Penalties for offenses under Revised Penal Code raised after 85 years
President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the law increasing the penalties for certain offenses, including publication of fake news, under the Revised Penal Code.
Duterte signed Republic Act No. 10951 on August 29, 2017 amending the 85-year old Revised Penal Code or Act No. 3815.
Based on the new law, the more than 250 provisions of the Revised Penal Code, particularly Book Two, which covers crimes against the fundamental laws of the state, now carry higher penalties.
For instance, Article 154 or the unlawful use of means of publication and unlawful utterances, the fine rose to P40,000 up to P200,000 from P200 to P1,000 more than eight decades ago.
Article 154 covers any person who by means of printing lithography, or any other means of publication shall publish or cause to be published as news any false news which may endanger the public order, or cause damage to the interest or credit of the State.
It also covers any person who by the same means, or by words, utterances or speeches shall encourage disobedience to the law or to the constituted authorities or praise justify, or extol any act punished by law;
It pertains to any person who shall maliciously publish or cause to be published any official resolution or document without proper authority, or before they have been published officially; or any person who shall print, publish, or distribute or cause to be printed, published or distributed books, pamphlets, periodicals, or leaflets which do not bear the real printer's name, or which are classified as anonymous.
The new law read it shall have "retroactive effect to the extent it is favorable to the accused or person serving sentence by final judgment."
For cases pending before the courts upon the effectivity of the Act where trial has already started, the courts hearing such cases shall not lose jurisdiction over the same by virtue of this law.
The act shall take effect within 15 days after its publication in at least two newspapers of general circulation. Celerina Monte/DMS