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ALTERNATIVE SENTENCING: A SOLUTION TO THE PRISON OVERPOPULATION IN THE PHILIPPINES

A Term Paper Presented to MS. LADY HANIFAH R. MINDALANO College of Social Sciences and Humanities Mindanao State University Marawi City

In Partial Fulfillment Of the Requirements for the Course English 2- Ee (College English II) Second Semester, A.Y. 2011 – 2012

By ELIKA ER C. BIENES February 2012


Alternative Sentencing: A Solution to the Prison Overpopulation in the Philippines Thesis Statement: Alternative Sentencing in the Philippines, however vindictive, can act as the solution to prison overpopulation as well as an effective deterrent to crime. Introduction In the Philippines today, long-term imprisonment has been the way of the government’s crime control. Nevertheless, the crime control has only been too obvious and simple. In fact, it has only encouraged the hidden criminal minds of some Filipinos to engage on criminal activities. Thus, it gives a great factor to the overflowing inmates on prisons. This paper aims to discuss on how alternative sentencing in the Philippines can contribute to resolving the country’s problem on prison overpopulation due to the costs of increased criminal cases. I.

Overpopulated Prisons A. Antipolo City Jail B. New Bilibid Prison

II.

Factors Affecting A. Inadequate Funds for building more prisons B. The rise of social insecurity around the community

III.

Alternative Sentencing A. Death Penalty 1. Lethal Injection 2. Electroshock (electric chair) 3. Firing Squad B. Lifetime Imprisonment

IV.

Criminal Justice System by former Philippine Presidents A. President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos’ Administration B. Presidents Joseph Ejercito Estrada’s Administration C. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s Administration


Conclusion Today, the Philippines is facing the problem on prison overpopulation due to the costs of increased criminal cases, which is a menace to the society. Hence, it is in this necessity that death penalty should be imposed in the Philippines to lessen the criminal rate and prevent prison overpopulation. This punishment maybe admittedly harsh but it could be the only possible solution left in the Philippines with its responsive outcome to the Filipino society on the revival of social security and the pride of our country to be low-crime rated. Bibliography


Introduction Nowadays, Filipinos are living in an era where deception and bad influence are all around them. People are being deceived by worldly pleasures which give them aspiration that they could not even cope with, and that could only be achieved through criminal activities that reveal lack of discipline in their moral order and scarcity of useful social goods. Law enforcers have been constantly making ways to totally make the Philippines a crime-free nation, as possible. They have also made a doctrine of criminal deterrence that merits and would provide a rationale punishment for crimes committed that directly addresses to the criminals. Thus, would help in solving the problem on prison overpopulation. In line for possible solution to this problem, this paper tends to give the readers the comprehension behind the problem of prison overpopulation. It is in this premise that the researcher aims to discuss on how alternative sentencing in the Philippines could act as the solution of prison overpopulation as well as an effective deterrent to crime without the necessary action of building more prisons. The scope of this paper is only limited to the prison overpopulation cases in the Philippines. The researcher is only limited to at least ten (10) sources, wherein three (3) are allowed to be coming from the internet and the rest,coming from books, magazines, journals, articles, etc. The researcher is also limited to the commonly known alternative sentencing examples and to the famous overpopulated detention houses in the Philippines.


This paper will be a good help for students of Mindanao State University, on arguments concerning prison overpopulation. Also, this could support that revival of death penalty in the Philippines. This paper attempts to uncover and comprehend the situation behind prison overpopulation and to support the possible revival of death penalty in the Philippines. Specifically, this paper attempts to answer the following questions: (1) What is the major reason of prison overpopulation in the Philippines? (2) What can alternative sentencing in the Philippines do to the problem on prison overpopulation today? (3) What could be the responsive outcomes of alternative sentencing in the Philippines to the Filipino Society? These are the following objectives that the researcher would like to achieve: (1) to identify what is the major reason of prison overpopulation in the Philippines; (2) to be able to learn what can alternative sentencing do to the problem on prison overpopulation today; (3) to analyze what could be the responsive outcomes of alternative sentencing in the Philippines to the Filipino Society. The researcher gathered information from different sources. The researcher based on books, articles, journals, magazines, newspapers, speeches, blogs, and from the internet. It is in this methodology in which the researcher comes up with a generalization or conclusion based on the researcher’s research.


