Pope Francis puts a crown on an image of the Virgin Mary presented to him by someone from the crowd during the Encounter with Families at the MOA Arena on Friday. A chosen crowd of about 20,000 watched and listened as the Pope reflected on the family's importance.  (MNS photo)

Pope Francis puts a crown on an image of the Virgin Mary presented to him by someone from the crowd during the Encounter with Families at the MOA Arena on Friday. A chosen crowd of about 20,000 watched and listened as the Pope reflected on the family’s importance. (MNS photo)

MANILA, Jan 19 (Mabuhay) – Pope Francis already left the Philippines on Monday, but Malacañang has yet to pardon sick and elderly inmates as the government earlier planned to do in time for the papal visit.

Presidential spokesman Secretary Edwin Lacierda did not give a categorical answer when asked if President Benigno Aquino III will still grant executive clemency to inmates even after the papal visit.

Lacierda nevertheless assured that Aquino’s office will continue reviewing the Department of Justice (DOJ)’s recommendations for executive clemency.

“It’s now under review. We will see their assessment,” the Palace official said.

He likewise echoed DOJ Secretary Leila de Lima’s earlier statement that Aquino’s office “needed more time” to review the recommendations for presidential pardon.

Earlier this month, De Lima said the executive branch planning to pardon elderly inmates and those who are terminally ill before Pope Francis’ visit to the Philippines.

This was after the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) appealed to Aquino to grant clemency to sick, old, and abandoned prisoners in line with the theme of the papal visit, “Mercy and Compassion.”

Pope Francis flew back to Rome from Pasay City earlier in the day after a five-day state and apostolic visit in the Philippines.

Article VII, Section 19 of the 1987 Constitution states that: “Except in cases of impeachment, or as otherwise provided in this Constitution, the President may grant reprieves, commutations, and pardons, and remit fines and forfeitures, after conviction by final judgment.”

Implementing rules of Republic Act 4103 or the Indeterminate Sentence Law describe “commutation of sentence” as the reduction of the duration of a prison sentence of a prisoner.

Meanwhile, “conditional pardon” refers to the exemption of an individual, within certain limits or conditions, from the punishment which the law inflicts for the offense he had committed resulting in the partial extinction of his criminal liability. (MNS)