MANILA, Philippines – A political detainee has died while jailed at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City due to the lack of medical care for his ailment, a non-government organization disclosed today.
Mariano Umbrero passed away due to an untreated lung cancer, according to the Medical Action Group (MAG).
MAG said Umbrero’s sickness had progressed mid-March this year and was in and out of the NBP hospital.
“It was just inhuman. Tatay Umbrero’s life could have been prolonged if he was freed immediately from prison. We believe a hospital complete with medical facilities – not a prison cell – is the place for old and sick inmates like him,” Edeliza Hernandez of MAG said.
Umbrero, who has been detained since 2004, applied for an executive clemency from President Benigno Aquino III.
“With the single stroke of a pen, PNoy could have immediately signed the application for executive clemency of Tatay Umbrero and ordered his immediate release,” Hernandez said.
The group said that based on the Episcopla Commission on Prison Care data, there are 122 convicts who are up for pardon, after reaching the age of 70.
It added that it has already submitted to the Department of Justice a proposal to lower the age requirement from 70 to 60 and to include those who are “terminally ill and debilitating diseases” to be eligible for pardon or executive clemency. – Dennis Carcamo