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under the law, if infringement is rcpeatecl by the i,ri'irrgrrr ,r government contract or project or by reason of the office or position
by anyone in connivance with him after finality of the judgment, .l' of the public officer concerned;
the court against the infringer, the offenders shall, without prejudice
3. By the illegal or fraudulent conveyance or disposition
to the institution of a civil action for damages, be crimin.lly liubl"
of assets belonging to the National government or any of its
therefor. subdivisions, ug"ncier or instrumentalities or government-owned
or controlled corporations and their subsidiaries;
What is the test of unfair competition?
4. By obtaining, receiving or accepting directly or indirect'
The test to determine unfair competition laid down by U.S. u. ly any shares of stock, equity or any other form of interest or partici-
business
Manuel, T Phil. 221 is whether certain goods have been clotled with fation including the promise of future employment in any
an appearance which is likely to deceive the ordinary purchaser enterPrise or undertaking;
exercising ordinary care. Thus, if the goods are so crudl and the 5. By establishing agricultural, industrial or commercial
price so low that the ordinary purchaser cannot possibly be deceived, monopolies or other combinations and/or implementation of de'
there is no unfair competition. (Louis vuitto, s.A. u. villanueua, crees and orders intended to benefit particular persons or special
Nou. 27, 1992) interests; or
6.Bytakingundueadvantageofofficialposition,authority,rela.
tionship, conhection or influence to unjustly enrich himself or themselves
C. BY PUBLIC OFFICERS attheexpenseandtothedamageandpreiudiceoftheFilipinopeopleand
the Republic of the PhiliPPines.
REPUBLIC ACT NO. 7O8O SEc.2.DefinitionoftheCrimeofPlunder;Penalties'-Anypublic
officer who, by himself or in connivance with members of his family,
PLUNDER LAW relatives by affinity or consanguinity, business associates, subordinates
AS AMENDED BY R.A. 7659 or other personsr amasses, accumulates or acquires ill-gotten wealth
through a combination or series of overt criminal acts as described in
sEcrloN 1- Definition of terms. As used in this Act, the term: SectiJn 1(d) hereof in the aggregate amount or total value of at least
- [P50,000,0b0.00] shall be guilty of the crime
of plunder and shall be
a. "Public Officer,,means any person holding any public office punistreO by reclusion perpetua to death- Any person who participated
in the Government of the Repubric of the phirippinJs by virtue of an with the said public officer in the commission of an offense contributing
appointment, election or contract. to the crime oi plunder shall likewise be punished for such offense. ln the
b. "Governmenf,, includes the National Government, and any of impositionofpenalties,thedegreeofparticipationandtheattendanceof
its subdivisions, agencies or instrumentalities, incruding government- miiigating and extenuating circumstances, as provided by the [RPG], shall
owned or controlled corporations and their subsidiaries. be c-onsiJered by the court. The court shall declare any and all ill'gotten
wealth and their interests and other incomes and assets including the
c. "Person', includes any natural or juridical person, unless the properties and shares of stocks derived from the deposit or investment
context indicates otherwise. itreieof torfeited in favor of the State. (As amended by Section 12, Republic
Act No.7659)
d. "lll-gotten wealth,' means any asset, property, business
enterprise or materiar possession of any person wrinin the purview of SEC.3.CompetentCourt.-Untilotherwiseprovidedbylaw'all
Section two (2) hereof, acquired by him direcily or indirectiy through prosecutions undei this Act shall be within the original iurisdiction of the
dummies, nominees, agents, subordinates and/or business issociates SandiganbaYan.
by any combination or series of the following means or similar schemes:
sEc. 4. Rule of Evidence. For purposes of establishing the crime
1. Through misappropriation, conversion, misuse, or mal- of plunder, it shall not be
-
necessary to prove each and every criminal act
versation of public funds or raids on the public treasury; done by the accused in furtherance of the scheme or conspiracy to amass'
or acquire ill-gotten wealth, it being sufficient to establish
2. By receiving, directty or indirecfly, any commission, "ccumil"te
beyond reasonable doubt i pattern of overt or criminal acts indicative of
gift, share, percentage, kickbacks or equity in ionnection with any
the overall unlavvful scheme or conspiracy'
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plunder." 'l'herre
SEC. 5. Suspension and Loss of Benefits.
