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A favorite question in law school exams is to enumerate the differences between

pardon and amnesty. The 1949 case of Barrioquinto v. Fernandez is instructive on

this point:

1. 1. Pardon is granted by the President 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. Amnesty, which is extended by Proclamation of the Chief Executive with the
concurrence of Congress, is a public act that the courts should take judicial notice
of. Note that in the current situation, the concurrence of a majority of all the
members of the Congress will need to be obtained. The Constitution is once again
silent as to whether both houses of Congress shall vote jointly or separately but I
am certain that the Senate will insist on the latter.

1. 2. Pardon is granted to one after conviction; while amnesty is granted to classes

of persons who may be guilty of a political offense, before or after the institution of
criminal proceedings and sometimes even after conviction. I understand that Senior
State Prosecutor Juan Navera, who was the prosecutor in charge of the Oakwood
case, was dismayed to learn about the amnesty proclamation as promulgation of
judgment is scheduled on October 28. But as noted above, amnesty can be granted
before or after conviction. Notwithstanding, this should not stop Makati RTC Judge
Oscar Pimentel from deciding the case and news reports indicate that he is poised
to do so.

1. 3. Pardon looks forward and relieves the offender from the consequences of an
offense. But while it forgives the punishment, it does not necessarily lead to 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. It also does not exempt the
convicted from the payment of the civil indemnity imposed upon him by the
sentence (Article 36, Revised Penal Code). On the other hand, amnesty looks
backward and abolishes and puts into oblivion the offense so that the person is a
new person and stands before the law precisely as though he had committed no
offense. However, note that the amnesty proclamation of the President expressly
provided that extinguishment of criminal liability is without prejudice to civil
liability for injuries or damages caused to private persons.