The Senate approved on third reading yesterday the proposed Recognizance Act of 2012 that allows the release of any person in detention unable to post bail bond due to poverty.
Senator Chiz Escudero, chairman of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights and sponsor of the measure under Committee Report Number 405 (CRN 405), said “the bill upholds the right of a person to bail or to be released on recognizance as guaranteed by the Constitution.”
The proposed legislation allows detainees to be released to the custody of a qualified member of the barangay, city or municipality where the accused resides.
“There are detainees who languish in jails albeit qualified to bail simply because of abject poverty. Their inability to post bail bond deprives them of their guaranteed rights. CRN 405 seeks to address this aspect and other problems that the country’s criminal justice system faces,” the senator said.
Escudero said the bill will also address setbacks in the Philippine justice system such as: case congestion and prolonged resolution of cases in different courts all over the country, lack of legal representation, congestion in jails, and the lack of opportunity to reform and rehabilitate offenders.
The bill says that any person on custody or detention can be released on recognizance only if the offense committed is not punishable by life imprisonment or death.
The application for recognizance must be filed by the accused or any person on his behalf before or after conviction by the Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court, Municipal trial court in Cities and Municipal Circuit Trial Court.
However, detainees or accused may be disqualified under the following circumstances: (1) they have made untruthful statements in their affidavits regarding their circumstances, (2) they are recidivists, habitual delinquents, (3) those who have previously escaped from legal confinements, (4) the accused had previously committed a crime while on probation, parole or under conditional pardon, and (5) there is the great risk that the accused may commit another crime during the pendency of the case.