- Any public officer cumr.issi.n ,[,:r. .f,[b.se contributing to the crime of
apply as well to the
against whom any criminal prosecution under a valid information under is no rerason to believe, however, that it does not
this Act in whatever stage of execution and mode of participation, is Holmes said: "We
pending in court, shall be suspended from office. should he be convicted ,"f,,ii" offi.cer m pri.r"ipul in the crime' As Justicecriminal laws with
by final judgment, he shall lose all retirement or gratuity benefits under agree to all the g"ruru1iti"" about not supplying
sense
any law, but if he is acquitted he shall be entifled to reinstatement and wiat they omit, but there is no canon against using common
mean'"
to the salaries and other benefits which he failed to receive during in construing laws as saying what they obviously
piunder is a
The legislative declaration in R'A' 7659 that
suspension, unless in the meantime, administrative proceedings have
been filed against him. when the acts
heinous offense implies that it ts a malum in' se'
Fov
wrong' they are mala
SEC. 6. Prescription of Crime.
- Thethecrime
Act shall prescribe in [20] years. However,
punishable under this f.,ntfr"a a." inherlrrlly immoral or inherently
right of the State to recover inseand"itdoesnotmatterthatsuchactsarepunishedinaspecial
properties unlawfully acquired by public officers from them or from their predicate crimes are
Iaw, especially since in the case of plunder' the
*ota"in, se.Indeed, it would be absurd to treat prosecutions
nominees or transferees shall not be barred by prescription, laches, or
estoppel. ^uinti pr-osecutions for violations of
i", pfr"a", as though they are mere regard to the
xxx xxx xxx B.p. z2or of an oraiiurr"e against jaywalking, without
SEC. 8. Scope. inherent wrongness ofthe acts'
- This Act
prosecutions or proceedings,
shall not apply to or affect pending
or those which may be instituted under
[E.O.] No. 1 issued and promulgated on February 29, 1996. Constitutionality of the Plunder Law
standards
sEc.9. Effectivity. This Act shalrtake effect after [15] days from As written, the Plunder Law contains ascertainable
-
its publication in the official Gazette and in a newspafer of general and weli-defi-ned parameters which would enable the accused to
circulation. determinethenatureofhisviolation.Sec.2issufficientlyexplicitin
Approved: July 12, 1991. it" a""cription of acts, conduct and conditions required or forbidden'
urapr""".ibestheelementsofthecrimewithreasonablecertainty
and particularitY.
How Plunder is Committed
guide or rule
As long as the law affords some comprehensible
Plunder is the crime of public officer committed by amassing
that would inform those who are subject to it as to what conduct
wealth for at least P50 million through a series or combination of would rend.er them liable to its penalties, its validity -wil1
be
overt acts each of which may constitute different offenses. It does
sustained. It must sufficiently guide the judge in its appiication;
not require that each act be proved distinctly from each other. It is
tlr" in defending one-chlrged with its violation; and more
enough that the acts show a pattern of accumulation. The series of of the proscribed
importantly, the accuseiin identifying the realm
"orrrrr"i,
acts is in the nature of continued crime deemed as onlv one.
