LEADERS and volunteers of the Catholic Church’s prison ministry are seeking to make their voices heard on how to address issues facing the country’s criminal justice system.
Rodolfo Diamante, executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care, said fighting crime is something all stakeholders can unite around and should foster an environment of dialogue, especially with the government.
“In fact we would want to dialogue even [with] the upper echelons. Our (ECPPC) chairman is at the same time, the military vicar, and we asked him to dialogue with President Duterte. We need to sit down as people and talk about what we can do better in the criminal justice system,” he said.
Diamante earlier expressed disappointment with the conduct of the House probe into the alleged drug trade inside the National Bilibid Prisons.
He admitted the NBP has a lot of problems but called on authorities to resolve the issues without resorting to politicking.
The Catholic prison ministry official also called for the holding of a “correction summit” to identify the challenges and solutions to further the progress of criminal justice reform.
He also reiterated the commission’s opposition to the planned transfer of the national penitentiary from Muntinlupa City to Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija.
Diamante was referring to the proposed construction of a P50 billion mega prison project that will be built on a 500-hectare complex that could accommodate more than 20,000 prisoners.
“That is unnecessary,” he said, adding that what is needed is the improvement of existing facilities in seven colonies where NBP inmates can be transferred.