Reyes_RPC_Book-1.docx - CRIMINAL LAW Criminal Law defined Criminal law is that branch or division of law which defines crimes treats of their nature and

Reyes_RPC_Book-1.docx - CRIMINAL LAW Criminal Law defined...

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Unformatted text preview: CRIMINAL LAW 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-ments. 2. Special Penal Laws passed by the Philippine Commission, Philippine Assembly, Philippine Legislature, National As-sembly, the Congress of the Philippines, and the Batasang Pambansa. 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. l CRIMINAL LAW IN GENERAL 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, 100) Limitations on the power of the lawmaking body to enact penal legislation. The Bill of Rights of the 1987 Constitution imposes the following limitations: 1. No ex post facto law or bill of attainder shall be enacted. (Art. Ill, Sec. 22) 2. No person shall be held to answer for a criminal offense without due process of law. (Art. Ill, 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 act; (2) aggravates a crime, or makes it greater than it was, when committed; (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; 2 CRIMINAL LAW IN GENERAL Constitutional Rights of the Accused (5) assumes to regulate civil rights and remedies only, in effect imposes penalty or deprivation of a right for something which when done was lawful; and (6) deprives a person accused of a crime some lawful protection to which he has become entitled, such as the protection of a former conviction or acquittal, or a proclamation of amnesty. (In re: Kay Villegas Kami, Inc., 35 SCRA 429, 431) Congress is also prohibited from passing an act which would inflict punishment without judicial trial, for that would constitute a bill of attainder. A bill of attainder is a legislative act which inflicts punishment without trial. Its essence is the substitution of a legislative act for a judicial determination of guilt. (People vs. Ferrer, 48 SCRA 382, 395) Example: Congress passes a law which authorizes the arrest and imprisonment of communists without the benefit of a judicial trial. To give a law retroactive application to the prejudice of the accused is to make it an ex post facto law. The penalty of prision mayor medium, or eight years and one day to ten years, imposed by Presidential Decree No. 818, applies only to swindling by means of issuing bouncing checks committed on or after October 22, 1985. That increased penalty does not apply to estafa committed on October 16, 1974 because it would make the decree an ex post facto law. Its retroactive application is prohibited by Articles 21 and 22 of the Revised Penal Code and Section 12, Article IV (now Sec. 22, Art. HI, of the 1987 Constitution). (People vs. Villaraza, 81 SCRA 95, 97) The second limitation requires that criminal laws must be of general application and must clearly define the acts and omissions punished as crimes. Constitutional rights of the accused. Article III, Bill of Rights, of the 1987 Constitution provides for the following rights: 3 CRIMINAL LAW IN GENERAL Constitutional Rights of the Accused 1. All persons shall have the right to a speedy disposition of their cases before all judicial, quasi-judicial, or administra-tive bodies. (Sec. 16) 2. No person shall be held to answer for a criminal offense without due process of law. (Sec. 14[1]) 3. All persons, except those charged with offenses punishable by reclusion perpetua when evidence of guilt is strong, shall, before conviction, be bailable by sufficient sureties, or be released on recognizance as may be provided by law. The right to bail shall not be impaired even when the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is suspended. Excessive bail shall not be required. (Sec. 13) 4. In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be presumed innocent until the contrary is proved, and shall enjoy the right to be heard by himself and counsel, to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him, to have speedy, impartial, and public trial, to meet the witnesses face to face, and to have compulsory process to secure the attendance of witnesses and the production of evidence in his behalf. However, after arraignment, trial may proceed notwithstanding the absence of the accused provided that he has been duly notified and his failure to appear is unjustifiable. (Sec. 14[2]) 5. No person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself. (Sec. 17) Any person under investigation for the commission of an offense shall have the right to be informed of his right to remain silent and to have competent and independent counsel preferably of his own choice. If the person cannot afford the services of counsel, he must be provided with one. These rights cannot be waived except in writing and in the presence of counsel. (Sec. 12[1]) No torture, force, violence; threat, intimidation, or any other means which vitiate the free will shall be used against him. Secret detention places, solitary, incommunicado, 4 CRIMINAL LAW IN GENERAL Statutory Rights of the Accused or other similar forms of detention are prohibited. (Sec 12[2]) Any confession or admission obtained in violation of this or Section 17 hereof shall be inadmissible in evidence against him. (Sec. 12[3]) 6. Excessive fines shall not be imposed, nor cruel, degrading or inhuman punishment inflicted. (Sec. 19[1]) 7. No person shall be twice put in jeopardy of punishment for the same offense. If an act is punished by a law and an ordinance, conviction or acquittal under either shall constitute a bar to another prosecution for the same act. (Sec. 21) 8. Free access to the courts and quasi-judicial bodies and adequate legal assistance shall not be denied to any person by reason of poverty. (Sec. 11) Statutory rights of the accused. Section 1, Rule 115, of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure provides that in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be entitled: 1. To be presumed innocent until the contrary is proved beyond reasonable doubt. 