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CRIMINAL LAW

I.

CRIMINAL LAW

FUNDAMENTAL

PRINCIPLES

OF

The

first

section

is

a

review on certain

definitions,

principles and concepts

underlying

Criminal

Law

as

a

branch of

study.

 

There

are

FOUR

MAJOR

LESSONS

in

this

section:

 

A. DEFINITION AND PURPOSE OF CRIMINAL LAW

STATE

AUTHORITY TO PUNISH CRIME C. REVIEWING BASIC PRINCIPLES D. MEMORIZING RELEVANT LATIN

B. RATIONALE

BEHIND

MAXIMS

A. DEFINITION

Criminal law is that branch or division of municipal law which

defines crimes,

treats of their nature and

provides for their punishment.

It is that branch of public substantive law which defines offenses and prescribes their penalties.

state’s right to inflict punishment and the liability of the offenders. It is public law because it deals with the relation of the individual with the

It is substantive because it defines the

state.

B.

STATE AUTHORITY TO PUNISH CRIME

1987 Constitution Article II, Section 5 Declaration of Principles and State Policies. The maintenance of peace and order, the protection of life, liberty and property, and the promotion of the general welfare are essential for the enjoyment by all the people of the blessings of democracy.

SOURCES OF CRIMINAL LAW

1. The Revised Penal Code (Act No. 3815) and its amendments 2. Special penal laws passed by the Philippine Commission, Philippine Assembly, Philippine Legislature, National Assembly, the Congress of the Philippines, and the Batasang Pambansa. 3. Penal Presidential Decrees issued during Martial Law.

IMPORTANT POINTS TO REMEMBER:

The state’s authority is grounded on what is called the penological objectives. However, such power is also subject to certain limitations.

1. PENOLOGICAL OBJECTIVES

a. Utilitarian theory or protective theory The primary purpose: Protection of society from actual or potential wrongdoers

b.

Classical or juristic philosophy

Best remembered by the maxim “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.” [Note: If you want to impress the examiner, use the latin version- Oculo pro oculo, dente pro dente.] The primary purpose: Retribution. Positivist or realistic philosophy

c.

The primary purpose: Reformation. There is great respect for the human element because the offender is regarded as socially sick who needs treatment, not punishment.

d.

Eclectic or mixed philosophy

This combines both positivist and classical thinking. Crimes that are economic and social

by nature should be dealt with in a positivist

manner;

compassionate. Heinous crimes should be dealt with in a classical manner; thus, capital punishment. The Revised Penal Code today follows the mixed or eclectic philosophy. For example:

intoxication of the offender is considered to mitigate his criminal liability, unless it is intentional or habitual; the age of the offender is considered; the woman who killed her child to conceal her dishonor has in her favor a mitigating circumstance.

the

more

thus,

law

is

2. LIMITATIONS

a. Must be general in application.

b. Must post

not

facto

partake

of the nature

law. (1987 Const.

Sec.22)

of

an

Art

ex

III,

c. Must not partake of the nature of a bill of attainder. (1987 Const. Art III, Sec 22)

d. Must

not

impose

cruel

and

unusual

 

punishment

or

excessive

fines.

(1987

Const. Art III, Sec 19)

C. REVIEWING BASIC PRINCIPLES

1. Generality (WHO) 2. Territoriality (WHERE) 3. Prospectivity (WHEN) 4. Legality 5. Strict Construction of penal laws against the State

1. GENERALITY OF CRIMINAL LAW

MEANS THAT THE…

Criminal law of the country governs all persons within the country regardless of their race, belief, sex or creed. Generality has no reference to territory. It refers to persons that may be governed by the penal law

However, it is subject to certain exceptions

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CRIMINAL LAW

Art. 2, RPC, “Except as provided in the

treatise

or

laws

of preferential

application…”

 

Art. 14, Civil Code, “…subject to the principles of public international law and to treaty stipulations.”

o

An example of a treaty or treat stipulation is the Bases Agreement entered into by the Philippines and the US on Mar. 14, 1947 and expired on Sept. 16, 1991.

o

Another example would be the VFA 1 signed on Feb. 10, 1998

Also excepted under the law of generality are Members of the Congress who are not liable for libel or slander with any speech in Congress or congressional committee. (Sec 11, Art VI 1987 Constitution)

Ambassadors, chiefs of states and other diplomatic officials are immune from the application of penal laws when they are

in the country where they are assigned 2 .

o

EXCEPTIONS

TO

THE

EXCEPTION…

 

(1) Note

that

consuls

are

not

diplomatic officers.

(2) This

includes

consul-general,

vice-consul

or and

consul

in

a

foreign

country,

who

are

therefore, not

immune

to

the

operation or application of the penal law of the country where

they are assigned.

*^* 2. TERRITORIALITY OF CRIMINAL LAW

a. General rule b. Scope of the RPC

a.

General Rule

Territoriality--

MEANS THAT THE…

Penal laws of the country have

force and effect only within its territory.

It cannot penalize crimes committed outside the same.

1 Take note of the Visiting Forces Agreement, Art. V, which defines Criminal Jurisdiction over United States military and civilian personnel temporarily in the Philippines in connection with activities approved by the Philippine Government

2 R.A. No. 75 which penalizes acts which would impair the proper observance by the Republic and inhabitants of the Philippines of the immunities, rights, and privileges of duly accredited foreign diplomatic representatives in the Philippines

The territory of the country is not limited to the land where its sovereignty resides but

includes also its maritime and interior waters as well as its atmosphere. Terrestrial jurisdiction is the jurisdiction exercised over land. Fluvial jurisdiction is the jurisdiction

 

exercised

over

maritime

and

interior

waters.

Aerial

jurisdiction

is

the

jurisdiction

exercised over the atmosphere.

territoriality

characteristic of penal laws are the cases provided for by Art. 2 of the Revised Penal Code. The Code therefore has territorial and extraterritorial applications.

