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San Juan Gossip Mills Outlet

A veritable fanatic of the Internet. His avocation is teaching while his main vocation is practicing the much maligned law profession. Currently teaching Constitutional Law at the FEU Institute of Law and a guest lecturer at the De La Salle University teaching "Freedom and Regulation in Cyberspace" in the Graduate Program of the Department of Communication. He is married to his beautiful Ateneo law school classmate and is blessed with a daughter and a son.

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Location: San Juan, Metro Manila, Philippines

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Rebellion, Sedition, Withdrawal of Support Etc.

Just in case any in media are going to be prosecuted for inciting to sedition, here is a consoling thought – you won’t go to jail subject to certain qualifications.

If you are charged with inciting to sedition, the penalty for that particular crime is prision correccional in its maximum period or a fine not exceeding 2,000 pesos. That means you suffer imprisonment of 4years, 2 months and 1 day to 6 years.

Under the Probation Law, if you are convicted with imprisonment of not more than 6 years, you are entitled to probation. However, when one applies for probation, one loses one’s right to appeal the case but if you feel that you are innocent and can obtain justice in another dispensation, you can appeal and fight it out hoping that the new set of justices would have adjusted to a more favorable climate.

Can you be convicted with rebellion? Under the present set of circumstances, No.

How can a civilian or any of the military generals be convicted of rebellion when there was no public uprising and taking up of arms against the government – elements necessary for the successful prosecution of Rebellion under the Revised Penal Code. The 1989 December coup was a clear case of rebellion.

But for those who have been presently charged with rebellion, the elements of the crime never occurred at all. The most that the generals can be charged with is attempted rebellion, i.e., if there is any concrete evidence of amassing of arms for the purpose of a violent takeover. But if the generals were merely talking of withdrawal of support which strictly implies non-violence, then rebellion as a crime must fail, whether consummated, frustrated or attempted.

For the civilians, one can be charged with conspiracy and proposal to commit rebellion. The penalty for conspiracy to commit rebellion is 4 years 2 months and 2 day to 6 years or a fine not exceeding 5,000 pesos while the penalty for proposal to commit rebellions is 2 years, 4 months and 1 day to 4 years and 2 months or a fine not exceeding 2,000 pesos.

But the question remains: if the conspirators were discussing withdrawal of support, where is the crime of rebellion if there was no armed uprising?

One must remember that the general principles of criminal law and criminal procedure dictate that to successfully prosecute any crime, the prosecution must prove each and every element of the crime with proof beyond reasonable doubt. And if there is any iota of doubt, the doubt must be construed in favor of the accused.

The solution to the government’s quagmire: Enact a law making “withdrawal of support” a punishable crime. Then and only then, will future plotters be punished.

5 Comments:

Blogger Rizalist said...

I think that WITHDRAWAL OF SUPPORT is an Angelo Reyes euphemism for MUTINY, plain and simple. Until we recognize that there is no new moral category of options called WITHDRAWAL OF SUPPORT, we shall confuse the issue and Justice be damned. The dilemma lies in this: having once okayed a case of Mutiny because it succeeded, we are at a loss over the inconsistency of castigating mutineers and mutinies without punishing that one by arresting Angelo Reyes for REBELLION armed or not.

9:52 PM  
Blogger NJbabe said...

Thank you for enlightening me on the legal side....teka just one question ...if I remember correctly GMA was installed previously with mutiny. Eh bakit walang kaso noon? Ngayon since the attemp coup failed...ang daming arrest going on....Oh well ang hindi lumingon sa pinanggalingan, hindi makakarating sa paroroonan....Or maybe because of too many coup attemps, one learns to be extra careful...Just an ordinary person's point of view....

10:49 PM  
Blogger Edwin Lacierda said...

DJB,

Mutiny is an offense under the military justice system but is not found in our criminal justice system.

Rebellion is clearly defined in the Revised Penal Code and until such time that they decide to amend the definition of rebellion to include the non-violent withdrawal of support, the judiciary must find no case of rebellion against the conspirators.

11:21 PM  
Blogger The Bystander said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:02 PM  
Blogger The Bystander said...

Inciting to sedition is categorized as a crime against public oder. Hence, it is not a probationable offense. If convicted with finality, the accused will have to serve sentence.

I stand corrected though.

5:05 PM  

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