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SECTION 19

(1) Excessive fines shall not be imposed, nor cruel, degrading or inhuman punishment
inflicted. Neither shall death penalty be imposed, unless, for compelling reasons involving
heinous crimes, the Congress hereafter provides for it. Any death penalty already imposed
shall be reduced to reclusion perpetua.
(2) The employment of physical, psychological, or degrading punishment against any
prisoner or detainee or the use of substandard or inadequate penal facilities under
subhuman conditions shall be dealt with by law.
RULES
CASES
*People v. Estoista - 93 PHIL. 647
FACTS: Prosecuted in the Court of First Instance of Lanao for homicide through reckless imprudence
and illegal possession of firearm under one information, the appellant was acquitted of the first offense
and found guilty of the second, for which he was sentenced to one year imprisonment. This appeal is
from that sentence raising factual legal and constitutional questions. The constitutional question, set
up after the submission of the briefs, has to do with the objection that the penalty from 5 to 10
years of imprisonment and fines provided by Republic Act No. 4 is cruel and unusual.
ISSUE: WON RA 4 violates the constitutional prohibition on prohibited punishment
HELD: No. It takes more than merely being harsh, excessive, out of proportion, or severe for a penalty
to be obnoxious to the Constitution. "The fact that the punishment authorized by the statute is severe
does not make it cruel and unusual." Expressed in other terms, it has been held that to come under the
ban, the punishment must be "flagrantly and plainly oppressive, " "wholly disproportionate to the
nature of the offense as to shock the moral sense of the community." We do not believe that five years'
confinement for possessing firearms, even as applied to appellants and similar case, can be said to be
cruel and unusual, barbarous, or excessive to the extent of being shocking to public conscience.
People v. Dapitan - 197 SCRA 378
FACTS: This is an appeal from the Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Rizal (Branch 75, San Mateo)
4th Judicial Region, finding the accused-appellant guilty of the crime of Robbery with Homicide and
sentencing him to suffer the penalty of RECLUSION PERPETUA. He prays that he be sentenced to an
indeterminate penalty ranging from twelve (12) years and one (1) day ofreclusion temporal, as
minimum, to reclusion perpetua as maximum. According to the OSG, the accused-appellant cannot
avail of it since Section 2 of the Indeterminate Sentence Law (Act No. 4103) specifically provides that it
shall not apply to, among others, persons convicted of offenses punished with death penalty or life
imprisonment.
ISSUE: WON the penalty of reclusion perpetua under Article 294, par. 1 of the RPC violated the
constitutional provision on prohibited punishment.
HELD: NO. The penalty of reclusion perpetua under Article 294, par.1 of the RPC is not cruel,
degrading, and inhuman. Article 294, par. 1 of the Revised Penal Code has survived four Constitutions
of the Philippines, namely: the 1935 Constitution, the 1973 Constitution, the Freedom Constitution of
1986 and the 1987 Constitution. All of these documents mention life imprisonment or reclusion
perpetua as a penalty which may be imposed in appropriate cases. As a matter of fact, the same
paragraph of the section of Article III (Bill of Rights) of the 1987 Constitution which prohibits the
imposition of cruel, degrading and inhuman punishment expressly recognizes reclusion perpetua.
Baylosis v. Chavez - 202 SCRA 405 (modified by Robin Padilla)
FACTS: The constitutionality of the third paragraph of Section 1 of Presidential Decree No. 1866 is put
at issue in the special action of certiorari, prohibition and mandamus at bar. That provision punishes
with the penalty of reclusion perpetua, The petitioner argued that the proviso in question is
unconstitutional because if inflicts on the convicted felon a cruel or unusual punishment, considering
that the Revised Code penalizes rebellion or subversion only by prision mayor. The penalty fixed in said
challenged section is, it is contended, flagrantly and plainly oppressive, greatly disproportionate to the

offense, and shocking to the people's sense of justice. The result, it is further argued, is that the right
to bail is denied under PD 1866 when the act thereby punished is only an ingredient of simple rebellion
or subversion (which are bailable offenses) under the Revised Penal Code.
