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Attorneys of the Philippines Legal News

Welcome to our legal news pages. Here is where we provide updates about what's happening in Philippines legal news, and publish helpful articles and tips for Pinoys researching legal matters.

The Unwelcome Visit Of A Trespasser

Everyone dreams of living in an abode where peace and privacy is maintained. However, there are individuals with gumption who  disturb peace and privacy by entering the dwelling without the owner's permission. An unwelcome visit refers to trespassing. Section 2, Article 280 of the Revised Penal Code defines trespassing as:

Art. 280. Qualified trespass to dwelling. — Any private person who shall enter the dwelling of another against the latter's will shall be punished by arresto mayor and a fine not exceeding 1,000 pesos.

If the offense be committed by means of violence or intimidation, the penalty shall be prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods and a fine not exceeding 1,000 pesos.

The provisions of this article shall not be applicable to any person who shall enter another's dwelling for the purpose of preventing some serious harm to himself, the occupants of the dwelling or a third person, nor shall it be applicable to any person who shall enter a dwelling for the purpose of rendering some service to humanity or justice, nor to anyone who shall enter cafes, taverns, inn and other public houses, while the same are open.

Art. 281. Other forms of trespass. — The penalty of arresto menor or a fine not exceeding 200 pesos, or both, shall be imposed upon any person who shall enter the closed premises or the fenced estate of another, while either or them are uninhabited, if the prohibition to enter be manifest and the trespasser has not secured the permission of the owner or the caretaker thereof.

Carnapped Vehicle: Steps To Take When Your Car Is Stolen

These days, a car is more of a need than a want as it conveniently takes you from point A to point B. What if someone takes away the convenience you enjoy for their own gain? It is indeed devastating and even disheartening to discover that your parked car is nowhere to be found. All the hardwork is wasted upon finding out that your vehicle has been carnapped. You may immediately panic, but it is important to have presence of mind so you can still hold on to essential details, which will help you track your stolen car. 

The details you need to obtain before contacting the authorities are the distinguishing features of your car, Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), car's make and model and the license plate number. 

There are instances when your car is parked in a different section. In this case, your car may not be stolen but towed. Before going on panic mode, make sure you verify this information. If your vehicle is being towed, you need to get the contact number of a traffic management or local towing office. 

If you have a car insurance, you should also let the insurance company know about the incident. If you have got a cover that protects your vehicle against theft, you will be able to get an insurance coverage for the vehicle's fair market value. You will need to present a copy of the police report and certificate of registration to your provider. 

Most vehicles are equipped with Global Positioning System (GPS) unit that enables car owner to determine where their car is. This car feature will also increase the odds that you are going to recover your car. 

Section 14 of Republic Act No. 6539 provides details on the penalty imposed upon individuals who violate the law:

Section 14. Penalty for Carnapping. Any person who is found guilty of carnapping, as this term is defined in Section two of this Act, shall, irrespective of the value of motor vehicle taken, be punished by imprisonment for not less than fourteen years and eight months and not more than seventeen years and four months, when the carnapping is committed without violence or intimidation of persons, or force upon things; and by imprisonment for not less than seventeen years and four months and not more than thirty years, when the carnapping is committed by means of violence against or intimidation of any person, or force upon things; and the penalty of life imprisonment to death shall be imposed when the owner, driver or occupant of the carnapped motor vehicle is killed in the commission of the carnapping.

The Difference Between Pardon And Amnesty

Pardon and amnesty are two legal terms that bring confusion to those who are not familiar with the specific terms that encompass Philippine law. When it comes to the actions and proceedings relating to amnesty and pardon, there are some factors that must be taken into consideration hence, the distinction. By definition as defined under Section 1 of Proclamation No. 724:

Section 1. Grant of Amnesty. – Amnesty is hereby granted to all persons who shall apply therefor and who have or may have committed crimes, on or before June 1, 1995, in pursuit of their political beliefs, whether punishable under the Revised Penal Code or special laws, including but not limited to the following: rebellion or insurrection; coup d’etat; conspiracy and proposal to commit rebellion, insurrection, or coup d’etat; disloyalty of public officers or employees; inciting to rebellion or insurrection; sedition; conspiracy to commit sedition; inciting to sedition; illegal assembly; illegal association; direct assault; indirect assault; resistance and disobedience to a person in authority or agents of such person; tumults and other disturbances of public order; unlawful use of means of publication and unlawful utterances; alarms and scandals; illegal possession of firearms, ammunitions, and explosives, committed in furtherance of, incident to, or in connection with the crimes of rebellion and insurrection; and violations of Articles 59 (desertion), 62 (absence without leave), 67 (mutiny or sedition), 68 (failure to suppress mutiny or sedition), 94 (various crimes), 96 (conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman), and 97 (general article) of the Articles of War; Provided, That the amnesty shall not cover crimes against chastity and other crimes for personal ends.

On the other hand, pardon is defined under the provisions of Act No. 4103 as:

SEC. 1. Policy Objectives - Under the provisions of Act No. 4103, as amended, otherwise known as the "Indeterminate Sentence Law", which was approved on December 5, 1933, it is the function of the Board of Pardons and Parole to uplift and redeem valuable human material to economic usefulness and to prevent unnecessary and excessive deprivation of personal liberty by way of parole or through executive clemency. Towards this end, the Board undertakes the following:

1. Looks into the physical, mental and moral records of prisoners who are eligible for parole or any form of executive clemency and determines the proper time of release of such prisoners on parole; 

2. Assists in the full rehabilitation of individuals on parole or those under conditional pardon with parole conditions, by way of parole supervision; and, 

3. Recommends to the President of the Philippines the grant of any form of executive clemency to prisoners other than those entitled to parole.

Grounds For Awarding Moral Damages

There are different kinds of damages based on the principles of general law and the most common is moral damage. Someone whose reputation has been tainted due to wrong accusations would cry foul and moral damage will be awarded with sufficient evidence. There are many situations that moral damages may be recovered. 

Moral Damages

ARTICLE 2217. Moral damages include physical suffering, mental anguish, fright, serious anxiety, besmirched reputation, wounded feelings, moral shock, social humiliation, and similar injury. Though incapable of pecuniary computation, moral damages may be recovered if they are the proximate result of the defendant's wrongful act for omission.

ARTICLE 2218. In the adjudication of moral damages, the sentimental value of property, real or personal, may be considered.

ARTICLE 2219. Moral damages may be recovered in the following and analogous cases:

(1) A criminal offense resulting in physical injuries;

(2) Quasi-delicts causing physical injuries;

(3) Seduction, abduction, rape, or other lascivious acts;

(4) Adultery or concubinage;

(5) Illegal or arbitrary detention or arrest;

(6) Illegal search;

(7) Libel, slander or any other form of defamation;

(8) Malicious prosecution;

(9) Acts mentioned in article 309;

(10) Acts and actions referred to in articles 21, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 32, 34, and 35. 

