1Codal and Notes in CRIMINAL LAW BOOK I by RENE CALLANTA*** CULLED FROM THE BOOKS OF REYES, GREGORIO, PALATTAO &SANDOVAL WITH EXCERPTS FROM ORTEGA NOTESCriminal Law – A branch of municipal law which defines crimes, treats of their natureand provides for their punishment.Legal Basis of PunishmentThe power to punish violators of criminal law comes within the policepower of the state. It is the injury inflicted to the public which a criminalaction seeks to redress, and not the injury to the individual.The objective of the punishment is two-fold: absolute and relative. Theabsolute theory is to inflict punishment as a form of retributive justice. It isto destroy wrong in its effort to annihilate right, to put an end to the criminalactivity of the offender.On the other hand, the relative theory purports to prevent theoffender from further offending public right or to the right to repel animminent or actual aggression, exemplary or by way of example to others notto follow the path taken by the offender and ultimately for reformation or toplace him under detention to teach him the obligations of a law-abidingcitizen.Power to Enact Penal LawsOnly the legislative branch of the government can enact penal laws.While the President may define and punish an act as a crime, such exercise ofpower is not executive but legislative as he derives such power from the lawmaking body. It is in essence, an exercise of legislative power by the ChiefExecutive.Limitations on the power of Congress to enact penal laws1.Must be general in application.2.Must not partake of the nature of an ex post facto law.3.Must not partake of the nature of a bill of attainder.4.Must not impose cruel and unusual punishment or excessive fines.Characteristics of Criminal Law: (G.T.P.)1.General – the law is binding to all persons who reside in the PhilippinesGenerality of criminal law means that the criminal law of the country governs all persons withinthe country regardless of their race, belief, sex, or creed. However, it is subject to certainexceptions brought about by international agreement. Ambassadors, chiefs of states and otherdiplomatic officials are immune from the application of penal laws when they are in the countrywhere they are assigned.Note that consuls are not diplomatic officers. This includes consul-general, vice-consul or anyconsul in a foreign country, who are therefore, not immune to the operation or application of thepenal law of the country where they are assigned. Consuls are subject to the penal laws of thecountry where they are assigned.It has no reference to territory. Whenever you are asked to explain this, it does not includeterritory. It refers to persons that may be governed by the penal law.Exceptions to general application of criminal law:a) principles of public international lawb) treaties or treaty stipulations1

2Codal and Notes in CRIMINAL LAW BOOK I by RENE CALLANTA2.c) laws of preferential applicationTerritorial – the law is binding to all crimes committed within the National Territoryof the PhilippinesException to Territorial Application: Instances enumerated under Article 2.Territoriality means that the penal laws of the country have force and effect only within itsterritory. It cannot penalize crimes committed outside the same. This is subject to certainexceptions brought about by international agreements and practice. The territory of the country isnot limited to the land where its sovereignty resides but includes also its maritime and interiorwaters as well as its atmosphere.Terrestrial jurisdiction is the jurisdiction exercised over land.Fluvial jurisdiction is the jurisdiction exercised over maritime and interior waters.Aerial jurisdiction is the jurisdiction exercised over the atmosphere.The Archipelagic RuleAll bodies of water comprising the maritime zone and interior waters abounding different islandscomprising the Philippine Archipelago are part of the Philippine territory regardless of theirbreadth, depth, width or dimension.What1.2.3.Determines Jurisdiction in a Criminal Case?Place where the crime was committed;The nature of the crime committed; andThe person committing the crime.3. Prospective (Prospectivity)– the law does not have any retroactive effect.Exception to Prospective Application: when new statute is favorable to the accused.This is also called irretrospectivity.Acts or omissions will only be subject to a penal law if they are committed after a penal law hadalready taken effect. Vice-versa, this act or omission which has been committed before theeffectivity of a penal law could not be penalized by such penal law because penal laws operateonly prospectively.The exception where a penal law may be given retroactive application is true only with arepealing law. If it is an original penal law, that exception can never operate. What iscontemplated by the exception is that there is an original law and there is a repealing lawrepealing the original law. It is the repealing law that may be given retroactive application tothose who violated the original law, if the repealing penal law is more favorable to the offenderwho violated the original law. If there is only one penal law, it can never be given retroactiveeffect.Effect of repeal of penal law to liability of offenderA repeal is absolute or total when the crime punished under the repealed law has beendecriminalized by the repeal. Because of the repeal, the act or omission which used to be acrime is no longer a crime. An example is Republic Act No. 7363, which decriminalizedsubversion.A repeal is partial or relative when the crime punished under the repealed law continues to be acrime inspite of the repeal. This means that the repeal merely modified the conditions affectingthe crime under the repealed law. The modification may be prejudicial or beneficial to theoffender. Hence, the following rule:Consequences if repeal of penal law is total or absolute(1)If a case is pending in court involving the violation of the repealed law, the same shall bedismissed, even though the accused may be a habitual delinquent. This is so becauseall persons accused of a crime are presumed innocent until they are convicted by finaljudgment. Therefore, the accused shall be acquitted.2

