Criminal Law, defined.
Criminal law is that branch or division of law which
definescrimes, treats of their nature, and provides for
their punishment. (12129)
Crime, defined.
Crime is an act committed or omitted in violation of a
public lawf o r b i d d i n g o r c o m m a n d i n g
i t . ( I L a w D i c t i o n a r y , R a w l e ' s
Third Revision, 729)
Sources of Philippine Criminal Law.
1. The Revised Penal Code (Act No.
3815) and its amend-
m e nt s . 2. Special Penal Laws passed by the Philippine C
ommission,Philippine Assembly, Philippine Legislature,
National As-sembly, the Congress of the Philippines,
and the
Batasang3. Penal Presidential Decrees issued during Ma
rtial Law.
No common law crimes in the Philippines.
The so-called common law crimes, known in the United
Statesand England as the body of principles, usages
a nd r ul e s o f a c t i o n,which do not rest for their authority
upon any express and positivedeclaration of the will of the
legislature, are not recognized in thiscountry. Unless there
be a particular provision in the penal codeor special penal
law that defines and punishes the act, even if it besocially
or morally wrong, no criminal liability is incurred by its
com-mission. (See U.S. vs. Taylor, 28 Phil. 599, 604)Court
decisions are not sources of criminal law, because
theymerely explain the meaning of, and apply, the law as
enacted by thele g i s l a t i v e br anc h o f t he g o v e r nm e nt .

CRIMINALLAWINGENERALLimitations to Enact Criminal Legislation
Power to define and punish crimes.
The State has the authority, under its police power, to define
andp u ni s h cr im es a n d t o l a y d ow n t he r ul e s of c r im i n al
procedure. States,as a part of their police power, have a
large measure of discretion
inc r e a t i n g a n d c r i m i n a l o f f e n s e s .
( P e o p l e v s . S a n t i a g o , 4 3 P h i l . 120,
124)T h e r i g h t o f p r o s e c u t i o n a n d p u n i s h m e n t f o r a c r i m e i s
one oft he at t ribut es t hat by a nat ural l aw bel ongs t o
the sovereign powerinstinctively charged by the
com m on w i ll of t he m em bers of soci et y to look after,
guard and defend the interests of the community,
theindividual and social rights and the liberties
of every citizen and theguarant y of t he exerci se of hi s
r i g h t s . ( U . S . v s . P a b l o , 3 5 P h i l . 9 4 , 100)
Limitations on the power of the lawmaking body to enactpenal legislation.
The Bill of Rights of the 1987 Constitution imposes the
f o l l o w i n g l i m i t a t i o n s : No
post facto
law or bill of attainder shall be
enacted.( A r t . S e c . 2 2 ) 2. No person shall be
held to answer for a criminal offensew i t h o u t d u e p r
o c e s s o f l a w . ( A r t . S e c . The first limitation
prohi bi ts the passage of retroacti ve l aw swhich are
p r e j u d i c i a l t o t h e a c c u s e d . An
ex post facto
law is one which:m akes cri minal an act don e bef ore t he
passage of the lawand which was innocent when done,
and punishes such
a n act;( 2 ) a g g r a v a t e s a c r i m e , o r m a k e s i t g r e a t e r t h a n i
t was, whencommitted;changes the punishment and
inflicts a greater punishmentthan the law annexed to
the crime when
c o m m i t te d; (4) alters the legal rules of evidence, and author
izes convictionupon l e s s or d i f f e r e nt t e s ti mony t han t he
law required atthe time of the commission
of the offense;

C R I M I N A L I N G E N E R A L Constitutional Rig
hts of the Accused
(5) assumes to regulate civil rights and remedies only, i
n effecti mposes penal ty or de pri vati on of a ri ght
for somethingwhich when done was lawful;
a nd (6) deprives a person accused of a crime some lawful
protectionto w hi ch he has be come enti tl ed, such as
t he pr o t e c t i o n of a former conviction or acquittal, or a
proclamation ofa m n e s t y .
(In re:

