M a n i l a
PRESIDENTIAL DECREE No. 1199
CONSOLIDATING AND REENACTING ALL DECREES REGARDING THE APPELLATE REVIEW PROCEDURES IN MILITARY TRIBUNAL AND COURT-MARTIAL CASES AS PROVIDED IN PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO. 978, AS AMENDED
WHEREAS, Presidential Decree No. 978 was promulgated to establish a simplified appellate review procedure for military tribunal and court-martial cases;
WHEREAS, Presidential Decree No. 978 was amended to Presidential Decree No. 1165 to make said appellate review more expeditious and adequate;
WHEREAS, there is a need to introduce additional amendments to Presidential Decree No. 978, particularly on the composition, organization, procedures and other matters, pertaining to the Court of Military Appeals;
WHEREAS, it is desirable that Presidential Decree No. 987 and all amendments thereto be consolidated and re-enacted in one decree;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, FERDINAND E. MARCOS, President of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested in me by the Constitution, do hereby order and decree as part of the law of the land the following:
Section 1. Initial Action on Record.
(a) Review by Staff Judge Advocate/Legal Officer or AFP Board of Review. Every record of trial of military commissions or provost courts shall be forwarded to the staff judge advocate/legal officer of the convening authority for review before the latter acts thereon, except in those cases where the penalty imposed is
(ii) confinement of more than six (6) years; or
(iii) ine of more than P6,000.00.
which shall be directly reviewed by the Court of Military Appeals. The staff judge advocate/legal officer shall submit his opinion in writing to the convening authority regarding the legal sufficiency of the record of trial in which there has been a finding of guilty, the appropriateness of the sentence, and any errors of law which may have been committed injuriously affecting the substantial rights of the accused. If the trial resulted in a finding of not guilty or acquittal of all the charge or charges and specification or specifications, the review shall be limited to questions of jurisdiction.
For purposes of this initial review the Judge Advocate General, AFP, shall, as may be directed by the Chief of Staff, AFP, create in his office as many AFP Boards of Review as he may deem proper to conduct the review of a record of trial for the Chief of Staff, AFP, in lieu of the review of his staff judge advocate. The Judge Advocate General, AFP, shall prescribe uniform rules of procedure for the AFP Boards of Review.
(b) Action by the Convening Authority. The convening authority may approve the findings of guilty and the sentence or such part thereof as he finds correct in law and fact. As used in this decree, the term "convening authority" refers to the person who convened the court, a commissioned officer commanding for the time being, or a successor in command.
(c) Rehearing. Where the convening authority disapproves the findings of guilty of the military commission or provost court, he may order a rehearing, except where the disapproval is based on lack of legally sufficient evidence to support the findings and sentence. If he does not order a rehearing, he may order the dismissal of the case. Where the military commission or provost court had no jurisdiction over the offense or person of the accused, the convening authority shall take the appropriate action.
(d) Execution of Sentence. All sentences of military commissions and provost courts shall be executory fifteen (15) days after approval thereof by the convening authority, unless a petition for review is filed pursuant to the provisions of Section 2, paragraph (a), of this decree.
Section 2. Review by Court of Military Appeals.
(a) Where Discretionary. The action or decision of the convening authority in military commission and provost court cases may be reviewed by the Court of Military Appeals upon a petition for review filed by the accused with said court within fifteen (15) days from receipt of a copy of said action or decision. Only questions of law which must be distinctly set forth may be raised. The decision of the Court of Military Appeals shall be final.
(b) Where required.
(1) The Judge Advocate General, AFP, shall refer directly to the Court of Military Appeals every record of trial of a military commission or provost court in which the penalty imposed is
(ii) confinement of more than six (6) years; or
(iii) fine of more than P6,000.00
(2) The Court of Military Appeals shall determine the appropriateness of the sentence imposed by the military commission or provost court. In considering the records, it may weigh the evidence, judge the credibility of witnesses, and determine controverted questions of fact and any errors of law which may have been committed injuriously affecting the substantial rights of the accused.
(3) The Court of Military Appeals may disapprove the findings of guilty by the military commission or provost court, and order a rehearing, except where the disapproval is based on lack of legally sufficient evidence to support the findings. If it does not order a rehearing, it may dismiss the case.
(b) Sentences Based on Plea of Guilty. Except in death sentences, all sentences of military commissions and provost courts based solely upon findings of guilty of a charge or charges and a specification or specifications to which the accused pleaded guilty shall not be subject to further review by the Court of Military Appeals and/or the Supreme Court as herein provided.
