What Are Offenses Against Decency And Good Custom?

A private act committed in public places is an offense against decency and good customs. For instance, making out is normal for couples, but when the act is committed in public places, it is considered as highly scandalous and offensive to good customs and morals hence, the individuals involved may be charged of the crime of grave scandal.  Other offenses against decency and good customs include:

Art. 200. Grave Scandal

A. Concept: It is a crime consisting of the performance or doing any act which is highly scandalous as to offend against decency and good custom.

1.  The act, either a physical observable activity or audible noise, both of which scandalizes those who see or hear them. As for instance the act of engaging in a torrid kissing, urinating or defecating or going around in scanty attire, or loud obscene sex noises 

2.  They must be done either:  (a) In a public place i.e where people usually go or congregate such as in parks, movie houses, bazaars, malls. In these places the presence of third persons is not required. (b) Within public knowledge or public view. This refers to private houses, rooms, grounds, veranda, but the noises made are so loud or the acts can be seen by third persons. The third person must not however be a Peeping Tom.   

B. The act must not be punished under any other provision of the Code as this is a crime of last resort or a catch-all crime. 

C. The scandalous acts affect public morals or sensitivity and have nothing to do with violations of public peace and tranquility. Thus two persons fighting or shouting at each other in a public place would constitute Alarm and Scandal. But when these same two persons engage in a strip tease contest in full view of people, the act would be Grave Scandal.

Art. 201 Immoral Doctrines, Obscene Publications and Exhibitions and Indecent Shows.

A. Persons or acts  punished:

1.  Those who expound  or proclaim doctrines contrary to public morals

a). As for instance advocating polygamy or wife-swapping or killing off the mental/physical retardates to improve the Filipino race

b). What about advocating same-sex marriage? Or opening an exclusive ”nudist camp”? 

2. In reference to Obscene literature

a). The authors if they had knowledge of the publishing of their works. Thus writing an obscene literature is not per se punished but if the authors said works to be circulated to any third person, then they become liable. If the wok is stolen and circulated without their knowledge, they are not liable. 

b). The editors publishing such literature

c). The owners/operators of the establishment selling the same 

3.   In reference to obscene, indecent, or immoral plays, acts or shows:

a). The persons who exhibit them including the producers, actors, movie house/theater owners

b). These include plays, acts, shows which

(i)  glorify criminals or condone crimes

(ii)  serve no other purpose but to satisfy the market for violence, lust or pornography

(iii)  offend any race or religion

(iv)  tend to abet traffic in and sue of prohibited drugs

(v) are contrary to law, public order, morals, good customs, established policies, lawful orders, decrees and edicts 

4.  Persons who sell, give away, or exhibit films, prints, engravings, sculptures, or literature, which are offensive to morals. Hence mere possession of pornographic literature is not per se punished. It is the act of distributing to people or circulating the same which is punished. Letting one person borrow or read is not however distributing. 

Art. 202. Vagrants and Prostitutes

I.( Is this a crime against status?) There are four kinds of Vagrants:

1.(The Lazy one). A person with no apparent means of subsistence, but physically able to work, neglect to apply himself to some lawful calling

a). It is not being unemployed per se which is punished but the refusal to look for work

2. (The Tourist) Any person found loitering about public or semi public buildings or places, or tramping or wandering about the country or streets without visible means of support

3. (The bugao and maton) An idle or dissolute (immoral, lax, unrestrained) person who lodges in houses of ill fame, ruffians (barairongs in Ilokano) or one who habitually associates with prostitutes

a. Absence of visible means of support is not required hence wealthy people may be vagrants under this mode

4. ( The suspicious stranger) One found loitering in any inhabited or uninhabited place belonging to another without any lawful or justifiable reason

a.The vagrant may have wealth

b.This is a preventive measure to prevent the commission of some other more serious offense

c.The estate is not fenced

Pinoy Attorney

Written by : Pinoy Attorney