Excepted

under

the

b. Scope Of Application Of The Provisions Of The Revised Penal Code

Art. 2. Application of its provisions. — Except as provided in the treaties and laws of preferential application, the provisions of this Code shall be enforced not only within the Philippine Archipelago, including its atmosphere, its interior waters and maritime zone, but also outside of its jurisdiction, against those who:

1. Should commit an offense while on a Philippine

ship or airship

2. Should forge or counterfeit any coin or currency

note of the Philippine Islands or obligations and

securities issued by the Government of the Philippine Islands;

3. Should be liable for acts connected with the

introduction into these islands of the obligations and securities mentioned in the presiding number;

4. While being public officers or employees, should

commit an offense in the exercise of their functions; or

5. Should commit any of the crimes against

national security and the law of nations, defined in Title One of Book Two of this Code.

Important Things to Remember:

The provisions in Article 2 embraces two scopes of applications:

Intraterritorial application

1. Intraterritorial refers to the application of the Revised Penal Code within the Philippine territory (land, air and water). 2. As far as jurisdiction or application of the Revised Penal Code over crimes committed on maritime zones or interior waters, the Archipelagic Rule shall be observed. 3. So the three-mile limit on our shoreline has been modified by the rule.

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CRIMINAL LAW

Extraterritorial application

1. Extraterritoria 3 l refers to the application of the Revised Penal Code outside the Philippines territory:

Par. 1: Crimes committed aboard merchant vessels

1)

The RPC is applied to Philippine vessels 4 if the crime is committed while the ship is treading:

a) Philippine

 

waters

(intraterritorial

application), or b) The High Seas i.e. waters NOT under the jurisdiction of any State (extraterritorial application)

2)

Two

rules

as

to

jurisdiction

over

crimes

committed aboard merchant vessels while in the territorial waters of another country (i.e. a foreign vessel treading Philippine waters OR Philippine vessels treading waters under the jurisdiction of another state):

a) FRENCH RULE: It is the FLAG/Nationality of the vessel which determines jurisdiction UNLESS the crime violates the peace and order of the host country.

b) ENGLISH RULE: the location or situs of the crime determines jurisdiction UNLESS the crime merely relates to internal management of the vessel. NOTE:

Philippines adhere to ENGLISH RULE.

Illustration:

If two petty officers aboard a Russian ship docked in Manila North Harbor got into a fistfight which resulted in serious physical injuries, it is Russian Law which will apply. However, if the cause of the fight is a dispute over the ownership of several hundred grams of cocaine stashed somewhere in the ship, then Philippine Law must apply because importation of illegal substance is a violation of public peace and order.

NOTE: This illustration works for both rules because the general rule in one is the exception of the other.

NOTE: These rules are NOT applicable if the vessel is on the high seas when the crime was committed, in these cases, the laws of the nationality of the ship will always apply.

3. When the crime is committed in a war vessel of a foreign country, the NATIONALITY of the

vessel

will

ALWAYS

determine

jurisdiction

because

war

vessels

are

part

of

the

sovereignty of the country to whose navel force they belong.

3 RA9327 (The Human Security Act) contains provisions for extraterritorial application

4 The country of registry determines the nationality of the vessel, NOT ITS OWNERSHIP. A Filipino-owned vessel registered in China must fly the Chinese flag.

4. Three

International

Theories

On

Aerial

Jurisdiction

a. Free Zone Theory The atmosphere over the country is free and not subject to the jurisdiction of the subjacent state, except for the protection of its national security and public order. b. Relative Theory The subjacent state exercises jurisdiction over the atmosphere only to the extent that it can effectively exercise control thereof. c. Absolute Theory i. The subjacent state has complete jurisdiction over the atmosphere above it subject only to the innocent passage by aircraft of a foreign country. NOTE:

The Philippines adopts this theory.

ii. Under

is

committed in an aircraft, no matter

be

the

Philippine

how

established that

atmosphere,

criminal law 5 will govern.

Philippine

this

high,

theory,

as

long

it

if

the

as

is

crime

it

can

within

Par. 2 & 3: Forging/Counterfeiting and Introducing Coins or Currency Notes in the Philippines

1. The forgery is committed abroad 2. And it refers to Philippine coin, currency note, obligation and security

Par. 4: When public officers or employees commit an offense in the exercise of their functions

1) The most common subject of bar problems in Article 2 is paragraph 4.

2)

As

a

general

rule, the Revised Penal Code

governs

pertains

official’s functions:

when

only

to

the

crime

committed

the

exercise

of

the

public

a) Those having to do with the discharge of their duties in a foreign country.

b) The functions contemplated are those, which are, under the law:

i)

to be performed by the public officer

ii)

in

the

Foreign

Service

of

the

Philippine government iii) in a foreign country.

NOTE: The Revised Penal Code governs if the crime (whether or not in relation to the exercise of public functions) was committed

the

embassy grounds in a foreign country. This is because embassy grounds are considered an extension of sovereignty. Thus the crime is deemed to have been committed in Philippine soil. Illustration:

within

the

Philippine

Embassy

or

within

A Philippine consulate official who is validly married here in the Philippines and who marries again in a foreign country cannot be prosecuted

5 See Anti-hijacking Law, pg

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CRIMINAL LAW

here for bigamy because this is a crime not connected with his official duties. However, if the second marriage was celebrated within the Philippine embassy, he may be prosecuted here, since it is as if he contracted the marriage here in the Philippines.

Par. 5: Commit any of The Crimes Against National Security and the Law Of Nations, Defined In Title One Of Book Two Of This Code.

1. Rebellion is not included.

2. Any crime against public order is under the jurisdiction of the host country.

*^* 3. PROSPECTIVITY OF CRIMINAL LAW

MEANS THAT…

Acts or omissions will only be subject to

a penal law if they are committed AFTER a penal law had already taken effect. Vice versa, this act or omission which has been committed before the effectivity of a penal law could not be penalized by such

penal law because penal laws operate only prospectively. This is also called irretrospectivity.

General

Rule:

Ex

post

facto

law

is

prohibited.

