Friday, August 10, 2018

Prescription of crime; how computed [2018 SC ruling].

See -

"Del Rosario vs. People", GR 199930, June 27, 2018.

"The guidelines summarized in Presidential Commission on Good Government v. Carpio-Morales34 already settled how to determine the proper reckoning points for the period of prescription. Whether it is the general rule or the exception that should apply in a particular case depends on the availability or the suppression of information relative to the crime should first be ascertained. If the information, data, or records from which the crime is based could be plainly discovered or were readily available to the public, as in the case of the petitioner herein, the general rule should apply, and prescription should be held to run from the commission of the crime; otherwise, the discovery rule is applied.

Secondly, when there are reasonable means to be aware of the commission of the offense, the discovery rule should not be applied. To prosecute an offender for an offense not prosecuted on account of the lapses on the part of the Government and the officials responsible for the prosecution thereof or burdened with the duty of making sure that the laws are observed would have the effect of condoning their indolence and inaction.

We fully concur with the observations of the RTC to the effect that the offenses charged against the petitioner were not susceptible of concealment. As such, the offenses could have been known within the eight-year period starting from the moment of their commission. Indeed, the Office of the Ombudsman or the CSC, the two agencies of the Government invested with the primary responsibility of monitoring the compliance with R.A. No. 6713, should have known of her omissions during the period of prescription.

Thirdly, the Sandiganbayan's opinion that it would be burdensome and highly impossible for the CSC, the Office of the Ombudsman and any other concerned agency of the Government to come up with a tracking system to ferret out the violators of R.A. No. 6713 on or about the time of the filing of the SALNs is devoid of persuasion and merit."