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Criminal Law I

Criminal Law I

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Published by Ronald Sarcaoga

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Published by: Ronald Sarcaoga on Oct 03, 2010
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I. Criminal Law : Definition and SourcesCriminal Law I
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I. Criminal Law:Definitionand Sources
Criminal law is that branch or division of municipal law which defines crimes, treats of their nature and provides for their punishment.
It is that branch of public substantive lawwhich defines offenses and prescribes theirpenalties. It is substantive because it defines thestate’s right to inflict punishment and theliability of the offenders. It is public law becauseit deals with the relation of the individual withthe state.
a.Must be general in application.b.Must not partake of the nature of an expost facto law. (1987 Const. Art III,Sec.22)c.Must not partake of the nature of a bill of attainder. (1987 Const. Art III, Sec 22)d.Must not impose cruel and unusualpunishment or excessive fines. (1987Const. Art III, Sec 19)
Utilitarian theory or protectivetheory
The primary purpose of the punishmentunder criminal law is the protection of society from actual or potential wrongdoers.The courts, therefore, in exacting retributionfor the
society, should direct thepunishment to potential or actualwrongdoers, since criminal law is directedagainst acts and omissions which thesociety does not approve of. Consistent withthis theory, the mala prohibita principlewhich punishes an offense regardless of malice or criminal intent, should not beutilized to apply the full harshness of thespecial law.In
Magno vs. CA,
decided on June 26,1992, the Supreme Court acquitted Magnoof violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 whenhe acted without malice. The wrongdoer isnot Magno but the lessor who deposited thechecks. He should have returned the checksto Magno when he pulled out theequipment. To convict the accused woulddefeat the noble objective of the law andthe law would be tainted with materialismand opportunism.
Classical or juristic philosophy
Best remembered by the maxim “An eyefor an eye, a tooth for a tooth.” [Note: If you want to impress the examiner, use thelatin version- Oculo pro oculo, dente prodente.]The purpose of penalty is retribution. Theoffender is made to suffer for the wrong hehas done. There is scant regard for thehuman element of the crime. The law doesnot look into why the offender committedthe crime. Capital punishment is a productof this kind of school of thought. Man isregarded as a moral creature whounderstands right from wrong. So that whenhe commits a wrong, he must be preparedto accept the punishment therefore.
Positivist or realistic philosophy
The purpose of penalty is reformation.There is great respect for the humanelement because the offender is regarded associally sick who needs treatment, notpunishment. Cages are like asylums, jailslike hospitals. They are to segregate theoffenders from the “good” members of society.From this philosophy came the jurysystem, where the penalty is imposed on acase to case basis after examination of theoffender by a panel of social scientists whichdo not include lawyers as the panel wouldnot want the law to influence theirconsideration.Crimes are regarded as social phenomenawhich constrain a person to do wrongalthough not of his own volition. A tendencytowards crime is the product of one’senvironment. There is no such thing as anatural born killer.This philosophy is criticized as being toolenient.
Eclectic or mixed philosophy
This combines both positivist and classicalthinking. Crimes that are economic andsocial by nature should be dealt with in apositivist manner; thus, the law is morecompassionate. Heinous crimes should bedealt with in a classical manner; thus,capital punishment.Since the Revised Penal Code wasadopted from the Spanish Codigo Penal,which in turn was copied from the FrenchCode of 1810 which is classical in character,it is said that our Code is also classical. Thisis no longer true because with the Americanoccupation of the Philippines, manyprovisions of common law have beenengrafted into our penal laws. The RevisedPenal Code today follows the mixed oreclectic philosophy. For example,intoxication of the offender is considered tomitigate his criminal liability, unless it isintentional or habitual; the age of theoffender is considered; and the woman whokilled her child to conceal her dishonor hasin her favor a mitigating circumstance.
I. Criminal Law : Definition and SourcesCriminal Law I
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1.Generality2.Territoriality3.Prospectivity4.Legality5.Strict Construction of penal laws againstthe State
Generalityof criminal law means that thecriminal law of the country governs all personswithin the country regardless of their race,belief, sex or creed. However, it is subject tocertain exceptions brought about byinternational agreement. Ambassadors, chiefsof states and other diplomatic officials areimmune from the application of penal lawswhen they are in the country where they areassigned.Note that consuls are not diplomaticofficers. This
consul-general, vice-consul or and consul in a foreign country, whoare therefore, not immune to the operation orapplication of the penal law of the countrywhere they are assigned.Also excepted under the law of generalityare Members of the Congress who are notliable for libel or slander with any speech inCongress or congressional committee. (Sec11, Art VI 1987 Constitution)Generality has no reference to territory.Whenever you are asked to explain this, itdoes not
territory. It refers to personsthat may be governed by the penal law.The generality principle of penal laws is alsosubject to the principles of public internationlaw and to treaty stipulations (Art. 14 CivilCode).
of this would be the VFA andRA 75 (concerning immunities, rights andprivileges of duly accredited foreign diplomaticrepresentatives in the Philippines.
Take note
of the Visiting Forces Agreement, Art. V,which defines Criminal Jurisdiction over United Statesmilitary and civilian personnel temporarily in thePhilippines in connection with activities approved bythe Philippine Government
