General principles

The penal laws of the Philippines have general application, which means that it binds all people who live or sojourn in the Philippines. This principle can be gleaned from the 1987 Constitution and the Civil Code of the Philippines. [1] The Constitution provides:

The Civil Code states that:

Both citizens and aliens are bound to follow our laws. Citizens owe the State obedience for the protection the latter is providing the former. Aliens, on the other hand, are bound by our penal laws, because while they are within the Philippine territory, such laws protect them. In both instance, penal laws are obligatory because of the protection given by the State.

The generality principle refers to persons who may be made liable under the Code, on the other hand, territoriality refers to where the law takes effect. The laws of preferential application and those provided for treaties shall serve as exceptions to the generality principle. An example of a law of preferential application is Republic Act No. 75 which provides immunity for accredited foreign diplomatic and consular representatives. [2] 

b. Territorial and Extra-Territorial Application

One of the general characteristics of criminal law is territoriality, which means that penal laws of the Philippines are enforceable only within its territory. [3] The Constitution provides that:

This is the extent of the Philippine territory as far as the Revised Penal Code is concerned. This territoriality principle was not explicitly written under the old Code of 1870. [4] Although the Code is territorial in nature as is expressly provided for, it gives certain circumstances wherein it will apply outside the territory of the Philippines.

For the Code to apply the offense must be committed in a Philippine ship or airship. Nationality of the vessel is vested by the registration. Therefore, a ship or airship is Filipino if it is registered in the Philippines, particularly the government agency attributed with such function. Any person who shall forge any coin or currency note or obligation of the Philippines and introduce the same in the territory, even if such was committed outside the territory, maybe tried in the Philippines for violation of the Code. A public officer, as defined in the Code, may be criminally liable, even if he is outside the Philippines, if an offense is committed in the exercise of their functions. When a person commits a crime against national security and law of nations, he may be held liable under Philippine Laws. The crimes committed against national security and the law of nations are found in Chapter 1, Book 2 of the Code, and they are as follows: treason, conspiracy to commit treason, misprision of treason, espionage, inciting to war or giving motives for reprisal, correspondence with hostile country, violation of neutrality and piracy. The offenses enumerated in Article 2 of the Code are said to be subject of trial in the Philippines, despite it extra-territorial application, because its pernicious effects are felt in the Philippines.

c. Prospective

Penal laws are prospective which means that a new penal law cannot make an act or omission a crime, when at the time of the omission or commission of the act such was not penalized. In short, the law in effect at the time of the commission of an act will govern. [5] The prospective principle of the Code is in conjunction with the Constitutional provision on bill of attainder and ex-post facto law. [6] A bill of attainder is an act which is punished without a trial [7] , while an ex-post facto law is one wherein an act is criminalized although at the time of the commission of the act, it was not. [8] 

Felonies

Felony is defined under the code as an act or omission punishable by law, committed through culpa or dolo. [9] The words “punishable by law" means that the act or omission must be defined and punished by the Revised Penal Code and no other law. Dolo is a Spanish term which means deceit. There is deceit when an act is performed with deliberate intent. [10] Culpa is also a Spanish term which means fault. There is fault when negligence, imprudence, lack of skill or foresight accompanies an unlawful act. Here lies the confusion. The Code specifically provides for a definition of a felony, but nevertheless simultaneously uses the word crime or offense in describing the acts and omissions punishable by the code. A crime is defined as an act or omission which is made punishable by law. On the other hand, an offense includes both felony and crime, as it is generally referred to as violations of the law.

A person incurs criminal liability either by committing a felony regardless of the original intent of the actor or by committing an impossible crime. [11] A person commiting a felony is liable even if the consequences is different from what he had wanted to do by virtue of the principle el que es causa de la causa es causa del mal causado, in English, he who is the cause of the cause is the cause of the evil caused. [12] On the other hand, an impossible crime is not actually a crime, as defined in the Code. It is an act which, had it not been for its physical or legal impossibility, constitiute an offense against persons or property. Impossible Crimes are penalized to suppress criminal propensity or tendencies. [13] The law punishes both intentional and unintentional felonies. The rationale behind the liability incurred for an intended act is simple: a person must be held liable for an act or omission which the law specifically prohibits. On the other hand an unintentional act is punishable because of the lack of skill/negligence or lack foresight/imprudence, which makes it as if it was intentional. The provision seems to define only the liability of a principal and excludes that of the accessory and accomplice.