ISSUE: WON the said provision violated constitutional provision on prohibited punishment
HELD: NO. It is well settled that as far as the constitutional prohibition goes, it is not so much the
extent as the nature of the punishment that determines whether it is, or is not, cruel and unusual and
that sentences of imprisonment, though perceived to be harsh, are not cruel or unusual if within
statutory limits. It bears repeating in this connection that mere possession of a firearm without license
or lawful authority, 18 without more, is punished by reclusion temporal maximum to reclusion
perpetua; and that the use of an unlicensed firearm in the commission of murder of homicide is
punished by death (now reclusion perpetua 19 ), yet there is no challenge to these penalties as being
cruel or unusual.
People v. Munoz - 170 SCRA 107
FACTS: The accused in this case filed an appeal for reversal of the decision of the Court of First
Instance, convicting them with murder, in Criminal Case No. 0176, Millora was found guilty as principal
and Muoz and the other two herein appellants only as accomplices, and in Criminal Case Nos. 0177
and 0178, Muoz was found guilty as principal and the herein appellants only as accomplices. In
support of this finding, the trial court said that there was no evidence of conspiracy to justify holding
each of the accused equally liable for the three murders.
ISSUES: (1)WON the framers intended to abolish the death penalty or merely to prevent its imposition.
(2)WON they also meant to require a corresponding modification in the other periods as a result of the
prohibition against the death penalty.
HELD: (1)A reading of Section 19(l) of Article III will readily show that there is really nothing therein
which expressly declares the abolition of the death penalty. The provision merely says that the death
penalty shall not be imposed unless for compelling reasons involving heinous crimes the Congress
hereafter provides for it and, if already imposed, shall be reduced to reclusion perpetua. The language,
while rather awkward, is still plain enough. And it is a settled rule of legal hermeneutics that if the
language under consideration is plain, it is neither necessary nor permissible to resort to extrinsic aids,
like the records of the constitutional convention, for its interpretation. (2)Accordingly, with the hope
that "as judges, (we) will be equal to (our) tasks," whatever that means, we hereby reverse the current
doctrine providing for three new periods for the penalty for murder as reduced by the Constitution.
Instead, we return to our original interpretation and hold that Article III, Section 19(l) does not change
the periods of the penalty prescribed by Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code except only insofar as it
prohibits the imposition of the death penalty and reduces it to reclusion perpetua. The range of the
medium and minimum penalties remains unchanged.
People v. Amigo - 252 SCRA 43
FACTS: Patricio Amigo was charged with frustrated murder armed with a knife, attacked, assaulted and
stab with said weapon one Benito Ng Suy and sentenced him to the penalty of reclusion perpetua.
Accused-appellant contends that under the 1987 Constitution and prior to the promulgation of Republic
Act No. 7659, the death penalty had been abolished and hence, the penalty that should have been
imposed for the crime of murder committed by accused-appellant without the attendance of any
modifying circumstances, should be reclusion temporal since the death penalty (or capital punishment)
is not imposable when the stabbing and killing happened, the computation of the penalty should be
regarded from reclusion perpetua down and not from death penalty.
ISSUE: WON Section 19 Article 3 of the constitution intend for the abolishment of death penalty or not
and WON the penalty impose for the petitioner can be categorize as cruel and harsh
HELD: NO(for both). Framers were divided into 2, those who believe in Masangkay ruling that the
Constitution abolished the death penalty and thereby limited the penalty for murder to the remaining
periods, to wit, the minimum and the medium and those who disagree feel that Article III, Section 19(1)
merely prohibits the imposition of the death penalty and has not, by reducing it to reclusion perpetua,
also correspondingly reduced the remaining penalties. These should be maintained intact. A reading of
Section 19(1) of Article III will readily show that there is really nothing therein which expressly declares

the abolition of the death penalty. The provision merely says that the death penalty shall not be
imposed unless for compelling reasons involving heinous crimes the Congress hereafter provides for it
and, if already imposed, shall be reduced to reclusion perpetua, if the language under consideration is
plain, it is neither necessary nor permissible to resort to extrinsic aids. we hold that Article III, Section
19(1) does not change the periods of the penalty prescribed by Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code
except only insofar as it prohibits the imposition of the death penalty and reduces it to reclusion
perpetua. The range of the medium and minimum penalties remains unchanged. Finally, accusedappellant claims that the penalty of reclusion perpetua is too cruel and harsh a penalty and pleads for
sympathy. Courts are not the forum to plead for sympathy. The duty of courts is to apply the law,
disregarding their feeling of sympathy or pity for an accused. DURA LEX SED LEX.
