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2017 Amendments to the Revised Penal Code by R.A. 10951
Posted by GEEKTIVIST on DECEMBER 19, 2017

R.A. 10951 of 2017 effectively amended 97 articles in the 87-year-old Revised Penal Code enacted way back in 1930. The
main thrust of the law is to increase the amount or value of property or damage upon which the penalty is based resulting
in wide-ranging impacts in the classification of penalties, scale of penalties, and in the jurisdiction of courts.

The amendatory law is applicable to cases of accused persons under preventive detention and even those convicted by
final judgment and already serving their sentences since the law is favorable to the accused.
Accused persons who are detained pending trial or appeal can apply for bail or be released on recognizance if they
already served the minimum sentence as adjusted by the new law.
Convicted persons serving their sentences can file an action to have their cases reopened notwithstanding the finality of
their case so that the penalty can be modified to reflect the changes brought about by the law. The Supreme Court has
already applied the law in the case of Hernan v. Sandiganbayan and the Court has called on lawyers, the Public Attorney’s
Office, the National Penitentiary, and the courts to take action and file appropriate pleadings to avail of the benefits of
the law and to decongest the jails.

The highest prescribed fine under the new law is P4 Million for committing TREASON and the lowest is at P5,000 for theft
of a thing worth P500 or less.
Generally, the PERIODS OF IMPRISONMENT prescribed by the RPC have been left unchanged EXCEPT FOR THE CRIMES OF
 treason,
 maltreatment of prisoners and
 estafa by post-dating a check which are punishable by both longer jail time and stiffer fines under R.A. 10951.

Estafa by post-dating a check now has separate prescribed penalties than estafa committed by the other
modes. Interestingly, estafa by obtaining any food, refreshment or accommodation at hotels, inns, restaurants, etc.
without paying has been omitted under R.A. 10951.
The crimes of
 malversation,
 theft,
 estafa,
 malicious mischief and
 other mischiefs have new threshold amounts as bases for the periods of prescribed imprisonment.

The adjustments have been long overdue to reflect current monetary and property values and account for inflation since
the 1930s.

Infographic on the Amendments to the Revised Penal Code

*PDF Download of the Infographic at Scribd

Further Amendments to the RPC

In 2010, the Department of Justice constituted the Criminal Code Committee to draft the Philippine
Code of Crimes and in 2014, the Committee finished its work with a 27-page draft.
Other proposals seeking to amend the RPC are House Bill 2300 filed in the 16th Congress (pending since
2013) and House Bill 6204 filed in the present 17th Congress.

Salient features of House Bill 2300

1. Change to universal jurisdiction of crimes;

2. Simplifies the categorization of crimes, eliminates frustrated stage of commission and
accessories in the degree of participation;
3. The minimum age of criminal liability is 13 years old – those between 13 and 18 are penalized
depending on the nature of the crime but with suspended sentence and referral to
diversionary programs;
4. New scale of penalties composed of five “levels”, and a level for “life imprisonment”, aimed at
simplifying the sentencing process;
5. Civil action is embedded in criminal action
6. Appeal from a judgment of dismissal or acquittal shall not be treated as a second jeopardy;
7. Modifying circumstances are now generically aggravating, mitigating or alternative without
need of specific characterization for purpose of trial.
8. Simplifies the approach to criminalization based on conduct and not mental state;
9. The prescription of crime and service of sentence is now combined.

Salient Features of House Bill 6204

The bill covers only amendments to Book 1 of the RPC and was spearheaded by the UP Law Center
rather than the DOJ. The bill does not entirely overhaul the RPC, unlike H.B. 2300 but proposes changes
in the scale of penalties, discarding the Spanish nomenclature. The proposed minimum age for criminal
responsibility is more than 12 years when the minor acted with discernment.
Useful Link:
Recent Amendments to the RPC from the Ateneo Law Journal

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