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QUESTION Juan de Castro already had three (3) previous convictions by final

judgment for theft when he was found guilty of Robbery with Homicide. In
the last case, the trial judge considered against the accused both recidivism
and habitual delinquency. The accused appealed and contended that in his
last conviction, the trial court cannot consider against him a finding of
recidivism and, again, habitual delinquency. Is the appeal meritorious?
Explain.
ANSWER: NO, the appeal is not meritorious. Recidivism and habitual
delinquency are correctly considered in this case because the basis of
recidivism is different from that of habitual delinquency. Juan is a recidivist
because he had been previously convicted by final judgment for theft and
again found guilty of robbery with homicide, which are both crimes against
property, embraced under the same Title (Title Ten, Book Two) of the Revised
Penal Code. The implication is that he is specializing in the commission of
crimes against property, hence aggravating in the conviction for robbery with
homicide. Habitual delinquency, which brings about an additional penalty
when an offender is convicted a third time or more for specified crimes, is
correctly considered because Juan had already three (3) previous convictions
by final judgment for theft and again convicted for robbery with homicide.
And the crimes specified as basis for habitual delinquency includes, inter
alia, theft and robbery.

QUESTION Can juvenile offenders, who are recidivists, validly ask for
suspension of sentence? Explain.
ANSWER: YES, so long as the offender is a minor at the time of
promulgation of sentence. The law establishing family courts, Republic Act
8369, provides to this effect: that if the minor is found guilty, the court
should promulgate the sentence and ascertain any civil liability which the
accused may have incurred. However, the sentence shall be suspended
without the need of application pursuant to PD 603, otherwise known as the
Child and Youth welfare code. (RA 8369, Sec. 5A) It is under PD 603 that an
application for the suspension of the sentence is required and thereunder it
is one of the condition of suspension of sentence that the offender be a first
time convict: this has been displaced by RA 8369. (2003 Bar Examinations)

REITERACION Reiteracion requires that if there is only one prior offense,


that offense must be punishable by an equal or greater penalty that the one
for which the accused has been convicted. There is no reiteracion because
that circumstance requires that the previous offenses should not be
embraced in the same title of the Code. While grave threats fall in a title,
different from homicide, still reiteracion cannot be appreciated because such
aggravating circumstance requires that if there is only one prior offense, that
offense must be punishable by an equal or greater penalty that the one for
which the accused has been convicted. Likewise, the prosecution has to
prove that the offender has been punished for the previous offense. There is

no evidence presented by the prosecution to that effect. (PEOPLE vs. REAL,


G.R. No. 93436. March 24, 1995)