Members of the Judiciary are required, under the code, to make a report to the president whenever there is an act that should be repressed but is not made punishable by any law and also, when an offense is penalized heavily. [14] This provision of the Code has never been used. This is because the duty to make laws, under the Constitution, is with the Congress, and not the President. [15] The Constitution provides that:

Congress has the legislative power which is to make, amend and repeal laws. To supplement such power, the Constitution gives Congress the power to conduct an investigation on an issue which, in their discretion, should be subject of legislation.

Circumstances affecting Criminal Liability

There are circumstances which are attendant in the commission of an offense which have the effect of increasing the penalty or lowering the penalty imposed. Also, there are acts which are considered to be wholly excusable if a certain circumstance is attendant in the commission of the felony. The Code provides for justifying, exempting, mitigating, aggravating and alternative circumstances which alter the penalty imposed if it is attendant in the commission of the offense. Absolutory causes, which exempt an offender from criminal liability, may also be found in the Code, although not found in one provision.

a. Justifying and Exempting Circumstances

Justifying Circumstances are those where the act of a person is said to be in accordance with law so that such person is deemed not to have transgressed the law and is free from criminal and civil liability. [16] The following circumstances, if present in the commission of a felony, serve to free the offender of any liability:

No crime is committed therefore no civil liability attaches. The burden of proving the existence of a justifying circumstance lies with the accused. [17] When an accused invokes self defense, it is incumbent upon him to prove such by clear and convincing evidence. [18] 

On the other hand, Exempting Circumstances are those grounds exemption from punishment because there wanting in the agent of the crime any of the conditions which make the act voluntary or negligent. [19] The following are exempting circumstances:

According to Guevara [20] one who acts because of an exempting circumstance commits a crime, but because of the absence of voluntariness there is no criminal liability, only civil liability. The burden of proving, with clear and convincing evidence, that the accused acted with the existence of an exempting circumstance lies with the accused.

b. Mitigating Circumstances

Mitigating Circumstances are those which, if present in the commission of the crime, do not entirely free the actor from criminal liability, but serve only to reduce the penalty. [21] Diminution of the freedom or intelligence is the basis for the mitigation. [22] The Code provides the following circumstance which mitigate criminal liability:

There are four kinds of aggravating circumstance, namely: generic, specific, qualifying and inherent. Generic circumstances are those which generally apply to all crimes such as dwelling and recidivism. Those which apply only to particular crimes are Specific circumstances. Those that change the nature of the offense are called Qualifying circumstances. And that which necessarily accompanies the commission of the crime is called Inherent circumstance. Qualifying circumstances must be alleged and proved to have the necessary effect. The appreciation of a qualifying circumstance, even if it is not alleged, constitutes a violation of the constitutional right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him. A qualifying circumstance changes the nature of the offense committed, therefore, constitute an integral part of the offense. The old rule is that, if the qualifying circumstance is not alleged, it may be proved during the course of the trial, and will be considered as a generic circumstance. [23] However, the revision of the Rules of Criminal Procedure resulted in a change of view. Under the 2000 revision, it is now required that, qualifying and generic aggravating circumstances be alleged in the information. [24] As a result of the revision, even if the qualifying circumstance be proved during trial, it cannot be appreciated as a generic aggravating circumstance. [25] 

d. Alternative Circumstances

Alternative Circumstances are those when present in the commission offense serve to either aggravate or mitigate liability, depending on the nature of the felony. [26] There are three alternative circumstances: Relationship, Intoxication and Degree of Instruction or education of the offender. The provision of law which enumerates the alternative circumstance does not say when exactly, save for intoxication, shall be considered as aggravating or mitigating. Relationship is aggravating in Rape, but it is absolutory in Malicious Mischief. Degree of Instruction as an alternative circumstance is generally mitigating if it is low, if it is high, it becomes aggravating if he consciously avails of his knowledge to commit the crime. [27] If intoxication is not habitual or is not subsequent to plan to commit the felony, it is mitigating. [28] However, if it is habitual or was consciously adapted to commit the felony, it is aggravating.

e. Absolutory Causes

Absolutory causes are acts committed still constituting a crime but the law does not punish the offender for reason of public policy. [29] An example of an absolutory cause is when less serious or slight physical injuries is inflicted on the wife or lover upon seeing them in the act of sexual intercourse, the penalty of the felony committed is extinguished. [30] Another example of an absolutory cause is when a person enters the dwelling of another to render help or render some service. [31] 

Persons Criminally Liable

The person who commits a crime is liable as a principal and there is no problem in determining his participation. The problem arises if there is more than one participant in the commission of the crime. The Revised Penal Code answers this by providing for various degrees of responsibility depending upon the participation of various actors committing the crime.