 

Ex post

facto

law

is

one

that

is

 

specifically made to retroact to cover acts before it became effective to the

 

prejudice of the accused; or to make a certain crime graver or prescribe a heavier penalty for it.

Exception:

 

Art. 22. Retroactive effect of penal laws. — Penal Laws shall have a retroactive effect --insofar as they favor the persons guilty

of a

felony, --who is not a habitual criminal, as this term is defined in Rule 5 of Article 62 of this Code, although at the time of the publication of such laws a final sentence has been pronounced and the convict is serving the same.

This is consistent with the general principle that criminal laws, being a limitation on the rights of the people, should be construed strictly against the State and liberally in favor of the accused.

Different effects of repeal of penal law.

If the repeal makes the penalty lighter in the new law, ◦ the new law shall be applied, ◦ except when the offender is a habitual delinquent or when the new law is made not applicable to pending action or existing causes of action.

If the new law imposes a heavier penalty, ◦ the law in force at the time of the commission of the offense shall be applied. If the new law totally repeals the existing law so that the act which was penalized under the old law is no longer punishable, ◦ the crime is obliterated.

Rule of prospectivity also applies to judicial decisions 6 , administrative rulings and circulars.

1. Co vs. CA (1993), In this case, Circular No. 4 of the Ministry of Justice, dated December, 15, 1981, provides that “where the check is issued as part of an arrangement to guarantee or secure the payment of an obligation, whether pre-existing or not, the drawer is not criminally liable for either estafa or violation of BP 22.” Subsequently, the administrative interpretation was reversed in Circular No. 12, issued on August 8, 1984, such that the claim that the check was issued as a guarantee or part of an arrangement to secure an obligation or to facilitate collection, is no longer a valid defense for the prosecution of BP 22. Hence, it was ruled in Que vs. People that under the new Circular, a check issued merely to guarantee the performance of an obligation is covered by BP 22. However, consistent with the principle of prospectivity, the new doctrine should not apply to parties who had relied on the old Circular and acted on the faith thereof. No retrospective effect. Rationale for the prospectivity rule: the punishability of an act must be reasonably for the guidance of society.

4. LEGALITY

(NULLUM

CRIMEN

NULLA

POENA SINE LEGE)

Art. 21. Penalties that may be imposed. — No felony shall be punishable by any penalty not prescribed by law prior to its commission.

There is no crime when there is no law punishing the same. This is true to civil law countries, but not to common law countries.

Limitation:

Not any law punishing an act or omission may be valid as a criminal law. If the law punishing an act is ambiguous, it is null and void.

5. STRICT CONSTRUCTION OF PENAL LAWS

AGAINST

STATE:

THE

“DOCTRINE

OF

PRO REO”

Whenever a penal law is to be construed or applied and the law admits of two interpretations - one lenient to the offender and one strict to the offender-

6 Art. 8, Civil Code

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CRIMINAL LAW

that interpretation which is lenient or

favorable

to

the

offender

will

be

adopted.

This is in consonance with the fundamental rule that all doubts shall be construed in favor of the accused . Consistent with the presumption of innocence of the accused.

1987 Constitution, Article III, Sec. 14(2) In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be presumed innocent until the contrary is proved….

This is peculiar only to criminal law.

EQUIPOISE RULE:

When the evidence of the prosecution and the defense are equally balanced, the scale should be tilted in favor of the accused in obedience to the constitutional presumption of innocence. 7

D. BASIC MAXIMS IN CRIMINAL LAW

1. ACTUS NON FACIT REUM, NISI MENS SIT REA

The act cannot be criminal where the mind

is

not

criminal.

This

is

true

to

a

felony

characterized by dolo, but

not

a

felony

an

absolute one because

culpable felonies, or those that result from negligence.

resulting from culpa. This maxim is not

applied to

it

is

not

2. ACTUS

ME

INVITO

FACTUS

NON

EST

MEUS ACTUS

An act done by me against my will is not my act. This is related to the preceding maxim and is manifested in People v. Ah Chong.

3. EL QUE ES CAUSA DE LA CAUSA ES CAUSA DEL MAL CAUSADO

He who is the cause of the cause is the cause of the evil caused. This is the rationale in par. 1 of Article 4 which enunciates the doctrine of proximate cause. He who commits an intentional felony is responsible for all the consequences which may naturally and logically result therefrom, whether foreseen or intended or not.

7 Ursua v. CA (1996); Corpuz v. People (1991)

II.II.II.II. FELONIESFELONIESFELONIESFELONIES

This section discusses how and why an act is subject to criminal liability, the different stages of committing an as well as the classification of punishable conduct.

There

section:

are

FIVE

MAJOR

LESSONS

in

this

A. DIFFERENTIATING FELONIES, OFFENSE, MISDEMEANOR AND CRIME

B. FELONIES: HOW COMMITTED

C. CLASSIFICATION OF FELONIES

D. CRIMES DEFINED AND PENALIZED BY SPECIAL LAWS

A. DIFFERENTIATING FELONIES, OFFENSE, MISDEMEANOR AND CRIME

1. FELONY

The

term

felony

is

limited

only

to

violations of the Revised Penal Code. When the crime is punishable under a special law you do not refer to this as a felony.

IMPORTANCE:

 

There are certain provisions in the Revised Penal Code where the term “felony” is used, which means that the provision is not extended to crimes under special laws. A specific instance is found in Article 160- Quasi-Recidivism, which reads:

“A person who shall commit a felony after having been convicted by final judgment, before beginning to serve sentence or while serving the same, shall be punished under the maximum period of the penalty.” Note that the word “felony” is used.

2. OFFENSE

A crime punished under a special law is called a statutory offense.

3. MISDEMEANOR

A minor infraction of the law, such as a violation of an ordinance.

4. CRIME

Whether the wrongdoing is punished under the Revised Penal Code or under a special law, the generic word “crime” can be used.

