You are on page 1of 9

4103 (As Amended by Act No. 4225 and Republic Act No.

4203 [June 19, 1965])

AN ACT TO PROVIDE FOR AN INDETERMINATE SENTENCE AND PAROLE FOR ALL PERSONS CONVICTED OF CERTAIN CRIMES BY THE COURTS OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS; TO CREATE A BOARD OF INDETERMINATE SENTENCE AND TO PROVIDE FUNDS THEREFOR; AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES. chan robles virtual law library chan robles virtual law library Section 1. Hereafter, in imposing a prison sentence for an offense punished by the Revised Penal Code, or its amendments, the court shall sentence the accused to an indeterminate sentence the maximum term of which shall be that which, in view of the attending circumstances, could be properly imposed under the rules of the said Code, and the minimum which shall be within the range of the penalty next lower to that prescribed by the Code for the offense; and if the offense is punished by any other law, the court shall sentence the accused to an indeterminate sentence, the maximum term of which shall not exceed the maximum fixed by said law and the minimum shall not be less than the minimum term prescribed by the same. chan robles virtual law library Sec. 2. This Act shall not apply to persons convicted of offenses punished with death penalty or lifeimprisonment; to those convicted of treason, conspiracy or proposal to commit treason; to those convicted of misprision of treason, rebellion, sedition or espionage; to those convicted of piracy; to those who are habitual delinquents; to those who have escaped from confinement or evaded sentence; to those who having been granted conditional pardon by the Chief Executive shall have violated the terms thereof; to those whose maximum term of imprisonment does not exceed one year, not to those already sentenced by final judgment at the time of approval of this Act, except as provided in Section 5 hereof. chan robles virtual law library . Sec. 3. There is hereby created a Board of Pardons and Parole to be composed of the Secretary of Justice who shall be its Chairman, and four members to be appointed by the President, with the consent of the Commission on Appointments who shall hold office for a term of six years: Provided, That one member of the board shall be a trained sociologist, one a clergyman or educator, one psychiatrist unless a trained psychiatrist be employed by the board, and the other members shall be persons qualified for such work by training and experience. At least one member of the board shall be a woman.

Of the members of the present board, two shall be designated by the President to continue until December thirty, nineteen hundred and sixty-six and the other two shall continue until December thirty, nineteen hundred and sixty-nine. In case of any vacancy in the membership of the Board, a successor may be appointed to serve only for the unexpired portion of the term of the respective members. chan robles virtual law library Sec. 4. The Board of Pardons and Parole is authorized to adopt such rules and regulations as may be necessary for carrying out its functions and duties. The Board is empowered to call upon any bureau, office, branch, subdivision, agency or instrumentality of the Government for such assistance as it may need in connection with the performance of its functions. A majority of all the members shall constitute a quorum and a majority vote shall be necessary to arrive at a decision. Any dissent from the majority opinion shall be reduced to writing and filed with the records of the proceedings. Each member of the Board, including the Chairman and the Executive Officer, shall be entitled to receive as compensation fifty pesos for each meeting actually attended by him, notwithstanding the provisions of Section two hundred and fifty-nine of the Revised Administrative Code, and in addition thereto, reimbursement of actual and necessary traveling expenses incurred in the performance of duties: Provided, however, That the Board meetings will not be more than three times a week. chan robles virtual law library Sec. 5. It shall be the duty of the Board of Indeterminate Sentence to look into the physical, mental and moral record of the prisoners who shall be eligible to parole and to determine the proper time of release of such prisoners. Whenever any prisoner shall have served the minimum penalty imposed on him, and it shall appear to the Board of Indeterminate Sentence, from the reports of the prisoner's work and conduct which may be received in accordance with the rules and regulations prescribed, and from the study and investigation made by the Board itself, that such prisoner is fitted by his training for release, that there is a reasonable probability that such prisoner will live and remain at liberty without violating the law, and that such release will not be incompatible with the welfare of society, said Board of Indeterminate Sentence may, in its discretion, and in accordance with the rules and regulations adopted hereunder, authorize the release of such prisoner on parole, upon such terms and conditions as are herein prescribed and as may be prescribed by the Board. The said Board of Indeterminate Sentence shall also examine the records and status of prisoners who shall have been convicted of any offense other than those named in Section 2 hereof, and have been sentenced for more than one year by final judgment prior to the date on which this Act shall take effect, and shall make recommendation in all such cases to the Governor-General with regard to the parole of such prisoners as they shall deem qualified for parole as herein provided, after they shall have served a period of imprisonment not less than the minimum period for which they might have been sentenced under this Act for the same offense. chan robles virtual law library Sec. 6. Every prisoner released from confinement on parole by virtue of this Act shall, at such times and in such manner as may be required by the conditions of his parole, as may be designated by the said Board for such purpose, report personally to such government officials or other parole officers hereafter appointed by the Board of Indeterminate Sentence for a period of surveillance equivalent to the remaining portion of the maximum sentence imposed upon him or until final release and discharge by the Board of Indeterminate Sentence as herein provided.