Persons who take direct participation in the commission of the offense, directly forcing or inducing others to commit the crime, or those who cooperate in the commission of the offense by another act, without which the offense would not have been accomplished, are considered principals. [32] An accused who personally takes part in the execution of the act resulting in the felony, is a principal by direct participation. [33] For instance, in a case of homicide, the person who actually kills the victim is the principal by direct participation. A person who induces or forces another to commit a crime becomes a principal by induction. It is important for this principal’s liability to attach, the person whom he induced or forced must commit the offense. [34] The inducement must be the reason for the commission of the felony. [35] A person who does not participate in the actual commission of the crime may be held liable if he does another act, prior or after, without which the crime could not have been consummated.

Penalties

Penalty is a suffering that is inflicted by the State for the transgression of a law. [36] The state in the exercise of its police power impose penalty in order to maintain peace and order. Despite the police power, the Constitution restricts the imposition of excessive penalty, thus:

There is a three-fold purpose for the infliction of penalty: Retribution, Reformation and Social Defense. [37] The principle that the penalty must be proportionate to the crime committed or “Let the penalty fit the crime" is called the Principle of Retributive Justice. [38] Proportionality requires “severity should be allocated according to the blameworthiness of the criminal conduct". [39] A retributive system must punish severe crime more harshly than minor crime, but delinquents differ about how harsh or soft the overall system should be.

Although punishment is allowed by law or the commission of a crime, it is with restriction. The 1987 Constitution explicitly provides for restriction that no excessive fines be imposed and no cruel and unusual punishment be inflicted. [40] It is for this reason that the penalty of cadena perpetua or hard labor, which had been imposed by the Spanish Penal Code of 1870, was abolished because it was cruel and inhumane. [41] 

It is provided by law that no ex-post facto law or bill of attainder be enacted. [42] An ex-post facto law is a law which criminalizes an act which was legal when committed or aggravates a crime by increasing the penalty for a crime committed previously. [43] On the other hand, a bill of attainder is an act of the legislature which declares a person or group of persons guilty of a crime and punishes them without trial. [44] The general rule therefore is, criminal laws are given prospective application except if it favors the accused, provided that the accused is not a habitual delinquent [45] or if the new law specifically does not allow its retroactive applicability. A person is a habitual delinquent if “within the period of ten years from the date of his last release or last conviction of the crimes of serious or less serious physical injuries, robbery, theft, estafa and falsification, he is found guilty of any of the said crimes a third time or oftener". [46] The crime to which habitual delinquency shall apply is specified by law.

The penalties enumerated in the penal code are classified as principal and accessory. [47] Principal penalties are those expressly imposed by the court in the rendering a conviction. [48] It is further classified according to their gravity, as Capital punishment, Afflictive penalties, Correctional penalties and Light penalties.

The capital punishment is death, by electric chair or, starting 1996, lethal injection. The penalty of death is not imposed when the offender is less than eighteen or more than seventy years old at the time of the commission of the crime, or when upon appeal or automatic review of the case of the Supreme Court, the required majority vote is not obtained. Although the Constitution specifically gives the Supreme Court the authority to automatically review cases of death penalty, life imprisonment and reclusion perpetua, such task is now with the Court of Appeals. [49] The penalty of death, however, has been suspended in June 24, 2006. [50] Instead, reclusion perpetua, when the law violated makes use of the nomenclature of the penalties of the Revised Penal Code, or life sentence, when the law violated does not makes use of the nomenclature of the penalties of the Revised Penal Code, is to be imposed as the penalty for the crimes punishable by death. [51] The difference between the commutated sentence and the principal penalty lie in the eligibility for parole. Those suffering the commutated sentence are not eligible for parole, and those who are not, parole is available. [52] 

Reclusion Perpetua is classified as an afflictive penalty, the duration of which ranges from, 20 years and 1 day to 40 years. [53] The duration of the penalty of Reclusion Temporal is imprisonment of 12 and 1 day to 20 years. [54] On the other hand, Prision Mayor lasts 6 years and 1 day to 12 years. [55] Perpetual Absolute/Special Disqualification and Temporary Absolute/Special Disqualification are also considered afflictive penalties, although they are also considered accessory penalties. [56] 

Correctional Penalties are Prision Correcional, Arresto Mayor, Suspension and Destierro. The penalties of Prision Correcional, Suspension and Destierro last for 6 months and 1 day to 6 years . [57] Arresto mayor lasts for 1 month and 1 day to 6 months. [58] 

Light Penalties include Arresto Menor and Public Censure. The duration of Arresto Menor is from 1 day and 30 days. [59] Public Censure or reprimand is the penalty next lower in degree of Arresto Menor.