cond.uct.Ind'eed,itcanbeunderstooa*ltt,littiedifflcuitythatwhator
ihe statute punishes is the act of a public officer in amassing
Estrada u. Sandiganbayan, accumulating ili-goiten wealth of at least P50
million through a
G.R. No. 148EGO, Nov. 19,2OO1 o. of acts enumerated in its Sec' 1(d)'
"".iu" "o-lbirruiion
A statute is not rendered' uncertain and void merely
because
Nature of the Crime of Plunder of
general terms are used therein, or because of the employment
It is a malum in se. Sec. 2 authorizing the application of sometermswithoutdefiningthem.Besides,thereisnopositive
constitutional or statutory command requiring the
mitigating and extenuating circumstances in the Rpc to prose- legislature
Congress is not
cutions under the Anti-Plunder Law indicates that *nn" ,"i i, un to define each and every word in the enactment'
to so
element of plunder since the degree of responsibility of the offender of its will' and its inability
restricted in the form of Lxpression
is determined by his criminal intent. It is true that sec. 2 refers definethewords*ptoy"a.inastatutewillnotnecessarilyresult legislative will
to "any person who participates with the said public officer in the in vaguene"" o" u-[ig"ity of the law so long as the
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is clear', or at least, can be gatherecl frorn the wholc rrct, wlri<:lr is that is r.ttterly vague on its face, i.e.' that which cannot be clarified
distinctly expressed in the Plunder Law. either by a saving clause or by construction'

Definition of Terms A statute is vague when it lacks comprehensible standards


that men of "o-mon intelligence must necessarily guess at its
"Combination," refers to at least two enumerations provided meaning and differ in its application. In such instance, the statute
inSec. 1(d), e.g., raids on the public treasury (subparagraph 1), is .ep..[rrunt to the Constitution in two respects - it violates
and fraudulent conveyance of assets belonging to the Nationai aru pro".""s for failure to accord persons, especiaily the parties
Government (subparagraph B). targeied by it, fair notice of what conduct to avoid; and, it leaves
To constitute a "series," there must be two or more overt or
tarienforclrs an unbridled discretion in carrying out its provisions
and becomes an arbitrary flexing of the Government muscle. But
criminal acts falling under the same category of enumeration found
in sec. 1(d) such as misappropriation, marversation and raids on the doctrine does not apply against legislations that are merely
couched in imprecise language but which nonetheless specify a
the public treasury, all of which falr under subparagraph 1. Had
standard though defectively phrased; or to those that are apparently
the Legislature intended a technical or distinctive meaning for
ambiguous y"t f*i.iy applicable to certain types of activities. The
"combination" and "series," it would have taken greater pains in
first may be "saved' by proper construction, while no challenge may
specifically providing for it in the law.
be mounted as ugui.r"tlhe second whenever directed against such
"Pattern" is sufficiently defined in Sec. 4 in relation to Sec. activities. with more reason that the doctrine cannot be invoked
1(d) and Sec. 2. Under Sec. 1(d), a pattern consists of at least a where the assailed statute is clear and free from ambiguity.
combination or series of overt or criminal acts enumerated in
Moreover, a facial challenge ("on its face" invalidation of
subsections 1 to 6. Pursuant to sec. 2, the pattern ofovert or criminal
statute or invalid statute for being vague on its face) is allowed to
acts is directed towards a common purpose or goal which is to enable
be made to a vague statute and to one which is overbroad because
the public officer to amass, accumulate or acquire ill-gotten wealth. ,,chilling effect" vpon protected speech. The possible harm
of possible
There must either be an overall unlawful scheme or conspiracy to
to society in permilting.o-" unprotected speech to go unpunished
achieve said common goal. The term "overail unlawful scheme,, is outweighud by th" possibility that the protected speech of others
indicates a "general plan of action or method" which the principal may be dlt"rred and perceived grievances left to fester because of
accused and public officer and others conniving with him follow to possible inhibitory effects of overly broad statutes'
achieve the aforesaid common goal. In the alternative, if there is
no such overall scheme or where the schemes or methods used by Thisrationaled.oesnotapplytopenalstatutes'Criminal
multiple accused vary, the overt or criminal acts must form part of a statutes have general in terrorem effect resulting from their very
conspiracy to attain a common goal. existence, ana lr facial challenge is allowed for this reason alone,
the state may well be prevented from enacting laws against socialiy
"Pattern" is not an element of prunder. AII the essentiar harmful conduct. In the area of criminal law, the law cannot take
elements of plunder can be culled and understood from its definition chances as in the area offree speech.
in Sec. 2, in relation to Sec. 1(d), and pattern is not one of them.
Theoverbreadthandvaguenessdoctrinesthenhavespecial
application only to free speech cases. They are inapt for testing the
"Void-for Vagueness,, rule as applied to criminal law validity of penal statutes.