The parents of the female seduced, abducted, raped, or abused, referred to in No. 3 of this article, may also recover moral damages.

The spouse, descendants, ascendants, and brothers and sisters may bring the action mentioned in No. 9 of this article, in the order named.

ARTICLE 2220. Willful injury to property may be a legal ground for awarding moral damages if the court should find that, under the circumstances, such damages are justly due. The same rule applies to breaches of contract where the defendant acted fraudulently or in bad faith.

Swindling And Other Forms Of Deceits

Swindling or estafa is a crime against property and it is committed using any fraudulent means. Swindling is also an abuse of confidence and there are many ways this crime is committed:

ARTICLE 316. Other Forms of Swindling. — The penalty of arresto mayor in its minimum and medium periods and a fine of not less than the value of the damage caused and not more than three times such value, shall be imposed upon:

1. Any person who, pretending to be the owner of any real property, shall convey, sell, encumber or mortgage the same.

2. Any person who, knowing that real property is encumbered, shall dispose of the same, although such encumbrance be not recorded.

3. The owner of any personal property who shall wrongfully take it from its lawful possessor, to the prejudice of the latter or any third person.

4. Any person who, to the prejudice of another, shall execute any fictitious contract.

5. Any person who shall accept any compensation given him under the belief that it was in payment of services rendered or labor performed by him, when in fact he did not actually perform such services or labor.

6. Any person who, while being a surety in a bond given in a criminal or civil action, without express authority from the court or before the cancellation of his bond or before being relieved from the obligation contracted by him, shall sell, mortgage, or, in any other manner, encumber the real property or properties with which he guaranteed the fulfillment of such obligation.

ARTICLE 317. Swindling a Minor. — Any person who, taking advantage of the inexperience or emotions or feelings of a minor, to his detriment, shall induce him to assume any obligation or to give any release or execute a transfer of any property right in consideration of some loan of money, credit or other personal property, whether the loan clearly appears in the document or is shown in any other form, shall suffer the penalty of arresto mayor and a fine of a sum ranging from 10 to 50 per cent of the value of the obligation contracted by the minor.

ARTICLE 318. Other Deceits. — The penalty of arresto mayor and a fine of not less than the amount of the damage caused and not more than twice such amount shall be imposed upon any person who shall defraud or damage another by any other deceit not mentioned in the preceding articles of this chapter.

Any person who, for profit or gain, shall interpret dreams, make forecasts, tell fortunes, or take advantage of the credulity of the public in any other similar manner, shall suffer the penalty of arresto menor or a fine not exceeding 200 pesos.

The Difference Between Sexual Harassment And Acts Of Lasciviousness

Women are vulnerable to all types of abuses, but complaints fall on deaf ears because of victim blaming. Any form of sexual abuse is traumatizing to the victim, but the best defense is having presence of mind and deeper understanding of the law. These acts are committed repeatedly as victims are embraced by fear while people who witnessed these acts simply turn a blind eye. Many abusers get out of the situation without getting penalized because of the victims' silence and the society's ignorance.  There are two violations that are usually used for sexual abuse: sexual harassment and acts of lasciviousness. Is there a difference between these terms? 

According to Republic Act 7877, sexual harassment is committed if:

1. The sexual favor is made as a condition in the hiring or  in the employment, re-employment or continued employment  of said individual, or in granting said individual favorable compensation, terms of conditions, promotions, or privileges;  or the refusal to grant the sexual favor results in limiting, segregating or classifying the employee which in any way  would discriminate, deprive or diminish employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect said employee;

2. The above acts would impair the employee's rights or  privileges under existing labor laws; or

3. The above acts would result in an intimidating, hostile,  or offensive environment for the employee.

b. In an education or training environment, sexual harassment is committed:      

1. Against one who is under the care, custody or supervision of the offender;  

2. Against one whose education, training, apprenticeship  or tutorship is entrusted to the offender;            

3. When the sexual favor is made a condition to the giving  of a passing grade, or the granting of honors and scholarships,  or the payment of a stipend, allowance or other benefits,  privileges, or consideration; or

4. When the sexual advances result in an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment for the student, trainee or  apprentice.

Any person who directs or induces another to commit any  act of sexual harassment as herein defined, or who cooperates  in the commission thereof by another without which it would  not have been committed, shall also be held liable under this  Act.

On the other hand, under Article 336 of the Revised Penal Code, acts of lasciviousness is committed if:

1. The accused commits the act of sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct.

2. The said act is performed with a child exploited in prostitution or subjected to sexual abuse.

3. The child, whether male or female, is below 18 years of age.

How Do You Obtain Release From Imprisonment?

Imprisonment is probably one of the worst life experiences an individual must endure. While committing a crime results in incarceration, the thought of being denied of freedom is just too heavy to bear. To some, hopes are nebulous, but others are still hopeful that they will soon be freed from the invisible shackles of imprisonment. Only time and law can tell. 

Speaking of law, prisoners and their family members must be well aware of the law regarding obtaining release from imprisonment. How is it obtained? Can good conduct give you the freedom you have been longing? Before digging deeper into release from imprisonment, it is important to understand what completion of sentence is. By definition, completion of sentence means that a prisoner has already reached that prescribed period when penalty is served. For instance, if a person is sentenced to 10 years, a discharge paper must be prepared as proof that the person has already completed the sentence. 

Is there huge possibility that a prisoner will be given recommendation of the parole officer due to good conduct? Republic Act 10592 explains Good Conduct Time Allowance:

SEC. 3. Article 97 of the same Act is hereby further amended to read as follows:

ART. 97. Allowance for good conduct. – The good conduct of any offender qualified for credit for preventive imprisonment pursuant to Article 29 of this Code, or of any convicted prisoner in any penal institution, rehabilitation or detention center or any other local jail shall entitle him to the following deductions from the period of his sentence:

1. During the first two years of imprisonment, he shall be allowed a deduction of twenty days for each month of good behavior during detention;

2. During the third to the fifth year, inclusive, of his imprisonment, he shall be allowed a reduction of twenty-three days for each month of good behavior during detention;

3. During the following years until the tenth year, inclusive, of his imprisonment, he shall be allowed a deduction of twenty-five days for each month of good behavior during detention;

4. During the eleventh and successive years of his imprisonment, he shall be allowed a deduction of thirty days for each month of good behavior during detention; and

5. At any time during the period of imprisonment, he shall be allowed another deduction of fifteen days, in addition to numbers one to four hereof, for each month of study, teaching or mentoring service time rendered.

