In some textbooks, an exemption is said to exist when the penal law is favorable to the offender, inwhich case it would have retroactive application; provided that the offender is not a habitual delinquent and there is no provision in the law against its retroactive application.The exception where a penal law may be given retroactive application is true only with a repealing law.If it is an original penal law, that exception can never operate. What is contemplated by the exceptionis that there is an original law and there is a repealing law repealing the original law. It is the repealing law that may be given retroactive application to those who violated the original law, if the repealing penal law is more favorable to the offender who violated the original law. If there is only one penal law,it can never be given retroactive effect.
Rule of prospectivity also applies to administrative rulings and circulars
Co v. CA, decided on October 28, 1993,
it was held that the principle of prospectivity of statutesalso applies to administrative rulings and circulars. In this case, Circular No. 4 of the Ministry of Justice, dated December 15, 1981, provides that “where the check is issued as part of an arrangement to guarantee or secure the payment of an obligation, whether pre-existing or not, the drawer is not criminally liable for either estafa or violation of BP22.” Subsequently, the administrative interpretationof was reversed in Circular No. 12, issued on August 8, 1984, such that the claim that the check wasissued as a guarantee or part of an arrangement to secure an obligation or to facilitate collection, is nolonger a valid defense for the prosecution of BP22. Hence, it was ruled in Que v. People that a check issued merely to guarantee the performance of an obligation is, nevertheless, covered by BP 22. But consistent with the principle of prospectivity, the new doctrine should not apply to parties who had relied on the old doctrine and acted on the faith thereof. No retrospective effect.
Effect of repeal of penal law to liability of offender
In some commentaries, there are references as to whether the repeal is express or implied. What affects the criminal liability of an offender is not whether a penal law is expressly or impliedly repealed;it is whether it is absolutely or totally repealed, or relatively or partially repealed.
Total or absolute, or partial or relative repeal.
-- As to the effect of repeal of penal law to the liability of offender, qualify your answer by saying whether the repeal is absolute or total or whether the repeal is partial or relative only. A repeal is absolute or total when the crime punished under the repealed law has been decriminalized by the repeal. Because of the repeal, the act or omission which used to be a crime is no longer acrime. An example is Republic Act No. 7363, which decriminalized subversion. A repeal is partial or relative when the crime punished under the repealed law continues to be a crimeinspite of the repeal. This means that the repeal merely modified the conditions affecting the crimeunder the repealed law. The modification may be prejudicial or beneficial to the offender. Hence, thefollowing rule:
Consequences if repeal of penal law is total or absolute
(1) If a case is pending in court involving the violation of the repealed law, the same shall bedismissed, even though the accused may be a habitual delinquent. This is so because all persons accused of a crime are presumed innocent until they are convicted by final judgment.Therefore, the accused shall be acquitted.(2) If a case is already decided and the accused is already serving sentence by final judgment, if the convict is not a habitual delinquent, then he will be entitled to a release unless there is areservation clause in the penal law that it will not apply to those serving sentence at the time of the repeal. But if there is no reservation, those who are not habitual delinquents even if they are already serving their sentence will receive the benefit of the repealing law. They are entitled to release.This does not mean that if they are not released, they are free to escape. If they escape, they commit the crime of evasion of sentence, even if there is no more legal basis to hold them in the penitentiary. This is so because prisoners are accountabilities of the government; they are not