*People v. Echegaray 267 SCRA 682 (death penalty)
FACTS: petitioner Leo Echegaray y Pilo was convicted for the crime of rape of the 10 year-old daughter
of his common- law spouse and the imposition upon him of the death penalty for the said crime.
Subsequently, RA 8177 amending the execution of death penalty from electrocution to lethal injection
was implemented. Petitioner now assail the validity of such RA contending that such execution was
cruel and harsh
ISSUE:WON RA 8177 of lethal injection was cruel and harsh
HELD: LETHAL INJECTION, NOT CRUEL, DEGRADING OR INHUMAN PUNISHMENT UNDER SECTION 19,
ARTICLE III OF THE 1987 CONSTITUTION. it is well-settled in jurisprudence that the death penalty per
se is not a cruel, degrading or inhuman punishment. punishments are cruel when they involve torture
or a lingering death; but the punishment of death is not cruel, within the meaning of that word as used
in the constitution. The lack in particularity then as to the details involved in the execution by lethal
injection do not render said law "cruel, degrading or inhuman" Petitioner further contends that the
infliction of "wanton pain" in case of possible complications in the intravenous injection, considering
and as petitioner claims, that respondent Director is an untrained and untested person insofar as the
choice and administration of lethal injection is concerned, renders lethal injection a cruel, degrading
and inhuman punishment which SC held that the petitioner has neither alleged nor presented evidence
that lethal injection required the expertise only of phlebotomists and not trained personnel and that
the drugs to be administered are unsafe or ineffective. Petitioner simply cites situations in the United
States wherein execution by lethal injection allegedly resulted in prolonged and agonizing death for the
convict, without any other evidence whatsoever. Furthermore, Section 1, third paragraph of R.A. No.
8177 which requires that all personnel involved in the execution proceedings should be trained prior to
the performance of such task. We must presume that the public officials entrusted with the
implementation of the death penalty (by lethal injection) will carefully avoid inflicting cruel
punishment. Any infliction of pain in lethal injection is merely incidental in carrying out the execution
of death penalty and does not fall within the constitutional proscription against cruel, degrading and
inhuman punishment. "In a limited sense, anything is cruel which is calculated to give pain or distress,
and since punishment imports pain or suffering to the convict, it may be said that all punishments are
cruel.
The cruelty against which the Constitution protects a convicted man is cruelty inherent in the
method of punishment, not the necessary suffering involved in any method employed to extinguish life
humanely. these courts have found that lethal injection does not constitute cruel and unusual
punishment. After reviewing the medical evidence that indicates that improper doses or improper
administration of the drugs causes severe pain and that prison officials tend to have little training in
the administration of the drugs, the courts have found that the few minutes of pain does not rise to a
constitutional violation.
People v. Tongko 290 SCRA 595
FACTS: accused Roberto Tongko convicted of estafa under Article 315(2)(d) of the Revised Penal Code.
He was sentenced to suffer twenty seven (27) years of reclusion perpetua. by means of deceit and
false pretenses committed prior to or simultaneously with the commission of the fraudulent acts, make
or draw and issue to one, Carmelita Santos to apply on account or for value the checks said accused
well knowing at the time of issue he did not have sufficient funds
ISSUE: WON the penalty of twenty seven (27) years of reclusion perpetua is too harsh and out of
proportion to the crime he committed.
HELD: NO. In People v. de la Cruz: the prohibition of cruel and unusual punishments is generally
aimed at the form or character of the punishment rather than its severity in respect of duration or

amount, and apply to punishments In People v. Estoista: "It takes more than merely being harsh,
excessive, out of proportion, or severe for a penalty to be obnoxious to the Constitution. The fact that
the punishment authorized by the statute is severe does not make it cruel and unusual. Expressed in
other terms, it has been held that to come under the ban, the punishment must be "flagrantly and
plainly oppressive," "wholly disproportionate to the nature of the offense as to shock the moral sense
of the community."
