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Published: Fri, 02 Feb 2018

Criminal liability may be partially or totally extinguished

Extinction of Criminal Liability

Criminal liability may be partially or totally extinguished. Total Extinction means that the entire penalty is extinguished, and there is no more criminal liability. Criminal liability is totally extinguished by the death of the offender, only as to the personal penalties, pecuniary liabilities is extinguished only when the death of the offender occurs before final judgment; service of the sentence, which means that they have served their liability; amnesty, completely extinguishing the penalty and its effects; absolute pardon given by the President; prescription of the crime, wherein the State loses the power to prosecute; prescription of the penalty, wherein the State loses the power to impose penalty; the marriage to the offended woman, in cases of Rape. [1] 

When an offender dies, his criminal liability is extinguished, but his civil liability subsists, unless, death occurs before final judgement. Final Judgement in a criminal case becomes final after the lapse of the period to appeal or when the sentence has been partially or totally served, or the defendant waived in writing his right to appeal. [2] However, the death of the offended party does not extinguish the offender’s criminal liability. [3] 

Service of sentence means that the offender has been imprisoned or deprived of liberties for a period prescribed by law. Although, the offender has served his sentence, this does not extinguish civil liability.

Amnesty is the act of the sovereign power granting oblivion or a general pardon for a past offense to a group or class of people, and rarely to an individual. [4] Although amnesty extinguishes criminal liability and all its effects, it does not extinguish civil liability. [5] 

Pardon is an act of grace proceeding from the power entrusted with the execution of the laws which exempts the individual on whom it is bestowed from the punishment the law inflicts for the crime he has committed. [6] It is either absolute or conditional. However, no matter what kind it is, its applicability is dependent on whether it shall be accepted. If the offender to whom it is delivered does not accept the pardon, then it shall not be effective.

Prescription of the crime is the loss of the right of the State to prosecute after the lapse of a certain period. [7] The period for the prescription will start from the day the crime is discovered by the offended party or authorities, and is interrupted if an information or complaint is filed, and will run again when the proceedings terminate, without acquittal or conviction or is unjustifiably stopped through no fault of the offender. [8] Crimes punishable by death, reclusion perpetua, reclusion temporal prescribe in twenty years, other afflictive penalties in fifteen years. [9] Crimes punishable by a correctional penalty prescribe in ten years, except those punishable by arresto mayor, which prescribe in five years. [10] Libel or other crimes against honor prescribe in one year, except for oral defamation and slander by deed, which prescribe in six months. [11] Light offenses prescribe in two months. [12] l

On the other hand, prescription of the penalty is the loss of the right of the State to execute the final sentence after the lapse of a certain time. [13] The period of prescription of penalties runs from the date when the offender evaded the service of his sentence, and is interrupted if the defendant voluntarily gives up, or is captured, or should go to some foreign country which the Philippines has no extradition treaty, or commits another crime before the end of the period to prescribe. [14] The penalties imposed by final sentence prescribe in the same manner as the prescription of the offense, with the exception that light felonies prescribe in one year, and the crimes of libel and slander by deed are not specifically mentioned. [15] 

Criminal liability may also be partially extinguished. It is partial extinction because there remains liability although it is lessened by conditional pardon, commutation of sentence, and for good conduct earned by the offender while serving his sentence. [16] A person who was conditionally pardoned shall strictly comply with the conditions imposed and the non-compliance shall result into its revocation. If the sentence is commutated then such shall replace the original sentence. The Director of prison shall grant an allowance for good conduct and for loyalty, if it is granted it cannot be revoked. [17] 

Civil Liability

The principle that every person criminally liable is civilly liable is embodied in our Code [18] in view of the dual effect of crimes as an offense against the State and the private person injured by the offender. Although the Code exempts certain acts from incurring criminal liability, this does not pertain to an exemption from civil liability. For instance, exemption from criminal liability due to insanity or imbecility, and minority, acting without discernment, do not escape civil liability because the provision specifically states that the civil liability shall devolve upon those having such person under their control, except if there is no fault ton their part. [19] Also, under Article 11 of the Code, the persons for whose benefit the harm has been prevented shall be civilly liable in proportion to the benefit received. [20] Another instance is under Article 12 of the Code, which provides that those who used violence against or caused the fear, of another, shall be liable shall also be liable up to the extent of their contribution. [21] 

