Mala in se and Mala Prohibita

Mala in se

Mala in se – are wrongful acts that have a certain degree or character of evilness. To prove mala in se, bad faith on the part of the offender must be proven. The absence of bad faith or dolo can be a defense. Mala in see crimes are punishable under both RPC and special laws.

Article 3 of the RPC defines felonies as acts or omissions punishable by law. Felonies can be committed by means of fraud/malice/bad faith (dolo), and malice is mala in se.

In Mala in se, criminal intent must be present. Crimes under the RPC are mala in se or with malice, except Technical Malversation. The prevailing jurisprudence is that technical malversation is mala prohibita. (Ysidoro v. People)

Mala prohibita

Mala prohibita – acts that are not inherently wrong but are made wrong because a positive law prohibits it based on considerations of public policy, public order, or convenience. What is punished is the commission of the act prohibited by law and not the character or nature of the violation.

Absence of Bad Faith in Mala Prohibita are Irrelevant

The absence of bad faith or criminal intent is not a defense. Mala prohibita crimes are punishable under special laws but Technical Malversation, not an inherently wrong crime, is punishable under the RPC.

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