I am the complainant in a robbery case committed in my warehouse. Will the accused be imprisoned in case I refuse to make any settlement with him, and proceed with the trial? I heard that there is a possibility that he will not be imprisoned even if convicted.
It is provided under Article 302 of the Revised Penal Code that robbery in an uninhabited place, if the value of the property taken exceeds P250 shall be punished by prision coreccional in its medium and maximum periods. The penalty imposed by law is equivalent to a minimum imprisonment of two years, four months and one day of imprisonment to six years of imprisonment.
A trial in the crime of robbery, as in all criminal cases, does not guarantee that the accused will be declared by the court guilty of the crime charged. In considering a criminal case, it is critical to start with the law’s own starting perspective on the status of the accused – in all criminal prosecutions, he is presumed innocent of the charge laid unless the contrary is proven beyond reasonable doubt. The burden of such proof rests with the prosecution which must rely on the strength of its case rather than on the weakness of the case for the defense. Proof beyond reasonable doubt, or that quantum of proof sufficient to produce a moral certainty that would convince and satisfy the conscience of those who act in judgment, is indispensable to overcome the constitutional presumption of innocence (People vs. Sal¬vador Sanchez, G.R. No. 175832, October 15, 2008).
However, even if the accused in the case for robbery wherein you are the complainant thereof is convicted, he may not serve his penalty of imprisonment if he avails of and is qualified for probation under the Probation Law of 1976 (Presidential Decree No. 968, as amended). Probation is defined under the law as a disposition under which a defendant after conviction and sentence is released subject to conditions imposed by the court and to the supervision of a probation officer (Section 3 [a], Probation Law). All persons who are sentenced for a crime are qualified for probation, except those: (a) sentenced to serve a maximum term of imprisonment of more than six years; (b) convicted of subversion or any crime against the national security or the public order; (c) who have previously been convicted by imprisonment of not less than one month and one (1) day and/or fine of not less than P200; (d) who have been once on probation under the provisions of this Decree; and (e) who are already serving sentence at the time the substantive provisions of this Decree became applicable pursuant to Section 33 hereof. (Section 9, Ibid.)
We hope that we have answered your query. Our legal opinion may vary if other facts are stated or elaborated.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to email@example.com