MANILA – The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday announced guidelines for reducing bail to secure the temporary liberty of indigent persons deprived of liberty (PDL) amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
In Administrative Circular No. 38-2020, Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta said aside from authorizing reduced bail for those charged with offenses punishable with imprisonment from six months and one day to 20 years, PDLs charged with crimes punishable with only up to six months “may be released on their own recognizance”.
The measure, Peralta said, is needed considering “the urgent need to further decongest our detention facilities, especially during this time of public health emergency, to promote social and restorative justice”.
Under the measure, for those charged with crimes punishable with the maximum period of reclusion temporal or 12 years and one day to 20 years, the bail shall be computed by getting the medium period multiplied by PHP3,000 for every year of imprisonment.
Those charged with a crime punishable with six years and one day to 12 years, the bail shall be computed by getting the medium period multiplied by PHP2,000 for every year of imprisonment.
Those charged with a crime punishable with six months and one day to six years bail shall be computed by getting the medium period multiplied by PHP1,000 for every year of imprisonment.
Peralta said the latest measure will further help decongest bails and noted that earlier circulars have already secured the release of several PDLs.
“Based on the data compiled by the Court Administrator these initiatives have resulted in the release of no less than 9,731 PDLs from 17 March to 29 April in the National Capital Region, 4,647 in Luzon, 1,072 in the Visayas and 1,920 in Mindanao,” he said.
The releases were under guidelines as well as reiterations made by the court of existing guidelines on electronic transmission of release orders, video conferencing in criminal cases, and provisional dismissals of certain cases. (IA/PNA)