Application of RPC Provisions

Art. 2.

Application of its provisions. — Except as provided in  the treaties and laws of preferential application, the provisions  of this Code shall be enforced not only within the Philippine Archipelago, including its atmosphere, its interior waters and  maritime zone, but also outside of its jurisdiction, against those who:

1. Should commit an offense while on a Philippine ship or airship


1. Philippine vessel or airship – Philippine law shall apply to offenses committed in vessels registered with the Philippine Bureau of Customs. It is the registration, not the citizenship of the owner which matters.

2. Foreign vessel
a. French Rule
General Rule: Crimes committed aboard a foreign vessel within the territorial waters of a country are NOT triable in the courts of such country.

Exception: commission affects the peace and security of the territory, or the safety of the state is endangered.

b. English Rule
General Rule: Crimes committed aboard a foreign vessel within the territorial waters of a country are triable in the courts of such country.

Exception: When the crime merely affects things within the vessel or it refers to the internal management thereof.

This is applicable in the Philippines.

When the crime is committed in a war vessel of a foreign country, the NATIONALITY of the vessel will ALWAYS determine jurisdiction because war vessels are part of the sovereignty of the country to whose navel force they belong.

These rules are NOT applicable if the vessel is on the high seas when the crime was committed, in these cases, the laws of the nationality of the ship will always apply.

The country of registry determines the nationality of the vessel, NOT ITS OWNERSHIP. A Filipino-owned vessel registered in China must fly the Chinese flag.

Extraterritorial refers to the application of the Revised Penal  Code outside the Philippines territory:

Three International Theories on Aerial Jurisdiction

a. Free Zone Theory
The atmosphere over the country is free and not subject to the jurisdiction of the subjacent state, except for the protection of its national security and public order.

b. Relative Theory
The subjacent state exercises jurisdiction over the atmosphere only to the extent that it can effectively
exercise control thereof.
c. Absolute Theory
1. The subjacent state has complete jurisdiction over the atmosphere above it subject only to the
innocent passage by aircraft of a foreign country.

NOTE: The Philippines adopts this theory.

2. Under this theory, if the crime is committed in an aircraft, no matter how high, as long as it can be
established that it is within the Philippine atmosphere, Philippine criminal law will govern.

2000 Bar Exam Question

2. Should forge or counterfeit any coin or currency note of the Philippine Islands or obligations and securities issued by the Government of the Philippine Islands;

1. The forgery is committed abroad
2. And it refers to Philippine coin, currency note, obligation and security

3. Should be liable for acts connected with the introduction into these islands of the obligations and securities mentioned in the presiding number;

4. While being public officers or employees, should commit an offense in the exercise of their functions; or

a) Those having to do with the discharge of their duties in a foreign country.
b) The functions contemplated are those, which are, under the law:
i) to be performed by the public officer
ii) in the Foreign Service of the Philippine government
iii) in a foreign country.

NOTE: The Revised Penal Code governs if the crime (whether or not in relation to the exercise of
public functions) was committed within the Philippine Embassy or within the embassy grounds
in a foreign country. This is because embassy grounds are considered an extension of sovereignty.
Thus the crime is deemed to have been committed in Philippine soil.


A Philippine consulate official who is validly married here in the Philippines and who marries again in a foreign country cannot be prosecuted here for bigamy because this is a crime not connected with his official duties. However, if the second marriage was celebrated within the Philippine embassy, he may be prosecuted here, since it is as if he contracted the marriage here in the Philippines.

5. Should commit any of the crimes against national security and  the law of nations, defined in Title One of Book Two of this Code.

1. Rebellion is not included.
2. Any crime against public order is under the jurisdiction of the host country.

Bar Exam Question (2006)

Jurisdiction; Impeachable Public Officers (2006)

Judge Rod Reyes was appointed by former President Fidel Ramos as Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas for a term of 7 years commencing on July 5,1995. Six months thereafter, a lady stenographer filed with the Office of the Ombudsman a complaint for acts of lasciviousness and with the Supreme Court a petition for disbarment against him. Forthwith, he filed separate motions to dismiss the complaint for acts of lasciviousness and petition for disbarment, claiming lack of jurisdiction over his person
and office. Are both motions meritorious? 

Suggested Answer:

The motion to dismiss the complaint of the Deputy Ombudsman for the acts of lasciviousness should be denied as only the Ombudsman is included in the list of impeachable officers found in Article XI of the 1987 Constitution. Therefore, the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over his prosecution (Office of the Ombudsman vs. CA, G.R. 146486, March 4, 2005). Likewise, the Supreme Court has jurisdiction over the petition for disbarment, as he is a member of the bar. His motion to dismiss should be denied (See Rule 139 and 139 of the Rules of Court).