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‘Justice for all’ through lowering of bail

QUEZON CITY (PIA) -– The Department of Justice (DOJ) has mandated the reduction of bail for indigent Filipinos facing charges to address the long-standing issue of overcrowding in prisons.

On February 20, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla released Department Circular No. 11, which established the criteria for suggesting bail amounts in criminal complaints or charge sheets.

Following the said order, Remulla has directed prosecutors to “consider the financial capacity of the accused when recommending the amount of bail in criminal information for filing in court.”

He emphasized that setting a lower bail will be in the “interest of social justice and to afford justice for all.”

In addition, this move will help alleviate the issue of jail overcrowding and reduce the strain on detention facilities across the country.

The scope of the directive includes “all cases undergoing inquest or preliminary investigation proceedings.”

Under the directive, the investigating prosecutor must inquire whether or not the respondent claims indigency during the inquest or preliminary investigation.

Individuals who claim indigent must submit proof of documents, which include a Certificate of Indigency from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), a Certificate of Indigency/No Income from the Office of the Barangay Chairperson, most recent income tax return, or their pay slips.

The new guidelines were introduced as a result of the Justice Sector Coordinating Council's dialogue regarding the persistent issue of jail and detention facilities being overcrowded and congested.

During the discussion, it was mentioned that the congestion rate of 330% at the New Bilibid Prison was cited as the root of problems facing the Bureau of Corrections such as corruption, contraband smuggling, and inmate entitlement.

The department expects that the new policy will help unclog court dockets and speed up the resolution of cases. This means that individuals who are wrongfully accused will have their cases dismissed faster, and those who are guilty will be punished more quickly. (AP – PIA CPSD)

Photo: Department of Justice

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Kate Shiene Austria

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Information Officer III under the Creative and Production Services Division of the Philippine Information Agency. 

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