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Justice sector to study amendments to Revised Penal Code

To keep up with the times, representatives from institutions in the justice sector are set to form a committee that will review the Revised Penal Code, the country's general criminal code. In a statement issued late on Wednesday, Justice Sec. Leila de Lima said the code may have to be reviewed because its provisions stemmed from an "antiquated" general penal law enacted during the American occupation in 1932. Lawyers and other legal professionals often have to go to the original Spanish text of Act No. 3815 (the Revised Penal Code) because it is the Spanish text and not the English translation that is controlling. In fact, most provisions were copied from the old Spanish Penal Code. "Over the years, there have been dramatic changes in the nature and types of crimes and there is an urgent need to craft a truly organic, Filipino criminal code attuned to our values and norms," said De Lima. She added that the review committee, named the Criminal Code Committee, will be composed of representatives from the following institutions: the Supreme Court, the Philippine National Police, the Department of Justice and its attached agencies: the National Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Immigration, Public Attorney's Office, Office of the Government Corporate Counsel, Office of the Solicitor General, Board of Pardons and Parole, and the Land Registration Authority. Legal luminaries from the Integrated Bar of the Philipppines, the Philippine Judicial Academy, the Philippine Judges Association, Philippine Association of Law Schools, and the Regional Prosecutors Council will also participate in the review process. De Lima said that the committee will also invite resource persons like doctors, economists, criminologists, and forensic experts. - VVP/MRT, GMA News