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I. Definitions
Penalty is the suffering that is inflicted by the State for the
transgression of a law.
o Signifies pain i.e. suffering undergone because of the
action of human society, by one who commits a crime.

II. Different Juridical Conditions Of Penalty (acc. to classical school)
1. Must be productive suffering without affecting the integrity
of the human personality.
2. Must be commensurate with the offense different crimes
must be punished with different penalties.
3. Must be personal no one should be punished for the crime of
4. Must be legal it is the consequence of a judgment according
to law.
5. Must be certain.
6. Must be equal for all.
7. Must be correctional.

III. States Purpose For Punishing Crime
To secure justice The state has
o An existence of its own to maintain.
o A conscience of its own to assert.
o Moral principles to be vindicated.

IV. Theories Justifying Penalty
1. Prevention and suppress the danger to the State arising
from the criminal acts of the offender.

2. Self-defense measure of such to protect society from the

threat and wrong inflicted by the criminal.
3. Reformation object of punishment is to correct offender.
4. Exemplarity to deter others from committing crimes.
5. Justice retributive justice, a vindication of absolute right and
moral law violated by the criminal.
Social defense and exemplarity justify the penalty of death.
When a person has proved to be a dangerous enemy of society,
it must protect itself by taking the life in retribution for the
offense, and to serve as an example and warning to others.

V. Three-fold purpose of penalties under RPC
1. Retribution or expiation commensurate with the gravity of
the offense.
2. Correction or reformation shown by the rules that regulate
the execution of penalties consisting in deprivation of liberty.
3. Social defense shown by inflexible severity to recidivists and
habitual delinquents.

VI. Constitutional restriction on penalties
Excessive fines shall not be imposed, nor cruel punishment
o Cruel and unusual punishment that is so
disproportionate to the offense so as to shock the
moral sense of all reasonable men.
o Constitutional stricture refers to penalties which are
inhuman and barbarous, or shocking to the conscience
(Weems v. U.S.), and fines and imprisonment are not in
this category (People v. Dionisio).

Article 21. Penalties that may be imposed.
No felony shall be punishable by any penalty not prescribed by law
prior to its commission.

Original Material from TABLE TURNERS (2012-2013). Edited by Rachelle Anne Gutierrez (2015-2016)




I. State Policy About Punishing Crimes
This article prohibits the government from punishing any
person for any felony with any penalty, which has not been
prescribed by the law.
o Has no application to the Revised Penal Code, because
all felonies defined in the Revised Penal Code has a
prescribed penalty.
o May only be invoked when a person is being tried for
an act or omission for which no penalty has been
prescribed by law.
This is a guarantee to the citizen of this country that no act of
his will be considered criminal until the government has made
it so by law and has provided a penalty.
o No imprisonment at the discretion of the court. There
must be limits imposed by the law.
o In Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 and libel, the Supreme Court
issued admin orders giving preference to fine over
imprisonment. This doesnt mean that the SC abolished
The favorable judgment by the appellate court on an accused
will be applied to his co-accused if it is favorable and applicable
to the latter.
Court can impose either fine or imprisonment. But it can never
imposed fine and/or imprisonment. Accused cant choose
how he wants to serve his sentence.

II. Reason For The Provision
A law cannot be rationally obeyed unless it is first shown.
Man cannot be expected to obey an order that has not been

III. Examples

No Penalty Prescribed By Law Prior To Its Commission

U.S. v. Yam Tung Way
o Facts: A allegedly reproduced and sold fraudulent
copies of anothers literary work. No copyright law.
o Held: A cannot be punished because at that time no
law defined and penalized such act.
Subsidiary penalty for a crime cant be imposed if not prescribed by
law prior to its commission
U.S. v. Macasaet
o Facts: Macasaet was charted and convicted for
violating Act No. 1189 punishable by a fine. At that
time, no law provided for imprisonment for failure to
pay fine by reason of insolvency. Act No. 1732 which
provides such penalty, and took effect during trial. The
court imposed subsidiary imprisonment.
o Held: Subsidiary imprisonment cannot be imposed
because it took effect AFTER the commission of the

Article 22. Retroactive effect of penal laws.
Penal laws shall have a retroactive effect in so far as they favor the
person guilty of a felony, who is not a habitual criminal, as this term is
defined in Rule 5 of Article 62 of this Code, although at the time of the
publication of such laws a final sentence has been pronounced and
the convict is serving the same.


