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UPDATEDSPECIAL PENAL LAWS By:JUDGE OSCAR B. PIMENTELRegional Trial Court, Branch 148,Makati CityINDETERMINATE SENTENCE LAW (Act No. 4103 as amended by Act No. 4225) WHEN AN ACCUSED IS SENTENCED TO RECLUSION PERPETUA, HEIS NOT ENTITLED TO THE APPLICATION OF THE INDETERMINATESENTENCE LAW Accused-appellant cannot avail of the benefits of the IndeterminateSentence Law because Indeterminate Sentence Law does not apply topersons convicted of offenses punishable with reclusionperpetua .(People v. Aquin
    UPDATEDSPECIAL PENAL LAWSBy :JUDGE OSCAR B. PIMENTELRegional Trial Court,Branch 148,Makati CityINDETERMINATE SENTENCE LAW(Act No. 4103 as amended by Act No. 4225) WHEN AN ACCUSED IS SENTENCED TO RECLUSIONPERPETUA, HEIS NOT ENTITLED TO THE APPLICATIONOF THE INDETERMINATESENTENCE LAW Accused-appellant cannot avail of the benefits of theIndeterminateSentence Law because Indeterminate Sentence Lawdoes not apply topersons convicted of offenses punishable withreclusionperpetua.(People v. Aquino; GR 125906, Jan. 16, 98) APPLICATION OF INDETERMINATESENTENCE LAW EXPLAINED In the case of People vs. Gabres, the Court has had occasion to sostate that  Under theIndeterminate Sentence Law, the maximum termof the penaltyshall be 'that which, in view of the attendingcircumstances,could be properly imposed' under the Revised PenalCode, and theminimum shall be within the range of the penalty nextlower to thatprescribed' for the offense. The penalty next lower should be basedon the penalty prescribed by the Code for theoffense, without firstconsidering any modifying circumstanceattendant to thecommission of the crime. The determination of theminimum penaltyis left by law to the sound discretion of the courtand it can beanywhere within the range of the penalty next lower without anyreference to the periods into which it might besubdivided. Themodifying circumstances are considered only in theimposition of themaximum term of the indeterminate sentence. The fact that theamounts involved in the instant caseexceed P22,000.00 should notbe considered in the initialdetermination of the indeterminatepenalty; instead, the matter should be so taken as analogous tomodifying circumstances in theimposition of the maximum term of the full indeterminate sentence.This interpretation of the lawaccords with the rule that penal lawsshould be construed in favor of the accused. Since the penaltyprescribed by law for the estafacharge against accused-appellant is prisioncorreccional   maximum toprision mayorminimum, the penaltynext lower would then beprisioncorreccionalminimum to medium.Thus, the minimum term of the indeterminatesentence should beanywhere within six (6) months and one (1) dayto four (4) years andtwo (2) months . . . (People v. Saley; GR 121179,July 2, 98)INDETERMINATE SENTENCE LAW;APPLICABLE ALSO IN DRUG CASES:The final query is whether or not the Indeterminate Sentence Lawisapplicable to the case now before us. Apparently it does, sincedrug offensesare not included in nor has appellant committed anyact which would put himwithin the exceptions to said law and thepenalty to be imposed does notinvolvereclusionperpetuaor death, provided, of course, that the penalty asultimately resolvedwill exceed one year of imprisonment. The moreimportantaspect, however, is how the indeterminate sentence shallbeascertained. It is true that Section 1 of said law, after providingfor indeterminate sentence for an offense under the Revised PenalCode, statesthat if the offense is punished by any other law, thecourt shall sentence theaccused to an indeterminate sentence, themaximum term of which shall notexceed the maximum fixed by saidlaw and the minimum shall not be lessthan the minimum termprescribed by the same We hold that this quotedportion of thesection indubitably refers to an offense under a special lawwhereinthe penalty imposed was not taken from and is without referencetothe Revised Penal Code, as discussed in the preceding illustrations,suchthat it may be said that the offense is punished under thatlaw. There canbe no sensible debate that the aforequoted rule onindeterminate sentencefor offenses under special laws wasnecessary because of the nature of theformer type of penaltiesunder said laws which were not included or contemplated in thescale of penalties in Article 71 of the Code, hence therecould be nominimum within the range of the penalty next lower tothatprescribed by the Code for the offense, as is the rule forfelonies therein. Inthe illustrative examples of penalties in speciallaws hereinbefore provided,this rule applied, and would still apply,only to the first and last examplesFurthermore, considering the vintage of Act No. 4103 as earliernoted, thisholding is but an application and is justified under the ruleof contemporaneaexpositio. Republic Act No. 6425, as now amended by Republic Act No.7659, has unqualifiedly adopted the penalties under the RevisedPenal Codein their technical terms, hence with their technicalsignification and effects. Infact, for purposes of determining themaximum of said sentence, we haveapplied the provisions of theamended Section 20 of said law to arrive atprisioncorreccionaland Article 64 of the Code to impose the same in themedium period. Such offense, although provided for in a special law,is nowin the effect punished by and under the Revised PenalCode.