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Philippine Criminal Law

Philippine Criminal Law

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Published by: sedrgionepomuceno on Jan 11, 2010
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Philippine criminal law
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Philippine Criminal Laws
is the body of laws defining crimesand defining the penalties thereof  in thePhilippines.
ThePhilippineswas a colony of Spainfor more than 300 years, beginning in 1565 until 1898. Because of this, many fields of law in the Philippines such asCivil Law and Criminal Law  follow acivil law tradition, as opposed toCommercial LawandConstitutional Lawwhich follow acommon lawtradition.When theSpanish Colonizers conquered the Philippines, the Spanish Codigo Penal was made applicable and extended to the Philippines by Royal Decree of 1870. This was replaced with theold Penal Code which was put in place by Spanish authorities, and took effect in the Philippinesin July 14, 1876. This law was effective in the Philippines until theAmericancolonization of thePhilippines. It was only on December 8, 1930, when it was amended, under Act. No. 3815, withthe enactment of the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines(the “Revised Penal Code”).
The Revised Penal Code took effect on January 1, 1932. It is composed of two parts – Book Oneof the Revised Penal Code provides the general provisions on the application of the law, and thegeneral principles of criminal law. It definesfeloniesand circumstances which affect criminalliability, justifying circumstances and circumstances which exempt, mitigate or aggravatecriminal liability, and defines the classification, duration, and effects of criminal penalties.Finally, it provides for the extinction and survival of criminal and civil liabilities in crimes.Book Two of the Revised Penal Code on the other hand defines the specific crimes and the penalties imposable under each crime. Crimes are classified into crimes against national security(such astreason,espionageand piracy), crimes against the fundamental laws of the state (rebellion, coup d’etat,sedition and public disorders), crimes against public interest (counterfeiting of currency, falsification of public documents), crimes against public morals,crimes committed by public officers, crimes against persons ( parricide, murder , physical injuries, rape
), crimes against security (kidnapping), and crimes against property (robbery, theft), amongothers. Criminal negligence is also an offense under the Revised Penal Code. Under the RevisedPenal Code, acts and omissions punishable by law are called felonies. Thus, to be considered as a felony there must be an act or  omission.
Degree of Consummation of Crimes
Felonies can be consummated, frustrated, and attempted. A felony is consummated when all theelements necessary for its execution and accomplishment are present. It is frustrated when theoffender performs all the acts of execution which would produce the felony as a consequence butwhich, nevertheless, do not produce it by reason of causes independent of the will of the perpetrator. There is an attempt when the offender commences the commission of a felony
directly or over acts, and does not perform all the acts of execution which should produce thefelony by reason of some cause or accident other than this own spontaneous desistance.Conspiracyexists when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the commissionof a felony and decide to commit it. There is proposal when the person who has decided tocommit a felony proposes its execution to some other person or persons. Conspiracy and proposal to commit a felony are generally not punishable, except for conspiracy and proposal tocommit treason, coup d’etat, and rebellion.
Circumstances that Affect Criminal Liability
The presence of certain circumstances have the effect of removing, mitigating or aggravatingcriminal liability of persons. Persons who commit crimes when justifying circumstances are present do not incur criminal or civil liability. Acting in self-defense is one of these justifyingcircumstances.The presence of exempting circumstances on the other hand will exempt the perpetrator fromcriminal liability but not from civil liability. Some of these exempting circumstances areimbecility or youth. On the other hand, the presence of one or more mitigating circumstanceswhen a crime is committed, can serve to reduce the penalty imposed. An example is voluntarysurrender.Lastly, the presence of aggravating circumstances will increase the penalty imposed under thecrime, upon conviction. Some examples are contempt or insult to public authority.
Participation in Crimes
Under the Revised Penal Code, when more than one person participated in the commission of thecrime, the law looks into their participation because in punishing offenders, the Revised PenalCode classifies them as principals, accomplices, or accessories. A persons can be liable as a  principal for (a) taking a direct part in the execution of the felony, (b) directly forcing or inducing others to commit it, or (c) cooperate in the commission of the offense by another actwithout which it would not have been accomplished. Accomplices are persons who, while notacting as a principal, cooperate in the execution of the offense by previous or simultaneous acts.Lastly, accessories are those who, having knowledge of the commission of the crime, andwithout having participated therein, either as principals or accomplices, take part subsequent toits commission by: (a) profiting themselves or assisting the offender to profitby the effects of thecrime, (b) concealing or destroying the body of the crime, or the effects or instruments thereof, inorder to prevent its discovery, or (c) harboring, concealing, or assisting in the escape of the principals of the crime.Principals are punished more severely than accomplices, who are punished more severely thanaccessories. However, when there is conspiracy, there will no longer be a distinction as towhether a person acted as a principal, accomplice or accessory, because when there isconspiracy, the criminal liability of all will be the same, because the act of one is the act of all.
SpecialPenal Laws
Apart from the crimes penalized in the Revised Penal Code, several other pieces of criminallegislation have been passed, penalizing acts such as illegal possession and trafficking of dangerousdrugs,money laundering, and illegal possession of  firearms. These laws are called “Special Penal Laws” and they form part of  Philippine Criminal Laws. There are certain differences between crimes punished under the Revised Penal Code and Special Penal Laws.

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