Thursday, December 18, 2014

Prescription of crime - 206357.pdf

See - 206357.pdf

"x x x.

An evaluation of the foregoing jurisprudence24 on the matter reveals

the following guidelines in the determination of the reckoning point for the

period of prescription of violations of RA 3019, viz:

1. As a general rule, prescription begins to run from the date of the

commission of the offense.

2. If the date of the commission of the violation is not known, it shall

be counted form the date of discovery thereof.

3. In determining whether it is the general rule or the exception that

should apply in a particular case, the availability or suppression of

the information relative to the crime should first be determined.

If the necessary information, data, or records based on which the

crime could be discovered is readily available to the public, the

general rule applies. Prescription shall, therefore, run from the date

of the commission of the crime.

Otherwise, should martial law prevent the filing thereof or should

information about the violation be suppressed, possibly through

connivance, then the exception applies and the period of

prescription shall be reckoned from the date of discovery thereof.

In the case at bar, involving as it does the grant of behest loans which

We have recognized as a violation that, by their nature, could be concealed

from the public eye by the simple expedient of suppressing their

documentation,25 the second mode applies. We, therefore, count the running

of the prescriptive period from the date of discovery thereof on January 4,

1993, when the Presidential Ad Hoc Fact-Finding Committee reported to the

President its findings and conclusions anent RHC’s loans. This being the

case, the filing by the PCGG of its Affidavit-Complaint before the Office of

the Ombudsman on January 6, 2003, a little over ten (10) years from the date

of discovery of the crimes, is clearly belated. Undoubtedly, the ten-year

period within which to institute the action has already lapsed, making it

proper for the Ombudsman to dismiss petitioner’s complaint on the ground

of prescription.

Simply put, and as correctly held by the Ombudsman, prescription has

already set in when petitioner PCGG filed the Affidavit-Complaint on

January 6, 2003.

x x x."