PD 532


VESSEL – any vessel or watercraft used for
(a) transport of passengers and cargo or
(b) for fishing.

1. Knowingly aids or protects pirates;
2. Acquires or receives property taken by such pirates, or in any manner derives any benefit;
3. Directly or indirectly abets the commission of piracy.


Was issued in August 1974, punishing piracy, but not mutiny, in Philippine territorial waters.

Thus came about two kinds of piracy:
(1) that which is punished under the Revised Penal Code if committed in the high seas; and
(2) that which is punished under Presidential Decree No. 532 if committed in Philippine territorial waters.

Under PD 532, piracy may be committed even by a passenger or member of the complement of the vessel.

CRIMES, AMENDING FOR THAT PURPOSE THE REVISED PENAL CODE, AS AMENDED, OTHER SPECIAL PENAL LAWS, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES) - amended Presidential Decree No. 532 and now punishes piracy, as well as mutiny, whether committed in the high seas or in Philippine territorial waters, and the penalty has been increased to reclusion perpetua from reclusion temporal.

There is still the crime of abetting piracy in Philippine waters under Presidential Decree No. 532.

Piracy cannot co-exist with the crime of robbery. Robbery, therefore, cannot be committed on board a vessel. But if the taking is without violence or intimidation on persons of force upon things, the crime of piracy cannot be committed, but only theft.

PIRACY is is a crime against humanity (hostes humanes generis).

Bar Exam Question (2000)

Robbery vs. Highway Robbery (2000)

Distinguish Highway Robbery under Presidential Decree No. 532 from Robbery committed on a highway. 

Suggested Answer: 

Highway Robbery under Presidential Decree 532 differs from ordinary Robbery committed on a highway in these respects:

1. In Highway Robbery under PD 532, the robbery is committed indiscriminately against persons who commute in such highways, regardless of the potentiality they offer; while in ordinary Robbery committed on a highway, the robbery is
committed only against predetermined victims;

2. It is Highway Robbery under PD 532 when the offender is a brigand or one who roams in public highways and carries out his robbery in public highways as venue, whenever the opportunity to do so arises. It is ordinary Robbery under the Revised Penal
Code when the commission thereof in a public highway is only incidental and the offender is not a brigand: and

3. In Highway Robbery under PD 532, there is frequency in the commission of the robbery in public highways and against persons traveling thereat; whereas ordinary Robbery in public highways is only occasional against a predetermined victim, without frequency in public highways.

Bar Exam Question (2001)

Highway Robbery (2001)

Police Sgt. Diego Chan, being a member of the Theft and Robbery Division of the Western Police District and assigned to the South Harbor, Manila, was privy to and more or less familiar with the schedules, routes, and hours of the movements of container vans, as well as the mobile police patrols, from the pier area to the different export processing zones outside Metro Manila. From time to time, he gave valuable and detailed information on these matters to a group interested in those shipments in said container vans. On several instances, using the said information as their basis, the gang hijacked and pilfered the contents of the vans. Prior to their sale to "fences" in Banawe, Quezon City, and Bangkal, Makati City, the gang Informs Sgt, Chan who then inspects the pilfered goods, makes his choice of the valuable items, and disposes of them through his own sources or "fences". When the highjackers were traced on one occasion and arrested, upon custodial investigation, they implicated Sgt. Chan and the fiscal charged them all, including Sgt. Chan as co-principals. Sgt. Chan, in his defense, claimed that he should not be charged as a principal but only as an accessory after the fact under P.D. 532, otherwise known as the Anti-Piracy and Anti-Highway Robbery Act of 1972. Is the contention of Sgt. Chan valid and tenable? Explain, 

Suggested Answer:

No, the contention of Sgt. Chan is not valid or tenable because by express provision of P.D. 532, Section 4, a person who knowingly and in any manner, aids or protects highway robbers/brigands, such as giving them information about the movement of police officers or acquires or receives property taken by brigands, or who directly or indirectly abets the commission of highway robbery/brigandage, shall be considered as accomplice of the principal offenders and punished in accordance with the rules in the Revised Penal Code.

Alternative Answer:

No, the contention of Sgt. Chan that he should be charged only as accessory after the fact is not tenable because he was a principal participant in the commission of the crime and in pursuing the criminal design. An accessory after the fact involves himself in the commission of a crime only after the crime had already been consummated, not before, For his criminal participation in the execution of the highjacking of the container vans, Sgt. Chan is a co-principal by indispensable cooperation.