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I.

A.

GRADUATION OF PENALTIES1

1 Indivisible
Either Death (currently no Death penalty) or Reclusion Perpetua (RP)
Court can impose the penalty as a whole because it has no periods being an
indivisible penalty (If the penalty is divisible, it is never imposed as a whole. The
divisible penalty should be divided into 3 periods)
Existence of a Generic Aggravating (GA) and/or Ordinary Mitigating (OM)
circumstances is irrelevant
BUT, privileged mitigating (PM) circumstance justifies lowering by 1
DEGREE

Ex.

B.

Ex.

1)

Death (as single penalty)


(1 degree; if PM is present)
RP

2)

RP (as single penalty)


(1 degree; if PM is present)
Reclusion Temporal (RT)

2 Indivisible
RP to Death
Existence of GA and/or OM is relevant to determine which of the 2 indivisible
penalties to impose
PM justifies lowering by 1 DEGREE from the lesser indivisible penalty
RP to Death (2 indivisible penalties; offset GAs and OMs)
Death

RP

(RP is lesser indivisible)

If theres a PM:

RT

(next lower in degree)

1 GA, no OM = Death

No GA, 1 OM or No GA, No OM = RP

1 PM: 1 degree lower from RP = RT

1 PM, 1 GA: 1 degree lower from RP THEN apply lower penalty


in MAX in view of GA = RT in its MAX

1 PM, 1 OM: 1 degree lower from RP THEN apply lower penalty


in MIN in view of GA = RT in its MIN
1 PM, No GA, No OM: 1 degree lower from RP THEN apply
lower penalty in MED = RT in its MED

For Section 1-D (Class of 2020), Ateneo School of Law. A basic guide to graduating penalties and
applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law (ISLAW).
Good luck to everyone!--Judge Boom

C.

Ex.

1 Divisible (Full extent) and 2 Indivisible


In lowering by 1 degree, basis will be the divisible penalty. Thus, reduce by 1
degree from the divisible penalty imposed by law in its full extent
Note: When law simply mentions a specific penalty by name (ex. RT) without
identifying the specific period (ex. RT in Min or Med or Max), it is understood
that the law is imposing RT in its full extent = RT in its Min, Med, Max (to be
imposed depending on the presence/absence of modifying circumstances)
RT to Death:
Death

RP

RT (divisible; full
extent)
1 PM, reduce by 1 degree
from divisible penalty
imposed (in full extent)

Prision Mayor
(PM)

(next lower in degree)

D.

Ex.

1 Divisible in its MAX period and 2 Indivisible


When penalty for crime is composed of 1 or 2 indivisible penalties and the MAX
of a divisible penalty, next lower in degree shall be the MED and MIN of the
given divisible penalty and the MAX of the immediately following divisible
penalty
RT MAX to Death:
Death
RP
RT MAX

(maximum of divisible)
1 degree lower is MED and MIN of the given divisible
penalty (RT) and the MAX of the immediately following
divisible penalty (PM)

RT MED
RT MIN
PM MAX

This is the period


1 degree lower than RT Max to Death =
PM Max to RT Med

(1 degree lower)

E.

Ex.

1, 2 or more Divisible (Full extent)


The penalty next lower degree is the penalty immediately following the divisible
penalty
Penalty is PM:

PM

Prision
Correccional
(PC)
[next lower in degree]

OR

Ex.

2 or more divisible penalties, next lower in degree is the penalty immediately


following the lesser divisible penalty
Penalty is PM to RT:
RT

PM

(lesser divisible penalty)

PC

[next lower in degree]

OR

Ex.

3 or more divisible penalties, next lower in degree is the penalty immediately


following the lesser divisible penalty
Penalty is PC to RT:
RT

PM

PC

(lesser divisible penalty)

Arresto Mayor
(AM)
[next lower in degree]

F.

