PD 1612

Presidential Decree No. 1612

ANTI-FENCING LAW OF 1979

WHEREAS, reports from law enforcement agencies reveal that there is rampant robbery and thievery of government and private properties;

WHEREAS, such robbery and thievery have become profitable on the part of the lawless elements because of the existence of ready buyers, commonly known as fence, of stolen properties;

WHEREAS, under existing law, a fence can be prosecuted only as an accessory after the fact and punished lightly;

WHEREAS, is imperative to impose heavy penalties on persons who profit by the effects of the crimes of robbery and theft.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, FERDINAND E. MARCOS, President of the Philippines by virtue of the powers vested in me by the Constitution, do hereby order and decree as part of the law of the land the following:

Section 1. Title. This decree shall be known as the Anti-Fencing Law.

Section 2. Definition of Terms. The following terms shall mean as follows:

(a) “Fencing” is the act of any person who, with intent to gain for himself or for another, shall buy, receive, possess, keep, acquire, conceal, sell or dispose of, or shall buy and sell, or in any other manner deal in any article, item, object or anything of value which he knows, or should be known to him, to have been derived from the proceeds of the crime of robbery or theft.

(b) “Fence” includes any person, firm, association corporation or partnership or other organization who/which commits the act of fencing.

1995 Bar Exam Question (Fencing;Elements)

What are the elements of fencing?

The elements of fencing are:
1. A crime of robbery or theft has been committed;
2. Accused, who is not a principal or accomplice in the crime, buys, receives, possesses, keeps, acquires, conceals, or disposes, or buys and sells, or in any manner deals in any article, item, object, or anything of value, which has been derived from the proceeds of said crime;
3. The accused knows  or should have known that said article, item, object or anything of value has been derived from the proceeds of the crime of robbery or theft; and
4. There is on the part of the accused, intent to gain for himself or another.

1996 Bar Exam Question (Anti-Fencing Law;Fencing)

Flora, who was engaged in the purchase and sale of jewelry, was prosecuted for the violation of P.D. 1612, otherwise known as the Anti-Fencing Law, for having been found to be in possession of recently stolen jewelry valued at Php100,000.00 at her jewelry shop at Zapote Road, Las Pinas, Metro Manila. She testified during the trial that she merely bought the same from one named Cecilino, in the past, used to deliver to her jewelries for sale but is presently nowhere to be found. Convicted by the trial court for violation of the Anti-Fencing Law, she argued (or her acquittal on appeal, contending that the prosecution failed to prove that she knew or should have known that the
jewelries recovered from her were the proceeds of the crime of robbery or theft.

Is Flora's defense well taken?

No, Flora's defense is not well taken because mere possession of any article of value which has been the subject of theft or robbery shall prima facie evidence of fencing (P.D. 1612). The burden is upon the accused to prove that she acquired the jewelry legitimately. Her defense of having bought bought the jewelry from someone whose whereabouts is unknown, does not overcome the presumption of fencing against her.(Pamintuan vs. People, G.R. 111426, July 1994) Buying personal property puts the buyer on caveat because of the phrases that he should have known or ought to know that it is the proceed from robbery or theft. Besides, she should have followed the administrative procedure under the decree that of getting a clearance from the authorities in case the dealer is unlicensed in order to escape liability.

Section 3. Penalties. Any person guilty of fencing shall be punished as hereunder indicated:

(a) The penalty of prision mayor, if the value of the property involved is more than 12,000 pesos but not exceeding 22,000 pesos; if the value of such property exceeds the latter sum, the penalty provided in this paragraph shall be imposed in its maximum period, adding one year for each additional 10,000 pesos; but the total penalty which may be imposed shall not exceed twenty years. In such cases, the penalty shall be termed reclusion temporal and the accessory penalty pertaining thereto provided in the Revised Penal Code shall also be imposed.

(b) The penalty of prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods, if the value of the property robbed or stolen is more than 6,000 pesos but not exceeding 12,000 pesos.

(c) The penalty of prision correccional in its minimum and medium periods, if the value of the property involved is more than 200 pesos but not exceeding 6,000 pesos.

