Congress seeks repeal of Revised Penal Code after 81 years

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After 81 years, the House of Representatives has finally moved to repeal the 1932 Revised Penal Code with the Philippine Code of Crimes which would which would impose harsher penalties to moneyed individuals who committed crimes.

Rep. Niel Tupas Jr. of Iloilo province, the Chairman of the House Committee on Justice, made the announcement during the launch of the Book 1 of the proposed Philippine Code of Crimes or House Bill 2300 authored by Tupas.

The Philippine Code of Crimes provides that a criminal will have to pay penalties based on the crime they committed and their income, meaning a President of the Company would incur higher penalties over his driver even if they committed the same crime.

Likewise, the PH Code of Crimes will grant Philippine court jurisdiction on transnational crimes or crimes committed by Filipinos abroad as well as Filipinos who became victims of crime committed abroad.

The PH Crime Code would also lower the age of criminal responsibility to 13 from the existing 15-year-old threshold in the existing Juvenile Justice Law passed last Congress.

Another provision modified by the new code is the double jeopardy or prohibition of charging the same person with the same crime. The PH Crime Code allows the state to appeal the case based on certain circumstances and judge’s discretion.

Under existing law, the double jeopardy rule can only be overturned if there is grave abuse of discretion.

“This is modern, responsive, based on our culture. Now, we won’t have penalties as low as 200 pesos. This is about being able to serve justice not only to the mighty and the powerful but moreover to the poor and oppressed sectors of our society,” Tupas pointed out.

“We were supposed to file this last Congress but it was shelved because of the impeachment. Now, we are going to have no impeachment and focus on the passage of this landmark legislation in the 16th Congress. Our target is to pass this into law in two years, and we are working with the Department of Justice in asking the President to certify this bill as urgent,” Tupas added.

Tupas was referring to the impeachment of former Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez in May 2011 and former Chief Justice Renato Corona in December 2011.

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