Temporary penalty, such as Temporary Absolute Disqualification, Temporary Special Disqualification and suspension, shall be computed from the date the conviction becomes final, if the accused is in prison. [60] If the offender is not in prison, computation of the duration of penalty constituting deprivation of liberty starts from when he is placed in the custody of judicial officer for the enforcement of his judgement. [61] Penalties involving deprivation of liberty are Imprisonment and destierro. In all other case, the duration shall be computed from the time the offender commences to serve his sentence. [62] 

When an accused fails to put up bail or committed a non-bailable offense and he remains locked up in prison, it is called preventive suspension. [63] The time he spends in preventive imprisonment is credited in the service of his sentence for the full time he spent in preventive penalty, provided he allows, voluntarily in writing, the same rules imposed on convicted prisoners to apply to himself/herself. [64] However, if he does not allow the same rules to apply to him, only four fifths of the time he underwent preventive imprisonment shall be credited in his service of sentence. [65] The crediting of the preventive imprisonment shall not apply to offenders who are recidivists or those convicted of the same crimes twice, and did not voluntarily surrender after being summoned for the execution of their sentence. Offenders who have served the possible maximum of the offense he is being tried for in a case which has not yet terminated, he must be released without prejudice to the continuation of the trial or appeal. If the maximum penalty for the crime to which he may be made liable to is destierro, he must be released after thirty days of preventive imprisonment. [66] 

On the other hand, Accessory penalties are those deemed included in the imposition of the principal penalties. According to the Code the following are Accessory penalties: Perpetual Absolute Disqualification, Perpetual Special disqualification, Temporary Perpetual Disqualification, Temporary Special Disqualification, Suspension from public office, the right to vote and be voted for, the profession or calling, Civil Interdiction, Indemnification, Forfeiture or confiscation of instruments and proceeds of the crime, and Payment of the cost. [67] Whenever the court imposes a penalty which carries with it other penalties, it must be understood that the offender shall be liable for the accessory penalties as well. [68] When a higher penalty is imposed on an offense with a given penalty, without specially designating the name of the former without, and it shall be death, same penalty and accessories as Article 40 shall attach. [69] 

Perpetual Absolute Disqualification has the effect of depriving the offender of public office or employment, even if he is an elected officer, the right to vote or the right to be voted for, disqualifying the offender of the offices or public employment and the exercise of the right, and loss of retirement pay or pension for any office formerly held. [70] Temporary Absolute Disqualification has the effect of depriving the offender of public office of the exercise of the right of suffrage and disqualification from public office and employment only. Perpetual Absolute Disqualification, as the term suggests, lasts during the lifetime of the accused, Temporary Absolute Disqualification, on the other hand, lasts during the term of the sentence. After the sentence is served, the disqualification is lifted. Perpetual and Temporary Special Disqualification on the other hand include disqualification from public office or employment, profession or calling affected, and for holding similar offices or employment. [71] Again, the difference is the duration of the penalty. The penalties of Perpetual or Temporary Special Disqualification for the exercise of the right to suffrage has the effect of depriving offender from voting and be voted for and disqualification from holding any public office/employment during the term of his sentence. [72] 

The penalty of Suspension has the effect of disqualifying the offender from holding such office and holding another office with the similar functions, during the term of the suspension. [73] 

Civil Interdiction produces several effects, such as, prohibition from exercising parental authority, or guardianship over a ward. [74] Also he is deprived of the right to manage his own property and of the right to manage his property and of but the right to convey his property during his lifetime. [75] 