The Rights Of A Person Arrested, Detained Or Under Custodial Investigation

If an individual got himself into a situation that leads to his arrest, it is important for persons of authority such as the public officers, to educate the arrested person about his/her rights. The arrested person must be informed of the offense he/she committed. There are cases when public officers violate the law. For an individual who does not have any idea about his rights, unlawful arrest may seem normal. The Republic Act No. 7438 or an "Act defining certain rights of person arrested, detained or under custodial investigation as well as the duties of the arresting, detaining and investigating officers, and providing penalties for violation thereof" provides a comprehensive explanation about the rights of an arrested person and the penalties for public officers who violate the law. 

Republic Act No. 7438

Sec. 2. Rights of Persons Arrested, Detained or under Custodial Investigation; Duties of Public Officers. - (a) Any person arrested detained or under custodial investigation shall at all times be assisted by counsel.  

(b) Any public officer or employee, or anyone acting under his order or his place, who arrests, detains or investigates any person for the commission of an offense shall inform the latter, in a language known to and understood by him, of his rights to remain silent and to have competent and independent counsel, preferably of his own choice, who shall at all times be allowed to confer privately with the person arrested, detained or under custodial investigation. If such person cannot afford the services of his own counsel, he must be provided with a competent and independent counsel by the investigating officer. 

(c)  The custodial investigation report shall be reduced to writing by the investigating officer, provided that before such report is signed, or thumbmarked if the person arrested or detained does not know how to read and write, it shall be read and adequately explained to him by his counsel or by the assisting counsel provided by the investigating officer in the language or dialect known to such arrested or detained person, otherwise, such investigation report shall be null and void and of no effect whatsoever. 

(d) Any extrajudicial confession made by a person arrested, detained or under custodial investigation shall be in writing and signed by such person in the presence of his counsel or in the latter's absence, upon a valid waiver, and in the presence of any of the parents, elder brothers and sisters, his spouse, the municipal mayor, the municipal judge, district school supervisor, or priest or minister of the gospel as chosen by him; otherwise, such extrajudicial confession shall be inadmissible as evidence in any proceeding. 

(e) Any waiver by a person arrested or detained under the provisions of Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code, or under custodial investigation, shall be in writing and signed by such person in the presence of his counsel; otherwise the waiver shall be null and void and of no effect. 

(f) Any person arrested or detained or under custodial investigation shall be allowed visits by or conferences with any member of his immediate family, or any medical doctor or priest or religious minister chosen by him or by any member of his immediate family or by his counsel, or by any national non-governmental organization duly accredited by the Commission on Human Rights of by any international non-governmental organization duly accredited by the Office of the President. The person's "immediate family" shall include his or her spouse, fiance or fiancee, parent or child, brother or sister, grandparent or grandchild, uncle or aunt, nephew or niece, and guardian or ward. 

As used this Act, "custodial investigation" shall include the practice of issuing an "invitation" to a person who is investigated in connection with an offense he is suspected to have committed, without prejudice to the liability of the "inviting" officer for any violation of law. 

Sec. 3. Assisting Counsel. - Assisting counsel is any lawyer, except those directly affected by the case, those charged with conducting preliminary investigation or those charged with the prosecution of crimes. 

The assisting counsel other than the government lawyers shall be entitled to the following fees:  

(a) The amount of One hundred fifty pesos (P150.00) if the suspected person is chargeable with light felonies; 

(b) The amount of Two hundred fifty pesos (P250.00) if the suspected person is chargeable with less grave of grave felonies; 

(c)  The amount of Three hundred fifty pesos (P350.00) if the suspected person is chargeable with a capital offense. 

The fee for the assisting counsel shall be paid by the city or municipality where the custodial investigation is conducted, provided that if the municipality of city cannot pay such fee, the province comprising such municipality or city shall pay the fee: Provided, That the Municipal of City Treasurer must certify that no funds are available to pay the fees of assisting counsel before the province pays said fees. 

In the absence of any lawyer, no custodial investigation shall be conducted and the suspected person can only be detained by the investigating officer in accordance with the provisions of Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code. 

Sec. 4. Penalty Clause. - (a) Any arresting public officer of employee, or any investigating officer, who fails to inform any person arrested, detained or under custodial investigation of his right to remain silent and to have competent and independent counsel preferably of his own choice, shall suffer a fine of Six thousand pesos (P6,000.00) or a penalty of imprisonment of not less than eight (8) years but not more than ten (10) years, or both. The penalty of perpetual absolute disqualification shall also be imposed upon the investigating officer who has been previously convicted of a similar offense. 

The same penalties shall be imposed upon a officer or employee or anyone acting upon orders of such investigating officer or in his place, who fails to provide a competent and independent counsel to a person arrested, detained or under custodial investigation for the commission of an offense if the latter cannot afford the services of his own counsel. 

(b) Any person who obstruct, persons or prohibits any lawyer, any member of the immediate family of a person arrested, detained or under custodial investigation, or any medical doctor or priest or religious minister chosen by him or by any member of his immediate family or by his counsel, from visiting and conferring privately with him, of from examining and treating him, or from ministering to his spiritual needs, at any hour of the day or, in urgent cases, of the night shall suffer the penalty of imprisonment of not less than four (4) years nor more than six (6) years, and a fine of four thousand pesos (P4,000.00). 

The provisions of the above Section notwithstanding, any security officer with custodial responsibility over any detainee or prisoner may undertake such reasonable measures as may be necessary to secure his safety and prevent his escape. 

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

Serious Illegal Detention, Kidnapping And Hostage-Taking

Hostage-taking and kidnapping are often used interchangeably to describe a crime, which involves illegal detention. However, if you want to know about the appropriate charges that must be filed in court, it is important to know the distinction between the two legal terms. 

Sec. 2.    Article two hundred sixty-seven of the Revised Penal Code is hereby amended to read as follows:

"Art. 267.    Kidnapping and serious illegal detention. — Any private individual who shall kidnap or detain another, or in any other manner deprive him of his liberty, shall suffer the penalty of reclusion temporal in its maximum period to death:

"1.    If the kidnapping or detention shall have lasted more than five days.

"2.    If it shall have been committed simulating public authority. 

"3.    If any serious physical injuries shall have been inflicted upon the person kidnapped or detained, or if threats to kill him shall have been made.   

"4.    If the person kidnapped or detained shall be a minor, female or a public officer.

"The penalty shall be reclusion perpetua to death where the kidnapping or detention was committed for the purpose of extorting ransom from the victim or any other person, even if none of the circumstances above mentioned were present in the commission of the offense."

