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‘I believe in second chance’

By Bernadette H. Carreon KOROR, Palau (Palau Horizon, Aug. 11, 2010) - President Johnson Toribiong stated that the drug convicts he pardoned deserved second chance and have already paid their dues to the country of Palau.

Toribiong who returned on the weekend from the Pacific Island Forum trip in Vanuatu was reacting to Sen. Adalbert Eledui’s call for an oversight hearing on his granting of clemency to two convicts earlier sentenced of drug peddling.

Toribiong said that he had followed the strong recommendation of the parole board.

"They already did a lot of years in jail, these people have changed their lifestyle and I felt it was right to grant them pardon. I believe in second chance," Toribiong said in an interview.

Eledui has asked the Judiciary and the Governmental Affairs committee to conduct an oversight hearing.

Eledui raised these questions after the president granted executive clemency to convicts found guilty of drug trafficking. The senator said these are major crimes.

Sen. Joel Toribiong, chair of the committee and the president’s brother said that order of pardon is the leader of the country’s prerogative.

He said the president cannot be subjected to a public hearing.

Eledui however said that he did not want to conduct an oversight hearing with the president’s office but rather with the parole board.

Eledui was pertaining to the grant of pardon to Kazuma Takada for his conviction ranging from several counts of assault and battery, grand larceny, forgery, trafficking of a controlled substance and threatening.

Another convict was also given full and complete pardon- Carlos Wasisang who was convicted of possession of methamphetamine and attempted murder.

Toribiong said these two has already proven remorse for the crimes they have committed.

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