2010 Bar Exam Questions in Criminal Law

Posted by Admin | Posted in Bar Exams, Law on Crimes | Posted on 20-09-2010

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An agonizing and protracted trial having come to a close, the judge found A guilty beyond reasonable doubt of homicide and imposed on him a straight penalty of SIX (6) YEARS and ONE (1) DAY of prision mayor.

The public prosecutor objected to the sentence on the ground that the proper penalty should have been TWELVE (12) YEARS and ONE (1) DAY of reclusion temporal.

The defense counsel chimed in, contending that application of the Indeterminate Sentence Law should lead to the imposition of a straight penalty of SIX (6) MONTHS and ONE (1) DAY of prision correccional only. Who of the three is on the right track? Explain. (3%)


  1. What is the crime of qualified bribery? (2%)
  2. May a judge be charged and prosecuted for such felony? How about a public prosecutor? A police officer? Explain. (5%)


May a public officer charged under Section 3(b) of Republic Act No. 3019 [“directly or indirectly requesting or receiving any gift, present, share, percentage or benefit, for himself or for any other person, in connection with any contract or transaction between the government and any other party, wherein the public officer in his official capacity has to intervene under the law”] also be simultaneously or successively charged with direct bribery under Article 210 of the Revised Penal Code? Explain. (4%)


Because of the barbarity and hideousness of the acts committed by the suspects/respondents in cutting off their victims’ appendages, stuffing their torsos, legs, body parts into oil drums and bullet-riddled vehicles and later on burying these oil drums, vehicles with the use of backhoes and other earth-moving machinery, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) investigating team recommended to the panel of public prosecutors that all respondents be charged with violation of the “Heinous Crimes Law.” The prosecution panel agreed with the CHR. As the Chief Prosecutor tasked with approving the filing of the Information, how will you pass upon the recommendation? Explain. (5%)


Arlene is engaged in the buy and sell of used garments, more popularly known as “ukay-ukay.” Among the items found by the police in a raid of her store in Baguio City were brand-new Louie Feraud blazers.

Arlene was charged with “fencing.” Will the charge prosper? Why or why not? (5%) Read the rest of this entry »

Novation in criminal cases

Posted by Admin | Posted in Civil Law, Law on Crimes, Obligations and Contracts | Posted on 03-08-2010

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Novation is a mode of extinguishing an obligation which takes place when parties to a contract enter into a new contract which changes the object or the main condition of the original contract, or when another person is installed as debtor or creditor. www.pinoylegal.com

Generally, the concept of novation is applied only in civil cases, or more particularly in civil obligations.  However, in some cases the Supreme Court declared that novation may prevent criminal liability from attaching.  Novation taking place before the Information is filed in court may become “a means to prevent the rise of criminal liability or to cast doubt on the true nature of the original basic transaction” but not as a means to extinguish criminal liability (People vs. Nery, GR No. L-19567, February 5, 1964). www.pinoylegal.com

In People vs. Nery (supra), the court affirmed the conviction of the accused for estafa and rejected her theory of novation because the alleged novation occurred after the criminal case was filed and while it was pending trial. In this case, although the accused made partial payments for the two diamond rings she received on commission from the complainant, this was made after a case against her had been filed in the municipal court. pinoylegal

In the case of People vs. Tanjutco (131 Phil 884, 1968) involving qualified theft, novation was not applicable even if the accused made a partial payment of the stolen funds before the filing of the Information because there was no pre-existing contractual relationship between the parties that can be novated.

The same reasoning can be found in the case of SSS vs. DOJ (GR No. 158131, August 8, 2007). The Supreme Court did not apply novation because there was no original contract that can be replaced by a new contract.  The obligation of SENCOR to SSS did not arise from a contract but from a law (RA 1161) requiring employers to make periodic contributions to the SSS under pain of criminal prosecution. www.pinoylegal.com Read the rest of this entry »