June 21, 2024

The city council has requested the Baguio Jail and Management Penology (BJMP) to amend its proposal seeking to impose a fee on the issuance of detention certificates.

The BJMP proposed that the City Treasury Office shall collect P100 for every detention certificate it issues. Funds collected from the issuance of the detention certificate shall accrue to the coffers of the city government. The BJMP shall also report how many certificates were issued, how much were paid, and how much of the fees were waived.

The certificate of detention is usually requested by families of Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDLs), their lawyers, and their bondsmen.

J/Insp.Vilma Fangsilat and J/Supt. Mary Ann Tresmanio of the BJMP, who attended the council session last May 23, said the BJMP intends to help the city government increase its revenue by imposing a fee on the issuance of detention certificates.

They said indigent PDLs will be exempted from paying the said fee. 

As per BJMP records, a total of 105 detention certificates have already been issued from 2021 to present.

Fangsilat cited Section 447.5 of the Local Government Code of 1991 which provides the local government unit shall “establish and provide for the maintenance and improvement of jails and detention center, institute jail management programs, and appropriate funds for detainees and convicted prisoners in the city.”

Section 153 of the law also states the LGUs may impose and collect such reasonable fees and charges for services rendered. 

However, Councilors Arthur Allad-iw and Betty Lourdes Tabanda disagreed with the proposed fee.

Tabanda pointed out many PDLs cannot afford to pay the bail, thus, charging them a fee for the issuance of their detention certificates will only add burden to them and their families.

She also raised some data privacy issues in relation to the issuance of detention certificates.

Allad-iw urged the BJMP to craft proposals that are more practical and beneficial.

“You might as well consider making an ordinance that improves your services instead of imposing fees,” Allad-iw said.

Fangsilat and Tresmanio said they will amend their proposal, taking into consideration the observations raised by the council members. – Jordan G. Habbiling