Probation, Parole and Pardon

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When God created Adam and put him in the Garden of Eden, He only had one rule:  That Adam must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when he does, he will surely die.

Thus was created the first law and its consequence.

Now, Eve knew this.  Perhaps directly from God, or she was informed by Adam.  And yet they both violated this rule and now all of humanity is cursed with the certainty of death.

Eve and Adam were the first “convicts” of the first law.  But there is relief.

In the Philippines, we have laws on probation and parole.

A person convicted of a crime may apply for probation, or a suspension of his prison sentence, under the following general conditions:

  1. That his conviction carries an imprisonment of six years or less;
  2. He has no prior final conviction of an offense punished by imprisonment of more than six months and one day and/or a fine of more than P1,000.00; and
  3. That he has not previously availed of probation.

A convicted criminal on probation is required to report to his probation officer during the period of his probation, at the time and place designated by the officer. 

On the other hand, a person who has already served the minimum of penalty of his sentence in prison may qualify and apply for parole.  Provided, among other things, that the Board of Pardons and Parole finds that there is reasonable probability that the convict will be law-abiding, and that his release will not be incompatible with the interest and welfare of society nor endanger his life, that of his family and the victims.

Both probation and parole refer to a conditional release of a convicted criminal.  Violation of the terms and conditions of their conditional release will result in the re-arrest of the convict to serve the entire prison sentence or the remaining unexpired portion of the maximum sentence.

The “conviction” of Adam and Eve was not all lost hope.  The birth of Jesus Christ gave us pardon and gave humanity a chance at freedom from sin and death and a hope for eternal life, with only one qualification: That we truly accept Christ as our Lord and Savior.

But unlike probation and parole, once salvation is granted, it can no longer be terminated.  There is no re-arrest to serve further imprisonment.

Let us not forget the reason why we celebrate Christmas.  Neither pandemic nor typhoon, not even poverty, can change this single fact:  That Christmas is a celebration of the birth of our only Savior, Jesus Christ, that we may all receive the gift of eternal life.

Merry Christmas everyone!!