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CRIMINAL LAW

B. FELONIES: HOW COMMITTED

Art. 3. Definitions. — Acts and omissions punishable by law are felonies (delitos). Felonies are committed not only be means of deceit (dolo) but also by means of fault (culpa). There is deceit when the act is performed with deliberate intent and there is fault when the wrongful act results from imprudence, negligence, lack of foresight, or lack of skill.

1. ELEMENTS OF FELONIES

a. There must be an act or omission

b. That

the

act

or

omission

must

be

punishable by the RPC

 

c. That

the

act

is

performed

or

the

commission incurred by means of dolo or culpa

ACTUS REUS/PHYSICAL ACT

To be considered as a felony, there must be an act or omission; An act refers to any kind of body movement that produces change in the outside world.

A mere imagination no matter how wrong does not amount to a felony.

Illustration:

If A, a passenger of a jeepney seated in front of a lady, started putting out his tongue suggesting lewdness that is already an act in contemplation of criminal law 8 . He cannot claim that there was no crime committed. If A scratches something, this is already an act which annoys the lady he may be accused of unjust vexation, not malicious mischief.

ACT v. STATUS An act must produce some kind of change with a physical manifestation, status, on the other hand is a concept which lies between an action and the imagination; it is defined as

Omission is the failure to perform a duty required by law.

It is important that there is a law requiring the performance of an act, if there is no positive duty, there is no liability. Examples of such are failure to render assistance 9 , failure to issue receipt or non disclosure of knowledge of conspiracy against the government 10 .

8 Unjust vexations under Art. 287. Light coercions.

9 Art. 275. Abandonment of person in danger and abandonment of one's own victim 10 Art. 116. Misprision of treason.

MENS REA/MENTAL ELEMENT

mens rea, is defined as "a guilty mind, a guilty or wrongful purpose or criminal

intent" 11 , It sometimes referred to in common parlance as the gravamen of the offense (bullseye

of the crime).

This term is used synonymously with criminal or deliberate intent

It does not mean that if an act or omission is punished under the Revised Penal Code, a felony is already committed. For an act to be punishable, THERE MUST BE

A CONCURRENCE BETWEEN THE ACT AND

THE INTENT.

1. DOLO (DELIBERATE INTENT)

a. Elements b. Categories of Intent c. Distinction between Intent and i. Discernment ii. Motive

IMPORTANT THINGS TO REMEMBER:

Under Article 3, there is dolo when there is deceit. This is no longer true. At the time the Revised Penal Code was codified, the term nearest to dolo was deceit. However, deceit means fraud, and this is not the meaning of dolo.

Dolo is DELIBERATE INTENT otherwise

referred to as criminal intent, and must be

coupled

intelligence on the part of the offender as to the act done by him.

and

with

freedom

of

action

Presumption Criminal Intent

Intent is a mental state, the existence of which is shown by the overt act of a person, so criminal intent is presumed to exist

only if the act is unlawful. It does not apply if the act is not criminal. The presumption of criminal intent may arise from proof of the criminal act and it is for the accused to rebut this presumption. However, in some crimes intent cannot be presumed being an integral element thereof; so it has to be proven (i.e. in frustrated homicide, specific intent to kill is not presumed but must be proven, otherwise it is merely physical injuries).

Liability Even in the Absence of Criminal Intent

There

are

2

exceptions

to

the

requirement of Criminal Intent:

 

FELONIES

COMMITTED

by

CULPA

(infra) ◦ OFFENSE MALA PROHIBITA (infra)

11 Black's Law Dictionary, 5th ed., p. 889

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CRIMINAL LAW

a. Elements of DOLO

i. Criminal intent; This is shown by overt acts It presupposes the existence of the two subsequent elements ii. Freedom of action; and The lack of freedom makes one merely a tool iii. Intelligence The lack of intelligence makes one unable to determine The morality of his acts The effect of his actions

The

CIRCUMSTANCES

FREEDOM

presence

of

indicates

JUSTIFYING

OF

LACK

Some of the EXEMPTING CIRCUMSTANCES exculpate those who LACK THE INTELLIGENCE to determine the nature and consequences of their actions.

The lack of CRIMINAL

INTENT can

be

a

MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCE or the accused can be merely held liable for CRIMINAL NEGLIGENCE.

If any of the elements is absent, there is no dolo.

If there

is

no dolo, there

could

be

no

intentional felony. 12

b. Categories of Intent

In criminal law, intent is categorized into two types:

General Criminal

 

Specific Criminal

 

Intent

 

Intent

 

The

intention

to

do

The

intention

to

something wrong

commit

a

definite

 

act

Presumed

from

the

Existence

is

not

mere

doing

of

a

presumed

 

wrong act

 

The

burden is upon

Since the specific intent is an element of the crime, the burden is upon the

the wrong doer to prove that he acted without such criminal

intent.

prosecution

 

to

establish

its

existence.

 

Illustration Ernie, without any provocation, stabbed Burt. The very act of stabbing is the quantum of proof needed to establish the fact that Ernie intended to do something wrong. This is the GENERAL CRIMINAL INTENT.

However, Ernie can be liable for more than one crime; thus, prosecution must establish Ernie’s SPECIFIC INTENT in order to determine

12 Visbal vs. Buban, 2003

whether he planned to kill Burt or merely to inflict a whole lot of pain.

Ernie can overturn the presumption of general criminal intent by proving that he was justified (infra), entitled to any exempting circumstances (due to lack of discernment) or there was a mistake of fact (infra). If he is successful, then the presumption that he intended to do something wrong is obliterated along with the need to determine specific intent. However, the result of Ernie’s act will now determine his liability. Was his act justified that he incurs no liability? Is he entitled to any exemption? Or is his liability only mitigated?

Establishing the specific intent is the way to hit the “bullseye” of the crime:

E.g. If the prosecution wants to hold Ernie liable for homicide/murder, then they have to establish Ernie’s intent to kill, which is the “bullseye” of the crimes mentioned. In theft, the gravamen of the offense would be the taking with intent to gain as distinguished from estafa where the essence is deceit. Attempted rape and acts of lasciviousness have similar elements separated only by the offender’s intent to have sexual intercourse with the victim.

c. Distinctions Between Intent, Discernment and Motive

 

INTENT

DISCERNMEN

MOTIVE

   

T

Determination

the mental capacity to tell right from wrong

It

is

the

to

do

a

moving

certain thing,

power

an

aim

or

which

purpose

of

 

impels

one

the mind.

to do an act

 

(ex.

vengeance).