Several divisible penalties in different periods


If penalty is composed of several periods of different divisible penalties, next
lower in degree is the period following the minimum prescribed and the next two
periods to be taken from the penalty provided if possible

FIRST EXAMPLE:

1 period of divisible penalty prescribed for crime (ex. PC MED):2

PC MED
(Penalty prescribed by
law; 1 period of PC
considered as one degree)

PC MIN

(next lower in degree)

SECOND EXAMPLE:

OR
2 periods prescribed for crime (ex. RT MIN to RT MED):

RT MED

RT MIN
(penalty prescribed; 2
periods of RT considered
as one degree)

PM MAX
PM MED

(next lower in degree)

1 degree below RT Min to RT Med


is the two periods immediately following RT Min (the lower divisible penalty)
= PM Med to PM Max

OR
THIRD EXAMPLE:

3 periods prescribed for crime (ex. PM MAX to RT MED):3

RT MED

RT MIN

PM MAX
(penalty prescribed; 3
periods of 2 divisible
penalties considered as
one degree)

PM MED
PM MIN
PC MAX

1 degree below PM Max to RT Med


is the three periods immediately following PM Max
= PC Max, PM Min and PM Med

(next lower in degree)


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Turn to page 7 to see application of ISLAW to this example.


Turn to page 9 to see application of ISLAW to this example.
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II.

GRADUATION WITH ISLAW

A.

FOR FELONIES OR OFFENSES, WHICH ADOPTED THE NOMENCLATURE OF THE


PENALTIES UNDER THE RPC
STEPS:
1)
Identify if penalty is divisible then divide into 3 periods (MIN, MED,
MAX);
2)
Lower the penalty by 1 degree to determine the range of the penalty;
3)
Determine the presence of modifying circumstances. This is relevant in
determining the maximum sentence that may be imposed (No GA or OM or all
GAs and OMs offset each other = MED; 1 GA, no OM = MAX; 1 OM, no GA =
MIN); and
4)
Determine imposable range of penalty then impose the minimum and
maximum.
***

***

***

1)
Identify if penalty is divisible then divide into 3 periods (MIN, MED, MAX).
Lets use Prision Mayor:

Prision Mayor to be divided into 3 periods being a divisible penalty:


Prision Mayor

2)

Maximum
Medium
Minimum

Lower the penalty by 1 degree to determine range of the penalty:


Prision Mayor

Maximum
Medium
Minimum

One degree lower is:


Prision Correccional

Maximum
Medium
Minimum

1 degree lower;
This is range of
minimum

3)
Determine the presence of modifying circumstances. This is relevant in
determining the maximum sentence that may be imposed (No GA or OM or all GAs and
OMs offset each other = MED; 1 GA, no OM = MAX; 1 OM, no GA = MIN).

Ex.

No GA, no OM = MED
Prision Mayor

Maximum
Medium (to be applied; 64[1], RPC)
Minimum

4)

Determine imposable range of penalty then impose the minimum and maximum:

Ex.

No GA, no OM = MED
Prision Mayor

Maximum
Medium (to be applied; 64[1], RPC)
Minimum

One degree lower is:


Prision Correccional

Maximum
Medium
Minimum

1 degree lower;
This will be the
Range of minimum

Apply ISLAW when the penalty exceeds one (1) year, as in this example. Thus, the
Court may impose either Prision Correccional MIN or MED or MAX as the minimum
penalty of the indeterminate sentence. Lets, for example, impose Prision Correccional in
its MAX as the minimum of the indeterminate sentence as highlighted below:
Maximum
Prision Correccional
(any of the 3 periods as the minimum of the
indeterminate sentence)

Medium
Minimum

1 degree lower;
This is range of
minimum

And Prision Mayor in its MED, in view of the absence of any GA or OM, as maximum:
Maximum
Prision Mayor

Medium (to be applied; 64[1], RPC)


Minimum

Accordingly, the penalty to be imposed based on the example above will be an


indeterminate sentence of prision correccional in its MAX as minimum TO Prision
Mayor in its MED as maximum.

Example of I(F)(First Example)


1)
Identify if penalty is divisible then divide into 3 periods. Lets use Prision
Correccional in its Medium period (PC MED):

PC MED to be divided into 3 periods being a divisible penalty


Maximum

(3 years, 6 months and 21 days to 4 years

and 2 months)

PC MED

Medium

(2 years, 11 months and 11 days to 3 years, 6


months and 20 days)

Minimum

(2 years, 4 months and 1 day to 2 years, 11


months and 10 days)

2)

Lower the penalty by 1 degree to determine range of the penalty:


Maximum

(3 years, 6 months and 21 days to 4 years

and 2 months)

PC MED

Medium

(2 years, 11 months and 11 days to 3 years, 6


months and 20 days)

Minimum

(2 years, 4 months and 1 day to 2 years, 11


months and 10 days)

One degree lower is:


Maximum
PC MIN

(1 year, 8 months and 21 days to 2 years

and 4 months)

Medium

(1 year, 1 month and 11 days to 1 year 8


months and 20 days)

Minimum

(6 months and 1 day to 2 years and 4

months)

3)
Determine the presence of modifying circumstances. This is relevant in
determining the maximum sentence that may be imposed (No GA or OM or all GAs and
OMs offset each other = MED; 1 GA, no OM = MAX; 1 OM, no GA = MIN).
Ex.

