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LEO ECHEGARAY y PILO

vs.
THE SECRETARY OF JUSTICE
G.R. No. 132601. October 12 1!!"
FACTS :
On June 25, 1996, petitioner was convicted for the rape of his common law spouses
ten year old daughter and was sentenced to death penalty. e filed a !otion for
"econsideration and #upplemental !otion for "econsideration raising for the first time
the constitutionality of "$ %659 & 'he (eath )enalty *aw+, and the imposition of death
penalty for the crime of rape. 'he motions were denied with the court finding no reason
to declare it unconstitutional and pronouncing ,ongress compliant with the
re-uirements for its imposition.
$ct .1%% was passed amending $rt. . of the "), as amended /y #ec. 20 of "$ %659.
'he mode of e1ecution was changed from electrocution to lethal in2ection. 'he
#ecretary of Justice promulgated the rules and regulations to implement ".$ .1%% and
directed the (irector of 3ureau of ,orrections to prepare the *ethal 4n2ection !anual.
)etitioner filed a petition for prohi/ition, in2unction and '"O to en2oin the #ecretary of
Justice and (irector of 3ureau of )risons from carrying out the e1ecution, contending
that "$ .1%% and its implementing rules are unconstitutional and void. 'he 51ecutive
Judge of the "', of 6ue7on ,ity and )residing Judge of "', 3ranch 180 were later
impleaded to en2oin them from setting a date of e1ecution.
On !arch 9, 199. , the court re-uired respondents to comment and mandated the
parties to mantain status -uo . )etitioner filed a very urgent motion to clarify status -uo
and to re-uest for '"O until resolution of the petition.
'he #olicitor :eneral filed a comment on the petition dismissing the claim that the "$ in
-uestion is unconstitutional and providing arguments in support of his contention. ,"
filed a motion for *eave of ,ourt to 4ntervene and appear as $micus ,uriae alleging that
the death penalty is cruel and degrading citing applica/le provisions and statistics
showing how other countries have a/olished the death penalty and how some have
/ecome a/olitionists in practice . )etitioner filed a reply stating that lethal in2ection is
cruel, degrading , inhuman and violative of the 4nternational ,ovenant on ,ivil and
)olitical "ights.
ISSUE :
;O< ".$. .11% and its implementing rules are violative of the unconstitutional
proscription against cruel, degrading and inhuman punishment, violative of international
treaty and o/ligations , discriminatory and an undue delegation of legislative powers.
RULING :
I. LETHAL INJECTION, NOT CRUEL, DEGRADING OR INHUMAN PUNISHMENT
UNDER SECTION 19, ARTICLE III OF THE 1987 CONSTITUTION.
$rticle 444, #ection 19 =1> of the 19.% ,onstitution proscri/es the imposition of ?cruel,
degrading or inhuman? punishment. 'his is the challenge thrown at "$ .1%% and its
implementing rules and regulations.
'he court e1plains that any infliction of pain in lethal in2ection is merely incidental in
carrying out the e1ecution of death penalty and does not fall within the constitutional
proscription against cruel, degrading and inhuman punishment. ?4n a limited sense,
anything is cruel which is calculated to give pain or distress, and since punishment
imports pain or suffering to the convict, it may /e said that all punishments are cruel.
'he ,onstitution, however, does not mean that crime, for this reason, is to go
unpunished.?
II.REIMPOSITION OF THE DEATH PENALTY LAW DOES NOT VIOLATE
INTERNATIONAL TREATY OBLIGATIONS
)etitioner disputes that the reimposition of the death penalty law violates the
Int!n"t#$n"% C$&n"nt $n C#&#% An' P$%#t#("% R#)*t+, which was adopted /y the :eneral
$ssem/ly of the @nited <ations on (ecem/er 16, 1996, signed and ratified /y the
)hilippines on (ecem/er 19, 1966 and Octo/er 29, 19.6, respectively.
$lthough $rticle 6 of said covenant highlights an individuals right to life, it also
particularly recogni7es that capital punishment is an allowa/le limitation on the right to
life, su/2ect to the limitation that it /e imposed for the ?,$+t +!#$-+ (!#,+?.
'he petitionerAs assertion of our o/ligation under the S($n' O.t#$n"% P!$t$($% has
gone astray since dates and circumstances related to its adoption prove that the
)hilippines neither signed nor ratified said document.
III. THERE IS NO UNDUE DELEGATION O LEGISLATI!E "O#ER IN R.A. NO.
$%&& TO THE SE'RETAR( O )USTI'E AND THE DIRE'TOR O *UREAU O
'ORRE'TIONS+ *UT SE'TION %, O THE RULES AND REGULATIONS TO
I-"LE-ENT R.A. NO. $%&& IS IN!ALID.
'he separation of power is a fundamental principle in our system of government and
each department has e1clusive cogni7ance of matters placed within its 2urisdiction, and
is supreme within its own sphere. $ conse-uence of the doctrine of separation of
powers is the principle of nonBdelegation of powers. 4n *atin ma1im, the rule is C
.$t+t"+ '%)"t" n$n '%)"!# .$t+t.? =what has /een delegated, cannot /e
delegated>. 'here are however e1ceptions to this rule and one of the recogni7ed
e1ceptions is & (elegation to $dministrative 3odies &
'he #ecretary of Justice in con2unction with the #ecretary of ealth and the (irector of
the 3ureau of ,orrections are empowered to promulgate rules and regulations on the
su/2ect of lethal in2ection.
'he reason for delegation of authority to administrative agencies is the increasing
comple1ity of the tasD of government re-uiring e1pertise as well as the growing ina/ility
of the legislature to cope directly with the myriad pro/lems demanding its attention.
$lthough ,ongress may delegate to another /ranch of the :overnment the power to fill
in the details in the e1ecution, enforcement or administration of a law, it is essential, to
forestall a violation of the principle of separation of powers, that said lawC =a> /e
complete in itself E it must set forth therein the policy to /e e1ecuted, carried out or
implemented /y the delegate E and =/> fi1 a standard E the limits of which are
sufficiently determinate or determina/le E to which the delegate must conform in the
performance of his functions.
,onsidering the scope and the definiteness of "$ .1%%, which changed the mode of
carrying out the death penalty, the ,ourt finds that the law sufficiently descri/es what
2o/ must /e done, who is to do it, and what is the scope of his authority.
"$ .1%% liDewise provides the standards which define the legislative policy, marD its
limits, map out its /oundaries, and specify the pu/lic agencies which will apply it. 4t
indicates the circumstances under which the legislative purpose may /e carried out.
Digested by : Karen G. Tolentino