Duterte approves heavier fines for crimes

MANILA, Philippines – Penalties for crimes in the Philippines just got heavier with President Rodrigo Duterte signing amendments to the Revised Penal Code or Republic Act No. 10951.

The amendments increase fines to be paid for crimes and increase the value of property on which penalties are based. 

The changes are necessary, considering that some provisions in the code have not been touched since the 1930s, with fines not reflecting the current cost of crimes or property.

The 50-page RA 10951 was signed by Duterte on August 29.

An example of a major crime that the Revised Penal Code now imposes heftier fines on is treason. From a penalty of reclusion perpetua and a maximum fine of P20,000, the penalty is now reclusion perpetua and a maximum fine of P4 million.

For conspiracy to commit coup d’etat, rebellion, or insurrection, the fine is increased from a maximum of P8,000 to a maximum of P1 million.

The fine for direct assault is now set at a maximum of P200,000 from just P1,000 when the attacker uses a weapon, is a public officer, or lays hands on a person of authority. If these circumstances are not present, the fine to be paid is a maximum of P100,000, higher than the previous P500.

Unlawful arrest now carries a maximum fine of P100,000 from the previous P500. The fine for exploitation of minors is now set at a maximum of P100,000 from P500.

Prohibited transactions, wherein a public officer takes interest in transactions within their office’s jurisdiction, now carry a fine ranging from P40,000 to P200,000. This is higher than the earlier fine that ranged from just P200-P1,000.  

In general, fines that had been set with maximum amounts of P5,000, P10,000, and P20,000 are increased to maximum amounts of P1 million, P2 million, and P4 million, respectively.

The amendments increased the value of property on which penalties for crimes like robbery, estafa, and malversation apply.

For robbery, for instance, the penalties now increase or decrease, depending on whether or not the property stolen exceeds P250. With the changes, the baseline figure is now P50,000. 

For swindling or estafa, the penalties would be based on amounts like more than P12,000 to P22,000 or more than P6,000 to P12,000. With the amendments, the basis of penalties is now for swindled money worth more than P2.4 million to P4.4 million, or more than P1.2 million to P2.4 million.

To read more about the changes to the Revised Penal Code, read the newly-signed law here. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.