Sec. 3.    Article two hundred and sixty-eight of the Revised Penal Code is hereby amended to read as follows:

"Art. 268.    Slight illegal detention. — The penalty of reclusion temporal shall be imposed upon any private individual who shall commit the crimes described in the next preceding article without the attendance of any of the circumstances enumerated therein.

"The same penalty shall be incurred by anyone who shall furnish the place for the perpetration of the crime.  

"If the offender shall voluntarily release the person so kidnapped or detained within three days from the commencement of the detention, without having attained the purpose intended, and before the institution of criminal proceedings against him, the penalty shall be prision mayor in its minimum and medium periods and a fine not exceeding seven hundred pesos."

Sec. 4.    Article two hundred and seventy of the Revised Penal Code should be amended to read as follows:

"Art. 270.    Kidnapping and failure to return a minor. — The penalty of reclusion perpetua shall be imposed upon any person who, being entrusted with the custody of a minor person, shall deliberately fail to restore the latter to his parents or guardians."

Sec. 5.    Article two hundred and seventy-one of the Revised Penal Code should be amended to read as follows:

"Art. 271.    Inducing a minor to abandon his home. — The penalty of prision correccional and a fine not exceeding seven hundred pesos shall be imposed upon anyone who shall induce a minor to abandon the home of his parents or guardians or the persons entrusted with his custody.

"If the person committing any of the crimes covered by the two preceding articles shall be the father or the mother of the minor, the penalty shall be arresto mayor or a fine not exceeding three hundred pesos, or both." 

Sec. 6.    Cases 2, 4 and 5 of Article two hundred ninety-four of the Revised Penal Code are hereby amended to read as follows:

"2.    The penalty of reclusion temporal in its medium period to reclusion perpetua, when the robbery shall have been accompanied by rape or intentional mutilation, or if by reason or on occasion of such robbery, any of the physical injuries penalized in subdivision 1 of article 263 shall have been inflicted. 

"4.    The penalty of prision mayor in its maximum period to reclusion temporal in its medium period, if the violence or intimidation employed in the commission of the robbery shall have been carried to a degree clearly unnecessary for the commission of the crime, or when in the course of its execution, the offender shall have inflicted upon any person not responsible for its commission any of the physical injuries covered by subdivisions 3 and 4 of said article 263.  

"5.    The penalty of prision correccional in its maximum period to prision mayor in its medium period in other cases."

8 New Philippine Laws: Part 8 of 8 Anti-Age Discrimination For Employees

Has an employer ever refused you because of your age? A jobseeker is deterred from landing himself/herself a job because of age. With the new law known as the Republic Act 10911 or "An act prohibiting discrimination against any individual in employment on account of age and providing penalties therefore"does not allow employers to deny opportunities to employees on the basis of age. Employment and recruitment agencies are also prohibited from refusing to provide assistance to individuals regardless of their age from seeking employment. 

Sec. 5. Prohibition of Discrimination in Employment on Account of Age

a) It shall be unlawful for an employer to:

1)Print or publish, or cause to be printed or published, in any form of media, including the internet, any notice of advertisement relating to employment suggesting preferences, limitations, specifications, and discrimination based on age;

2)Require the declaration of age or birth date during the application process;

3)Decline any employment application because of the individual's age;

4)Discriminate against an individual in terms of compensation, terms and conditions or privileges of employment on account of such individual's age;

5)Deny any employee's or worker's promotion or opportunity for training because of age;

6)Forcibly lay off an employee or worker because of old age; or

7)Impose early retirement on the basis of such employee's or worker's age.

b)It shall be unlawful for a labor contractor or subcontractor, if any, to refuse to refer for employment or otherwise discriminate against any individual because of such person's age. 

c) It shall be unlawful for a labor organization to:

1)Deny membership to any individual because of such individual's age;

2)Exclude from its membership any individual because of such individual's age;

3)Cause or attempt to cause an employer to discriminate against an individual in violation of this Act. 

d)It shall be unlawful for a publisher to print or publish any notice of advertisement relating to employment suggesting preferences, limitations, specifications, and discrimination based on age.

Sec. 7. Penalty

Any violation of this Act shall be punished with a fine of not less than fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00) but not more than five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00, or imprisonment of not less than three (3) months but not more than two (2) years, or both, at the discretion of the court. If the offense is committed by a corporation, trust, firm, partnership or association or other entity, the penalty shall be imposed upon the guilty officer or officers of such corporation, trust, firm, partnership or association or entity. 

Preliminary Investigation: Rules Of Criminal Procedure

Investigation must be conducted to determine if there is sufficient evidence that a crime has been committed. Once preliminary investigation has been conducted, the prosecutor will determine if there is indeed a probable cause, which refers to the existence of circumstances and facts as would excite the belief. 

A preliminary investigation will be required in warrantless arrests cases. A person who is lawfully arrested without a warrant involving an offense which requires a preliminary investigation, the complaint or information may be filed by a prosecutor without need of such investigation provided an inquest has been conducted in accordance with existing rules.  

RULE 112 - PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION

Section  1.  Preliminary  investigation  defined;  when  required.  – Preliminary investigation is an inquiry or proceeding to determine whether  there  is sufficient  ground  to  engender  a  well-founded belief  that  a  crime  has  been  committed  and  the  respondent  is probably guilty thereof, and should be held for trial. 

Except  as  provided  in  Section  7  of  this  Rule,  a  preliminary investigation  is  required  to  be  conducted  before  the  filing  of  a compliant   or   information   for   an   offense   where   the   penalty prescribed  by  law  is  at  least  four  (4)  years,  two  (2)  months  and one (1) day without regard to the fine.  

Procedure in Conducting Preliminary Investigation

The   preliminary   investigation   shall   be conducted in the following manner:

(a)  The  complaint  shall  state  the  address  of  the  respondent  and shall be accompanied by the affidavits of the complainant and his witnesses,  as  well  as  other  supporting  documents  to  establish probable cause. They shall be in such number of copies as there are respondents, plus two (2) copies for the official file. The affidavits shall   be   subscribed   and   sworn   to   before   any   prosecutor   or government  official  authorized  to  administer  oath,  or,  in  their absence  or  unavailability,  before  a  notary  public,  each  of  whom must certify that he personally examined the affiants and that he is satisfied  that  they  voluntarily  executed  and  understood  their affidavits. 

(b)  Within  ten  (10)  days  after  the  filing  of  the  complaint,  the investigating officer shall either dismiss it if he finds no ground to continue  with  the  investigation,  or  issue  a  subpoena  to  the respondent  attaching  to   it  a   copy  of   the  complaint  and  its supporting affidavits and documents. 

