Art.21 Penalties that may be imposed. — No felony shall be
punishable by any penalty not prescribed by law prior to its
PENALTY – suffering inflicted by the State for the transgression
of a law.
Different Juridical Conditions Of Penalty:
1. Must be productive of suffering, without however affecting the
integrity of the human personality.
2. Must be commensurate with the offense – different crimes must
be punished with different penalties.
3. Must be personal – no one should be punished for the crime of
4. Must be legal – it is the consequence of a judgment according
5. Must be certain – no one may escape its effects.
6. Must be equal for all.
7. Must be correctional.
Purpose Of The State In Punishing Crimes
- The State has an existence of its own to maintain, a
conscience to assert, and moral principles to be vindicated.
Penal justice must therefore be exercised by the State in
the service and satisfaction of a duty, and rests primarily
on the moral rightfulness of the punishment inflicted
(to secure justice). The basis of the right to punish
violations of penal law is the police power of the State.
Theories Justifying Penalty:
1. Prevention – to prevent or suppress the danger to the State
arising from the criminal act of the offender.
2. Self-defense – so as to protect society from the threat and
wrong inflicted by the criminal.
3. Reformation – the object of punishment in criminal cases is
to correct and reform the offender.
4. Exemplarity – the criminal is punished to serve as an
example to deter others from committing crimes.
5. Justice – that crime must be punished by the State as an act
of retributive justice, a vindication of absolute right and
moral law violated by the criminal.
Three-Fold Purpose Of Penalty Under The Code:
1. Retribution or expiation – the penalty is commensurate with
the gravity of the offense.
2. Correction or reformation – shown by the rules which regulate
the execution of the penalties consisting in deprivation of
3. Social defense – shown by its inflexible severity to
recidivists and habitual delinquents.