Territoriality means that the penal laws of the country have force and effect onlywithin its territory. It cannot penalize crimescommitted outside the same. This is subjectto certain exceptions brought about byinternational agreements and practice. Theterritory of the country is not limited to theland where its sovereignty resides butincludes also its maritime and interiorwaters as well as its atmosphere.Terrestrial jurisdiction is the jurisdictionexercised over land.Fluvial jurisdiction is the jurisdictionexercised over maritime and interior waters.Aerial jurisdictionis the jurisdictionexercised over the atmosphere.Excepted under the territorialitycharacteristic of penal laws are the casesprovided for by Art. 2 of the Revised PenalCode. The Code therefore has territorial andextraterritorial applications.
b.The archipelagic rule
The Archipelagic Rule states that allbodies of water comprising the maritimezone and interior waters abounding differentislands comprising the PhilippineArchipelago are part of the Philippineterritory regardless of their breadth, depth,width or dimension.On the fluvial jurisdiction there ispresently a departure from the acceptedInternational Law Rule, because thePhilippines adopted the Archipelagic Ruleasstated above.In the International Law Rule, when astrait within a country has a width of morethan 6 miles, the center lane in excess of the 3 miles on both sides is consideredinternational waters.
c.Scope of application of the provisionsof the revised penal code
The provisions in Article 2 embraces twoscopes of applications:i.Intraterritorial application
refers to the applicationof the Revised Penal Code within thePhilippine territory.In the intraterritorial application of theRevised Penal Code, Article 2 makes itclear that it does not refer only to thePhilippine archipelago but it also includesthe atmosphere, interior waters andmaritime zone. So whenever you use theword territory, do not limit this to landarea only.As far as jurisdiction or application of the Revised Penal Code over crimescommitted on maritime zones or interiorwaters, the Archipelagic Rule shall beobserved. So the three-mile limit on ourshoreline has been modified by the rule.Any crime committed in the interiorwaters comprising the Philippinearchipelago shall be subject to our lawsalthough committed on board a foreignmerchant vessel.A vessel is considered a Philippine shiponly when it is registered in accordancewith Philippine laws. Under internationallaw, as long as such vessel is not withinthe territorial waters of a foreign country,Philippine laws shall govern.ii.Extraterritorial application
I. Criminal Law : Definition and SourcesCriminal Law I
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refers to the applicationof the Revised Penal Code outside thePhilippines territory.Extraterritorial application of theRevised Penal Code on a crime committedon board a Philippine ship or airship is notwithin the territorial waters oratmosphere of a foreign country.Otherwise, it is the foreign country’scriminal law that will apply.However, there are two situationswhere the foreign country may not applyits criminal law even if a crime wascommitted on board a vessel within itsterritorial waters and these are:
When the crime is committed in awar vessel of a foreign country,because war vessels are part of thesovereignty of the country to whosenavel force they belong;
When the foreign country in whoseterritorial waters the crime wascommitted adopts the French Rule,which applies only to merchantvessels, except when the crimecommitted affects the nationalsecurity or public order of suchforeign country.
d.Crimes committed aboard merchantvessels while in the territorial watersof another country
These rules apply only to a foreignmerchant vessel if a crime was committedaboard that vessel while it was in theterritorial waters of another country. If thatvessel is in the high seas or open seas,there is no occasion to apply the two rules.If it is not within the jurisdiction of anycountry, these rules will not apply.i.The French Rule
The French Rule provides that thenationality of the
follows the flagwhich the vessel flies, unless the crimecommitted endangers the nationalsecurity of a foreign country where thevessel is within jurisdiction in which casesuch foreign country will never lose jurisdictionover such vessel.
ii.The English (Or Anglo-Saxon OrAmerican) RuleThis rule strictly enforces theterritoriality of criminal law.
The law of the foreign country where a foreign vesselis within its jurisdiction is strictly applied,except if the crime affects only theinternal management of the vessel inwhich case it is subject to the penal law of the country where it is registered.
We observe the English Rule. Philippinecourts have no jurisdiction over offensescommitted on board foreign warships interritorial waters.
i.Free Zone Theory
The atmosphere over the country isfree and not subject to the jurisdiction of the subjacent state, except for theprotection of its national security andpublic order.
Under this theory, if a crime iscommitted on board a foreign aircraft atthe atmosphere of a country, the law of that country does not govern unless thecrime affects the national security.ii.Relative Theory
The subjacent state exercises jurisdiction over the atmosphere only tothe extent that it can effectively exercisecontrol thereof.
Under this theory, if a crime wascommitted on an aircraft that is alreadybeyond the control of the subjacent state,the criminal law of the state will notgovern
. But if the crime iscommitted in an aircraft within theatmosphere over a subjacent state thatexercises control, then its criminal law willgovern.iii.Absolute TheoryAdopted by the Philippines
state has complete jurisdiction over the atmosphere above itsubject only to the innocent passage byaircraft of a foreign country.
Under this theory, if the crime iscommitted in an aircraft, no
howhigh, as long as it can be established thatit is within the Philippine atmosphere,Philippine criminal law will govern.
f.When public officers or employeescommit an offense in the exercise of their functions
The most common subject of barproblems in Article 2 is paragraph 4: “Whilebeing public officers or employees, [they]should commit an offense in the exercise of their functions:” As a general rule, the Revised Penal Codegoverns only when the crime committedpertains to the exercise of the publicofficial’s functions, those having to do withthe discharge of their duties in a foreigncountry. The functions contemplated arethose, which are, under the law, to beperformed by the public officer in theForeign Service of the Philippinegovernment in a foreign country.
Exception: The Revised Penal Codegoverns if the crime was committed withinthe
Embassy or within theembassy grounds in a foreign country. This

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