3Codal and Notes in CRIMINAL LAW BOOK I by RENE CALLANTA(2)If a case is already decided and the accused is already serving sentence by final judgment, if theconvict is not a habitual delinquent, then he will be entitled to a release unless there is areservation clause in the penal law that it will not apply to those serving sentence at thetime of the repeal. But if there is no reservation, those who are not habitual delinquentseven if they are already serving their sentence will receive the benefit of the repealinglaw. They are entitled to release.This does not mean that if they are not released, they are free to escape. If they escape,they commit the crime of evasion of sentence, even if there is no more legal basis to holdthem in the penitentiary. This is so because prisoners are accountabilities of thegovernment; they are not supposed to step out simply because their sentence hasalready been, or that the law under which they are sentenced has been declared null andvoid.If they are not discharged from confinement, a petition for habeas corpus should be filedto test the legality of their continued confinement in jail.If the convict, on the other hand, is a habitual delinquent, he will continue serving thesentence in spite of the fact that the law under which he was convicted has already beenabsolutely repealed. This is so because penal laws should be given retroactiveapplication to favor only those who are not habitual delinquents.Consequences if repeal of penal law is partial or relative(1)If a case is pending in court involving the violation of the repealed law, and the repealing lawis more favorable to the accused, it shall be the one applied to him. So whether he is ahabitual delinquent or not, if the case is still pending in court, the repealing law will be theone to apply unless there is a saving clause in the repealing law that it shall not apply topending causes of action.(2)If a case is already decided and the accused is already serving sentence by final judgment, evenif the repealing law is partial or relative, the crime still remains to be a crime. Those whoare not habitual delinquents will benefit on the effect of that repeal, so that if the repeal ismore lenient to them, it will be the repealing law that will henceforth apply to them.Express or implied repeal. – Express or implied repeal refers to the manner the repeal is done.Express repeal takes place when a subsequent law contains a provision that such law repealsan earlier enactment. For example, in Republic Act No. 6425 (The Dangerous Drugs Act of1972), there is an express provision of repeal of Title V of the Revised Penal Code.Implied repeals are not favored. It requires a competent court to declare an implied repeal. Animplied repeal will take place when there is a law on a particular subject matter and a subsequentlaw is passed also on the same subject matter but is inconsistent with the first law, such that thetwo laws cannot stand together, one of the two laws must give way. It is the earlier that will giveway to the later law because the later law expresses the recent legislative sentiment. So you canhave an implied repeal when there are two inconsistent laws. When the earlier law does notexpressly provide that it is repealing an earlier law, what has taken place here is implied repeal. Ifthe two laws can be reconciled, the court shall always try to avoid an implied repeal.For example, under Article 9, light felonies are those infractions of the law for the commission ofwhich a penalty of arresto mayor or a fine not exceeding P200.00 or both is provided. On theother hand, under Article 26, a fine whether imposed as a single or an alternative penalty, if itexceeds P6,000.00 but is not less than P 200.00, is considered a correctional penalty. Thesetwo articles appear to be inconsistent. So to harmonize them, the Supreme Court ruled that if theissue involves the prescription of the crime, that felony will be considered a light felony and,therefore, prescribes within two months. But if the issue involves prescription of the penalty, thefine of P200.00 will be considered correctional and it will prescribe within 10 years. Clearly, thecourt avoided the collision between the two articles.Consequences if repeal of penal law is express or implied(1)If a penal law is impliedly repealed, the subsequent repeal of the repealing law will revivethe original law. So the act or omission which was punished as a crime under the originallaw will be revived and the same shall again be crimes although during the implied repealthey may not be punishable.3

4Codal and Notes in CRIMINAL LAW BOOK I by RENE CALLANTA(2)If the repeal is express, the repeal of the repealing law will not revive the first law, so theact or omission will no longer be penalized.These effects of repeal do not apply to self-repealing laws or those which have automatictermination. An example is the Rent Control Law which is revived by Congress every two years.When there is a repeal, the repealing law expresses the legislative intention to do away with suchlaw, and, therefore, implies a condonation of the punishment. Such legislative intention does notexist in a self-terminating law because there was no repeal at all.In Co v. CA, decided on October 28, 1993, it was held that the principle of prospectivity ofstatutes also applies to administrative rulings and circulars.Theories of Criminal Law1.Classical Theory – Man is essentially a moral creature with an absolute free will tochoose between good and evil and therefore more stress is placed upon the result ofthe felonious act than upon the criminal himself.The purpose of penalty is retribution. The offender is made to suffer for the wrong he has done.There is scant regard for the human element of the crime. The law does not look into why theoffender committed the crime. Capital punishment is a product of this kind of this school ofthought. Man is regarded as a moral creature who understands right from wrong. So that whenhe commits a wrong, he must be prepared to accept the punishment therefore.2. Positivist Theory – Man is subdued occasionally by a strange and morbidphenomenon which conditions him to do wrong in spite of or contrary to his volition.(Crime is essentially a social and natural phenomenon)The purpose of penalty is reformation. There is great respect for the human element becausethe offender is regarded as socially sick who needs treatment, not punishment. Crimes areregarded as social phenomena which constrain a person to do wrong although not of his ownvolitionEclectic or Mixed PhilosophyThis combines both positivist and classical thinking. Crimes that are economic and social andnature should be dealt with in a positivist manner; thus, the law is more compassionate. Heinouscrimes should be dealt with in a classical manner; thus, capital punishment.Sources of Criminal Law1. The Revised Penal Code2. Special Penal Laws – Acts enacted of the Philippine Legislature punishing offensesor omissions.Construction of Penal Laws1. Criminal Statutes are liberally construed in favor of the offender. This means that noperson shall be brought within their terms who is not clearly within them, nor shouldany act be pronounced criminal which is not clearly made so by statute.2. The original text in which a penal law is approved in case of a conflict with an officialtranslation.3. Interpretation by analogy has no place in criminal lawBASIC MAXIMS IN CRIMINAL LAWDoctrine of Pro ReoWhenever a penal law is to be construed or applied and the law admits of two interpretations –one lenient to the offender and one strict to the offender – that interpretation which is lenient orfavorable to the offender will be adopted.This is in consonance with