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CRIMINAL

LAW 1 REVIEWER

CHAPTER 5: ALTERNATIVE CIRCUMSTANCES



Article 15. Their concept.
Alternative circumstances are those, which must be taken into
consideration as aggravating or mitigating according to the nature and
effects of the crime and the other conditions attending its
commission. They are the relationship, intoxication and the degree of
instruction and education of the offender.

The alternative circumstance of relationship shall be taken into
consideration when the offended party in the spouse, ascendant,
descendant, legitimate, natural, or adopted brother or sister, or
relative by affinity in the same degrees of the offender.

The intoxication of the offender shall be taken into consideration as a
mitigating circumstances when the offender has committed a felony
in a state of intoxication, if the same is not habitual or subsequent to
the plan to commit said felony but when the intoxication is habitual
or intentional, it shall be considered as an aggravating circumstance.

POINTS

I. Alternative Circumstances
Definition: Those which must be taken into consideration as
aggravating or mitigating according to the nature and effects of
the crime and other conditions attending its commission.
Always generic

II. Basis:
The nature and effects of the crime and the other conditions
attending its commission.

III. The Alternative Circumstances Are:
1. Relationship

2. Intoxication
3. Degree of Instruction and education of the offender

FIRST ALTERNATIVE CIRCUMSTANCE: RELATIONSHIP

I. When Considered
The alternative circumstance of relationship shall be taken into
consideration when the offended party is:
1. Spouse
2. Ascendant
3. Descendant
4. Legitimate, natural, or adopted brother or sister, or
5. Relative by affinity in the same degree of the offender
Other relatives included
6. Stepfather or stepmother and stepson or stepdaughter
included by analogy as similar to that of ascendant and
descendant.
o Generally, for a step relationship to exist, the stepparent and the biological parent of the child must be
legally married.
o HOWEVER, Article 266-B includes common-law
spouses. This is but a special qualifying circumstance.
7. Adoptive parent and adopted child similar to ascendant and
descendant.
BUT uncle, niece and cousin are not covered.

II. When Mitigating And When Aggravating
A. Mitigating
General Rule: the relationship is mitigating in crimes against
property:
o Robbery (Article 294-302)
o Usurpation (Article 312)
o Fraudulent insolvency (Article 314)
o Arson (Article 321-322, 325-326)


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Relationship is mitigating in trespass to dwelling


o Where the son-in-law believing his wife to be at her
fathers house attempted to force an entry,
relationship is mitigating.


B. Aggravating
General Rule: It is aggravating in crimes against persons in
cases where the offended party is a relative of a higher degree
than the offender, or when the offender and the offended
party are relatives of the same level, as killing a brother,
brother-in-law, a half-brother, or adopted brother.
In crimes against chastity, relationship is always aggravating.
o In crimes against chastity, like acts of lasciviousness,
relationship is always aggravating, regardless of
whether the offender is a relative of a higher or lower
degree of the offended party.
o This is because of the nature and effect of the crime
committed. However, the rule may differ depending on
attending circumstances.
US v. Ancheta brother-in-law killed due to
his adulterous relationships with the wife of
the accused relationship mitigating although
the general rule is that such relationship is
supposed to be aggravating.
US v. Velarde with the desire to subdue his
brother-in-law who was then suffering an
attack of insanity, accused struck him with a
club and exceeded the limits of his discretion in
the heat of the struggle relationship is
mitigating.
In child abuse cases, relationship is aggravating because of
Section 31(c) of Republic Act No. 7610.

If the crime against persons is any of the serious physical injuries, the
fact that the offended party is a descendant of the offender is NOT
mitigating.
When the crime against the persons is any of the serious
physical injuries (Article 263), even if the offended party is a
descendant of the offender, relationship is aggravating.
o Article 263 provides a higher penalty for the
commission of serious physical injuries against persons
enumerated in Article 264 (father, mother, or child
whether legitimate or illegitimate, any of his
ascendants or descendants, or spouse).
When the crime is less serious physical injuries or slight physical
injuries, the ordinary rule applies.
o Mitigating if the offender is of lower degree.
o Aggravating if the offender is of higher degree.
BUT when the crime against persons is homicide or murder,
relationship is aggravating even if the victim of the crime is a
relative of lower degree.
o Relationship is aggravating when the stepmother killed
her stepdaughter (People v. Portento).
Relationship is neither mitigating nor aggravating, when relationship
is an element of the offense.
Parricide, adultery, concubinage.

C. Exempting
Accessories are exempted (Article 20)
Legally married spouse catching spouse having sex with
another (Article 247)
No criminal but only civil liability shall result from the
commission of the crime of (1) Theft, (2) Swindling (3) Malicious
mischief, if committed or caused mutually by spouses,
ascendants, descendants, or relatives by affinity in the same
line; brothers and sisters and brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law,
if living together (Article 332).


