DOJ Crafts Proposed Penal Code

MANILA, Philippines --- The Department of Justice (DOJ) yesterday said it is right on track on its bid to recodify the country's law as it announced the supposed completion of the first phase of crafting a new panel code of the Philippines.

Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Leila de Lima said the DOJ's Criminal Code Committee (CCC) has completed the initial draft of Book 1 of the proposed Criminal Code, containing the general principles applicable to the punishment of crimes, since the body was created on April 20, 2011.

Book 2, which will contain the specific definition of crimes and their corresponding penalties, is currently being drafted, according to De Lima.

"We are happy with the pace of the CCC's work, which we attribute largely to the consultative, multi-perspective and dynamic approach being taken by its dedicated and hardworking representatives," De Lima said.

"This underscores the urgency and timeliness of the need to come up with our very own criminal code," she added.

The CCC, composed of representatives from more than 20 government agencies and private organizations spanning the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government, the professional associations of lawyers, and the civil society, was formed by Secretary De Lima following the directive of President Benigno S. Aquino III during his first State-of-the-Nation Address to recodify our laws to ensure their consistency.

Since its creation, the CCC worked steadily to come up with a new body of criminal law to update the Revised Penal Code of 1932. It is being supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

The CCC conducted consultations with various sectors during the course of its work, including focus group discussions with Legislators (July 28, 2011); Legal Experts (September 23, 2011); Chief Prosecutors of Metro Manila (October 7, 2011); Law Enforcement Sector (August 26, 2011); Corrections Sector (September 9, 2011); Women and Children Sector (September 23, 2011); Investigators, Prosecutors and Defenders (November 11, 2011); Business Sector (January 20, 2012); Mass Media (April 26, 2012); Religious Groups (August 24, 2012); and Government Agencies and Stakeholders (September 14 and 21, 2012).

The draft Book 1 of the proposed Criminal Code was likewise presented during multi-sectoral consultations in Legazpi, Albay; Cebu City, Cebu; Davao City, Davao; Baguio City; and Iloilo City.

Work on Book 2 of the proposed Criminal Code is under way, and the members of the CCC are currently discussing and considering timely and relevant issues.

Despite the magnitude of its work, the CCC remains on track to help craft a new criminal code that will be part of the President's legacy.

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