Press Release
September 25, 2019

Co-Sponsorship Speech: Super Maximum Penitentiary Bill
Senator Juan Miguel F. Zubiri
25 September 2019

Mr. President, as the past few weeks have made clear, our current penitentiary system is severely flawed.

High-level convicts and corrupt prison officials have made a joke of our system, turning our penitentiary facilities into luxury suites to bide their time in until they get out on so-called "good conduct."So long as you have the money for it, you can do anything. You can get jailed for running a drug ring, and then continue running said ring from within your cell. You can defile a young girl, pass her on to your cronies, and get her and her boyfriend mercilessly killed--and after all of that, get preferential treatment in jail, easily smuggling drugs into your air-conditioned cell with your own flat-screen TV. This, Mr. President, is not justice.

While moneyed convicts of heinous crimes enjoy their sweet stay in prison, their victims have to deal with unspeakable trauma and grief. A drug lord's countless victims have to continue grappling with the messy demon of addiction. A rapist's victim will be forever changed and haunted by the violation that she has experienced. A murderer's victim will leave a hole that their grief-stricken family will never be able to fill. This, Mr. President, is perhaps the biggerinjustice. We cannot allow these convicts to live in comfort while their victims--or the families of their victims--suffer the aftermath left in these criminals' wake.

It is on behalf of these victims, and of concerned Filipino people at large, that I co-sponsor this bill establishing a separate prison facility for convicts of heinous crimes. This super-maximum prison facility will eliminate inmates'chances at escaping or even having unwarranted contact with the civilian population outside. This will be located in a remote and uninhabited island to firmly keep these convicts from posing any sort of physical threat to society. This super-max prison facility will be similar to the Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary in the US.

No TVs, no cell site reception, no WiFi. Absolutely no connectivity. In this super-max facility, we are eliminating all windows for collusion. Even family visits will be restricted. There will be no more face-to-face conversations. Visits will be conducted through a physical barrier like a glass window, and all conversations will be monitored, so convicts cannot slip in instructions for illegal activities to their visitors.

This super-max facility will also put a stop to collusion within the prison system, as is happening in our current penitentiary facilities, where high-level convicts use their power to influence and radicalize low-level offenders to commit their dirty work for them. Without the influence of high-level convicts, we will be able to set low-level offenders off on a path to redemption and correction.

What we also ultimately hope to achieve with this super-max penitentiary is to deter people from committing heinous crimes in the first place, because life in isolation, in a super-max facility, can be in many ways a bigger, more terrifying punishment than death. There can be no more agonizing experience than living with no one but yourself and the pressing weight of your own actions. With this super-max prison facility, we may not even need to impose death penalty as capital punishment.

This bill, Mr. President, is our stand for justice. Heinous crime convicts deserve a more highly secured penitentiary facility than they currently have, and their victims deserve the peace of knowing that these convicts are securely kept far away from them and their loved ones. This sense of peace and security is essential as they rebuild their lives and heal. This bill, more than anything, is for them.

It is in this spirit of justice that I enjoin our colleagues to see to the passage of this bill.

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