(d) The penalty of arresto mayor in its medium period to prision correccional in its minimum period, if the value of the property involved is over 50 pesos but not exceeding 200 pesos.

(e) The penalty of arresto mayor in its medium period if such value is over five (5) pesos but not exceeding 50 pesos.

(f) The penalty of arresto mayor in its minimum period if such value does not exceed 5 pesos.

Section 4. Liability of Officials of Juridical Persons. If the fence is a partnership, firm, corporation or association, the president or the manager or any officer thereof who knows or should have known the commission of the offense shall be liable.

Section 5. Presumption of Fencing. Mere possession of any good, article, item, object, or anything of value which has been the subject of robbery or thievery shall be prima facie evidence of fencing.

Section 6. Clearance/Permit to Sell/Used Second Hand Articles. For purposes of this Act, all stores, establishments or entities dealing in the buy and sell of any good, article item, object of anything of value obtained from an unlicensed dealer or supplier thereof, shall before offering the same for sale to the public, secure the necessary clearance or permit from the station commander of the Integrated National Police in the town or city where such store, establishment or entity is located. The Chief of Constabulary/Director General, Integrated National Police shall promulgate such rules and regulations to carry out the provisions of this section. Any person who fails to secure the clearance or permit required by this section or who violates any of the provisions of the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder shall upon conviction be punished as a fence.

Section 7. Repealing Clause. All laws or parts thereof, which are inconsistent with the provisions of this Decree are hereby repealed or modified accordingly.

Section 8. Effectivity. This Decree shall take effect upon approval.

Done in the City of Manila, this 2nd day of March, in the year of Our Lord, nineteen hundred and seventy-nine.

(Sgd.) FERDINAND E. MARCOS
President of the Philippines

1995 Bar Exam Question (Anti-Fencing law;Fencing vs. Theft or Robbery)

What is the difference between a fence and an accessory to theft or robbery? Explain. Is there any similarity between them?

One difference between a fence and an accessory to theft or robbery is the penalty involved; a fence is punished as a principal under P.D. No. 1612 and the penalty is higher, whereas an accessory to robbery or theft under the Revised Penal Code is punished two degrees lower than the principal, unless he bought or profited from the proceeds of theft or robbery arising from robbery in Philippine highways under P.D. No. 532 where he is punished as an accomplished, hence, the penalty is one degree lower.

Also, fencing is malum prohibitum and therefore there is no need to prove criminal intent of the accused; this is not so in violations of Revised Penal Code.

Yes, there is a similarity in the sense that all the acts of one who is an accessory to the crimes of robbery or theft are included in the acts defined as fencing. In fact, the accessory in the crimes of robbery or theft could be prosecuted as such under the Revised Penal Code or as a fence under P.D. No. 1612.(Dizon-Pamintuan vs. People, 234 SCRA 63)


1998 Bar Examination Question (Accessories and Fence)

King went to the house of Laura who was alone. Laura offered him a drink and after consuming three bottles of beer, King made advances to her and with force and violence, ravished her. Then King killed Laura and took her jewelry.

Doming, King's adopted brother, learned about the incident. He went to Laura's house, hid her body, cleaned everything and washed the bloodstains inside the room.

Later, King gave Jose, his legitimate brother, one piece of jewelry belonging to laura. Jose knew that the jewelry was taken from Laura but nonetheless sold it for Php2000.

What crime or crimes did King, Doming, and Jose commit? Discuss their criminal liabilities.

King committed the composite crime of Rape with Homicide as a single indivisible offense, not a complex crime and theft.

Doming's acts, having been done with knowledge of the commission of the crime and obviously to conceal the body of the crime to prevent its discovery, makes him an accessory to the crime of rape with homicide under Art.19, par.2 of the Revised Penal Code, being an adopted brother of the principal.

Jose incurs criminal liability either as an accessory to the crime of theft committed by King, or as a fence. Although he is a legitimate brother of King, the exemption under Art.20 does not include the participation he did, because he profited from the effects of such theft by selling the jewelry  knowing that the same was taken from Laura, or Jose may be prosecuted for fencing under the Anti-Fencing Law of 1979 (PD.No.1612) since the jewelry was the proceeds of theft with intent to gain, he received it from King and sold it.