Thursday, November 17, 2016

Philippine Penal Code: The Insanity Plea

philippine attorney-crazy

You are probably here because you are interested in the things that can get you off a crime. We’re not saying that you have a criminal mind, but you do have a curious one, you don’t want to go asking a Philippine attorney, and you want to know if insanity can get a person off the legal hook.

First thing that you have to know is that things that get you off the hook or at least lessen your sentence are called pleas and when you start talking about how much your plea diminishes or negates the gravity of your supposed sentence, it’s called plea bargaining.

Insanity is one of many pleas but is probably among the most used in recent years and even then, at least 4 US states have disqualified the insanity defense. In the Philippines, the exemption is detailed in Item 1, Article 12, Chapter 2 of the Philippine Penal Code.

Art. 12. Circumstances which exempt from criminal liability. — the following are exempt from criminal liability:
1. An imbecile or an insane person, unless the latter has acted during a lucid interval.
When the imbecile or an insane person has committed an act which the law defines as a felony (delito), the court shall order his confinement in one of the hospitals or asylums established for persons thus afflicted, which he shall not be permitted to leave without first obtaining the permission of the same court.
[from: chanrobles.com]

In the context of the penal code, we can see that it illustrates the condition for exemption but not what qualifies for insanity or imbecility.

There are many standards to determine mental incapacity like the M’Naughten standard and Durham rule but it all boils down to what must exist to justify a conviction. Two things have to be proven to qualify a conviction: a suspect must be proven to have both a guilty mind (mens rea) and there must be physical manifestation of the guilty act (actus reus).

Actus reus requires “if someone got murdered, then it can be proven with a dead body.” Pretty straightforward. Mens rea requires “if someone got murdered, it can be proven with the murderer’s conscious intention that he wanted his victim dead.” It is therefore the burden of the Philippine attorney’s defense to prove that mens rea was absent at the time the crime happened to be able to qualify his client and have him be objectified as insane.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Constitutional Commission and the 1987 Philippine Constitution

The bread and butter of every attorney in the Philippines are their familiarity with the Philippine constitution. More than wit, charisma, creativity, and ability to grace under pressure, an attorney should know how he can utilize the articles of the constitution into their clients’ favor.

The Constitution of the Philippines is the supreme law of our state. Our current constitution has been drafted in 1987. There have been three other constitutions that have governed our country. This includes the 1935 Commonwealth Constitution, the 1973 Constitution, and the 1986 Freedom Constitution. The 1899 Malolos Constitution was never fully implemented throughout the Philippines and was never internationally recognized due to the American occupation during the time it has been implemented.

Following the People Power and the fall of Martial Law, the late President Cory Aquino sought to ensure the freedom of the people and its return into democratic rule. The Proclamation No. 9 gave birth to the Constitutional Commission of 1986. It was a body composed of 48 national, regional, and sectorial representatives who collectively drafted the current Constitution of the Philippines. The members were appointed by Aquino and are composed by the following:

  1. Cecilia Munoz Palma (President)
  2. Ambrosio B. Padilla (Vice-President)
  3. Napoleon G. Rama (Floor Leader)
  4. Ahmad Domocao Alonto (Assistant Floor Leader)
  5. Jose D. Calderon (Assistant Floor Leader)
  6. Yusuf R. Abubakar
  7. Felicitas S. Aquino
  8. Adolfo S. Azcuna
  9. Teodoro C. Bacani
  10. Jose F. S. Bengzon, Jr.
  11. Ponciano L. Bennagen
  12. Joaquin G. Bernas
  13. Florangel Rosario Braid
  14. Crispino M. de Castro
  15. Jose C. Colayco
  16. Roberto R. Concepcion
  17. Hilario G. Davide, Jr.
  18. Vicente B. Foz
  19. Edmundo G. Garcia
  20. Jose Luis Martin C. Gascon
  21. Serafin V.C. Guingona
  22. Alberto M. K. Jamir
  23. Jose B. Laurel, Jr.
  24. Eulogio R. Lerum
  25. Regalado E. Maambong
  26. Christian S. Monsod
  27. Teodulo C. Natividad
  28. Ma. Teresa F. Nieva
  29. Jose N. Nolledo
  30. Blas F. Ople
  31. Minda Luz M. Quesada
  32. Florenz D. Regalado
  33. Rustico F. de los Reyes, Jr.
  34. Cirilo A. Rigos
  35. Francisco A. Rodrigo
  36. Ricardo J. Romulo
  37. Decoroso R. Rosales
  38. Rene V. Sarmiento
  39. Jose E. Suarez
  40. Lorenzo M. Sumulong
  41. Jaime S. L. Tadeo
  42. Christine O. Tan
  43. Gregorio J. Tingson
  44. Efrain B. Trenas
  45. Lugum L. Uka
  46. Wilfrido V. Villacorta
  47. Bernardo M. Villegas

The Members of the Constitutional Commission were from different sectors of the society to represent the interest of the public. Some of them are from the House of the Representative, former Justices of the Supreme Court, and political activists during the Marcos Regime, and a Roman Catholic Bishop.

The constitution was ratified by a nationwide plebiscite on February 2, 1987. It contains a preamble and eighteen self-contained articles with a section numbering that resets for every article.

For the attorneys in the Philippines, it is very important to know the nature of our constitution so that they can utilize it. But it is important to know that our constitution plays a big role in our history. Attorney or not, as Filipinos, we need to learn and understand it, after all, ignorance of the law excuses no one.

For best attorneys in the Philippines, visit NDV Law.