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CRIMINAL LAW I.

Revised Penal Code / Special Laws, Presidential Decrees, and


Executive Orders A. Book 1 (Articles 1-99, RPC, excluding provisions on civil
liability), including related Special Laws 1. FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES Definition of
Criminal Law (1) Criminal law is that branch of municipal law which defines crimes,
treats of their nature and provides for their punishment. (2) It is that branch of
public substantive law which defines offenses and prescribes their penalties. It is
substantive because it defines the states right to inflict punishment and the liability
of the offenders. It is public law because it deals with the relation of the individual
with the state. DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MALA IN SE AND MALA PROHIBITA Violations
of the Revised Penal Code are referred to as malum in se, which literally means, that
the act is inherently evil or bad or per se wrongful. On the other hand, violations of
special laws are generally referred to as malum prohibitum. Note, however, that not
all violations of special laws are mala prohibita. While intentional felonies are always
mala in se, it does not follow that prohibited acts done in violation of special laws
are always mala prohibita. Even if the crime is punished under a special law, if the
act punished is one which is inherently wrong, the same is malum in se, and,
therefore, good faith and the lack of criminal intent is a valid defense; unless it is
the product of criminal negligence or culpa. Likewise when the special laws requires
that the punished act be committed knowingly and willfully, criminal intent is
required to be proved before criminal liability may arise. When the act penalized is
not inherently wrong, it is wrong only because a law punishes the same. For
example, Presidential Decree No. 532 punishes piracy in Philippine waters and the
special law punishing brigandage in the highways. These acts are inherently wrong
and although they are punished under special law, the acts themselves are mala in
se; thus, good faith or lack of criminal intent is a defense. Distinction between
crimes punished under the Revised Penal Code and crimes punished under special
laws 1. As to moral trait of the offender In crimes punished under the Revised Penal
Code, the moral trait of the offender is considered. This is why liability would only
arise when there is dolo or culpa in the commission of the punishable act. In crimes
punished under special laws, the moral trait of the offender is not considered; it is
enough that the prohibited act was voluntarily done. 2. As to use of good faith as
defense In crimes punished under the Revised Penal Code, good faith or lack of
criminal intent is a valid defense; unless the crime is the result of culpa In crimes
punished under special laws, good faith is not a defense 3. As to degree of
accomplishment of the crime In crimes punished under the Revised Penal Code, the
degree of accomplishment of the crime is taken into account in punishing the
offender; thus, there are attempted, frustrated, and consummated stages in the
commission of the crime. In crimes punished under special laws, the act gives rise
to a crime only when it is consummated; there are no attempted or frustrated
stages, unless the special law expressly penalize the mere attempt or frustration of
the crime. 4. As to mitigating and aggravating circumstances In crimes punished
under the Revised Penal Code, mitigating and aggravating