By Benjamin Pulta

New Bilibid Prison (File photo)

MANILA – Some 783 persons deprived of liberty (PDL) have been released in March, bringing to 12,836 the total number released under the administration of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) said Monday.

In a statement, the BuCor said the number of inmates released in March was higher than the 706 released from its various operating prisons and penal farms in February.

BuCor Director General Gregorio Pio P. Catapang Jr. said of those released for March, 132 have been acquitted, four were on bail, two on conditional pardon, 528 due to expiration of maximum sentence, 20 were granted probation, and 97 have been granted parole.

Parole is the conditional release of a prisoner from a correctional institution after serving the minimum period of a prison sentence, while probation is a privilege granted by the court to a person convicted of a criminal offense to remain in the community instead of actually going to prison or jail.

On the other hand, conditional pardon is the conditional exemption of a guilty offender from the punishment imposed by the court. For Conditional Pardon, the prisoner shall have served at least one-half of the minimum of his original indeterminate and/or definite sentence. It may be granted by the President on recommendation by the Board of Pardons and Paroles.

The BuCor reported that of the 783 PDLs released in March, 149 were from the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) Minimum Security Compound; 146 from the NBP Maximum Security Compound; 99 from the NBP Medium Security Compound; 96 from Davao Prison and Penal Farm; 65 from the Correctional Institution for Women; 65 from the Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm; 55 from San Ramon Prison and Penal Farm; 48 from Sablayan Prison and Penal Farm; 44 from Leyte Regional Prison; and 16 from the NBP-Reception and Diagnostic Center (RDC).

Meanwhile, some 500 inmates from the NBP were transferred Sunday night to San Ramon Prison and Penal Farm (SRPPF) in Zamboanga City, as the BuCor continues its program to decongest and improve living conditions inside the prisons.

Aside from decongesting the NBP, the transferred PDLs will also augment the manpower needs of the SRPPF for its agricultural programs.

Since January this year, the BuCor has already transferred a total of 2,248 PDLs from the NBP to other penal farms in the country. (PNA)