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Relatives who are accessories in the Human Securities Act


except hose who profited (Section 6, Republic Act No. 9372).
Theft with falsification? ABANGAN


SECOND ALTERNATIVE CIRCUMSTANCE: INTOXICATION

I. Reasons For The Alternative Circumstance Of Intoxication
As a mitigating circumstance, it finds its reason in the fact that
when a person is under the influence of liquor, his exercise of
will power is impaired.
As an aggravating circumstance, because it is intentional, the
reason is that the offender resorted to it in order to bolster his
courage to commit a crime.
o It is aggravating when habitual because the constant
use of intoxicating liquor lessens the individual
resistance to evil thoughts and undermines the will
power making himself a potential evildoer against
whose activities, society has the right for its own
protection to impose a more severe penalty.

II. When Mitigating And Aggravating
General Rule:
o Mitigating: (1) if intoxication is not habitual or (2) if
intoxication is not subsequent to the plan to commit
the felony.
Under Republic Act No 9262 (Anti-Violence
Against Women and their Children Act of
2004), intoxication may not be used as a
defense by the accused, but may it be
mitigating?
o Aggravating: (1) if intoxication is habitual; or (2) if it is
intentional (subsequent to the plan to commit a
felony).

III. Important Words And Phrases


A. When The Offender Has Committed A Felony In A State Of
Intoxication
For an accused to be entitled to the mitigating circumstance of
intoxication, it must be shown that (a) at the time of the
commission of the criminal act, he has taken such quantity of
alcoholic drinks as to blur his reason and deprive him of a
certain degree of control and (b) that such intoxication is not
habitual, or subsequent to the plan to commit the felony.
Accuseds state of intoxication must be proved.
o Once intoxication is established by satisfactory
evidence, absent contrary proof it is presumed to be
non-habitual or unintentional.
Drunkenness must affect mental faculties
o The RPC says nothing about the degree of intoxication
needed to mitigate; but obviously to produce such
effect, it must diminish the agents capacity to know
the injustice of his acts,a nd his will to act accordingly.

B. When The Intoxication Is Habitual
A habitual drunkard is one given to intoxication by excessive
use of intoxicating drinks. The habit should be actual and
confirmed.
o Unnecessary that such habit is daily).

C. Or Subsequent To The Plan To Commit A Felony
Even if intoxication is not habitual, it is aggravating when
subsequent to the plan to commit the crime.
Evidence for intoxication to be aggravating
o Evidence that the intoxication was habitual, intentional
or subsequent to the plan to commit the felony must
be proved by the prosecution.


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THIRD ALTERNATIVE CIRCUMSTANCE: DEGREE OF INSTRUCTION AND
EDUCATION OF THE OFFENDER

I. When Mitigating And Aggravating
Low degree of instruction and education or lack f it is generally
mitigating. High degree of instruction and education is
aggravating, when the offender avails himself of his learning in
committing the crime.
If crime is basically wrong, like parricide, robbery or rape, it is
immaterial whether the offender is schooled or not. Its not
mitigating.
o BUT SEE People v. Limaco where dude butchered his
kids and he only finished grade 1. Court considered
mitigating. And People v. Ramos where robbers killed a
96-year-old man. Court considered lack of education
mitigating. Both are unusual cases.

A. Lack Of Instruction As Mitigating
General Rule: Low degree of learning may be mitigating, never
aggravating.
Article 15 applies only to him who really has not received any
instruction.
o It is not illiteracy alone but the lack of intelligence of
the offender that is considered.
Lack of sufficient intelligence is required in illiteracy.
o Lack of sufficient instruction is not mitigating when the
offender is a city resident who knows how to sign his
name (People v. Cabrito).
Lack of instruction must be directly and positively proved by
the defense.
The question of lack of instruction cannot be raised for the first
time in the appellate court.
Ordinarily mitigating in all crimes

Exception: treason, murder, crimes against chastity,


crimes against property such as estafa, theft, robbery,
arson.
The exception to the exception depends on attending
circumstances.
Murder mitigated by low degree of instruction
because it caused accused to believe in
witchcraft (People v. Laolao).


B. High Degree Of Instruction As Aggravating
General Rule: High degree of learning may be aggravating,
never mitigating.
Degree of instruction is aggravating when the offender availed
himself or took advantage of it in committing the crime.
o The high degree of learning should be taken in relation
to the crime committed whether his education puts
him into a better position than the ordinary offenders.
Example:
o Doctor using his knowledge prepared a certain kind of
poison that would avoid detection would make his
education an aggravating circumstance. In contrast, if a
lawyer punches an annoying person, high degree of
learning should not be considered aggravating.
o High degree of learning should also not be considered
aggravating for abortion practiced by a physician or
midwife, since their skills are already inherent in that
crime.

OTHER MATTERS

I. Non-Habitual Intoxication, Lack Of Instruction And Obfuscation Are
Not To Be Taken Separately
As non-habitual intoxication implies a disturbance of the
reasoning powers of the offender, his lack of instruction cannot


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have any influence over him, and obfuscation which has the
same effect on his reasoning powers cannot be considered
independently of non-habitual intoxication.

CLASS DISCUSSION
Situationers
Member of a cultural minority gets coconuts from what he
believes is part of his ancestral domain. However, the land was
titled to someone else. Is low degree of education mitigating?
Accountant took a chance to get more petticash than was
actually asked by his/her boss. Did she take advantage of her
position?
o Possible answer: She wouldnt have been entrusted
with all these things if she wasnt an accountant.
Position of financial adviser could be aggravating.


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