The  respondent  shall  have  the  right  to  examine  the  evidence submitted  by  the  complainant  which  he  may  not  have  been furnished  and  to copy  them  at  his  expense.  If  the  evidence  is voluminous,  the  complainant  may  be  required  to  specify  those which  he  intends  to  present against  the  respondent,  and  these shall   be   made   available   for   examination  or   copying   by   the respondent at his expense.

Objects  as  evidence  need  not  be  furnished  a  party  but  shall  be made  available  for  examination,  copying,  or  photographing  at  the expense of the requesting party. 

(c)  Within  ten  (10)  days  from  receipt  of  the  subpoena  with  the complaint and supporting affidavits and documents, the respondent shall  submit  his  counter-affidavit  and  that of  his  witnesses  and other  supporting  documents  relied  upon  for  his  defense.  The counter-affidavits shall be subscribed and sworn to and certified as provided  in  paragraph  (a)  of  this  section,  with  copies  thereof furnished by him  to the complainant.  The respondent shall not be allowed to file a motion to dismiss in lieu of a counter-affidavit. 

(d)  If  the  respondent  cannot  be  subpoenaed,  or  if  subpoenaed, does not submit counter-affidavits within the ten (10) day period, the  investigating  office  shall  resolve  the  complaint  based  on  the evidence presented by the complainant. 

(e)  The  investigating  officer  may  set  a  hearing  if  there  are  facts and issues to be clarified from a party or a witness. The parties can be  present  at  the  hearing  but  without  the  right  to  examine  or cross-examine.  They  may,  however,  submit  to  the  investigating officer  questions  which  may  be  asked  to  the  party  or  witness concerned. 

The hearing shall be held within ten (10) days from submission of the counter-affidavits and other documents or from the expiration of the period for their submission. It shall be terminated within five (5) days. 

(f)  Within  ten  (10)  days  after  the  investigation,  the  investigating officer shall determine whether or not there is sufficient ground to hold the respondent for trial. 

Basic Discussion On Obstruction Of Justice

There are criminal cases that seem to take ages before a resolution can be made. For influential people who have criminal liability, delaying justice is like a walk in the park because wealth and power dictate how justice will be served. We have witnessed many cases where family members of a prominent political figure are not given the punishment they deserve because they know how to get away with law. However, people who are cradling criminals by delaying or frustrating apprehension and prosecution of offenders are violating Presidential Decree No. 1829 or Obstruction of Justice. 

Presidential Decree No. 1929

SECTION 1. The penalty of prision correccional in its maximum period, or a fine ranging from 1,000 to 6,000 pesos, or both, shall be imposed upon any person who knowingly or willfully obstructs, impedes, frustrates or delays the apprehension of suspects and the investigation and prosecution of criminal cases by committing any of the following acts:

(a) Preventing witnesses from testifying in any criminal proceeding or from reporting the commission of any offense or the identity of any offender/s by means of bribery, misrepresentation, deceit, intimidation, force or threats;

(b) Altering, destroying, suppressing or concealing any paper, record, document, or object with intent to impair its verity, authenticity, legibility, availability, or admissibility as evidence in any investigation of or official proceedings in criminal cases, or to be used in the investigation of, or official proceedings in, criminal cases;

(c) Harboring or concealing, or facilitating the escape of, any person he knows, or has reasonable ground to believe or suspect, has committed any offense under existing penal laws in order to prevent his arrest, prosecution and conviction;

(d) Publicly using a fictitious name for the purpose of concealing a crime, evading prosecution or the execution of a judgment, or concealing his true name and other personal circumstances for the same purpose or purposes;

(e) Delaying the prosecution of criminal cases by obstructing the service of process or court orders or disturbing proceedings in the fiscals’ offices, in Tanodbayan, or in the courts;

(f) Making, presenting or using any record, document, paper or object with knowledge of its falsity and with intent to affect the course or outcome of the investigation of, or official proceedings in, criminal cases;

(g) Soliciting, accepting, or agreeing to accept any benefit in consideration of abstaining from, discontinuing, or impeding the prosecution of a criminal offender;

(h) Threatening directly or indirectly another with the infliction of any wrong upon his person, honor or property or that of any immediate member or members of his family in order to prevent a person from appearing in the investigation of, or official proceedings in, criminal cases, or imposing a condition, whether lawful or unlawful, in order to prevent a person from appearing in the investigation of or in official proceedings in criminal cases;

(i) Giving of false or fabricated information to mislead or prevent the law enforcement agencies from apprehending the offender or from protecting the life or property of the victim; or fabricating information from the data gathered in confidence by investigating authorities for purposes of background information and not for publication and publishing or disseminating the same to mislead the investigator or the court.

If any of the acts mentioned herein is penalized by any other law with a higher penalty, the higher penalty shall be imposed.

SEC. 2. If any of the foregoing acts is committed by a public official or employee, he shall, in addition to the penalties provided thereunder, suffer perpetual disqualification from holding public office.

SEC. 3. This Decree shall take effect immediately.

Done in the City of Manila, this 16th day of January, in the year of Our Lord, nineteen hundred and eighty-one.

Anti-Photo And Video Voyeurism Act Of 2009

The proliferation of sex videos, sex scandals and nude photos posted on social networking sites such as Facebook is quite alarming considering the fact that most victims are women. Offenders are violating Republic Act No. 9995 or the Anti-Photo and Video Voyeurism Act of 2009. How does a person violate the provisions of this law?

Section 3. Definition of Terms. - For purposes of this Act, the term:

(a) "Broadcast" means to make public, by any means, a visual image with the intent that it be viewed by a person or persons.

(b) "Capture" with respect to an image, means to videotape, photograph, film, record by any means, or broadcast.

(c) "Female breast" means any portion of the female breast.

(d) "Photo or video voyeurism" means the act of taking photo or video coverage of a person or group of persons performing sexual act or any similar activity or of capturing an image of the private area of a person or persons without the latter's consent, under circumstances in which such person/s has/have a reasonable expectation of privacy, or the act of selling, copying, reproducing, broadcasting, sharing, showing or exhibiting the photo or video coverage or recordings of such sexual act or similar activity through VCD/DVD, internet, cellular phones and similar means or device without the written consent of the person/s involved, notwithstanding that consent to record or take photo or video coverage of same was given by such person's.

(e) "Private area of a person" means the naked or undergarment clad genitals, public area, buttocks or female breast of an individual.

(f) "Under circumstances in which a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy" means believe that he/she could disrobe in privacy, without being concerned that an image or a private area of the person was being captured; or circumstances in which a reasonable person would believe that a private area of the person would not be visible to the public, regardless of whether that person is in a public or private place.