2. To be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him. 3. To be present and defend in person and by counsel at every stage of the proceedings, from arraignment to promulgation of the judgment, x x x 4. To testify as a witness in his own behalf but subject to crossexamination on matters covered by direct exami-nation. His silence shall not in any manner prejudice him. 5. To be exempt from being compelled to be a witness against himself. 6. To confront and cross-examine the witnesses against him at the trial, x x x 5 CRIMINAL LAW IN GENERAL Characteristics of Criminal Law 7. To have compulsory process issued to secure the attendance of witnesses and production of other evidence in his behalf. 8. To have a speedy, impartial and public trial. 9. To appeal in all cases allowed and in the manner prescribed by law. Rights of the accused which may be waived and rights which may not be waived. A right which may be waived is the right of the accused to confrontation and cross-examination. A right which may not be waived is the right of the accused to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him. The reason or principle underlying the difference between rights which may be waived and rights which may not be waived is that those rights which may be waived are personal, while those rights which may not be waived involve public interest which may be affected. (2 Moran, Rules of Court, 1952 Edition, 748) Characteristics of criminal law. Criminal law has three main characteristics: (1) general, (2) territorial, and (3) prospective. I. GENERAL, in that criminal law is binding on all persons who live or sojourn in Philippine territory. (Art. 14, new Civil Code) In a case where the accused contended that being an American citizen, he cannot be prosecuted for, much less convicted of, the crime of illegal possession of firearms, because it is a constitutional right of the citizens of the United States of America "to keep and bear arms" without any need of applying and securing a government license therefor, the Court of Appeals held: "The Philippines is a sovereign state with the obligation and the right of every government to uphold its laws and maintain order within its domain, and with the general jurisdiction to punish persons for offenses committed within its territory, regardless of the nationality 6 CRIMINAL LAW IN GENERAL Characteristics of Criminal Law of the offender. (Salonga and Yap, Public International Law, p. 169) No foreigner enjoys in this country extra-territorial right to be exempted from its laws and jurisdiction, with the exception of heads of states and diplomatic representatives who, by virtue of the customary law of nations, are not subject to the Philippine territorial jurisdiction." (People vs. Galacgac, C.A., 54 O.G. 1027) As a general rule, the jurisdiction of the civil courts is not affected by the military character of the accused. U.S. vs. Sweet (1 Phil. 18) Facts: Sweet was an employee of the U.S. Army in the Philippines. He assaulted a prisoner of war for which he was charged with the crime of physical injuries. Sweet interposed the defense that the fact that he was an employee of the U.S. military authorities deprived the court of the jurisdiction to try and punish him. Held: The case is open to the application of the general principle that the jurisdiction of the civil tribunals is unaffected by the military or other special character of the person brought before them for trial, unless controlled by express legislation to the contrary. Civil courts have concurrent jurisdiction with general courtsmartial over soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Civil courts have jurisdiction over murder cases committed by persons subject to military law. The civil courts have concurrent jurisdiction with the military courts or general courts-martial over soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Civil courts have jurisdiction over the offense of malversation (Art. 217) committed by an army finance officer. (People vs. Livara, G.R. No. L-6021, April 20, 1954) Even in times of war, the civil courts have concurrent jurisdiction with the military courts or general courts-martial over soldiers of the Philippine Army, provided that in the place of the commission of the crime no hostilities are in progress and civil courts are functioning. (Valdez vs. Lucero, 76 Phil. 356) 7 CRIMINAL LAW IN GENERAL Characteristics of Criminal Law The Revised Penal Code or other penal law is not applicable when the military court takes cognizance of the case. When the military court takes cognizance of the case involving a person subject to military law, the Articles of War apply, not the Revised Penal Code or other penal law. "By their acceptance of appointments as officers in the Bolo Area from the General Headquarters of the 6th Military District, the accused, who were civilians at the outbreak of the war, became members of the Philippine Army amenable to the Articles of War." (Ruffy, et al. vs. Chief of Staff, et al., 75 Phil. 875) Jurisdiction of military courts. Section 1 of Rep. Act No. 7055 reads in full: "Section 1. Members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and other persons subject to military law, including members of the Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Units, who commit crimes or offenses penalized under the Revised Penal Code, other special penal laws, or local government ordinances, regardless of whether or not civilians are co-accused, victims, or offended parties which may be natural or juridical persons, shall be tried by the proper civil court, except when the offense, as determined before arraignment by the civil court, is serviceconnected, in which case the offense shall be tried by court-martial: Provided, That the President of the Philippines may, in the interest of justice, order or direct at any time before arraignment that any such crimes or offenses be tried by the proper civil courts. "As used