Trial courts can start imposing community service as penalty to minor offenses starting November 2, the Supreme Court (SC) announced on Wednesday (Oct, 7).

‘Di makukulong agad! SC: Convicts for minor offense may do community service

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Trial courts can start imposing community service as penalty to minor offenses starting November 2, the Supreme Court (SC) announced on Wednesday (Oct, 7).

“Starting November 2 this year, trial courts can impose community service as a penalty for minor offenses,” the SC Public Information Office (SCPIO) said in a statement.

The SCPIO said the high tribunal had just approved last Tuesday (Oct. 6) “the guidelines in the imposition of community service as a penalty, which promotes restorative justice and jail decongestion.”

“The Court, pursuant to Section 5(5), Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution, has the power to adopt and promulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of constitutional rights, among others,” it said.

Under the guidelines, the SCPIO explained that, in crimes concerning arresto menor or arresto mayor, the judge is “duty-bound to inform the accused in open court that he or she has an option to, among others, apply that the penalty be served by rendering community service in the place where the crime was committed.”

“The judge should also explain to the accused, however, that the same will be barred to apply for community service or probation should he or she choose to appeal the conviction,” it added.

Once an application has been filed, the court should resolve this within five days and should take into consideration “gravity of offense, circumstances of the case, welfare of the society, and reasonable probability that the accused shall not violate the law while rendering the service.”

“An order granting or denying the same shall not be appealable,” it warned.

“Failure of the accused to appear at the said hearing, except for justified reasons, shall be a ground to deny the application and a warrant of arrest shall be issued against the accused,” it added.

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Risa seeks inquiry on PNP, PDEA’s ‘dramatic, traumatic misencounter’

Senator Risa Hontiveros is set to file a resolution seeking a Senate investigation, in aid of legislation, on Wednesday’s “misencounter” between the Philippine National Police and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.

“We need to look into this further. It is very alarming that this is not the first time that such a ‘misencounter’ has happened,” the senator said.

“The National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) did admit that this has happened numerous times. These ‘misencounters’ should be rare, not common,” Hontiveros said.

The shooting incident occurred along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City, killing two policemen.

According to the Quezon City Police District Station 6, the QCPD’s District Special Operations Unit conducted a buy-bust operation near Ever Gotesco Mall. However, the DSOU officers were not aware that they were transacting with PDEA’s Special Enforcement Service (SES) agents.

“How could this have happened, at all, in the first place?” Hontiveros said.

“Why did the shootout take place for as long as an hour? Hindi ba pwedeng magkalinawan, even within the first few minutes, that a misencounter breaks out?” the senator added.

“There was a dramatic lack of coordination between the PNP and PDEA. Someone somewhere must have been grossly negligent. Ang laki ng intelligence funds nila pareho pero ganyan ang nangyari,” Hontiveros said.

She noted that in 2021, the PNP was given an intelligence fund of P856 million while PDEA was given P500 million.

Hontiveros said she hopes that the Board of Inquiry formed by the PNP will get to the bottom of what happened.

Lapid wants to punish sons, daughters who abandon elderly, sickly parents

Senator Lito Lapid has filed a bill that proposes to criminalize the act of “deprivation of support” to incapacitated parents.

Senate Bill 2061 “reinforces the duty of children to take care of their elderly, sickly or otherwise, incapacitated parents.”

The bill states that children shall, within their means and capacity, maintain support for their father or mother, who by virtue of being over sixty (60) years of age or suffering from a disease or disablity, are rendered incapable of supporting themselves.”

The bill also cites Article 195 of the Family Code which says parents and their children are obliged to give support to each other.

“This means that the obligation to support cuts both ways— parents must support their children, especially during the years of their minority and dependency; on the other hand, children who are already capable must take care of their elderly, disease or disability-stricken parents who are in need,” Lapid said.

Unfortunately, abuse against an elderly, disabled, or otherwise incapacitated parent, which includes physical, sexual, psychological, emotional and financial abuse, abandonment, neglect and serious loss of dignity and respect, has become an “invisible issue” in the Philippines, according to Commission on Human Rights.

“Nakakalungkot isipin na ang mga magulang na nagpakapagod noong panahong malakas pa sila para masuportahan ang kanilang mga anak, ay kaya na lamang tiisin at abandunahin sa panahong matanda na sila,” Lapid said.

Any person, who despite having the capacity, but neglects to maintain support to his or her parent shall be liable for deprivation of support to parent and shall be punishable by imprisonment of arresto menor as the minimum and arresto mayor as the maximum.

There are also respective fines of not less than P200,000 but not more than P500,000, at the discretion of the court.

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