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APRIL 8, 2014

NR # 3430B

Restorative Justice System pushed


Congress is set to start plenary debate to institutionalize the shift from the traditional form of punishment of incarceration of convicted prisoners to a restorative justice paradigm. The House Committee on Revision of Laws, chaired by Rep. arlyn !rimicias" #gabas, has approved and endorsed H$ %&%', in substitution of H$ (os. &&', &)**, &)+', ,&&' and -.*+, for plenary consideration and approval when Congress reconvenes for the ,nd regular session in ay. H$ %&%' is entitled /#n #ct rationalizing and strengthening the !robation 0ystem, amending for the purpose the pertinent provisions of !residential 1ecree (o. 2*+, otherwise 3nown as the 4!robation Law of &2'*5, as amended.5 /6ne of the objectives of H$ %&%' is to strengthen the !robation Law by establishing a correctional system that will reform, rehabilitate and restore the dignity of prisoners,5 the authors stressed. !rincipal authors of the original bills include7 Reps. 8iorgidi #ggabao and 9avier :esus Romualdo ;H$ &&'<= ajority Leader (eptali 8onzales >>> ;H$ &)**<= Reps. Rufus Rodriguez, a?imo Rodriguez, :r., and :oa@uin Chipeco, :r. ;H$ &)+'<= Rep. Avelina Ascudero ;H$ ,&&'<= and Rep. !rimicias"#gabas ;H$ -.*+<. #side from lessening government e?penditure and remedy the problem of overcrowding in the nationBs jails, the reform measure see3s to provide a rehabilitation program for @ualified offenders by doing away with the traditional form of punishment of incarceration and focus on the restorative justice model. 6ne 3ey provision of H$ %&%' allows the defendant to apply for probation even when he perfected an appeal from conviction, provided the judgement of conviction carrying out a non"probationable penalty was modified by the appellate court into a probationable penalty. Li3ewise, the proposed amendatory measure e?pands the probationable term from si? years to eight years. #nother vital provision removes the e?clusion from probation of crimes falling under !ublic 6rder, thus ma3ing #rticles &%* ;when the person is merely present at such assembly<= &%', &%+, &%2, &.&, &.-, &.%, &.. and &.* of Title >>>, Chapter >>> to Chapter C, $oo3 >> of the Revised !enal Code as probationable offenses.

The measure also considers the Regional, !rovincial and City !robation 6fficers as person in authority, and provides for Colunteer !robation 6fficers who will assist the Chief !robation 6fficers in the Regional, !rovincial and City !robation 6ffices. The !robation #dministrator may appoint citizens of good repute and probity who have the willingness, aptitude and potential to act as Colunteer !robation 6fficers ;C!60< who shall not receive any regular compensation for services rendered e?cept for reimbursement of their actual cost of transportation in the performance of their duties and responsibilities. The C!60 shall also be entitled to insurance coverage provided by the government= and a twenty percent ;,)D< discount on all means of transportation, food outlets and theatresEcinemas. They shall hold office for a two"year term which may be renewed or recalled anytime for a just cause. #lso, the bill totally e?tinguishes the criminal liability of an offender who has been successfully terminated from probation supervision by order of the court and did not commit any other crime or offense for &) consecutive years from date of termination. ;-)<
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