The history of the law will show that the severe penalties were intended to stop
the upsurge of swindling by issuance of bouncing checks. It was felt that unless aborted, this kind of
estafa "... would erode the people's confidence in the use of negotiable instruments as a medium of
commercial transaction and consequently result in the retardation of trade and commerce and the
undermining of the banking system of the country."
Echegaray v. Secretary of Justice 12 LR 32 N98
FACTS: The SC issued a TRO thereby, interrupting the execution of petitioner Leo Echegaray scheduled
on that same day. The public respondent Justice Secretary assailed the issuance of the TRO. So, the
Public respondents file an Urgent Motion for Reconsideration and Supplemental Motion to Urgent
Motion for Reconsideration which provides the expression of the house of representative in expressing
that they reject any move to review R.A. No. 7659 which provided for the reimposition of death
penalty, notifying the Senate, the Judiciary and the Executive Department of the position of the House
of Representative on this matter and urging the President to exhaust all means under the law to
immediately implement the death penalty law pursuant to the debates going on within the senate for
the validity of death penalty causing the temporary suspending the execution of death penalty of
petitioner.
ISSUE:WON the execution of death penalty maybe suspended by the court upon rendering a final
judgment
HELD: YES. The postponement of the date can be requested, It is a well-known principle that
notwithstanding the order of execution and the executory nature thereof on the date set or at the
proper time, the date therefor can be postponed, even in sentences of death. It is acknowledged that
even after the date of the execution has been fixed, and notwithstanding the general rule that after
the (court) has performed its ministerial duty of ordering the execution . . . and its part is ended, if
however a circumstance arises that ought to delay the execution, and there is an imperative duty to
investigate the emergency and to order a postponement. Then the question arises as to whom the
application for postponing the execution ought to be addressed while the circumstances is under
investigation and so to who has jurisdiction to make the investigation.
Padilla v. CA (supra, Right to Bail)
FACTS: A high-powered firearms with live ammunitions were found in the possession of petitioner
Robin Padilla thus, he was correspondingly charged with illegal possession of firearms and
ammunitions under P.D. 1866 and sentenced him to an "indeterminate penalty from 17 years, 4
months and 1 day of reclusion temporal as minimum, to 21 years of reclusion perpetua, as maximum.
The lower court then ordered the arrest of petitioner, but granted his application for bail but
thereafter,the Solicitor-General, convinced that the conviction shows strong evidence of guilt, filed a
motion to cancel petitioner's bail bond which prosper.
ISSUE: WON the penalty for simple illegal possession constitutes excessive and cruel punishment
proscribed by the 1987 Constitution.
HELD: NO. The penalty for simple possession of firearm ranges from reclusion temporal maximum to
reclusion perpetua. The severity of a penalty does not ipso facto make the same cruel and excessive.
It takes more than merely being harsh, excessive, out of proportion, or severe for a penalty to be
obnoxious to the Constitution. 'The fact that the punishment authorized by the statute is severe does
not make it cruel and unusual.'
PEOPLE V. ALICANTE GR 127026-27, May 31, 2000
FACTS: We are again faced with the arduous task of determining whether the accused-appellant is
guilty of a crime for which the law mandates the imposition of the extreme penalty of death. The
records reveal that fifteen (15) informations for the crime of rape were filed against accused-appellant
Armando Alicante y David for having carnal knowledge of his minor daughter Richelle.

ISSUE: Whether or not the death penalty law as punishments for acts which do not include the taking
of another person's life, is repugnant to the constitution and amounts to a barbaric, excessive, cruel
and unusual punishment
HELD: NO. The death penalty is imposed in heinous crimes because the perpetrators thereof have
committed unforgivably execrable acts that have so deeply dehumanized a person or criminal acts
with severely destructive effects on the national efforts to lift the masses from abject poverty through
organized governmental strategies based on a disciplined and honest citizenry, and because they have
so caused irreparable and substantial injury to both their victim and the society and a repetition of
their acts would pose actual threat to the safety of individuals and the survival of government, they
must be permanently prevented from doing so. As the relationship between the accused-appellant and
the victim has in the same wise been proven beyond reasonable doubt, the Court affirms the
imposition of the death penalty in accordance with Republic Act No. 7659 amending Article 335 of the
Revised Penal Code which provides: The death penalty shall be imposed if the crime of rape is
committed with any of the following attendant circumstances: 1. When the victim is under eighteen
(18) years of age and the offender is a parent, ascendant, step-parent, guardian, relative by
consanguinity or affinity within the third civil degree, or the commonlaw spouse of the parent of the
victim.