No GA, no OM = MED
Maximum

(3 years, 6 months and 21 days to 4 years

and 2 months)

PC MED

Medium

(2 years, 11 months and 11 days to 3 years, 6


months and 20 days)

Minimum

(2 years, 4 months and 1 day to 2 years, 11


months and 10 days)

4)

Determine imposable range of penalty then impose the minimum and maximum:

Ex.

No GA, no OM = MED
Maximum

(3 years, 6 months and 21 days to 4 years

and 2 months)

PC MED

Medium

(2 years, 11 months and 11 days to 3 years, 6


months and 20 days)

Minimum

(2 years, 4 months and 1 day to 2 years, 11


months and 10 days)

One degree lower is:


Maximum
PC MIN

(1 year, 8 months and 21 days to 2 years

and 4 months)

Medium

(1 year, 1 month and 11 days to 1 year 8


months and 20 days)

Minimum

(6 months and 1 day to 2 years and 4

months)

Apply ISLAW when the penalty exceeds one (1) year, as in this example. Thus, the
Court may impose either Prision Correccional in its Minimum period (PC MIN) in its
MIN or MED or MAX as the minimum penalty of the indeterminate sentence. Lets, for
example, impose PC MIN in its MAX as the minimum of the indeterminate sentence as
highlighted below:
Maximum
PC MIN

(1 year, 8 months and 21 days to 2 years

and 4 months)

Medium

(1 year, 1 month and 11 days to 1 year 8


months and 20 days)

Minimum

(6 months and 1 day to 2 years and 4

months)

And Prision Correccional in its Medium period (PC MED) in its MED, in view of the
absence of any GA or OM, as maximum:
Maximum

(3 years, 6 months and 21 days to 4 years

and 2 months)

PC MED

Medium

(2 years, 11 months and 11 days to 3 years, 6


months and 20 days)

Minimum

(2 years, 4 months and 1 day to 2 years, 11


months and 10 days)

Accordingly, the penalty to be imposed based on the example above will be an


indeterminate sentence of Prision Correccional Minimum in its MAX as minimum
TO Prision Correccional Medium in its MED as maximum.

Example of I(F)(Third Example)


1)
Identify if penalty is divisible then divide into 3 periods. Lets use Prision
Mayor in its Maximum period to Reclusion Temporal in its Medium period (PM
MAX to RT MED):

PM MAX to RT MED to be divided into 3 periods being a divisible penalty


Maximum

(14 years, 10 months and 21 days to 17


years and 4 months)

PM MAX to RT MED

Medium

(12 years, 5 months and 11 days to 14 years,


10 months and 20 days)

Minimum

(10 years and 1 day to 12 years, 5 months

and 10 days)

2)

Lower the penalty by 1 degree to determine range of the penalty:


Maximum
PM MAX to RT MED

(14 years, 10 months and 21 days to 17


years and 4 months)

Medium

(12 years, 5 months and 11 days to 14 years,


10 months and 20 days)

Minimum

(10 years and 1 day to 12 years, 5 months

and 10 days)

One degree lower is:


PC MAX to PM MED

Maximum (8 years and 21 days to 10 years)


Medium (6 years, 1 month and 11 days to 8 years and
20 days)

Minimum

(4 years, 2 months and 1 day to 6 years, 1


month and 10 days)

3)
Determine the presence of modifying circumstances. This is relevant in
determining the maximum sentence that may be imposed (No GA or OM or all GAs and
OMs offset each other = MED; 1 GA, no OM = MAX; 1 OM, no GA = MIN).
Ex.

No GA, no OM = MED
Maximum

(14 years, 10 months and 21 days to 17


years and 4 months)

PM MAX to RT MED

Medium

(12 years, 5 months and 11 days to 14 years,


10 months and 20 days)

Minimum

(10 years and 1 day to 12 years, 5 months

and 10 days)

4)

Determine imposable range of penalty then impose the minimum and maximum:

Ex.

