Press Release
November 5, 2012

Indigent prisoners can post bail with approval of Senate bill

The Senate has approved a local bill which seeks to allow indigent prisoners facing bailable criminal offenses to post bail without paying bail fees.

Sen. Chiz Escudero, chairman of the Committee on Justice and Human Rights and sponsor of House Bill No. 5395, said the proposed measure seeks to address the problems confronting the criminal justice system by securing the release of persons who are detained in jail but are unable to post bail because they do not have the financial means to do so.

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, securing a certification issued by the head of the social welfare and development office of the municipality or city that the accused is indeed indigent and that the court has notified the city or municipal sanggunian where the accused resides of his indigency application.

"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. (PILAR MACROHON, PRIB)

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