Monday, May 2, 2016

The Verdict: By inference, there were substantial deposits made to Duterte's accounts.

Anything less than an absolute waiver to Duterte’s secrecy of bank deposit authorizing BPI to disclose the complete history of all of Duterte’s accounts for the year 2014, to establish the P193M deposits made on March 28, 2014, Duterte’s birthday, and the rest of P211M, and for the 9-year period before 2014, to establish the P2.4B accumulated deposits, is tantamount to admitting the accusation.

According to Trillanes, Duterte's lawyer, Sal Panelo, had only a SPA authorizing Panelo to look into, and a waiver authorizing BPI to disclose, the OUTSTANDING BALANCE of ONE of Duterte’s accounts, despite the fact that Trillanes has always claimed that Duterte has seven (7) accounts with BPI Julia Vargas branch. The authority goes further to state that BPI is authorized to disclose the balance ONLY to Panelo, not even to Trillanes, much less the public. The balance allegedly showed P17k plus.

Let us break it down. A Duterte bank account information disclosed to a Duterte surrogate? It is like Duterte showing the account to himself, and calling it transparency and disclosure. Regardless, Duterte’s legions erupt in ecstasy and call it victory. How pathetic!

It is clear that the Duterte camp is playing on the general collective credulity of Duterte’s supporters.

Again, an outstanding balance does not tell the whole story. In fact, it tells no valuable story at all that could help shed light on the controversy. If Duterte’s accounts indeed received deposits on March 28, 2014, or any date, Duterte could withdraw them just as soon as they came in. He could request a transfer of any amount, or he could do it himself if his account is enrolled online, to another person’s or persons’ account or accounts. They could also do a transfer to layers of accounts to throw any investigation off their tracks.

As if the gambit did not look stupid enough, and to top it all, Panelo claims Duterte has made a  deciding move to prove that he did not have these deposits in his account: Panelo challenges BPI to release a certification saying that Duterte NEVER HAD P211M in that ONE account.

The problem with this is it leaves BPI no choice but to certify to what the Duterte camp has always wanted the public to hear—and hopefully believe. That Duterte did not have at any one time P211M in this ONE account, period.

To demonstrate here’s what BPI is being limited do: if Duterte had P210,999,000.00 in that ONE account, BPI would issue a certification saying Duterte never had P211M in that account—it is less. If Duterte had P500M in that account BPI would also issue a certification saying Duterte never had P211M in that account—it is more. If Duterte had a consolidated balance of P1.7B in all his accounts with BPI Julia Vargas, but only P200M in that ONE account, BPI would still be forced to certify that Duterte never had P211M in that account.


In other words, the Duterte camp is hemming BPI in a situation where its answer could only be what the Duterte camp has always wanted the public to hear and believe, that is, Duterte never had P211M in that one account, as if it makes Duterte less dishonourable if he only had P200M in questionable deposits in his ONE account, or innocent, and Trillanes untruthful, if he had P500M.

Neither does it help that Duterte keeps on harping on the legality of Trillanes baring his bank records to the public, crying over his right to secrecy of bank deposit. The laws are designed to protect the innocent, not to allow one to perpetrate, or hide a crime; to promote justice, not to frustrate or defeat it. For crying out loud Duterte is running for the country’s highest office, and he complains when one controverts his claims, or when one calls his bluffs. Remember, it was he and Cayetano who paraded and flaunted to media their manifesto for transparency calling on all candidates to execute waiver to allow scrutiny of their bank accounts, and all other assets.

Duterte knows very well that the rule in public office is disclosure; secrecy the exception. As a mayor, he was already entitled to less privacy. As a presidential candidate he completely sheds off his privacy protection, although he keeps his rights, that is why he can sue. His claim to his right to privacy cannot override the right of the public, which he proposes to lead, to know everything that touches on his overall fitness to assume the highest office, especially on issues of hidden wealth, since he has always portrayed himself to be of modest means, and live a simple lifestyle.

Another thing that hurts Duterte is his legal contingents. Alvarez and Panelo blabber to the media about how Trillanes violated the law, hearsay, double hearsay, inadmissible evidence, so forth and so on. Haven’t they noticed? Neither Duterte, Alvarez, nor Panelo is in court.

Trillanes came in possession of a material information that the public has an inherent interest to know, considering that Duterte is running for president. Trillanes asserts it is his duty as a senator to take the information to the public, and he willingly took the risk and courted lawsuit. He even vowed to quit the race for the vice-presidency, and resign from senate if he is proven wrong. That shows the substance of his claims.

Why do they need to ask Trillanes to incriminate himself by signing an affidavit on who gave him the information, and how it was obtained? Trillanes may not be a lawyer, but he is not stupid, but then Trillanes did it anyway: he signed an affidavit stating who his source was and the circumstances on how the information was obtained. That puts him another base past Duterte.

Duterte should stop nitpicking and quibbling over his right to secrecy. He may sue Trillanes if he wants, but he must give the public a straight answer to dispel their doubts. Duterte might argue that the public does not believe the allegations. He must be reminded that the public is not only all of his followers who worship him regardless. There are other members of the public who clamour to get to the bottom of the controversy.

Instead of whining over privacy issues, he should bare all and finally put these issues to rest with only days to elections.

Unfortunately for the Duterte camp, the more they make the story circuitous to hide the truth, the more the people see it.




Sunday, November 23, 2014

Vicarious Liability of Employers and Other Persons Responsible for Acts of the Author of Negligence for Damage, Injury, or Death Caused by the Negligent Person