Section 4. Prohibited Acts. - It is hereby prohibited and declared unlawful for any person:

(a) To take photo or video coverage of a person or group of persons performing sexual act or any similar activity or to capture an image of the private area of a person/s such as the naked or undergarment clad genitals, public area, buttocks or female breast without the consent of the person/s involved and under circumstances in which the person/s has/have a reasonable expectation of privacy;

(b) To copy or reproduce, or to cause to be copied or reproduced, such photo or video or recording of sexual act or any similar activity with or without consideration;

(c) To sell or distribute, or cause to be sold or distributed, such photo or video or recording of sexual act, whether it be the original copy or reproduction thereof; or

(d) To publish or broadcast, or cause to be published or broadcast, whether in print or broadcast media, or show or exhibit the photo or video coverage or recordings of such sexual act or any similar activity through VCD/DVD, internet, cellular phones and other similar means or device.

The prohibition under paragraphs (b), (c) and (d) shall apply notwithstanding that consent to record or take photo or video coverage of the same was given by such person/s. Any person who violates this provision shall be liable for photo or video voyeurism as defined herein.

Section 5. Penalties.

The penalty of imprisonment of not less that three (3) years but not more than seven (7) years and a fine of not less than One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) but not more than Five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00), or both, at the discretion of the court shall be imposed upon any person found guilty of violating Section 4 of this Act.

If the violator is a juridical person, its license or franchise shall be automatically be deemed revoked and the persons liable shall be the officers thereof including the editor and reporter in the case of print media, and the station manager, editor and broadcaster in the case of a broadcast media.

If the offender is a public officer or employee, or a professional, he/she shall be administratively liable.

If the offender is an alien, he/she shall be subject to deportation proceedings after serving his/her sentence and payment of fines.

8 New Philippine Laws: Part 6 of 8 No More Texting While Driving

Texting while driving is a multi-tasking skill many people on the go have learned to acquire. However, a few seconds of distraction can cause road accident. Republic Act No. 10913 or the Act Defining and Penalizing Distracted Driving will put a lid on the injurious and sometimes deadly effects of vehicular accidents due to the unrestrained use of mobile devices. 

Sec. 5. Extent of Coverage

a) The operation of a mobile communications device is not considered to be distracted driving if done using the aid of a hands-free function or similar device such as, but not limited to, a speaker phone, earphones and microphones or other similar devices which allow a person to make and receive calls without having to hold the mobile communication device: Provided, that the place of the mobile communications device or the hands-free device does not interfere with the line of sight of the driver. 

b) Wheeled agricultural machineries such as tractors and construction equipment such as graders, rollers, backhoes, payloaders, cranes, bulldozers, mobile concrete mixers and the like and other forms of conveyances such as bicycles, pedicabs, "habal-habal", trolleys, "kuligligs", wagons carriages, carts, sledges, chariots or the like, whether animal or human-powered, are covered by the provisions of this Act as long as the same are operated or driven in public thoroughfares, highways, or streets or under circumstances where public safety is under consideration. 

c) The provisions of this Act shall not apply to motorists of motor vehicles which are not in motion, except those which are stopped momentarily at a red light, or are pulled over the side of the road in compliance with a traffic regulation.  

Sec. 6. Exemptions

The provisions of this Act shall not apply to the following:

a)A motorist using a mobile phone for emergency purposes, including, but not limited to, an emergency call to a law enforcement agency, health care provider, fire department, or other emergency services, agency or entity: and

b)A motorist using a mobile phone while operating an emergency vehicle such as an ambulance, a fire truck, and other vehicles providing emergency assistance, in the course and scope of his or her duties. 

Penalties

Those who are found guilty of violating any provision of this Act will be penalized a fine of five thousand pesos (P5,000.00)for the first offense; ten thousand pesos (P10,000.00) for the second offense; fifteen thousand pesos (P15,000.00) and suspension of driver's license for three (3) months for the third offense; and a fine of twenty thousand pesos (P20,000.00) and revocation of driver's license: Provided that the implementing agency may increase the amount of fine herein imposed once every five (5) years in the amount not exceeding ten percent (10%) of the existing rates sought to be increased which shall take effect only upon publication in at least two (2) newspapers of general circulation. 

8 New Philippine Laws: Part 5 of 8 Longer Prescriptive Period For Crimes Of Graft And Corruption

Corrupt practices are plaguing the country and it has been a political cancer waiting for a sure-fire antidote. Many people have been caught engaging in graft and corrupt practices, and preventive measures remained futile. There are still people who continue to exploit public funds by leaving a lavish lifestyle. The unexplained wealth convinces law enforcers that something is not right.

We have witnessed a great number of public figures who have been charged of graft and corruption for the past years.  Some ended up in jail while others continue to enjoy a luxurious lifestyle. Crime does pay, but if the evidence is weak, perpetrators will continue to roam the streets unscathed. At present, the violators of the Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act will face fifteen (15) years of imprisonment. 

A new law, which will be in conjunction of this act will aim to provide longer prescription period to those who are found violating the law. From 15 years, the prescription will be extended to 20 years. 

In case you are wondering what the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act covers, here is the summary:

Section 3. Corrupt practices of public officers. In addition to acts or omissions of public officers already penalized by existing law, the following shall constitute corrupt practices of any public officer and are hereby declared to be unlawful:

(a) Persuading, inducing or influencing another public officer to perform an act constituting a violation of rules and regulations duly promulgated by competent authority or an offense in connection with the official duties of the latter, or allowing himself to be persuaded, induced, or influenced to commit such violation or offense.

(b) Directly or indirectly requesting or receiving any gift, present, share, percentage, or benefit, for himself or for any other person, in connection with any contract or transaction between the Government and any other part, wherein the public officer in his official capacity has to intervene under the law.

(c) Directly or indirectly requesting or receiving any gift, present or other pecuniary or material benefit, for himself or for another, from any person for whom the public officer, in any manner or capacity, has secured or obtained, or will secure or obtain, any Government permit or license, in consideration for the help given or to be given, without prejudice to Section thirteen of this Act.

(d) Accepting or having any member of his family accept employment in a private enterprise which has pending official business with him during the pendency thereof or within one year after its termination.

(e) Causing any undue injury to any party, including the Government, or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his official administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence. This provision shall apply to officers and employees of offices or government corporations charged with the grant of licenses or permits or other concessions.

(f) Neglecting or refusing, after due demand or request, without sufficient justification, to act within a reasonable time on any matter pending before him for the purpose of obtaining, directly or indirectly, from any person interested in the matter some pecuniary or material benefit or advantage, or for the purpose of favoring his own interest or giving undue advantage in favor of or discriminating against any other interested party.

(g) Entering, on behalf of the Government, into any contract or transaction manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to the same, whether or not the public officer profited or will profit thereby.

(h) Director or indirectly having financing or pecuniary interest in any business, contract or transaction in connection with which he intervenes or takes part in his official capacity, or in which he is prohibited by the Constitution or by any law from having any interest.