Establish

the

Integral

to

Important

nature

and

the

element

only

in

extent

of

of

certain

culpability

intelligence

 

cases

(see

 

NOT intent.

below)

When Motive becomes Material in determining Criminal Liability:

1) When the act brings about variant crimes e.g. kidnapping v. robbery 13 2) The identity of the accused is doubtful 3) The evidence on the commission of the crime is purely circumstantial. 4) Also, lack of motive can aid in showing the innocence of the accused. 14

Illustration:

Ernie came home and found his wife in a pleasant conversation with Burt, former suitor. Thereupon, he went to the kitchen, opened a drawer and pulled out a knife. He then stabbed Burt.

The moving force is jealousy.

13 People v. Puno (1993) 14 People vs Hassan, 1988

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CRIMINAL LAW

The intent is the resort to the knife,

Burt, the

so that means he desires to former suitor.

kill the

of

something as lethal as the knife shows the presence of intelligence because it is his very awareness of the danger which prompted his choice. This only means that he knew what is

right from wrong and deliberately chose to do what is wrong.

Ernie’s

deliberate

choice

NOTE: Discernment does not indicate the presence of intent, merely intelligence. 15 Thus, discernment is necessary whether the crime is dolo or culpa.

d. Mistake of Fact (ignorantia facti excusat)

When

an

offender

acted

out

of

a

misapprehension of fact,

criminal intent. When the offender acted out of a mistake of fact, criminal intent is negated, so do not presume that the act was done with criminal intent. This is absolutory if the crime involved dolo.

cannot be said that he acted with

it

The Requisites 16 of Mistake of Fact are:

i. That the act done would have been lawful had the facts been as the accused believed them to be; ii. That the intention of the accused in performing the act should be lawful; iii. That the mistake must be without fault or carelessness on the part of the accused. When the accused is negligent, mistake of fact is not a defense.

Illustration:

People v. Ah Chong (1910) A houseboy who stabs his roommate in the dark, honestly mistaking the latter to be a robber responsible for a series of break-ins in the area, and after crying out sufficient warnings and believing himself to be under attack, cannot be held criminally liable for homicide. 1) Would the stabbing be lawful if the facts were really what the houseboy believed? a. Yes. If it was really the robber and not the roommate then the houseboy was justified. 2) Was the houseboy’s intention lawful? a. Yes. He was acting out of self- preservation. 3) Was the houseboy without fault or negligence? a. Yes. His deliberate intent to defend himself with the knife can be determined by the fact that he cried out sufficient warnings prior to the act.

15 People v. Cordova 1993 16 People vs Oanis, 1988

Stabbing

the

victim

whom

the

accused

believed to be an intruder showed a mistake of fact on his part which led him to take the facts as

they appear to him and was pressed to take immediate action.

2. CULPA (CONSTRUCTIVE INTENT)

a. Elements b. Doctrines Concerning Culpable Crimes

IMPORTANT THINGS TO REMEMBER:

Although there is no intentional felony, there could be culpable felony. The element of criminal intent is replaced by CRIMINAL NEGLIGENCE. Is culpa merely a mode of committing a crime or a crime in itself?

AS A MODE

Under Article 3, it is clear that culpa is just a modality by which a felony may be committed.

A felony may be committed or incurred

through dolo or culpa. Culpa is just a means by which a felony may

result. Act of Dolo OR Act of Culpa FELONY
result.
Act of Dolo
OR
Act of Culpa
FELONY
a felony may result. Act of Dolo OR Act of Culpa FELONY People vs. Faller (1939)

People vs. Faller (1939), It was stated indirectly that criminal negligence or culpa is just a mode of incurring criminal liability. In this case, the accused was charged with malicious mischief. Malicious mischief is an intentional negligence under Article 327 of the Revised Penal Code You do not have malicious mischief through simple negligence or reckless imprudence because it requires deliberateness. Faller was charged with malicious mischief, but was convicted of damage to property through reckless imprudence. The Supreme Court pointed out that although the allegation in the information charged the accused with an intentional felony, yet the words feloniously and unlawfully, which are standard languages in an information, covers not only dolo but also culpa because culpa is just a mode of committing a felony.

AS A CRIME

In Article 365, you have criminal negligence as an omission which the article definitely or specifically penalized. The concept of criminal negligence is the inexcusable lack of precaution on the part of

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the person performing or failing to perform an act. Because Article 365, creates a distinction between imprudence and negligence; simple or reckless, one might think that criminal negligence is the one being punished. That is why a question is created that criminal negligence is the crime in itself.

is created that criminal negligence is the crime in itself. Act of Dolo OR Act of
Act of Dolo OR Act of Culpa INTENTIONAL CRIMINAL NEGLIGENCE (ART 365) FELONIES Quizon vs.
Act of Dolo
OR
Act of Culpa
INTENTIONAL
CRIMINAL
NEGLIGENCE
(ART 365)
FELONIES
Quizon vs. Justice of the Peace (1995),

Justice J.B.L. Reyes dissented and claimed that criminal negligence is a quasi- offense, and the correct designation should

not

reckless imprudence

resulting in homicide. The view of Justice Reyes is sound, but the problem is Article 3, which states that culpa is just a mode by which a felony may result.

imprudence,

reckless

be

homicide

but

through

a. Elements of CULPA

Culpa Requires the Concurrence of Three Requisites:

Held: The second case must be dismissed. Once convicted or acquitted of a specific act of reckless imprudence, the accused may not be

prosecuted again for the same act. For the essence of the quasi-offense under Art. 365 of the RPC lies in the execution of an imprudent act which would be punishable as a felony. The law penalizes the negligent act and not the result. The gravity of the consequences is only taken into account to determine the penalty. It

does

offense.

the

not

qualify

the

substance

of

b. Doctrines Concerning Culpable Crimes

Emergency Rule

 

A person who is confronted with a sudden emergency may be left no time for thought.

