Decriminalization Law - Dcriminalization of Drugs Pros and Cons - Limburg 60


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Tuesday, 7 September 2021

Decriminalization Law - Dcriminalization of Drugs Pros and Cons


1. Decriminalization Vagrancy - Before Article 202 of RPC punishes vagrancy and prostitution. But Article 202 of RPC as amended merely penalizes prostitution. In sum, RA No. 10158 has decriminalized vagrancy by omitting portions of Article 202 involving crime vagrancy. 

A reading of the Senate deliberation pertaining to the passage of law decriminalizing vagrancy shows that they considered vagrants as victims of poverty and that the law on vagrancy serves to oppress the very people that the government sought to protect.

Decriminalization Law

In view of the new policy of the State decriminalizing vagrancy, which is embodied in RA No. 10158, ordinance, which punishes vagrancy, should be declared as contrary to law, and hence, invalid. Settled is the rule that what the national legislature expressly allows by law, a local legislature may not disallow by ordinance or resolution (Lina vs. Pana, G.R. No. 129093, August 30, 2001). 

The spring cannot rise higher than its source. As aptly explained by Justice Nachura in his book, “An ordinance must not be contrary to the Constitution or law. Prohibited activities may not be legalized in the guise of regulation; activities allowed by law cannot be prohibited, only regulated.”

RA No. 10158 shall be given retroactive effect. Under Section 2 and 3 thereof, all pending cases for vagrancy shall be dismissed and all persons serving sentence for vagrancy shall be immediately released. Since Sections 2 and 3 of RA No. 10158 expressly provide a retroactive application to the law without distinction, whether the offender is a habitual delinquent or not.

2. Decriminalization Premature marriage - Under Article 351 of RPC, a woman in contracting marriage within 301 days from the death of husband, or dissolution or annulment of marriage is liable for the crime of premature marriage. However, RA No. 10655 decriminalizes premature marriage by repealing Article 351. Premature marriage was decriminalized. 

since Article 351 discriminates against women because this provision is not applicable to men. Moreover, Article 351 sought to prevent a possible confusion as to whether the father of the child born after the dissolution of the marriage is the first husband or the second. This preventive measure is not anymore necessary since paternity and filiation could now be easily determined through modern technology.

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