(i) Directly or indirectly becoming interested, for personal gain, or having a material interest in any transaction or act requiring the approval of a board, panel or group of which he is a member, and which exercises discretion in such approval, even if he votes against the same or does not participate in the action of the board, committee, panel or group.

Interest for personal gain shall be presumed against those public officers responsible for the approval of manifestly unlawful, inequitable, or irregular transaction or acts by the board, panel or group to which they belong.

(j) Knowingly approving or granting any license, permit, privilege or benefit in favor of any person not qualified for or not legally entitled to such license, permit, privilege or advantage, or of a mere representative or dummy of one who is not so qualified or entitled.

(k) Divulging valuable information of a confidential character, acquired by his office or by him on account of his official position to unauthorized persons, or releasing such information in advance of its authorized release date.

The person giving the gift, present, share, percentage or benefit referred to in subparagraphs (b) and (c); or offering or giving to the public officer the employment mentioned in subparagraph (d); or urging the divulging or untimely release of the confidential information referred to in subparagraph (k) of this section shall, together with the offending public officer, be punished under Section nine of this Act and shall be permanently or temporarily disqualified in the discretion of the Court, from transacting business in any form with the Government.

Catcalling And Wolf-whistling Can Land You In Jail

A tepid cup of coffee and news just blend well. Whenever there's bad news, the kick I get from caffeine just calms my senses. I was browsing through some interesting online news on a typical Wednesday and one headline caught my eye "Senator files bill penalizing wolf-whistling and catcalling". People who are out on the streets are sometimes infested by fear and paranoia especially the female of the species and the members of the LGBTQ community. Catcalling and wolf-whistling have been a form of entertainment for bystanders. Women have been enveloped by fear because of catcallers on the streets. 

While there is an existing law against sexual harassment, Sen. Risa Hontiveros filed the Safe Streets and Public Spaces Act of 2017 to ensure women and LGBTQ community can walk the streets without feeling unsafe and violated. 

The penalties that will be imposed will depend on the seriousness of the violation.

This bill, if enacted into a law will be in conjunction with Republic Act 7877 or the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995.

SECTION 3. Work, Education or Training -Related, Sexual Harassment Defined. - Work, education or  training-related sexual harassment is committed by an employer, employee, manager, supervisor, agent of the employer, teacher, instructor, professor, coach, trainor, or any other  person who, having authority, influence or moral ascendancy  over another in a work or training or education environment, demands, requests or otherwise requires any sexual favor  from the other, regardless of whether the demand, request or  requirement for submission is accepted by the object of said Act.

      (a) In a work-related or employment environment, sexual  harassment is committed when:

                  (1) The sexual favor is made as a condition in the hiring or  in the employment, re-employment or continued employment  of said individual, or in granting said individual favorable compensation, terms of conditions, promotions, or privileges;  or the refusal to grant the sexual favor results in limiting, segregating or classifying the employee which in any way  would discriminate, deprive ordiminish employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect said employee;         

                  (2) The above acts would impair the employee's rights or  privileges under existing labor laws; or            

                  (3) The above acts would result in an intimidating, hostile,  or offensive environment for the employee.

       (b) In an education or training environment, sexual harassment is committed:      

                (1) Against one who is under the care, custody or supervision of the offender;  

                (2) Against one whose education, training, apprenticeship  or tutorship is entrusted to the offender;    

                (3) When the sexual favor is made a condition to the giving  of a passing grade, or the granting of honors and scholarships,  or the payment of a stipend, allowance or other benefits,  privileges, or consideration; or           

                (4) When the sexual advances result in an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment for the student, trainee or  apprentice.

Any person who directs or induces another to commit any  act of sexual harassment as herein defined, or who cooperates  in the commission thereof by another without which it would  not have been committed, shall also be held liable under this  Act.

Damage To Property: What Crime Do You Commit?

Perhaps you have that one neighbor you really cannot stand because of their behavior. Whether they create noise pollution or they are plain annoying, there are instances when enough is enough. You may have surely reached your boiling point when your neighbors have caused damage to your property. However, making your neighbor pay for the damages is easier said than done. How can a person be held liable for the crime? What law does he or she violate?

MALICIOUS MISCHIEF

Art. 327. Who are liable for malicious mischief. — Any person who shall deliberately cause the property of another any damage not falling within the terms of the next preceding chapter shall be guilty of malicious mischief.

Art. 328. Special cases of malicious mischief. — Any person who shall cause damage to obstruct the performance of public functions, or using any poisonous or corrosive substance; or spreading any infection or contagion among cattle; or who cause damage to the property of the National Museum or National Library, or to any archive or registry, waterworks, road, promenade, or any other thing used in common by the public, shall be punished:

1. By prision correccional in its minimum and medium periods, if the value of the damage caused exceeds 1,000 pesos;

2. By arresto mayor, if such value does not exceed the abovementioned amount but it is over 200 pesos; and

3. By arresto menor, in such value does not exceed 200 pesos.

Art. 329. Other mischiefs. — The mischiefs not included in the next preceding article shall be punished:

1. By arresto mayor in its medium and maximum periods, if the value of the damage caused exceeds 1,000 pesos;

2. By arresto mayor in its minimum and medium periods, if such value is over 200 pesos but does not exceed 1,000 pesos; and

3. By arresto menor or fine of not less than the value of the damage caused and not more than 200 pesos, if the amount involved does not exceed 200 pesos or cannot be estimated.

Art. 330. Damage and obstruction to means of communication. — The penalty of prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods shall be imposed upon any person who shall damage any railway, telegraph or telephone lines.

If the damage shall result in any derailment of cars, collision or other accident, the penalty of prision mayor shall be imposed, without prejudice to the criminal liability of the offender for the other consequences of his criminal act.

For the purpose of the provisions of the article, the electric wires, traction cables, signal system and other things pertaining to railways, shall be deemed to constitute an integral part of a railway system.

Art. 331. Destroying or damaging statues, public monuments or paintings. — Any person who shall destroy or damage statues or any other useful or ornamental public monument shall suffer the penalty of arresto mayor in its medium period to prision correccional in its minimum period.

Any person who shall destroy or damage any useful or ornamental painting of a public nature shall suffer the penalty of arresto menor or a fine not exceeding 200 pesos, or both such fine and imprisonment, in the discretion of the court.

Alarms And Scandals: How Do You Commit Such A Crime?

