Senate okays bill allowing indigent prisoners to post bail

November 5, 2012 11:23 pm 

MANILA, Nov. 5 — The Senate approved on Monday a local bill which seeks to allow indigent prisoners facing bailable criminal offenses to post bail without paying bail fees.

Senator Francis ‘Chiz’ Escudero, chairman of the Senate committee on justice and human rights, said House Bill No. 5395 seeks to address the problems confronting the criminal justice system by securing the release of persons who are detained in jail but have no money to post bail.

He said the proposed legislation, which is in consonance with the principle of presumption of innocence, seeks to allow indigents to be equal with all others in terms of enjoying liberty while the state proves their guilt in the commission of an offense.

Under the proposed measure, the accused can be released if his offense is not punishable by death, reclusion perpetua, or life imprisonment, Escudero said.

According to him, the court will release the accused to the custody of a qualified member of the barangay, city or municipality where the accused resides.

He said the proposed legislation would require a sworn declaration by the accused of his indigency or incapacity to post bail.

“The accused shall be properly documented through such process as, but not limited to, photographic image, reproduction of all sides of the face and fingerprinting,” Escudero said. (PNA)

RMA/JFM

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