(People v Martin Simon)WHEN THE BENEFITS OF INDETERMINATE SENTENCE LAW ISNOTAPPLICABLE;a. Offenses punished by death or life imprisonment.b. Thoseconvicted of treason (Art. 114), conspiracy or proposal to committreason (Art. 115).c. Those convicted of misprision of treason (Art.116), rebellion(Art. 134), sedition (Art. 139), or espionage (Art.117).d. Those convicted of piracy (Art. 122).e. Habitual delinquents(Art. 62, par. 5).f. Those who escaped from confinement or thosewho evadedsentence.g. Those granted conditional pardon and whoviolated theterms of the same (Art. 159). (People v. Corral, 74 Phil. 359).h.Those whose maximum period of imprisonmentdoes notexceed one year.i.Those who are already serving final judgment upon theapproval of the Indeterminate SentenceLaw.j.those offenses or crimes not punishable by imprisonmentsuchasdistierroand suspension.RECIDIVISTS ARE ENTITLED TO THE BENEFITS OFTHEINDETERMINATE SENTENCERecidivists are entitled to an indeterminate sentence. (People v.Jaramilla, L-28547, Feb. 22, 1974). Offender is not disqualified to avail of thebenefits of the law even if the crime is committed while he is onparole.(People v. Clareon  , CA 78 O.G. 6701, Nov. 19, 1982).(Bacar v. De Guzman)NATURE OF PENALTYOF RECLUSION PERPETUAIn  People -vs- Conrado Lucas, 240 SCRA 66, the Supreme Courtdeclared that despite theamendment of Article 27 of the Revised PenalCode,reclusionperpetuaremained an indivisible penalty. Hence, the penaltydoes not haveany minimum, medium and maximum period. Hence, there isnosuch penalty of medium period of reclusionperpetua.(People versus TiburcioBaculi, 246 SCRA)IMPOSITION OF WRONG PENALTY:IT DOES NOT OBTAIN FINALITYSuppose the court imposed a penalty of 25 years of reclusionperpetuafor the crime of rape and the accused did not appeal, doesthejudgment become final and executory? No, such judgment is nulland voidbecause it imposed a non-existent penalty. Hence, thecourt maynevertheless correct the penalty imposed on the accused,that is,reclusionperpetua, it is merely performing a duty inherent in the court.(People versusNigel Gatward, GR No.119772-73, February 7, 1997)DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RECLUSION PERPETUA ANDLIFEIMPRISONMENTThe penalty of reclusionperpetuais different from life imprisonment.The former carries with itaccessory penalties, whereas life imprisonmentdoes not carry with itany accessory penalties;reclusionperpetuaisthatprovided for under the Revised Penal Code and under crimesdefined byspecial laws using the nomenclature under the RevisedPenal Code ; lifeimprisonment is that provided for violations of theRevised Penal Code.Reclusion Perpetuamay be reduced by one or two degrees while lifeimprisonmentcannot be so reduced.(People -vs- RolnandoMadriaga,GR No. 82293,July 23, 1992.)WHICH IS MORE BURDENSOME LIFE IMPRISONMENT OFRECLUSIONPERPETUAReclusion perpetua has accessory penalties while lifeimprisonmentdoes not. However, life imprisonment does not have afixed duration or extent while reclusion perpetua has a duration of from twenty years and oneday to forty years. life imprisonment mayspan the natural life of the convict.(People -versus- Rallagan,247SCRA 537)2RECLUSION PERPETUA AND LIFE IMPRISONMENT CANNOTBEINTER-CHANGED WHEN IMPOSED AS PENALTYWhere the law violated provides for the penalty of reclusionperpetua, impose the said penalty and not the penalty of life imprisonment.Where the law imposes the penalty of lifeimprisonment, do not imposereclusionperpetua.(People -vs-Rolando Madriaga, 211 SCRA 698)THE REASON WHY RECLUSION PERPETUA HAS A RANGE DESPITETHESAME BEING INDIVISIBLEThere we also said that if reclusion perpetua was reclassified asadivisible penalty, then Article 63 of the Revised Penal Code wouldlose itsreason and basis for existence. The imputed duration of thirty (30) years of reclusion perpetua, therefore, only serves as thebasis for determining theconvict's eligibility for pardon or for theapplication of the three-fold rule in theservice of multiplepenalties.(People -vs- AspolinarRaganas, et alGR No. 101188,October 12, 1999)RARE CASE OF APPLICATION OF RPC IN ASUPPLETORYCHARACTER DESPITE THE PENALTY BEING LIFEIMPRISONMENTWhere the accused committed qualified violation of PD 704(fishingwith the use of explosives), the imposable penalty forwhich is lifeimprisonment to death. If the accused is entitled to amitigating circumstanceof voluntary surrender, the court shouldimpose life imprisonment applying, inasuppletory character, Articles13 and 63 of the Revised Penal Code.(People -vs- Priscilla Balasa, GRNo.106357, September 3, 1998)ACCUSED WHO IS SENTENCED TO RECLUSION PERPETUA ISSTILLENTITLED TO EITHER FULL OR ¾ OF HISPREVENTIVEIMPRISONMENTIf, during the trial, the accused was detained but, after trial, hewasmeted the penalty of reclusion perpetua, he is still entitled tothe full credit of his preventive imprisonment because Article 29 of the Revised Penal Codedoes not distinguish between divisible andindivisible penalties.