I was skimming through a series of bar exam question samples and one question that caught my eye was about alarms and scandals. The question was: Supposed a woman rented a condo unit equipped with indoor swimming pool. One evening, the woman decided to take a swim naked. Although the pool is situated in a private location, people who are renting other units can still get a good view of the woman swimming in her birthday suit. Some people were feasting their eyes and others were taking pictures. Others took offense to the view of the naked woman. Is skinny dipping violating the law on alarms and scandals? For us to know whether or not the woman has violated the law, we need to take a look at the situations in which the crime of alarms and scandals is committed. 

Art. 155. Alarms and scandals. — The penalty of arresto menor or a fine not exceeding P200 pesos shall be imposed upon:

1. Any person who within any town or public place, shall discharge any firearm, rocket, firecracker, or other explosives calculated to cause alarm or danger;

2. Any person who shall instigate or take an active part in any charivari or other disorderly meeting offensive to another or prejudicial to public tranquility;

3. Any person who, while wandering about at night or while engaged in any other nocturnal amusements, shall disturb the public peace; or

4. Any person who, while intoxicated or otherwise, shall cause any disturbance or scandal in public places, provided that the circumstances of the case shall not make the provisions of Article 153 applicable.

Alarms and scandals are crimes of disturbance. It has to do with bringing disturbance to public peace. Scandalous acts deemed offensive to good customs, morals and public policy are considered as crimes of disturbance. Note that the crime is committed if it is disturbing the peace in public nature. Now going back to the question, is the woman guilty of committing the crime of disturbance?

In the case of going skinny dipping, while the act may seem to be insensitive, it does not necessarily mean it is illegal. While the act caught other people's attention, the pool is situated in a private location. The act was not for everyone's viewing pleasure. Although there were people checking out the woman going skinny dipping, the woman had no intention to cause disturbance. The woman was merely enjoying the water and not to entice other people into ravishing her forms. 

How Does A Person Violate Anti-Fencing Law?

You may have already encountered a person offering you goods and because of an attractive offer, you agree to buying the item at a much cheaper price. However, the item you purchased was stolen and when you were confronted by the real owner of the item, your defense was that you had no idea it was stolen. In this case, are you going to be considered guilty of violating Anti-fencing law? 

Section 3. Penalties. Any person guilty of fencing shall be punished as here under indicated:

(a) The penalty of prision mayor, if the value of the property involved is more than 12,000 pesos but not exceeding 22,000 pesos; if the value of such property exceeds the latter sum, the penalty provided in this paragraph shall be imposed in its maximum period, adding one year for each additional 10,000 pesos; but the total penalty which may be imposed shall not exceed twenty years. In such cases, the penalty shall be termed reclusion temporal and the accessory penalty pertaining thereto provided in the Revised Penal Code shall also be imposed.

(b) The penalty of prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods, if the value of the property robbed or stolen is more than 6,000 pesos but not exceeding 12,000 pesos.

(c) The penalty of prision correccional in its minimum and medium periods, if the value of the property involved is more than 200 pesos but not exceeding 6,000 pesos.

(d) The penalty of arresto mayor in its medium period to prision correccional in its minimum period, if the value of the property involved is over 50 pesos but not exceeding 200 pesos.

(e) The penalty of arresto mayor in its medium period if such value is over five (5) pesos but not exceeding 50 pesos.

(f) The penalty of arresto mayor in its minimum period if such value does not exceed 5 pesos.

Section 4. Liability of Officials of Juridical Persons. If the fence is a partnership, firm, corporation or association, the president or the manager or any officer thereof who knows or should have known the commission of the offense shall be liable.

Section 5. Presumption of Fencing. Mere possession of any good, article, item, object, or anything of value which has been the subject of robbery or thievery shall be prima facie evidence of fencing.

Section 6. Clearance/Permit to Sell/Used Second Hand Articles. For purposes of this Act, all stores, establishments or entities dealing in the buy and sell of any good, article item, object of anything of value obtained from an unlicensed dealer or supplier thereof, shall before offering the same for sale to the public, secure the necessary clearance or permit from the station commander of the Integrated National Police in the town or city where such store, establishment or entity is located. The Chief of Constabulary/Director General, Integrated National Police shall promulgate such rules and regulations to carry out the provisions of this section. Any person who fails to secure the clearance or permit required by this section or who violates any of the provisions of the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder shall upon conviction be punished as a fence. 

Section 7. Repealing Clause. All laws or parts thereof, which are inconsistent with the provisions of this Decree are hereby repealed or modified accordingly.

Section 8. Effectivity. This Decree shall take effect upon approval.

Done in the City of Manila, this 2nd day of March, in the year of Our Lord, nineteen hundred and seventy-nine.

RULES AND REGULATIONS TO CARRY OUT THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 6 OF PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO. 1612, KNOWN AS THE ANTI-FENCING LAW.

Pursuant to Section 6 of Presidential Decree No. 1612, known as the Anti-Fencing Law, the following rules and regulations are hereby promulgated to govern the issuance of clearances/permits to sell used secondhand articles obtained from an unlicensed dealer or supplier thereof:

I. Definition of Terms

1. "Used secondhand article" shall refer to any goods, article, item, object or anything of value obtained from an unlicensed dealer or supplier, regardless of whether the same has actually or in fact been used.

2. "Unlicensed dealer/supplier" shall refer to any persons, partnership, firm, corporation, association or any other entity or establishment not licensed by the government to engage in the business of dealing in or of supplying the articles defined in the preceding paragraph.

3. "Store", "establishment" or "entity" shall be construed to include any individual dealing in the buying and selling used secondhand articles, as defined in paragraph hereof.

4. "Buy and Sell" refer to the transaction whereby one purchases used secondhand articles for the purpose of resale to third persons.

5. "Station Commander" shall refer to the Station Commander of the Integrated National Police within the territorial limits of the town or city district where the store, establishment or entity dealing in the buying and selling of used secondhand articles is located.

II. Duty to Procure Clearance or Permit

1. No person shall sell or offer to sell to the public any used secondhand article as defined herein without first securing a clearance or permit for the purpose from the proper Station Commander of the Integrated National Police.

2. If the person seeking the clearance or permit is a partnership, firm, corporation, or association or group of individuals, the clearance or permit shall be obtained by or in the name of the president, manager or other responsible officer-in-charge thereof.

3. If a store, firm, corporation, partnership, association or other establishment or entity has a branch or subsidiary and the used secondhand article is acquired by such branch or subsidiary for sale to the public, the said branch or subsidiary shall secure the required clearance or permit.

4. Any goods, article, item, or object or anything of value acquired from any source for which no receipt or equivalent document evidencing the legality of its acquisition could be presented by the present possessor or holder thereof, or the covering receipt, or equivalent document, of which is fake, falsified or irregularly obtained, shall be presumed as having been acquired from an unlicensed dealer or supplier and the possessor or holder thereof must secure the required clearance or permit before the same can be sold or offered for sale to the public.



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