Saturday, March 10, 2007

Notes on the New Anti-Terrorism Law (Part 2)

IV. The Anti-Terrorism Law does not appear to provide a penalty for frustrated or attempted stage of the crime of terrorism. Does this mean that the crime is only punishable in the consummated stage? My reading, however, is the crime of Terrorism is punished regardless of the stage of commission. When the law states that, "Any person who commits an act punishable under any of the following provisions of the Revised Penal Code: x x x or under (the Special Penal laws enumerated therein)" , it includes all stages of commission of the crimes enumerated. Thus, for so long as the other elements of Terrorism concur, the crime is punished as consummated with 40 years imprisonment.

The scenario is, for example, the case when a murder is frustrated because the victim survives the attack. Assuming the other elements of Terrorism concur, can we say that the crime is frustrated Terrorism? No, because the frustrated murder already meets the first requisite for the crime of Terrorism. Thus, regardless of the stage of commission, for so long as all the elements of the crime are present, Terrorism is committed and punished with 40 years in jail.

V. The Anti-Terrorism Law fixes the penalty for the crime of Terrorism at 40 years, without the benefit of the Indeterminate Sentence Law. In general, the Indeterminate Sentence Law tends to lower the penalty for the crime depending on the attendant circumstances to the crime. With respect to the crime of Conspiracy to Commit the Crime of Terrorism, which is penalized also with with 40 years of imprisonment, the Anti-Terrorism Law did not exempt it from the application of the Indeterminate Sentence Law. Conspiracy to Commit terrorism is committed when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the commission of the crime of terrorism and decide to commit the same.

VI. Accomplices and accessories to the crimes of Terrorism and Conspiracy to Commit Terrorism are punished by a penalty of seventeen (17) years, four (4) months one day to twenty (20) years of imprisonment and ten (10) years and one day to twelve (12) years of imprisonment respectively. Note that for accomplices and accessories, the penalty provided is a range. What would be the standards that a judge can use in graduating the penalty for Terrorism? Will the mitigating and aggravating circumstances provided by the Revised Penal Code be applicable? There appears to be no references to mitigating and aggravating circumstances so my opinion is these may not be applicable.

(To be continued)

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