When the criminal justice system grows, so does the crime problem. The expansion of the criminal justice apparatus is a result of both public and legislative reactions to crime. At the same time, however, the criminal justice system itself produces the official data that defines what we know as the crime problem. A larger system allows greater opportunities for crime to be officially recorded. In turn, we react to such data by further increasing the state’s social control mechanism---- the criminal justice system. (Pontell, 1984). We typically rely on the criminal justice system to do more than it is capable of doing. In the process, we have increased the size of the criminal justice system and have at the same time witnessed a growth in criminal behavior (Ibid.). The Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) is an integral bureau of the DOJ mandated to carry out the institutional rehabilitation program of the government for national offenders, or those who are sentenced to more than three years of imprisonment, and to ensure their safe custody. BuCor maintains 7 national penitentiaries with a total prison population of 25,002. National penitentiaries, having an overall capacity of 19,600 inmates, are congested by 28%. Congestion problem is more glaring in the New Bilibid Prison which maintains 65% of the total prison population (National Survey of Inmates and Institutional Assessment, July 2003). According to the National Statistical Coordination Board, in 2002, there were 25,002 inmates confined in the seven national prison facilities in the country. Of this number, 16,134, or 65% are in the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City. And of the 8, 500 prisoner capacity of the NBP, its total population was 16, 134 prisoners


compared to the capacity of 1,000 to 3,000 capacity of other national prison facilities in the Philippines by 2002(Ibid.). Also, the Antipolo City Jail, which was built to hold 200 inmates, according to international standards, had nearly 800 inmates as of March 2010(Laserna, 2010). Overcrowding remains a serious concern for the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), which has administrative control over the country's 1,132 city, district and municipal jails. According to the Bureau, the jail population rose from about 35,000 prisoners in 2000 to more than 58,000 in August 2009. From this information, the situation clearly shows that our county has been on a serious threat of prison overpopulation and growing (Ibid.). At the heart of this prison overcrowding, comes the concern to the prisoners themselves. Overcrowding is a menace to health in many prisons in the Philippines. It is a basic requirement that all prisoners should be given a medical examination as soon as they have been admitted to a prison or place of detention (Principles on Detention or Imprisonment, principle 24; SMR, rule 24.). Certainly, this pitiful overcrowding of inmates in prisons has done no good both to them and us. There are factors that affect prison overpopulation among prisons in the Philippines. One could be the inadequate funds for building more prisons. The P1.816-trillion proposed Budget for 2012 represents 16.5 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Net of debt servicing and Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA), the government Budget for 2012 is higher by 20.8 percent over the


equivalent portion of the 2011 national budget. The Sectoral Distribution of our proposed Budget reflects this administration’s priorities. The Social Services sector continues to receive the lion’s share of 31.7 percent or P575.8 billion of the National Budget. Meanwhile, the Economic Services sector will receive the second biggest share of 24.2 percent or P438.9 billion. The Top 5 Departments in terms of budgetary allocation have remained the same; although key changes in their program composition and ranking were reflected due to this administration’s increased focus on its priorities. The order are as follows; Department of Education (DepEd) at first, Department of Public Woks and Highways (DPWH) at second, Department of National Defense (DND) at third, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), at fourth … part of this amount is P5.2 billion under the MPBF to fund unfilled positions in the PNP, Bureau of Jail and Management Penology (BJMP) and Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP)… and the Department of Agriculture (DA) at fifth (President Aquino’s 2012 Budget Message, July 26, 2011). Another, is the doctrine of criminal deterrence (specifically, specific deterrence) to the utilitarian thinking of the classical school of criminology (Bentham and Beccaria, ______). Specific or individual deterrence refers to the punitive effect that punishment has on an individual who is punished. The idea is that once a person has experienced the unpleasantness of punishment, he or she will not engage in illegal behavior again (Pontell, 1984).


