When Act Takes Effect


Criminal law is that branch or division of municipal law which
   - defines crimes,
   - treats of their nature and
   - provides for their punishment.

Characteristics of Criminal Law:
1. General – binding on all persons who reside or sojourn in the Philippines
      a. Treaty Stipulation
      b. Laws of Preferential Application
      c. Principles of Public International Law

(1). sovereigns and other chiefs of state
(2). Ambassadors, ministers plenipotentiary, minister resident and charges d’affaires (BUT consuls, vice-consuls and other foreign commercial representatives CANNOT claim th privileges and immunities accorded to ambassadors and ministers.)

2. Territorial – penal laws of the Philippines are enforceable only within its territory

Exceptions: (Art. 2 of RPC – binding even on crimes committed outside the Philippines)

a. offense committed while on a Philippine ship or airship
b. forging or counterfeiting any coin or currency note of the Philippines or obligations and the securities issued by the Government
c. introduction into the country of the above-mentioned obligations and securities
d. while being public officers and employees, an offense committed in the exercise of their functions
e. crimes against national security and the law of the nations defined in Title One of Book Two

3. Prospective – the law does not have any retroactive effect.

Exception: when the law is favorable to the accused

Exceptions to the Exception:
a. The new law is expressly made inapplicable to pending actions or existing causes of action
b. Offender is a habitual criminal

Theories of Criminal Law:
1. Classical Theory – basis is man’s free will to choose between good and evil, that is why more stress is placed upon the result of the felonious act than upon the criminal himself. The purpose of penalty is retribution. The RPC is generally governed by this theory.

2. Positivist Theory – basis is the sum of social and economic phenomena which conditions man to do wrong in spite of or contrary to his volition. This is exemplified in the provisions on impossible crimes and habitual delinquency.

3. Mixed Theory – combination of the classical and positivist theories wherein crimes that are economic and social in nature should be dealt in a positive manner. The law is thus more compassionate.

Construction of Penal Laws:
1. Liberally construed in favor of offender

a. the offender must clearly fall within the terms of the law
b. an act is criminal only when made so by the statute

2. In cases of conflict with official translation, original Spanish text is controlling,

3. No interpretation by analogy.

1. ex post facto law
2. bill of attainder
3. law that violates the equal protection clause
of the constitution
4. law which imposes cruel and unusual punishments nor excessive fines

R.A. No. 75 -  penalizes acts which would impair the proper observance by the Republic and inhabitants of the Philippines of the immunities, rights, and privileges of duly accredited
foreign diplomatic representatives in the Philippines

1996 Bar Exam Question