Criminal Law – A branch of municipal law which defines crimes, treats of their nature and provides for their punishment.
Legal Basis of Punishment
The power to punish violators of criminal law comes within the police power of the state. It is the injury inflicted to the public which a criminal action seeks to redress, and not the injury to the individual.
The objective of the punishment is two-fold: absolute and relative. The absolute theory is to inflict punishment as a form of retributive justice. It is to destroy wrong in its effort to annihilate right, to put an end to the criminal activity of the offender.
On the other hand, the relative theory purports to prevent the offender from further offending public right or to the right to repel an imminent or actual aggression, exemplary or by way of example to others not to follow the path taken by the offender and ultimately for reformation or to place him under detention to teach him the obligations of a law-abiding citizen.
Power to Enact Penal Laws
Only the legislative branch of the government can enact penal laws. While the President may define and punish an act as a crime, such exercise of power is not executive but legislative as he derives such power from the law-making body. It is in essence, an exercise of legislative power by the Chief Executive.
Limitations on the power of Congress to enact penal laws
1.Must be general in application.
2.Must not partake of the nature of an ex post facto law.
3.Must not partake of the nature of a bill of attainder.
4.Must not impose cruel and unusual punishment or excessive fines.
Characteristics of Criminal Law: (G.T.P.)
1. General – the law is binding to all persons who reside in the Philippines
Generality of criminal law means that the criminal law of the country governs all persons within the country regardless of their race, belief, sex, or creed. However, it is subject to certain exceptions brought about by international agreement. Ambassadors, chiefs of states and other diplomatic officials are immune from the application of penal laws when they are in the country where they are assigned.
Note that consuls are not diplomatic officers. This includes consul-general, vice-consul or any consul in a foreign country, who are therefore, not immune to the operation or application of the penal law of the country where they are assigned. Consuls are subject to the penal laws of the country where they are assigned.
It has no reference to territory. Whenever you are asked to explain this, it does not include territory. It refers to persons that may be governed by the penal law.
Exceptions to general application of criminal law:
a) principles of public international law
b) treaties or treaty stipulations
c) laws of preferential application
2. Territorial – the law is binding to all crimes committed within the National Territory of the Philippines Exception to Territorial Application: Instances enumerated under Article 2.
Territoriality means that the penal laws of the country have force and effect only within its territory. It cannot penalize crimes committed outside the same. This is subject to certain exceptions brought about by international agreements and practice. The territory of the country is not limited to the land where its sovereignty resides but includes also its maritime and interior waters as well as its atmosphere.
Terrestrial jurisdiction is the jurisdiction exercised over land.
Fluvial jurisdiction is the jurisdiction exercised over maritime and interior waters.
Aerial jurisdiction is the jurisdiction exercised over the atmosphere.
The Archipelagic Rule
All bodies of water comprising the maritime zone and interior waters abounding different islands comprising the Philippine Archipelago are part of the...