Case Digest: Rigor vs. Superintendent (G.R. No. 156983. September 23, 2003
Jose Victor Rigor was convicted of illegal sale and possession of methampethamine hydrochloride (shabu). He was sentenced, as follows:
in Criminal Case No. MC-99-1235-D: to SIX (6) MONTHS AND ONE (1) DAY OF arresto mayor maximum to FOUR (4) YEARS AND FOUR (4) MONTHS AND ONE (1) DAY OF prision correccional and a fine of P5,000.00 and,
in Criminal Case No. MC-99-1236-D: SIX (6) MONTHS AND ONE (1) DAY OF arresto mayor maximum to FOUR (4) YEARS AND ONE (1) DAY OF prision correccional and a fine of P5,000.00.
As of the filing of the petition, Rigor had already served one year and five months of imprisonment.
Contention of the Accused: Rigor states that he should be entitled to the retroactive application of RA 7659 and asks for the reduction of his penalty to only six months and one day of prision correccional in each of his convictions so that he may be deemed to have served the maximum penalty in both instances, and should now be released.
Contention of the State: The Court noted an error in the joint decision of the trial court and consequently rectified it, taking into consideration RA 7659. Rigor’s penalty of imprisonment in each of Criminal Case No. MC-99-1235-D and Criminal Case No. MC-99-1236-D, should have been from six months of arresto mayor as minimum, to four years and two months of prision correccional, as maximum.
The penalties imposed by the trial court, as duly corrected, are within the ambit of RA 7659, and there is nothing more to reduce.
RULING: Under Article 70 of the Revised Penal Code, when an offender has to serve two or more penalties, he should serve them simultaneously if the nature of the penalties will so permit. Otherwise said penalties shall be executed successively, following the order of their respective severity, in such case, the second sentence will not commence to run until the expiration of the first.
The nature of petitioner’s sentences does not allow its simultaneous service; hence he must serve it successively. Not only that he must serve it successively, he must also serve it up to its maximum term.
Petitioner must therefore first serve the penalty in Crim. Case No. MC-99-1235-D up to its maximum term, before service of the penalty in Crim. Case No. MC-99-1236-D also up to its maximum term, or a total maximum period of eight years and four months.