MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte granted executive clemency to actor Robin Padilla, making him one step closer to traveling abroad to be with his wife and newly born baby girl.
"I just granted the pardon in favor of Robin Padilla kasi 'yung original pardon niya hindi sinali 'yung (because the original pardon he was given does not include) full restoration [of] political and civil rights, therefore he could not travel, could not get a permit to possess a gun again," said Duterte on Tuesday night, November 15, during a dinner he hosted for some journalists.
Earlier that day, the actor and passionate Duterte supporter paid a courtesy call on the President. It was then when Duterte said he would grant the actor executive clemency, a power of the president to commute sentences in criminal cases.
Padilla was convicted of illegal possession of firearms in 1994. In 1998, then President Fidel Ramos granted him pardon but it did not restore, in full, his civil and political rights.
Duterte downplayed Padilla's crime as he spoke to media.
"Alam mo 'yung crime na 'yan walang nasaktan," the President said. (You know, his crime did not hurt anyone.)
"'Yung mahuli sila, wala silang sinaksakan, wala silang binaril," he added. (When they were caught, they did not stab anyone or shoot anyone.)
The President can grant executive clemency if there are real doubts about the guilt of the party, the sentence is excessive, or for humanitarian concerns such as illness or old age.
"He has suffered enough I think," Duterte said about Padilla.
Duterte said Padilla was close to tears when he was told he would be pardoned. Now, the actor is free to apply for a United States visa, which would allow him to visit his wife, TV host Mariel Rodriguez, who just gave birth to their baby girl, Maria Isabella, in the US on Monday, November 14.
Duterte also said he is considering granting pardon to elderly and sick jail inmates during the Christmas holidays.
"I am contemplating, they are preparing it, lahat ng matatanda at saka may sakit, 'yung mga may rayuma, hindi na makatakbo, 80 years old and above, kung gusto pa nila, may mauwian sila, I will grant them pardon so that they can return home," he said.
(I am contemplating it, they are preparing it, all the old and sick, those suffering from rheumatism, those who can't run, those 80 years old and above, those who want, those who have homes to return to, I will grant them pardon so that they can return home.) – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.