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Indeterminate Sentence Law/Probation Law

attyrcd / January 28, 2010

(Act No. 4103, as amended, Dec. 5, 1933)
The purpose of the law is to uplift and redeem valuable human material and prevent
unnecessary and excessive deprivation of personal liberty and economic usefulness.
(People v. Onate, 78 SCRA 43) As a rule, it is intended to favor the accused particularly
to shorten his term of imprisonment, depending upon his behavior and his physical,
mental, and moral record as a prisoner to be determined by the Board of Indeterminate
Indeterminate sentence is a sentence with a minimum term and a maximum benefit
of a guilty person, who is not disqualified therefore, when the maximum penalty of
imprisonment exceeds one year. It applies to both violations of the RPC and special
1. Revised Penal Code

The court shall sentence the accused to an indeterminate sentence the

MAXIMUM TERM of which shall be that which, in view of the attending
circumstances, could be properly imposed under the Code, and the
MINIMUM TERM which shall be within the range of the penalty next
lower in degree to that prescribed by the Code for the offense.
The maximum is the penalty imposed as provided by law, depending upon the attending
circumstances. The minimum is one degree next lower to the penalty prescribed for the
offense. The latter is determined without considering the attending circumstances to
the penalty prescribed, and is left to the discretion of the court. (People v. Yco, 6545,
July 27, 1954)
Example: Homicide with one mitigating circumstance. The maximum penalty
prescribed by law is Reclusion temporal. Since there is one mitigating and no
aggravating it will be in the minimum or reclusion temporal minimum period. On the
other hand, the minimum is one degree next lower to reclusion temporal without
considering the mitigating circumstance and that will be prision mayor. The range of
prision mayor will depend upon the discretion of the court. Therefore, the
indeterminate penalty is a minimum of prision mayor (within the range fixed by the
court) to a maximum of reclusion temporal minimum period.
2. Special Law

The court shall sentence the accused to an indeterminate sentence, the

MAXIMUM TERM of which shall not exceed the maximum fixed by said law
and the minimum shall not be less than the MINIMUM TERM prescribed
by the same. (Q11, 1994 Bar)

Example: Penalty is one year to 5 years. Indeterminate sentence may be one year to 3
years or 3 years to 5 years.
This act shall not apply to persons:
1. Convicted of offenses punished with death or life imprisonment. (Q12, 1990 Bar)
2. Those convicted of treason, conspiracy or proposal to commit treason, misprision of
treason, rebellion, sedition or espionage, or piracy.
3. Those who are habitual delinquents.
Recidivists are entitled to an indeterminate sentence. (People v. Jaranilla, 28547, Feb.
22, 1974)
4. Those who shall have escaped from confinement or evaded sentence.
A minor who escaped from confinement in the reformatory is entitled to the benefits of
the law because confinement is not considered imprisonment. (People v. Perez, 44 OG
3884) (Q6, 1991 Bar)
5. Those who having been granted conditional pardon by the President shall have
violated the terms thereof.
6. Those whose maximum period of imprisonment does not exceed one year. (Q8, 1999

The application of which is based upon the penalty actually imposed in accordance with
law. (People v. Hidalgo, 452, Jan. 22, 1962)
7. Those already serving final judgment upon the approval of this Act (December 5,

8. Those sentenced to the penalty of destierro or suspension. (Q12, 1999 Bar)

Whenever any prisoner who shall have served the minimum penalty imposed on him,
said Board of Indeterminate Sentence may, in its discretion, and in accordance with the
rules and regulations adopted thereunder, authorize the release of such prisoner
on parole. If during the period of surveillance, such parolee shall show himself to be a
law-abiding citizen and shall not violate any of the laws of the Philippines, the Board
may issue a final certificate of release in his favor. Whenever any prisoner released on
parole shall, during the period of surveillance, violate any of the conditions of his

parole, the Board may issue an order for his re-arrest and shall serve the remaining
unexpired portion of the maximum sentence.
The application of the Indeterminate Sentence Law is mandatory if the imprisonment
would exceed one year. It would be favorable to the accused. (People v. Judge German
Lee, Jr., 86859, Sept. 12, 1984)

