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ESCAPE FROM PRISON BECAUSE OF A NATURAL CALAMITY

Dear PAO,

Due to the recent typhoon that hit Cavite, the city government declared a state of calamity. My cousin,
who has been convicted and is currently serving his sentence, escaped from jail for fear of the calamity’s
effect in his place of confinement and concern for his family that was directly affected by the typhoon.
Three days after, the city government lifted the state of calamity. I convinced him to surrender to the
proper authorities but he was hesitant. He fears that the penalty imposed against him might be
increased because he escaped.
I want to be enlightened on the possible outcome or consequence if my cousin surrenders and the
possible consequence should he fail to surrender. Will the imposed penalty be increased? I am hoping
that your office will address my concern.
Thank you very much,

Edu

Dear Edu,

Considering that your friend is convicted for the crime he committed, his failure to surrender to the
proper authorities within the given time from the proclamation announcing the lifting of the state of
calamity will result in violation of Article 158 of the Revised Penal Code on the Evasion of Sentence,
which states that:
“Art. 158. Evasion of service of sentence on the occasion of disorder, conflagrations, earthquakes, or
other calamities. — A convict who shall evade the service of his sentence, by leaving the penal
institution where he shall have been confined, on the occasion of disorder resulting from a
conflagration, earthquake, explosion, or similar catastrophe, or during a mutiny in which he has not
participated, shall suffer an increase of one-fifth of the time still remaining to be served under the
original sentence, which in no case shall exceed six months, if he shall fail to give himself up to the
authorities within forty-eight hours following the issuance of a proclamation by the Chief Executive
announcing the passing away of such calamity.
Convicts who, under the circumstances mentioned in the preceding paragraph, shall give themselves up
to the authorities within the above mentioned period of 48 hours, shall be entitled to the deduction
provided in Article 98.” (Emphasis supplied).
On the other hand, Section 4 of Republic Act (RA) 10592 or An Act Amending Articles 29, 94, 97, 98, and
99 of Act No. 3815, As Amended, Otherwise Known as the Revised Penal Code, provides a special time
allowance for loyalty or deduction of one fifth of the period of sentence for those who escaped from
prison and gave themselves up to the proper authorities within 48 hours following the issuance of a
proclamation announcing the passing away of the calamity or catastrophe. Section 4 of RA 10592 is
quoted below, to wit:
“Section 4. Article 98 of the same Act is hereby further amended to read as follows:
“ART. 98. Special time allowance for loyalty. – A deduction of one fifth of the period of his sentence shall
be granted to any prisoner who, having evaded his preventive imprisonment or the service of his
sentence under the circumstances mentioned in Article 158 of this Code, gives himself up to the
authorities within 48 hours following the issuance of a proclamation announcing the passing away of the
calamity or catastrophe referred to in said article. A deduction of two-fifths of the period of his sentence
shall be granted in case said prisoner chose to stay in the place of his confinement notwithstanding the
existence of a calamity or catastrophe enumerated in Article 158 of this Code.
“This Article shall apply to any prisoner whether undergoing preventive imprisonment or serving
sentence.” (Emphasis supplied)
However, your cousin may be granted a reduction in his term of imprisonment equivalent to one-fifth of
the period of his sentence provided that he surrenders to the proper authorities within 48 hours or two
2 days from the issuance or proclamation by the government announcing the passing away of the
calamity, in accordance with the aforementioned law.
Thus, we strongly advice your cousin to immediately surrender to avoid a possible increase in his prison
term and to avail of the benefits provided under the aforementioned law for the reduction of his service
of imprisonment.