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Codification of All Penal Laws. The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently launched an initiative to draft a Criminal Code of the Philippines. The intention of this project is to come up with a simplified criminal code that will already incorporate provisions of the Revised Penal Code and other crimes under various special penal laws.

The DOJ activated a Criminal Code Committee that will steer the project proposal development. The Department h as also been sponsoring a series of Expert Group Meetings (EGM) inviting representatives not only from concerned government agencies but even other legal luminaries from the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, Association of Law Schools in the Philippines, and the academe. Chief, PNP PDG RAUL M BACALZO, is represented in the Committee by PCSUPT HEROLD G UBALDE, Director of the Legal Service (LS). The PNP is tasked to take the lead in defining national security crimes.

The initial objective of the project is to assess the existing penal system in the Philippines with the end view of revising all existing penal laws to address the needs of the present time. Broad participation from various sectors shall be solicited to be able to formulate a more responsive penal code. The Committee shall also adopt modern approaches in codifying criminal laws but shall also refer to the Spanish penal system. The Committee is optimistic that the initial project output will be completed and formally presented in a “National Criminal Justice Summit” by October 2011. The next six month period after the summit shall be dedicated to focus group discussions and public consultations. The Committee’s ultimate goal is to propose before Congress the passage of the contemplated Criminal Code of the Philippines to replace the already outdated Revised Penal Code.

Relevance to PNP. During the first consultative meeting last April 8, 2011, PCSUPT UBALDE relayed the Chief, PNP’s commitment of support to this DOJ initiative. He emphasized that it will be the law enforcement agents who will eventually benefit with a simplified criminal code.

National Security Crimes. To be able to submit substantial inputs to the Committee, PCSUPT UBALDE earlier spearheaded a Round Table Discussion (RTD) with representatives from the National Security Council (NSC), Philippine Center on Transnational Crime, Anti-Money Laundering Council, Anti-Terrorism Council, and the Special Envoy on Transnational Crime on 8 June 2010 at the PNP Ante Room, since national security concerns fall under their area of expertise. Representatives from the QUAD staff were likewise invited to participate.

The LS presented a proposed conceptual framework as to how to define national security crimes based on the evolution of the concept of national security from a purely military aspect to a broad non military aspect. The proposed PNP conceptual framework makes reference to the definition of “National Security” under the 2011 National Security Policy and focuses on the seven fundamental elements of National Security namely: Socio-Political Stability, Ecological Balance , Territorial Integrity, External Peace and Harmony, Cultural Cohesiveness, Economic Solidarity & Strength and Moral-Spiritual Consensus.

The outputs generated from the RTD were then presented by PCSUPT UBALDE during the 5th EGM Criminal Code Committee meeting on June 10, 2011. One of the recommendations made by the PNP delegation was to draft a single generic definition of a “national security crime” initially worded as follows :


Article xx. National Security Crime. Defined and Penalized – An act or omission, or a series of acts, perpetuated by a single person or a group of persons, whether Filipinos or aliens, committed within Philippine territories or beyond Philippine jurisdiction, which has an effect detrimental to national interest, or threatens the security of the state is a national security crime punishable by life imprisonment.


This recommendation will further be considered in the next scheduled meeting. The Committee regularly meets every Friday in Manila to beat its self imposed deadline by 2012.

This codification project is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation and the German Embassy.

Last Updated (Friday, 17 June 2011 06:46)