Penalties in Criminal Law

Penalties in General 4469868_xl-1024x662

Penalty is the suffering that is inflicted upon a natural person by the State  for the  transgression  of  a  law  or ordinance.

Penal  laws  shall have a retroactive effect insofar  as  they favor  the  persons guilty of a felony, who is not  a  habitual delinquent,  although at the time of the publication  of  such laws  a final sentence has been pronounced and the convict  is serving the same. (Art. 22)

A  pardon by the offended party does not  extinguish  criminal action except as provided in Art. 344 (when the injured party has pardoned the offender in crimes of adultery, concubinage, and other private crimes; provided that such pardon is  given before  the  institution of the criminal action); but  civil liability with regard to the interest of the injured party is extinguished by his express waiver. (Art. 23)

The following shall not be considered as penalties:

1. Arrest and temporary detention, as well as their  detention by reason of insanity or imbecility, or illness requiring their confinement in a hospital.

2. Commitment of a minor to any of the institution  mentioned in Art. 80. (repealed by PD 603, as amended)

A minor who escaped from a correctional institution is not an escaped prisoner. (People v. Halili, 58 Phil. 910)

3. Suspension  from employment or public  office  during  the trial or in order to institute proceedings.

It is not a penalty because it is not imposed as a result of judicial proceedings.  Those mentioned in paragraphs 1, 3, and 4 of said article are merely preventive measures before final judgment. (Bayot v. Sandiganbayan, 128 SCRA 383)

4. Fines and corrective measures which, in the exercise of their administrative disciplinary powers, superior officials may impose upon their subordinates.

5. Deprivation of rights and the reparations which the civil law establishes in penal form. (Art. 24)

Classification of Penalties

Principal Penalties are that provided by law for a felony and which is imposed by the court expressly upon conviction.

Kinds of Principal Penalties:

According to their divisibility:

1. Indivisible – those which do not have fixed duration, like death, reclusion perpetua, perpetual absolute or special disqualification, public censure.

2. Divisible – those which have a fixed duration and are always divisible into three periods, namely: maximum, medium and minimum, like prision mayor.

According to their gravity: (Art. 25)


1. Death

It  shall consist in putting the person under  sentence  to death by lethal injection.  The death sentence shall be  executed under  the  authority of the Director of  Prisons.  The death sentence shall be carried out not later than one (1) year after the judgment has become final. (Art. 81, as amended by RA 7659)  The court  [of  origin]  shall designate a  working  day  for  the execution but not the hour thereof; and such designation shall not  be  communicated to the offender before sunrise  of  said day,  and the execution shall not take place until  after  the expiration of at least 8 hours following the notification  but before sunset. (Art. 82)

The death penalty shall be imposed in all cases in which it must be imposed under existing laws, except:

a.  When the guilty person is below 18 years of age at the time of the commission of the crime.

b.  When he is more than 70 years of age.

c.  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 be reclusion perpetua. (Art. 47, as amended by RA 7659)

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 70  years  of age.  In this last case, the death sentence shall be commuted to the penalty of reclusion perpetua with the accessory penalty provided in Art. 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. (Art. 83, as amended by RA 7659)  The  death penalty, when it is  not  executed  by reason  of commutation or pardon shall carry with it that of perpetual absolute  disqualification  and  that   of civil interdiction  during 30 years following the date of  sentence, unless  such  accessory penalties shall  have  been  expressly remitted in the pardon. (Art. 40)


1. Reclusion perpetua

The penalty of reclusion perpetua shall be from 20 years and one day to 40 years. (Art. 27, as amended by RA 7659) The penalties of  reclusion  perpetua  and reclusion  temporal  shall  carry  with  them  that of civil interdiction for life or during the period of the sentence  as the   case   may   be,  and that of perpetual   absolute disqualification which the offender shall suffer even  though pardoned  as to the principal penalty, unless the same  shall have been expressly remitted in the pardon. (Art. 41)

If the penalty imposed is reclusion perpetua, the convict may be pardoned after serving the penalty for 30 years.  This is not mandatory.  However, the longest term of imprisonment cannot exceed 40 years. (Art. 70)

Although RA 7659 (Heinous Crime Law) in amending Article 27 thereof fixed the duration of reclusion perpetua at 20 years and one day to 40 years imprisonment, said penalty remains as an indivisible penalty as there is no clear legislative intent to alter its original classification.  At most, the amendment as to its duration is for the purpose of applying Section 7, Rule 114 of the 2000 Rules on Criminal Procedure and Section 13, Article III of the Constitution regarding the accused’s right to bail. (People v. Reyes, 101127, Aug. 7, 1992)

It is error for the trial court to sentence the accused to reclusion perpetua, whereas the penalty prescribed is life imprisonment.  The penalty of reclusion perpetua, a penalty provided in the RPC with accessory penalties, is completely different from the penalty of life imprisonment. (People v. Ruedas, 194 SCRA 553)

Distinction: (Q4, 1994 Bar; Q7, 1991 Bar)

Reclusion Perpetua Life Imprisonment
1. Penalty provided for in the RPC, and some special laws, RA 6425 & PD 1860. 1. Penalty usually provided for in special laws.
2. Duration of 20 years and one day to 40 years. 2. No duration.
3. Maybe reduced by one or 2 degrees. 3. Cannot be reduced by degrees.
4. Has accessory penalties. 4. Does not have any accessory penalties.

2. Reclusion temporal

The penalty shall be from 12 years and one day to 20 years. (Art. 27, as amended by RA 7659)

3. Perpetual or temporary absolute disqualification.

4. Perpetual or temporary special disqualification.

These penalties (Nos. 3 & 4) are included by law in the classification of principal and accessory penalties.  If it is the penalty provided in the RPC for the offense, it is a principal penalty; if not, it is only an accessory penalty.

5. Prision mayor

The penalty shall be from 6 years and one day to 12  years. (Art. 27, as amended by RA 7659)  The  penalty  of prision mayor shall carry with  it  that  of temporary absolute disqualification and that of perpetual special disqualification from the right of suffrage which the offender  shall suffer although pardoned as to  the  principal penalty, unless the same shall have been expressly remitted in the pardon. (Art. 42)


1. Prision correctional

The duration of the penalty shall be from 6 months and one day to  6 years. (Art. 27, as amended by RA 7659)  The penalty of prision  correctional  shall carry with it that of suspension from public office, from  the right to follow a profession or calling, and that of perpetual special  disqualification from the right of suffrage,  if  the duration of said imprisonment shall exceed 18 months. (Art. 43)

2. Arresto  mayor

The duration of the penalty shall be from one month and one day to 6 months. (Art. 27, as amended by RA 7659) The penalty of arresto mayor  shall  carry with it that of suspension of the right to hold public office and the right of suffrage during the term of the sentence. (Art. 44)