(c) Action in Accordance with Decision of Court After the Court of Military Appeals has acted on a case, the Judge Advocate General, AFP, shall advice the convening authority to take action in accordance with the decision of the court, unless there is further action by the Supreme Court as herein provided.
(d) Annual Survey of Appellate Review Operations. The Judge Advocate General, AFP, and the Court of Military Appeals shall meet annually to make a comprehensive survey of appellate review operations and report to the President of the Philippines the number and status of cases reviewed and pending and any recommendation relating to uniformity of policies as to bail or release pending appellate review, sentences, service of sentences, and any other matters considered appropriate.
Section 3. The Court of Military Appeals.
(a) Creation; Composition of Court. There is hereby created a Court of Military Appeals which shall consist of a Presiding Justice and eight (8) Associate Justices to be appointed by the President of the Philippines from individuals who are not less than forty (40) years of age at the time of appointment and have engaged in the practice of law in the Philippines for not less than ten (10) years, or held for a like period an office in the Philippine Government service requiring admission to the practice of law in the Philippines as an indispensable requisite, or have been for a like period on active military duty as members of the Judge Advocate General's Service, AFP. The President may appoint to the court retired justices of the Court of Appeals and/or Supreme Court of the Philippines.
The Presiding Justice of the court shall have precedence and preside at any session which he attends. In the absence of the Presiding Justice, the Associate Justice attending who is first in precedence shall preside. In case of a vacancy in the office of Presiding Justice of the court or of his inability, the duties and powers of his office shall devolve upon the Associate Justice who is first in precedence, until such inability is removed or another Presiding Justice is appointed. The Associate Justices shall have precedence according to the dates of their respective appointments, or, when the appointments of two or more of them shall bear the same date, according to the order in which their appointments have been issued by the President.
The Court shall sit en banc or in divisions of three (3) justices each division. A vacancy in the court does not impair the right of the remaining justices to exercise the powers of the court.
The court, sitting en banc, shall prescribe its own rules of procedure, to include but not limited to the allotment of cases among the different divisions, the regular rotation of justices among them, the filling of vacancies therein, and other matters relating to the business of the court.
(b) Tenure, Removal, Rank and Emoluments of Justices. The Presiding Justice and Associate Justices of the Court of Military Appeals shall hold office until they reach the age of sixty-five years, except the retired justices of the Court of Appeals and/or Supreme Court of the Philippines who shall hold office for the period designated in their appointments, renewable for the same period. They may be removed by the President, upon notice and hearing, for neglect of duty or malfeasance in office, or for mental or physical disability rendering them incapacitated to discharge the duties of their office. If a member of the Court of Military Appeals is temporarily unable to perform the functions and duties of his office because of absence, illness or other disability, the President may, upon recommendation of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, detail a member of the Court of Appeals or the Court of First Instance for the period of the inability.
The Presiding Justice and Associate Justices of the Court shall have the rank and receive the emoluments, retirement and other benefits corresponding to those of the Presiding Justice and Associate Justices of the Court of Appeals, respectively: Provided, however, That retired Justices of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals who are appointed to the court may receive the emoluments and benefits corresponding to their former positions in the Supreme Court or Court of Appeals or their retirement pay, at their option, in addition to such allowances as may be authorized by law, any provision of law to the contrary notwithstanding: Provided, further, That said retired justices shall not be required to reimburse or refund, by reason of their appointment to the court, any gratuity received from the government; Provided, furthermore, That members of the Court of Appeals or the Court of First Instance who are detailed to the court for the period of the temporary inability of a justice of the court may elect to receive the emoluments and benefits of the position to which detailed or of his position in the civilian judiciary.
(c) Quorum; Number of Justices Necessary to Reach a Decision. Five justices of the court shall constitute a quorum for its session en banc, and three justices shall constitute a quorum for the sessions of a division. In the absence of a quorum, the court or the division shall stand ipso facto adjourned until such time as the requisite number shall be present.
The affirmative vote of five justices is necessary to pass a resolution of the court en banc. The unanimous vote of the three justices of a division shall be necessary for the pronouncement of a judgment; regardless of the nature of the penalty to be imposed. In the event that the three justices of a division do not reach a unanimous vote, the Presiding Justice shall designate two justices from among the other members of the court to sit temporarily with them, forming a special division of five justices, and the concurrence of a majority of the members of such division shall be necessary for the pronouncement of a judgment.
