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Aggravating Circumstances are those which if present in the commission of the crime, serve to increase the
penalty imposable, without however exceeding the maximum period
prescribed for the offense.

Kinds of aggravating circumstances:
1. Generic - those that can generally apply to all crime
2. Specific - those that apply only to a particular crime
3. Qualifying/Special - those that change the nature of the crime
4. Inherent - those that must of necessity accompany the commission of the crime


EXCLUSIVE ENUMERATION OF AGGRAVATING CIRCUMSTANCES UNDER ARTICLE 14 OF THE REVISED
PENAL CODE:

1. That advantage be taken by the offender of his public position (Abuse of Public Position)

Some principles on Abuse of Public Position:
The accused must be a public official who used his influence, prestige and ascendancy which his
office gives him in realizing his purpose.
It cannot be offset by any mitigating circumstances because this is a qualifying/special kind of
aggravating circumstance.
Under Section 23, 1(a) of RA 7659, the penalty imposed shall be in its maximum regardless of
mitigating circumstances.
Where the public position is an element of the offense, such as Bribery, there is no aggravating
circumstance because it is absorbed the crime/offense itself.

Example:

A police officer authorized to carry a gun, has succeeded in going through a checkpoint
unmolested or unsuspected because of his public position. He committed a crime of Robbery with
homicide. There is aggravating circumstance by taking advantage by the offender of his public position.


2. That the crime be committed in contempt or with insult to the public authorities.

Public authorities public officers directly vested with jurisdiction and who have the power to govern
and execute the laws.

Elements:
1. Public authorities must be engage in the exercise of his duties
2. He must not be the person against whom the crime is committed
3. The offender must know that the same is a person in authority (Rationale: It is an aggravating
circumstance because of the complete disregard of the person in authority by the offender)

Example:

X, despite his knowledge of the presence of the Judge, still continued to assault Y, his opponent.

Some principles of Contempt or with Insult to Public Authorities:
If the crime was committed in the presence of policemen or NBI, it is not aggravating because
they are not considered persons in authority, they are merely agents of a person in authority.
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Teachers, professors, supervisors of public and duly recognized private schools, colleges and
universities, as well as lawyers are persons in authority only for purposes of direct assault and
simple resistance, but not for purposes of aggravating circumstances.


3. That the act be committed with insult or in disregard of the respect due the offended party on account
of his rank, age, or sex, or that is be committed in the dwelling of the offended party, if the latter has
not given provocation.

a. with insult or in disregard of the respect due the offended party on account of his rank, age, or sex

Example:
1. The deceased victim is a 60 years old woman while the accused is only 23 years old. Aggravating
on account of age or sex.
2. A janitor attacked his boss is aggravating on account of rank

b. that is be committed in the dwelling of the offended party, if the latter has not given provocation.

Dwelling a building or structure exclusively used and devoted for rest and comfort, and it includes
every dependency of the house which forms an integral part thereof.

Inclusions:
a. staircase of the house
b. terrace
c. room of a bedspacer in a boarding house
d. hotel if rented as a dwelling
e. roof of the house
f. comfort rooms in the Provinces
g. garage if connected with the interior passage of the house

Some principles of crimes committed in the Dwelling:
Dwelling will only be aggravating if it is the dwelling of the offended party. It should also not be
the dwelling of the offender.
If the dwelling is both that of the offended party and the offender, dwelling is not aggravating.
The victim must not have given any provocation
Victim may be the owner, occupant or lessee of the house
It is not necessary that the accused have actually entered the dwelling of the victim
If the victim was forcibly taken from her house, brought elsewhere and was raped, it is
aggravating by reason of dwelling


4. That the act be committed with abuse of confidence or obvious ungratefulness

Example:
1. X who had taken shelter in the house of his brother, Y, raped his niece, W.
2. The offender is a servant of X when he poisoned the latters child.

Some principles of Abuse of Confidence or Obvious Ungratefulness:
Do not confuse this with mere betrayal of trust. This is aggravating only when the very
offended party is the one who reposed the confidence. If the confidence is reposed by another,
the offended party is different from the fellow who reposed the confidence and abuse of
confidence in this case is not aggravating.