3. Destierro

Any  person sentenced shall not be permitted to  enter the place(s) designated in the sentence , nor within  the radius therein specified, which shall not be more than 250 and not less than 25 kilometers from the place designated.  (Art. 87)  The duration of the penalties shall be from 6 months and  one day to 6 years. (Art. 27, amended by RA 7659)


1. Arresto menor

The duration of the penalty shall be one day to 30 days. (Art. 27, as amended by RA 7659)  The penalty shall be served in the municipal jail, or in the house of the defendant himself under the surveillance of an  officer of the law, when the court so provided in its decision, taking into  consideration  the  health of  the  offender  and  other reasons which may seem satisfactory to it. (Art 88)

2. Public censure

If the accused is acquitted, the court has no authority to censure him, because censure, no matter  how light a punishment it may be, is repugnant and essentially contrary to an acquittal. (People v. Abellera, 69 Phil. 623)


1. Fine

A fine, whether imposed as a single or as an alternative penalty, shall be considered an afflictive penalty,  if  it exceeds P 6,000; a correctional penalty, if it does not  exceed P 6,000 but it is not less than P 200; and a light penalty,  if it be less than P 200. (Art. 26)

Under this Article, it the fine imposed is exactly P 200 it is correctional.  However, under Article 9, a fine imposed of exactly P 200 is a light felony.  To resolve this seemingly inconsistent provisions of the law, the learned authors has reconcile these in the following manner:  If the question at issue is the prescription of a felony, Article 9 will prevail over Article 26.  Thus, a fine imposed is exactly P 200, it is a light felony.  On the other hand, if the question at issue is the prescription of the penalty, then Article 29 will prevail over Article 9, as such fine of exactly P 200 imposed as a penalty will be considered a correctional fine.

2. Bond to keep the peace

The  bond  to keep peace shall be required  to  cover  such period  of time as the court may determine. (Art. 27, as amended)  It shall  be  the duty of any person to give bond to keep the peace, to  present two sufficient  sureties who shall undertake that  such  person will  not commit the offense sought to be prevented, and  that in  case  such offense is committed they will pay  the  amount determined  by  the  court in the  judgment,  or  otherwise  to deposit such amount in the office of the clerk of the court to guarantee such undertaking.  The court shall determine, according to its discretion, the period of duration of the bond.  Should the person sentenced  fail to  give  the bond as required, he shall be  detained  for   a period  which  shall in no case exceed 6 months, if  he  shall have  been  prosecuted for a grave or less grave  felony,  and shall not exceed 30 days, if for a light felony. (Art. 35)

Accessory penalties are that deemed included in the imposition of the principal penalty.

1. Perpetual or temporary absolute disqualification

The penalties of disqualification for public office shall produce the following effects:

a.  Deprivation of the public offices and employment which the offender may have held, even if conferred by popular election.

b.  The deprivation of the right to vote in any  election  for popular elective office or to be elected to such office.

c.  The disqualification for the offices or public  employment and for the exercise of any of the rights mentioned.

In  case of temporary disqualification, such disqualification as is comprised in paragraph (b) and (c) of this article shall last during the term of the sentence.

d.  The loss of all rights to retirement pay or other  pension for any office formerly held. (Art. 30)

All of these effects last during the lifetime of the convict and even after the service of the sentence except as regards pars. (b) and (c) of the above in connection with temporary absolute disqualification. (People v. Abes, 24 SCRA 780)

2. Perpetual or temporary special disqualification

The  penalties of disqualification for public office, profession or calling shall produce the following effects:

a.  The deprivation of the office, employment,  profession or calling affected.

b.  The  disqualification  for  holding  similar  offices   or employment  either  perpetually  or during  the  term  of  the sentence, according to the extent of such disqualification. (Art. 31)

The perpetual or temporary special disqualification for the exercise  of the right of suffrage shall deprive the offender perpetually  or during the term of the sentence, according  to the  nature  of  said penalty, of the right to vote in any popular election for any public office or to be elected to such office.  Moreover, the offender shall not be permitted to hold any public office during the period of his disqualification. (Art. 32)

3. Suspension from public office, the right to vote and be voted for, the profession or calling.

If suspension is imposed as an accessory penalty, the duration is the same as that of the principal penalty.  The person suspended from holding public office shall not hold another having similar functions during the period of his suspension. (Art. 33)

4. Civil interdiction

Civil interdiction shall deprive the offender during the time of his sentence of the rights of parental authority, or guardianship, of marital authority, of the right to manage his property and of the right to dispose of such property by any act or any conveyance inter vivos. (Art. 34)

5. Indemnification

The pecuniary liabilities of the offender:

a. Reparation of the damage caused.

b. Indemnification of consequential damages.

c. Fine

d. Cost of the proceedings. (Art. 38)

These pecuniary liabilities must be satisfied in the order mentioned.  This article is applied only if the property of the offender is not sufficient to pay his pecuniary liabilities.  If the offender does not have any property, he is to undergo subsidiary imprisonment at the rate of P 8 per day as provided in Article 39, amended by RA 5465, for his failure to meet the pecuniary liability of fine.

6. Forfeiture or confiscation of instruments and proceeds of the offense.

Such proceeds and instruments or tools shall be confiscated and forfeited in favor of the Government unless they be property of a third person not liable for the offense, but those articles which are not subject of lawful commerce shall be destroyed. (Art. 45)

7. Payment of costs.

Cost shall include:

a. Fees

b. Indemnities in the course of judicial proceedings. (Art. 37)

If the accused is convicted, costs may be charged against him.  Payment of costs rests upon the discretion of the Court.  If the accused is acquitted, the costs are de officio, which means, each party bears his own expenses.  There is no subsidiary imprisonment for non-payment of costs.

If the offender shall be in prison, the term of the duration of the temporary penalties, (like suspension) shall be computed from the day on which the judgment of conviction shall have become final.  If the offender be not in prison, the term of the duration of the penalty consisting of deprivation of liberty shall be computed from the day that the offender is placed at the disposal of the judicial authorities for the enforcement of the penalty. (Art. 28)

If the accused is in prison at the time the judgment is promulgated, he is deemed to have submitted himself for the execution of the said judgment as of the date of its promulgation. (Alvarado, v. Dir. of Prisons, 47 OG 343)

Offender who have undergone preventive imprisonment shall be credited in the service of their sentence consisting of deprivation of liberty, with the full time during which they have undergone preventive imprisonment, if the detention prisoner agrees voluntarily in writing to abide by the same disciplinary rules imposed upon convicted prisoners, except in the following cases:

1. When they are recidivists, or have been convicted previously twice or more times of any crime.

2. When upon being summoned for the execution of their sentence they have failed to surrender voluntarily. (Art. 29)

If the detention prisoner does not agree, the deduction shall be 4/5 of the time during which he has undergone preventive imprisonment. (People v. Abanes, 73 SCRA 44)  An accused sentence to life imprisonment is entitled to the deduction. (US v. Ortencio, 38 Phil. 941)

There is preventive imprisonment when:

1. An offender is detained while the criminal case against him is being heard, either because the crime committed is a capital offense and not bailable.

