Community service for offenders proposed
MANILA, Philippines–The Quezon City Council has pushed for the passage of a bill in the Senate that will allow inmates facing one month in jail to render community service instead.
In a recent regular session, the councilors on third and final reading approved a resolution expressing full support for Senate Bill No. 1355, or “An Act Authorizing the Court to Require Community Service in lieu of Detention for the Penalty of Arresto Menor” authored by Senator Juan Edgardo Angara.
The proposed law aims to amend the Revised Penal Code changing the penalty for arresto menor of up to 30 days in jail to community service to decongest the country’s prisons, which, the council noted, are filled to over 300 percent of their capacity.
Community service, under the bill, is “any actual physical activity that inculcates civic consciousness and is toward the improvement of a public work or the promotion of a public service.”
“The proposed amendment can provide the benefits of decongesting our jails and become an effective remedy to light criminal offenders by instilling (in) them the value of accountability and influencing them to be good citizens of the country,” the council added.
Under Article 88 of the Revised Penal Code, the penalty of arresto menor is to be served in a municipal or city jail or in the house of the convict under guard by an officer of the law.
Arresto menor is usually imposed as a penalty for the crimes of alarm and scandal; illegal cockfighting; slight physical injuries and maltreatment; altering boundaries or landmarks; reckless imprudence constituting a light felony; and other forms of mischief where the amount of the property involved is not over P200.
Copies of the city council resolution will be furnished Senate President Franklin Drilon and Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, who chairs the committee on justice and human rights.
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