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They are those acts of a person said to be in accordance with law, such that a person is deemed not to
have transgressed the law and is free from both criminal and civil liability.

They are:
1. Selfdefense
2. Defense of relatives
3. Defense of stranger
4. Avoidance of greater evil or injury
5. Fulfillment of duty or exercise of right or office
6. Obedience to an order of a superior


1. An imbecile or an insane person, unless the latter has acted during a lucid interval.

2. A child fifteen years of age or under is exempt from criminal liability under R.A. 9344

3. A person over fifteen years of age and under eighteen, unless he has acted with discernment, in which
case, such child shall be subject to appropriate proceedings in accordance with R.A. 9344.

4. Any person who, while performing a lawful act with due care, causes an injury by mere accident
without the fault or intention causing it.

5. Any person who acts under the compulsion of an irresistible force.

6. Any person who acts under the impulse of an uncontrollable fear of an equal or greater injury.

7. Any person who fails to perform an act required by law, when prevented by some lawful or
insuperable cause.


Mitigating circumstances are those which if present in the commission of the crime, do not entirely free
the actor from criminal liability but serve only to reduce the penalty.

Note: One single fact cannot be made the basis of more than one mitigating circumstance. Hence, a
mitigating circumstance arising from a single fact absorbs all the other mitigating circumstances arising
from the same fact.

Q: What is the basis of mitigating circumstances?

A: The basis is diminution of either freedom of action, intelligence, or intent or on the lesser perversity
of the offender.

Q: What are those circumstances which can mitigate criminal liability?

1. Incomplete justifying or exempting circumstance
2. The offender is under 18 or over 70 years old.
3. No intention to commit so grave a wrong (praeter inentionem)
4. Sufficient threat or provocation
5. Vindication of a grave offense
6. Passion or obfuscation
7. Voluntary surrender
8. Physical defect
9. Illness of the offender
10. Similar and analogous circumstances


Those which, if attendant in the commission of the crime:
1. Serve to have the penalty imposed in its maximum period provided by law for the offense; or
2. Change the nature of the crime.

Q: What are those circumstances which aggravate criminal liability?
1. Advantage taken of public position
2. Contempt or insult to public authorities
3. Disregard of age, sex, or dwelling of the offended party
4. Abuse of confidence and obvious ungratefulness
5. Palace and places of commission of offense
6. Nighttime, uninhabited place or band
7. On occasion of calamity or misfortune
8. Aid of armed men, etc.
9. Recidivist
10. Reiteracion or habituality
11. Price, reward, or promise
12. By means of inundation, fire, etc.
13. Evident premeditation
14. Craft, fraud or disguise
15. Superior strength or means to weaken the defense
16. Treachery
17. Ignominy
18. Unlawful entry
19. Breaking wall
20. Aid of minor or by means of motor vehicle or other similar means
21. Cruelty

Note: Nos.16, 910, 14, 18, 19 are generic aggravating circumstances
Nos. 3, 7, 8, 11, 12, 1517, 20, 21 are specific aggravating circumstances No. 16 is a case of qualified
aggravating circumstance

Nos. 1, 13, 17, 19 are inherent aggravating circumstances


The basis is the nature and effects of the crime and the other conditions attending its commission.

Q: What are alternative circumstances?

A: 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.

Q: What are the four alternative circumstances?

1. Relationship
2. Intoxication
3. Degree of instruction
4. Education of the offender