Suspension Of Sentence Of Minor Delinquents

Art. 80


1. Youthful offender – over 9 but under 18 at the time of the commission of the offense.

2. A child nine years of age or under at the time of the commission of the offense shall be exempt from criminal liability and shall be committed to the care of his or her father or mother, or nearest relative or family friend in the discretion of the court and subject to its supervision.

3. The same shall be done for a child over nine years and under fifteen years of age at the time of the commission of the offense, unless he acted with discernment, in which case he shall be proceeded against in accordance with Article 192.

4. A youthful offender held for examination or trial who cannot furnish bail will be committed to the DSWD/local rehabilitation center or detention home.

5. If the court finds that the youthful offender committed the crime charged against him, it shall determine the impossible penalty and the civil liability chargeable against him, but it may not pronounce judgment of conviction. Instead, the court shall suspend all further proceedings if, upon application of the youthful offender, it finds that the best interest of the public and that of the offender will be served thereby.

EXCEPTIONS to suspension of sentence
a. those who previously enjoyed a suspension of sentence
b. those convicted of death or life imprisonment
c. those convicted for an offense by the military tribunals

6. The youthful offender shall be returned to the court for pronouncement of judgment when the youthful offender
(1) has been found incorrigible, or
(2) has willfully failed to comply with the conditions of his rehabilitation programs; or
(3) when his continued stay in the training institution would be inadvisable

7. When the youthful offender has reached the age of twenty-one while in commitment, the court shall determine whether-
a. To dismiss the case, if the youthful offender has behaved properly and has shown his capability to be a useful member of the community; or
b. To pronounce the judgment of conviction, if the conditions mentioned are not met.
In the latter case, the convicted offender may apply for probation. In any case, the youthful offender shall be credited in the service of his sentence with the full time spent in actual commitment and detention.

8. The final release of a youthful offender, based on good conduct as provided in Art. 196 shall not obliterate his civil liability for damages.

9. A minor who is ALREADY AN ADULT at the time of his conviction is not entitled to a suspension of sentence.

10. The records of the proceeding shall be privileged and shall not be disclosed.

11. The civil liability of the youthful offender may be voluntarily assumed by a relative or a friend

12. The parent or guardian of the child is liable when he aids, abets or connives for the commission of the crime or does an act producing, promoting or contributing to the child’s being a juvenile delinquent.

13.Penalties for the parent or guardian: Fine not exceeding P500 and/or imprisonment not exceeding 2 years.


Bar Exam Question (2006)

There are at least 7 instances or situations in criminal cases wherein the accused, either as an adult or as a minor, can apply for and/or be granted a suspended sentence. Enumerate at least 5 of them.

Suggested Answer:
1. Suspension of sentence of minor under P.D. 603 as amended by R.A. 9344.
2. Suspension of sentence of minor above 15 but below 18 years of age at the time of trial under R.A. 9344.
3. Suspension of sentence of minor above 15 but below 18 years of age at the commission of the offense, while acting with discernment.
4. Suspension of sentence by reason of insanity (Art.79, Revised Penal Code).
5. Suspension of sentence for first offense of a minor violating R.A. 9165.
6. Suspension of sentence under the probation law. (P.D. 968)
7. Suspension of death sentence of a pregnant woman. (Art.83, Revised Penal Code)

Bar Exam Question (2003)

A was 2 months below 18 years of age when he committed the crime. He was charged with the crime 3 months later. He was 23 when he was finally convicted and sentenced. Instead of preparing to serve a jail term, he sought a suspension of sentence on the ground that he was a juvenile offender. Should he be entitled to a suspension of sentence? Reasons.

Suggested Answer:

No, A is not entitled to a suspension of sentence because he is no longer a minor at the time of promulgation of the sentence. For purposes of suspension of sentence, the offender's age at the time of promulgation of the sentence is the one considered, not his age when he committed the crime. So although A was below 18 years old when he committed the crime, he was already 23 years old when sentenced, he is no longer eligible for suspension of the sentence.

Can juvenile offenders, who are recidivist, validly ask for suspension of sentence? Explain.

Suggested Answer:

Yes, so long as the offender is still a minor at the time of the promulgation of the sentence. The law establishing Family Courts. RA 8369, provides to this effect: that if the minor is found guilty, the court should promulgate the sentence and ascertain any civil liability which the accused may have incurred. However, the sentence shall be suspended without the need of application pursuant to PD 603, otherwise known as the 'Child and Youth Welfare Code" (RA 8639, Sec.5a), it is under PD 603 than an application for suspension of the sentence is required and thereunder it is one of the conditions for suspension of sentence that the offender be a first time convict: this has been displaced by RA 8369.

Bar Exam Question (1995)

Victor, Ricky, Rod, and Ronnie went to the store of Mang Pandoy. Victor and Ricky entered the store while Rod and Ronnie posted themselves at the door. After ordering beer Ricky complained that he was shortchanged although Mang Pandoy vehemently denied it. Suddenly Ricky whipped out a knife as he announced 'Hold-up ito" and stabbed Mang Pandoy to death. Rod boxed the store's salesgirl Lucy to prevent her from helping Mang Pandoy. When Lucy ran out of the store to seek help from people next door she was chased by Ronnie. As soon as Ricky had stabbed Mang Pandoy, Victor scooped up the money from the cashbox. Then Victor and Ricky dashed to the street and shouted, 'Tumakbo na kayo!" Rod was 14 and Ronnie was 17. The money and other articles looted from the store of Mang Pandoy were later found in the houses of Victor and  Ricky.

1. Discuss fully the criminal liability of Victor, Ricky, Rod, and Ronnie.
2. Are the minors Rod and Ronnie entitled to suspended sentence under the Child and Youth Welfare Code? Explain.

Suggested Answer:

1. All are liable for the special complex crime of robbery with homicide...
2. No, because the benefits of suspension of a sentence are not available where the youthful offender has been convicted of an offense punishable by life imprisonment or death, pursuant to P.D.603, Art.192, the complex crime of robbery with homicide is punishable by reclusion perpetua to death under Art,294 (1), RPC (People vs. Galit 230 SCRA 486).