Constitutionality of law penalizing loitering

Article 202 of the Revised Penal Code penalizes any person found loitering about public or semi-public buildings or places or tramping or wandering about the country or the streets without visible means of support. It provides:

Art. 202. Vagrants and prostitutes; penalty. — The following are vagrants:

1.     Any person having no apparent means of subsistence, who has the physical ability to work and who neglects to apply himself or herself to some lawful calling;

2.     Any person found loitering about public or semi-public buildings or places or tramping or wandering about the country or the streets without visible means of support;

3.     Any idle or dissolute person who lodges in houses of ill fame; ruffians or pimps and those who habitually associate with prostitutes;

4.     Any person who, not being included in the provisions of other articles of this Code, shall be found loitering in any inhabited or uninhabited place belonging to another without any lawful or justifiable purpose;

5.     Prostitutes.

For the purposes of this article, women who, for money or profit, habitually indulge in sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct, are deemed to be prostitutes.

Any person found guilty of any of the offenses covered by this articles shall be punished by arresto menor or a fine not exceeding 200 pesos, and in case of recidivism, by arresto mayor in its medium period to prision correccional in its minimum period or a fine ranging from 200 to 2,000 pesos, or both, in the discretion of the court.

Evangeline Siton and Krystel Kate Sagarano were charged with vagrancy under Article 202 (2) of the Revised Penal Code. Instead of submitting their counter-affidavits as directed, they filed separate Motions to Quash on the ground that Article 202 (2) is unconstitutional for being vague and overbroad.

Continue reading

Advertisements