I. Article 22 Not Applicable To Provisions Of Revised Penal Code
Application to Revised Penal Code may only be invoked where
some former or subsequent law is under consideration.
Article 10 doesnt bar application of Article 22 to special laws.

Original Material from TABLE TURNERS (2012-2013). Edited by Rachelle Anne Gutierrez (2015-2016)




If by amendment to the Revised Penal Code or special

law, the punishment is made less severe than provided
for in this Code, the accused may invoke Article 22.

A. Must Necessarily Relate:
1. To penal laws existing prior to the Revised Penal Code, in which
the penalty was less severe than those of the code OR
2. To laws enacted subsequent to the Revised Penal Code, in
which the penalty is more favorable to the accused.

B. Courts Can Apply This Provision, Even If Not Invoked By The

II. Rule
General Rule: Give criminal laws prospective effect.
o People v. Changco Facts: Before Article 365 (RPC)
was amended, slight physical injuries through reckless
imprudence was not punishable. On September 21,
1954, accused committed such act. On June 21, 1957,
RA 1790 was approved thus making the amendments.
Issue: Can accused be punished?
Held: The amended Article 365 punishing the act
cannot be given retroactive effect such as to punish the
o Giving a law retroactive effect, if unfavorable to the
accused will violate the constitutional inhibition as to
ex post facto law. (See Criminal Law in General)
Exception: To give criminal laws retroactive effect when
favorable to the accused.
o Lapuz v. Court of Appeals Facts: Bus driver convicted
separately of (1) homicide with serious physical injuries
through reckless imprudence and (2) damage to
property through reckless imprudence for the
destruction caused to the other bus. RA 587 amending

the Motor Vehicle law took effect after the incident,

which made the driver liable for only one complex
crime under the RPC instead of two separate crimes.
Issue: Can RA 587 be used?
Held: Even though RA 587 took effect after the
incident, it can be given retroactive effect.
Exception applies to a law dealing with prescription of

III. Reason For The Exception
The sovereign in enacting a subsequent penal law more
favorable to the accused has recognized that the greater
severity of the former law is unjust.
However, the new law may provide otherwise
o Republic Act No. 4661 decreasing the prescription of
libel from 2 years to 1 year provides that it shall not
apply to cases of libel already filed in court at the time
of its approval.
o Republic Act No. 9346 prevents the imposition of the
death penalty, and could be apply retroactively
because it favors the accused.
Even if no more death penalty, the
classification of heinous crimes still remains
because of the possibility that it will once again
be revived. Moreover, civil liability is still
dependent on the nature of heinous crimes
(People v Bon).
Even if the offender is a habitual delinquent,
this law will still benefit him. Congress intended
it to benefit even the habitual delinquent.

IV. Revised Penal Code Was Not Given Retroactive Effect

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Thus, acts committed in violation of a conditional pardon (a

violation of RPC) prior to the effectivity of the RPC cannot be
punished (Peope v. Carballo).

V. Important Words And Phrases
A. Although At The Time Of The Publication Of Such Laws A Final
Sentence Has Been Pronounced And The Convict Is Serving The Same
Provision of Article 22 that penal laws shall have retroactive
effect insofar as they favor the person guilty of a felony is
applicable even if the accused has already started or is serving
his sentence.
The favorable retroactive effect of a new law may find the
defendant in one of these three situations:
o The crime has been committed and prosecution begins.
o Sentence has been passed but service has not begun.
o The sentence is being carried out.
In any case, the favorable new statute benefits him and should
apply to him.
Example: case of Robin Padilla where his sentence was
shortened after the passing of a new law that decreased the
penalty of illegal possession of firearms.

