Instead of jail time, community service to be imposed for minor offenses
posted 10-Sep-2019  ·  
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Once the Community Service Act, which President Rodrigo Duterte signed recently, becomes effective after publication in a national newspaper, the courts will be able to impose community services instead of imprisonment as a penalty for minor offenses.

Republic Act 11362 authorizes courts, upon their discretion, to require community service instead of imprisonment crimes with penalties of arresto menor (one day to 30 days imprisonment) and arresto mayor (one month and one day to six months).

The new law, which was signed by the president last Aug. 3, 2019, aims to promote restorative justice and decongest jails.

It defines community service as involving “actual physical activity which inculcates civic consciousness and is intended towards the improvement of a public work or promotion of public service.”

According to the law, the offender will also be required to undergo rehabilitative counseling under the social welfare and development officer of the city or municipality concerned with the assistance of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Offenders can avail of the privilege of rendering community service only once.

If he or she violates the terms of the community service, the court can order his or her re-arrest to serve the full term of the penalty — either in jail or at home — provided under the Revised Penal Code.

Among the minor offenses that will be covered by the Act, for which the courts may impose such community service, include arbitrary detention not exceeding three (3) days; search of domicile without witnesses; offending religious feelings; disturbance of proceedings; resistance/disobedience to a person in authority or agent of such person in authority; public disturbance; unlawful use of means of publication/unlawful utterances; alarm and scandal; delivery of prisoner from jail; false medical certificate, certificates of merits or service or use thereof; use of fictitious name and concealing true name;

Illegal use of uniform or insignia; false testimony favorable to defendants; gambling and betting; betting on sports/horse race; illegal cockfighting; grave scandal; immoral doctrines; vagrancy and prostitution; judgment rendered through negligence; failure of make delivery of public funds or property; evasion through negligence; opening of closed documents; open disobedience;

Refusal of assistance; refusal to discharge executive office; maltreatment of prisoners; unlawful appointments; abandonment of office; less serious physical injuries; slight physical injuries; unlawful arrest; services rendered under compulsion in payment of debt; abandonment of person in danger and abandonment of one’s own victim; abandoning a minor;

Qualified trespass to dwelling; light threats; grave coercion; revealing secrets with abuse of office; theft, if value is less than 50 pesos; altering landmarks; swindling, if value is P6,000 or less; malicious mischief depending on value; damaging statues, public monuments or paintings; simple seduction; acts of lasciviousness with consent;

Threatening to publish and offer to present it for a compensation; prohibited publication of acts referred to in the course of official proceedings; slander or oral defamation; slander by deed; incriminating innocent persons/intriguing against honor; and, imprudence and negligence, in certain cases.

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