 

so must make speedy decision based largely upon impulse or instinct, ◦ and cannot be held to the same

 

conduct

as

one

who

has

had

an

 

opportunity to reflect, even though it later appears that he made the wrong decision.

Doctrine Of “Last Clear Chance” The contributory negligence of the party injured ◦ will not defeat the action if it be shown that the accused might, by

the exercise of reasonable care and prudence, have avoided the consequences of the negligence of the injured party. The applicability of this doctrine in criminal cases is somewhat dubious:

Criminal negligence on the part of the offender,

Anuran v. Buno (1966) The principle about the "last clear chance" would call for application in a suit between the owners and drivers of the two colliding vehicles.

that is, the crime was the result of

negligence,

reckless

imprudence,

lack of foresight or lack of skill;

 

Freedom

of

action

on

the

part

of

the

It does not arise where a passenger demands responsibility from the carrier to enforce its contractual obligation Last Clear Chance is a defense by the defendant in a damage suit against liability by transferring it to the plaintiff. This dynamics cannot be replicated in a criminal case because ◦ the liability is penal in nature and thus cannot be transferred within the same case ◦ It is not a case between two parties involved in an incident but rather between an individual and the State.

offender, that is, he was not acting under duress; Negligence presupposes the ability to be vigilant; and vigilance depends on whether the person chose to be or not. Intelligence on the part of the offender in the performance of the negligent act. The absence of intelligence means that the person is unable to assess the danger of a situation. He cannot be charged for lack of foresight and/or prudence because the person cannot discern and predict the consequence of his course of action.

People v. Buan (1968)

Rule Of Negative Ingredient

 

Facts: The accused was driving a passenger bus.

This

is

related

to

the

doctrine

of

Allegedly because of his recklessness, the bus collided with a jeep injuring the passengers of the latter. A case was filed against the accused for slight physical injuries through reckless

proximate cause and applicable when certain causes leading to the result are not identifiable.

imprudence for which he was tried and acquitted.

This rule states that

 

Prior to his acquittal, a case for serious physical

the

prosecution

must first

injuries and damage to property through reckless imprudence was filed. Accused claimed that he was placed in twice in jeopardy.

identify what the accused failed to do. Once this is done, the burden of evidence shifts to the accused.

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The accused must show that the failure did not set in motion the chain of events leading to the injury. 17

E. CLASSIFICATION OF FELONIES

This

examination:

question

was

asked

in

the

bar

How do you classify felonies and how are felonies classified?

TIP:

What the examiner had in mind was Articles 3, 6 and 9. Do not write the classification of felonies under Book 2 of the Revised Penal Code.

The question does not require the candidate to classify but also to define. Therefore, the examiner was after the classifications under Articles 3, 6 and 9. The purpose of classifying penalties is to bring about a proportionate penalty and equitable punishment.

The penalties are graduated according to their degree of severity. The stages (Art. 6) may not apply to all kinds of felonies. There are felonies which do not admit of division.

FELONIES ARE CLASSIFIED AS FOLLOWS:

1. According

commission 2. According to the stages of their execution

3. According to their gravity

to

the

manner

of

their

OTHER CLASSIFICATIONS

4. As to count 5. As to nature

1. ACCORDING TO THE MANNER OF THEIR COMMISSION

Under Article 3, they are classified as:

a. intentional felonies or those committed with deliberate intent; and b. culpable felonies or those resulting from negligence, reckless imprudence, lack of foresight or lack of skill.

2. ACCORDING TO THE STAGES OF THEIR EXECUTION

Under Article 6, felonies are classified as:

a. attempted felony b. frustrated felony c. consummated felony

The classification of stages of a felony in Article 6 are true only to crimes under the Revised Penal Code. This does not apply to crimes punished under special laws.

17 Carillo vs People, 1994

But even certain crimes which are punished under the Revised Penal Code do not admit of these stages.

A more detailed discussion can be found under LIABILITY FOR INCOMPLETE ELEMENTS (pg )

Related to this classification of felonies as to:

1. Formal Crimes

a. Formal crimes are crimes, which are consummated in one instance. b. Illegal exaction under Article 213 is a crime committed when a public officer who is authorized to collect taxes, licenses or impose for the government, shall demand an amount bigger than or different from what the law authorizes him to collect. ◦ Under sub-paragraph (a) of Article 213 on illegal exaction, the law uses the word “demanding.” ◦ Mere demanding of an amount different from what the law authorizes him to collect will already consummate a crime, whether the taxpayer pays the amount being demanded or not. ◦ Payment of the amount being demanded is not essential to the consummation of the crime.

2. Material Felonies

a. Those that have various stages of execution b. Ex. Homicide

3. Crimes which have NO FRUSTRATED STAGE

a. The essence of the crime is the act itself;

b. Hence in rape, the slightest penetration already consummates the crime; the same is true for arson where the slightest burning already renders the crime complete.

3. ACCORDING TO THEIR GRAVITY

Under Article 9, felonies are classified as:

a. Grave

those

attaches the capital punishment or

felonies

or

to

which

penalties which in any of their periods

are afflictive; a. Less grave felonies or

those to which the law punishes with penalties which in their maximum period is correctional; a. Light felonies or those infractions of law for the commission of which

the penalty is arresto menor.

Why is it necessary to determine whether the crime is grave, less grave or light?

To determine whether these felonies can be complexed or not; the prescription of the crime and ◦ the prescription of the penalty.

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CRIMINAL LAW

In other words, these are felonies classified according to their gravity, stages and the penalty attached to them.

