Senate OKs Community Service Act
MANILA, Philippines — The Senate on Monday approved on third and final reading the measure allowing courts to impose community service against those who committed minor offenses instead of serving jail time in a move to decongest jails in the country.
Under Senate Bill No. 2195 or the proposed Community Service Act, courts may sentence offenders to render unpaid work in the community instead of serving jail time as long as the offense is punishable by arresto menor and arresto mayor.
Offenders who were meted arresto menor must serve a jail term of one month and one day to six months, while those who are punished with arresto menor must complete one day to 30 days in jail.
The measure states that the community service will take place where the offense was committed under the supervision of a probation officer.
The offender will also undergo counseling under the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
Once the community service has been completed, the court can opt to release the offender unless other crimes committed need to be addressed and punished.
The measure details that an offender who fails to complete the community service will be re-arrested and will be sent to jail to serve time. The offender may also be put under house arrest, depending on the decision of the court.
Senator Richard Gordon, chair of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, and sponsor of the measure, said the measure is necessary to address congestion in jails in the country.
He also assured the public that community service may be availed once to avoid abuse.
“[The measure will give offenders] a chance to change, rehabilitate and reintegrate themselves into the community,” Gordon said.
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