Schools of thought in criminal law (Bar Exam Question 1996)

1. What are the different schools of thought or theories in Criminal Law and describe
each briefly?

2. To what theory does our Revised Penal Code belong?

Suggested Answer:

1. There are two schools of thought in Criminal Law, and these are

a. the Classical Theory, which simply means that the basis of criminal liabilities is human free will, and the purpose of the penalty is retribution which must be proportional to the gravity of the offense; and

b. the Positivist Theory, which considers man as a social being and his acts are attributable not just to his will but to other forces of society. As such, punishment is not the solution, as he is not entirely to be blamed; law and jurisprudence should not be the yardstick in the imposition of sanction, instead the underlying reasons would be inquired into.

2. We follow the classical school of thought although some provisions of eminently  positivist in tendencies, like punishment of impossible crime, Juvenile circumstances, are incorporated in our code.