Petitioner is being charged with violations of Section 7 of RA No. 3019 for failure to file his Statements of Assets and Liabilities for the period 1967-1985 during his tenure as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary and for the period 1963-1966 during his tenure as Technical Assistant in the Department of Foreign Affairs. However, the petitioner contended that his criminal liability was extinguish by way of prescription. Respondents alleged that the prescription was interrupted due to the absences of the petitioner for being abroad.
Whether the prescription period of an offense of a special law may be interrupted by the absence of the accused for being outside the criminal jurisdiction of our court through Suppletory application of Art 10. of the RPC.
No, if there is no gap in the law. Where the special law is silent, Article 10 of the RPC applies suppletorily, Thus, the Court has applied suppletorily various provisions of the RPC to resolve cases where the special laws are silent on the matters in issue.
The silence of RA No. 3019 on the question of whether or not the absence of the accused from the Philippines prevents or tolls the running of the prescriptive period is more apparent than real. Section 2 of Act No. 3326 provides that the prescription 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 proceedings for its investigation and punishment. The running of the prescriptive period shall be interrupted when proceedings are instituted against the guilty person, and shall begin to run again if the proceedings are dismissed for reasons not constituting jeopardy. Clearly, Section 2 of Act No. 3326 did not provide that the absence of the accused from the Philippines prevents the running of the prescriptive period. Thus, the only inference that can be gathered from the foregoing is that the legislature, in enacting Act No. 3326, did not consider the absence of the accused from the Philippines as a hindrance to the running of the prescriptive period. Expressio unius est exclusio alterius.