RPC’s supplementary application, A10 Revised Penal Code

1. Concept

RPC’s suppletory application – refers to the supplementary application of the Revised Penal Code in case future special penal laws which may be lacking in certain respects.

a. Legal basis

Article 10. Offenses not subject to the provisions of this Code. - Offenses which are or in the future may be punishable under special laws are not subject to the provisions of this Code. This Code shall be supplementary to such laws, unless the latter should specially provide the contrary.

(Revised Penal Code)

When a special law lacks certain respects, the Revised Penal Code may be used by way of suppletory application to fill in the missing aspects of the special penal law.

2. Suppletory application

The article is composed of two clauses. The first provides that offenses which in the future are made punishable under special laws are not subject to the provisions of the RPC, while the second makes the RPC supplementary to such laws. While it seems that the two clauses are contradictory, a sensible interpretation will show that they can perfectly be reconciled. (Ladonga v. People, G.R. No. 141006, February 17, 2005, Per Austria-Martinez, J.)

1) First clause

The first clause should be understood to mean only that the special penal laws are controlling with regard to offenses therein specifically punished. Said clause only restates the elemental rule of statutory construction that special legal provisions prevail over general ones. Lex specialis derogant ...

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