THE HEIRS OF THE LATE RUBEN REINOSO, SR vs. COURT OF APPEALS, et al. G.R. No. 116121 July 18, 2011
Vicarious liability of an employer under Art. 2180, in relation to Art. 2176 of the New Civil Code.
If you are an owner of a commercial vehicle or even private vehicle driven by an employee or a helper acting within the scope of his or her assigned tasks, you may be held liable for damages caused by negligence of said employee.
The bigger problem is, in the event of an accident where the negligence of your employee has been determined, there arises a presumption of negligence on your part, as employer, in the selection and supervision of your employees. To overthrow the presumption, you have to convince the court that you exercised the diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and supervision of your employees.
In the case below, the Court provided a curt, but insightful  illustration of what constitutes diligence of a good father of a family in denying the defendant’s claim that he exercised the required diligence.
“The Court likewise sustains the finding of the RTC that the truck owner, Guballa, failed to rebut the presumption of negligence in the hiring and supervision of his employee. Article 2176, in relation to Article 2180 of the Civil Code, provides:
Art. 2176. Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there being fault or negligence is obliged to pay for the damage done. Such fault or negligence, if there is no pre-existing contractual relation between the parties, is called a quasi-delict and is governed by the provisions of this Chapter.
xxxx
Art. 2180. The obligation imposed by Art. 2176 is demandable not only for one’s own acts or omissions but also for those of persons for whom one is responsible.
xxxx
Employers shall be liable for the damage caused by their employees and household helpers acting within the scope of their assigned tasks even though the former are not engaged in any business or industry.
xxxx
The responsibility treated of in this article shall cease when the persons herein mentioned prove that they observed all the diligence of a good father of a family to prevent damage.
Whenever an employee’s negligence causes damage or injury to another, there instantly arises a presumption juris tantum that the employer failed to exercise diligentissimi patris families in the selection or supervision of his employee.23 Thus, in the selection of prospective employees, employers are required to examine them as to their qualification, experience and service record. With respect to the supervision of employees, employers must formulate standard operating procedures, monitor their implementation, and impose disciplinary measures for breaches thereof. These facts must be shown by concrete proof, including documentary evidence.24 Thus, the RTC committed no error in finding that the evidence presented by respondent Guballa was wanting. It ruled:
x x x. As expected, defendant Jose Guballa, attempted to overthrow this presumption of negligence by showing that he had exercised the due diligence required of him by seeing to it that the driver must check the vital parts of the vehicle he is assigned to before he leaves the compound like the oil, water, brakes, gasoline, horn (9 tsn, July 17, 1986); and that Geronimo had been driving for him sometime in 1976 until the collision in litigation came about (5-6 tsn, ibid); that whenever his trucks gets out of the compound to make deliveries, it is always accompanied with two (2) helpers (16-17 tsn, ibid). This was all which he considered as selection and supervision in compliance with the law to free himself from any responsibility. This Court then cannot consider the foregoing as equivalent to an exercise of all the care of a good father of a family in the selection and supervision of his driver Mariano Geronimo."25
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The May 20, 1994 Decision and June 30, 1994 Resolution of the Court of Appeals are REVERSED and SET ASIDE and the March 22, 1988 Decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 8, Manila, is REINSTATED.
SO ORDERED." (emphasis added)
 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Iplead: ditch legalese!

When I first enrolled in law school, I struggled putting up with professors, classmates, and books that spoke a strange Jurassic-sounding language—legalese. I had been with the private sector all my life, ten years of which in the banking industry, and a short stint in the insurance industry as a self-employed, and I have not been a fan of this language, which I occasionally bumped into in my readings. I thought why the heck would you speak and write differently from how you would otherwise casually talk?
The point in both is clarity. Unless you purposely want to muddle your statement, you would use plain English. Since Freshman I have been resisting this pervasive persistence in using a language that not only had lost its currency, but has been a source of confusion and more controversy than resolution.
Sadly, while the Court has acknowledged the advantage in using plain English, its decisions promulgated contemporaneous to extolling plain English, prove it’s not that ready to abandon legalese, and is merely paying the audience some lip service.
But I was unfazed, I continued to refuse to talk and write like I had dinosaurs around me. I knew it was a gambit. Many still blindly believe that legalese identifies its users with the law, and those who believe otherwise fall out of favor with legal authorities, say the Bar Examiners in bar examinations. To them if you do legalese, you evince show admirable esprit de corps.
I always thought not. I think legalese are from a long bygone era, and has no place in modern legal society. Those who think they can impress their clients with legalese, translating to fatter billing, underestimate their own clients. Average-educated clients don’t care about and don’t look for legalese, but are comfortable with lawyers who speak and write plain English because they understand what the lawyers are saying to the court, in their behalf.
Think about it, would you be comfortable and happy or would you instead be concerned if your lawyer talked in court in your behalf, and finished without you understanding what he said? What more you if you caught a glimpse of the judge looking just as confused? Can you imagine the torment of tirelessly wondering how you fared in court simply because your lawyer didn’t speak . . . plain English?
I dare to think more. I think sophisticated clients know a lousy lawyer when they see one. And clients see them often in legalese-tongued acts. If I were a client, I would take legalese as a lawyer’s ploy to hide his unpreparedness and incompetence. Why not come clean and plain? You certainly don’t want to get into costly litigation over a confused word or term simply because your lawyer could not resist his worn-out belief that legalese impresses.
One client said to an ipleader (what I call a lawyer who plain-english-advocate) “I appreciate it that you talk in a way that I understand, and I am sure the judge understood, as well.”
Another recounted “I felt insulted that my lawyer talked in court in hifalutin garbage, not because I didn’t understand, but because I knew he was talking nonsense. I fired him before he could explain.”
Despite the fact that law books, the internet legal vastness, and the practice overflow with legalese I strived to find like-minded individuals, and I did find them. Below, I share some of what they had to say about plain English.
To many of them, Bryan A. Garner is a common hero, but I have yet to get my hands on his book.
One of my favorites is a comment to a post:
Re: silly antiquated English pleading —I gained incredible respect for a (female) probate commissioner I met last summer, who said flatly, “no one is going to come or pray on any of my paperwork.”
Here is more, and with links to their websites:
"Legal Writing:Ditch“Here-and-There Words”" by Andy Mergendahl as carried in an article “Doclients expect legalese, and how should you handle it?” by Matthew Salzwedel.
“Legalese” by Translegal.com.
More useful sites, and your own:
"Rule on Writing Numbers" by Jane Stauss+.
Enjoy Reading!
 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Is Plunder Bailable or Non-bailable?