B. Who Is Not A Habitual Criminal?
Habitual criminals are not entitled to benefit of the provisions
of the new favorable statute.
A person shall be deemed to be a habitual delinquent if within
a period of ten years from the date of his release or last
conviction of the crimes of serious or less serious physical
injuries, robbery, theft, estafa, or falsification, he is found guilty
of any said crimes a third time or oftener (Rule 5, Article 62)

VI. In Connection To Civil Liability
A. Retroactive Effect Not Applicable To Civil Liability

The principle that criminal statutes are retroactive so far as

they favor the culprit does not apply to the latters civil liability
because the rights of the offended party or innocent third
parties are not within the gift of arbitrary disposal of the State.

B. A New Law Increasing Civil Liability Cannot Be Retroactive
Thus, Commonwealth Act No. 284 which increased the
minimum indemnity for the death of a person by reason of the
commission of a crime from P1,000 to P2,000 was not given
retroactive effect (People v. Panaligan).

VII. Article 22 v. Article 3661
The two articles mean that while felonies and misdemeanors
committed prior to the date of effectiveness of the Revised
Penal Code shall be punished in accordance with the Code or
Acts in force at the time of their commission, the same should
not be the case IF such Code or Acts are unfavorable to the
guilty party for the general principle on the retroactivity of
favorable penal laws, recognized in Article 22, should then

VIII. Repeal Of Laws
A. Lagrimas Case v. Tamayo Case

Facts Petitioner convicted for Accused was convicted for
assault upon a public official violating
and penalized under Article ordinance.
251 of the old penal code.
Pending his appeal, the

Article 366. Application of laws enacted prior to this Code. Without

prejudice to the provisions contained in Article 22 of this Code, felonies and
misdemeanors, committed prior to the date of effectiveness of this Code shall
be punished in accordance with the Code or Acts in force at the time of their

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Article 149 of the RPC

does not prescribe a penalty
for the same crime.
Petition denied. The intent
of the RPC was to insure
penalized by former acts
before its enforcement. It
should not have the effect of
pardoning the guilty.
Legislature re-enacted the
provision of Article 251 of
the old Penal Code in the
Revised Penal Code, but
does not punish an assault
upon a public school teacher
anymore. Article 149 of the
Revised Penal Code did not
absolutely repeal.
Where the repeal is by
reenactment, the court has
jurisdiction to try and punish
an accused person under the
old law.

ordinance was repealed and

the act complained of was no
longer a crime.
Case dismissed. A person
convicted and punished for
acts no longer criminal.

eliminating the section of the
ordinance under which the
accused was being prosecuted)
was absolute.

The repeal in this case is

absolute, not a reenactment or
repeal by implication. No
saving clause too.

B. Criminal Liability Under Repealed Law Subsists:
1. When the provisions of the former law are reenacted; or
2. When the repeal is by implication; or
3. When there is a saving clause
Right to punish offenses committed under an old penal law is
not extinguished if the offenses are still punished in the
repealing law.

C. Repeal Of Penal Law Which Impliedly Repealed An Old Penal Law

Revives The Old Law
Thus, when Act 1697, which repealed provisions of the old
Penal Code, was itself repealed by old Administrative Code, the
penalty of the Old Penal Code which was lighter than Act 1697
was imposed (U.S. v. Soliman).

D. No Retroactive Effect Of Penal Laws As Regards Jurisdiction Of
The jurisdiction of a court to try a criminal action is to be
determined by the law in force at the time of instituting the
action, not at the time of the commission of the crime.
Jurisdiction of courts in criminal cases is determined by the
allegations of the complaint or information, not by the findings
the court may make after trial.

IX. What Penalty May Be Imposed For The Commission Of A Felony?
Only the penalty prescribed by law prior to the commission of
the felony may be imposed (Article 21).
Felonies are punishable under the laws in force at the time of
their commission (Article 366).
But the penalty prescribed by a law enacted after the
commission of the felony may be imposed, if it is favorable to
the offender (Article 22).

Article 23. Effect of pardon by the offended party.
A pardon of the offended party does not extinguish criminal action
except as provided in Article 344 of this Code; but civil liability with
regard to the interest of the injured party is extinguished by his
express waiver.