in this Section, service-connected crimes or offenses shall be limited to those denned in Articles 54 to 70, Articles 72 to 92, and Articles 95 to 97 of Commonwealth Act No. 408, as amended. "In imposing the penalty for such crimes or offenses, the courtmartial may take into consideration the penalty prescribed therefor in the Revised Penal Code, other special laws, or local government ordinances." The second paragraph of the above provision explicitly specifies what are considered "service-connected crimes or offenses" under Commonwealth Act No. 408 (CA 408), as amended, also known as the 8 CRIMINAL LAW IN GENERAL Characteristics of Criminal Law Articles of War, to wit: those under Articles 54 to 70, Articles 72 to 92, and Articles 95 to 97 of Commonwealth Act No. 408, as amended. Rep. Act No. 7055 did not divest the military courts of jurisdiction to try cases involving violations of Articles 54 to 70, Articles 72 to 92 and Articles 95 to 97 of the Articles of War as these are considered "service-connected crimes or offenses." In fact, it mandates that these shall be tried by the court-martial. In view of the clear mandate of Rep. Act No. 7055, the Regional Trial Court cannot divest the General Court-Martial of its jurisdic-tion over those charged with violations of Articles 63 (Disrespect Toward the President etc.), 64 (Disrespect Toward Superior Officer), 67 (Mutiny or Sedition), 96 (Conduct Unbecoming an Officer and a Gentleman) and 97 (General Article) of the Articles of War, as these are specifically included as "service-connected offenses or crimes" under Section 1 thereof. Pursuant to the same provision of law, the military courts have jurisdiction over these crimes or offenses. (Navales, et. al. vs. Abaya, et. al, G.R. Nos. 162318-162341, Oct. 25, 2004) The prosecution of an accused before a court-martial is a bar to another prosecution of the accused for the same offense. A court-martial is a court, and the prosecution of an accused before it is a criminal, not an administrative case, and therefore it would be, under certain conditions, a bar to another prosecution of the accused for the same offense, because the latter would place the accused in double jeopardy. (Marcos and Concordia vs. Chief of Staff, AFP, 89 Phil. 246) Offenders accused of war crimes are triable by military com-mission. The petitioner is a Filipino citizen though of a Japanese father, and associating himself with Japan in the war against the United States of America and the Philippines, committed atrocities against unarmed and noncombatant Filipino civilians and looted Filipino property. He is, indeed, a war criminal subject to the jurisdiction of the military commission. (Cantos vs. Styer, 76 Phil. 748) Executive Order No. 68 of the President of the Philippines establishing a National War Crimes Office and prescribing rules 9 CRIMINAL LAW IN GENERAL Characteristics of Criminal Law and regulations governing the trial of war criminals is valid and constitutional, the President of the Philippines having acted in conformity with the generally accepted principles and policies of international law which are part of our Constitution. The promulgation of said executive order is an exercise by the President of his powers as Commander-in-Chief of all our armed forces. "War is not ended simply because hostilities have ceased. After cessation of armed hostilities, incidents of war may remain pending which should be disposed of as in time of war." A military commission "has jurisdiction so long as a technical state of war continues." This includes the period of an armistice, or military occupation, up to the effective date of a treaty of peace. (Kuroda vs. Jalandoni, et al., 83 Phil. 171; Cowles, Trial of War Criminals by Military Tribunals, American Bar Association, June, 1944) Exceptions to the general application of Criminal Law. There are cases where our Criminal Law does not apply even if the crime is committed by a person residing or sojourning in the Philippines. These constitute the exceptions. The opening sentence of Article 2 of the Revised Penal Code says that the provisions of this Code shall be enforced within the Philippine Archipelago, "except as provided in the treaties and laws of preferential application." Article 14 of the new Civil Code provides that penal laws and those of public security and safety shall be obligatory upon all who live or sojourn in Philippine territory, subject to the principles of public international law and to treaty stipulations. Treaties or treaty stipulations. An example of a treaty or treaty stipulation, as an exception to the general application of our criminal law, is the Bases Agreement entered into by and between the Republic of the Philippines and the United States of America on March 14, 1947 (which expired on 16 September 1991), stipulating that "(t)he Philippines consents that the United States have the right to exercise jurisdiction over the fol-lowing offenses: (a) Any offense committed by any person within any base, except where the offender and the offended party are both 10 CRIMINAL LAW IN GENERAL Characteristics of Criminal Law Philippine citizens (not members of the armed forces of the United States on active duty) or the offense is against the security of the Philippines; (b) Any offense committed outside the bases by any member of the armed forces of the United States in which the offended party is also a member of the armed forces of the United States; and (c) Any offense committed outside the bases by any member of the armed forces of the United States against the security of the United States." Under the Agreement between the United States of America and the Republic of the Philippines Regarding the Treatment of United States Armed Forces Visiting the Philippines which was signed on 10 February 1998 ("RP-US Visiting Forces Accord"), the Philippines agreed that: (a) US military authorities shall have the right to exercise within the Philippines all...
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