(People -vs- Rolando Corpuz,231 SCRA 480)QUALIFIED THEFTQUALIFIED THEFT IS PENALIZED BY RECLUSIONPERPETUA IFAMOUNT INVOLVED IS OVER P22,000.00Under Article 309 of the Revised Penal Code, the maximum of thepenalty for qualified theft isprision mayorto reclusion temporal. However,under Article 310 of the RevisedPenal Code, the penalty for the crime shallbe two (2) degrees higherthan the specified in Article 309 of the Code.Under Article 74 of theRevised Penal Code, the penalty higher by onedegree than anothergiven penalty, and if such higher penalty is death, thepenalty shallbereclusionperpetuaof forty (40) years with the accessorypenalties of death under Article40 of the Revised Penal Code. The accusedshall not be entitled topardon before the lapse of forty (40) years.(People -vs- FernandoCanales, 297 SCRA 667)THE PROBATION LAW (P.D. 968)and its AMENDMENTSPROBATION, ITS MEANING:A disposition under which a defendant, after conviction andsentence, issubject to conditions imposed by the Court and underthe supervision of aprobation officer.PURPOSES OF PROBATION:a. to promote the correction and rehabilitation of an offender byprovidinghim with personalized community based treatment;b. toprovide an opportunity for his reformation and reintegration intothecommunity;3c. to prevent the commission of offenses.SUBMISSION OF PETITION ANDTIME OF FILING OFPETITIONThe petition or application for probation must be filed directly withtheCourt which sentenced the accused within 15 days from date of promulgationof the decision convicting the accused, or in shortwithin the period to appealotherwise the judgment shall becomefinal and the accused shall be deemedto have waived his right toprobation.EFFECT OF FILING OF PETITION FOR PROBATIONUpon filing of petition for probation, the court shall suspendtheexecution of sentence.Likewise, the filing of a petition forprobation shall be deemed awaiver of the right to appeal and in casean appeal is made immediately after conviction, a filing of petitionfor probation still within the period to appeal,that is within fifteendays from date of promulgation shall be deemed awithdrawal of theappeal.  PENDING RESOLUTION OF PETITION,WHAT ARE THE PRIVILEDGETHAT MAYBE GIVEN TO THE ACCUSED-PETITIONER?1. if the accused, prior to the promulgation of decision of convictionis outon bail, he may be allowed on temporary liberty under his bailfiled in saidcase;2. if he is under detention, upon motion, he may beallowed temporaryliberty, if he cannot post a bond, on arecognizance of a responsible member of a community who shallguarantee his appearance whenever required bythe court.IN CASE THE APPLICANT FOR PROBATION CANNOT BE PRODUCEDBYTHE CUSTODIAN ON RECOGNIZANCE, WHAT HAPPENS?The custodian must be asked to explain why he should not becitedfor contempt for failing to produce the probationer whenrequired by thecourt; Summary hearing will be held for indirectcontempt, and if custodiancannot produce the petitioner, nor toexplain his failure to produce thepetitioner, the custodian onrecognizance shall be held in contempt of court.WHAT IS A POST SENTENCEINVESTIGATION REPORT?It is a report of the Parole and Probation Officer after conductingpostsentence investigation and interviews containing thecircumstancessurrounding the offense for which the petitioner wasconvicted. The findingsshould be drawn from the court records,police records, statement of defendants, the aggrieved party andother persons who may know thepetitioner and all other mattersmaterial to the petition.It will also include the psychological andsocial information regardingthe probationer; evaluation of thepetitioner; suitability for probation; hispotential for rehabilitation;and may include the program for supervision andsuggested terms of conditions of probation and a recommendation either todeny orgrant the probation.WHAT ARE THE MANDATORYCONDITIONS OF PROBATION?a. To present himself to the probation officer concerned forsupervisionwithin 72 hours from receipt of said order andb. toreport to the probation officer at least once a month during theperiodof probation.WHAT ARE THE OTHERCONDITIONS OF PROBATION?cooperate with a program of supervision;meet his familyresponsibilities;devote himself to a specific employment and not tocharge said employmentwithout prior written approval of theprobation officer;comply with a program of payment of civil liabilityto the victim of his heirs;undergo medical, psychological orpsychiatric examination and treatmentand/or enter and remain in aspecific institution, when required for thatpurposes;pursue aprescribed secular study or vocational training;attend or reside in afacility established for instruction or recreation of persons onprobation;refrain from visiting houses of ill-repute;abstain fromdrinking intoxicating beverages to excess;
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