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5. That the crime be committed in the palace of the Chief Executive or in his presence, or where public
authorities are engaged in the discharge of their duties, or in a place dedicated to religious worship


Some principles to remember:
There must be intent to commit the crime in the Place of Chief Executive and in the place
dedicated to religious worship, otherwise, it is not aggravating. If the meeting of the offender
and accused is only casual, it also not aggravating.
If the crime is committed where public authorities are engaged in the discharge of duties, the
actual fulfillment of functions must be going on. Hence, if the Judge declared a recess and a
crime was committed during such recess, it is not an aggravating circumstance
A crime committed in a place dedicated to religious worship, it is always aggravating even if no
ceremony is taking place.
Even if the President is not in the Palace, but a crime is committed in his presence which
presence is known to the accused, it is an aggravating circumstance.


6. That the crime be committed in the night time, or in an uninhabited place, or by a band, whenever such
circumstances may facilitate the commission of the offense

a. The crime committed in the night time

Night it is defined under Article 13 of the New Civil Code as a period of time from sunset to sunrise.

Some principles on crimes committed in the night time:
If the crime started during daytime and ended nighttime, it is not aggravating
If the crime started at night and ended at day, it is not aggravating
The rule is: the crime must begin and end during nighttime. Darkness is what makes the
circumstance aggravating.
In People vs. Cabangcala, the Supreme Court ruled that for nighttime to be appreciated as
aggravating circumstance, the Court must be convinced that the cover of darkness was
purposely sought of ensuring the consummation of the crime or where the accused took
advantage of the blankness of the night.

Example:

One evening, a crime was committed near the lamp post. The Supreme Court held that there
is no aggravating circumstance of nighttime. Even if the crime was committed at night, but there was
light, hence, darkness was not present, no aggravating circumstance just by the fact of nighttime alone.

b. Uninhabited Place

Some principles on crimes committed in an Uninhabited Place:
It is determined not by the distance of the nearest house to the scene of the crime but whether
or not in the place of the commission of the offense, there was a reasonable possibility of the
victim receiving some help.
Evidence tending to prove that the offender took advantage of the place and purposely availed
of it is to make it easier to commit the crime, shall be necessary.

Example:

X is on board a banca, not so far away. Y and Z also are on board on their respective bancas.
Suddenly, W showed up from underwater and stabbed X. There an aggravating circumstance of
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uninhabited place here considering the fact that Y and Z before being able to give assistance still have to
jump into the water and swim towards X and the time it would take them to do that, the chances of X
receiving some help was very little, despite the fact that there were other persons not so far from the
scene.



c. Crime committed by a Band

Band there is a band, whenever more than three (3) armed malefactors shall have acted together in
the commission of an offense.

Some principles on crimes committed in an Uninhabited Place:
Even if there are four, but only three or less are armed, it is not a band.
If the meeting of the offended person and the band is casual, it is not aggravating.


7. That the crime be committed on the occasion of a conflagration, shipwreck, earthquake, epidemic or
other calamity or misfortune

Rationale: It is aggravating because instead of lending aid to the afflicted, the accused adds suffering by
taking advantage of the victims misfortune.

Some principles to remember:
The crime must be committed on the occasion conflagration, shipwreck, earthquake, epidemic
or other calamity or misfortune
The offender must take advantage of the any of the said situation
Mere coincidence of said situations to the commission of the crime is not aggravating


8. That the crime be committed with the aid of armed men or persons who insure or afford impunity

Some principles to remember:
In this circumstance, at least two (2) persons are involved because the law uses the words men
and persons.
The accused must relied on the presence and aid of the armed men, otherwise, it is not
aggravating.

Example:

X, the accused, committed robbery in a particular area. The policemen, Y and Z, assured X that
they would not patrol the area to ensure the commission of the said crime. This is an aggravating
circumstance by the aid of policemen to ensure or afford impunity.


9. That the accused is a recidivist

Recidivist a person who, at the time of his trial for one crime, shall have been previously convicted by
final judgment of another crime embraced in the same Title of the Revised Penal Code.

Example:

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X was convicted of Homicide on September 15, 2013. There being no appeal, judgment became
final on October 1, 2013. The second conviction for Murder was rendered on October 26, 2013. In this
case, X is considered a recidivist.

Some principles in Recidivism:
In recidivism, the crimes committed should be felonies. Recidivism cannot be had if the crime
committed is a violation of a special law.
Recidivism does not prescribe. No matter how long ago the offender was convicted, if he is
subsequently convicted of a crime embraced in the same title of the Revised Penal Code, it is
taken into account as aggravating in imposing the penalty.
Pardon does not erase recidivism, even if it is absolute because it only excuses the service of the
penalty, but not the conviction.
If the offender has already served his sentence and he was extended an absolute pardon, the
pardon shall erase the conviction including recidivism because there is no more penalty so it
shall be understood as referring to the conviction or the effects of the crime.

