Pardon vs. Amnesty

Bar Exam Question (2006)

Enumerate the differences between pardon and amnesty.

Suggested Answer:

1. Pardon includes any crime and is exercised individually by the President, while Amnesty applies to classes of persons or communities who may be guilty of political offenses.

2. Pardon is exercised when the person is already convicted, while amnesty may be exercised even before trial or investigation.

3. Pardon looks forward and relieves the offender of the penalty of the offense for which he has been convicted; it does not work for the restoration of the rights to hold public office, or the right of suffrage unless such rights are expressly restored by means of pardon, while Amnesty looks backward and abolishes the offense and its effects as if the person has committed no offense.

4. Pardon does not alter the fact that the accused is criminally liable as it produces only the extinction of the penalty, while Amnesty removes the criminal liability of the offender because it obliterates every vestige of the crime.

5. Pardon being a private act by the President, must be pleaded and proved by the person pardoned, while Amnesty which is a Proclamation of the Chief Executive with the concurrence of Congress is a public act of which the courts should take judicial notice.

You may want to read:
1. Crimes covered by the grant of Amnesty