(PD 968, as amended, July 24, 1976)
Probation is a disposition, under which a defendant after conviction and sentence, is
released subject to the conditions imposed by the Court and to the supervision of a
probation officer.
The purpose of the law are:
1. Promote the correction and rehabilitation by providing the offender with
individualized treatment.
2. Provide an opportunity for the reformation of an offender which might be less
probable if he were to serve a prison sentence.
3. Prevent the commission of offenses.
The trial court may, after it shall have convicted and sentenced a defendant, and upon
application by said defendant within the period for perfecting an appeal, suspend the
execution of the sentence and place the defendant onprobation. No application
for probation shall be entertained or granted if the defendant has perfected an appeal
from the judgment of conviction. (PD 1990) In other words, the filing of the application
for probation is considered as a waiver of the right of the accused to appeal. (Q9, 1992
An application for probation shall be filed with the trial court. The filing of the
application shall be deemed a waiver of the right to appeal. An order granting or
denying probation shall not be appealable. However, an outright denial by the court is a
nullity correctible by certiorari. (De Luna v. Hon. Medina, CA 78 OG 599) An accused
must fall within any one of the disqualification in order to be denied probation. (Balleta
v. Leviste, 92 SCRA 719) (Q13, 1991 Bar)
The disqualified offenders are:
1. Sentenced to serve a maximum term of imprisonment of more than 6 years.
A penalty of six years and one day is not entitled to the benefits of the law. (Q3, 1995
Bar; Q12, 1990 Bar) In Francisco v. CA, 243 SCRA 384, the Supreme Court held that in
case of one decision imposing multiple prison terms, the totality of the prison terms
should not be taken into account for the purposes of determining the eligibility of the

accused for the probation. The law uses the word maximum term, and not total term.
It is enough that each of the prison term does not exceed 6 years. The number of
offenses is immaterial for as long as the penalties imposed, when taken individually and
separately, are within the probationable period. (Q9, 1997 Bar)
2. Convicted of any crime against the national security (treason, espionage, piracy,
etc.) or the public order (rebellion, sedition, direct assault, resistance, etc.).
3. Who have been previously convicted by final judgment of an offense punished by
imprisonment of not less than one month and one day and/or a fine of not less
than P 200. (Q2, 1993 Bar)
4. Who have been once on probation.
5. Who are already serving sentence at the time of the effectivity of the Decree.
Except for the reasons specified by the law, a trial court should not deny a petition for
probation, especially when the probation officer has favorably recommended the grant
of probation.
Even if at the time of conviction the accused was qualified for probation but at the time
of his application for probation, he is no longer qualified, he is not entitled to probation.
The qualification for probation must be determined as of the time the application is filed
in court. (Bernardo v. Judge Balagot, 86561, Nov. 10, 1992) Supposing, an accused was
convicted of a crime for which he was sentenced to a maximum sentence of 10 years.
While affirming the judgment of conviction, the appellate court reduced the penalty to a
maximum of 4 years and 4 months taking into consideration certain modifying
circumstances. The accused now applies for probation. In this case, the accused is not
entitled to probation. The law and jurisprudence are to the effect that appeal by the
accused from a sentence of conviction forfeits his right to probation. (Bernardo v.
Balagot, supra; Francisco v. CA; De la Cruz v. Judge Callejo) (Q3, 1995 Bar; Q17, 1994
The probationer shall:

1. Present himself to the probation officer within 72 hours from receipt of probation
2. Report himself to the probation officer at least once a month during the period of
The court, after considering the nature and seriousness of the violations of probation (if
any), may issue a warrant for the arrest of the probationer. He is then brought to the
court immediately for hearing, which is summary. If violation is established, the Court
may revoke or continue the probation and modify the conditions thereof. If revoked, the

probationer shall be ordered to serve the sentence originally imposed and shall commit
the probationer. The order of the court is not appealable.
A final discharge of probation shall operate to restore to the probationer all civil rights
lost or suspended as a result of the conviction and to full discharge of his liability for any
fine imposed. Under the Probation Law what is suspended is the execution of the
sentence, while under PD 603, as amended, what is suspended is the pronouncement of
the sentence upon request of the youthful offender. The suspension of the sentence,
however, has no bearing on the civil liability, which is separate and distinct from the
criminal action. (Budlong v. Apalisok, 22 SCRA 935)
The provisions of the Probation Law should be liberally construed in order that the
objective should be realized and achieved. (Santos v. Hon. Pano, 55130, Jan. 17, 1983)
In probation, the imposition of the sentence is suspended and likewise its accessory
penalties are likewise suspended. An order placing the defendant on probation is not a
sentence but is rather in effect a suspension of the imposition of the sentence. It is not a
final judgment but is rather an interlocutory judgment in the nature of the a conditional
order placing the convicted defendant under the supervision of the court for his
reformation. (Baclayon v. Hon. Mutia, 129 SCRA 148)