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Filipino jailed 25 years ago seeks sentence review

11 March 2017

Mario de los Reyes
A Filipino convicted of murder more than 20 years ago for which he was sentenced to a life in prison is seeking a review of his sentence in hopes of finally being able to regain his freedom.

Mario de los Reyes, who is in his ‘60s and is a regular contributor of articles to The SUN, was jailed for the killing of another Filipino in a gang war in Central involving his former group, Utol Gang. He has consistently denied the charge.

He is hoping to get enough endorsements from civic leaders when the prison review board revisits his life sentence in the next few months for a possible reduction or commutation.

“During my last sentence review in 2015, I was being recommended for a Special Assessment Report on my next sentence review, which is this first quarter of 2017,” de los Reyes said in a letter to The SUN.

“This … report is the most sought-after recommendation for lifers. There are lifers who had already served 26-30 years or more but still waiting for the … recommendation so they still have no chance,” the inmate said.

He said this past February he had already been in jail for 25 years, and had not had committed any disciplinary offence, “meaning I have a clear and untainted prison record and I am a regular attendee of religious services”.

Among those who have recommended de los Reyes for an early release is prison chaplain  Fr Patrick Colgan, SSC, who cited a startling fact mentioned in High Court Judge M Stuart Moore’s letter to the then Hong Kong Governor, dated Sept. 1, 1995:

“A verdict of manslaughter might have been recorded by a more merciful jury against these defendants on the basis of a joint enterprise falling short of the intention necessary for murder,” the letter said in part.

Fr. Colgan also said that he had observed the exemplary behavior in De los Reyes for the past four years, and that he believed the prisoner “poses no threat to either Hong Kong or Philippines’ society”.
He said he believes “this is an opportune time for a more ‘merciful review’ of the sentence and consider seriously a reduction or cancellation” of ce los Reyes’ remaining years in prison.

Another endorser was Pastor Oral Guevara of International Christian Assembly who cited de los Reyes’ “deep remorse” for his crime and his having been a model inmate who had not broken any prison rules in his 23 years in jail.

Pastor Guevara asked for “mercy, compassion and clemency” for de los Reyes, and for the conversion of the prisoner’s indeterminate sentence into a fixed term.

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