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Philippine ex-congressman freed after years behind bars over rape
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20:34, March 19, 2009

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A former congressman who was convicted of raping a 11-year-old girl in 1996 was discharged from prison on Thursday under sentence commution that shortened his two life jail terms.

Romeo Jalosjos, former lawmaker from Zamboanga del Norte province, was sentenced to two life terms for statutory rape and an additional eight to 15 years for each of the six counts of acts of lasciviousness by a local court in 1997, but he was granted commution by Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2007.

Altogether, Jalosjos spent only eleven years behind bars.

Philippine correction officials cited Jalosjos' sterling leadership in prison as well as his activities aimed at improving the lives of fellow prisoners as the ground for being awarded the commution.

Woman's rights group, however, blasted the release of former congressman as a mockery of the country's justice system.

Walking out of the walled compound of New Bilibid Prison south of the national capital, Jalosjos told reporters that he would dedicate the rest of his life to helping the families of prison inmates.

Jalosjos said he was compelled to do so as he had witnessed too many hardships undergone by the families left behind by inmates.

Source: Xinhua

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