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Penalties, A21-24 Revised Penal Code

1. Penalties

[T]here is no crime when there is no law punishing it (Nullum Crimen, nulla poena sine lege).  (Peñalosa v. Ocampo, Jr., G.R. No. 230299, April 26, 2023, Per Leonen, SAJ.)

a. Legal basis

Article 21. Penalties that may be imposed. - No felony shall be punishable by any penalty not prescribed by law prior to its commission.

(Revised Penal Code)

Even if an act is viewed by a large section of the populace as immoral or injurious, it cannot be considered a crime, absent any law prohibiting its commission. As interpreters of the law, judges are called upon to set aside emotion, to resist being swayed by strong public sentiments, and to rule strictly based on the elements of the offense and the facts allowed in evidence. (Villareal v. People, G.R. Nos. 151258, 154954, and 155101, etc., February 01, 2023, Per Sereno, J.)

Peñalosa v. Ocampo, Jr., G.R. No. 230299, April 26, 2023, Per Leonen, SAJ.:

• For these reasons, an allegedly libelous Facebook post made may only be punished under the Cybercrime Prevention Act, not under Article 355 of the Revised Penal Code. Since the Facebook post complained of was made in 2011, a year before the Cybercrime Prevention Act was passed, there was no libel punishable under Article 355 of the Revised Penal Code. Nullum crimen, nulla poena sine lege – there is no crime when there is no law punishing it. The prosecution in this case correctly withdrew the information it had filed with the trial court.

Villareal...

 



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