April 13, 2009
KIKO PANGILINAN FILES RESOLUTION TO CONDUCT INQUIRY IN GRANTING CLEMENCY TO MANALILI
Independent Senator Francis ‘Kiko’ Pangilinan today filed Resolution No. 969, directing the proper Senate Committee to conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, on the procedure of the Board of Pardons and Parole in granting executive clemency to the mastermind of the Cochise-Beebom double murder case.
Rodolfo Manalili, convicted of the gruesome murders, was granted executive clemency by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo last March 26, 2009, commuting the double life sentence he was served by the Quezon City trial court and later affirmed by the Supreme Court.
The resolution says that while the power to grant executive clemency is provided under the Constitution, it should ‘involve the exercise of sound judgment and discretion on the part of the President.”
“This power to grant clemency is not ministerial; otherwise the Board of Pardons need not go through the recommendation process to the President. They could easily sign the executive clemency themselves,” said Pangilinan.
According to the amended guidelines for recommending executive clemency in the revised manual of The Board of Pardons and Parole, there should be ‘extraordinary circumstances present such that strict application of the law will result in manifest justice.’ These include harsh penalty compared to the crime committed, evidence which the court failed to consider, and prisoners who suffer from serious and life-threatening illness or severe physical disability.
“It appears that there aren’t extraordinary circumstances in the case of Manalili and this is what we seek to clarify in this Senate hearing,” said Pangilinan. “What was the basis of the recommendation? What were the grounds? These questions can best be answered in the Senate inquiry. The board should explain the basis of their action.”
Pangilinan adds that there should have been, at the very least, prior exhaustive consultation with the family and relatives of the victims, giving them an opportunity to express their opinion on the issue.
“This granting of clemency to Manalili undermines the faith of the Filipino people in the country’s judicial process and its ability to bring justice.”