Complex crime of rebellion with murder

In Gumabon v. Director of Prisons, (G.R. No. L-30026 January 30, 1971), petitioners who had been sentenced to life imprisonment for the complex crime of rebellion with murder were ordered released after 12 years of incarceration when, in People v. Hernandez, 99 Phil 515, the Supreme Court ruled that there is no complex crime of rebellion with murder. The reason is that common crimes are deemed absorbed in the crime of rebellion.

Habeas corpus, the great writ of liberty, is relied upon by petitioners, five in number, for their release from imprisonment. Meted out life terms for the complex crime of rebellion with murder and other crimes, they would invoke the People v. Hernandez doctrine, negating the existence of such an offense, a ruling that unfortunately for them was not handed down until after their convictions had become final. Nor is this the first instance, a proceeding of this character was instituted, as in Pomeroy v. Director of Prisons, likewise a petition for habeas corpus, a similar question was presented. The answer given was in the negative. Petitioners plead for a new look on the matter. They would premise their stand on the denial of equal protection if their plea would not be granted. Moreover they did invoke the codal provision that judicial decisions shall form part of the legal system of the Philippines, necessarily resulting in the conclusion that the Hernandez decision once promulgated calls for a retroactive effect under the explicit mandate of the Revised Penal Code as to penal laws having such character even if at the time of their application a final sentence has been rendered "and the convict is serving the same." These arguments carry considerable persuasion. Accordingly, the Supreme Court found for petitioners, without going so far as to overrule Pomeroy.

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