Life imprisonment does not appear to have any definite extent or duration

The penalty of reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment imposed by the trial court is erroneous because one is distinct and different from the other. This Court had distinguished between the two penalties in many previous decisions, going as far back as People vs. Mobe, (81 Phil. 58 [1948]) and even as recently as People vs. Antonio Magana, (G.R. No. 15673, July 26 1996; citing People vs. Baguio, 196 SCRA 459, April 30, 1991) in which was reiterated the following differentiation: The Code (Revised Penal Code) does not prescribe the penalty of `life imprisonment for any of the felonies therein defined, that penalty being invariably imposed for serious offenses penalized not by the x x x Code but by special law. Reclusion perpetua entails imprisonment for at least (30) years, after which the convict becomes eligible for pardon. It also carries with it accessory penalties, namely: perpetual special disqualification, etc. It is not the same as life imprisonment which, for one thing, does not carry with it any accessory penalty, and for another, does not appear to have any definite extent or duration. [G.R. No. 110833. November 21, 1996]