Innkeepers, tavern keepers, and any other persons or corporations shall be civilly liable for crimes committed in their establishments, in the absence of persons primarily liable, in cases where a violation of an ordinance or regulation, is committed by them or their employees. [22] The liability to return or to pay the value of the thing stolen by robbery or theft shall also devolve upon them. [23] Teachers, persons, and corporations engaged in any kind of industry, may be subsidiarily liable for offenses committed by their servants, students, workmen, apprentices, or employees in the exercise of his duties. [24] 

Civil liability includes the return of the thing itself (restitution) [25] , reparation of the damage caused, and indemnification of consequential damages. The person/s obliged to restore or repair and indemnify for consequential damages are the heirs of the person liable, such that the person/s to demand these are with offended party’s heirs. [26] 

If there is more than one person civilly liable for a felony, the courts will determine the amount for which each must respond. [27] Actors of the offense, regardless of their participation as principal, accomplice or accessory, shall be liable severally. [28] However, the subsidiary liability shall be enforced in the following order: property of the principal, accomplice, and the accessory. [29] The person paying the liability shall have the right to be reimbursed by his co-offenders. [30] Also, a person who takes part of the proceeds of the crime, gratuitously, has an obligation to make restitution. [31] 

Notwithstanding the death of the offender, or the sentence being served, or amnesty, or absolute pardon, or prescription of the crime or penalty, or marriage to the offended party in rape cases, the civil liability of the offender subsists. [32] Civil liability is extinguished in the same manner as obligations, [33] by payment or performance, loss of the thing due, remission, confusion, merger, compensation or novation.

Crimes against National Security and the Law of Nations

The crimes against national security comprise of: Treason, Conspiracy to Commit Treason, Misprision of Treason, Espionage, Inciting to war, Violation of Neutrality, Correspondence with hostile country, Flight to enemy country, Piracy and Mutiny, and Qualified Piracy.

Treason is defined as the violation by a subject of his allegiance to his sovereign or liege lord, or to the supreme authority of the state. [34] Both Filipino Citizens and aliens may be held liable for treason [35] , the former, because they owe permanent allegiance to the Philippines, and the latter, because of their temporary allegiance to the government owing to their residency here. [36] Allegiance has been defined as the obligation for fidelity and obedience which the individual owes to his government or his sovereign in return for the protection which he receives. [37] There are two ways of committing treason, by levying war against the government or by adhering to the enemies of the government, giving them aid and protection. It may be committed only in times of war.

At least two witnesses must testify to the same overt act, or on confession of the accused in open court is required for the conviction of treason. [38] The two-witness rule is required to prove the overt act of giving aid or comfort only, and not adherence to enemies. [39] 

Generally, conspiracy is not punishable, but in certain instances, the law penalizes it because the very existence of the state is endangered [40] as it is with treason. The mere conspiracy and proposal is penalized. [41] Also, any person having knowledge of any conspiracy against the government, and conceals or does not disclose or make known the same, as soon as possible shall be punished as an accessory (misprision of treason) to the crime of treason. [42] 

In times of peace and war, espionage is committed by the entering of any person in a warship, fort or naval or military establishment the Philippines, espionage is a crime punished by the Code when a person, enters a warship, fort, or naval or military establishment to obtain any information, plans, photographs, or other data of a confidential nature relative to the defense of the Philippines or possesses information by reason of their public office he holds, of the articles, data, or information referring to the national security, discloses its content to a foreign national. [43] Unlike treason, espionage may be committed during times of peace and war.

When an unlawful or unauthorized act by a person gives a reason for a war or a reprisal against the Philippines, its residents and property, will be held liable for the crime of Inciting to war or giving reasons for reprisal. The intent of the offender is immaterial. It is committed in times of peace.

