Dismayed anti-crime crusaders and kidnap victims have condemned as politically motivated President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's move to commute the death sentence of 280 inmates. Mrs Arroyo casually announced on Wednesday that 'maybe the 280 longest-serving, longest-staying inmates on death row will be commuted to life imprisonment'. She said it was for humanitarian reasons and part of her move to clear the national penitentiary, where 1,280 inmates are crammed on death row. She also pardoned and ordered freed 37 inmates over 70. Henry Chua, founding member of the Movement for Restoration of Peace and Order, said her actions were very unfair. 'It would seem criminals have more rights than victims,' he said. The move saddened businessman Vladimir Chuacuco, 35, who was seized at gunpoint in 2004 and released three days after his family paid a hefty ransom. Six of his abductors are being tried. He claimed it was aimed at shoring up her shaky support with the powerful Catholic Church. Prominent anti-crime crusader Teresita Ang-See echoed this view. Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita denied it was a concession to the 88 bishops, who told Mrs Arroyo not to block inquiries into allegations she rigged her election. The bishops have been lobbying for the repeal of the death penalty since it was restored in 1994. But activist Catholic priest Robert Reyes accused her of granting clemency to gain brownie points with the bishops. She does 'whatever is politically convenient'. Arroyo aides describe her as a 'devout Catholic'. But as a senator, she voted for death sentences to be carried out using lethal injection. As vice-president, she marched for rapist Leo Echegarray's execution.