewed only after the convict’s brother Manuel – presently the Philippine representative to the World Trade Organization in Geneva – “reminded” him about it.

“Sec. Gonzalez’s admission was very revealing. If you don’t have someone in the corridors of power to ‘remind’ the authorities about your case, makakalimutan ka (you will be forgotten). Hindi na patas ang laban, dehado ang pangkaraniwang Pilipino (This is no longer a fair fight, especially for the common Filipino),” he said.

On the other hand, Lacson noted that Gonzalez said it was Mrs. Arroyo who ordered the release of Teehankee, by using her “prerogative.”

“While no one can question the prerogative of the President in ordering the release of a convict, no one can blame the aggrieved parties for feeling sore and cheated of justice either,” he said.