A public officer or a private individual shall be liable to serve reclusion temporal and prision mayor, respectively, if he provokes war or gives reasons for reprisal against another State, by his commission of unlawful or unauthorized acts.. [44] 

In a war not involving the Philippine government, a person violates a regulation for the purpose of neutrality shall be punished accordingly. [45] Also, any person who corresponds with any person in an enemy country or occupied territory, or corresponds through conventional signs, or corresponds for the purpose of giving information against the State, shall be criminally liable. [46] Correspondence is communication by means of letter. [47] Any person owing permanent or temporary allegiance to the Philippines, who flees or attempts to flee is liable under the Code. [48] 

The crime of piracy is one characterized by “an attack or seizure of a vessel, or not being a member of its complement nor a passenger, seizes the whole or part of the cargo of said vessel, its equipment, or personal belongings of its complement or passengers, while in the high seas.” [49] Mutiny is the “unlawful resistance to a superior officer, or the raising of commotions and disturbances on board a ship against the authority of his officer.” [50] Accordingly, mutiny is penalized in the same provision as piracy. Piracy is qualified if the crime is attended by the pirates boarding or firing upon the vessel they seize, when they abandon the offended parties with no means of saving themselves or if it is attended by any of the following crimes: murder, homicide, physical injuries and rape. [51] 

Crimes against the Fundamental Law of the State

The crimes against the fundamental law of the state are: Arbitrary Detention, Delay in the Delivery of Detained Persons, Delaying Release, Expulsion, Violation of dwelling, Search warrants maliciously obtained and abuse in the services of those legally obtained, Prohibition, Interruption or Dissolution of peaceful meetings and Offending religious worship.

Arbitrary detention is committed when a public officer, having the authority to detain or order the detention of a person, detain a person accused of the crime without legal justification. [52] In case that the offender has violent insanity or any other ailment requiring hospitalization or if he was caught in flagrante delicto, then there is legal justification in an offender’s detention. [53] If, however, the person having authority to detain, fails to deliver detainee to the proper authorities, within the time period prescribed by law he becomes liable for Delay in the delivery of accused persons. [54] A public officer who delays the performance of a judicial or executive order for the release of the offender, or, service of notice the offender, or the proceeding for the liberation of the offender, shall be penalized under the Code. [55] A public officer or employee who expels any person from the Philippines or compels any person to change his residence is guilty of expulsion. [56] 

Under the constitution, the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose is inviolable. [57] The Code recognizes the same inviolable right, by penalizing violations against unreasonable searches and seizures. An unauthorized public officer or employee who enters the dwelling of another, against the will of the owner, and searches papers or other effects, or by stealth, enters said dwelling, and having been told to leave and but refuses. [58] The crime is qualified if it was committed at night. [59] 

When a public officer or employee obtains a search warrant without just cause or if he exceeded his authority or in unauthorized manner, he shall be criminally liable under the code. [60] When the two witness rule is not complied with in instances of house search, he becomes criminally liable, even if he is an authorized person to conduct such search. [61] 

A public officer or employee who shall prohibit or interrupt a peaceful meeting without legal ground, or hinder a person from attending or prohibit any petition for the correction of the abuses shall be penalized under the Code. [62] 

The prevention or interruption of a public officer or employee of the ceremonies or manifestation of religion shall be penalized. [63] If violence or threats were uses to prevent or interrupt the religious ceremonies, the penalty imposed shall be in its maximum. [64] If a person in a religious ceremony performs an act, notoriously offensive, to the faithful, he shall also be punished. [65] The measure of what is notoriously offensive is viewed from the point of the religious. [66] 

Crimes against Public Order

The Crimes against Public Order are Rebellion or Insurrection, Coup d’etat, Conspiracy and Proposal to commit Rebellion or Insurrection, and Coup d’etat, Disloyalty of Public Officers, Inciting to Rebellion or Insurrection, and Coup d’etat, Sedition, Conspiracy to commit Sedition, and Inciting to Sedition, Acts tending to prevent the meeting of the Assembly by similar bodies, Disturbance of Proceedings, Violation of parliamentary immunity, Illegal assemblies, Illegal associations, Direct assault, Indirect assault, Disobedience to summons issued by the legislature, Resistance and disobedience to a person in authority, Tumults, Unlawful use of means of publication, Delivering prisoners from jail, Alarms and scandals, Evasion of service, Evasion of service on account of disorders, conflagration, and Quasi-Recidivism.

