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People vs. De Fernando 49 Phil. 75 FACTS: The accused, a policeman, was informed that three convicts had escaped.

In the dark, he saw a person going up the stairs of a house, carrying a bolo and calling for someone inside. The daughter of the owner of the house was at that time with the accused whofired a shot in the air. As the unknown person continued to ascend the stairs and believing that he was one of the escaped convicts, the accused fired directly at the man who turned out to be the nephew of the owner of the house ISSUE: Whether or not the appellant is exempt from criminal liability due to mistake of fact. HELD: An agent of the law, to whom notice had been given of the presence of suspicious looking persons, who might be escaped prisoners from a nearby penitentiary, prowling around the vicinity, and who enters a house to keep watch, and later in the evening sees a person with a bolo in hand, approaching the house in the attitude of going up the stairs, who does not answer the challenge of the officer of the law, and continues his advance notwithstanding that the latter had fired a shot into the air, and the said agent of the law considering that the said stranger has not been recognized by any person in the household, and thinking him to be an evil-doer, shoots and kills him, is not guilty of murder or homicide. Taking into consideration the state of the mind of the accused at the time, and the meaning that he gave to the attitude of the unknown person, in shooting the latter, he felt that he was performing his duty by defending the owners of the house against an unexpected attack, and such act cannot constitute the crime of murder, but only that of a simple homicide. He cannot be held guilty, however as principal, with malicious intent, because he thought at the time that he was justified in acting as he did, and he is guilty only because he failed to exercise the ordinary diligence which, under the circumstances, he should have by investigating whether or not the unknown man was really what he thought him to be. In firing the shot, without first exercising reasonable diligence, he acted with reckless negligence. The crime committed by the accused, therefore is homicide though reckless negligence defined and punished in Article 568, in relation with Art. 404, of the Penal Code.