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INDETERMINATE SENTENCE LAW (ISLAW)

Act No. 4103 as amended by Act No. 4225


Concept of Indeterminate Sentence
Indeterminate sentence is a sentence with a minimum term and a maximum term which, the court is mandated to
impose for the benefit of a guilty person who is not disqualified therefore, when the maximum imprisonment exceeds one
(1) year. It applies to both violations of the Revised Penal Code and special laws.
Basic purpose
The Purpose of ISLAW is to uplift and redeem valuable human material and prevent unnecessary and excessive
deprivation of personal liberty and economic usefulness. (People v. Ducosin)
Basic Philosophy underlying the Indeterminate Sentence Law
The philosophy underlying the Indeterminate Sentence Law is that of redeeming valuable human material and preventing
unnecessary deprivation of personal liberty and economic usefulness with due regard to the protection of the social order.
(Amurao, 2013)
RPC

Special Law

Maximum Term
That which could be properly imposed under the RPC,
considering the generic aggravating and ordinary mitigating
circumstances.

Must not exceed the maximum term fixed by the said


law.

Minimum Term
Within the range of the penalty one degree lower than that
prescribed by the RPC, without considering the
circumstances.
Note: BUT when there is a privileged mitigating
circumstance, so that the penalty has to be lowered by one
degree, the STARTING POINT for determining the minimum
term of the indeterminate penalty is the penalty lower than
that prescribed by the Code for the offense.

Must not less than the minimum term prescribed by the


same.
Note: For special laws, it is anything within the
inclusive range of the prescribed penalty. Courts are
given discretion in the imposition of the indeterminate
penalty. The aggravating and mitigating circumstances
are not considered unless the special law adopts the
same terminology for penalties as those used in the
RPC (such as reclusion perpetual and the like).

The court must determine two penalties.


The court must instead of a single fixed penalty, determine two penalties, referred to in the ISLAW as the MAXIMUM and
MINIMUM terms.
The law should be applied in imposing a prison sentence for a crime punishable either by special law or by the Revised
Penal Code. (Reyes, RPC)
Application of the Indeterminate Sentence Law to cases specified therein is mandatory. (Amurao, 2013)
The ISLAW application is mandatory, where imprisonment would exceed one year but only when the ISL would be
favorable to the accused; if it would result in lengthening his prison sentence, ISLAW should NOT be applied.
The court has the unqualified discretion to fix the minimum term of the indeterminate sentence in violations of
the Revised Penal Code and its amendments.
The rules and provisions which must be applied to determine the maximum term of the indeterminate penalty are those
provided in Articles 46, 48, 50 to 57, 61, 62 (except paragraph 5), 64, 65, 68, 69 and 71. However, the aforesaid rules and
provisions in those Articles particularly Articles 50 to 57, 62, 64 and 65 are not applicable in fixing the minimum term of the
indeterminate penalty. The court has the unqualified discretion to fix the term of the minimum. The only limitation is that it
is within the range of the penalty next lower to that prescribed by the Revised Penal Code for the offense committed,
without regard to its three periods.
Non-applicability of ISLAW
The Indeterminate Sentence Law shall NOT APPLY to the following persons who are:
1 Sentenced to death, reclusion perpetua, or life imprisonment

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11

Convicted of treason, conspiracy or proposal to commit treason


Convicted of misprision of treason, rebellion, sedition, or espionage
Convicted of piracy
Habitual delinquents
Escaped from confinement or those who evaded sentence
Granted conditional pardon and who violated the terms of the same
Maximum period of imprisonment does not exceed one year
Guilty of violating the Human Security Act
Maximum term of imprisonment actually imposed does not exceed 1 year
Sentenced to the penalty of destierro or suspension only

But a recidivist for the first time may be given the benefits of the ISL
Reasons for fixing the Maximum and Minimum Terms in the Indeterminate Sentence:
The minimum and maximum terms in the ISLAW must be fixed because they are the basis for the following:
Release of the Prisoner on Parole:
Whenever any prisoner shall have served the minimum penalty imposed on him and it appears to the Board of
Indeterminate Sentence that the prisoner is fitted for release The Board of Pardons and Parole may authorize release
of prisoner on parole, subject to terms and conditions as may be prescribed by the board PROVIDED THAT:
1 Such prisoner is fitted by his training for release,
2 There is reasonable probability that he will live and remain at liberty without violating that law,
3 Such release will not be incompatible with the welfare of society.
Sanction for Violation of Conditions of Parole
If prisoner released on parole shall, during the period of surveillance, violate any of the conditions of his parole
1 Board may issue an order for his arrest and;
2 The prisoner shall serve remaining unexpired portion of the maximum sentence for which he was originally
committed to prison. (Secs. 5 and 8, RA 4103)
EVEN IF the prisoner, after having served minimum of his sentence, is not seen as fit to be released for parole he shall
continue to serve imprisonment until the end of the maximum term.
Entitlement to Final Release and Discharge
If during the period of surveillance such paroled prisoner shall:
1 Show himself to be a law-abiding citizen and,
2 Shall not violate any law,
The Board may issue a final certification in his favor, for his final release and discharge. (SBC Law, 2012)
STEPS to determine the Indeterminate Sentence:
1.) Crime and Penalty
2.) Lower penalty by:
1 deg: 2+MC, No AC
1 deg: >15 <18
1 deg: unlawful aggression only + any other 2 remaining elements
3.) Maximum = imposable penalty, apply remaining AC or MC
4.) Minimum = 1 degree lower from imposed penalty
Illustrations of Application of ISLAW
Example #1: Adam killed Jon
1 Crime: HOMICIDE
Penalty: RECLUSION TEMPORAL
2 NO AC & MC = NOT APPLICABLE
3 MAXIMUM INDETERMINATE SENTENCE
Reclusion temporal, Medium term
4 MINIMUM INDETERMINATE SENTENCE
One degree lower = Prision Mayor