Obviously, death has no accessory penalty attached to it, because after its execution, the person who shall be deprived of certain liberties is already dead. However, if by reason of commutation or pardon, the offender shall suffer perpetual absolute disqualification and civil interdiction of 30 years. [76] Pardon shall have the effect of erasing the principal penalty only, however, if the executive expressly remits the accessory penalties, then the offender shall not suffer them. The accessory penalty of Reclusion Perpetua and Temporal are perpetual absolute disqualification, unless expressly remitted by the pardon, and civil interdiction for life or during the sentence. [77] Prision Mayor has two accessory penalties: temporary absolute disqualification and perpetual special disqualification from suffrage, unless expressly remitted by the pardon. [78] Prision Correcional include the accessory penalties of suspension from public office, profession or calling and perpetual special disqualification, if the duration of the penalty exceeds eighteen months, unless expressly remitted by the pardon. [79] Arresto has the accessory penalties of suspension of the right to hold office and the right of suffrage during the term of the sentence. [80] 

Penalties include forfeiture of the proceeds and the instruments or tools of the crime in favour of the government. [81] Property owned by a third person not liable, is not confiscated, but in any case, if property is a subject of unlawful commerce, it shall be destroyed. [82] 

Payment of costs is an accessory penalty but its imposition is discretionary upon the Court. [83] Costs include fees and indemnities in the course of the proceedings [84] and are chargeable to the accused in a judgement of conviction. [85] If judgement is an acquittal then costs are de officio or each party will bear expense they incurred. [86] The government shall not be liable for costs even if a judgement of conviction is rendered against it, unless otherwise provided by law. [87] 

The penalty of a felony is not only imprisonment, but also includes pecuniary liability, such as the reparation for the damage caused, indemnification of the consequential damages, fine and costs of the proceedings. [88] In case that the offender cannot pay all his pecuniary liabilities the law provides for an order of the payment. The first to be paid is the reparation of the damage caused, then the indemnification of consequential damages, after is the fine, and lastly, the costs of the proceedings. [89] Such order is only applicable when the property of the offender is insufficient to cover his pecuniary liabilities.

The code envisioned, not only a situation where in the offender has insufficient properties but also if he has no property. In case the offender does not have any property he shall be subject to a subsidiary personal liability at the rate of one day for each eight pesos, subject to the rules provided for in the Code. [90] If the principal penalty is prision correcional or arresto and fine, his subsidiary imprisonment should not exceed one third of the term of his sentence nor last for more than one year and a fraction or part of a day shall not be counted against the offender. [91] Principal penalty means the penalty imposed by the Court and not that which is prescribed by the Code, [92] the word should be deleted because it was mistranslated. The Spanish term cuando la pena impuesta, or in English, when the penalty imposed, is controlling. [93] When the penalty constitutes a fine, the subsidiary penalty shall not exceed six months or fifteen days, for grave or less grave and light felonies respectively. [94] If the penalty is greater than prision correcional, no subsidiary imprisonment shall be imposed. [95] Even if the penalty imposed does not involve confinement but a fixed duration, the offender shall still be subject to the deprivations under the Code.2 [96] An example of a penalty that does not involve confinement but is of fixed duration is, the penalty imposed on the crime of Anticipation of Public Duties [97] , which is suspension and fine. In applying the rules on subsidiary penalty with this kind of penalty, the offender shall continue to be suspended until after the fine is satisfied, at a rate of eight pesos a day.

Although the offender has suffered subsidiary imprisonment, he is still liable to pay the fine, in the case that his financial circumstance should improve. [98] 

The rule of subsidiary imprisonment is also applicable in penalties under a special law. Persons convicted under special laws are liable to subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, however, it does not apply if the indemnity consists of internal revenue tax since the Tax Code does not impose subsidiary in case of insolvency. [99] 

Complex crimes constitute one crime although two or more crimes are actually committed. The reason for this singular liability is the criminal intent of the offender, which is one, which makes it less perverse. [100] There are two kinds of complex crimes, compound crime (delito compuesto), a single act resulting in two or more grave or less grave felonies, and complex crime proper (delito complejo), where an offense is a necessary means for committing the other. [101] Take note, the felony committed must be composed of two or more grave felonies, one or more grave felonies and one or more less grave felonies, or two or more less grave felonies. When a complex crime is committed, the penalty for the most serious offense shall be imposed in its maximum period. [102] No complex crime if one of the offenses committed is punishable under a Special Law.