LIM V. PEOPLE GR 149276, Sept. 27, 2002
FACTS: The constitutionality of PD 818, a decree which amended Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code
by increasing the penalties for estafa committed by means of bouncing checks, is being challenged in
this petition for certiorari, for being violative of the due process clause, the right to bail and the
provision against cruel, degrading or inhuman punishment enshrined under the Constitution. Petitioner
spouses issued to private respondent two postdated checks. The first check was dishonored upon
presentment for having been drawn against insufficient funds while the second was not presented for
payment upon request of petitioners who promised to replace the dishonored check.
ISSUE: Whether or not PD 818 violates the constitutional provisions on due process, bail and imposition
of cruel, degrading or inhuman punishment.
HELD: NO. Clearly, the increase in the penalty, far from being cruel and degrading, was motivated by a
laudable purpose, namely, to effectuate the repression of an evil that undermines the countrys
commercial and economic growth, and to serve as a necessary precaution to deter people from issuing
bouncing checks. The fact that PD 818 did not increase the amounts corresponding to the new
penalties only proves that the amount is immaterial and inconsequential. What the law sought to avert
was the proliferation of estafa cases committed by means of bouncing checks. Taking into account the
salutary purpose for which said law was decreed, we conclude that PD 818 does not violate Section 19
of Article III of the Constitution. In this case, petitioners failed to present clear and convincing proof to
defeat the presumption of constitutionality of PD 818. The primary purpose of PD 818 is emphatically
and categorically stated in the following:
WHEREAS, reports received of late indicate an
upsurge of estafa (swindling) cases committed by means of bouncing checks;
WHEREAS, if not
checked at once, these criminal acts would erode the peoples confidence in the use of negotiable
instruments as a medium of commercial transaction and consequently result in the retardation of trade
and commerce and the undermining of the banking system of the country;
WHEREAS, it is
vitally necessary to arrest and curb the rise in this kind of estafa cases by increasing the existing
penalties provided therefor.
PEOPLE V. GABIANA GR 123543, August 23, 2000
FACTS: For automatic review is the Decision of Branch 33, Regional Trial Court of Laguna, in Criminal
Case No. S-1797, which imposed the supreme penalty of death on appellant Pedro Gabiana y Carubas
for the crime of rape. Appellant carried Rosemarie, then 10 years of age, up their 2-storey house and
brought her to a corner. He then raped her.
ISSUE: Whether or not the trial court erred in imposing the death penalty on accused-appellant as a
consequence of the anti-poor, anti- uninfluential and anti-small fry RA 7659.
HELD: YES. In this case, although it was shown that the appellant is the common-law husband of the
complainants mother, the first special qualifying circumstance within the contemplation of paragraph
1, above quoted, was not alleged in the Information under which appellant was arraigned. In People vs.
Ambray, the Court held that the failure to allege the fact of relationship between the appellant and the

victim in the information for rape is fatal and consequently, bars conviction of its qualified form which
is punishable by death. Qualifying circumstances must be properly pleaded in the indictment in order
not to violate the constitutional right of the accused to be properly informed of the nature and cause of
the accusation against him. Accordingly, the death penalty imposed below on appellant should be
reduced to reclusion perpetua.
PEOPLE V. HORIO GR 137842, August 23, 2001
FACTS: The accused, Danilo Catubig y Horio, was charged with the crime of rape. Appellant raped her
daughter, Dannilyn. The Court finds accused DANILO CATUBIG Y HORIO GUILTY beyond reasonable
doubt of the crime of Rape and sentences him to suffer the penalty of DEATH.
ISSUE: Whether or not the trial court erred in imposing the death penalty on the accused.
