ra 7080

RA 7080
An Act Defining and Penalizing
the Crime of Plunder

Ill-Gotten Wealth: Any asset, property, business enterprise or material possession of any person acquired by him directly or indirectly through dummies, nominees, agents, subordinates, and/or business associates by any combination or series of the following means or similar schemes:

A. Through misappropriation, conversion, misuse or malversation of public funds or raids on the public treasury.

B. By receiving, directly or indirectly, any commission, gift, share, percentage, kickbacks or any other form of pecuniary benefit from any person and/or entity in connection with any government contract or project or by reason of the office or position of the public officer concerned;

C. By the illegal or fraudulent conveyance or disposition of assets belonging to the National Government or any of its subdivisions, agencies or instrumentalities or government-owned or controlled corporations and their subsidiaries;

D. By obtaining, receiving or accepting, directly or indirectly, any shares of stock, equity or any other form of interest or participation, including the promise of future employment in any business enterprise or undertaking.

E. By establishing agricultural, industrial or commercial monopolies or other combinations, and/or implementation of decrees and orders intended to benefit particular persons or special interests;

F. By taking undue advantage of official position, authority, relationship, connection or influence to unjustly enrich himself or themselves at the expense and to the damage or prejudice of the Filipino people and the Republic of the Philippines.

A. Any public officer who, by himself or in with members of his family, relatives by affinity or consanguinity, business associates, subordinates or other persons, amasses, accumulates, or acquires
ill-gotten wealth through a combination or series of overt or criminal acts as described under above in the aggregate amount or total value of at least 50 million pesos, shall be guilty of the crime of plunder (as amended by RA 7659).

B. Any person who participated with the said public officer in the commission of plunder.

- Sandiganbayan.

For purposes of establishing the crime of plunder, it shall not be necessary to prove each and every criminal act done by the accused in furtherance of the scheme and conspiracy to amass, accumulate or acquire ill-gotten wealth, it being sufficient to establish beyond reasonable doubt a pattern of overt or criminal acts indicative of the overall unlawful scheme or conspiracy.

- 20 years. However, the right of the State to recover properties unlawfully acquired by public officers from them or from their nominees or transferees shall not be barred by prescription, laches or estoppel.


what is meant by “combination” and “series” of overt or criminal acts under the plunder law?
- When the plunder law speaks of “combination”, it is referring to at least two (2) acts falling under different categories of enumeration provided in sec. 1, par. (d). example: raids on the public treasury in sec. 1, par. (d), subpar. (1), and fraudulent conveyance of assets belonging to the national government under sec. 1 par. (d), subpar. (3). On the other hand, to constitute a “series” there must be two (2) or more overt or criminal acts falling under the same category of enumeration found in sec. 1, par. (d), say, misappropriation, malversation and raids on the public treasury, all of which falls under sec. 1, par. (d), subpar. (1). verily, had the legislature intended a technical or distinctive meaning for “combination” and “series”, it would have taken greater pains in specially providing for it in the law.

Joseph Ejercito Estrada vs. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 148560,
November 21, 2001

Is the crime of plunder malum in se or malum prohibitum
- Plunder is a crime of malum in se because the constitutive crimes are mala in se. the elements of mens rea must be proven in a prosecution for plunder. moreover, any doubt as to whether the crime of plunder is malum in se must be deemed to have been resolved in the affirmative decision of congress in 1993 to include it among the heinous crimes punishable by reclusion perpetua to death. the legislative declaration in r.a. 7659 that plunder is a heinous offense implies that it is malum in se for when the acts punished are inherently immoral or inherently wrong, they are mala in se and it does not matter that such acts are punished in a special law, especially since in the case of plunder the predicate crimes are
mainly mala in se.

Estrada v. Sandiganbayan
The Supreme Court held that the means and schemes to acquire ill-gotten wealth should be committed by a combination or through a series of acts. There should be at least two acts otherwise the accused should be charged with the particular crime committed and not with plunder. A combination means at least two acts of a different category while a series means at least two acts of the same category.

Bar Exam Question (1993)

Plunder under RA 7080; Prescriptive Period (1993)

Through kickbacks, percentages or commissions and other fraudulent schemes /conveyances and taking advantage of his position, Andy, a former mayor of a suburban town, acquired assets amounting to P10 billion which is grossly disproportionate to his lawful income. Due to his influence and connections and despite knowledge by the authorities of his Ill-gotten wealth, he was charged with the crime of plunder only after twenty (20) years from his defeat in the last elections he participated in. 
1) May Andy still be held criminally liable? Why? 
2) Can the State still recover the properties and assets that he illegally acquired, the bulk of which is in the name of his wife and children? Reason out.

Suggested Answer:

1) Andy will not be criminally liable because Section 6 of RA 7080 provides that the crime punishable under this Act shall prescribe in twenty years and the problem asked whether Andy can still be charged with the crime of plunder after 20 years.
2) Yes, because Section 6 provides that recovery of properties unlawfully acquired by public officers from them or their nominees or transferees shall not be barred by prescription, laches or estoppel.