The control of crime remains one of the most important social issues of our time. We are constantly confronted with news of what appears to most as antisocial, and sometimes even inhuman, form of behavior (Ibid.). In the Philippines, some considered it as too sympathetic that it has lifted up the criminal minds of the Filipinos and resulting to the increased criminal activities. People are scared, whether or not they have reason to be. According to sociology, people commit crimes because of an aspiration inside the community that people cannot even cope with. These aspirations however can only be achieved through engaging criminal activities. And the reason for engaging in criminal activities is the perception of Filipinos toward the lousy criminal law imposed by the government. Filipinos found the criminal laws imposed by the government, just a merely scare and the government was not even serious on dealing with it and the punishment for it is a specific deterrence. Hence, the government’s lousy criminal laws have not been very effective due possibly also to the unsympathetic bailing system in our country. Some government officials are also money-hungry that the value of justice equality has long been gone. Also, there is also this rising of social insecurity around the community because of the increased criminal cases in the country. Over the past decade, criminologists have concentrated most heavily on testing the notion of general deterrence. Originally, the concept of deterrence was tied to larger movement in eighteenth-and nineteenth-century Europe, which advocated a more humane system of punishment based on the notion of social good. It was posited that the certainty, the celerity, and to a lesser extent, the severity of punishment would provide a


change of heart in would-be criminals and thus preventing criminal activity (Pontell, 1984). It is hardly possible for any legal machinery to do all which our voluminous penal legislation expects of it. Even lawyers scarcely appreciate the operation of the limitations upon all effective legal action. Thus, there is constant pressure upon the law to do something whether it may do anything worthwhile or not. In periods of transition or expansion, the tendency is especially strong to call upon the law to do more than it is adapted to do (Pound, 1975). Death penalty had been used in the Philippines long before the western oppressors came. It was still practiced on the time of the Spaniards, were the method of firing squad – especially for those whose crimes involve treason and military offenses – and garrote was widely used. Famous examples of men executed by death were the three martyr priests Mariano Gomez, José Apolonio Burgos, and Jacinto Zamora, three Filipino priests who were executed by the method of garrote on 17th of February 1872 at Bagumbayan in Manila, Philippines by Spanish colonial authorities on charges of subversion arising from the 1872 Cavite mutiny, and the Philippine’s foremost national hero, Jose Rizal, who was executed by firing squad on 30th of December 1896 by the Spanish government.(Flores, 2011) During the colonial rule of the United States of America on the Philippines, the electric chair was introduced as means of delivering punishment by death, making the Philippines and USA the only countries that use electrocution. This method was continued until it was stopped in 1976, when Pres. Ferdinand Marcos, made death by


firing squad the only means to punish criminals by death. Capital punishment waswidely used on Pres. Marcos’ regime to those that showed resistance to the government (Ibid.) When the dictatorship of Pres. Marcos was removed, the new drafted constitution had prohibited the use of death penalty, making the Philippines the first country in Asia to do so. But when, then Gen. Fidel Ramos was elected as president, he promised to bring back death penalty as a punishment to heinous crimes. The law provided the use of electric chair, until the gas chamber was installed. On April 15, 2006, the sentences of 1,230 death row inmates were commuted to life imprisonment, in what Amnesty International

believes

to

be

the

“largest

ever

commutation

of

death

sentences�.Capitalpunishment was re-abolished via Republic Act No. 9346, which was signed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on June 24, 2006. The bill followed a vote held in Congress earlier that same month which overwhelmingly supported the abolition of the practice. The penalties of life imprisonment and reclusion perpetua (indeterminate sentence, 30-year minimum) replaced the death penalty (Ibid.) There is a reason why cries for the return of death penalty are again being heard. Crime rates in the country had been increasing, and not just ordinary crimes, but heinous crimes. A recent heinous crime in memory was the Lozano case, in which Emerson Lozano, a car trader was killed, and his body was burned mercilessly. Due to the severity of the crime, and the method that was used to kill the victim, death penalty advocates are now in the move to gain support to reinstate death penalty (Ibid.) Capital punishment or death penalty is inflicting of death to a person who had been proven guilty of violating a crime, in which that crime is punishable by death.