The officials so designated shall keep such records and make such reports and perform such other duties hereunder as may be required by said Board. The limits of residence of such paroled prisoner during his parole may be fixed and from time to time changed by the said Board in its discretion. If during the period of surveillance such paroled prisoner shall show himself to be a law-abiding citizen and shall not violate any of the laws of the Philippine Islands, the Board of Indeterminate Sentence may issue a final certificate of release in his favor, which shall entitle him to final release and discharge. chan robles virtual law library Sec. 7. The Board shall file with the court which passed judgment on the case, and with the Chief of Constabulary, a certified copy of each order of conditional or final release and discharge issued in accordance with the provisions of the next preceding two sections. Sec. 8. Whenever any prisoner released on parole by virtue of this Act shall, during the period of surveillance, violate any of the conditions of his parole, the Board of Indeterminate Sentence may issue an order for his re-arrest which may be served in any part of the Philippine Islands by any police officer. In such case the prisoner so re-arrested shall serve the remaining unexpired portion of the maximum sentence for which he was originally committed to prison, unless the Board of Indeterminate Sentence shall, in its discretion, grant a new parole to the said prisoner. chan robles virtual law library Sec. 9. Nothing in this Act shall be construed to impair or interfere with the powers of the GovernorGeneral as set forth in Section 64(i) of the Revised Administrative Code or the Act of Congress approved August 29, 1916 entitled "An Act to declare the purpose of the people of the United States as to the future political status of the people of the Philippine Islands, and to provide a more autonomous government for those Islands." chan robles virtual law library Sec. 10. Whenever any prisoner shall be released on parole hereunder he shall be entitled to receive the benefits provided in Section 1751 of the Revised Administrative Code. chan robles virtual law library Approved:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary December 5, 1933. Back to Top - Back to Main Index - Back to Home By Atty. Harold Huliganga In my five years now as a Court Attorney, I had, on several occasions, come across lower court decisions incorrectly applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law (I. S. Law) or Act No. 4103. It is seriously disturbing that despite its seeming simplicity and brevity, some judges had been perpetually misapplying it. The basic mandate of the I. S. Law is the imposition of an indeterminate sentence which is comprised by a MINIMUM term and a MAXIMUM term. It is indeterminate in the sense that after serving the MINIMUM, the convict may be released on parole, or if he is not fitted for release, he shall continue serving his sentence until the end of the MAXIMUM. It is the fixing of the MINIMUM and MAXIMUM terms which generates a lot of confusion and is the constant source of error of some judges.

There is not much difficulty in ascertaining the indeterminate sentence if the crime is a violation of a special law because in such a case, the I. S. Law merely requires that the MAXIMUM term thereof shall not exceed the maximum fixed by the special law while the MINIMUM shall not be less than the minimum prescribed therein. Accordingly, if a special law imposes a penalty of three (3) to nine (9) years of imprisonment, the MINIMUM of the indeterminate sentence cannot be less than 3 years while the MAXIMUM thereof cannot be more than 9 years. Hence, the indeterminate sentence may be decreed as 3-9 years, 3 years & 9 months - 7 years & 8 months, 3-4 years, 3-5 years, 5-8 years, 8-9 years, etc., depending on the sound discretion of the judge.

