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SC to set new bail rules for indigent PDLs

MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court (SC) said that it is creating new guidelines for the conditional release of Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDLs) who are unable to meet the reduced bail amount of P10,000.

This was revealed by Associate Justice Filomena Singh at the Cebu City Jail Female Dormitory on Friday, saying that the court, through the New Rules of Criminal Procedure, will require judges to look at the different circumstances of the PDLs.

“However, P10,000 is still too much, xxx for those with no resources. This is why the Supreme Court is creating new rules, xxx our Rules on Criminal Procedure,” Singh was quoted as saying in a press release.

"These factors will be looked into by our judges, and if such factors are present, instead of confining you while your case is being tried, you can be set free under other safeguards," she added. 

The circumstances are lack of resources, first-time offense, age and pregnancy, among others, of PDLs who cannot afford bail.

The upcoming guidelines being formulated by the SC align with a directive from the Department of Justice issued last year, which reduced bail to P10,000 to alleviate overcrowding in the country's jails.

Singh also mentioned that the PDLs can still avail of the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) in serving their sentences.

“Kasi po ang sabi natin diyan, kaya nga po tayo ay tao, tayo ay magkakamali, hindi tayo perpekto, hindi tayo Diyos. At pag nagkamali, dapat may pagkakataon pa, kasi wala namang perpekto sa atin,” she said.

(Because we said that that's why we are humans, we make mistakes, we are not perfect, we are not God. And when we make a mistake, we should have a chance, because we are not perfect)

On April 3, the SC said that PDLs convicted of heinous crimes can still avail of the GCTA.