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Article II Section 11 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, which says: “The State values the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for human rights.” Furthermore, Article III (Bill of Rights), Section 1 of the Constitution, states that “[n]o person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws.”
These declarations of principles form the bedrock of the Philippine government’s policy on imprisonment and detention. Imprisoned or detained individuals, therefore, do not lose their rights even in incarceration.
Presidential Decree No. 28. s. 1972, an act that established seven regional prisons and converted existing national penal institutions into regular prisons and penal farms.
Republic Act No. 10707, otherwise known as An Act Amending Presidential Decree 968, Otherwise Known as ‘The Probation Law of 1976,’ As Amended. It lists the requirements needed for a convicted prisoner to be qualified for parole or probation. Probation is a privilege granted by a court to a convicted person to remain in a community instead of remaining in jail.
Republic Act No. 6975, or the Department of the Interior and Local Government Act of 1990. This act established the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) under the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG). Chapter V details the powers and functions as well as the organization of BJMP. It also established district, city, and municipal jails.
Republic Act No. 10575 or the Bureau of Corrections Act of 2013. An act that aims to strengthen the Bureau of Corrections and providing funds for the modernization, professionalization and restructuring of BuCor, including the upgrading of its facilities, increasing the number of its personnel, upgrading the level of qualifications of their personnel and standardizing their base pay, retirement and other benefits, making them at par with those enjoyed by personnel of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP).
Republic Act No. 7438 or the act that defines “certain rights of persons arrested, detained or under custodial investigation as well as duties of the arresting, detaining and investigating officers, and providing penalties for violations thereof.”
Republic Act No. 9745 or the Anti-Torture Act of 2009, the law that penalizes acts by persons of authority or state agents that cause “severe pain, exhaustion, disability or dysfunction” on detainees as well as mental or psychological acts “calculated to affect or confuse the mind or undermine a person’s dignity and morale.”
Republic Act No. 9344 or the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006, which covers the different stages of children at risk and children in conflict with the law, from prevention to rehabilitation, to integration. It places the minimum age of criminal responsibility at 15 years. It provides for child-appropriate proceedings, including programs and services for prevention, rehabilitation and reintegration of children at risk and in conflict with the law.
Presidential Decree No. 603, or the Philippine Child and Youth Welfare Code. This decree requires that arrested minors, except for special circumstances, be committed to the care of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) or a juvenile center for the duration of his or her arrest or until they reach the age of 18.
— PCIJ, March 2022