However, it should be stressed that the reference to special law in this regard refer to those which provide for one specific penalty or a range of penalties with definitive durations, such as imprisonment for eight years or for one year to five years but without division into periods or any technical statutory cognomen. Where the penalty in the special law adopts the technical nomenclature and signification of the penalties under the Revised Penal Code (RPC), such as prision mayor, prision correccional maximum, etc., the ascertainment of the indeterminate sentence will be based on the rule intended for those crimes punishable under the RPC. The rule for ascertaining the indeterminate sentence for crimes punishable under the RPC is much arcane and complicated than the rule applied in those crimes punishable under a special law. In crimes punishable under the RPC, the indeterminate sentence is arrived at by determining the MAXIMUM term, which, in view of the attending circumstances, could be properly imposed under the rules of the RPC, and the MINIMUM term, which shall be within the range of the penalty next lower to that prescribed by the RPC for the offense. Prior to the effectivity of the I. S. Law, prison sentences were imposed and fixed as a straight penalty exactly as provided for under the RPC, modified only by the applicable rules therein, to wit: Articles 46, 48, 50 to 57, 61, 62, 64, 65, 68, 69, and 71. The MAXIMUM term of the indeterminate sentence is determined exactly in that manner as if the Indeterminate Sentence Law had never been enacted. Thus, same rules and provisions (except par. 5 of Art. 62) must be taken into account in determining the MAXIMUM term of the indeterminate penalty. In determining the MAXIMUM of the indeterminate sentence, the following questions may be asked by way of a guide or checklist: (a) What is the imposable penalty for the crime?, (b) Is the convicted felon a principal, accessory or accomplice?, (c) Was the crime consummated, frustrated or attempted?, (d) Is the crime committed a complex crime?, (e) Is the commission of the crime attended by any mitigating or aggravating circumstances?, (f) Is the penalty for the crime indivisible or composed of three periods, i.e. minimum, medium and maximum periods?, and (g) Is the accused entitled to a privilege mitigating circumstance? For instance, if a person is convicted as a principal in the crime of homicide, the imposable penalty under Art. 249 of the RPC is reclusion temporal, a divisible penalty. In the absence of any mitigating or aggravating circumstance, the MAXIMUM of the indeterminate penalty will be taken anywhere within the range of reclusion temporal medium, i.e. from 14 years, 8 months and 1 day to 17 years and 4 months.

The emphasis is on the phrase within the range which means that anywhere within that period may be fixed the MAXIMUM term of the indeterminate sentence. Thus, the judge, at his sound discretion, may fix it at 14 years, 10 months and 26 days, 17 years, 2 months and 6 days, 16 years, etc. A greater difficulty in fixing the MAXIMUM term of the indeterminate penalty arises where the range of the penalty provided for in the RPC is composed of only two periods. For example, in the crime of estafa under Article 315 of the RPC, the imposable penalty is prision correccional maximum to prision mayor minimum. In such case, the total number of years included in the two periods should be divided into three equal periods of time, forming one period for each of the three portions. Thus: minimum period 4yrs., 2mos. & 1day to 5yrs., 5mos. & 10days; medium period 5yrs., 5mos. & 11days to 6yrs., 8mos. & 20days; and maximum period 6yrs., 8mos. & 21days to 8yrs. In determining the MINIMUM term of the indeterminate sentence, the I. S. Law mandates that the same be within the range of the penalty next lower to that prescribed by the RPC for the offense. In this regard, wide latitude of discretion is given to the courts to fix the MINIMUM of the indeterminate penalty anywhere within the range of the penalty next lower, without regard to any modifying circumstances and without reference to the periods into which it may be subdivided. In the previous example involving the crime of homicide, the imposable penalty is reclusion temporal. The penalty next lower would therefore be prision mayor. Within the range of prision mayor, the court may fix the MINIMUM of the indeterminate penalty. Thus, the judge may fix it at 6 years and 1 day, 6 years and 5 months, 8 years, 12 years, etc. While ample discretion is given to courts in fixing the MINIMUM of the indeterminate sentence, the determination thereof nonetheless presents two aspects: first, the more or less mechanical determination of the extreme limits of the minimum imprisonment period; and second, the broad question of the factors and circumstances that should guide the discretion of the court in fixing the minimum penalty within the ascertained limits. The common practice has been to fix the MINIMUM of the indeterminate sentence exactly one degree lower to the MAXIMUM arrived at. Thus, for example, if the MAXIMUM fixed by the court is reclusion temporalmedium, the MINIMUM is usually fixed at prision mayor medium, which is exactly a degree lower. While the MINIMUM arrived at in that case is technically correct, such nonetheless ignores the theoretical signification of the phrase penalty next lower under the I. S. Law. Conscientious adherence to the provisions of the I. S. Law is an indispensable component of a fair and impartial judgment. For what could be the difference of even only one day in the period of imprisonment of a convict could mean so much to the precious and cherished liberty of the person.