All the cases of the Court of Military Appeals shall be allotted among the different divisions thereof for decision.
Decisions of the Court of Military Appeals shall contain findings of fact on issues properly raised before it.
(d) Appointment of Clerk of Court, Deputy Clerk of Court and Other Officers and Employees; Compensation. The Presiding Justice shall appoint a Clerk of Court who shall exercise the same powers and perform the same duties in regard to all matters within the court's jurisdiction as are exercised and performed by the Clerk of Court of the Court of Appeals of the Philippines. In the exercise of such powers and in the performance of such duties the Clerk of Court shall be under the direction of the court. No person may be appointed Clerk of Court unless he has been engaged for five years in the practice of law in the Philippines. He shall receive an annual compensation corresponding to that of the Clerk of Court of the Court of Appeals of the Philippines.
The Presiding Justice may appoint a Deputy Clerk of Court, who shall have the same qualifications as those of the Clerk of Court, with an annual compensation corresponding to that of the First Deputy Clerk of Court of the Court of Appeals of the Philippines, and other officers and employees in such number and with such compensation as may be authorized by law.
(e) Place of Holding Sessions. The Court of Military Appeals shall hold its sessions in the City of Quezon. Whenever the public interest so requires, the court or any division thereof may hold its sessions in any other place within the Philippines.
Section 4. Review of Records of Trial by General Courts-Martial. The Court of Military Appeals herein created shall review every record of trial by general courts-martial where the sentence, as approved by the convening authority and an AFP Board of Review, requires confirmation by the President of the Philippines as provided in Article of War 47. With respect to such cases, the decision of the Court of Military Appeals approving, or disapproving, without rehearing being ordered, the findings, conclusion or sentence of the general courts-martial shall be final and immediately executory: Provided, that where the sentence of a general courts-martial imposes the penalty of death or affects a general or flag officer, the sentence shall not be executed unless approved or confirmed by the President of the Philippines: Provided, further, that in such cases, the President may reverse, confirm, increase the penalty imposed, or otherwise modify, the decision of the court-martial.
Section 5. Review by the Supreme Court. The accused may file with the Supreme Court a petition for review on certiorari of a decision of the Court of Military Appeals referred to in Section 2, paragraph (b) hereof. Such review shall be limited to questions of law which shall be distinctly set forth in the petition and shall be governed by Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court prescribing the procedure for appeal from the Court of Appeals to the Supreme Court: Provided, that where the original offense charged is punishable with death or life imprisonment, the review may be on questions of law and fact: Provided, further, that where the sentence imposed is death, the records of the case shall be forwarded to the Supreme Court for review and judgment, whether the accused shall have appealed or not, and affirmance must be on ten (10) affirmative votes.
Section 6. Applicability of the Indeterminate Sentence Law and Other Laws. In determining the appropriateness of the sentence, the reviewing authorities in a proper case shall apply the provisions of Act No. 4103, as amended, and the pertinent provisions of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, and other laws, decrees and general orders.
Section 7. Appropriations. There is hereby appropriated out of any funds in the National Treasury not otherwise appropriated the amount of three million pesos for the first year of operation of the Court of Military Appeals. Appropriations for the Court of Military Appeals for succeeding years shall be embodied in the annual appropriations act.
Section 8. Repealing Clause. Presidential Decree No. 978, Presidential Decree No. 1042, and Presidential Decree No. 1165 are hereby repealed. All provisions of Presidential Decrees, General Orders, Letters of Instructions, the Articles of War and other laws or portions thereof, which are inconsistent with the provisions of this decree are hereby repealed and/or modified accordingly.
Section 9. Transitory Provisions. Pending the organization of the Court of Military Appeals and the formulations of its rules of procedure, all records of cases tried by military tribunals and general court-martial which are required to be reviewed by the Court of Military Appeals under Sections 2(b) and 4 or which may be reviewed by the Supreme Court under Section 5 of this Decree shall instead be reviewed by the Secretary of National Defense and by the President of the Philippines, whose action thereon shall be final. Thereafter, all records of such cases shall be reviewed in accordance with this Decree.
Section 10. Effectivity. This Decree shall take effect immediately.
DONE in the City of Manila, this 21st day of September, in the year of Our Lord, nineteen hundred and seventy-seven.
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