Crimes that are punishable by death are called capital crimes or capital offences, crimes that include rape, murder and other crimes that are so severe that society doesn’t tolerate it. Methods that are used throughout history to execute criminals are beheading, electric chair, gas chamber, hanging, lethal injection, shooting, stabbing and stoning (Ibid.) Obviously, capital punishment had been a subject of debate by intellectuals and commoners alike. Common arguments include that we might execute those that are innocent, that it is immoral to kill a man, even if it be for punishment, and on the otherside includes that death penalty is the morally appropriate thing to do, that death penalty deters crime, etc. (Ibid.) What happens next will be crucial-government law enforcement agencies must work double time to win back the people’s trust and confidence. Until then, nothing much else is expected to happen . . . ” everything from economic progress to pride in being Pinoy rests on government ability to assure the personal security of everyone in the country . . . citizens or foreigners”. Personal security is the bedrock of any society, the social impact upon which we built everything else (Chanco, 2011) If the government is to be held responsible for many of the undesirable aspects of today, the people should accept equal responsibility for apathy, for a monumental dependence on government for all their needs including those they could have met by their own initiative and energy (Marcos, Philippine Jaycess, March 1970).


Conclusion Alternative sentencing, however implacable can act as an effective restraint to the crimes in the Philippines as well as the solution to prison overpopulation. We may not like it but the control of crime remains one of the most important social issues in our time. For the past decades, we have observed the criminal cases both big or small which is still growing until now. In addition, year by year, the court has been receiving prisoners that they could not even accommodate resulting to the crowding of prisoners in prisons and jails.

Nevertheless, solutions are offered by the government that may help on

lessening the crimes. Some officials considered death penalty and some do not. We have already considered before the electroshock and lethal injection and even guillotine during the rule of the Spaniards which have somehow helped a little to reform the criminals, and now we turn to the lifetime imprisonment system. However, this endless trial and error method of making an effective restraint for crime is not helping resulting to the costs of increasing population in prisons. Also, it only made our social security unstable. We may feel safe in knowing that some criminals are behind bars, but given the horrible conditions of Philippine prisons, we should be less easy knowing that these same prisoners will be eventually released in to the society and back again. Hence, it is in this necessity that death penalty should be imposed in the Philippines to somehow help on lessening the criminal rate and prevent prison overpopulation. This punishment maybe admittedly harsh but it could be the only possible solution left in the Philippines.


Bibliography Books: Bentham, Jeremy. An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation. New York: Hafner Printing Press, 1973. Gagelonia, Pedro. The Marcos Mind: A Vision of Greatness. Manila: Navotas Press, 1975. Pontell, Henry. A Capacity to Punish: The Ecology of Crime and Punishment. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1984. Pound, Roscoe. Criminal Justice in America. New York: DaCapo Press, 1975. Newspapers: Chanco, Boo. “Who Can We Trust.” The Philippine Star 23 January 2012: 62. Public Documents: Human Rights and Prisons [A Pocketbook of International Human Rights Standards for Prison Officials]. New York, and Geneva 10, Switzerland: United Nations Publication 2005. Professional Training Series No.11 Add. 3. National Survey of Inmates and Institutional Assessment, July 2003. Principles on Detention or Imprisonment. principle 24; SMR, rule 24. Speeches: Aquino, P. B. S. “2012 Budget Message.” State of the Nations Address, 26 July 2011. Marcos, F. E. “Philippine Jaycees.” Manila, 6 March 1970. Internet:


Flores, Mark. “The Morality of Capital Punishment or Death Penalty Under a Utilitarian Perspective.” http://mjf24.wrodpress.com/2011/02/20/the-morality-of-capitalpunishment-or-death-penalty-under-a-utilitarian-perspective/. Laserna

Jr.,

Manuel.

“Philippine

Laws

and

http://attylaserna.blogspot.com/2010/05/overcrowded-prisons-in-thephilippines-red.html.

Cases.”

ALTERNATIVE SENTENCING: A SOLUTION TO THE PRISON OVERPOPULATION IN THE PHILIPPINES  

my thesis in English 2

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