INDETERMINATE SENTENCE LAW (Act No. 4103, as amended, Dec. 5, 1933) The purpose of the law is to uplift and redeem valuable human material and prevent unnecessary and excessive deprivation of personal liberty and economic usefulness. (People v. Onate, 78 SCRA 43) As a rule, it is intended to favor the accused particularly to shorten his term of imprisonment, depending upon his behavior and his physical, mental, and moral record as a prisoner to be determined by the Board of Indeterminate Sentence. Indeterminate sentence is a sentence with a minimum term and a maximum benefit of a guilty person, who is not disqualified therefore, when the maximum penalty of imprisonment exceeds one year. It applies to both violations of the RPC and special laws. COVERAGE: 1. Revised Penal Code The court shall sentence the accused to an indeterminate sentence the MAXIMUM TERM of which shall be that which, in view of the attending circumstances, could be properly imposed under the Code, and the MINIMUM TERM which shall be within the range of the penalty next lower in degree to that prescribed by the Code for the offense. The maximum is the penalty imposed as provided by law, depending upon the attending circumstances. The minimum is one degree next lower to the penalty prescribed for the offense. The latter is determined without considering the attending circumstances to the penalty prescribed, and is left to the discretion of the court. (People v. Yco, 6545, July 27, 1954) Example: Homicide with one mitigating circumstance. The maximum penalty prescribed by law is Reclusion temporal. Since there is one mitigating and no aggravating it will be in the minimum or reclusion temporal minimum period. On the other hand, the minimum is one degree next lower to reclusion temporal without considering the mitigating circumstance and that will be prision mayor. The range of prision mayor will depend upon the discretion of the court. Therefore, the indeterminate penalty is a minimum of prision mayor (within the range fixed by the court) to a maximum of reclusion temporal minimum period. 2. Special Law The court shall sentence the accused to an indeterminate sentence, the MAXIMUM TERM of which shall not exceed the maximum fixed by said law and the minimum shall not be less than the MINIMUM TERM prescribed by the same. (Q11, 1994 Bar) Example: Penalty is one year to 5 years. Indeterminate sentence may be one year to 3 years or 3 years to 5 years.

This act shall not apply to persons: 1. Convicted of offenses punished with death or life imprisonment. (Q12, 1990 Bar) 2. Those convicted of treason, conspiracy or proposal to commit treason, misprision of treason, rebellion, sedition or espionage, or piracy. 3. Those who are habitual delinquents. Recidivists are entitled to an indeterminate sentence. (People v. Jaranilla, 28547, Feb. 22, 1974) 4. Those who shall have escaped from confinement or evaded sentence. A minor who escaped from confinement in the reformatory is entitled to the benefits of the law because confinement is not considered imprisonment. (People v. Perez, 44 OG 3884) (Q6, 1991 Bar) 5. Those who having been granted conditional pardon by the President shall have violated the terms thereof. 6. Those whose maximum period of imprisonment does not exceed one year. (Q8, 1999 Bar) The application of which is based upon the penalty actually imposed in accordance with law. (People v. Hidalgo, 452, Jan. 22, 1962) 7. Those already serving final judgment upon the approval of this Act (December 5, 1933). 8. Those sentenced to the penalty of destierro or suspension. (Q12, 1999 Bar) Whenever any prisoner who shall have served the minimum penalty imposed on him, said Board of Indeterminate Sentence may, in its discretion, and in accordance with the rules and regulations adopted thereunder, authorize the release of such prisoner on parole. If during the period of surveillance, such parolee shall show himself to be a law-abiding citizen and shall not violate any of the laws of the Philippines, the Board may issue a final certificate of release in his favor. Whenever any prisoner released on parole shall, during the period of surveillance, violate any of the conditions of his parole, the Board may issue an order for his re-arrest and shall serve the remaining unexpired portion of the maximum sentence. The application of the Indeterminate Sentence Law is mandatory if the imprisonment would exceed one year. It would be favorable to the accused. (People v. Judge German Lee, Jr., 86859, Sept. 12, 1984) PROBATION LAW (PD 968, as amended, July 24, 1976) Probation is a disposition, under which a defendant after conviction and sentence, is released subject to the conditions imposed by the Court and to the supervision of a probation officer.