By rising publicly and taking arms against the government, or for the purpose of removing allegiance to the government a territory of the Philippines or any part, depriving the executive of its powers, the crime of Rebellion is committed. [67] Coup D’ etat is characterized by a swift attack accompanied by violence, intimidation, threat, strategy or stealth. [68] Such attack is directed against the duly constituted authorities of the Republic or any military camp or installation, communications network, public utilities or other facilities needed for the exercise and continued possession of power, carried out by any person, belonging to the military or police or holding any public office of employment with or without civilian support or participation for the purpose of seizing or diminishing state power. [69] 

  Active or Passive participation in the offense of Rebellion or Insurrection and Coup d’etat will make a person criminally liable for such offense, and if the offender is a public officer the penalty higher in degree in its maximum shall be imposed. [70] The mere conspiracy and proposal to commit Rebellion or Insurrection, and coup d’etat is a punishable offense under the Code. [71] Inciting to Rebellion is a felony under the Code and is committed by inciting others to commit the offense through the use of speeches, proclamations, writing, emblems, banners or other representations tending to the same. [72] The differences between the crimes of inciting and proposal are the decision to commit the felony and the means used. In proposal to commit rebellion or insurrection, the person decides to commit rebellion, in inciting it is not required that the person who proposes has decided. Also, in proposal to commit Rebellion, the person who proposes does so in a secret manner, where as in Inciting it is done publicly.

A public officer or employee who failed to resist a rebellion or discharges his power under the power of the rebel, through the acceptance of appointment, shall be criminally liable. [73] 

Sedition refers to overt conduct, such as speech and organizing, that is deemed by legal authority as being insurrection or other commotion, against the established order. [74] In the Philippines, persons who rise publicly and tumultuously in order to attain by force, intimidation, or by other means outside of legal methods, or to prevent the promulgation or execution of any law or the holding of any popular election; or to prevent a public officer from exercising his;or inflict an act of hate or revenge upon the person or property of any public officer or employee or against a private individual for any social or political end; and destroy the property of any person and the Government, maybe held liable for Sedition. Persons conspiring to commit sedition are also criminally liable, [75] as well as those inciting it. [76] 

 A person who, by using force or fraud, prevents the meeting of the National Assembly or of any of its committees or subcommittees, constitutional commissions or committees or divisions, or of any provincial board or city or municipal council or board may be held liable for the crime of Act tending to prevent the meeting of the Assembly and similar bodies. [77] Any person who disturbs the proceedings of the Assembly shall be penalized, [78] as well as that person who shall prevent a member of the assembly from attending or expressing his opinion in its proceedings. [79] 

The organizers or leaders of any meeting attended by armed persons for committing any of the crimes punishable under this Code, or of any meeting in which the audience is induced to commit crimes against public, shall be penalized, if they are armed the penalty higher will be imposed. [80] A person in the meeting carrying an unlicensed firearm creates a presumption that he will commit a felony. [81] The founders, directors, and presidents or mere membership to such associations, totally or partially organized for the purpose of committing any of the crimes punishable under the Code or for some purpose contrary to public morals shall be penalized. [82] 

Direct assault is a crime committed by one against persons in authority or their agents, while, indirect assault is committed against persons who come to the aid of the persons in authority being assaulted. Any person, without a public uprising, who employs force or intimidation or seriously intimidates or resists any person in authority or any of his agents, to attain any of the purposes of rebellion and sedition, while engaged in the performance of official duties, or on occasion of such performance, and when the assault is committed with a weapon or when the offender is a public officer or employee, or when the offender lays hands upon a person in authority maybe made liable for direct assault. [83] Even if none of these circumstances are present the perpetrator remains criminally liable. A person who makes use of force or intimidation upon any person coming to the aid of the authorities or their agent is liable. [84] 

Persons having been summoned to witness before the Congress but does not, or refuses to be sworn in, shall be criminally liable, under the Code. [85] Criminal liability also attaches to a person, who is not a person aiding a person in authority or his agent, or a person who was summoned by Congress, who seriously resists or disobeys a person in authority or his agent fulfilling his duty. [86] If the resistance is not so serious, he will still be criminally liable, although the penalty imposed shall be lesser. [87] 

The Code provides a list of who shall be considered a person in authority and hi


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