Press Release
October 24, 2008

Gordon thanks PGMA for release of 3 elderly women inmates

Independent Senator Richard J. Gordon today thanked President Arroyo on behalf of the three elderly women prisoners whose sentences she has recently commuted in line with her policy of humanitarian compassion.

Gordon extended his personal gratitude to the President as three elderly women inmates - Rosita Barba, Rosaria Dapuay and Anita Goronia - were finally released from the Correctional Institution for Women (CIW) in Mandaluyong City.

"We believe that the three senior aged women prisoners no longer pose a danger to our society. Considering the conditions they face in jail and the special attention they may need because of their advanced age, keeping them longer in prison may only be cruel and inhuman," he said.

Barba is 78 years old and was convicted for illegal recruitment with a sentence of life imprisonment; Dapuay, 74, and Goronia, 80, were both convicted for violation of Section 5 of RA 9165 or the sale of illegal drugs.

Goronia, the oldest of the three female inmates, was said to be suffering from a number of ailments and is already very weak, barely able to walk.

They were among the 12 senior aged women prisoners whom Gordon and the Zonta Club of Makati, of which Mrs. Kate Gordon is an active member, have appealed to the President for the commutation of their sentences.

The remaining nine other elderly women inmates are hoped to be released from the CIW by Christmas this year pending the review and processing of their application for executive clemency.

"We do hope that the remaining elderly inmates would be freed soon so that they may join their loved ones come the Christmas season," Gordon said, adding that he hopes that the review of their cases would be expedited.

Last June, Gordon acted on behalf of Zonta in securing the speedy release of 12 senior aged female prisoners from the CIW, which included Barba, Dapuay, and Goronia.

In requesting the swift release of the aged female prisoners, Gordon had cited the President's Nov. 17, 2004 Memorandum Order 155 directing the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology and Board of Pardons and Parole to submit the names of 70 year old inmates who may be granted executive clemency.

CIW is the smallest but the most overcrowded among the various prison facilities in the country. Although it has a capacity of 500 prisoner, CIW is currently populated with more than 951 female inmates.

Last year, 15 inmates died while in confinement and three were more than 70 years of age.

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