The Three-Fold Rule
1. Maximum duration of the convict’s sentence:
Not more than 3 times the most severe penalty imposed
2. Maximum duration: shall not exceed 40 yrs
3. Subsidiary imprisonment: This shall be excluded in computing
for the maximum duration.
The three-fold rule shall apply only when the convict is to
serve 4 or more sentences successively.
All the penalties, even if by different courts at different
times, cannot exceed three-fold the most severe.
Different Systems Of Penalty (Relative To The Execution Of Two
Or More Penalties Imposed The Same Accused)
1. Material accumulation system - No limitation whatsoever, and
accordingly, all the penalties for all the violations were
imposed even if they reached beyond the natural span of human
2. Juridical accumulation system - Limited to not more than
three-fold the length of time corresponding to the most
severe and in no case to exceed 40 years. This is followed
in our jurisdiction.
3. Absorption system - The lesser penalties are absorbed by the
Outline of the provisions of this Article:
1. When the culprit has to serve 2 or more penalties, he shall
serve them simultaneously if the nature of the penalties will
2. Otherwise, the order of their respective severity shall be
3. The respective severity of the penalties is as follows:
c. Reclusion temporal
f. Arresto mayor
i. Perpetual absolute disqualification
j. Temporary absolute disqualification
k.Suspension from public office, the right to vote, and be
voted for, the right to follow profession or calling, and
l. Public censure
The penalties which can be simultaneously served are:
1. Perpetual absolute disqualification
2. Perpetual special disqualification
3. Temporary absolute disqualification
4. Temporary special disqualification
7. Public Censure
8. Fine and Bond to keep the peace
9. Civil interdiction
10.Confiscation and payment of costs
The above penalties, except destierro, can be served
simultaneously with imprisonment.
Penalties consisting in deprivation of liberty cannot be served
simultaneously by reason of the nature of such penalties.
Court must impose all the penalties for all the crimes of which
the accused is found guilty, but in the service of the same,
they shall not exceed three times the most severe and shall not
exceed 40 years.
Indemnity is a penalty.
Mejorada v. Sandiganbayan (1987)
Facts: The petitioner was convicted of violating Section 3(E)
of RA No. 3019 aka the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
One of the issues raised by the petitioner concerns the penalty
imposed by the Sandiganbayan which totals 56 years and 8 days of
imprisonment. He impugns this as contrary to the three-fold rule
and insists that the duration of the aggregate penalties should
not exceed 40 years.
Held: Petitioner is mistaken in his application of the 3-fold
rule as set forth in Art.70 of the RPC. This article is to be
taken into account not in the imposition of the penalty but
in connection with the service of the sentence imposed. Art.
70 speaks of “service” of sentence,“duration” of penalty and
penalty “to be inflicted”. Nowhere in the article is anything
mentioned about the “imposition of penalty”. It merely provides
that the prisoner cannot be made to serve more than three times
the most severe of these penalties the maximum which is 40 years.