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Page 1


Criminal Law, defined.

Criminal law is that branch or division of law which defines
crimes, treats of their nature, and provides for their punishment. (12
Cyc. 129)

Crime, defined.

Crime is an act committed or omitted in violation of a public law
forbidding or commanding it. (I Bouvier's Law Dictionary, Rawle's
Third Revision, 729)

Sources of Philippine Criminal Law.

1. The Revised Penal Code (Act No. 3815) and its amend-

2. Special Penal Laws passed by the Philippine Commission,
Philippine Assembly, Philippine Legislature, National As-
sembly, the Congress of the Philippines, and the Batasang

3. Penal Presidential Decrees issued during Martial Law.

No common law crimes in the Philippines.

The so-called common law crimes, known in the United States
and England as the body of principles, usages and rules of action,
which do not rest for their authority upon any express and positive
declaration of the will of the legislature, are not recognized in this
country. Unless there be a particular provision in the penal code
or special penal law that defines and punishes the act, even if it be
socially or morally wrong, no criminal liability is incurred by its com-
mission. (See U.S. vs. Taylor, 28 Phil. 599, 604)

Court decisions are not sources of criminal law, because they
merely explain the meaning of, and apply, the law as enacted by the
legislative branch of the government.


Page 2

Limitations to Enact Criminal Legislation


Power to define and punish crimes.

The State has the authority, under its police power, to define and
punish crimes and to lay down the rules of criminal procedure. States,
as a part of their police power, have a large measure of discretion in
creating and denning criminal offenses. (People vs. Santiago, 43 Phil.
120, 124)

The right of prosecution and punishment for a crime is one of
the attributes that by a natural law belongs to the sovereign power
instinctively charged by the common will of the members of society
to look after, guard and defend the interests of the community, the
individual and social rights and the liberties of every citizen and the
guaranty of the exercise of his rights. (U.S. vs. Pablo, 35 Phil. 94,

Limitations on the power of the lawmaking body to enact
penal legislation.

The Bill of Rights of the 1987 Constitution imposes the following

1. No ex post facto law or bill of attainder shall be enacted.
(Art. I l l , Sec. 22)

2. No person shall be held to answer for a criminal offense
without due process of law. (Art. I l l , Sec. 14[1])

The first limitation prohibits the passage of retroactive laws
which are prejudicial to the accused.

An ex post facto law is one which:

(1) makes criminal an act done before the passage of the law
and which was innocent when done, and punishes such an

(2) aggravates a crime, or makes it greater than it was, when

(3) changes the punishment and inflicts a greater punishment
than the law annexed to the crime when committed;

(4) alters the legal rules of evidence, and authorizes conviction
upon less or different testimony than the law required at
the time of the commission of the offense;



Page 470

Art. 14
Par. 21


Rape as aggravating in robbery with homicide.
Where rape attends the commission of the crime of robbery with

homicide, the rape should be deemed to aggravate the robbery with
homicide. (People vs. Basca, 55 O.G. 797)

Rape as aggravating in murder.
Since the victim was already at the threshold of death when

she was ravished, that bestiality may be regarded either as a form of
ignominy causing disgrace or as a form of cruelty which aggravated
murder, because it was unnecessary to the commission thereof and
was a manifest outrage on the victim's person. (People vs. Laspardas,
No. L-46146, Oct. 23, 1979, 93 SCRA 638, 645)

Aggravating circumstances peculiar to certain felonies.
Among the aggravating circumstances peculiar to certain felo-

nies are the following:

1. That the offense (violation of domicile) be committed in
the nighttime, or if any papers or effects not constituting
evidence of a crime be not returned immediately after the
search made by the offender. (Art. 128, par. 2)

2. That the crime (interruption of religious worship) shall
have been committed with violence or threats. (Art. 132,
par. 2)

3. That the assault (direct assault) is committed with a weapon,
or when the offender is a public officer or employee, or when
the offender lays hands upon a person in authority. (Art.

