Thursday, April 12, 2012

Retroactivity of penal laws when favorable to the accused. - G.R. No. 175781

G.R. No. 175781

"x x x.

Nevertheless, this Court must modify the penalty imposed on accused-appellants Norberto (Jun) Adviento, Lolito Aquino, and Renato Ramos.   In People v. Tinsay,[34]the Court explained that:
         On June 30, 2006, Republic Act No. 9346 (R.A. 9346), entitled An Act Prohibiting the Imposition of Death Penalty in the Philippines, took effect. Pertinent provisions thereof provide as follows:

           Section 1.  The imposition of the penalty of death is hereby prohibited. Accordingly, Republic Act No. Eight Thousand One Hundred Seventy-Seven (R.A. No. 8177), otherwise known as the Act Designating Death by Lethal Injection is hereby repealed.  Republic Act No. Seven Thousand Six Hundred Fifty-Nine (R.A. No. 7659) otherwise known as the Death Penalty Law and all other laws, executive orders and decrees insofar as they impose the death penalty are hereby repealed or amended accordingly.

           Section 2.  In lieu of the death penalty, the following shall be imposed:

           (a)  the penalty of reclusion perpetua, when the law violated makes use of the nomenclature of the penalties of the Revised Penal Code; or

           x x x x

           SECTION 3. Persons convicted of offenses punished with reclusion perpetua, or whose sentences will be reduced to reclusion perpetua, by reason of this Act, shall not be eligible for parole under Act No. 4103, otherwise known as the Indeterminate Sentence Law, as amended.

It has also been held in People vs. Quiachon that R.A. No. 9346 has retroactive effect, to wit:

           The aforequoted provision of R.A. No. 9346 is applicable in this case pursuant to the principle in criminal law, favorabilia sunt amplianda adiosa restrigenda.  Penal laws which are favorable to accused are given retroactive effect.  This principle is embodied under Article 22 of the Revised Penal Code, which provides as follows:

           Retroactive effect of penal laws. - Penal laws shall have a retroactive effect insofar as they favor the persons guilty of a felony, who is not a habitual criminal, as this term is defined in Rule 5 of Article 62 of this Code, although at the time of the publication of such laws, a final sentence has been pronounced and the convict is serving the same.

           However, appellant is not eligible for parole because Section 3 of R.A. No. 9346 provides that “persons convicted of offenses pushed withreclusion perpetua, or whose sentences will be reduced to reclusion perpetua by reason of the law, shall not be eligible for parole.”

            Hence, in accordance with the foregoing, appellant should only be sentenced to suffer reclusion perpetua without eligibility for parole.[35]

         The awards for damages also need to be modified.  In People v. Alberto Anticamara y Cabillo, et al.,[36] the Court held that in accordance with prevailing jurisprudence on heinous crimes where the imposable penalty is death but reduced to reclusion perpetuapursuant to R.A. No. 9346, the award of moral damages should be increased fromP50,000.00 to P75,000.00, while the award for exemplary damages, in view of the presence of aggravating circumstances, should be P30,000.00.

x x x."