Habitual Delinquent an offender within the period of 10 years from the date of his release or last
conviction of the crimes of serious or less serious physical injuries, robo,
hurto, estafa or falsification, is found guilty of the any of said crimes a
third time or oftener.

Distinctions between recidivism and habitual delinquency:

Recidivism Habitual Delinquency
Two convictions are enough At least three convictions are required
The crimes are not specified; it is enough that
they may be embraced under the same title of
the Revised Penal Code
The crimes are limited and specified to: (a)
serious physical injuries, (b) less serious
physical injuries, (c) robbery, (d) theft, (e)
estafa or swindling and (f) falsification
There is no time limit between the first
conviction and the subsequent conviction.
Recidivism is imprescriptible
There is a time limit of not more than 10
years between every convictions computed
from the first conviction or release from
punishment thereof to conviction computed
from the second conviction or release
therefrom to the third conviction and so on .
. .
It is a generic aggravating circumstance which
can be offset by an ordinary mitigating
circumstance. If not offset, it would only
increase the penalty prescribed by law for the
crime committed to its maximum period
Habitual delinquency is a special aggravating
circumstance, hence it cannot be offset by
any mitigating circumstance. Aside from the
penalty prescribed by law for the crime
committed, an additional penalty shall be
imposed depending upon whether it is
already the third conviction, the fourth, the
fifth and so on . . .
The circumstance need not be alleged in the
information
The circumstance must be alleged in the
information; otherwise the court cannot
acquire jurisdiction to impose additional
penalty


Different forms of repetition or habituality of the offender

1. Recidivism under Article 14 (9) The offender at the time of his trial for one crime shall have
been previously convicted by final judgment of another embraced in the same title of the
Revised Penal Code.
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2. Repetition or reiteracion under Article 14 (10) The offender has been previously punished for
an offense which the law attaches an equal or greater penalty or for two or more crimes to
which it attaches a lighter penalty.

3. Habitual delinquency under Article 62 (5) The offender within the period of 10 years from the
date of his release or last conviction of the crimes of serious or less serious physical injuries,
robo, hurto, estafa or falsification, is found guilty of the any of said crimes a third time or
oftener.

4. Quasi-recidivism under Article 160 Any person who shall commit a felony after having been
convicted by final judgment before beginning to serve such sentence or while serving such
sentence shall be punished by the maximum period prescribed by law for the new felony.


10. That the offender has been previously punished by an offense to which the law attaches an equal or
greater penalty or for two or more crimes to which it attaches a lighter penalty (Reiteracion)

Rationale: It is aggravating because the law expects that since the accused has already tasted
punishment, he should more or less refrain from committing crime again.

Some principles in Reiteracion:
In reiteracion, the offender has already tasted the bitterness of the punishment
The crime subsequently committed should be higher or at least equal to the penalty that the
accused has already served



Example:

If X had been punished for Slight Physical Injuries in 2010 and in 2011 committed Rape, his
liability therefore is aggravated by Reiteracion because Rape has greater penalty than Slight
Physical Injuries.

If the subsequent crime committed is lighter than the crime to which the penalty has been
served, the requirement to make it aggravating is that two (2) or more crimes must be
subsequently committed


11. That the crime be committed in consideration of a price, reward, or promise

Some principles to remember:
To be considered as aggravating, the price, reward or promise must be the primary reason or
the primordial motive for the commission of the crime, otherwise, it is not aggravating.

Example:

X approached Y and asked him what he thought about Z. Y answered that Z is a bad man
and he will kill him. So X told Y that if he do that, X will give him P5,000.00. After killing Z, Y
approached X and demanded the payment. In this case, there is no aggravating circumstance in
consideration of a price, reward or promise because the same is not the primary reason for
committing the crime. The primary reason was the thought that Z is a bad man.

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Mere promise is sufficient, as long as it is the primary reason
In People vs. Gerologa, the Supreme Court ruled that this aggravating circumstance affects both
the Receiver and the Giver of the price, reward or promise.
Giver principal by direct participation
Receiver principal by inducement


12. That the crime be committed by means of inundation, fire, poison, explosion, stranding of a vessel or
international damage thereto, derailment of a locomotive, or by the use of any other artifice involving
great waste and ruin

Some principles to remember:
Fire is not aggravating in the crime of Arson because the same is absorbed the such crime
The purpose in employing the means must be to kill the victim to consider it aggravating




Example:

X flames the polo shirt of Y for the delightment of the crowd in a dance party. This is not
aggravating as the objective of using the fire to kill the victim is not present.