The doctrine has been formulated in various ways, but is most
commonly stated to the effect that a statute establishing a criminal Test of void criminal statute for uncertainty
offense must define the offense with sufficient definiteness that The test whether the langrrage conveys a sufficiently
is
persons of ordinary intelligence can understand what conduct is definite warning as to the proscribed conduct when measured by
prohibited. It can only be invoked against that species oflegislation common understanding and practice. It must be stressed, however'
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tlrart the "vagueness" doctrine merely requir:es reasclntrlllt: rlt:gr.e ovrt]'all unluwf'ul schemc or conspiracy" inheres in the very act of
of certaintv for the statute to be upheld not absoluto precision accumulating, acquiring or amassing hidden wealth' The prosecution
or mathematical exactitude. Flexibility, -rather than meticulous is therefore not required to make a deliberate and conscious effort
specificity, is permissible as long the metes and bounds of the to prove pattern as it necessarily follows with the establishment of a
- An actaswill
statute are clearly delineated. not be heid invalid merely series or combination of the predicate acts'
because it might have been more explicit in its wordings or detailed
in its provisions, especially where because of the nature of the act, Nature of Sec. 4 of the Plunder Law
it would be impossible to provide all the details in advance as in all
rule ofevidence as shown by its epigraph' It purports
Sec. 4 is a
other statutes.
to d.o no more than prescribe a rule of procedure for the prosecution
of a criminal case for plunder. sec. 4 does not define nor establish
Quantum of proof required for plunder Law
any substantial right in favor of the accused but only operates in
The use of "reasonable doubt" standard is indispensable furtherance of a remedy. It is only a means to an end - an aid
to command the respect and confidence of the community in to substantive law. Indubitably, even without invoking sec. 4,
the application of criminal law. It is critical that the moral force a conviction for plunder may be had, for what is crucial for the
of criminal law be not diluted by a standard of proof that leaves prosecution is to present sufficient evidence to engender that moral
people in doubt whether innocent men are being condemned. It is certitude exacted by the fundamental law to prove the guilt of the
also important in our free society that every individual going about accused beyond reasonable doubt. Thus, even granting that Sec' 4
his ordinary affairs has confidence that his government cannot is flawed, it may simply be severed from the rest of the provisions
adjudge him guilty of a criminal offense without convincing a proper without necessarily resulting in the demise of the law'
fact finder of his guilt with utmost certainty. This "reasonable
doubt" standard has acquired such exalted stature in the realm of Court of proPer jurisdiction
constitutional law as it gives life to the Due process clause, which Organo u. Sand.iganbayan, G.R. No' 136916, Dec' 14,1999' re-
protects the accused against conviction except upon proof beyond
solved. tf,e issue of Sandiganbayan's jurisdiction: "the Sandiganbay-
reasonable doubt of every fact necessary to constitute the crime an has no jurisdiction over the crime of plunder unless committed by
which he is charged with. public officials and employees occupying the positions with salary
'Grade ,27,
The thesis that Sec. 4 does away with proof of each and every or higher, under the compensation and Position clas-
component of the crime suffers from dismal misconception of the sification Act of 1989 (R.A. 6758) in relation to their office." Plunder
in R.A. 7080, as amended by R.A. 7659, was prouisionally placed
import of that provision. What the prosecution needs to prove
beyond reasonable doubt is only a number of acts sufficient to
within the jurisdiction of the sandiganbayan 'until otherwise pro-
vided by law.' R.A. 8249, enacted on Feb' 5, L997, is the special law
form a combination or series which would constitute a pattern and
that provided for the jurisdiction of the sandiganbayan 'otherwise'
involving an amount of at least P50 million. There is no need to than that prescribed in R.A. 7080'
prove each and every other act alleged in the information to have
been committed by the accused in furtherance of the overall unlawful Plunder is a crime committed by public officials in relation to
scheme or conspiracy to amass, accumulate or acquire ill-gotten their office. Hence, there is no doubt that this crime is covered by Sec.
wealth. For instance, the prosecution need not prove all 50 raids on aiU). Ctu"rty, R.A. 7080 was impliedly repealed by R'A',8249, such
the treasury, ifsuch is alleged, it being sufficient to prove by pattern that prosecrtio.r. for plunder are cognizable by the Sandiganbayan
at least two of the raids beyond reasonable doubt provided only that only ihe, the accused is a public official with sG 27 or higher.
they amounted to at least P50 million. Rod'rigo u. Sand'iganbayan., G'R' No' 725498, Feb' 18' 1999'
has explaiied that the-intent of Congress in R.A. 8249 was to make
A reading of Sec. 2 in conjunction with Sec. 4 brings to a logical
SG 2, the demarcation line determining the jurisdiction of the
conclusion that "pattern of overt or criminal acts indicative of the Sandiganbayan and other courts.