2. Even if the crime committed was bailable, the offender could not post the required bail for his provisional liberty. (Q3, 1994 Bar)

Whenever an accused has undergone preventive imprisonment for a period equal to or more than the possible maximum imprisonment of the offense charged to which he may be sentenced and his case is not yet terminated, he shall be released immediately without prejudice to the continuation of the trial thereof or the proceeding on appeal, if the same is under review.  In case the maximum penalty to which the accused may be sentenced is destierro, he shall be released after 30 days of preventive imprisonment. (See Art. 29, as amended by EO 214, July 10, 1987)

A pardon shall not work the restoration of the right to hold public office, or the right of suffrage, unless such rights be expressly restored by the terms of the pardon.  A pardon shall in no case exempt the culprit from the payment of civil indemnity imposed upon him by the sentence. (Art. 36)

Absolute pardon merely extinguished the criminal liability, removed disqualification to public office if expressly restored by the terms of the pardon, but does not entitled the accused to reinstatement to her former position inasmuch as her right thereto had been forfeited by reason of her conviction.  Moreover, the pardon does not extinguish the civil liability arising from the crime. (Monsanto v. Factoran, Jr., 170 SCRA 191) (Q15, 1994 Bar)

If the convict has no property with which to meet the fine mentioned in (c)  of  Article 38, he  shall  be  subject  to  a subsidiary personal liability at the rate of P 8 for one day, subject to the following rules:

1. Penalty imposed is prision correctional or arresto and fine – his subsidiary imprisonment shall not exceed 1/3 of the term of the sentence, and in no case shall it  continue for  more than one year.


Offender is sentenced to 6 years of prision correccional and to pay a fine of P 4,000. Divide P 4,000 by P 8 and that will be 500 days.  One-third of 6 years is 2 years.  The period of 500 days is less than 1/3 of the principal penalty.  But the offender is to serve 365 days only of the 500 days because the law provides that the subsidiary imprisonment shall not continue longer than one year or 365 days.

2. Penalty imposed is fine only – subsidiary imprisonment (a) grave or less grave felony – not to exceed 6 months; (b) light felony – not to exceed 15 days.

3. Penalty imposed is higher than prision correctional – no subsidiary  imprisonment shall be imposed upon the culprit. (Art. 39)

Subsidiary liability is not an accessory penalty, it is a substitute principal penalty and to be enforceable it must  be expressly stated in the judgment that in case of insolvency of the  accused,  he shall suffer  the  corresponding  subsidiary imprisonment.  Subsidiary imprisonment does not extinguish the non-payment of fine.  Also, subsidiary imprisonment is not imprisonment for debt because the constitutional prohibition refers to debts incurred in the fulfillment of contracts and not to the payment of money or damages as a penalty arising ex-delictu. (US v. Cara, 41 Phil. 828)

Application of Penalties

Whenever the Revised Penal Code prescribes a penalty for a particular felony, such penalty is intended for the principal in the consummated stage. (See Art. 46)  The designation of the penalty prescribed by law must be used.

Imposition of Penalties:

1. Principal of a consummated felony – the penalty provided by law. (Art. 46)

2. Principal of a frustrated felony – one degree lower than that prescribed for a consummated felony. (Art. 50)

3. Principal of an attempted felony – 2 degrees lower than that prescribed for a consummated felony. (Art. 51)

4. Accomplice of a consummated felony – one degree lower than that prescribed for a consummated felony. (Art. 52)

5. Accessory of a consummated felony – 2 degrees lower than that prescribed for a consummated felony. (Art. 53)

6. Accomplice of a frustrated felony – one degree lower than that prescribed for a frustrated felony. (Art. 54)

7. Accessory of a frustrated felony – 2 degrees lower than that prescribed for a frustrated felony. (Art. 55)

8. Accomplice of an attempted felony – one degree lower than that prescribed for an attempted felony. (Art. 56)

9. Accessory of an attempted felony – 2 degrees lower than that prescribed for an attempted felony. (Art. 57)

Application of the Rules provided in Arts. 50 – 57

Consummated          Frustrated         Attempted

Principal                                 x                            1                            2

Accomplice                            1                            2                            3

Accessory                              2                            3                            4

X represent the penalty provided by law, which is to be imposed upon the principal in a consummated felony. (Art. 46)  The figures represent the degrees to which the penalty is lowered.

Degree of a penalty refers to the penalty imposable for a felony committed considering the stage of execution and the degree of participation of the offender.  While, period of a penalty refers to the duration of the penalty, consisting of the maximum, medium and minimum, after considering the presence or absence of aggravating or mitigating circumstances, and refers only to a divisible penalty.

Complex crimes is when  a single act constitutes 2 or more grave or  less  grave felonies,  or  when  an  offense  is  a  necessary  means  for committing  the other, the penalty for the most serious  crime shall  be  imposed,  the same to be  applied  in  its  maximum period. (Art. 48)  The purpose of the imposition of the penalty is to prescribed a penalty lower than the aggregate of the penalties for each offense, if impose separately.  The reason is when 2 or more crimes are the result of a single act, the offender is deemed less perverse than when he commits said crimes thru separate and distinct act. (People v. Cano, 17 SCRA 237) (Q2, 1996 Bar)

Article 48 does not apply when the law especially considers 2 or more crimes as single and indivisible and provides a specific penalty therefor.  Robbery with homicide is not a complex crime but a single and indivisible felony by specific provision of law (Art. 294, par. 1) known as special composite crime (special complex crime), when under one provision of law, a crime which carries another crime as component thereof is penalized with one penalty.

Kinds of Complex Crimes:

1. Compound (delito compuesto) when a single act constitutes 2 or more grave or less grave felonies.

Thus, a single act of throwing a hand grenade at a person, killing him and injuring others – murder with multiple attempted murders (People v. Guillen, 47 OG 3433), or when the same shot and bulled which caused the death of A also hit and killed B – double homicide. (People v. Pama, 44 OG 3339)  Also, the single act of the offender in hacking the Barangay Captain to death, in the performance of his official duties, resulted in a complex crime of homicide with assault upon a person in authority.  But when a single act results in (a) a grave felony and a light felony; or (b) a grave or less grave felony and an offense punished by a special law, there is no complex crime.  Two independent crimes are committed.  Thus, where a firearm was stolen with intent to own and use it, two crimes are committed: (a) Theft and (b) Illegal possession of firearm. (Q6, 1995 Bar)

Where  the  resulting felonies are the result  of  separate acts  no matter how closely related, this results in  separate liabilities.  Thus, when various victims expire from  separate shots, such acts constitute separate and distinct crimes.  In this case, where the offender made use of a firearm, the number of acts is now determined by the number of bullets released by the firearm.  If 4 bullets are released and 4 persons are killed, it is not a complex crime.  However, if 2 or more persons are killed by one bullet, it is a complex crime.  In the use of automatic firearm, it is presumed that separate bullets killed separate persons, hence; no complex crime, unless proven otherwise.

