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Echegaray v Secretary G.R. No.

132601 October 12, 1998

The Supreme Court affirmed the conviction of petitioner Leo Echegaray y Pilo for the crime of rape of
the 10 year-old daughter of his common-law spouse. The supreme penalty of death was to be imposed
upon him. He then filed motion for recon and a supplemental motion for recon raising constitutionality
of Republic Act No. 7659 and the death penalty for rape. Both were denied. Consequently, Congress
changed the mode of execution of the death penalty from electrocution to lethal injection, and passed
Republic Act No. 8177, designating death by lethal injection. Echegaray filed a Petition for prohibition
from carrying out the lethal injection against him under the grounds that it constituted 1. cruel,
degrading, or unusual punishment, 2. Being violative of due process, 3. a violation of the Philippines
obligations under international covenants, 4. an undue delegation of legislative power by Congress, an
unlawful exercise by respondent Secretary of the power to legislate, and an unlawful delegation of
delegated powers by the Secretary of Justice. In his motion to amend, the petitioner added equal
protection as a ground.
The Solicitor General stated that the Supreme Court has already upheld the constitutionality of the
Death Penalty Law, and has declared that the death penalty is not cruel, unjust, excessive or unusual
punishment; execution by lethal injection, as authorized under R.A. No. 8177 and the questioned rules,
is constitutional, lethal injection being the most modern, more humane, more economical, safer and
easier to apply (than electrocution or the gas chamber); in addition to that, the International Covenant
on Civil and Political Rights does not expressly or impliedly prohibit the imposition of the death penalty.
For resolution are public respondents' Urgent Motion for Reconsideration of the Resolution of this Court
dated January 4, 1990 temporarily restraining the execution of petitioner and Supplemental Motion to
Urgent Motion for Reconsideration.
1. Is the lethal injection a cruel, degrading or inhuman punishment? 2. Is it a violation of our
international treaty obligations?
No. lethal injection a cruel, degrading or inhuman punishment it does not also violate international
treaty obligation.
1. Now it is well-settled in jurisprudence that the death penalty per se is not a cruel, degrading or
inhuman punishment. Harden v. Director of Prisons- "punishments are cruel when they involve torture
or a lingering death; but the punishment of death is not cruel, within the meaning of that word as used
in the constitution. It implies there something inhuman and barbarous, something more than the mere
extinguishment of life." Would the lack in particularity then as to the details involved in the execution by

lethal injection render said law "cruel, degrading or inhuman"? The Court believes not. For reasons
discussed, the implementing details of R.A. No. 8177 are matters which are properly left to the
competence and expertise of administrative officials.
2. In countries which have not abolished the death penalty, sentence of death may be imposed only for
the most serious crimes in accordance with the law in force at the time of the commission of the crime
and not contrary to the provisions of the present Covenant and to the Convention on the Prevention
and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. This penalty can only be carried out pursuant to a final
judgment rendered by a competent court." The punishment was subject to the limitation that it be
imposed for the "most serious crimes". Included with the declaration was the Second Optional Protocol
to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Aiming at the Abolition of the Death Penalty
was adopted by the General Assembly on December 15, 1989. The Philippines neither signed nor ratified
said document.

People vs. Jose, G.R. No. L-28232 February 6, 1971

Jose was charged for violating Act 65 in 1944. Act 65 was an act of the Natl Assembly of RP while the
Japanese were still occupying the country. After serving 6 months or in April 1944, Jose was granted a
conditional pardon the simple condition was for him not to violate any other Penal Laws of RP. Later
he committed a crime of qualified theft. The Fiscal then went on to file an additional charge against Jose
for violating the conditions of the pardon granted him. Jose argued that he did not violate the pardon
conditions at all because there is no pardon at all. The pardon granted him is inoperative because the
law he violated before was a political law which was abrogated when the US army took over the country
as proclaimed by MacArthur in Oct 1944.
This case is now before us by virtue of the appeal interposed by Basilio Pineda, Jr., Edgardo Aquino, and
Jaime Jose, and for automatic review as regards Rogelio Caal. However, for practical purposes all of
them shall hereafter be referred to as appellants.
Whether the defendant can now be prosecuted for having allegedly violated the conditional pardon
granted by the President of the so-called Republic of the Philippines.
No. Jose cannot be prosecuted criminally for a violation of the conditional pardon granted by the
President of the so-called RP (during the Jap Occupation)
Because, without necessity of discussing and determining the intrinsic validity of the conditional pardon,
as an act done by the President of the so-called RP, after the restoration of the Commonwealth
Government, no elaborate argument is required to show that the effectivity of a conditional pardon
depends on that of the sentence which inflicts upon a defendant the punishment inflicted by the
sentence ceases to be of any effect in so far as the individual upon whom it is bestowed is concerned,
for the latter cannot be required to serve a void sentence of penalty imposed on him, even without such