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People v.

Derilo
Facts:
Roman Derilo, Isidoro Baldimo y Quillo, Lucas Doos, ALlejandron Cofuentes and
one John Doe with treachery and evident premeditation, with intent to kill, with the use of firearm
and bolos, confederating and mmutually helping one another did then and there shot and
stabbed Perpetua Adalim causing her death. Appellant does not deny his participation in the
commission of the crime. However, he asks for the modification of the death penalty imposed by
the lower court to life imprisonment contending that he made his plea of guilt. However, the plea
of guilt was done AFTER the prosecution presented its evidence. (It should be done before the
presentation of evidence, remember? CRIM <3, art. 13 par.7. J) So, appellant contends that his
untimely acknowledgment of culpability may still be treated by analogy as a mitigating
circumstance under par 10 (similar and analogous circumstances) instead of 7 of art 13 of the
RPC. invoking the case of Coronel, where it modified the penalty imposed to life imprisonment
to support his claim However, the court said that the contention of appellant is UNTENABLE
because again, plea of guilt was made AFTER the presentation of evidence. So, clearly, par. 7
of art 13 cannot apply. And the case cited and relied upon by the respondent is not applicable
because the modification of the penalty to life imprisonment in said case is not made in
consideration of a mitigating circumstance but rather the number of votes then required to affirm
a sentence of death penalty imposed by the lower court was not secured by the SC.
Issue:

WON the penalty imposed to the appellant is reclusion perpetua to death as imposed by
Sec. 6 of RA 7659.
Held:
NO. Reclusion Perpetua to death cannot be imposed. At the time of the commission of
the crime on Jan 1, 1982 and the conviction of the accused on Oct 12, 1986, the substantive law
in force dealing with the crime of murder was Art 248 of the RPC which took affect on Jan 1,
1932. Imposable penalty is RECLUSION TEMPORAL in its maximum period to death. Feb. 2,
1987, the 1987 Constitution was ratified. It now provides the bill of rights specifically sec 19 (1)
of Art III which was inexistent in the two previous constitutions. It provides for the reduction of
penalty particularly death penalty to reclusion perpetua. RA 7659, on the other hand took effect
on Dec. 31, 1993. Congress passed this law imposing the DEATH PENALTY on certain heinous
crimes. This provision is the governing penal law at the time of the review of the case at bar.
In effect, it amended art 248 of the RPC which is the crime committed by the appellant by
imposing a heavier penalty for murder than that originally prescribed making it reclusion
perpetua to death. No retroactivity of the law because the nature of our penal laws are
PROSPECTIVE unless favorable to the accused. Being a penal law, such provision of RA 7659
may not be applied to the crime of murder committed in 1982 by appellant, based on the
principle of prospectivity of penal laws. It would also violate the constitutional prohibition
against ex post facto law. From the proceedings of the Constitutional Commission, it can be seen
that the reduction of the penalty is not and was not made dependent on a law, decree, condition,
or period before sec 19 of Art III can be applied by the courts. The fundamental principle of
constitutional construction is to give effect to the intent of the framers of the organic law and of
the people adopting it. the intention to which force is to be given is that which is embodied and
expressed in the constitutional provisions themselves. Interpretatio fienda est ut res magis valeat
quam pereat. A law should be interpreted with a view to upholding rather than destroying it. The

fact, that no proclamation or grant of commutation was officially issued by the president will not
prevent the implementation and operation of sec 19 to appellant. It is apparent in the wording of
the provision it used the word reduced shall be reduced to reclusion perpetua instead
avoided the use of commuted as it is technically an executive prerogative. The language of the
constitution must be understood in the sense that it may have in common use. Its word should be
given their ordinary meaning except where technical terms are employed. From the foregoing, it
is apparent that NO presidential action is necessary in order that any accused sentenced to the
death penalty under the same circumstances as herein appellant may avail of the benefit of Sec.
19. While commute necessitates presidential initiative, to reduce doe not.