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Saturday, May 09, 2009

No one should be arrested for vagrancy

Senator Chiz Escudero yesterday said the Senate has approved on third reading a measure that would strike out vagrancy in the list of petty offenses in our criminal code.


Escudero said Senate Bill 1965 seeks to amend Article 202 of the Revised Penal Code, which penalizes vagrancy and prostitution. It removes the term vagrancy and its description in the law which imposes a jail sentence of one day to 30 days or a fine not exceeding 200 pesos.


"Today's vagrants are mostly victims of circumstance and the inequities in society. Our laws must march in step with times. It is time to strike out this anti-poor provision from our code of crimes," he said.


Escudero said SB 1965, which is a consolidation of bills filed by him and two other senators, was approved by the Committees on Justice and Human Rights and on Constitutional Amendments, Revision of Codes and Laws.


The senator, who chairs both committees, said if the bill becomes law, it would also decongest court dockets and allow law enforcement officers to pay more attention to graver offenses, thereby improving the administration of justice in the country.

"It also seeks to give a more humane countenance on our justice system, which prioritizes the rehabilitation of the offender and acknowledges the value of every human life," he said.


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