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Article 4 Laws shall have no retroactive effect unless the

contrary is provided.
ORTEGA VS PEOPLE (LONG VERSION)
ORTEGA, then about 14 years old,[5] was charged with the crime of
Rape in two separate informations both dated April 20, 1998, for
allegedly raping AAA,[6] then about eight (8) years of age.

While the case was pending, Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9344, [37] or the
Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006, was enacted into law
on April 28, 2006 and it took effect on May 20, 2006.[38]

Title VIII
Transitory Provisions

SECTION 64. Children in Conflict with the Law Fifteen


(15) Years Old and Below. Upon effectivity of this Act,
cases of children fifteen (15) years old and below
at the time of the commission of the crime shall
immediately be dismissed and the child shall be
referred to the appropriate local social welfare and
development officer. Such officer, upon thorough
assessment of the child, shall determine whether to
release the child to the custody of his/her parents, or
refer the child to prevention programs, as provided under
this Act. Those with suspended sentences and
undergoing rehabilitation at the youth rehabilitation
center shall likewise be released, unless it is contrary to
the best interest of the child.

Ostensibly, the only issue that requires resolution in this case is


whether or not ORTEGA is guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the
crime of rape as found by both the RTC and the CA. However, with
the advent of R.A. No. 9344 while ORTEGA's case is pending
before this Court, a new issue arises, namely, whether the
pertinent provisions of R.A. No. 9344 apply to ORTEGA's case,
considering that at the time he committed the alleged rape, he
was merely 13 years old.
In sum, we are convinced that petitioner committed the crime of
rape against AAA.
However, for one who acts by virtue of any of the exempting
circumstances, although he commits a crime, by the complete
absence of any of the conditions which constitute free will or
voluntariness of the act, no criminal liability arises. [48] Therefore,
while there is a crime committed, no criminal liability attaches.
Section 6 of R.A. No. 9344 clearly and explicitly provides:

SECTION 6. Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility. A


child fifteen (15) years of age or under at the time of the
commission of the offense shall be exempt from criminal
liability. However, the child shall be subjected to an
intervention program pursuant to Section 20 of this Act.

Given this precise statutory declaration, it is imperative that this


Court accord retroactive application to the aforequoted provisions
of R.A. No. 9344 pursuant to the well-entrenched principle in
criminal law - favorabilia sunt amplianda adiosa restrigenda.
Penal laws which are favorable to the accused are given
retroactive effect.[53] This principle is embodied in Article 22 of
the Revised Penal Code, which provides:

Art. 22. Retroactive effect of penal laws. Penal laws shall


have a retroactive effect insofar as they favor the
persons 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.

Moreover, penal laws are construed liberally in favor of


the accused.[58]
However, while the law exempts petitioner from criminal
liability for the two (2) counts of rape committed against
AAA, Section 6 thereof expressly provides that there is no
concomitant exemption from civil liability.
SHORT VERSION ORTEGA VS PEOPLE
G. R. No. 151085, August 20, 2008
Facts:
At the time of commission of rape, the accused was 13 years old while the victim
was 6. The case was pending when the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006
(R.A. 9344) was enacted amending among others the age of criminal irresponsibility
being raised from 9 to 15 years old. At the time of the promulgation of judgment,
the accused already reached the age of majority.
Issue:
Whether or not the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006 (R.A. 9344) should be
applied, in the resolution of the case.
Held:
The Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006 (R.A. 9344) should be applied. By
virtue of R.A. No. 9344, the age of criminal irresponsibility has been raised from 9 to
15 years old, this law is evidently favorable to the accused. Petitioner was only 13
years old at the time of the commission of the alleged rape. This was duly proven by
the certificate of live birth, by petitioner's own testimony, and by the testimony of
his mother. Furthermore, petitioners age was never assailed in any of the

proceedings before the RTC and the CA. Indubitably, petitioner, at the time of the
commission of the crime, was below 15 years of age. Under R.A. No. 9344, he is
exempted from criminal liability.