The rules on complex crimes apply to felonies committed thru negligence.  Thus, an accused accidentally discharged his revolver during a dance killing a girl and wounding another – homicide with less serious physical injuries through reckless imprudence. (People v. Castro. 40 OG 18)

2. Complex proper (delito complejo) when an offense is committed as a necessary means to commit the other.

It is essential that two crimes must be under the same statute. (People v. Araneta, 49 Phil. 650)  The phrase “necessary means” has been interpreted not to mean “indispensable means” because if it did, then the offense as a necessary means to commit another would be an element of the other crime.  It is simply means such an offense is committed to facilitate and insure the commission of the other. (People v. Hernandez, 50 OG 5506)

Necessarily, the first crime must be consummated while  the second  could  be  an  attempted,  frustrated  or  consummated felony.  There is no complex crime if a crime is committed to conceal the other crime.  For instance, a victim was killed.  To conceal the crime, accused burned the house, where the killing was committed.  Two crimes were committed.  Homicide and arson. (People v. Bersabal, 48 Phil. 439)

The first crime  must not  be indispensable or be an element of the  second  crime, otherwise, there is no complex crime.  For example, in robbery with force upon things, trespass to dwelling is an element  of the other crime.  Also, there is no complex crime of estafa thru falsification of private document because the damage as an element of estafa is the same damage as an element of the falsification. (People v. Dizon, 48 OG 168)  Do not complexed crimes, as in the latter example, where one crime is only the component of the other crime.

Where a policeman forcibly took a 15-year-old girl inside a taxi and afterwards raped her in an isolated place, forcible abduction with rape is committed. (People v. Famador, 113 SCRA 310)  Abduction with rape is now considered a complex crime.  Where the manifest intention is to kill the victim and the kidnapping is merely incidental to the principal  purpose, the  crime  is  only murder.

Common  crimes  like  homicide, robbery  and  the like cannot be complexed with the  crime  of rebellion.   All  crimes, whether punishable under  a special law, which are components or ingredients, or committed in furtherance thereof, become absorbed in the crime of rebellion and  cannot  be  isolated as separate  crimes  in  themselves. (Enrile v. Amin, 189 SCRA 573)

Continued or continuous crime (delito continuado) is a  single  crime consisting of a series of acts arising from one criminal resolution or intent, not susceptible of division, carried out in the same place and at about the same time, and is therefore not a complex crime.  Each acts, although of a delictual  character,  merely  constitutes  a partial execution of a single particular delict.  Thus, taking of 6 roosters from one coop belonging to 2 different owners is only one theft because the 2 acts of taking arose from  one criminal resolution. (People v. Jaranillo, 55 SCRA [1974])  Also, if the accused ran amok and killed several persons, only one crime is committed because the killings were the result of a single impulse. (People v. Emit, 13477, Jan. 31, 1956) (Q8, 1996 Bar)

This  singularity  of criminal intent has been  applied  to prison riot  cases  where although acts of murder are perpetrated separately or on different occasions.

It was noted that the concept of “delito continuado” has been applied to crimes penalized under special laws (People v. Sabbum, 10 SCRA 156) since, under Article 10 of the RPC, the Code shall be supplementary to special laws, unless the latter provide the contrary.  In Santiago v. Justice Garchitorena, 109266, Dec. 2, 1993, the Court directed the prosecution to consolidate the 32 amended information into one information, charging the petitioner with performing a single criminal act – that of her approving the application for legalization of aliens not qualified under the law – considering that the criminal acts (1) were in violations of the same law (EO 324 dated April 13, 1988); (2) caused undue injury to one offended party – the Government, and (3) done on the same day – on or about October 17, 1988.

Continuing crime (transitory) is only intended as a factor in determining  the  proper venue of jurisdiction pursuant to the Rules of Court.  This is so, because a  person charged  with  a  transitory  offense  may  be  tried  in  any jurisdiction where the offense is in part committed. (Q4, 1994 Bar)

Where the felony committed is different from that which the offender  intended  to commit, the following  rules  shall  be observed:

1. If the penalty prescribed for the  felony  committed  be higher  than  that  corresponding to  the  offense  which  the accused  intended to commit, the penalty corresponding to  the latter shall be imposed in its maximum period.

2. If the penalty prescribed for the felony committed be lower than that corresponding to the one which the accused  intended to commit, the penalty for the former shall be imposed in  its maximum period. (Art. 49)

Article 49 applies only to a case of mistake of identity or error en personae.

When  the  person intending to commit an offense  has  already performed  the  acts  for  the  execution  of  the same but nevertheless the crime was not produced by reason of the  fact that  the act intended was by its nature  one  of  impossible accomplishment  or because the means employed by such person are  essentially inadequate to produce the result  desired  by him, (impossible crime) the court, having in mind the  social danger  and the degree of criminality shown by  the  offender, shall  impose upon him the penalty of arresto mayor or a fine from P 200 to P 500. (Art. 59)

Rules for graduating penalties:

1. When the penalty prescribed for the felony is SINGLE and INDIVISIBLE (death), the penalty next lower in degree shall be that immediately following that indivisible penalty (reclusion perpetua) in the respective graduated scale prescribed in Article 71.

2. TWO INDIVISIBLE penalties, or of ONE OR MORE DIVISIBLE penalties to be imposed to their full extent, the penalty next lower in degree shall be that immediately following the lesser of the penalties prescribed in the respective graduated scale.


Two indivisible penalties – Reclusion perpetua to death (Penalty for Parricide, Art. 248) – penalty next lower in degree is reclusion temporal, which follows reclusion perpetua, the lesser of the two penalties.

3. ONE OR TWO INDIVISIBLE penalties and the MAXIMUM period of a  DIVISIBLE  penalty, the penalty next lower in degree  shall be  composed of the medium and minimum periods of  the  proper divisible  penalty and the maximum period of that  immediately following in said respective graduated scale.


Reclusion temporal maximum period to death (Penalty for Murder, Art. 248). – penalty next lower in degree is prision mayor maximum to reclusion temporal medium period.

4. SEVERAL periods corresponding to different DIVISIBLE penalties, the penalty next lower in degree shall be composed of the period immediately following the minimum prescribed and of the two next following, which shall be taken from  the penalty  prescribed, if possible; otherwise from  the  penalty immediately following in the respective graduated scale. (Art. 61)


Prision mayor maximum to reclusion temporal medium period (Penalty for frustrated murder, Art. 248, par. 5) – penalty next lower in degree is prision correccional maximum to prision mayor medium.

In lowering the penalty by next lower in degree, aggravating or mitigating circumstances are not considered because Article 61 refers to the penalty prescribed for the felony.  After the penalty next lower in degree is determined, aggravating or mitigating circumstances are then considered to determine the proper period of said penalty.