4. If the crime (slavery) be committed for the purpose of assign-
ing the offended party to some immoral traffic, the penalty
shall be imposed in its maximum period. (Art. 272, par. 2)

5. If the threat (grave threats) be made in writing or through
a middleman, the penalty shall be imposed in its maximum
period. (Art. 282)

6. If the robbery with violence against or intimidation of per-
sons (except robbery with homicide, or robbery with rape,
etc.) is committed in an uninhabited place or by a band, etc.,


Page 471

Definition and Basia

or on a street, road, highway, or alley, and the intimidation
is made with the use of a firearm, the offender shall be
punished by the maximum period of the proper penalties.
(Art. 295)

7. If the robbery with the use of force upon things (Art. 299)
is committed in an uninhabited place and by a band, it
shall be punished by the maximum period of the penalty
provided therefor. (Art. 300)

Alternative Circumstances

1. Definition or concept.

Alternative circumstances are those which must be
taken into consideration as aggravating or mitigating
according to the nature and effects of the crime and the
other conditions attending its commission.

2. Basis of the alternative circumstances.

The basis is the nature and effects of the crime and
the other conditions attending its commission.


Page 940


Art . 113. Obligation to satisfy civil liability. — E x c e p t in
c a s e o f e x t i n c t i o n o f h i s c i v i l l i a b i l i t y a s p r o v i d e d i n t h e n e x t
p r e c e d i n g a r t i c l e , t h e o f f e n d e r s h a l l c o n t i n u e t o b e o b l i g e d t o
sa t i s fy t h e c iv i l l i a b i l i t y r e s u l t i n g f r o m t h e c r i m e c o m m i t t e d
b y h i m , n o t w i t h s t a n d i n g t h e f a c t t h a t h e h a s s e r v e d h i s s e n -
t e n c e c o n s i s t i n g o f d e p r i v a t i o n o f l i b e r t y o r o t h e r r i g h t s , o r
h a s n o t b e e n r e q u i r e d t o s e r v e t h e s a m e b y r e a s o n o f a m n e s t y ,
p a r d o n , c o m m u t a t i o n o f s e n t e n c e o r a n y o t h e r r e a s o n .

"Notwithstanding the fact that he x x x has not been required
to serve the same (sentence) by reason of amnesty, pardon,
commutation of sentence, or any other reason."

While amnesty wipes out all traces and vestiges of the crime,


Civil liability may arise from —

(1) Crime,

(2) Breach of contract (culpa contractual), or

(3) Tortious act (culpa aquiliana).

The first is governed by the Revised Penal Code. The second and
the third are governed by the Civil Code. The civil liability from any of
those three sources is extinguished by the same causes enumerated.

Offender is civilly liable even if stolen property is lost by
reason of force majeure.

Where it appears that a person has been deprived of the
possession of his property, the malefactor is responsible to the owner
either (1) for the return ofthe property or (2) for the payment of its
value if it cannot be returned, and this whether the property is lost
or destroyed by the act of the malefactor or that of any other person,
or as a result of any other cause or causes. (U.S. vs. Mambang, 36
Phil. 348, 349; See Art. 1268, Civil Code)

Thus, even if the cattle stolen by the accused died from rinderpest
while in the possession of the constabulary during the pendency of
the trial, in case of conviction, the accused are still liable civilly for
the reasonable value of the said cattle.

Page 941


it does not extinguish the civil liability of the offender. (U.S. vs.
Madlangbayan, 2 Phil. 426, 428-429)

A pardon shall in no case exempt the culprit from the payment
of the civil indemnity imposed upon him by the sentence. (Art. 36,
par. 2, Revised Penal Code)

Application for probation affects only the criminal aspect of
the case.

Probation is denned as "a disposition under which a defendant,
after conviction and sentence, is released subject to conditions imposed
by the Court and to the supervision of a probation officer." (Sec. 3,
P.D. No. 968 [Probation Law]) The "conviction and sentence" clause
of the statutory definition clearly signifies that probation affects
only the criminal aspect of the case. If under Article 113 of the
Revised Penal Code, the obligation to satisfy civil liability continues
notwithstanding service of sentence or nonservice due to amnesty,
pardon, commutation of sentence, or any other reason, there is no
reason why an application for probation should have an opposite
effect insofar as determination of civil liability is concerned. (Budlong
vs. Apalisok, No. L-60151, June 24, 1983, 122 SCRA 935, 938-939,

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