Prescriptive Periods of Crimes


The prescription of crimes depends on what penalty is imposed unless it provides for a specific penalty. The following are the prescriptive periods:


1. Those punishable by death, reclusion perpetua, reclusion temporal - 20 years

2. Those punishable by other afflictive penalties   -10 years


3. Those punishable by a correctional penalty shall prescribe in ten years; with the exception of those punishable by arresto mayor, which shall prescribe in five years.

4. Those punishable by arresto mayor - 5 years

5. Libel or other similar offenses - 1 year

5. Oral defamation or slander by deed -  6 months

6. Light offenses   - 2 months


The period of prescription shall commence to run from the day on which the crime is discovered by the offended party, the authorities, or their agents, and shall be interrupted by the filing of the complaint or information (Article 91, Revised Penal Code).


On the other hand, the prescriptive periods for violations penalized by special laws and ordinances are found in Section 1 of Act 3326, to wit:


SECTION 1. Violations penalized by special acts shall, unless otherwise provided in such acts, prescribe in accordance with the following rules: (a) after a year for offenses punished only by a fine or by imprisonment for not more than one month, or both; (b) after four years for those punished by imprisonment for more than one month, but less than two years; (c) after eight years for those punished by imprisonment for two years or more, but less than six years; and (d) after twelve years for any other offense punished by imprisonment for six years or more, except the crime of treason, which shall prescribe after twenty years. Violations penalized by municipal ordinances shall prescribe after two months.


The period shall begin to run from the day of the commission of the violation of the law, and if the same be not known at the time, from the discovery thereof and the institution of judicial proceeding for its investigation and punishment (Section 2, Act 3326).