Campanilla: We should revert to the old rule

Judge Marlo Campanilla is a celebrity author, lecturer and expert in criminal law and special penal laws. His books are available in fine bookstores nationwide. www.rexestore.com/law-library-essentials/1756-criminal-law-reviewer-volume-i-cloth-bound.html.

READ MORE: LEGISLATIVE DISTORTION OF THE PENAL SYSTEM MARLO CAMPANILLA. 8 JANUARY 2020. www.facebook.com/notes/marlo-campanilla/legislative-distortion-of-the-penal-system/3084139148272301.

The Revised Penal Code was enacted in 1932 during the American regime by the Philippines Legislator, whose members were still under influence of the Spanish system. Because of this situation, our old legislators adopted to two penal systems, to wit: the Spanish penal system and the American penal system.

The Revised Penal Code, which is patterned from the old Spanish Penal Code, contains the Spanish penal system. In fact, the official text of the Revised Penal Code is written in Spanish. On the other hand, special laws contain the American penal system.

The Spanish penal system is based on the proportionate penal system of the classical theory, under which the gravity of the penalty must be in proportion to the gravity of the criminality in the mind of the offender. Thus, the Spanish penal system designs a mechanism to measure the degree of the criminal mind of the offender, and prescribes penalty on the basis of such degree. For example, if the killing was made out of passion, the criminal mind of the offender is lesser compared to one who killed a person for the sake of killing. With a lesser criminal mind, he deserves a lesser penalty; hence, the penalty for homicide shall be applied in its minimum period.The American penal system provides minimum limit and maximum limit to a penalty such as the penalty of not less than 5 years but not more than 10 years of imprisonment. Under the American penal system, life imprisonment is the equivalent of the Spanish penalty of reclusion perpetua.

The essence of codification of criminal laws is to place all crimes classified as malum in se under one Code. Intentional felony under the Revised Penal Code is mala in se because Article 3 thereof provides that this crime must be committed by means of dolo. In sum, dolo, which is the general element of an intentional felony, makes this crime mala in se.

Since the essence of penalizing mala in se is the wrongful or evil character of the act, the Spanish penal system, which measures the degree of evilness, is suitable to govern this crime. On the other hand, the Spanish penal system is not suitable to govern malum prohibitum since the evilness of the offender is not material to this crime. Because of this situation, the Philippines Legislator made malum in se punishable as intentional felonies under Spanish penal system of the Revised Penal Code while malum prohibitum as an offense punishable under American penal system of special laws.

However, Congress has distorted the design on two penal systems crafted by the old law makers, and in the processes, introduces a very complicated rules on imposition of penalties.

Under the old plan, malum in se must be made punishable under the Revised Penal Code, while malum prohibitum under special laws. However, at present there are now several malum in se punishable under special laws e.g carnaping, which is classified asmala in se, is punishable under RA No. 10883, a special law.

Under the old design, malum in se must be governed by the Spanish penal system of the Revised Penal Code while malum prohibitum by the American penal system of special laws.

However, at present, there are special laws which punish malum in se, and yet they adopt the American penal system. For example, carnaping is mala in se, and yet, RA No. 10883 prescribes American penalty e.g. penalty of not less than 20 years and 1 day but not more than 30 years. There are special laws which punish malum prohibitum, and yet, they adopt the Spanish penal system. For example, illegal possession of loose firearm is mala prohibita and yet, RA No. 10591 prescribes Spanish penalty e.g. prision mayor its medium period.

There are special laws which adopted both the Spanish penal system and American penal system. For example, RA No. 9165 adopts the American penal system for crimes involving dangerous drugs; but if the offender is a minor the Spanish penal system of the Revised Penal Code will apply.

The penalty system under RA No. 9208 is also unique since it prescribes fixed penalty for trafficking in person, while it adopts Spanish penal system for use of trafficked person.

Congress should revisit the penal systems since the complexities of the penal rules affect the proper imposition of penalties. Lawmakers should consider a reversion to the old rule, and that is, Spanish penal system for malum in se and American penal system for malum prohibitum.
Judge Marlo Campanilla is a celebrity author, lecturer and expert in criminal law and special penal laws. His books are available in fine bookstores nationwide. www.rexestore.com/law-library-essentials/1756-criminal-law-reviewer-volume-i-cloth-bound.html.

READ MORE: LEGISLATIVE DISTORTION OF THE PENAL SYSTEM MARLO CAMPANILLA. 8 JANUARY 2020. www.facebook.com/notes/marlo-campanilla/legislative-distortion-of-the-penal-system/3084139148272301.

WHO IS CAMPANILLA? Judge Marlo Bermejo Campanilla rose to prominence when his book “The Revised Penal Code” was published in 2007. And in an almost unprecedented feat, he simultaneously published a 4-volume series in “Special Penal Laws” that (coincidentally) was included in the 2010 Bar Examination. rexpublishing.com.ph/articles/law/2017/06/5-things-didnt-know-judge-campanilla.

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