You must have read and heard this from the media countless of times: plunder is a non-bailable offense. And no one cared. But I guess it’s important to put the subject in proper perspective. Given media’s broad reach, clout, and influence, I won’t be surprised if the “public” has come to believe so by now.
“But isn’t it, in fact, non-bailable?” you might ask.
The answer is no. It is not non-bailable. It is bailable.
Nowhere in R.A. 7080, the law on plunder, does it say that plunder is a non-bailable offense. The reason is R.A. 7080, cannot go against the fundamental law of the land, the Constitution.
The right to bail is enshrined in the 1987 Constitution, specifically under the Bill of Rights, viz:
ARTICLE III  BILL OF RIGHTS
xxx
Section 13. All persons, except those charged with offenses punishable by reclusion perpetua when evidence of guilt is strong, shall, before conviction, be bailable by sufficient sureties, or be released on recognizance as may be provided by law. The right to bail shall not be impaired even when the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is suspended. Excessive bail shall not be required.
On the other hand, the Revised Rules of Court couched the provision on bail, viz:
RULE 114 Bail
xxx
Section 4. Bail, a matter of right; exception. — All persons in custody shall be admitted to bail as a matter of right, with sufficient sureties, or released on recognize as prescribed by law or this Rule (a) before or after conviction by the Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court in Cities, or Municipal Circuit Trial Court, and (b) before conviction by the Regional Trial Court of an offense not punishable by death, reclusion perpetua, or life imprisonment. (4a)
Section 5. Bail, when discretionary. — Upon conviction by the Regional Trial Court of an offense not punishable by death, reclusion perpetua, or life imprisonment, admission to bail is discretionary. The application for bail may be filed and acted upon by the trial court despite the filing of a notice of appeal, provided it has not transmitted the original record to the appellate court. However, if the decision of the trial court convicting the accused changed the nature of the offense from non-bailable to bailable, the application for bail can only be filed with and resolved by the appellate court.
If you notice the constitutional provision grants all, before conviction, the right to bail, and excepting only “those charged with offenses punishable by reclusion perpetua when evidence of guilt is strong.” One need not only be charged with an offense punishable by reclusion perpetua, but that the circumstances of its commission must be such that the strength of guilt may be appreciated against the accused. Meaning, while plunder is an offense punished by life imprisonment, which is the maximum penalty for violations of special laws—what reclusion perpetua is to violations of the Revised Penal Code—the evidence of guilt has to be strong for it to be taken out of the guarantee on bail.
On the other hand, the provision of the Rules of Court on bail takes its guarantee a notch further, by adding “before or after conviction” in cases commenced and heard in, or filed before a “Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court in Cities, or Municipal Circuit Trial Court,” or offenses punished by no more than six months, as one of two conditions under which the right to bail may be availed of as a matter of right. While in cases filed before the Regional Trial Court, “before conviction of an offense not punishable by death, reclusion perpetua, or life imprisonment. (4a),” in keeping with the letter of the Constitutional.
The rule on bail continues, in its section 5, to spotlight its bias for availability of the remedy of bail to the accused, by making it accessible even upon or after conviction by the Regional Trial Court of an offense not punishable by death, reclusion perpetua, or life imprisonment. This time, however, it is by discretion of the court, and in cases where the penalty imposed by the court is more than six months, there are certain requirements and conditions that must be met in order to keep the accused’s provisional liberty while awaiting the outcome of the appeal, in cases where appeal is duly perfected.
Interestingly, while the Constitution speaks only of offenses punished by reclusion perpetua as offenses for which bail is conditional, the Rules stretches it to include offenses punished by life imprisonment. Life imprisonment is the maximum imprisonment penalty for crimes violating a special law, while reclusion perpetua is the maximum imprisonment penalty for crimes violating the provisions of the Revised Penal Code, also called felonies. Death penalty was outlawed by R.A. 9346.
The implication would have been, for crimes violating special laws, like plunder, bail would be available regardless of the extent of penalty. But thanks to the Court, by its rule-making power, it wisely preempted the anomalous scenario where a crime as reprehensible as one punished in the Revised Penal Code would be treated differently (lightly) simply because it is not included in its codification.

So you see, the rule is all offenses, including plunder, are bailable. The popular media mouthpiece is the exception.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Informal work arrangements ("on call employment") may mean regular employment.

“Benevolence, it is said, does not operate as a license to circumvent labor laws.”
This is all too familiar. You may not know it, but you, too, may be in this situation now or in the past. If not yet, then good for you, you can still prepare for it.
The scenario: You are kind, so when someone comes to you, or has been introduced to you, and earnestly seeks your favour to allow him or her to stay where he could have roof over his or her head, and in return he or she would help in the chores around the house or your little business, you tend to say yes not so much because you need a hand, or he or she possesses the skills you need, if you happen to need one, but out of magnanimity. This, despite your apprehensions given the many horrible and outrageous stories of homeowners or business owners being victimized by the very persons they fed, clothed, and sheltered. Life, indeed, can be cruel.
Fast forward to not-so-distant future. You may have had a little disagreement with your foster friend, or the latter may have violated your relationship, or have done something that would make you rethink keeping him or her, then you decide to kick him or her out of the house or your little business. Days later, you get a summons from the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) directing you to answer a complaint for illegal dismissal filed by your erstwhile foster friend. Surprised, you squeak “He was never my employee!” But, was he or was he not?
The case below, although it does not exactly fit the above scenario, discusses how, even given the scenario above, similar relationships are interpreted under the labor laws.
The central question is: would such an arrangement ripen into an employer-employee relationship that would bind a benevolent host to the consequences under the labor code and other labor laws and rules?
Article 280. Regular and casual employment. The provisions of written agreement to the contrary notwithstanding and regardless of the oral agreement of the parties, an employment shall be deemed to be regular where the employee has been engaged to perform activities which are usually necessary or desirable in the usual business or trade of the employer, except where the employment has been fixed for a specific project or undertaking the completion or termination of which has been determined at the time of the engagement of the employee or where the work or service to be performed is seasonal in nature and the employment is for the duration of the season.
An employment shall be deemed to be casual if it is not covered by the preceding paragraph: Provided, That any employee who has rendered at least one year of service, whether such service is continuous or broken, shall be considered a regular employee with respect to the activity in which he is employed and his employment shall continue while such activity exists. (PD 442, The Labor Code of the Philippines)
 