Take note that when the Revised Penal Code speaks of grave and less grave felonies, the definition makes a reference specifically to Article 25 of the Revised Penal Code. Do not omit the phrase “In accordance with Article 25” because there is also a classification of penalties under Article 26 that was not applied. This classification of felony according to gravity is important with respect to the question of prescription of crimes. Ex. If the penalty is a fine and exactly P200.00, it is only considered a light felony under Article 9. If the fine is imposed as an alternative penalty or as a single penalty, the fine of P200.00 is considered a correctional penalty under Article 26. If the penalty is exactly P200.00, apply Article 26. It is considered as a correctional penalty and it prescribes in 10 years. If the offender is apprehended at any time within ten years, he can be made to suffer the fine.

4. AS TO COUNT

Plurality of crimes may be in the form of:

a) Compound Crime, b) Complex crime; and c) Composite crime.

5. AS TO NATURE

a) Mala in se b) Mala prohibita

C. CRIMES DEFINED AND PENALIZED BY SPECIAL LAWS

1. TEST TO DETERMINE IF VIOLATION OF SPECIAL LAW IS MALUM PROHIBITUM OR MALUM IN SE

2. RELATION OF RPC TO SPECIAL LAWS:

SUPPLETORY APPLICATION OF RPC

3. DISTINCTION BETWEEN CRIMES PUNISHED UNDER THE REVISED PENAL CODE AND CRIMES PUNISHED UNDER SPECIAL LAWS

IMPORTANT THINGS TO REMEMBER :

Art. 10. Offenses not subject to the provisions of this Code. — Offenses which are or in the future may be punishable under special laws are not subject to the provisions of this Code. This Code shall be supplementary to such laws, unless the latter should specially provide the contrary.

Dolo is not required in crimes punished by special laws because these crimes are mala prohibita. In those crimes punished by special laws, the act alone irrespective of its motives, constitutes the offense. Good faith and absence of criminal intent are not valid defenses in crimes punished by special laws

MALA IN SE and MALA PROHIBITA

Mala in se an act, by its very nature, is inherently and morally wrong; it should be done with criminal intent

Malum prohibitum An act is wrong only because there is a law punishing it. It is enough that the prohibited act was voluntarily committed and need not be committed with malice or criminal intent to be punishable.

Estrada v. Sandiganbayan (2001)

Facts: Estrada is challenging the plunder law. One of the issues he raised is whether plunder is a malum prohibitum or malum in se.

Held: Plunder is a malum in se which requires proof of criminal of criminal intent. Precisely because the constitutive crimes are mala in se the element of mens rea must be proven in a prosecution for plunder. It is noteworthy that the amended information alleges that the crime of plunder was committed “willfully, unlawfully and criminally.” It thus alleges guilt knowledge on the part of the petitioner.

While intentional felonies are always mala in

se, it does not follow that prohibited acts done in violation of special laws are always mala prohibita. Even if the crime is punished under a special law, if the act punished is one which is inherently wrong, the same is malum in se, and, therefore, good faith and the lack of criminal intent is a valid defense; unless it is the product of criminal negligence or culpa. Likewise when the special laws require that the punished act be committed knowingly and willfully, criminal intent is required to be proved before criminal liability may arise.

1. TEST TO DETERMINE IF VIOLATION OF SPECIAL LAW IS MALUM PROHIBITUM OR MALUM IN SE

1) Analyze the violation:

Is it wrong because there is a law prohibiting it or punishing it as such?

still be

If you remove the law, will

wrong?

the act

2) If the working of the law punishing the crime uses the word “willfully,” then malice must be proven.

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CRIMINAL LAW

3)

Where

malice is

a

factor, good faith is

a

defense.

In

constituting the crime is a prohibited act.

act

violation

of

special

law,

the

Therefore, culpa is not a basis of liability, unless the special law punishes an omission.

TIP:

When given a problem, take note if the crime is a violation of the Revised Penal Code or a special law.

2. RELATION OF RPC TO SPECIAL LAWS:

SUPPLETORY APPLICATION OF RPC

Offenses punishable under special laws are not subject to the provisions of the RPC.

The RPC shall be supplementary to special laws, unless the latter should specially provide the contrary (Art. 10, RPC)

Article 10 is the consequence of the legal requirement that one must distinguish those punished under special laws and those under the Revised Penal Code. With regard to Article 10, observe the distinction.

When Applied?

As a supplement to the special law, or simply correlate the violated special law, if needed to avoid an injustice.

If no justice would result, do not give suppletory application of the Revised Penal Code to that of the special law.

1. Ladonga vs. People, 451 SCRA 673

The second clause (of Art. 10) contains the soul of the article. The main idea and purpose of the article is embodied in the provision that the "code shall be supplementary" to special laws, unless the latter should specifically provide the contrary.

For Example:

A special law punishes a certain act as a crime. The special law is silent as to the civil liability of one who violates the same. May the court pronounce that a person is civilly liable to the offended party, considering that the special law is silent on this point? Yes. Article 100 states that every person criminally liable for a felony is also civilly liable. ◦ That article shall be applied suppletorily to avoid an injustice that would be caused to the private offended party, if he would not be indemnified for the damages or injuries sustained by him.

2. People vs. Rodriguez (1960),

It was held that a violation of a special law can never absorb a crime punishable under the Revised Penal Code, because violations of the Revised Penal Code are more serious than a violation of a special law. But a crime in the Revised Penal Code can absorb a crime punishable by a special law if it is a necessary ingredient of the crime in the Code.

But do

not

think

that when

a

crime

is

punished outside of the Revised Penal Code,

it is already a special law.

 

3.

People vs. Martinada.

 

The crime of cattle-rustling is not a mala prohibitum but a modification of the crime of theft of large cattle. So Presidential Decree No. 533, punishing cattle-rustling, is not a special law. It can absorb the crime of murder. If in the course of cattle rustling, murder was committed, the offender cannot be prosecuted for murder. Murder would be a qualifying circumstance in the crime of qualified cattle rustling 18 .

