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Friday, 3 August 2018

Criminal Law in General

Criminal Law - is that branch or division of law which defines crimes, treats of their
nature, and provides for their punishment.

Crime - is an act committed or omitted in violation of a public law forbidding or


commanding it.

Sources of Criminal Law

• The Revised Penal Code and its amendments.

• Special Penal Laws passed by

- Philippine Commission, Philippine Assembly, Philippine Legislature, National


Assembly, Congress of Ph, and the Batasang Pambansa

• Penal Presidential Decrees issued during Martial Law

Limitation of the power of Congress to enact penal laws (ON)

• Must be general in application.

• Must not partake on of an Nature of Ex-Post Facto Law

- Makes criminal an act done before the passage of the law and which was
innocent when done, and punishes such an act;

- Aggravates a crime, or makes it greater that it was, when committed;

- Changes the punishment and inflicts greater punishment than the law annexed
to the crime when committed;

- Alters the legal rules of evidence, and authorises conviction upon less or
different testimony than the law required at the time of the commission of the
offence;

• Must not partake of the nature of Bill of Attainder

- legislative act which inflicts punishment without trial.

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Characteristics of Criminal Law

• General - The law is binding on all person living or sojourn in the Philippine territory.

• Territorial - The law is binding to all crimes committed within the National Territory
of the Philippines

• Prospective - the law does not have any retroactive effect.

- E: When the new law is favourable to the accused

1. E to the E: When the new law is expressly made inapplicable to the


pending actions or existing causes of actions

2. E to the E: Where the offender is a habitual criminal under Rule 5, Article


62 of the Revised Penal code.

• A person is a habitual delinquent if within a period of ten years from the


date of his (last) release or last conviction of the crimes of (1) serious or
less serious physical injuries, (2) theft, (3) robbery, (4) estafa, or (5)
falsification, he is found guilty of any said crimes a third time or oftener.

Constitutional Rights of the Accused

1. Right to speedy disposition of their cases before all judicial, quasi-judicial, or


administrative bodies

2. Nobody shall be held to answer for a criminal offense without due processes of law

3. Except those charged with reclusion perpetua, possibility of bail by sufficient


sureties, or be released on recognizance as provided by law

a.RIGHT TO BAIL not impaired even if writ of habeas corpus is suspended

b. Excessive bail not required

4. Accused shall be presumed innocent until contrary is proved; also has rights:

a.to be heard by himself and counsel

b.to be informed of nature and cause of accusation against him

c. to have speedy/impartial public trial to meet witness face to face

d. to have compulsory process to secure attendance of witnesses and evidence

or After arrangement, trial may proceed without accused given that he’s
informed and his failure to appear is justified

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5. No person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself

•Must be informed of right to remain silent

•Right to have competent counsel of his choice

•If cannot afford one, he must be provided one

•Cannot be waived unless written and witnessed by the specified counsel

•Torture, threats, secret detention not allowed – confessions obtained here are
void

6.Excessive fines shall not be imposed + cruel punishment inflicted

7. No double jeopardy for same offence

Ex: If law is punishable by both law and ordinance, conviction/acquittal in one will bar
the other

8. Free access to courts even if one suffers of poverty

Statutory Rights of the Accused

1. Presumed innocent until proved contrary beyond reasonable doubt

2. Informed of nature and cause of accusation

3. Present and defend in person or counsel at every stage of proceedings (from


arrangement to promulgation)

4. Testify as a witness on his own behalf but subject to cross-examination. Silence shall
not prejudice him.

5. Exempt from being compelled to be a witness against himself

6. Confront and cross-examine the witness against him at the trial

7. Compulsory process issued to secure the attendance of witnesses and production


of other evidence in his behalf

8. To have speedy and impartial, public trial

9. To appeal in all cases allowed as prescribed by law

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Effect of repeal of penal law to liability of offender

Total or absolute, or partial or relative repeal. — As to the effect of repeal of penal


law to the liability of offender, qualify your answer by saying whether the repeal is
absolute or total or whether the repeal is partial or relative only.

• A repeal is absolute or total when the crime punished under the repealed law has
been decriminalized by the repeal;

• A repeal is partial or relative when the crime punished under the repealed law
continues to be a crime inspite of the repeal.

Consequences if repeal of penal law is total or absolute

• If a case is pending in court involving the violation of the repealed law, the same shall
be dismissed, even though the accused may be a habitual delinquent.

• If a case is already decided and the accused is already serving sentence by final
judgment, if the convict is not a habitual delinquent, then he will be entitled to a
release unless there is a reservation clause in the penal law that it will not apply to
those serving sentence at the time of the repeal.  But if there is no reservation, those
who are not habitual delinquents even if they are already serving their sentence will
receive the benefit of the repealing law.  They are entitled to release.

- If the convict is not released, a petition of habeas corpus should be filed to test
the legality of their continued confinement in jail.

Consequences if repeal of penal law is partial or relative


• If a case is pending in court involving the violation of the repealed law, and the
repealing law is more favorable to the accused, it shall be the one applied to him.
This applies to all delinquent, habitual or not, unless there is there is a saving clause.

• If a case is already decided and the accused is already serving sentence by final
judgment, even if the repealing law is partial or relative, the crime still remains to be a
crime. Only applies to non habitual delinquent.

Consequences if subsequent repeal of repealed penal law is implied or expressed


• If a penal law is impliedly repealed, the subsequent repeal of the repealing law will
revive the original law.  So the act or omission which was punished as a crime under
the original law will be revived and the same shall again be crimes although during
the implied repeal they may not be punishable.

• If the repeal is express, the repeal of the repealing law will not revive the first law, so
the act or omission will no longer be penalized.