The Brief Facts
Esita, the complainant, claims he was an employee of Opulencia, the respondent. Esita explains that he worked as compressor operator in the ice plant owned by opulencia for many years. Opulencia, in denying Esita’s claim, alleges that the latter was merely allowed to work as peon of contractors they had engaged to do major repairs on his Tanauan ice plant. He continues that “while he refused the insistent pleas of Esita for employment in the ice plants due to lack of vacancy, he nonetheless allowed him to stay in the premises of the ice plant for free and to collect fees for crushing or loading ice of the customers and dealers of the ice plant. Opulencia claims that in addition, Esita enjoyed free electricity and water, and was allowed to cultivate crops within the premises of the ice plant to augment his income.”
The Labor arbiter ruled that there existed an employer-employee relationship and ordered Opulencia to pay Esita separation pay, underpayment of wages, 13th month pay, allowances, etc. Opulencia appealed the labor arbiter’s decision to NLRC, which the latter affirmed with modification on the monetary award.
Hence, this Petition.
Raised in this Petition are the following issues:
“that public respondents have no jurisdiction over the instant case;
that Esita's work in the repair and construction of Dr. Opulencia's residence could not have ripened into a regular employment;
that petitioners' benevolence in allowing Esita to stay inside the company's premises free of charge for humanitarian reason deserves commendation rather than imposition of undue penalty;
that Esita's name does not appear in the payrolls of the company which necessarily means that he was not an employee; and, that Esita's statements are inconsistent and deserving of disbelief.”
The Court’s ruling.
“The instant petition lacks merit, hence, must be dismissed.
xxx While the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC may subsequently be found without jurisdiction over a case when it would later appear that no employer-employee relationship existed between the contending parties, such is not the situation in this case where the employer-employee relationship between the petitioners and Esita was clearly established. If the argument of petitioners were to be allowed, then unscrupulous employers could readily avoid the jurisdiction of the Labor Arbiters and NLRC, and may even elude compliance with labor laws only on the bare assertion that an employer-employee relationship does not exist.
Petitioners further argue that "complainant miserably failed to present any documentary evidence to prove his employment. There was no time sheet, pay slip and/or payroll/cash voucher to speak of. Absence of these material documents are necessary fatal to complainant's cause."
We do not agree. No particular form of evidence is required to prove the existence of an employer-employee relationship. Any competent and relevant evidence to prove the relationship may be admitted. For, if only documentary evidence would be required to show that relationship, no scheming employer would ever be brought before the bar of justice, as no employer would wish to come out with any trace of the illegality he has authored considering that it should take much weightier proof to invalidate a written instrument. 2 Thus, as in this case where the employer-employee relationship between petitioners and Esita was sufficiently proved by testimonial evidence, the absence of time sheet, time record or payroll has become inconsequential.
xxx The petitioners point out that even granting arguendo that Esita was indeed a mechanic, he could never be a regular employee because his presence would be required only when there was a need for repair. We cannot sustain this argument. This circumstance cannot affect the regular status of employment of Esita. An employee who is required to remain on call in the employer's premises or so close thereto that he cannot use the time effectively and gainfully for his own purpose shall be considered as working while on call. 8 In sum, the determination of regular and casual employment 9 is not affected by the fact that the employee's regular presence in the place of work is not required, the more significant consideration being that the work of the employee is usually necessary or desirable in the business of the employer. More importantly, Esita worked for 9 years and, under the Labor Code, "any employee who has rendered at least one year of service, whether such service is continuous or broken, shall be considered a regular employee with respect to that activity in which he is employed . . . ." 10
In allowing Esita to stay in the premises of the ice plant and permitting him to cultivate crops to augment his income, there is no doubt that petitioners should be commended; however, in view of the existence of an employer-employee relationship as found by public respondents, we cannot treat humanitarian reasons as justification for emasculating or taking away the rights and privileges of employees granted by law. Benevolence, it is said, does not operate as a license to circumvent labor laws. If petitioners were genuinely altruistic in extending to their employees privileges that are not even required by law, then there is no reason why they should not be required to give their employees what they are entitled to receive. Moreover, as found by public respondents, Esita was enjoying the same privileges granted to the other employees of petitioners, so that in thus treating Esita, he cannot be considered any less than a legitimate employee of petitioners.
WHEREFORE, there being no grave abuse of discretion on the part of public respondents, the instant petition is DISMISSED. Accordingly, the restraining order we issued on 13 May 1991 is LIFTED.
SO ORDERED.
OPULENCIA ICE PLANT AND STORAGE AND/OR DR. MELCHOR OPULENCIA vs. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION (THIRD DIVISION), LABOR ARBITER, G.R. No. L-98368 December 15, 1993
Read the full text of the case here.

Republic Act No. 8177, An Act Designating Death by Lethal Injection...


 
 
Republic of the Philippines
Congress of the Philippines

Metro Manila
Tenth Congress
 
Republic Act No. 8177 March 20, 1996
AN ACT DESIGNATING DEATH BY LETHAL INJECTION AS THE METHOD OF CARRYING OUT CAPITAL PUNISHMENT, AMENDING FOR THE PURPOSE ARTICLE 81 OF THE REVISED PENAL CODE, AS AMENDED BY SECTION 24 OF REPUBLIC ACT NO. 7659
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress assembled::
Section 1. Article 81 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Section 24 of Republic Act No. 7659 is hereby further amended to read as follows:
"Art. 81. When and how the death penalty is to be executed. – The death sentence shall be executed with preference to any other penalty and shall consist in putting the person under the sentence to death by lethal injection. The death sentence shall be executed under the authority of the Director of the Bureau of Corrections, endeavoring so far as possible to mitigate the sufferings of the person under the sentence during the lethal injection as well as during the proceedings prior to the execution.
"The Director of the Bureau of Corrections shall take steps to ensure that the lethal injection to be administered is sufficient to cause the instantaneous death of the convict.
"Pursuant to this, all personnel involved in the administration of lethal injection shall be trained prior to the performance of such task.
"The authorized physician of the Bureau of Corrections, after thorough examination, shall officially make a pronouncement of the convict's death and shall certify thereto in the records of the Bureau of Corrections.
The death sentence shall be carried out not earlier than one (1) year nor later than eighteen (18) months after the judgment has become final and executory without prejudice to the exercise by the President of his executive clemency powers at all times."
Section 2. Persons already sentenced by judgment, which has become final and executory, who are waiting to undergo the death penalty by electrocution or gas poisoning shall be under the coverage of the provisions of this Act upon its effectivity. Their sentences shall be automatically modified for this purpose.
Section 3. Implementing Rules. – The Secretary of Justice in coordination with the Secretary of Health and the Bureau of Corrections shall, within thirty (30) days from the effectivity of this Act, promulgate the rules to implement its provisions.
Section 4. Repealing Clause. – All laws, presidential decrees and issuances, executive orders, rules and regulations or parts thereof inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are hereby repealed or modified accordingly.
Section 5. Effectivity. – This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days after its publication in the Official Gazette or in at least two (2) national newspapers of general circulation, whichever comes earlier. Publication shall not be later than ten (10) days after the approval thereof.
Approved: March 20, 1996

Source: The Lawphil Project - Arellano Law Foundation
 

 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

RA 7659, An Act to Impose the Death Penalty on Certain Heinous Crimes... Amendatory to Plunder Law


