You are on page 1of 2

LAW ON PLUNDER 5) By establishing agricultural, industrial or commercial

monopolies or other combinations and/or


What is the applicable law on
implementation of decrees and orders intended to benefit
plunder? Plunder is covered by Republic Act
No. 7080 (“An Act Defining and Penalizing the particular persons or special interests; or
Crime of Plunder”), as amended.
6) By taking undue advantage of official position,
Is the law unconstitutional? No. The Supreme authority, relationship, connection or influence to
Court already ruled in Estrada vs. unjustly enrich himself or themselves at the expense and
Sandiganbayan (2001) that RA 7080 is not to the damage and prejudice of the Filipino people and the
contrary to the Constitution. Republic of the Philippines.

What’s the definition of a “public officer”? A What are the elements of the crime of
“public officer” means any person holding any plunder? As discussed in Estrada vs.
public office in the Government of the Republic Sandiganbayan(2001), the elements of the crime of
of the Philippines by virtue of an appointment, plunder are:
election or contract.
1. That the offender is a public officer who acts by himself
What is included in the term “government” or in connivance with members of his family, relatives by
in the definition above? “Government” includes affinity or consanguinity, business associates,
the National Government, and any of its subordinates or other persons;
subdivisions, agencies or instrumentalities,
including government-owned or -controlled 2. That he amassed, accumulated or acquired ill-gotten
corporations and their subsidiaries. wealth through a combination or series of the following
What is “ill-gotten wealth”? Ill-gotten wealth overt or criminal acts: (a) through misappropriation,
means any asset, property, business enterprise conversion, misuse, or malversation of public funds or
or material possession of any person within the raids on the public treasury; (b) by receiving, directly or
purview of Section 2 (defining the crime of indirectly, any commission, gift, share, percentage,
plunder) of the law, acquired by him directly or kickback or any other form of pecuniary benefits from
indirectly through dummies, nominees, agents, any person and/or entity in connection with any
subordinates and/or business associates by any government contract or project or by reason of the office
combination or series of the following means or or position of the public officer; (c) by the illegal or
similar schemes: fraudulent conveyance or disposition of assets belonging
1) Through misappropriation, conversion, misuse, or to the National Government or any of its subdivisions,
malversation of public funds or raids on the public agencies or instrumentalities of Government owned or
treasury; controlled corporations or their subsidiaries; (d) by
obtaining, receiving or accepting directly or indirectly
2) By receiving, directly or indirectly, any commission, any shares of stock, equity or any other form of interest
gift, share, percentage, kickbacks or any other form of or participation including the promise of future
pecuniary benefit from any person and/or entity in employment in any business enterprise or undertaking;
connection with any government contract or project or by (e) by establishing agricultural, industrial or commercial
reason of the office or position of the public officer monopolies or other combinations and/or
concerned; implementation of decrees and orders intended to benefit
particular persons or special interests; or (f) by taking
3) By the illegal or fraudulent conveyance or disposition
advantage of official position, authority, relationship,
of assets belonging to the National Government or any of
connection or influence to unjustly enrich himself or
its subdivisions, agencies or instrumentalities or
themselves at the expense and to the damage and
government-owned or -controlled corporations and their
prejudice of the Filipino people and the Republic of the
subsidiaries;
Philippines; and,
4) By obtaining, receiving or accepting directly or
3. That the aggregate amount or total value of the ill-
indirectly any shares of stock, equity or any other form of
gotten wealth amassed, accumulated or acquired is at
interest or participation including promise of future
least P50,000,000.00.
employment in any business enterprise or undertaking;
[Note: The threshhold amount is originally P75 criminal acts indicative of the overall unlawful
Million under RA 7080. This was amended by scheme or conspiracy.
RA 7659 (1993), which is an act imposing the
death penalty on certain heinous crimes What is the effect of a charge of plunder on a
including plunder, decreasing the threshhold public officer still in office? Any public officer
amount to P50 Million. We all know, however, against whom any criminal prosecution under a
that the death penalty law (RA 7659) was valid information under this law in whatever
“repealed or amended accordingly” by RA 9346 stage of execution and mode of participation, is
(2006), which prohibits the imposition of the pending in court, shall be suspended from office.
death penalty. The interesting point is this –
What is the applicable penalty upon
does the repeal (or “amendment”) of RA 7659
conviction? The applicable penalty for the
mean that the threshhold amount is now back
crime of Plunder, under R.A. 7080 (as amended
to P75 Million? Let’s discuss.]
by R.A. 7659), is reclusion perpetua to death. The
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WHEEL death penalty, however, was already abolished,
CONSPIRACY AND CHAIN CONSPIRACY: which means that the applicable penalty
isreclusion perpetua, without prejudice to other
In the American jurisdiction, the presence of accessory penalties that may be imposed by the
several accused in multiple conspiracies court.
commonly involves two structures: (1) the so-
called wheel or circle conspiracy, in which there Upon conviction, what is the other penalty in
is a single person or group (the hub) dealing addition to imprisonment? In case of
individually with two or more other persons or conviction by final judgment, the accused shall
groups (the spokes); and (2) the chain lose all retirement or gratuity benefits under any
conspiracy, usually involving the distribution of law. However, if the accused is acquitted, he
narcotics or other contraband, in which there is shall be entitled to reinstatement and to the
successive communication and cooperation in salaries and other benefits which he failed to
much the same way as with legitimate business receive during suspension, unless in the
operations between manufacturer and meantime, administrative proceedings have
wholesaler, then wholesaler and retailer, and been filed against him.
then retailer and consumer.
Is there a prescriptive period in prosecuting
What is the court that has jurisdiction over someone with plunder? Yes. The crime
the crime of plunder? Until otherwise provided punishable under R.A. 7080 prescribes in
by law, all prosecutions under the law is at the twenty (20) years. However, the right of the
Sandiganbayan. The Supreme State to recover properties unlawfully acquired
Court clarifiedthat the Sandiganbayan has no by public officers from them or from their
jurisdiction over the crime of plunder unless nominees or transferees shall not be barred by
committed by public officials and employees prescription, laches, or estoppel
occupying the positions with Salary Grade “27”
or higher, under the Compensation and Position
Classification Act of 1989 (Republic Act No.
6758) in relation to their office. This is pursuant
to Republic Act No. 8429 (1997), which is the
special law that provided for the jurisdiction of
the Sandiganbayan “otherwise” than that
prescribed in Republic Act No. 7080.

What is the specific rule of evidence provided


under this law? For purposes of establishing
the crime of plunder, it shall not be necessary to
prove each and every criminal act done by the
accused in furtherance of the scheme or
conspiracy to amass, accumulate or acquire ill-
gotten wealth, it being sufficient to establish
beyond reasonable doubt a pattern of overt or