USC Law, IBP Cebu City partner with Mandaue City for jail decongestion

The USC College of Law, together with the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Cebu City Chapter and other stakeholders, entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with the Mandaue City Government on February 26, 2024, at the Office of the City Mayor. 

Stakeholders, including USC Law Dean Atty. Jose Glenn C. Capanas (standing, 3rd from left), of the jail decongestion program pose for a photograph with Mandaue City Vice Mayor Hon. Glenn O. Bercede (seated center).

Under the Agreement, Mandaue City will adopt the Humanity Behind Bars: An Integrated Jail Decongestion and Management program, a joint project between USC Law, IBP Cebu City, and the Cebu City Justice Zone. 

To assist with jail decongestion, a digital platform called Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDL) Management Data will be incorporated, allowing for easier monitoring of the case status of PDLs in Mandaue City. 

With the supervision of USC Law Dean Atty. Jose Glenn C. Capanas and Atty. Mary Grace H. Casano, executive director of the IBP Cebu City Legal Aid, law student practitioners under USC Law’s Clinical Legal Education Program (CLEP) will help encode and update details of PDLs through the digital platform. 

A legal aid service, Oplan Bilis Laya (roughly translated, Operation Early Release) will also be implemented to assist in the timely release of PDLs who have already completed their sentences or those eligible for early release, pardon, or parole. 

The MoA was entered into by the following stakeholders: 

  • Bureau of Jail Management and Penology–Regional Office VII
  • Cebu Lady Lawyers Association, Inc.
  • Department of Health–Regional Office VII
  • DOJ Office of the City Prosecutor–Mandaue City
  • DOJ Parole and Probation Administration–Regional Office VII
  • DOJ Parole and Probation Administration–Mandaue City 
  • Governance in Justice (GOJUST)–Philippines 
  • The Integrated Bar of the Philippines–Cebu City Chapter 
  • Mandaue City Jail–Female Dormitory 
  • Mandaue City Jail–Male Dormitory 
  • Mandaue City Government 
  • Mandaue City Police Office 
  • Municipal Trial Courts in Cities–Mandaue City 
  • Regional Trial Court–Mandaue City 
  • Public Attorney’s Office–Mandaue City District Office 
  • The School of Law and Governance of the University of San Carlos 

Last year, USC Law received one of the first-ever “Educating for Justice Award for Top Contributing Law Schools” for its community extension services which includes the Humanity Behind Bars program. According to Dean Capanas, this program aims to address the issue of overcrowded jail facilities. 

He emphasized the need for jail decongestion since approximately 70% or 335 out of 480 jail facilities nationwide are overcrowded. 

With the newly signed MoA with Mandaue City, the USC College of Law is now expanding its legal aid programs to accommodate PDLs beyond its borders.

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