Father and son acquitted in online court hearing

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A father and son were acquitted in an online court hearing after they were jailed for three years for charges related to illegal drugs. 

They were among the 124 inmates of the Manila City Jail who attended a tele-hearing, which uses the internet to talk with their lawyers and jurors.

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The father and son wept when they heard their “not guilty” verdict.

The tele-hearing aims to keep the Manila City Jail COVID-19 free. Inmates also use the internet to greet their loved ones and send them their needs.

Supreme Court data showed the Philippine government had released over 14,000 inmates from jail with 4,000 detainees released last week amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

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According to SC Public Information Office (PIO), 4,683 persons deprived of liberty (PDL) were released from April 4 to May 8. This is after Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta ordered administrative circulars on reduced bails and pilot testing of the online court hearing.

Peralta said the release was facilitated through the court initiatives such as electronic filing of cases and transmission of release orders.

As of this posting, the Philippines recorded a total of 15,049 COVID-19 cases, 904 deaths, and 3,506 recoveries.

Also read: American sentenced to life for sexually exploiting Filipino children online


15 drivers live in jeeps because after failing to pay rent

Around 15 drivers were forced to live inside their jeepney in Barangay Paligsahan, Quezon City, after they were unable to pay rent since Metro Manila was locked down because of a novel coronavirus.

Among the drivers was George Rivera, who wanted to return to Dumaguete City, where his two children and his wife lived. 

His colleague Boy Letigio appealed to the government to help them return to the province. He and his wife applied in the government’s “Balik Probinsya” program.

Jeepneys are still not allowed to travel under the general quarantine community.

Jeepney Operators and Drivers Association of the Philippines president Zeny Maranan called on the authorities to release drivers who can obtain financial assistance and clarify its process.

“Sabihin na nila sa amin nang tapat na hindi na talaga kami makakatanggap para nang sa ganoon, huwag nang umasa itong mga taong ito,” he said in an interview with DZMM.

(They should tell us if we are not going to receive assistance so the people here will not have false hopes.)

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