HELD: YES. The concurrence of the minority of the victim and her relationship to the offender are
special qualifying circumstances that are needed to be alleged in the complaint or information for the
penalty of death to be decreed. The Constitution guarantees to be inviolable the right of an accused to
be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him. It is a requirement that renders it
essential for every element of the offense with which he is charged to be properly alleged in the
complaint or information. Here, the information failed to state the minority of the victim and her
relationship with the offender, both special qualifying circumstances under Republic Act No. 7659, and
for want of such allegations, the trial court erred in imposing the death penalty on the accused.
Appellant could only thus be convicted under Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, of
simple rape punishable by reclusion perpetua.
PAGDAYAWON V. SEC. OF JUSTICE GR154569, Sept. 23, 2002
FACTS: At bar is the petition filed by thirty (30) death row inmates which seeks (1) to enjoin the
execution of their respective death sentences in view of the possible repeal of laws authorizing the
imposition of the death penalty by Congress and (2) a re-examination of RA 76592 and RA 81773 with
the end in view of declaring them unconstitutional. It is well-settled that the Supreme Court has the
power to control the enforcement of its decisions, including the issuance of a temporary restraining
order (TRO) to stay the execution of a death sentence which is already final.
ISSUE: Whether or not RA 7659 does not comply with the constitutional requirement of compelling
reasons involving heinous crimes under Section 19(1) Article III of the 1987 Constitution.
HELD: NO. The mere pendency of a bill in either or both houses of Congress should not per se warrant
outright issuance of a temporary restraining order to stay the execution of a death sentence that has
become final. In fact, being speculative, it is not and should not be considered as a ground for a stay of
a death sentence. While newspaper reports indicate the supposed acquiescence of a number of
senators and congressmen to the abolition of the death penalty, such is by no means an assurance
that these same legislators will eventually vote for the modification or repeal of the law. Consequently,
the petition for the issuance of a temporary restraining order should be denied. Neither does the
substantial change in the composition of the Court since the promulgation of People vs. Muoz and
People vs. Echegaray warrant the re-examination of RA 7659 and RA 8177. The validity or the
constitutionality of a law cannot be made to depend on the individual opinions of the members who
compose the Court. The Supreme Court, as an institution, has already determined what the law is (e.g.
RA 7659 and RA 8177 are constitutional) in the subject cases and therefore the same remains to be so
regardless of any change in its composition. Otherwise, we shall see the specter of the same or similar
petition every three or four years as new members are appointed to the Court.
Perez v. People, 544 SCRA 532
FACTS: Perez was the Accounts Receivable and Recording Clerk of Storck Products, Inc. ("Storck") from
1984 to 1993. Provincial Prosecutor filed an Information against Perez for violation of paragraph Article
315 of the RPC. Regional Trial Court found accused guilty of the crime of estafa under paragraph 1(b),
Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code sand entenced to suffer the indeterminate penalty of
imprisonment ranging from 4 years and 2 months of prission (sic) correccional to 12 years, 8 months
and 21 days of reclusion temporal and to indemnify complainant company Storck Products, Inc. in the
amount of Php63,755.50 as well as to pay the costs.
ISSUE: WON the trial court correctly imposed on Perez the penalty.

HELD: YES. Under Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code, if the amount exceeds P22,000 (In this case,
the amount misappropriated is P83,755.50) the penalty shall be prision correccional in its maximum
period to prision mayor in its minimum period. When the amount involved in the offense exceeds
P22,000.00, the penalty prescribed in Article 315 of the Code "shall be imposed in its maximum
period," adding one year for each additional P10,000.00 although the total penalty which may be
imposed shall not exceed 20 years. The maximum penalty should then be termed as prision mayor or
reclusion temporal as the case may be. In fine, the one year period, whenever applicable, shall be
added to the maximum period of the principal penalty of anywhere from 6 years, 8 months and 21
days to 8 years.
SECTION 20
No person shall be imprisoned for debt or non-payment of a poll tax.
