Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Penalty for infanticide


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Article 255 provides:

Art. 255. Infanticide. — The penalty provided for parricide in Article 246 and for murder in Article 248 shall be imposed upon any person who shall kill any child less than three days of age.

If the crime penalized in this article be committed by the mother of the child for the purpose of concealing her dishonor, she shall suffer the penalty of prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods, and if said crime be committed for the same purpose by the maternal grandparents or either of them, the penalty shall be prision mayor.

Article 255, in relation to Article 248 of the RPC,105 provides that the offense of infanticide is punishable by reclusion perpetua in its maximum period to death. Applying Article 63(2) of the RPC,106 the lesser of the two (2) indivisible penalties shall be imposed when there is no mitigating or aggravating circumstance which attended the killing, as in this case.

Appellant claims, however, that should her conviction be affirmed here, the lesser penalty of prision correccional, not reclusion perpetua, should be imposed on her. She asserts that as the prosecution itself had purportedly narrated, she committed the crime only because she wanted to conceal her dishonor.

The argument utterly lacks merit.

There is absolutely no evidence on record showing that appellant killed her child supposedly to conceal her dishonor for being an unwed mother or a woman who bore a child although she did not have a boyfriend. This alleged circumstance, not being found on the record cannot be used to benefit appellant by reducing the imposable penalty from reclusion perpetua to prision correccional.

Verily, both the trial court and the Court of Appeals correctly sentenced appellant to reclusion perpetua.

It is unnecessary, however, to specify that appellant is not eligible for parole. Under Administrative Matter No. 15-08-02-SC,107 the qualification "without eligibility for parole" is only specified when the proper penalty would have been death were it not for the enactment of Republic Act No. 9346.108 Here, in view of the absence of any aggravating circumstance, appellant should be sentenced to reclusion perpetua only, not death. Hence, the term of reclusion perpetua need not be qualified by the phrase "without eligibility for parole."

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