Whenever a killing is done with the use of fire, as when to kill someone, you burn down his
house while the latter is inside, this is murder. There is no such crime as murder with arson or
arson with homicide. The crime committed is only murder.

Example:

X and Y were arguing about something. One argument led to another until X struck Y to
death with a bolo. X did not know that Z, the son of Y was also in their house and who was
peeping through the door and saw what X did. Afraid that X might kill him, too, he hid
somewhere in the house. X then dragged Y's body and poured gasoline on it and burned the
house altogether. As a consequence, Z was burned and eventually died too.

As far as the killing of Y is concerned, it is homicide since it is noted that they were arguing.
It could not be murder. As far as the killing of Z is concerned, the crime is arson since he
intended to burn the house only.

No such crime as arson with homicide. Law enforcers only use this to indicate that a killing
occurred while arson was being committed. At the most, you could designate it as death as a
consequence of arson.


13. That the act be committed with evidence premeditation

To be aggravating, the following must be appreciated:
a. The time when the accused determined to commit the crime

Example:

On Monday, X thought of killing Y on Friday. X knew that Y is coming home only every
Friday so he decided to kill Y on Friday evening when he comes home. On Thursday, X met Y and
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killed him. There is no evident premeditation in this case because the attack was sudden. Instead,
there is treachery.

b. An act/acts manifestly indicating that the accused has clung to his determination

Example:

X and Y had a fistic fight. Y threatened to kill X shouting hanggang bukas na lang ang
buhay mo, and thereafter forgot everything but when he saw Y in the afternoon of that day, he
stabbed him. There is no evident premeditation because the requite no. 2 is missing.

If however, after the threat, X bought a bolo and looked for Y whom he killed with the said
bolo, there is evident premeditation.

c. Sufficient lapse of time between such determination and execution to allow him to reflect upon the
consequences of his acts

Example:

In People vs. Cabodoc, the Supreme Court considered the lapse of 3 hours where at 1pm,
the accused opened his balisong and uttered I will kill him (victim) and at 4:30pm of the same
date, the accused stabbed the victim. The 3 hours from the inception of the plan to the execution
of the crime satisfies the last requisite.


14. That the craft, fraud or disguise be employed.

a. Craft shrewdness as demonstrated by being skilled in deception

Example of employment of Craft:

X, Y and Z pretended to be a bona fide passengers of a jeepney in order not to arouse
suspicion. Once inside the jeepney, they robbed the passengers and the driver.

b. Fraud involves acts, or spoken, or written words, by a party to misled another into believing a fact
to be true when it is not so

Example of employment of Fraud:

X is armed with a knife while Y was holding a lead pipe when they met. X told Y to drop
his weapon so that their differences would be settled amicably. Y dropped his lead pipe, but X
immediately attached him with his knife.

Note:
o The Supreme Court in various cases had used Craft and Fraud interchangeably.
o Justice Luis Reyes, distinguished the two: There is Fraud when there is a direct
inducement by insidious words or machinations, otherwise, the act of the accused done
in order not to arose the suspicion of the victim constitute Craft.




c. Disguise the use of any devise or artifice by the accused to conceal his identity
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Examples of employment of Disguise:

1. Use of mask by the accused to cover his face in the commission of a crime. This is aggravating
even if the mask subsequently fell down because of the purpose to conceal his identity to the
commission of the crime.
2. Putting charcoal in the entire naked body of the accused to commit rape.


15. That advantage be taken of superior strength, or means be employed to weaken the defense (Abuse of
Superior Strength)

Some principles on the abuse of superior strength:
There must be evidence of notorious inequality of forces between the offender and the offended
party in their age, size and strength and that the offender took advantage of such superior
strength in committing crime.
The fact that two (2) persons are attacking the victim does not per se constitute abuse of
superior strength. There must be use of excessive force out of proportion to the means
available to the person attacked to defend himself.

Example:

When X and Y were about to strike each other, X threw sand into the eyes of Y causing
momentary blindness on the part of Y. There is aggravating circumstance on the means employed by X
to weaken the defense of Y.


16. That the act be committed with treachery (Alevosia)

Treachery - refers to the employment of means, method and form in the commission of the crime which
tend directly and specially to insure its execution without risk to himself arising from
the defense which the offended party might make.

