Penalties that may be imposed

Art.21 Penalties that may be imposed. — No felony shall be punishable by any penalty not prescribed by law prior to its commission.

PENALTY – suffering inflicted by the State for the transgression of a law.

Different Juridical Conditions Of Penalty:
1. Must be productive of suffering, without however affecting the integrity of the human personality.
2. Must be commensurate with the offense – different crimes must be punished with different penalties.
3. Must be personal – no one should be punished for the crime of another.
4. Must be legal – it is the consequence of a judgment according to law.
5. Must be certain – no one may escape its effects.
6. Must be equal for all.
7. Must be correctional.

Purpose Of The State In Punishing Crimes
- The State has an existence of its own to maintain, a conscience to assert, and moral principles to be vindicated. Penal justice must therefore be exercised by the State in the service and satisfaction of a duty and rests primarily on the moral rightfulness of the punishment inflicted (to secure justice). The basis of the right to punish violations of penal law is the police power of the State.

Theories Justifying Penalty:

  1. Prevention – to prevent or suppress the danger to the State arising from the criminal act of the offender.
  2. Self-defense – so as to protect society from the threat and wrong inflicted by the criminal.
  3. Reformation – the object of punishment in criminal cases is to correct and reform the offender.
  4. Exemplarity – the criminal is punished to serve as an example to deter others from committing crimes.
  5. Justice – that crime must be punished by the State as an act of retributive justice, a vindication of absolute right and moral law violated by the criminal.

Three-Fold Purpose Of Penalty Under The Code:

  1. Retribution or expiation – the penalty is commensurate with the gravity of the offense.
  2. Correction or reformation – shown by the rules which regulate the execution of the penalties consisting of deprivation of liberty.
  3. Social defense – shown by its inflexible severity to recidivists and habitual delinquents.

Bar Exam Question (1991)

Penalties: Factors to consider

Imagine that you are a Judge trying a case, and based on the evidence presented and the applicable law, you have decided on the guilt of two (2) accused. Indicate the five (5) steps
you would follow to determine the exact penalty to be imposed.

Stated differently, What are the factors you must consider to arrive at the correct penalty?

Suggested Answer:

  1. The crime committed;
  2. Stage of execution and degree of participation;
  3. Determine the penalty;
  4. Consider the modifying circumstances;
  5. Determine whether Indeterminate Sentence Law is applicable or not.