By Filane Mikee Cervantes
MANILA — Senator Richard Gordon on Thursday said the newly-signed Community Service Law could address the issue of high jail congestion rates nationwide.
Gordon made the statement as he lauded the signing into law of Republic Act 11362 or the Community Service Act, which authorizes the court, in its discretion, to require community service for minor offenses.
“I thank President Duterte for enacting this law, which will be a game-changer. Instead of serving time in jail, offenders who committed minor offenses will pay their debt to society by doing community service which will be beneficial to the whole community,” Gordon said.
“This way, they can do penance for the offenses they committed without worsening the congestion of our jails across the country,” he added.
Gordon said aside from addressing jail congestion, the law also aims to inculcate civic consciousness, and is intended to improve a public work or promote public service.
Under the law, the court may require community service instead of imprisonment for arresto menor (one day to 30 days imprisonment) and arresto mayor (one month and one day to six months).
The law defines community service as “any actual physical activity which inculcates civic consciousness, and is intended towards the improvement of a public work or promotion of public service.”
“If the defendant violates the terms of the community service, the court shall order his or her rearrest and the defendant shall serve the full term of the penalty, as the case may be, in jail, or the house of the defendant,” the law read.
“However, if the defendant has fully complied with the terms of the community service, the court shall order the release of the defendant unless detained for some other offense,” it added. (PNA)