If the crime committed is different from what was intended the penalty imposed depends on the penalties of the crime committed and that which was intended. If the penalty for felony committed be higher than the intended offense, the lower penalty shall be imposed in its maximum period. [103] If the penalty for the crime committed be lesser than the penalty for the crime which was intended, the lesser penalty in its maximum period shall be imposed. [104] If the act committed constitute an attempt or frustration of another, and the law prescribes a higher penalty for either, the penalty for the attempted or frustrated felonies shall be imposed in its maximum. [105] According to the Supreme Court, the rules under Article 49 of The Revised Penal Code only apply to cases of error in personnae or mistake in identity. [106] Likewise, Article 49 has no applicability in case where the penalty for the offense committed and the penalty for that which was intended is the same. [107] 

The penalty prescribed by the Code speaks of a principal for a consummated felony. However, there are situations wherein the felony is not consummated, and if the penalty is made to be the same as that of a consummated, it destroys the principle of retributive justice, which is proportionality of the punishment to the offense committed. Also, there are instances wherein the actors in the crime have varying degrees of participation in the commission of the offense. It is unfair to punish a person who provided a means of transportation but was not in the actual commission of the crime in the same manner as a person who actually committed the felonious act, unless of course there is conspiracy. So, if the felony is frustrated or attempted, and the offended is either an accessory or accomplice, the Code provides for their criminal liabilities, which is lower than that of the principal.

Impossible crimes are penalized because of the social danger and the criminal propensity of the offender. The penalty of Arresto Mayor and a fine of two hundred pesos to five hundred shall be imposed on a person intending to commit an offense but does not because of the inherent impossibility of its commission, or because the means used is ineffectual or inadequate. [108] According to Guevara [109] , the applicability of Article 59 of the Code is limited to an act which would have constituted a grave or less grave felony, to avoid a situation where the penalty for the non-commission (impossible crime) is greater than the committed act (light felony).

The existence of an aggravating circumstance has an effect of increasing the penalty, except when it constitutes a crime in itself or inherent in the crime that it necessarily accompanies its commission. [110] If advantage of public position was committed, the penalty will be imposed in its maximum, regardless of the existence of a mitigating circumstance. If a crime is committed by a syndicate or a group of two or more persons mutually helping each other for purposes of gain in the commission of a crime, the penalty shall be in its maximum period. [111] Aggravating or mitigating circumstances which are from the moral attributes of the offender or his private relations with the offended party, or any other personal reasons, shall serve to mitigate or aggravate the liability of the principals, accomplices and accessories as to whom such circumstances are attendant. [112] The circumstances which consist in the material execution of the act, or in the means employed to accomplish such, shall serve to aggravate or mitigate the liability of those persons only who had knowledge of them at the time of the execution of the act or their cooperation therein. [113] 

A habitual delinquent is any person who, within a period of ten years from the date of his last release or last conviction of the crimes of serious or less serious physical injuries, robo, hurto, estafa or falsification, he is found guilty of any of said crimes a third time or oftener. If a person is considered a habitual delinquent he shall be liable for an additional penalty. Upon a third conviction he shall be sentenced to the penalty provided by law for the last crime of which he be found guilty and to the additional penalty of prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods. [114] For a fourth conviction, there is an additional penalty of prision mayor in its minimum and medium period. [115] If he continues, and gets convicted for a fifth time, he shall serve additional penalty of prision mayor in its maximum period to reclusion temporal in its minimum period. [116] The total of the two penalties to be imposed upon the offender shall in no case exceed 30 years. [117] 

In cases where the penalty imposed is a single indivisible penalty, the Courts shall apply such despite the existence of aggravating or mitigating circumstance. [118] The law does not define what an indivisible penalty, but Justice Luis B.Reyes [119] gives us an example. He says that an example of a single and indivisible penalty is reclusion penalty and death, and for two indivisible penalties, reclusion perpetua to death. [120] When the penalty is composed of two indivisible penalties the greater penalty shall be imposed if there is an aggravating circumstance present, but if there is no circumstance present or a mitigating circumstance is taken into consideration, the lesser penalty shall be imposed. [121] If both aggravating and mitigating is present, the court will allow them to offset one another. [122] 

