Aquino signs into law measure amending Probation Law

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President Benigno S. Aquino III has signed into law an Act amending Presidential Decree No. 968, known as the Probation Law of 1976.

Signed by the President last November 26, Republic Act No. 10707 provides that “when a judgment of conviction imposing a non-probationable penalty is appealed or reviewed, and such judgment is modified through the imposition of a probationable penalty, the defendant shall be allowed to apply for probation based on modified decision before such decision becomes final”.

The new law also states that the application for probation based on the modified decision shall be filed in the trial court where the judgment of conviction imposing a non-probationable penalty was rendered, or in the trial court where such case has since been re-raffled.

“In a case involving several defendants where some have taken further appeal, the other defendants may apply for probation by submitting a written application and attaching thereto a certified true copy of the judgment of conviction,” it adds.

The trial court shall, upon receipt of the application filed, suspend the execution of the sentence imposed in the judgment.

“This notwithstanding, the accused shall lose the benefit of probation should he seek a review of the modified decision which already imposes a probationable penalty,” the new law states.

“Probation may be granted whether the sentence imposes a term of imprisonment or a fine only. The filing of application shall be deemed a waiver of the right to appeal,” it adds.

The new law amends the benefit of probation by disqualifying only those who have previously been convicted by final judgment of an offense punished by imprisonment of more than six months and one day.

It also states that the final discharge of the probationer “shall operate to restore to him all civil rights lost or suspended as a result of his conviction and to totally extinguish his criminal liability as to the offense for which probation was granted”.

The new law also considers Regional, Provincial, and City Probation Officers as persons in authority to administer oaths and acknowledgements and to take depositions in connection with their duties and functions under this Decree.

Further, it allows the appointment of Volunteer Probation Assistants (VPAs) to assist the Chief Probation and Parole Officers; and provides that the VPAs will hold office for a two-year term, which may be renewed or recalled anytime for a just cause.

The new law is a consolidation of Senate Bill No. 2280 and House Bill No. 4147 that was passed by the senators and lawmakers last September 15 and September 14, respectively. (PNA)

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