REPUBLIC ACT NO. 7659
AN ACT TO IMPOSE THE DEATH PENALTY ON CERTAIN HEINOUS CRIMES, AMENDING FOR THAT PURPOSE THE REVISED PENAL LAWS, AS AMENDED, OTHER SPECIAL PENAL LAWS, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES
WHEREAS, the Constitution, specifically Article III, Section 19 paragraph (1) thereof, states "Excessive fines shall not be imposed nor cruel, degrading or inhuman punishment inflicted. Neither shall death penalty be imposed, unless, for compelling reasons involving heinous crimes, the Congress hereafter provides for it. . .";
WHEREAS, the crimes punishable by death under this Act are heinous for being grievous, odious and hateful offenses and which, by reason of their inherent or manifest wickedness, viciousness, atrocity and perversity are repugnant and outrageous to the common standards and norms of decency and morality in a just, civilized and ordered society;
WHEREAS, due to the alarming upsurge of such crimes which has resulted not only in the loss of human lives and wanton destruction of property but also affected the nation's efforts towards sustainable economic development and prosperity while at the same time has undermined the people's faith in the Government and the latter's ability to maintain peace and order in the country;
WHEREAS, the Congress, in the justice, public order and the rule of law, and the need to rationalize and harmonize the penal sanctions for heinous crimes, finds compelling reasons to impose the death penalty for said crimes;
Now, therefore,
Section 1. Declaration of Policy. - It is hereby declared the policy of the State to foster and ensure not only obedience to its authority, but also to adopt such measures as would effectively promote the maintenance of peace and order, the protection of life, liberty and property, and the promotion of the general welfare which are essential for the enjoyment by all the people of the blessings of democracy in a just and humane society;
Section 2.Article 114 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, is hereby amended to read as follows:
"Art. 114. Treason. - Any Filipino citizen who levies war against the Philippines or adheres to her enemies giving them aid or comfort within the Philippines or elsewhere, shall be punished by reclusion perpetua to death and shall pay a fine not to exceed 100,000 pesos."
No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses at least to the same overt act or on confession of the accused in open court.
Likewise, an alien, residing in the Philippines, who commits acts of treason as defined in paragraph 1 of this Article shall be punished by reclusion temporal to death and shall pay a fine not to exceed 100,000 pesos."
Section 3.Section Three, Chapter One, Title One of Book Two of the same Code is hereby amended to read as follows:
"Section Three. - Piracy and mutiny on the high seas or in the Philippine waters
Art. 122. Piracy in general and mutiny on the high seas or in Philippine waters. - The penalty of reclusion perpetua shall be inflicted upon any person who, on the high seas, or in Philippine waters, shall attack or seize a vessel or, not being a member of its complement nor a passenger, shall seize the whole or part of the cargo of said vessel, its equipment or passengers.
The same penalty shall be inflicted in case of mutiny on the high seas or in Philippine waters."
Art. 123. Qualified piracy. - The penalty of reclusion perpetua to death shall be imposed upon those who commit any of the crimes referred to in the preceding article, under any of the following circumstances:
1. Whenever they have seized a vessel by boarding or firing upon the same;
2. Whenever the pirates have abandoned their victims without means of saving themselves or;
3. Whenever the crime is accompanied by murder, homicide, physical injuries or rape."
Section 4. There shall be incorporated after Article 211 of the same Code a new article to read as follows:
"Art. 211-A. Qualified Bribery. - If any public officer is entrusted with law enforcement and he refrains from arresting or prosecuting an offender who has committed a crime punishable by reclusion perpetua and/or death in consideration of any offer, promise, gift or present, he shall suffer the penalty for the offense which was not prosecuted.
If it is the public officer who asks or demands such gift or present, he shall suffer the penalty of death."
Section 5. The penalty of death for parricide under Article 246 of the same Code is hereby restored, so that it shall read as follows:
"Art. 246. Parricide. - Any person who shall kill his father, mother, or child, whether legitimate of illegitimate, or any of his ascendants, or descendants, or his spouse, shall be guilty of parricide and shall be punished by the penalty of reclusion perpetua to death."
Section 6.Article 248 of the same Code is hereby amended to read as follows:
"Art. 248. Murder. - Any person who, not falling within the provisions of Article 246 shall kill another, shall be guilty of murder and shall be punished by reclusion perpetua, to death if committed with any of the following attendant circumstances:
1. With treachery, taking advantage of superior strength, with the aid of armed men, or employing means to weaken the defense or of means or persons to insure or afford impunity.
2. In consideration of a price, reward or promise.
3. By means of inundation, fire, poison, explosion, shipwreck, stranding of a vessel, derailment or assault upon a railroad, fall of an airship, or by means of motor vehicles, or with the use of any other means involving great waste and ruin.
4. On occasion of any of the calamities enumerated in the preceding paragraph, or of an earthquake, eruption of a volcano, destructive cyclone, epidemic or other public calamity.
5. With evident premeditation.
6. With cruelty, by deliberately and inhumanly augmenting the suffering of the victim, or outraging or scoffing at his person or corpse."
Section 7.Article 255 of the same Code is hereby amended to read as follows:
"Art. 255. Infanticide. - The penalty provided for parricide in Article 246 and for murder in Article 248 shall be imposed upon any person who shall kill any child less than three days of age.
If any crime penalized in this Article be committed by the mother of the child for the purpose of concealing her dishonor, she shall suffer the penalty of prision mayor in its medium and maximum periods, and if said crime be committed for the same purpose by the maternal grandparents or either of them, the penalty shall be reclusion temporal."
Section 8.Article 267 of the same Code is hereby amended to read as follows:
"Art. 267. Kidnapping and serious illegal detention. - Any private individual who shall kidnap or detain another, or in any other manner deprive him of his liberty, shall suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua to death:
1. If the kidnapping or detention shall have lasted more than three days.
2. If it shall have been committed simulating public authority.
3. If any serious physical injuries shall have been inflicted upon the person kidnapped or detained; or if threats to kill him shall have been made.
4. If the person kidnapped or detained shall be a minor, except when the accused is any of the parents, female or a public officer.
The penalty shall be death penalty where the kidnapping or detention was committed for the purpose of extorting ransom from the victim or any other person, even if none of the circumstances above-mentioned were present in the commission of the offense.
When the victim is killed or dies as a consequence of the detention or is raped, or is subjected to torture or dehumanizing acts, the maximum penalty shall be imposed."
Section 9.Article 294 of the same Code is hereby amended to read as follows:
"Art. 294. Robbery with violence against or intimidation of persons - Penalties. - Any person guilty of robbery with the use of violence against or intimidation of any person shall suffer:
1. The penalty of reclusion perpetua to death, when by reason or on occasion of the robbery, the crime of homicide shall have been committed, or when the robbery shall have been accompanied by rape or intentional mutilation or arson.
2. The penalty of reclusion temporal in its medium period to reclusion perpetua, when or if by reason or on occasion of such robbery, any of the physical injuries penalized in subdivision I of Article 263 shall have been inflicted.
3. The penalty of reclusion temporal, when by reason or on occasion of the robbery, any of the physical injuries penalized in subdivision 2 of the article mentioned in the next preceding paragraph, shall have been inflicted.
