- Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza aims to propose a measure that will define a new mode of life imprisonment for serious offenders
- Atienza’s proposal will be presented in the incoming 17th Congress
- It shall state that all persons who will be found guilty of grave crimes will be slapped with a new sentence called “qualified reclusion perpetua” instead of the death penalty
As an alternative to the incoming administration’s plan to reinstate capital punishment, a measure is intended to be filed by Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza that will define a new mode of life imprisonment for serious offenders.
An article written by Xianne Archangel on GMA News Online mentioned that Atienza will propose in the incoming 17th Congress that convicts of heinous crimes will be locked up in jail for at least four decades.
Atienza, who earlier expressed support on President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s aggressive stance against crime but also cautioned against the so-called reckless revival of the death penalty, said that “the alternative is tantamount to locking up a convict and throwing away the key.”
As such, under the lawmaker’s proposal all persons who will be found guilty of grave crimes will be slapped with a new sentence called “qualified reclusion perpetua” instead of the death penalty.
The law states that qualified reclusion perpetua means a convict would stay in prison for an absolute minimum of 40 years, or until he or she attains the age of 70 years, whichever comes first, before becoming eligible for possible parole.
Currently, the Revised Penal Code only provides for the maximum penalty of reclusion perpetua or a simple life term that is equivalent to 30 to 40 years in prison, with the convict to possibly eligible accorded conditional early release after serving half of the term, or after 15 to 20 years.
On the other hand, “life termer” under existing laws is also entitled to good conduct or loyalty allowances. It also constitutes a reduction of sentence for preventive detention, or for time spent in jail prior to conviction.
As explained by Atienza, his legislative proposal would mean a lifetime in prison for convicts who will be drawing the new sentence, with the accessory penalty compelling them to provide full restitution to their victims, or to their victims’ families.
Aside from spending a minimum of 40 years in prison, Atienza also said he wants heinous crime convicts to perform productive labor while in prison. The convicts’ earnings will then be placed in a fund to indemnify their victims.
For this purpose, the party-list representative proposed for the establishment of a new Victim’s Indemnification Fund to be administered by the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Included in his proposal is a provision excluding the convicts sentenced to qualified reclusion perpetua from receiving good conduct or loyalty allowances and the benefit of reduced sentence for preventive detention.