Press Release
September 26, 2019

Sotto wants separate jail for high-profile convicts

Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III backed the creation of a separate facility for heinous crimes convicts, considered as high-level offenders, to ensure that there will be no unwarranted contact or communication with those outside of the penal institution.

"With the overwhelming revelations on the state of corruption in the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor), the appalling condition of our inmates and the poor quality of our prison facilities, there is no appropriate time to correct these, but now," Sotto said in a speech co-sponsoring Senate Bill No. 1055.

SB 1055 authored by Sotto together with Majority Leader Migz Zubiri, Senators Richard Gordon and Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa, proposes for the construction of a more secure and state-of-the-art prison facility for offenders serving their sentence for heinous crimes.

"In light of the legislative inquiry and investigations, we now know that our system does not work," Sotto lamented, adding that "hardened criminals should not be in a position to further aggravate the ones who still have hope in their hearts to be productive members of society."

"We must differentiate the system of rehabilitating the hopeless from the hopeful. Ihiwalay ang mga bulok na mangga sa mga bagong pitas," Sotto added.

Other than decongesting existing penal institutions and accommodating the increasing number of inmates committed to the existing prison and penal farms, the purpose of the bill, Sotto explained, is to prevent inmates from taking advantage of "lax general rules that allow high-level offenders to continue their nefarious activities."

In addition, the maximum penal institution--also called heinous crimes facilities-- shall be located in a secured and isolated place, to ensure the safety and security of civilian communities and prevent the facility from possible intrusion or intruders.

This measure shall likewise regionalize these "heinous crimes facilities" by establishing maximum penal institutions in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, preferably within a military establishment or on an island separate from the mainland.

"Prison location and the soundness of the facility in terms of infrastructure or security protocols greatly affect the government's ability to incapacitate as well as to rehabilitate prisoners," Sotto said.

These factors dictate the effective removal of the offender from the society, thus incapacitating prisoners from committing further crimes; and, at the same time, bring them closer to their families - which could help in their rehabilitation, Sotto also said.

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