Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Legislator seeks repeal of Revised Penal Code - Business Mirror

Details Category: Nation Published on Tuesday, 13 August 2013 20:25 Written by Jovee Marie N. dela Cruz

A LAWMAKER on Tuesday filed a bill that would replace the Revised Penal Code.

House Bill (HB) 2300, titled "An Act Instituting the Philippine Code of Crimes to Further Strengthen the Criminal Justice System, Repealing for the Purpose Book One Act 3815, as Amended Otherwise Known as the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines and Other Special Laws on Crimes," or "The Philippine Code, of Crimes," seeks to institute changes to Book One of the Revised Penal Code which is widely viewed as outdated and archaic.

"It is imperative for us to revisit the Revised Penal Code and to craft a new Code of Crimes that is updated, modern, simplified, responsive and truly Filipino. This historical undertaking is long overdue," said HB 2300 author Liberal Party Rep. Niel Tupas Jr. of Iloilo.

In the bill's explanatory note, Tupas, who is also the chairman of the House Committee on Justice, said the Revised Penal Code, which was enacted in 1932, "contains antiquated provisions and deals with crimes that are now irrelevant to and fails to address current situations."

It added that the current law also provides for penalties that have now become "obsolete."

According to Tupas, the proposed Code of Crimes is the result of two years of work and consultation with various sectors and experts spearheaded by the Department of Justice's Criminal Code Committee and the House Committee on Justice in partnership with the Hanns Seidel Foundation of Germany.

He said HB 2300 is the first installment of initiatives to update the country's penal laws, saying efforts to propose changes to Book II of the Revised Penal Code are under way.

Key features

AMONG the key features of the measure is the shift to a universal jurisdiction of crimes instead of the current jurisdiction based on territory. This will allow the state to prosecute crimes committed outside the Philippines if the said crimes are against national security, against Filipino citizens or against humanity and the law of nations.

The bill also lowers the minimum age of criminal liability to 13—those aged between 13 and 18 are penalized depending on the nature of the crime but with suspended sentence and referral for diversionary programs.

Another key feature is the simplified approach to criminalization. Crimes will now be based on conduct and not on mental degree of participation.

Criminal and civil actions will no longer be split as the civil remedy will now be always aggravating, mitigating or alternative without need of specific characterization for purposes of trial.

Other features of the proposed measure are the table of penalties with numeric penalties, which will replace the old Spanish or Latin terms for penalties for easy reference, and the prescription of crimes and service of sentence will now be combined.

"The proposed Code of Crimes is part of the larger justice reform agenda of the government aimed at improving the administration of justice in the country and enhancing access to justice of the poor and other marginalize sectors," Tupas added.

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