House arrest for those with light crimes?

by Ria de Fiesta, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at May 11 2014 01:39 AM | Updated as of May 11 2014 09:39 AM

Koko Pimentel says it's time to have a Department of Penology

MANILA – Sen. Koko Pimentel III on Saturday said he is considering filing a bill that would give judges a basis to order house arrest for those who have light crimes or sentences.

“Wala pang bill, pero inaaral na namin seriously. Kasi napapakamot tayo sa ulo natin pag naririnig natin, bakit itong isang arestado dito dinala? Yung isang arestado dito dinala, yung isa nasa hospital arrest. Yung isa kung maaalala nyo si former president Erap [Estrada] may farm arrest, dun sa Tanay,” Pimentel told Saturday’s episode of Teka Muna at DZMM.

The chairperson of the Senate committee on Justice and Human Rights said house arrest is not sanctioned by the law.

“Ang klaro na wala sa law o hindi sanctioned or allowed by the law is house arrest. Wala akong masasabing legal basis kung sabihin ng judge na i-house arrest na lang kung sino. Yung hospital arrest, ang legal basis dyan is humanitarian,” he said.

“Pinag-aaraalan ko, open mind ako dyan. Kung sakaling ma-convince ako, gagawa ako ng bill, at kung maging batas yan, may legal basis na for the judge to order a house arrest,” Pimentel said.

The senator also cited the detention facilities of the National Bureau of Investigation and even Camp Crame, which are being used to detain suspects.

“Ang iba sa NBI kinukulong, ang iba sa Camp Crame, ang iba sa jail. So bakit ganun ang mga treatments? Bakit iba-iba? Nakita kasi natin na even yung ating jail system, e medyo complicated dahil meron pa tayong dalawang ahensya,” Pimentel said.

“Yung isa in-charge sa jail, yung isa in-charge sa prison. Ano deprensya nun? Yung jail, mayroon tayong Bureau of Jail Management and Penology. Yung isa Bureau of Corrections, yung in-charge sa prison na under ng DOJ. Yung isa sa DILG. So parang iba yung supervisor nila,” he added.

Pimentel explained that inmates detained at the Bureau of Corrections are those who have finally been convicted, generally speaking. There are inmates at the BJMP [Bureau of Jail Management and Penology] who have also been convicted, but only with lighter sentences, he said.

“Although sa BJMP mayroon ding mga finally convicted dyan pero mababa and sentensya. Sa hearing ko lumabas na ito. Three years yung crucial e. Pag three years and above ka, sa Bureau of Corrections ka, pag three years and below ka, BJMP ka,” he said.

“Ang tanong, saan nakuha yung three years? Kinuha lang naman sa hangin yun e. Anong logic behind it? So lagyan na natin ng logic itong ating sistema at siguro panahon na na isang department na lang,” he said.

According to Pimentel, there should now be a Department of Penology.

“Kasi penology yata is the study or science of treatment of offenders,” he said.

Pimentel said the creation of one department to oversee the jail system is needed. “Para meron tayong isang pilosopiya, isang ahensya at saka overcrowded na rin e, kaya siguro nagre-resort na rin sa hospital arrest. At the same time, open mind po ako sa house arrest. Kung light ang krimen o maikli lang ang sistensya, pa house arrest mo na,” he said.

Apart from overcrowding in jails, Pimentel said there is another issue that needs to be addressed.

“Yung iba dun, iba naman ang issue. Sa tagal na ng paglilitis, dapat malaman na kung guilty or not guilty. Yung mga not guilty, pakawalan na natin,” he said.

According to Pimentel, the judge has the discretion where arrested suspects should be detained.

“Ang discretion kung saan ikukulong ang arestado, ay nasa korte. Pero may general rule. Ang general rule, dalhin yan sa kulungan, which is a police station or a jail. Pero syempre kung may justifiable reason na baguhin mo yung general rule, allowed ang korte dyan. Dyan na yung mga nagmo-motion ang mga lawyers,” he said.

“Kung may sakit nga naman, kailangan ng operation, ilalagay mo sa ospital. Yun nga lang jina-justify na lang nila na i-prolong, so ginagawa na nilang jail yung ospital. Iba-ibang dahilan para lang ma-extend,” he said.