To give a law retroactive application to the prejudice of theaccused is to make it an ex post facto law. A r t i c l e I V ( n o w S e c . Its essence is the substitution of alegislative act for a judicial determination of guilt. or eight years andone day to ten years. That increased penaltydoes not apply to estafa committed on October 16. (People vs. Its retroactiveapplication is prohibited by Articles 21 and 22 of the RevisedP e n a l C o d e a n d S e c t i o n 1 2 . o f the 1987 Constitution). ( P e o p l e v s . of the 1987 Constitution provides forthe following rights: . Inc.. 1985. Ferrer.4 3 1 ) Congress is also prohibited from passing an act which wouldinflict punishment without judicial trial. 97)T h e s e c o n d l i m i t a t i o n r e q u i r e s t h a t c r i m i n a l l a w s m us t be o f general application and must clearly define the acts and omissionspuni shed as cri mes. The penalty of mayor medium. 818.Kay Villegas Kami. Bill of Rights. A bill of attainder is a legislative act w h i c h i n f l i c t s punishment without trial. A r t . 1974 becauseit would make the decree an ex post facto law. Villaraza. 35 SCRA 429. Article III. 81 SCRA 95. for that would constitute a b i l l o f a t t a i n d e r . 2 2 . 48 SCRA 382. Constitutional rights of the accused.applies only to swindling by means of issuing bouncing checkscommitted on or after October 22. 395) Example: Congress passes a law which authorizes the arrest andimprisonment o f c o m m u n i s t s w i t h o u t t h e b e n e f i t o f a j u d i c i a l trial. imposed by Presidential Decree No.

C R I M I N A L I N G E N E R A L Constitutional Rights of the Accused 4 .

No person shall be held to answer for a criminal offense without due process of law. (Sec. be bailable by sufficient sureties. before conviction. . or a d m i n i s t r a . s h a l l . t h r e a t . f o r c e . o r a n y other means which vitiate the free will shall be used againsth i m . In all criminal prosecutions. i n t i m i d a t i o n .3.All persons shall have the right to a speedy disposition oftheir cases before all judicial. 13)4.The right to bail shall not be impaired even when theprivilege of the writ of habeas corpus i s s us pe nde d. to be informedo f t he na t ur e a nd c a us e of the accusation against him. 17)Any pe r s o n unde r i nv e s t i g a t i o n f o r t he c o m m i ss i o n o f an offense shall have the right to be informed of his rightt o r e m a i n s i l e nt a n d t o ha v e c o m pe t e nt a nd i n d e p e n d e n t counsel preferably of his own choice. and shall enjoy theright to be heard by himself and counsel. quasi-judicial. No pe r s o n s h a l l b e c o m p e l l e d t o b e a w i t n e s s a g a i n s t himself. the accused shall be presumedinnocent until the contrary is proved. (Sec.5 . 16)2. hemus t be pr o v i de d w it h o ne . All persons. (Sec. after arraignment.N o t o r t u r e . Excessive bail shall not be required.If the person cannot afford the services of counsel. The s e rights cannot be waived except in writing andin the presence of have speedy. However. and public trial. (Sec.tive bodies. (Sec. or bereleased on recognizance as may be provided by law. except those charged with of fenses punishableb y w h e n e v i d e n c e o f g u i l t i s s t r o n g . trialmay proceed notwithstanding the a bs e nc e o f t he a c c us e d provided that he has been duly notified and his failure toappear is unjustifiable. impartial. S e c r e t d e t e nt i o n pl a c e s . (Sec. and to have compulsory process tosecure the attendance of witnesses and the production ofevidence in his behalf. s o l i t a r y . to meet thewitnesses face to face.










7. 6. degradingo r i nh um a n pu ni s hm e nt i nf l i c t e d . If an act is punished by a law anda n o r di na nc e . (SecAny confession or admission obtained in violation oft h i s o r S e c t i o n h e r e o f s h a l l b e i n a d m i s s i b l e i n e v i d e n c e a g a i ns t hi m . No person shall be twice put i n j e o pa r d y o f puni s hm ent for the same offense. 21)8. conviction or acquittal under either shallconstitute a bar to another prosecution for t he sam e act . Section 1. Excessive fines shall not be imposed. from arraignment to promulgationo f t h e x x x 4. To be presumed innocent until the co ntrary is provedbeyond reasonable do ubt . 2. t he a c c us e d s ha l l b e entitled:1. ( Se c . ( Se c . Statutory rights of the accused. To be informed of the nature and cause of the accusationa g a i n s t h i m . (Sec. F ree access t o t he court s and quasi-judicial bodies andadequate legal assistance shall not be denied to any personby reason of poverty. Rule 115. To be present and defend in person and by counsel at everystage of the proceedings.C R I M I N A L I N G E N E R A L Statutory Rights of the Accusedo r o t h e r s i m i l a r f o r m s o f d e t e n t i o n a r e prohibited. 3. (Sec. nor cruel. To testify as a witness in his own behalf but subject toc r o s s - . of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedurep r o v i d e s t h a t i n a l l c r i m i n a l p r o s e c ut i o ns .

To be exempt from being compelled to be a witness againsthimself.e x a m i n a t i o n o n m a t t e r s c o v e r e d b y d i r e c t e x a m i . His silence shall not in any manner prej udi cehi m . To c o nf r o nt a nd c r o s s - examine the witnesses against hima t t h e x x x 5 .6 .nation.

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