Sunday, October 14, 2012

LUMANTA




[ G.R. No. 174629, February 14, 2008 ]
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Represented by THE ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING COUNCIL (AMLC), Petitioner, vs. HON. ANTONIO M. EUGENIO, JR., AS PRESIDING JUDGE OF RTC, MANILA, BRANCH 34, PANTALEON ALVAREZ and LILIA CHENG, Respondents.

Facts:  Lilia Cheng argues that the AMLA, being a substantive penal statute, has no retroactive effect and the bank inquiry order could not apply to deposits or investments opened prior to the effectivity of Rep. Act No. 9164, or on 17 October 2001. Thus, she concludes, her subject bank accounts, opened between 1989 to 1990, could not be the subject of the bank inquiry order lest there be a violation of the constitutional prohibition against ex post facto laws.
Issue:  Does the proscription against ex post facto laws apply to the interpretation of Section 11, a provision which does not provide for a penal sanction but which merely authorizes the inspection of suspect accounts and deposits?
Held:   Yes.  This is because no person may be prosecuted under the penal provisions of the AMLA for the acts committed prior to the enactment of the law (October 17, 2001).  Regarding the authority to inspect, it should be noted that an ex post facto is also one that deprives a person accused of a crime of some lawful protection to which he has become entitled, such as the protection of a former  conviction of acquittal, or proclamation or amnesty. 

[ G.R. NO. 171271, August 31, 2006 ]

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, APPELLEE, VS. ELBERTO TUBONGBANUA Y PAHILANGA, APPELLANT.

Appellant Elberto Tubongbanua y Pahilanga was convicted for violating Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code,  as amended by R.A. No. 7659, which prescribes the penalty of reclusion perpetua to death for the crime of murder. Considering the qualifying circumstance of evident premeditation and the aggravating circumstances of dwelling, and taking advantage of superior strength without any mitigating circumstance, the proper imposable penalty would have been death.  However, a new law was passed, Republic Act No. 9346 or the Act Prohibiting the Imposition of Death Penalty on June 24, 2006 while case is pending in the Supreme Court.
Issue:  Can the new law be given retroactive effect?
Yes.  Under the law, laws shall not be given retroactive effect unless it is favorable to the accused.  The new law is favorable to the accused. Thus,
SECTION 1. The imposition of the penalty of death is hereby prohibited. Accordingly, Republic Act No. Eight Thousand One Hundred Seventy-Seven (R.A. No. 8177), otherwise known as the Act Designating Death by Lethal Injection is hereby repealed. Republic Act No. Seven Thousand Six Hundred Fifty-Nine (R.A. No. 7659), otherwise known as the Death Penalty Law and all other laws, executive orders and decrees insofar as they impose the death penalty are hereby repealed or amended accordingly.

SEC. 2. In lieu of the death penalty, the following shall be imposed:

(a) the penalty of reclusion perpetua, when the law violated makes use of the nomenclature of the penalties of the Revised Penal Code; or

(b) the penalty of life imprisonment, when the law violated does not make use of the nomenclature of the penalties of the Revised Penal Code.

Pursuant to the same law, appellant shall not be eligible for parole under Act No. 4103, otherwise known as the Indeterminate Sentence Law.

Appellant Elberto Tubongbanua y Pahilanga is found
GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of MURDER as defined in Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 7659, qualified by evident premeditation and with the attendant aggravating circumstances of taking advantage of superior strength and dwelling, with no mitigating circumstances. The proper imposable penalty would have been death. However, pursuant to Republic Act No. 9346, appellant is sentenced to suffer the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua without possibility of parole.

[ G.R. No. 125359, September 04, 2001 ]ROBERTO S. BENEDICTO AND HECTOR T. RIVERA, PETITIONERS,VS.THE COURT OF APPEALS, HON. GUILLERMO L. LOJA, SR., PRESIDING JUDGE, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF MANILA, BRANCH 26, AND PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, RESPONDENTS.

Facts:  Section 36 of Republic Act No. 7653, in reenacting Section 34 of the old Central Act, increased the penalty for violations of rules and regulations issued by the Monetary Board. They claim that such increase in the penalty would give Republic Act No. 7653 an ex post facto application, violating the Bill of Rights.

Issue:  Is Section 36 of Republic Act No. 7653 an ex post facto legislation?

Held:  No.  An ex post facto law is one which: (1) makes criminal an act done before the passage of the law and which was innocent when done, and punishes such an act; (2) aggravates a crime, or makes it greater than it was when committed; (3) changes the punishment and inflicts a greater punishment than the law annexed to the crime when committed; (4) alters the legal rules of evidence, and authorizes conviction upon less or different testimony than the law required at the time of the commission of the offense; (5) assuming to regulate civil rights, and remedies only, in effect imposes penalty or deprivation of a right for something which when done was lawful; and (6) deprives a person accused of a crime of some lawful protection to which he has become entitled such as the protection of a former conviction or acquittal, or a proclamation of amnesty.

The test whether a penal law runs afoul of the ex post facto clause of the Constitution is: Does the law sought to be applied retroactively take "from an accused any right that was regarded at the time of the adoption of the constitution as vital for the protection of life and liberty and which he enjoyed at the time of the commission of the offense charged against him?"

The crucial words in the test are "vital for the protection of life and liberty."The test inapplicable to the penal clause of Republic Act No. 7653. Penal laws and laws which, while not penal in nature, nonetheless have provisions defining offenses and prescribing penalties for their violation operate prospectively.   Penal laws cannot be given retroactive effect, except when they are favorable to the accused.  Nowhere in Republic Act No. 7653, and in particular Section 36, is there any indication that the increased penalties provided therein were intended to operate retroactively. There is, therefore, no ex post facto law in this case.


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