4. The penalty of prision mayor in its maximum period to reclusion temporal in its medium period, if the violence or intimidation employed in the commission of the robbery shall have been carried to a degree clearly unnecessary for the commission of the crime, or when in the course of its execution, the offender shall have inflicted upon any person not responsible for its commission any of the physical injuries covered by subdivisions 3 and 4 of said Article 263.
5. The penalty of prision correccional in its maximum period to prision mayor in its medium period in other cases."
Section 10.Article 320 of the same Code is hereby amended to read as follows:
"Art. 320. Destructive Arson. - The penalty of reclusion perpetua to death shall be imposed upon any person who shall burn:
1. One (1) or more buildings or edifices, consequent to one single act of burning, or as a result of simultaneous burnings, committed on several or different occasions.
2. Any building of public or private ownership, devoted to the public in general or where people usually gather or congregate for a definite purpose such as, but not limited to, official governmental function or business, private transaction, commerce, trade, workshop, meetings and conferences, or merely incidental to a definite purpose such as but not limited to hotels, motels, transient dwellings, public conveyances or stops or terminals, regardless of whether the offender had knowledge that there are persons in said building or edifice at the time it is set on fire and regardless also of whether the building is actually inhabited or not.
3. Any train or locomotive, ship or vessel, airship or airplane, devoted to transportation or conveyance, or for public use, entertainment or leisure.
4. Any building, factory, warehouse installation and any appurtenances thereto, which are devoted to the service of public utilities.
5. Any building the burning of which is for the purpose of concealing or destroying evidence of another violation of law, or for the purpose of concealing bankruptcy or defrauding creditors or to collect from insurance.
Irrespective of the application of the above enumerated qualifying circumstances, the penalty of reclusion perpetua to death shall likewise be imposed when the arson is perpetrated or committed by two (2) or more persons or by a group of persons, regardless of whether their purpose is merely to burn or destroy the building or the burning merely constitutes an overt act in the commission or another violation of law.
The penalty of reclusion perpetua to death shall also be imposed upon any person who shall burn:
1. Any arsenal, shipyard, storehouse or military powder or fireworks factory, ordnance, storehouse, archives or general museum of the Government.
2. In an inhabited place, any storehouse or factory of inflammable or explosive materials.
If as a consequence of the commission of any of the acts penalized under this Article, death results, the mandatory penalty of death shall be imposed."
Section 11.Article 335 of the same Code is hereby amended to read as follows:
"Art. 335. When and how rape is committed. - Rape is committed by having carnal knowledge of a woman under any of the following circumstances:
1. By using force or intimidation;
2. When the woman is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious; and
3. When the woman is under twelve years of age or is demented.
The crime of rape shall be punished by reclusion perpetua.
Whenever the crime of rape is committed with the use of a deadly weapon or by two or more persons, the penalty shall be reclusion perpetua to death.
When by reason or on the occasion of the rape, the victim has become insane, the penalty shall be death.
When the rape is attempted or frustrated and a homicide is committed by reason or on the occasion thereof, the penalty shall be reclusion perpetua to death.
When by reason or on the occasion of the rape, a homicide is committed, the penalty shall be death.
The death penalty shall also be imposed if the crime of rape is committed with any of the following attendant circumstances:
1. when the victim is under eighteen (18) years of age and the offender is a parent, ascendant, step-parent, guardian, relative by consanguinity or affinity within the third civil degree, or the common-law-spouse of the parent of the victim.
2. when the victim is under the custody of the police or military authorities.
3. when the rape is committed in full view of the husband, parent, any of the children or other relatives within the third degree of consanguinity.
4. when the victim is a religious or a child below seven (7) years old.
5. when the offender knows that he is afflicted with Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) disease.
6. when committed by any member of the Armed Forces of the Philippines or the Philippine National Police or any law enforcement agency.
7. when by reason or on the occasion of the rape, the victim has suffered permanent physical mutilation."
Section 12. Section 2 of Republic Act No. 7080 (An Act Defining and Penalizing the Crime of Plunder) is hereby amended to read as follows:
"Sec. 2. Definition of the Crime of Plunder; Penalties. - Any public officer who, by himself or in connivance with members of his family, relatives by affinity or consanguinity, business associates, subordinates or other persons, amasses, accumulates or acquires ill-gotten wealth through a combination or series of overt criminal acts as described in Section 1 (d) hereof in the aggregate amount or total value of at least Fifty million pesos (P50,000,000.00) shall be guilty of the crime of plunder and shall be punished by reclusion perpetua to death. Any person who participated with the said public officer in the commission of an offense contributing to the crime of plunder shall likewise be punished for such offense. In the imposition of penalties, the degree of participation and the attendance of mitigating and extenuating circumstances, as provided by the Revised Penal Code, shall be considered by the court. The court shall declare any and all ill-gotten wealth and their interests and other incomes and assets including the properties and shares of stocks derived from the deposit or investment thereof forfeited in favor of the State."
Section 13.Sections 3, 4, 5, 7, 8 and 9, of Article II of Republic Act No. 6425, as amended, known as the Dangerous Drugs Act 1972, are hereby amended to read as follows:
"Sec. 3. Importation of Prohibited Drugs. - The penalty of reclusion perpetua to death and a fine ranging from five hundred thousand pesos to ten million pesos shall be imposed upon any person who, unless authorized by law, shall import or bring into the Philippines any prohibited drug.
"Sec. 4. Sale, Administration, Delivery, Distribution and Transportation of Prohibited Drugs. - The penalty of reclusion perpetua to death and a fine from five hundred thousand pesos to ten million pesos shall be imposed upon any person who, unless authorized by law, shall sell, administer, deliver, give away to another, distribute, dispatch in transit or transport any prohibited drug, or shall act as a broker in any of such transactions.
Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 20 of this Act to the contrary, if the victim of the offense is a minor, or should a prohibited drug involved in any offense under this Section be the proximate cause of the death of a victim thereof, the maximum penalty herein provided shall be imposed.
"Sec. 5. Maintenance of a Den, Dive or Resort for Prohibited Drug Users. - The penalty of reclusion perpetua to death and a fine ranging from five hundred thousand pesos to ten million pesos shall be imposed upon any person or group of persons who shall maintain a den, dive or resort where any prohibited drug is used in any form or where such prohibited drugs in quantities specified in Section 20, Paragraph 1 of this Act are found.
Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 20 of this Act to the contrary, the maximum of the penalty shall be imposed in every case where a prohibited drug is administered, delivered or sold to a minor who is allowed to use the same in such place.
Should a prohibited drug be the proximate cause of the death of a person using the same in such den, dive or resort, the maximum penalty herein provided shall be imposed on the maintainer notwithstanding the provisions of Section 20 of this Act to the contrary.
"Sec. 7. Manufacture of Prohibited Drug. - The penalty of reclusion perpetua to death and fine ranging from five hundred thousand pesos to ten million pesos shall be imposed upon any person who, unless authorized by law, shall engage in the manufacture of any prohibited drug.