I. Important Words And Phrases

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A. A Pardon By The Offended Party Does Not Extinguish Criminal
Crime committed is an offense against the state. In criminal
cases, the intervention of the aggrieved parties is limited to
being witnesses for the prosecution.
Only the Chief Executive can pardon offenders (Article 36).
Compromise does not extinguish criminal liability
There may be a compromise upon the civil liability arising from
an offense, but such compromise shall not extinguish the public
action for the imposition of the legal penalty (Article 2034, Civil
A contract stipulating for the renunciation of the right to
prosecute an offense or waiving the criminal liability is void.
The consideration or subject-matter is illegal.

B. Except As Provided In Article 344 Of This Code
The offended party in the crimes of adultery and concubinage
CANNOT institute criminal prosecution IF he shall have
consented or pardoned the offenders.
o In case of pardon, BOTH offenders must be pardoned.
o The pardon may be IMPLIED through continued
inaction of the offended party after learning the
In the crimes of seduction, abduction, rape or acts of
lasciviousness, there shall be no criminal prosecution if the
offender has been EXPRESSLY pardoned by the offended party
or her parents, grandparents, or guardian.
Pardon under Article 344 must be made before start of prosecution
When complaint for the above crimes have been filed in court,
a motion to dismiss based solely on pardon by the offended
party given after the filing of the complaint will be denied by

The ONLY act that can extinguish the penal action after
institution of criminal action is marriage between offender and
offended party.
Pardon under Article 344 is only a bar to criminal prosecution
Article 89 providing for the total extinction of criminal liability
does not mention pardon by the offended party as one of the
causes of totally extinguishing criminal liability.

C. But Civil Liability With Regard To The Interest Of The Injured Party
Is Extinguished By His Express Waiver
Two classes of injury:
o Social injury disturbance and alarm resulting from
the offense.
o Personal injury caused to the victim who suffered
damage either to his person, property, honor or her
Social injury is sought to be repaired by imposition of penalty.
The state has an interest and therefore cannot be extinguished
by pardon of offended party.
Personal injury is repaired through indemnity, which is civil in
nature, and can thus be EXPRESSLY waived. The State has not
reason to insist on its payment.

Article 24. Measures of prevention or safety which are nor
considered penalties.
The following shall not be considered as penalties:
1. The arrest and temporary detention of accused persons, as
well as their detention by reason of insanity or imbecility, or
illness requiring their confinement in a hospital.
2. The commitment of a minor to any of the institutions
mentioned in Article 80 and for the purposes specified
3. Suspension from the employment of public office during the
trial or in order to institute proceedings.

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4. Fines and other corrective measures which, in the exercise of
their administrative disciplinary powers, superior officials may
impose upon their subordinates.
5. Deprivation of rights and the reparations which the civil laws
may establish in penal form.

Plunder Act (Republic Act No. 7080) - suspension of public

official after filing of a valid information.
VAWC (Republic Act No. 9262) offended party entitled to
protection orders, or accused must file a bond to.


I. As Well As Their Detention By Reason Of Insanity Or Imbecility
Refers to accused persons who are detained by reason of
insanity or imbecility.
THEIR in the second clause of paragraph 1 refers to accused

II. They are not considered penalties
Because they are not imposed as a result of judicial
Paragraphs 1, 3 and 4 are preventive measures.
Paragraph 2 is not a penalty because it is not imposed by the
court. The imposition of the sentence in such case is
o Note: This has been repealed by the Juvenile Justice
Fines mentioned in Paragraph 4 should not be imposed by the
court, or else they will constitute a penalty.
Paragraph 5 is illustrate in the case of parents who are stripped
of their parental authority if found guilty of the crime of
corruption of their minor children.

III. Relevant Special Penal Laws
PNP Act (Republic Act No. 6975) preventive suspension of
policemen during criminal trials (Sections 41 and 47).
Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act No. 3019)
suspension of public official after filing of a valid information.

Original Material from TABLE TURNERS (2012-2013). Edited by Rachelle Anne Gutierrez (2015-2016)