Example #2: Adam killed Jon. Adam voluntarily surrendered


1 Crime: HOMICIDE
Penalty: RECLUSION TEMPORAL
2 1MC = NOT APPLICABLE
3 MAXIMUM INDETERMINATE SENTENCE
One MC, No AC = Reclusion Temporal, Minimum Term
4 MINIMUM INDETERMINATE SENTENCE
One degree lower = Prision Mayor
ISL: PRISION MAYOR to RECLUSION TEMPORAL, MINIMUM
Example # 3: Adam killed Jon during nighttime.
1 Crime: HOMICIDE
Penalty: RECLUSION TEMPORAL
2 1 AC = NOT APPLICABLE
3 MAXIMUM INDETERMINATE SENTENCE
No MC, 1 AC = Reclusion Temporal, Maximum Term
4 MINIMUM INDETERMINATE SENTENCE
One degree lower = Prision Mayor
ISL: PRISION MAYOR to RECLUSION TEMPORAL, MAXIMUM
Example # 4: Adam killed Jon during nighttime. Adam voluntarily surrendered and pleaded guilty.
1 Crime: HOMICIDE
Penalty: RECLUSION TEMPORAL
2 2 MC + 1 AC = NOT APPLICABLE
3 MAXIMUM INDETERMINATE SENTENCE
2 MC, 1 AC = 1MC
MAXIMUM ISL = Reclusion Temporal, Minimum Term
4 MINIMUM INDETERMINATE SENTENCE
One degree lower = Prision Mayor
ISL: PRISION MAYOR to RECLUSION TEMPORAL, MINIMUM
Example #5: Adam killed Jon. Adam voluntarily surrendered and pleaded guilty.
1 Crime: HOMICIDE
Penalty: RECLUSION TEMPORAL
2 2 MC (voluntary surrender & plea of guilty)
Penalty: One degree lower = Prision Mayor
3 MAXIMUM INDETERMINATE SENTENCE
No remaining MC & AC
MAXIMUM ISL = Prision Mayor, Medium Term
4 MINIMUM INDETERMINATE SENTENCE
One degree lower = Prision Correccional
ISL: PRISION CORRECCIONAL to PRISION MAYOR, MEDIUM
Example # 6: Adam when he was 17y/o killed Jon with discernment. Adam voluntarily surrendered.
1 Crime: HOMICIDE
Penalty: RECLUSION TEMPORAL
2 Minority: 17y/o with discernment
Penalty: One degree lower = Prision Mayor
3 MAXIMUM INDETERMINATE SENTENCE
1 MC (voluntary surrender), No AC
MAXIMUM ISL = Prision Mayor, Minimum Term
4 MINIMUM INDETERMINATE SENTENCE
One degree lower = Prision Correccional
ISL: PRISION CORRECCIONAL to PRISION MAYOR, MINIMUM

