CBCP PRISON CARE EXEC No proof Teehankee reformed ‘Good conduct in jail not same as full rehab’


By Dona Pazzibugan
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 20:58:00 10/07/2008

MANILA, Philippines — Convicted murderer Claudio Teehankee Jr. may have been jailed for 14 years, but a Catholic church advocacy group for prison reforms doubts whether he has “reformed” since the country’s penal system does not provide any rehabilitation program for inmates.

Rodolfo Diamante, executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care, said having a record of “good conduct” inside a Philippine prison would not be the same as undergoing rehabilitation.
Good conduct only means the inmate did not join any riot or cause any trouble, said Diamante.

“‘The problem in our system is that there is no treatment. If there is no rehabilitation program, then the decision [to free Teehankee] becomes a very political one,” he said.

The CBCP advocates “restorative justice,” which provides for a rehabilitation program that would eventually give convicted criminals who have reformed a chance to return to society.

“Pardon or clemency should not be based on whether time has been served, there should be a program,” Diamante stressed, pointing out that hundreds of other inmates who had applied for clemency since they had served their time were turned down.

“How would you rehabilitate if there is no rehabilitation program? What then is the basis of the release? That’s why the decision [to pardon] would always be questioned since there is no clear basis,” Diamante said. (PDI)

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