Divisible penalties are flexible penalties or capable of being equally distributed. The legal period of duration of divisible penalties shall be considered as divided into three parts, forming three periods, the minimum, the medium, and the maximum. [123] If the penalty is not composed of three periods, the court shall divide into three equal portions the time included in the prescribed penalty and, forming a period for each portion. In cases in which the law prescribes a penalty composed of three distinct penalties, each one shall form a period; the lightest of them shall be the minimum the next the medium, and the most severe the maximum period. [124] An example of this is, arresto mayor to prision mayor. Arresto Mayor is the minimum, prision correcional is the medium and prision mayor is the maximum. When there is no aggravating or mitigating circumstance, and the penalty prescribed by law is divisible, penalty imposed shall be in its medium period. [125] If there is an aggravating circumstance the penalty shall be imposed in its maximum period. [126] If an aggravating and mitigating circumstance is attendant in the commission of the felony, then the court shall allow it to be offset. [127] If there are two or more mitigating circumstances and no aggravating circumstance, the penalty next lower in the period the court may deem applicable, shall be imposed. [128] In no case will the penalty, with the view of the aggravating circumstance, be greater than the maximum penalty imposed by law. [129] 

When not all the requisites of accident, under Article 12 of the Code, is present to be wholly exempt from criminal liability, the penalty of arresto mayor to prision correctional in its minuimum period shall be imposed if he shall be guilty of a grave felony, and arresto mayor in its minimum and medium periods if he is guilty of a less grave felony. [130] 

An act which is not wholly excusable or justified, under articles 11 and 12, shall have a penalty in the period which the court may impose, provided that majority of the requisites for it to be exempt or justified is present. [131] In cases falling under Article 11, paragraphs 1, 2 and 3, unlawful aggression is an essential requisite, the absence of which will not entitle the offender of the application of this provision. [132] 

When the offender has to serve two or more penalties, he shall simultaneously serve them if the nature of the penalties will allow it. To allow successive execution, the order of severity shall be followed in the imposition of the penalty. For the purpose of applying successive sentences, the following is the order of penalty according to their severity: Death, Reclusion perpetua, Reclusion temporal, Prision mayor, Prision correccional, Arresto mayor, Arresto menor, Destierro, Perpetual absolute disqualification, Temporary absolute disqualification. Suspension from public office, the right to vote and be voted for, the right to follow a profession or calling, and Public censure. [133] 

However, the maximum duration of the offender’s sentence should not be more than three-fold the length of time corresponding to the most severe of the penalties imposed upon him. Such maximum period shall in no case exceed forty years. This is the three-fold rule.

By virtue of a final judgement, the penalty shall be executed, which shall be in the form prescribed and expressly authorized by law. [134] Special regulations, like the separation of the gender in different institutions, or at least into different departments and also for the correction and reform of the offenders, prescribed for the government of the institutions in which the penalties are to be suffered shall be observed with regard to the character of the work to be performed, the time of its performance, and other incidents connected to it. [135] 

In case of insanity, if the offender loses his sanity after final sentence is pronounced or during the service of such, sentence shall be suspended, but if he recovers his sanity, he shall serve his, unless the penalty has prescribed. In all cases, civil liability is not suspended. [136] 

The suspension of sentence of minors is now governed by the provisions of the Child and Youth Welfare Code [137] and the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act. [138] 

  The death sentence is executed with preference to any other penalty in accordance with the provision on successive sentences. Before the amendment of the Code, the death penalty was executed by electrocution. However, the enactment of R.A. 8177 changed the execution of the capital punishment to lethal injection. [139] The Court shall designate a working day for the execution but not the time, and shall not be communicated to the offender before sunrise, and the execution shall take place after the expiration of at least eight hours following the notification, but before sunset. [140] During this time, the offender shall be furnished assistance as he may request. The execution shall takes, place in Bilibid, closed to the public, except for priest assisting the offender, his lawyers, family, physician and the necessary persons of the penal establishment. [141] The corpse of the offender shall be given to an institute of learning or scientific research, who in turn is obliged to arrange the burial of the remains, unless the body is claimed by the family. [142] 

A convicted woman, who is pregnant shall not be executed until after giving birth. Also, the execution shall be suspended, until after three years has passed after the date of the sentence.

The penalties of reclusion perpetua, reclusion temporal, prision mayor, prision correccional and arresto mayor, shall be executed and served in the penal established by law. [143] The penalty of arresto menor shall be served in the municipal jail, or in the house of the defendant himself under the surveillance of an officer of the law, when the court so provides in its decision. [144] Any person sentenced to destierro shall not be permitted to enter the place or places designated in the sentence, nor within the radius therein specified, which shall be not more than 250 and not less than 25 kilometers from the place designated. [145]