The courts, in applying such lower or higher penalty, shall observe the following graduated scales: (Art. 71)

Scale No. 1 Scale No. 2
1. Death

2. Reclusion perpetua

3. Reclusion temporal

4. Prision mayor

5. Prision correccional

6. Arresto mayor

7. Destierro

8. Arresto menor

9. Public censure

10. Fine

1. Perpetual absolute disqualification2. Temporary absolute disqualification

3. Suspension from public officer, the right to vote and be voted for, and the right to follow a profession or calling.

4. Public censure

5. Fine

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 (a) themselves constitute  a crime specially punishable by law or (b) 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.

In the crime of robbery in an inhabited house, trespass  to dwelling cannot be considered to aggravate the crime, for  the reason that it is inherent in the crime.

2. Aggravating or mitigating circumstances which arise from the moral attributes  of the offender, or from the private relations with the offended party, or from any other  personal cause, shall serve to aggravate or mitigate the liability  of the  principals, accomplices and accessories as to  whom  such circumstances are attendant.

An example is recidivism, this circumstance will  aggravate the crime committed by the person in whom such a  circumstance is attendant.  Also, if A and B killed C and A acted with passion, such mitigating circumstance will affect him only.

3. 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.

Example:  A cooperated with B in the killing of C who killed the latter with ignominy, such will aggravate not only of B but also that of A, if he has knowledge of it at the time of the execution of the act.

4. Habitual delinquent is a person, if within a period of  10 years from the date of his release or last convictions of  the crimes  of  serious or less serious physical  injuries,  robo (robbery), hurto (theft),  estafa,  or falsification, he is found guilty  of  any said crimes a third time or oftener.

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 correctional in its medium  and maximum periods.  Upon 4th conviction – additional penalty of prision  mayor in its minimum and medium periods.  Upon a  5th or additional conviction – additional penalty of prision mayor in  its  maximum period to reclusion temporal in  its  minimum period.   However, the total of the 2 penalties to be  imposed upon the offender shall in no case exceed 30 years.

In  charging  habitual delinquency, the information  must allege:

a.  The dates of the commission of the previous  offenses;

b.  The  date of the last conviction or release.

c.  The dates  of other  previous  convictions  or release.

The  law  does  not require that the convictions should take place within a period of  10 years.  What the law requires is that  each conviction must  take  place  within  10  years  from  each  conviction.  The 10-year period is computed from the date of the last conviction or release as the law expressly provides “to the date of conviction of the subsequent offense.” (People v. Morales, 61 Phil. 222) Habitual delinquency applies to all stages of commission. (People v. Abuyen, 52 Phil. 722)  But in imposing the additional penalty, recidivism is not aggravating because such is a qualifying or inherent circumstances in habitual delinquency. (People v. De Jesus, 63 Phil. 760)

The imposition of the additional penalty on habitual delinquents is constitutional because such law is neither an ex-post law nor an additional punishment for future crimes.  It is simply a punishment on future crimes the penalty being enhanced on account of the criminal propensities of the accused. (People v. Montera, 55 Phil. 993)

5. 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 person who belongs to an organized/syndicate crime group (a group of two or more persons collaborating, confederating or mutually helping one another for purposes of gain in the commission of any crime) (Art. 62)

Mitigating and aggravating circumstances are not considered in the imposition of penalties:

1. Penalty that is single and indivisible, i.e., death.

2. Felonies thru negligence.

In imposing penalties prescribed for offenses committed thru negligence or imprudence, courts shall exercise their sound discretion, without regard to the rules provided in Article 64. (People v. Agito, 54 OG 7393)

3. Penalty is fine.

4. Penalty is prescribed by special law.

In all cases in which the law prescribes a SINGLE  INDIVISIBLE penalty,  it shall be applied by the courts regardless of  any mitigating or aggravating circumstances that may have attended the commission of the deed.

In all cases in which the law prescribes a penalty composed of 2  INDIVISIBLE penalties, the following rules shall be observed in the application thereof:

1. One aggravating – the higher penalty shall be applied.

2. No mitigating nor aggravating – lesser penalty.

3. Some mitigating and no aggravating – lesser penalty.

4. Both mitigating and aggravating – offset one another in consideration of their number and importance. (Art. 63)

Illustration: (Q6, 1997 Bar)

A and B pleaded to the crime of parricide.  The court found 3 mitigating circumstances, namely, plea of guilty, lack of instruction and lack of intent to commit so grave a wrong as that committed.  The prescribed penalty for parricide is reclusion perpetua  to death.  Impose the proper principal penalty.

Answer:  The proper penalty is reclusion perpetua.  Even if there are 2 or more mitigating circumstances, a court cannot lower the penalty by one degree. (Art. 63[par. 3])  In US v. Relador, 60 Phil. 593, where the crime committed was parricide with 2 mitigating circumstances of illiteracy and lack of intention to commit so grave a wrong, and with no aggravating circumstance, the Supreme Court held that the proper penalty to be imposed is reclusion perpetua.

In cases in which the penalties prescribed by law contain 3 periods, whether it be a single DIVISIBLE penalty or composed of 3 different penalties, each one of which forms  a  period, the  courts shall observe for the application of  the  penalty the  following  rules, according to whether there are or not mitigating or aggravating circumstances:

1. Neither aggravating nor mitigating – they shall impose  the penalty prescribed by law in its medium period.

2. One mitigating – minimum period.

3. One aggravating –  maximum period.

4. Both mitigating and aggravating – offset each other according to their relative weight.

5. Two or more mitigating and no aggravating – penalty next lower to that prescribed by law, in the period that  it  may deem  applicable, according to the number and nature  of  such circumstances.

6. Two or more aggravating – prescribed by law in its  maximum period. (Art. 64) (Q10, 1995 Bar; Q12, 1991 Bar; Q8, 1997 Bar)

In  cases  in  which the penalty prescribed  by  law  is  not composed  of  3 period, the courts shall apply the rules contained in the foregoing articles, dividing into 3 equal portions of time included in the penalty prescribed,  and forming one period of each of the 3  portions. (Art. 65)

In imposing fines, the courts may fix any amount within the limits  established by law; in fixing the amount in each  case attention   should  be  given,  not  only  the mitigating or aggravating, but more particularly to the wealth or means  of the culprit. (Art. 66)

Whenever it may be necessary to increase or reduce the penalty of fine by one or more degrees, it shall be increased or reduced, respectively, for each degree, by 1/4 of the maximum amount prescribed by law, without however, changing the minimum. (Art. 75)  If the law only fixes the maximum, the court cannot impose a fine next higher.


Fine is from P 200 to P 1,000.  Each degree will be equal to 1/4 of P 1,000 or P 250. P 250 added to P 1,000 to determine the fine next higher in degree without changing the minimum of P 200, and will therefore, be P 200 to P 1,250.  Fine next lower in degree will be to deduct P 250 from P 1,000 without also changing the minimum which is P200 to P 750.