3. DISTINCTION BETWEEN CRIMES PUNISHED UNDER THE REVISED PENAL CODE AND CRIMES PUNISHED UNDER SPECIAL LAWS

a. As To Moral Trait Of The Offender

MALA IN SE

MALUM

PROHIBITUM

o The moral trait of the

is

considered. o This is why liability would only arise when there is dolo or culpa in the commission of the punishable act.

offender

o The moral trait of the offender is not considered; o it is enough that the prohibited act was voluntarily done.

b. As To Use Of Good Faith As Defense In crimes punished under the Revised Penal Code,

MALA IN SE

MALUM PROHIBITUM

o Good faith or lack of criminal intent is a valid defense; unless the crime is the result of culpa.

o In punished

crimes

under

special laws, good

faith

is

not

a

defense.

 

c. As To Degree Of Accomplishment Of The Crime

MALA IN SE

 

MALUM PROHIBITUM

o the

degree

of

o the act gives rise to

18 Sec. 8, PD no. 533

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accomplishment of

a

crime only when

2. Taer v. CA (1990)

the crime is taken

it

is consummated;

into

account in

 

The offense for which Taer is accused is covered by-Articles 308, 309, and 310, as amended by "The Anti-Cattle Rustling Law of 1974." The penalty imposed on the principal for the crime of cattle rustling is:

punishing

the

o there

are

 

no

offender;

attempted

 

or

 

frustrated

 

stages,

o thus,

there

are

unless

the

special

attempted,

law

expressly

x x x x x x x x x Inasmuch as Taer's culpability is only that of an accessory after the fact, under Art. 53 of the Revised Penal Code, the penalty lower by two degrees than that prescribed by law for the consummated felony shall be imposed.

frustrated

and

penalizes

a

mere

consummated

attempt

or

stages

in

the

frustration

 

of

the

commission of the crime.

crime.

 

d. As

To

Mitigating

And

Aggravating

 

Circumstances

MALA IN SE

 

MALUM PROHIBITUM

o Mitigating

and

o Mitigating

and

aggravating circumstances are

aggravating

circumstances

are

taken

into

not

taken

into

account since the

account

in

moral

trait of

the

imposing

the

offender is

penalty.

The amendments of Presidential Decree No. 6425 (The Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972) by Republic Act NO. 7659:

Adopted the scale of penalties in the Revised Penal Code,

Mitigating

and

aggravating

circumstances can now be considered in imposing penalties.

Presidential Decree No. 6425 does not expressly prohibit the suppletory application of the Revised Penal Code. The stages of the commission of felonies will also apply since suppletory application is now allowed.

1. People v. Simon (1994) For cases of Illegal possession of firearms, although Presidential Decree No. 1866 is a special law, the penalties therein were taken from the Revised Penal Code, hence the rules in said Code for graduating by degrees or determining the proper period should be applied.

e. As To Degree Of Participation

MALA IN SE

 

MALUM

PROHIBITUM

 

o When there

is more

o The

degree

of

than one offender, o the degree of

participation

of

the

offenders

is

participation of each in the commission of the crime is taken into account in

not considered.

who

o All perpetrated

is

the

prohibited act are penalized to the same extent.

no

imposing

the

penalty; o thus,

offenders

are

classified

as

o There principal accessory consider.

or

principal, accomplice

to

and accessory.

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III.III.III.III.

FundamentalFundamentalFundamentalFundamental CriminalCriminalCriminalCriminal LiabilityLiabilityLiabilityLiability

PrinciplesPrinciplesPrinciplesPrinciples

OfOfOfOf

This section will dissect each instance where criminal liability may be incurred, mainly through:

A. PROXIMATE CAUSE

B. OMISSION

C. TRANSFERRED INTENT

D. LIABILITY FOR INCOMPLETE ELEMENTS AND INCOMPLETE CRIMES

E. PROPOSAL AND CONSPIRACY

F. LIABILITY FOR PLURAL CRIMES

IMPORTANT THINGS TO REMEMBER:

1. HOW IS CRIMINAL LIABILITY INCURRED?

Since in Art. 3, a felony is an act or omission punishable by law, particularly the Revised Penal Code,

it follows that whoever commits a felony incurs criminal liability it is important to note that if the criminal liability arises from an omission such as misprision of treason or ◦ abandonment of helpless persons, there must be a law requiring the performance of such act.

In par.1 of Art. 4, the law uses the word “felony,” that whoever commits a felony incurs criminal liability.

A felony may arise not only when it is intended, but also when it is the product of criminal negligence. What makes paragraph 1 of Article 4 confusing is the addition of the qualifier “although the wrongful act be different from

called

transferred intent. The 2 nd par. of Art. 4 makes a person liable even if the accomplishment of his crime is inherently impossible.

what

he

intended.”

This

is

Art.

incomplete elements of a crime.

6

also

provides

liability

for

the

There are certain crimes which provide specific liability for conspiring to and

proposing the commission of certain acts, the principle behind this can be found in Art.

8.

crimes

discussed under Art. 48.

Plural

on

the

other

hand

are

2. THERE IS NO CRIME UNLESS THERE IS A LAW PUNISHING IT

Art. 5. Duty of the court in connection with acts which should be repressed but which are not covered by the law, and in cases of excessive penalties.

Whenever a court has knowledge of any act which it may deem proper to repress and which is not punishable by law, it shall render the proper decision, and shall report to the Chief Executive, through the Department of Justice, the reasons which induce the court to believe that said act should be made the subject of legislation.

In the same way, the court shall submit to the Chief Executive, through the Department of Justice, such statement as may be deemed proper, without suspending the execution of the sentence, when a strict enforcement of the

provisions of this Code would result in the imposition of a clearly excessive penalty, taking into consideration the degree of malice and the injury caused by the offense.

Article 5 covers two situations:

1. The court cannot convict the accused because the acts do not constitute a crime. The proper judgment is acquittal.

The court is mandated to report to the Chief Executive that said act be made subject of penal legislation and why.

finds the penalty

prescribed for the crime too harsh

considering the conditions surrounding the commission of the crime, a. the judge should impose the law.

The most that he could do is recommend to the Chief Executive to grant executive clemency.

b.

b.

a.

2. Where

the

court

A. PROXIMATE CAUSE