CASES
**Lozano v. Martinez - 146 SCRA 323 (check)
FACTS: This case is a consolidation of 8 cases regarding violations of the Bouncing Checks Law or Batas
Pambansa Blg. 22 (enacted April 3, 1979). In one of the eight cases, Judge David Nitafan of RTC Manila
declared the law unconstitutional. Among the arguments against the constitutionality of the law are a.)
it is violative of the constitutional provision on non- imprisonment due to debt, and b.) it impairs
freedom of contract.
ISSUE: Whether or not BP 22 is constitutional.
HELD: Yes, BP 22 is constitutional. BP 22 is not violative of the constitutional prohibition against
imprisonment for debt. The debt contemplated by the constitution are those arising from contracts
No one is going to prison for non-payment of contractual debts. However, non-payment of debts
arising from crimes is punishable. This is precisely why the mala prohibita crime of issuing worthless
checks as defined in BP 22 was enacted by Congress. It is a valid exercise of police power. The
Supreme Court however also explained that the non-payment of a debt is not the gravamen of the
violations of BP 22. The gravamen of the offense punished by BP 22 is the act of making and issuing a
worthless check or a check that is dishonored upon its presentation for payment. It is not the nonpayment of an obligation which the law punishes. The law is not intended or designed to coerce a
debtor to pay his debt. The thrust of the law is to prohibit, under pain of penal sanctions, the making of
worthless checks and putting them in circulation. Because of its deleterious effects on the public
interest, the practice is proscribed by the law. The law punishes the act not as an offense against
property, but an offense against public order.
Caram Resources v. Contreras - 237 SCRA 724 (check).
Facts: Teresita Dizon obtained a loan from Caram Resources payable in installments. She issued a
promissory note and postdated BPI checks, four of which were dishonored when presented to the bank
as the account against which they were drawn had been closed. A complaint was filed against Dizon
for violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22, also known as the Bouncing Checks Law. The respondent
stated that to hold her liable there under "would violate the cardinal rule under the Constitution that
no person shall be imprisoned for failure to pay his debt" and that the postdated checks were without
consideration and were in the nature of "guarantees to ensure the monthly collection" despite Dizon's
admission that they were payments for the loan and that she herself closed her account resulting in
the dishonor of the checks upon presentment,
Issue: WON there is a violation of the cardinal rule under the Constitution that no person shall be
imprisoned for failure to pay his debt.
Held: NO. It has long been settled that B.P. Blg. 22 is not unconstitutional or, more specifically, that it
does not transgress the constitutional inhibition against imprisonment for non-payment of debt. The
offense is committed by the very fact of its performance, i.e. the mere act of issuing a worthless check.
The offense is malum prohibitum. An act may not be considered by society as inherently wrong,
because of the harm that it inflicts on the community, it can be outlawed and criminally punished as
malum prohibitum, pursuant to the States exercise of police power.
Tiomico v. CA GR 122539 March 4, 1999 (trust receipt)

FACTS: Tiomico opened a Letter of Credit with BPI for the importation of 2 forklifts. Upon maturity of
the trust receipt Tiomico made partial payments, leaving a balance. Failing to pay the balance, he was
accused for violation of the trust receipt law. Tiomico was found guilty.
ISSUE: WON the Trust Receipt Law violates SEC 19 Art III of the Constitution.
RULING: No, TRL punishes the dishonesty and abuse of confidence in the handling of money or goods
to the prejudice of others regardless of whether the latter is the owner or not. The law does not seek to
enforce payment of the loan.
Recuerdo v. People, GR 133036, Jan. 22, 2003 (Check)
FACTS: Petitioner was found guilty in violation of BP 22 where out of the 9 checks she issued as
payment for the jewelry she bought from Yolanda Floro, 5 were dishonored by the bank. A demand
letter was sent to her and upon failure to make payments, a complaint was filed by which she was
found guilty. On petition for certiorari, she contends that BP 22 is unconstitutional.
ISSUE: WON BP 22 is unconstitutional.
HELD: The court upheld the constitutionality of BP 22 citing the landmark case of Lozano v Martinez
where it was held that BP 22 punishes the act of making and issuing worthless checks. It is not the
non-payment of debt or obligation which the law punishes and the law does not coerce the debtor to
pay debt but the main objective of the law is the prohibition and penalizing the making of worthless
checks and putting them in circulation. Such act is against public order.