"Sec. 8. Possession or Use of Prohibited Drugs. - The penalty of reclusion perpetua to death and a fine ranging from five hundred thousand pesos to ten million pesos shall be imposed upon any person who, unless authorized by law, shall possess or use any prohibited drug subject to the provisions of Section 20 hereof.
"Sec. 9. Cultivation of Plants which are Sources of Prohibited Drugs. - The penalty of reclusion perpetua to death and a fine ranging from five hundred thousand pesos to ten million pesos shall be imposed upon any person who shall plant, cultivate or culture any medium Indian hemp, opium poppy (papaver somniferum), or any other plant which is or may hereafter be classified as dangerous drug or from which any dangerous drug may be manufactured or derived.
The land or portions hereof, and/or greenhouses on which any of said plants is cultivated or cultured shall be confiscated and escheated to the State, unless the owner thereof can prove that he did not know such cultivation or culture despite the exercise of due diligence on his part.
If the land involved in is part of the public domain, the maximum of the penalties herein provided shall be imposed upon the offender."
Section 14.Sections 14, 14-A, and 15 of Article III of Republic Act No. 6425, as amended, known as the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972, are hereby amended to read as follows:
"Sec. 14. Importation of Regulated Drugs. - The penalty of reclusion perpetua to death and a fine ranging from five hundred thousand pesos to ten million pesos shall be imposed upon any person who, unless authorized by law, shall import or bring any regulated drug in the Philippines.
"Sec. 14-A. Manufacture of Regulated Drugs. - The penalty of reclusion perpetua to death and a fine ranging from five hundred thousand pesos to ten million pesos shall be imposed upon any person who, unless authorized by law, shall engage in the manufacture of any regulated drug.
"Sec. 15. Sale, Administration, Dispensation, Delivery, Transportation and Distribution of Regulated Drugs. - The penalty of reclusion perpetua to death and a fine ranging from five hundred thousand pesos to ten million pesos shall be imposed upon any person who, unless authorized by law, shall sell, dispense, deliver, transport or distribute any regulated drug.
Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 20 of this Act to the contrary, if the victim of the offense is a minor, or should a regulated drug involved in any offense under this Section be the proximate cause of the death of a victim thereof, the maximum penalty herein provided shall be imposed."
Section 15. There shall be incorporated after Section 15 of Article III of Republic Act No. 6425, as amended, known as the Dangerous Drug Act of 1972, a new section to read as follows:
"Sec. 15-a. Maintenance of a den, dive or resort for regulated drug users. - The penalty of reclusion perpetua to death and a fine ranging from five hundred thousand pesos to ten million pesos shall be imposed upon any person or group of persons who shall maintain a den, dive or resort where any regulated drugs is used in any form, or where such regulated drugs in quantities specified in Section 20, paragraph 1 of this Act are found.
Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 20 of this Act to the contrary, the maximum penalty herein provided shall be imposed in every case where a regulated drug is administered, delivered or sold to a minor who is allowed to use the same in such place.
Should a regulated drug be the proximate cause of the death of a person using the same in such den, dive or resort, the maximum penalty herein provided shall be imposed on the maintainer notwithstanding the provisions of Section 20 of this Act to the contrary."
Section 16.Section 16 of Article III of Republic Act No. 6425, as amended, known as the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972, is amended to read as follows:
"Sec. 16. Possession or Use of Regulated Drugs. - The penalty of reclusion perpetua to death and a fine ranging from five hundred thousand pesos to ten million pesos shall be imposed upon any person who shall possess or use any regulated drug without the corresponding license or prescription, subject to the provisions of Section 20 hereof."
Section 17.Section 20, Article IV of Republic Act No. 6425, as amended, known as the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972, is hereby amended to read as follows:
Sec. 20. Application of Penalties, Confiscation and Forfeiture of the Proceeds or Instruments of the Crime. - The penalties for offenses under Section 3, 4, 7, 8 and 9 of Article II and Sections 14, 14-A, 15 and 16 of Article III of this Act shall be applied if the dangerous drugs involved is in any of the following quantities :
1. 40 grams or more of opium;
2. 40 grams or more of morphine;
3. 200 grams or more of shabu or methylamphetamine hydrochloride;
4. 40 grams or more of heroin;
5. 750 grams or more of indian hemp or marijuana;
6. 50 grams or more of marijuana resin or marijuana resin oil;
7. 40 grams or more of cocaine or cocaine hydrochloride; or
8. In the case of other dangerous drugs, the quantity of which is far beyond therapeutic requirements, as determined and promulgated by the Dangerous Drugs Board, after public consultations/hearings conducted for the purpose.
Otherwise, if the quantity involved is less than the foregoing quantities, the penalty shall range from prision correccional to reclusion perpetua depending upon the quantity.
Every penalty imposed for the unlawful importation, sale, administration, delivery, transportation or manufacture of dangerous drugs, the cultivation of plants which are sources of dangerous drugs and the possession of any opium pipe and other paraphernalia for dangerous drugs shall carry with it the confiscation and forfeiture, in favor of the Government, of all the proceeds of the crime including but not limited to money and other obtained thereby and the instruments or tools with which it was committed, unless they are the property of a third person not liable for the offense, but those which are not of lawful commerce shall be ordered destroyed without delay. Dangerous drugs and plant sources of such drugs as well as the proceeds or instruments of the crime so confiscated and forfeited in favor of the Government shall be turned over to the Board for proper disposal without delay.
Any apprehending or arresting officer who misappropriates or misapplies or fails to account for seized or confiscated dangerous drugs or plant-sources of dangerous drugs or proceeds or instruments of the crime as are herein defined shall after conviction be punished by the penalty of reclusion perpetua to death and a fine ranging from five hundred thousand pesos to ten million pesos."
Section 18. There shall be incorporated after Section 20 of Republic Act No. 6425, as amended, known as the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972, a new section to read as follows:
"Sec. 20-A. Plea-bargaining Provisions. - Any person charged under any provision of this Act where the imposable penalty is reclusion perpetua to death shall not be allowed to avail of the provision on plea bargaining."
Section 19.Section 24 of Republic Act No. 6425, as amended, known as the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972, is hereby amended to read as follows :
"Sec. 24. Penalties for Government Official and Employees and Officers and Members of Police Agencies and the Armed Forces, 'Planting' of Evidence. - The maximum penalties provided for Section 3, 4(1), 5(1), 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12 and 13 of Article II and Sections 14, 14-A, 15(1), 16 and 19 of Article III shall be imposed, if those found guilty of any of the said offenses are government officials, employees or officers, including members of police agencies and the armed forces.
Any such above government official, employee or officer who is found guilty of "planting" any dangerous drugs punished in Sections 3, 4, 7, 8, 9 and 13 of Article II and Sections 14, 14-A, 15 and 16 of Article III of this Act in the person or in the immediate vicinity of another as evidence to implicate the latter, shall suffer the same penalty as therein provided."
Section 20. Sec. 14 of Republic Act No. 6539, as amended, known as the Anti-Carnapping Act of 1972, is hereby amended to read as follows:
"Sec. 14. Penalty for Carnapping. - Any person who is found guilty of carnapping, as this term is defined in Section Two of this Act, shall, irrespective of the value of motor vehicle taken, be punished by imprisonment for not less than fourteen years and eight months and not more than seventeen years and four months, when the carnapping is committed without violence or intimidation of persons, or force upon things; and by imprisonment for not less than seventeen years and four months and not more than thirty years, when the carnapping is committed by means of violence against or intimidation of any person, or force upon things; and the penalty of reclusion perpetua to death shall be imposed when the owner, driver or occupant of the carnapped motor vehicle is killed or raped in the course of the commission of the carnapping or on the occasion thereof."
Section 21.Article 27 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, is hereby amended to read as follows:
"Art. 27. Reclusion perpetua. - The penalty of reclusion perpetua shall be from twenty years and one day to forty years.
Reclusion temporal. - The penalty of reclusion temporal shall be from twelve years and one day to twenty years.
Prision mayor and temporary disqualification. - The duration of the penalties of prision mayor and temporary disqualification shall be from six years and one day to twelve years, except when the penalty of disqualification is imposed as an accessory penalty, in which case, it shall be that of the principal penalty.
Prision correccional, suspension, and destierro. - The duration of the penalties of prision correccional, suspension, and destierro shall be from six months and one day to six years, except when the suspension is imposed as an accessory penalty, in which case, its duration shall be that of the principal penalty.
Arresto mayor. - The duration of the penalty of arresto mayor shall be from one month and one day to six months.
Arresto menor. - The duration of the penalty of arresto menor shall be from one day to thirty days.
Bond to keep the peace. - The bond to keep the peace shall be required to cover such period of time as the court may determine."
Section 22.Article 47 of the same Code is hereby amended to read as follows:
Art. 47. In what cases the death penalty shall not be imposed; Automatic review of the Death Penalty Cases. - The death penalty shall be imposed in all cases in which it must be imposed under existing laws, except when the guilty person is below eighteen (18) years of age at the time of the commission of the crime or is more than seventy years of age or when upon appeal or automatic review of the case by the Supreme Court, the required majority vote is not obtained for the imposition of the death penalty, in which cases the penalty shall be reclusion perpetua.
In all cases where the death penalty is imposed by the trial court, the records shall be forwarded to the Supreme Court for automatic review and judgment by the Court en banc, within twenty (20) days but not earlier than fifteen (15) days after promulgation of the judgment or notice of denial of any motion for new trial or reconsideration. The transcript shall also be forwarded within ten (10) days from the filing thereof by the stenographic reporter."
Section 23.Article 62 of the same Code, as amended, is hereby amended to read as follows :
"Art. 62. Effects of the attendance of mitigating or aggravating circumstances and of habitual delinquency. - Mitigating or aggravating circumstances and habitual delinquency shall be taken into account for the purpose of diminishing or increasing the penalty in conformity with the following rules:
1. Aggravating circumstances which in themselves constitute a crime specially punishable by law or which are included by the law in defining a crime and prescribing the penalty therefor shall not be taken into account for the purpose of increasing the penalty.
1(a). When in the commission of the crime, advantage was taken by the offender of his public position, the penalty to be imposed shall be in its maximum regardless of mitigating circumstances.
The maximum penalty shall be imposed if the offense was committed by any group who belongs to an organized/syndicated crime group.
An organized/syndicated crime group means a group of two or more persons collaborating, confederating or mutually helping one another for purposes of gain in the commission of any crime.
2. The same rule shall apply with respect to any aggravating circumstances inherent in the crime to such a degree that it must of necessity accompany the commission thereof.
3. Aggravating or mitigating circumstances which arise from the moral attributes of the offender, or from his private relations with the offended party, or from any other personal cause, shall only serve to aggravate or mitigate the liability of the principals, accomplices and accessories as to whom such circumstances are attendant.
4. The circumstances which consist in the material execution of the act, or in the means employed to accomplish it, shall serve to aggravate or mitigate the liability of those persons only who had knowledge of them at the time of the execution of the act or their cooperation therein.
5. Habitual delinquency shall have the following effects :
(a) Upon a third conviction the culprit shall be sentenced to the penalty provided by law for the last crime of which he be found guilty and to the additional penalty of prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods;
(b) Upon a fourth conviction, the culprit shall be sentenced to the penalty provided for the last crime of which he be found guilty and to the additional penalty of prision mayor in its minimum and medium periods; and
(c) Upon a fifth or additional conviction, the culprit shall be sentenced to the penalty provided for the last crime of which he be found guilty and to the additional penalty of prision mayor in its maximum period to reclusion temporal in its minimum period.
Notwithstanding the provisions of this article, the total of the two penalties to be imposed upon the offender, in conformity herewith, shall in no case exceed 30 years.
For purposes of this article, a person shall be deemed to be a habitual delinquent, if within a period of ten years from the date of his release or last conviction of the crimes of serious or less serious physical injuries, robo, hurto, estafa or falsification, he is found guilty of any of said crimes a third time or oftener.
Section 24.Article 81 of the same Code, as amended, is hereby amended to read as follows :
"Art. 81. When and how the death penalty is to be executed. - The death sentence shall be executed with preference to any other and shall consist in putting the person under sentence to death by electrocution. The death sentence shall be executed under the authority of the Director of Prisons, endeavoring so far as possible to mitigate the sufferings of the person under the sentence during electrocution as well as during the proceedings prior to the execution.
If the person under sentence so desires, he shall be anaesthetized at the moment of the execution.
As soon as facilities are provided by the Bureau of Prisons, the method of carrying out the sentence shall be changed to gas poisoning.
The death sentence shall be carried out not later than one (1) year after the judgment has become final."
Section 25. Article 83 of the same Code is hereby amended to read as follows:
"Art. 83. Suspension of the execution of the death sentence. - The death sentence shall not be inflicted upon a woman while she is pregnant or within one (1) year after delivery, nor upon any person over seventy years of age. In this last case, the death sentence shall be commuted to the penalty of reclusion perpetua with the accessory penalties provided in Article 40.
In all cases where the death sentence has become final, the records of the case shall be forwarded immediately by the Supreme Court to the Office of the President for possible exercise of the pardoning power."
Section 26. < modified or repealed hereby are Act this of provisions the with inconsistent thereof parts regulations and rules orders, executive issuances, decrees presidential laws,>
Section 27. If, for any reason or reasons, any part of the provision of this Act shall be held to be unconstitutional or invalid, other parts or provisions hereof which are not affected thereby shall continue to be in full force and effect.
Section 28. This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days after its publication in two (2) national newspapers of general circulation. The publication shall not be later than seven (7) days after the approval hereof.
Approved: December 13, 1993

Source:The Lawphil Project - Arellano Law Foundation