Press Release
July 10, 2013


SBN 77: Plea bargaining agreement should be for paramount interest of justice

Senator Teofisto "TG" Guingona has filed a bill providing for rules on plea bargaining agreement (PBA) in criminal cases.

"Plea bargaining should not be exercised in a capricious, whimsical and arbitrary fashion. Instead, a plea bargaining agreement should ultimately redound to the benefit of the public," Sen. Guingona said.

Senate Bill No. 77, otherwise known as the "Plea Bargaining Act of 2013" seeks to set clear guidelines regarding PBA.

The Good Governance advocate said that questionable PBA such as that entered into by Major General Carlos Garcia and former Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez should be avoided in the future.

"The Supreme Court's temporary restraining order (TRO) issued against the plea bargaining agreement (PBA) between Major General Carlos Garcia and the Office of the Ombudsman is an affirmation of the findings of the Blue Ribbon Committee," Sen. Guingona said.

According to the Plea Bargaining Act of 2013, when a plea bargain is offered by the accused, or a plea bargaining is entered into, the prosecution and the court are both duty bound to inquire carefully into the circumstances and motivations on which these are premised with the paramount interest of justice and the public given due consideration.

"This bill aims to ensure that plea bargaining will not be exploited as a procedure of compromise for the convenience of the accused. Rather, PBA should be used for the paramount public interest of justice," Sen. Guingona said.

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