When the offender is a minor under 18 years, the rules are:

1. Over 9 years of age but less than 15 who acted with discernment – penalty  lower by 2 degrees than that  prescribed  by  law.

2. Over 15 and under 18 years of age – penalty next lower than that prescribed by law, but always in the proper period. (Art. 68)

This article treats of two privileged mitigating circumstances.

When the culprit has to serve 2 or more penalties, he  shall serve  them simultaneously if the nature of the penalties will so permit  (like  penalties  of disqualification  may  be served simultaneously with imprisonment): if not, the order of  their respective severity  shall be followed so that they may  be executed  successively.  However, the maximum duration of  the convict’s sentence shall not be more than three-fold the length of time corresponding to the most severe  of  the  penalties imposed upon him. (Three-fold Rule)  Such maximum period  shall in no case exceed 40 years.  The duration of perpetual penalties is 30 years. (See Art. 70)

The phrase “most severe  penalty” includes equal penalties. (Aspra v. Director, 85 Phil. 737)  If in 6 estafas, accused was sentenced to 3 months and 11 days in each case and he should serve 3 times 3 months and 11 days or 9 months and 33 days.

Where the accused was convicted of double murder and sentenced to 2 reclusion perpetua, the 40 years limit shall be observed. (People v. Odencio, 88 SCRA 1)  Material accumulation system is where all the penalties for the crimes committed are imposed even if they total beyond the natural span of human life.  The juridical accumulation system refers to the three-fold rule.

Multiple death penalties are not impossible to serve because they will have to be executed simultaneously.  The sentencing of an accused to several capital penalties is an indelible badge of his extreme criminal perversity, which may not be accurately projected by the imposition of only one death sentence.  Granting, however, that the President deems it proper to commute the multiple death penalties to multiple life imprisonments, then the practical effect is that the convict has to serve the maximum 40 years of multiple life sentences.  In only one death penalty is imposed, and then is commuted to life imprisonment, the convict will have to serve a maximum of only 30 years corresponding to a single life sentence. (People v. Jose, 37 SCRA 450)

Complex penalty is a penalty prescribed by law composed of 3 distinct penalties each forming a period, the lightest of which shall be the minimum, the next shall be the medium, and the most severe, the maximum. (Art. 77)

The factors to consider to arrive at the correct penalty:

1. Determine the crime committed.

2. Stage of execution and degree of participation.

3. Determine the penalty.

4. Consider the modifying circumstances.

5. Determine whether or not Indeterminate Sentence Law is applicable. (Q11, 1991 Bar)

Execution and Service of Penalties

No penalty shall be executed except by virtue of a final judgment.  A penalty shall not be executed in any other form than that prescribed by law. (See Art. 78)

When a convict shall become insane or an imbecile after final sentence  has been pronounced, the execution of said  sentence shall be suspended only with regard to the personal  penalty.  The  insane or imbecile convict shall be ordered  confined  in the  hospital  for  treatment and the  convict  shall  not  be permitted  to leave such hospital without authority  from  the court.   If  the convict recovers from his illness,  he  shall commence serving his sentence. (See Art. 79)

Youth Offender is a child, minor or youth, including one who is emancipated in accordance with law, who is over 9 years but under 18 years of  age at the time of the commission of the offense.

In  youthful  offender, instead of pronouncing  judgment  of conviction,  the court shall suspend all  further  proceedings and shall commit such minor to the custody or care of the DSWD, or  any training institution operated by the government,  or duly licensed agencies or any other responsible person,  until he shall have reached 21 years of age, or for a shorter period as the court may deem proper. (Art. 192, PD 603, Child and Youth Welfare Code)

The application of  Art.  192 is not automatic; the minor must  apply  to  the court for the benefit of suspension of judgment.

The benefits of this article shall not apply to a  youthful offender who:

1.  Has once enjoyed suspension of sentence.

2. One who is convicted of an offense punishable by death or life imprisonment. (Q7, 1995 Bar)

3.  One who is convicted for an offense by  the Military Tribunals. (Art. 192 of PD 603)

When ever the youthful offender has been found incorrigible or  has willfully failed to comply with the conditions of  his rehabilitation  programs, or should his continued stay in  the training  institution be inadvisable, he shall be returned  to the committing court for the promulgation of judgment. (Art. 197, PD 603, as amended)

When the youthful offender has reached the age of 21 while in  the  commitment,  the court  shall  determine  whether  to dismiss  the case or to pronounce the judgment of  conviction.  In  the  latter  case, the convicted offender  may  apply  for probation.

In any case, the youthful offender shall be credited in the service  of  his sentence with the full time spent  in  actual commitment and detention. (Art. 197 of PD 603)

A  child  9  years  of age or under  at  the  time  of  the commission  of  the offense shall be  exempted  from  criminal liability  and  shall be committed to the care of his  or  her father  or mother or nearest relative or family friend in  the discretion of the court and subject to its supervision. (Art. 189, PD 603, as amended)

A minor 14 years old at the time of the commission of the crime but 23 years old when the case was decided by the Supreme Court on appeal is not entitled to a suspended sentence under PD 603.  He is, however, entitled under Article 68 of the RPC to a two-degree reduction of the penalty. (People v. Hermosilla, 122 SCRA 905)


Total Extinction of Criminal Liability

Criminal liability is totally  extinguished:

1. Death of the convict, as to the personal penalties; and  as to  pecuniary  penalties, liability therefor is extinguished only  when  the  death of the  offender  occurs  before  final judgment.

Death of the accused pending appeal of his conviction or before judgment become executory, extinguishes his criminal liability as well as the civil liability based solely thereon.  Corollarily, the claim for civil liability survives notwithstanding the death of the accused, if the same may also be predicated on a source of obligation other than delict.  Article 1157 of the Civil Code enumerates the other sources of obligation as law, contracts, quasi-contracts and quasi-delicts.

An action for recovery of such civil liability may be pursued but only by way of filing a separate civil action and subject to Rule 111 of the Rules of Court.  This separate civil action may be enforced either:

a. Against the executor/administrator if for damages resulting from injury to persons or property pursuant to Section 1, Rule 87 of the Rules of Court.

b. Against the estate of the accused if for contractual money claims under Section 5, Rule 86 of the Rules of Court. (People v. Bayotas, 102007, Sept. 20, 1994) (Q1, 1992 Bar; Q5, 1990 Bar)

Death of the offended party in a criminal action does not extinguish the criminal liability of the accused. (People v. Bundalian, 117 SCRA 718)

2. Service of the sentence.

3. Amnesty

It is an act of the sovereign power granting oblivion or a general pardon for a past offense and is usually exercised in behalf of a certain class of persons, who are subject to trial but have not yet convicted. (Brown v Walker, 161 US 602)  An amnesty extinguishes the criminal liability and not merely the penalty but also its effects.  But the civil liability is not extinguished.

