Creation of recognizance board in city proposed

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BAGUIO CITY  – The City Council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance creating a Recognizance Board in the city and for other purposes it may serve.

The ordinance authored by Councilor Joel Alangsab states that the Recognizance Board will aid or assist the local courts in the city and the local legislative body in the expeditious processing and evaluation of applications for release on recognizance under the provisions of Republic Act (RA) 10389 otherwise known as ‘Recognizance Act of 2012.’

The board shall be composed of the City Mayor as chairperson and the chairperson of the Committee on Health and Sanitation, Ecology and Environment Protection, chairperson of the Committee on Market, Trade and Commerce and Agriculture, chairperson of the Committee on Public Utilities, Traffic and Transport Legislation, as members with the City vice mayor serving as vice chairperson.

Other members of the board will include the chair of the Committee on Laws, Human rights and Justice, City Social Welfare and Development Officer, City Director of the Baguio City Police Office, chief Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, chief of the National Bureau of Investigation, chief of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, and chief of the Parol and Probation Administration.

The ordinance stipulates that the duties and responsibilities of the board include the conduct of regular meetings or as often as necessary upon the call of the chairperson; the development of rules and evaluation mechanisms to expedite the processes of determining the grant or denial of any application for release by an inmate applicant pursuant to established rules and regulations; submission of evaluation report on any application for release on recognizance to the local legislative body at least one day prior to the scheduled session to pass a resolution on the application for bail on recognizance;  accreditation of non-government organizations, peoples organizations or institutions for custodianship and  exercise and perform such powers and functions as the order or law may provide.

The ordinance proposes the appropriation of funds under a separate account and the City Mayor, upon the recommendation of the board, may cause the organization, reassignment or hiring of personnel as may be determined by the concerned departments for the effective implementation of the local legislative measure.

The ordinance claims it has been observed that some relatives of indigent-accused have been going around offices of local officials to request for monetary considerations anent the bail of their relatives under detention in the jail facilities in the city.

Moreover, it adds that the 1987 Constitution guarantees to every person the right to bail, except those charged with crimes punishable by death, reclusion Perpetua, or life imprisonment when the evidence of guilt is strong.

The ordinance explains that in the furtherance of the said constitutional guarantee, RA 10389 was passed to institutionalize recognizance as a mode of granting the release of an indigent person in custody as an accused in a criminal case, except those charged punishable by death, reclusion Perpetua, or life imprisonment, before conviction by the court, irrespective of whether the case was originally filed and or appealed.

By Dexter A. See
Photo by: Armando Bolislis

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