(Question IV-A, Political Law, 2017 Bar Exam)
What is the pardoning power of the President under Art. VIII, Sec. 19 of the Constitution?
Is the exercise of the power absolute? (4%)
1) Under the Constitution, except in cases of impeachment, or as otherwise provided in this Constitution, the President may grant reprieves, commutations and pardons, and remit fines and forfeitures, after conviction by final judgment. He shall also have the power to grant amnesty with the concurrence of a majority of all the Members of the Congress.
2) The exercise of such power is absolute in the sense that the pardoning power of the President cannot be limited by legislative action: Provided, that the exercise thereof is consistent with the 1987 Constitution.
(Question VI-B, Political Law, 2017 Bar Exam)
Distinguish pardon from amnesty. (4%)
1) Pardon is granted by the Chief Executive and as such it is a private act which must be pleaded and proved by the person pardoned, because the courts take no notice thereof. On the other hand, amnesty is by Proclamation of the Chief Executive with the concurrence of Congress, and it is a public act of which the courts should take judicial notice.
2) Pardon is granted to one after conviction. On the other hand, amnesty is granted to classes of persons or communities who may be guilty of political offenses, generally before or after the institution of the criminal prosecution and sometimes after conviction.
3) Pardon looks forward and relieves the offender from the consequences of an offense of which he has been convicted, that is, it abolished or forgives the punishment, and for that reason it does “not work the restoration of the rights to hold public office, or the right of suffrage, unless such rights be expressly restored by the terms of the pardon,” and it “in no case exempts the culprit from the payment of the civil indemnity imposed upon him by the sentence”. On the other hand, amnesty looks backward and abolishes and puts into oblivion the offense itself, it so overlooks and obliterates the offense with which he is charged that the person released by amnesty stands before the law precisely as though he had committed no offense.
(Notice: The suggested answers simulate those that a bar examinee may provide, and thus specific citations are not provided. Notwithstanding, in the reviewers, the bar exam question is answered under the appropriate topic which discusses the concepts and principles, as well as provide for specific citations. Accordingly, please refer to it on the reviewer or in the Library.)
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