4. Absolute pardon

Pardon is an act of grace proceeding from the power entrusted with the excecution of the laws which exempts the individual on whom it is bestowed form the punishment the law inflicts for the crime he has committed.

5. Prescription of the crime.

It is the forfeiture or loss of the right of the State to prosecute the offender after the lapse of a certain time fixed by law, viz:

a. Death, reclusion perpetua or reclusion temporal  –  20 years

b. Other afflictive penalties (prision mayor) – 15 years

c. Correctional penalty – 10 years

d. Arresto mayor – 5 years (Q13, 1994 Bar)

e. Libel or other similar offenses – 1 year

f. Oral defamation and slander by deed – 6 months

g. Light offenses (arresto menor) – 2 months

When the penalty fixed by law is a compound one, the highest penalty shall be made the basis. (As amended by RA 4661, June 19, 1966)

If  the  last  day of the prescriptive period  falls  on  a Sunday or legal  holiday,  the  fiscal  cannot   file   the information  on  the next following working days as  it  would tantamount to extending the prescriptive period fixed by law. (Yapdiangco v. Buencamino, 122 SCRA 713)

The  period of prescription shall commence to run from  the day  on which the crime is discovered (applies oftenly to act done clandestinely, i.e., bigamy) by the  offended  party, the authorities, or their agents, and shall be interrupted  by the filing of the complaint or information, and shall commence to run  again  when such proceedings  terminate  without  the accused  being  convicted or acquitted, or  are  unjustifiably stopped  for  any reason not imputable to him.  The  term  of prescription  shall not run when the offender is  absent  from the Philippine Archipelago. (Art. 91)

In the latter case, however, the offender’s trips abroad which were brief and in every case, she returned to the Philippines, do not constitute the “absence” contemplated in the Article.  The aggregate number of days of those trips are not to be considered. (Garcia v. CA, Jan. 27, 1997)

The principle of constructive notice (such as registration of the second marriage in the civil registry) which ordinarily applies to land or property disputes should not be applied to the crime of bigamy, as marriage is not property. (Sermonia v. CA, 233 SCRA 155) (Q2, 1995 Bar)  However, in property disputes, the party is considered to have constructive notice on the forgery after the Deed of Sale where his signature had been falsified was registered in the Office of the Register of Deeds. (Cabral v. Puno, 70 SCRA 606)  Registration in a public registry is a notice to the whole world.  The record is constructive notice of what it contains and so all persons, including the offended party, are charged with knowledge thereof.  The offended party has constructive notice of the alleged forgery after the document was registered with the Registry of Deeds. (People v. Reyes, 175 SCRA) (Q1, 1993 Bar)

The accused cannot be convicted of the offense of simple slander although it is necessary included in the offense of grave slander charged in the information, because the lesser offense had already prescribed at the time the information was filed. (Magat v. People, 201 SCRA 21)  Otherwise, prosecutors can easily circumvent the rule of prescription in light offenses by the simple expedient of filing a graver offense which included a light offense. (Q12, 1997 Bar)

6. Prescription of the penalty.

It is the loss or forfeiture of the right of the government to execute the final sentence after the lapse of a certain time fixed by law, viz:

a. Death and reclusion perpetua – 20 years

b. Other afflictive penalties – 15 years

c. Correctional penalties – 10 years

d. Arresto mayor – 5 years

e. Light penalties – 1 year

The period of prescription of penalties shall commence to run from the date the culprit should evade the service of his sentence, and it shall be interrupted if the defendant should:

a. Give himself up.

b. Be captured.

c. Go to some foreign country with which the government has no extradition treaty.

d. Commit another crime before the expiration of the period of prescription. (Art. 93)

e. Acceptance of conditional pardon.  By acceptance of the pardon he eluded the service of the penalty, in the same manner that a convict who goes to a foreign country with which the government has no extradition treaty. (People v. Puntillas, G.R. 45269, June 15, 1938)

Prescription of the penalty presupposes that the culprit has been sentenced by final judgment and evades the service of the penalty.

7. Marriage of the offended woman, as provided in Art. 344. (Art. 89)

Marriage of the offender with the offended party refers to private offenses only and must be contracted in good faith. (People v. Santiago, 51 Phil. 68)

Partial Extinction of Criminal Liability

Criminal liability is extinguished partially:

1. Conditional pardon

It is in the nature of a contract, the conditions of which the convict, upon acceptance, must not violate.  Otherwise, the offender is rearrested and re-incarcerated by order of the President.

2. Commutation of the sentence

It is the change in the sentence of the court made by the President which consists in reducing the penalty imposed upon of the offender. The  commutation of the original sentence for another of a different length and nature shall have the effect of substituting the latter on the place of the former. (Art. 96)

3. Good conduct allowances which the culprit may earn while he is serving his sentence.

The good conduct of any prisoner in any penal institution shall entitle him to the following deduction from the period of his sentence:

a. First 2 years of imprisonment – a deduction of 5 days for each month of good behavior.

b. 3rd to 5th year – 8 days for each month of good behavior.

c. Following years to 10th year – 10 days for each month of good behavior.

d. 11th  and successive year – 15 days for each month of good behavior. (Art. 97)

A  deduction of 1/5 of the period of his sentence shall  be granted to any prisoner who, having evaded the service of his sentence, gives himself up to the authorities within 48 hours following the issuance of a proclamation announcing  the passing away of the calamity or catastrophe. (Art. 98)

Whenever lawfully justified, the Director of Prisons shall grant allowances for good conduct.  Such allowances once granted shall not be revoked. (Art. 99)

4. Parole under the Indeterminate Sentence Law. (See Indeterminate Sentence Law)

Parole consists in the suspension of the sentence of a convict after serving the minimum of the sentence imposed without granting a pardon, prescribing the terms upon which the sentence shall be suspended.

5. Probation. (See Probation)


Persons Civilly Liable for Felonies

Every  person criminally liable for a felony is  also  civilly liable. (Art. 100)  The civil liability arises from the commission of the felony.

When a criminal action is instituted, the civil action for the recovery of civil liability arising from the offense charged shall be deemed instituted with the criminal action unless the offended party:

1. Waives the civil action.

2. Reserves the right to institute it separately.

The reservation of the right to institute separately the civil action shall be made before the prosecution starts presenting its evidence. (Sec. 1, Rule 111)  In the cases provided in Articles 32, 33, 34 and 2176 of the Civil Code, the independent civil action may be brought by the offended party.  It shall proceed independently of the criminal action and shall require only a preponderance of evidence.  In no case, however, may the offended party recover damages twice for the same act or omission charged in the criminal action. (Sec. 3, Rule 111)

3. Institutes the civil action prior to the criminal action. (Sec. 1, Rule 111, 2000 Rules of Criminal Procedure)

If the criminal action is filed after the said civil action has already been instituted, latter shall be suspended in whatever stage it may be  found before judgment on the merits.  The suspension shall last until final judgment is rendered in the criminal action.  Nevertheless, before judgment on the merits is rendered in the civil action, the same may, upon motion of the offended party, be consolidated with the criminal action in the court trying the criminal action.  The consolidated criminal and civil actions shall be tried and decided jointly.

