THE Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP)-Cebu City chapter welcomes the imposition of community service as a penalty for minor offenses in lieu of imprisonment, to be implemented starting Nov. 2, 2020.
Regal Oliva, IBP-Cebu City chapter president, said they are “very happy” for the soon-to-be implementation of the Republic Act (RA) 13362 or the Community Service Act as this, Oliva said, can help decongest and improve the present situation of jails.
Likewise, retired Judge Meinrado Paredes expressed support over this act as he said one of its purposes is to promote restorative justice, an approach through which “remorseful offenders accept responsibility for their misconduct and to their victims and to the community.”
He said the amendment to the Revised Penal Code authorizes the court, in its discretion, to require community service in lieu of jail service for offenses punishable by “arresto menor” (duration of one day to 30 days) and “arresto mayor” (one month and one day to six months) in the place where the crime was committed.
These may include violations to municipal or city ordinances such as disturbance of public order, vagrancy and alarms and scandal.
“Upon promulgation of the decision (to the case filed), you have to apply for it, but once you file a petition, you can no longer avail of it,” he said.
President Rodrigo Duterte signed RA 13362 on Aug. 8, 2019.
Under the guidelines issued by the Supreme Court on Oct. 6, this community service instead of jail service can be availed of only once.
Community service shall consist of “any actual physical activity which includes civic consciousness and is intended to improve a public work or promote a public service.”
The period for the community service to be rendered should not be more than the maximum sentence the law imposed, but should not also be less than one-third thereof.
Those accused who will violate the corresponding terms of the community service will be re-arrested and will serve the full penalty in jail while for those compliant, they will be released upon completion unless they are to be detained for other offenses.
An accused who has applied and was granted probation in a previous case can still apply for community service in a subsequent case. (WBS)