Example #7: Behati stabbed and killed Adam when A placed his hands on the thigh of B, w/o any provocation on
her part.
1 Crime: HOMICIDE
Penalty: RECLUSION TEMPORAL
2 Incomplete defense: unlawful aggression & lack of sufficient provocation
Penalty = 2 degrees lower = PRISION CORRECIONAL
3 MAXIMUM INDETERMINATE SENTENCE
No MC, No AC
Prision Correccional, Medium
4 MINIMUM INDETERMINATE PENALTY
Arresto Mayor, Medium
IP: Arresto Mayor as medium to Prision Correccional in its medium period
Example #8: Jon killed Adam in incomplete self-defense. There was no unlawful aggression by Adam and no
sufficient provocation on the part of Jon. But the means employed by Jon to defend himself was not reasonable.
Jon acted w/ obfuscation and after killing Adam, surrendered himself.
1 Crime: Homicide
Penalty: Reclusion temporal
2 Incomplete defense: unlawful aggression & lack of sufficient provocation
2 Degrees lower = PRISION CORRECIONAL
2 MC (Obfuscation & Voluntary surrender)
1 Degree lower = ARRESTO MAYOR
Penalty: Arresto Mayor, Medium
Example # 9 Adam was guilty of complex crime of frustrated Homicide with assault upon Jon an agent of a
person in authority.
1 Crime: FRUSTRATED HOMICIDE with ASSAULT
Penalty: FRUSTRATED HOMICIDE: PRISION MAYOR (1 degree lower)
Assault: Prision Correccional Med to Max Period
Penalty to be considered: PRISION MAYOR (higher)
2
Not Applicable
3 MAXIMUM INDETERMINATE SENTENCE
Prision Mayor, Maximum (Art.48)
4 MINIMUM INDETERMINATE PENALTY
Prision Correccional
IP: Prision Correccional as minimum to Prision Mayor in its maximum period as maximum
Example # 10: Adam attempted to kill his uncle Jon, a senior citizen. He was not able to kill Jon because he was
arrested upon complaint of Jon as regard to Adams threats that he will kill him.
1 Crime: GRAVE THREATS
Penalty: Prision Correccional (2 degrees lower penalty for homicide)
Art. 281 (1)
2 Not Applicable
3
MAXIMUM INDETERMINATE PENALTY
No MC, 2ACs (Relationship & disregard of respect)
= Prision Correccional, Maximum
4)
MINIMUM INDETERMINATE PENALTY
= Arresto Mayor
IP: Arresto Mayor as minimum to Prision Correccional in its maximum period as maximum.
Example # 11: Adam robbed Jon in an inhabited house.
1 Crime: Robbery
Penalty:
Prision Mayor
2 Not Applicable
3
MAXIMUM INDETERMINATE PENALTY
= Prision Mayor, Medium
4 MINIMUM INDETERMINATE PENALTY
= Prision Correccional
IP: Prision Correccional as minimum to Prision Mayor in its medium period as medium

JURISPRUDENCE
People vs. Simon
Crime: violation of RA 6425 or The Dangerous Drug Act of 1972, amended by RA 7659.
Penalty: Reclusion Perpetua.
No aggravating and mitigating circumstances.
Issue:
a. Whether or not a lesser penalty should be imposed?
b. Whether or not ISL is applicable in the present case?
Held:
a. Yes. Based on Art.10, RPC in relation to Art. 22, RPC favourable provisions to the accused should be applied
retroactively with certain limitations such as providing a range depending on the quantity of the drug involved in the
case:

Below 250 grams prision correccional.

250 to 499 grams prision mayor.

500 to 749 grams reclusion temporal


b. Yes, ISL is applicable. Based on art. 10, the provisions of the RPC shall be supplementary to special law, with certain
exceptions. Other than that, accused did not meet conditions that would prevent ISL to be applied.
Maximum 4 years and 2 months of prision correccional (med)
Minimum 6 moths of arresto mayor
People vs. Bon
Facts:
6 counts of Consummated Rape Death penalty imposed by RTC and affirmed by the Court of Appeals
2 counts of Attempted Rape Court of Appeals imposed Prision Mayor as minimum to Reclusion Temporal medium as
maximum penalty.
The victim is, AAA and BBB, then-minor, the daughters of the appellants brother. That constitutes 2 aggravating
circumstances.
Issue:
WON the case at bar should affirm the death penalty imposed by the lower court which happens prior the enactment of
R.A. 9346 - AN ACT PROHIBITING THE IMPOSITION OF DEATH PENALTY IN THE PHILIPPINES
What is the penalty for 2 count of attempted rape?
1 In liue of RA 9346, SC can no longer affirm the decision of CA for the imposition of death penalty. It will not be
downgraded to reclusion perpetua.
2 In the case of Bon, the determination of his penalty for attempted rape shall be reckoned not from two degrees
lower than death, but two degrees lower than reclusion perpetua. Hence, the maximum term of his penalty shall
no longer be reclusion temporal, as ruled by the Court of Appeals, but instead, prision mayor.
Other Doctrines
People v. Asturias
(reiterated in Serrano v. Court of Appeals, People v. Narvasa, People v. Lampaza, and People v. Tan)
The penalty of reclusion perpetua as synonymous to life-imprisonment for purposes of the Indeterminate
Sentence Law, and ruled that the latter law does not apply to persons convicted of offenses punishable with the said
penalty.
Parole is extended only to those convicted of divisible penalties. Reclusion perpetua is an indivisible penalty, with
no minimum or maximum period.
People v. Gonzales
The graver offense, which is Falsification, punishable by prision mayor and should be in MAXIMUM period.
But attending two mitigating circumstances (ordinary mitigating, will count only one), it will lower by one degree, or
prision correccional and should be apply to MAXIMUM period because of its complexity and circumstances.
Hence, the court imposes from any range of arresto mayor to prision correccional in maximum term as the
maximum penalty.
RE. PENALTY IMPOSED BY JUDGE TEOFILO GUADIZ, JR., CFI, BRANCH V, NUEVA ECIJA, IN CRIMINAL CASE
NO. 604, ENTITLED, "PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, vs. FROILAN MAGLAYA"
The requirement of imposing an indeterminate sentence in all criminal offenses, whether punished by the Revised
Penal Code or by special laws, with definite minimum and maximum terms, as the Court deems proper within the
legal range of the penalty specified by the law must, therefore, be deemed mandatory.