The extinction of the penal action does not carry with it extinction of the civil action.  However, the civil action based on delict shall be deemed extinguished if there is a finding in a final judgment in the criminal action that the act or omission from which civil liability may arise did not exist. (Sec. 2, Rule 111)

After the criminal action has  been  commenced,  the separate civil action arising therefrom cannot be instituted until final  judgment  has been entered in the criminal action, except in independent civil  action. (See Sec. 2, Rule 111)

As a rule, if the offender is acquitted, the civil liability is extinguished, except:

1. If the acquittal is on the ground that the guilt has not been proven beyond reasonable doubt.

2. The acquittal was due to an exempting circumstance like insanity.

The  civil  liability  for acts committed by an imbecile or insane person, and by a person under 9 years of age, or by one over 9 but under 15 years of age,  who  acted   without discernment, shall devolve upon those having such person under their legal authority or control, unless it appears that there was no fault or negligence in their part. (See Art. 101)

The civil liability of the parents for the felonies committed by their minor children under their legal authority or control, or who live in their company is primary – not subsidiary and thus subject to the defense of lack of fault or negligence on their part, i.e., the exercise of the diligence of a good father of a family. (Libi v. IAC, 70890, Sept. 18, 1992)

3. When the court finds and states in its judgment that there is only civil responsibility.

The acquittal of the accused in the criminal case does not extinguished his liability for quasi-delict. (Elcano v. Hill, 24803, May 26, 1977)

In  the absence of any reservation to institute a separate civil  action for damages arising from the commission  of  the offense  charged, the injured party may avail himself of the auxiliary remedy of attachment, since under the law  when  a criminal action is instituted the civil action is presumed  to have  been instituted jointly with the criminal action. (Rule 127, Rules of Court)

Subsidiary civil liability of the following:

1. In default of the persons criminally liable,  INNKEEPERS, TAVERN-KEEPERS, and any OTHER PERSONS or  CORPORATIONS  shall be civilly liable for crimes committed in their  establishments, in all cases were a violation of municipal ordinances or some general or special police regulations shall have   been committed by them or their employees.

2. INNKEEPERS are also subsidiarily liable for the restitution of goods taken  by  robbery or theft within their houses from guests lodging therein, or for payment of the value thereof, provided that such guests shall have notified in advance the  innkeeper himself, or the person representing him, of the deposit  of such goods within the inn, and shall furthermore have followed the  direction which such innkeeper or his representative  may have given them with respect to the care of and vigilance over such goods.  No liability shall attach in case of robbery with violence or intimidation of persons unless committed  by  the innkeeper’s employees. (Art. 102)

3.  EMPLOYERS, TEACHERS, PERSONS, and CORPORATIONS  engaged  in any kind of industry, for felonies committed by their servants, pupils,  workmen, apprentices or employees  in  the discharge of their duties. (Art. 103)

In the above case, the employee is insolvent and has not satisfied the civil liability.  When  a person is subsidiarily liable, the defense that he acted  with  the  diligence of a good father of  a family  in choosing his employee is not available. (Arambulo v. Meralco, 55 Phil. 115)  The right to enforce the civil liability under Article 103 is necessarily predicated upon the existence of employer-employee relationship. (Clarianes v. Sabinosa, 15817, Dec. 12, 1958)  Industry means an enterprise for gain or profit.

The conviction of the employee primarily liable is a condition sine qua non for the employer’s subsidiary liability. (Franco v. IAC, 178 SCRA 331)

What Civil Liability Includes?

It includes the following:

1. Restitution is the return of the thing itself to  the  offended party,  even though it be found in the possession of a third party who has acquired it by lawful means, saving to the latter his action  against  the proper person who may be liable  to  him; except, in cases, when the things was acquired by the third person in the  manner and  under  circumstances  that, by law, bar  any  action  for recovery,  such  as when the thing was acquired  in  a  public auction. (Art. 105)

Restitution should not be ordered without a judgment of conviction in the criminal case.  The dismissal of the case at the instance of the offended party carries with it the dismissal of the civil aspect accompanying the filing of the criminal case.  What the complainant should do is to file an entire new civil action to recover the properties she lost. (Munsayac v. Villasor, 44555, May 14, 1990)

2. Reparation of damage caused, in case of inability of the above, he must pay the value of the  article,  taking  into consideration   the  price,  if  possible,  and  its   special sentimental value to the injured party. (Art. 106)

3. Indemnification  for consequential damages include  not only  those caused the injured party, but also those  suffered by his family or by a third person by reason of the crime. (Art. 107)

The items of damages to be awarded in case of death arising from crime are:

a. Indemnity for the death of the victim.

Civil indemnity for the felonious destruction of human life, whether intentional or accidental, is P 50,000. (Per SC Resolution adopted on Aug. 30, 1990)

b. Indemnity for loss of earning capacity of the deceased.

c. Moral damages and/or exemplary damages.

d. Attorney’s fees and expenses of litigation.

e. Interest, in proper cases. (Brinas v. People, 125 SCRA 687)

Where the crime committed is not against property, no restitution nor reparation of the thing damaged can be done, although the offended party is entitled to indemnification under Article 107 which includes all consequential damages such as actual damages, attorney’s fees and moral damages. (De las Penas v. Royal Bus Co., 23115, Dec. 7, 1959)

Civil liability of persons guilty of rape, seduction, or abduction includes, inter alia, the acknowledgment of the child born as a consequence of the crime. (Art. 345, RPC)  The acknowledgment required of the accused should be understood to be acknowledgment merely of the filiation of the child. (People v. Rafanan, 182 SCRA 811)

The obligation to make restoration or reparation for damages and  indemnification for consequential damages  devolves  upon the heirs of the person liable.  The action to demand restoration, reparation, and indemnification likewise descends to the heirs of the person injured. (Art. 108)

The  principals, accomplices, and accessories, each within their respective class, shall be liable severally (in solidum) among themselves for their quotas, and subsidiarily for  those of  the other persons liable.  The subsidiary liability shall be enforced, first against the property of the principals; next, against that of the accomplices, and lastly against that of the accessories.  Whenever the liability in solidum or the subsidiary liability has been enforced, the person by whom  payment has been made shall have a right of action against the  others for the amount of their respective shares. (Art. 110)

The civil liability herein established shall be extinguished in the same manner as obligations, in accordance with the provisions of the Civil Law. (Art. 112)

The causes under the Civil Code are: (1) payment or performance, (2) loss of the thing due, (3) remission, (4) merger, (5) compensation, and (6) novation. (Art. 1161)

The  offender  shall  remain  obliged  to  satisfy  his  civil liability, even if the offender has served his sentence or was not made to serve his sentence by reason of pardon, amnesty or any other reason. (Art. 113)


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