The purpose of the law are: 1. Promote the correction and rehabilitation by providing the offender with individualized treatment. 2. Provide an opportunity for the reformation of an offender which might be less probable if he were to serve a prison sentence. 3. Prevent the commission of offenses. The trial court may, after it shall have convicted and sentenced a defendant, and upon application by said defendant within the period for perfecting an appeal, suspend the execution of the sentence and place the defendant on probation. No application for probation shall be entertained or granted if the defendant has perfected an appeal from the judgment of conviction. (PD 1990) In other words, the filing of the application for probation is considered as a waiver of the right of the accused to appeal. (Q9, 1992 Bar) An application for probation shall be filed with the trial court. The filing of the application shall be deemed a waiver of the right to appeal. An order granting or denying probation shall not be appealable. However, an outright denial by the court is a nullity correctible by certiorari. (De Luna v. Hon. Medina, CA 78 OG 599) An accused must fall within any one of the disqualification in order to be denied probation. (Balleta v. Leviste, 92 SCRA 719) (Q13, 1991 Bar) The disqualified offenders are: 1. Sentenced to serve a maximum term of imprisonment of more than 6 years. A penalty of six years and one day is not entitled to the benefits of the law. (Q3, 1995 Bar; Q12, 1990 Bar) In Francisco v. CA, 243 SCRA 384, the Supreme Court held that in case of one decision imposing multiple prison terms, the totality of the prison terms should not be taken into account for the purposes of determining the eligibility of the accused for the probation. The law uses the word maximum term, and not total term. It is enough that each of the prison term does not exceed 6 years. The number of offenses is immaterial for as long as the penalties imposed, when taken individually and separately, are within the probationable period. (Q9, 1997 Bar) 2. Convicted of any crime against the national security (treason, espionage, piracy, etc.) or the public order (rebellion, sedition, direct assault, resistance, etc.). 3. Who have been previously convicted by final judgment of an offense punished by imprisonment of not less than one month and one day and/or a fine of not less than P 200. (Q2, 1993 Bar) 4. Who have been once on probation. 5. Who are already serving sentence at the time of the effectivity of the Decree. Except for the reasons specified by the law, a trial court should not deny a petition for probation, especially when the probation officer has favorably recommended the grant of probation.

Even if at the time of conviction the accused was qualified for probation but at the time of his application for probation, he is no longer qualified, he is not entitled to probation. The qualification for probation must be determined as of the time the application is filed in court. (Bernardo v. Judge Balagot, 86561, Nov. 10, 1992) Supposing, an accused was convicted of a crime for which he was sentenced to a maximum sentence of 10 years. While affirming the judgment of conviction, the appellate court reduced the penalty to a maximum of 4 years and 4 months taking into consideration certain modifying circumstances. The accused now applies for probation. In this case, the accused is not entitled to probation. The law and jurisprudence are to the effect that appeal by the accused from a sentence of conviction forfeits his right to probation. (Bernardo v. Balagot, supra; Francisco v. CA; De la Cruz v. Judge Callejo) (Q3, 1995 Bar; Q17, 1994 Bar) The probationer shall: 1. Present himself to the probation officer within 72 hours from receipt of probation order. 2. Report himself to the probation officer at least once a month during the period of probation. The court, after considering the nature and seriousness of the violations of probation (if any), may issue a warrant for the arrest of the probationer. He is then brought to the court immediately for hearing, which is summary. If violation is established, the Court may revoke or continue the probation and modify the conditions thereof. If revoked, the probationer shall be ordered to serve the sentence originally imposed and shall commit the probationer. The order of the court is not appealable. A final discharge of probation shall operate to restore to the probationer all civil rights lost or suspended as a result of the conviction and to full discharge of his liability for any fine imposed. Under the Probation Law what is suspended is the execution of the sentence, while under PD 603, as amended, what is suspended is the pronouncement of the sentence upon request of the youthful offender. The suspension of the sentence, however, has no bearing on the civil liability, which is separate and distinct from the criminal action. (Budlong v. Apalisok, 22 SCRA 935) The provisions of the Probation Law should be liberally construed in order that the objective should be realized and achieved. (Santos v. Hon. Pano, 55130, Jan. 17, 1983) In probation, the imposition of the sentence is suspended and likewise its accessory penalties are likewise suspended. An order placing the defendant on probation is not a sentence but is rather in effect a suspension of the imposition of the sentence. It is not a final judgment but is rather an interlocutory judgment in the nature of the a conditional order placing the convicted defendant under the supervision of the court for his reformation. (Baclayon v. Hon. Mutia, 129 SCRA 148)