No GA, no OM = MED
Maximum
PM MAX to RT MED

(14 years, 10 months and 21 days to 17


years and 4 months)

Medium

(12 years, 5 months and 11 days to 14 years,


10 months and 20 days)

Minimum

(10 years and 1 day to 12 years, 5 months

and 10 days)

On degree lower is:


Maximum

(8 years and 21 days to

10 years)

PC MAX to PM MED

Medium

(6 years, 1 month and 11


days to 8 years and 20 days)

1 degree lower;
This will be the
Range of minimum

Minimum

(4 years, 2 months and 1


day to 6 years, 1 month and 10 days)

Apply ISLAW when the penalty exceeds one (1) year, as in this example. Thus, the
Court may impose either Prision Correccional in its Maximum to Prision Mayor in its
Medium (PC MAX to PM MED) in its MIN or MED or MAX as the minimum penalty
of the indeterminate sentence. Lets, for example, impose PC MAX to PM MED in its
MAX as the minimum of the indeterminate sentence as highlighted below:
Maximum

(8 years and 21 days to

10 years)

PC MAX to PM MED

Medium

(6 years, 1 month and 11


days to 8 years and 20 days)

1 degree lower;
This will be the
Range of minimum

Minimum

(4 years, 2 months and 1


day to 6 years, 1 month and 10 days)

And Prision Mayor in its Maximum to Reclusion Temporal in its Medium (PM MAX
to RT MED) in its MED, in view of the absence of any GA or OM, as maximum:
Maximum

(14 years, 10 months and 21 days to 17


years and 4 months)

PM MAX to RT MED

Medium

(12 years, 5 months and 11 days to 14 years,


10 months and 20 days)

Minimum

(10 years and 1 day to 12 years, 5 months

and 10 days)

Accordingly, the penalty to be imposed based on the example above will be an


indeterminate sentence of Prision Mayor4 of 8 years and 21 days (to 10 years) as

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Prision Mayor because the maximum of PC MAX to PM MED (8 years and 21 days to 10 years) is
beyond Prision Correccional and is already in the range of Prision Mayor.

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minimum TO Reclusion Temporal5 of 12 years, 5 months and 11 days (to 14 years,


10 months and 20 days) as maximum.

B.
FOR OFFENSES THAT DID NOT ADOPT THE NOMENCLATURE OF THE PENALTIES
UNDER THE RPC

Ex.

Graduation of penalties does not apply in Special Penal Laws (SPL). Thus, the
penalty under the SPL cannot be lowered by 1 degree
In applying ISLAW, Courts must impose a minimum and maximum based on the
range of the penalty imposed under the SPL
However, Court can impose a straight penalty of up to one (1) year if the same is
within the minimum provided under the SPL
SPL imposes a penalty of 3 to 6 years
6 years

3 years

Maximum

Minimum

Courts can impose the following indeterminate sentences:

1)
2)
3)
4)

3 years as minimum to 4 years as maximum


3 years minimum to 5 years as maximum
3 years minimum to 6 years as maximum
etc.

Note that the minimum penalty that the Court can impose should not be lower
than the minimum allowed/provided under the SPL (in this case 3 years), and the
maximum should not be more than the maximum allowed/provided under the SPL
(in this case 6 years)
However, if for example the SPL imposes the following penalty:

6 months to 3 years
the Court is allowed to impose a straight6 penalty and need not apply the ISLAW
as long as the straight penalty imposed is within the minimum provided under the
SPL and will not exceed one (1) year
Ex.

Courts can impose the following straight penalties:

1) 6 months
2) 8 months

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Reclusion Temporal because the medium of PM MAX to RT MED (12 years, 5 months and 11 days to 14
years, 10 months and 20 days) is beyond Prision Mayor and is already in the range of Reclusion Temporal.
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By straight penalty, the Court is not required to apply ISLAW and/or provide a minimum and maximum.

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3) 11 months
4) 1 year
5) etc. (as long as the penalty will not exceed one year)

Should the court impose a penalty exceeding one year, it is required to apply
ISLAW

FINAL NOTES:
ISLAW is applied only when the sentence imposes a prison term. If the sentence does
not impose imprisonment, then ISLAW does not apply. If the sentence for the crime
committed was destierro, ISLAW does not apply
If ISLAW applies, the courts are required to pronounce a sentence that reflects a
MINIMUM term and MAXIMUM term.
If ISLAW is not applicable, the sentence should only impose a straight penalty

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