Two (2) Conditions must concur:
a. The employment of means of execution which would ensure the safety of the offender from
defensive and retaliatory acts of the victim, giving such victim no opportunity to defend himself.
b. The means, methods and manner of execution were deliberately and consciously adopted by the
offender.

Example:

X and Y have been quarreling for some time. One day, X approached Y and befriended him. Y
accepted. To celebrate their renewed friendship, X proposed that they were going to drink. Y was
having too much to drink. X was just waiting for him to get intoxicated and after which, he stabbed Y.
In this case, treachery is present. Intoxication is the means deliberately employed by X so Y could put
up a defense.


17. That means be employed or circumstances brought about which add ignominy to the natural effects of
the act

Ignominy a circumstance pertaining to the moral order, which adds disgrace and obloquy to the
material injury caused by the crime.
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Examples:
1. Killing a man in the presence of his wife is not ignominy, but raping a woman in front of her
husband is ignominy.
2. A land owner, before he was killed, he was made to kneel in front of his househelpers
3. In case of homicide, the victim after having been killed, his body was shoved inside a canal.


18. That the crime be committed after an unlawful entry

Some principles in unlawful entry:
Unlawful entry inherent in the crime of Robbery with force upon things, hence, it is not
aggravating thereof.
In Robbery with violence against/intimidation of persons, it is aggravating because it is not
inherent to such crime
If the escape was done through the window and there is no unlawful entry, then there is no
aggravating circumstance

Example:

X entered the 2
nd
floor window of the residence of Y, a way not intended for ingress and
committed Robbery with Homicide to Y. Such crime is aggravated by unlawful entry.


19. As a means to the commission of a crime, a wall, roof, floor, door or window be broken (Forcible Entry)

Some principles in Forcible Entry:
The breaking of the parts of the house must be made as a means to commit the offense.





Example:

X entered the door of and after killing him, escaped by breaking the jealousies of the
window. There is no aggravating circumstance here as it is not a means to commit the crime.
It is a means to escape a crime.

The forcible entry is not limited to wall, roof, floor, door or window. In one case decided by the
Supreme Court, where he accused entered a field tent by cutting the ropes at the rear of the
tent and killed the victim soldiers sleeping thereat, such Murder is aggravated by Forcible Entry.


20. That the crime be committed with the aid of persons under fifteen years of age or by means of motor
vehicles, motorized watercraft, airships, or other similar means

a. In aid of persons under 15 years old

Rationale: to stop the practice of employing minor whom they know is exempt from criminal liability

Note: Minors here could be principal, accomplices or accessories

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b. Motor vehicles, airships or other similar means

Rationale: to discourage the criminals from taking advantage of the great facilities offered by modern
means of transportation and communication.

c. Other similar means

Note:
Other similar means provided for in this article should be understood to refer to motorized
vehicle or other efficient means of transportation and similar automobile or airplane.
The use of pedal bicycle is not an aggravating circumstance
The use of motorized bicycle but using only foot pedal is an aggravating circumstance. There is
a decision by the Court of Appeals that a motorized bicycle is a motor vehicle even if the
offender used only the foot pedal.
The motor vehicle must be used in the commission of the offense. If it is used only in the
escape, it is not aggravating.


21. That the wrong done in the commission of the crime be deliberately augmented by causing other wrong
not necessary for its commissions (Cruelty)

Cruelty there is cruelty when the offender deliberately and inhumanly augmented the suffering of
the victim
- the offender/accused finds delight in prolonging the suffering of the victim
- causing the victim to suffer slowly and painfully
- inflicting on the victim unnecessary physical and moral pain

Example: In People vs. Binondo, the victim was decapitated. The murder
was aggravated by cruelty.

Note:
The mere number of stabbed wounds, does not per se constitute cruelty. There must be
showing that the accused in doing so, finds pleasure and satisfaction

Distinction between Ignominy and Cruelty:

IGNOMINY CRUELTY
Shocks the moral conscience of man Cruelty is physical
The victim is either dead or alive The victim has to be alive


OTHER AGGRAVATING CIRCUMSTANCES:
1. Under the influence of dangerous drugs (Section 17, BP 179) it considered special/qualifying
aggravating circumstance
2. Use of unlicensed firearm (Section 1(3) of PD 1866 as amended by RA 8294) aggravates the crime of
Homicide and Murder
3. Organized/Syndicated Crime Group (Article 23 of RA 7659) a group of two (2) or more persons
collaborating, confederating and mutually helping one another for purposes of gain in the commission of
any crime. The maximum of the penalty shall be imposed.