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What is a crime?
A crime is any act or omission punishable by any law; Revised Penal Code, ordinances and special laws.
 RPC: theft, murder, rape
 Ordinances: Smoking ban, liquor ordinance
 Special laws: RA 7016 (Special Protection Against Child Abuse), RA 9626 (VAWC)

Who can commit a crime?

Any person not otherwise excuse from criminal liability

Exceptions to Criminal Liability

1. Justifying Circumstances –– those where the act of a person is said to be in accordance
with law so that such person is deemed not to have transgressed the law and is free from
criminal and civil liability
a. Self Defense
1) Unlawful Aggression on the part of the offended party
2) Reasonable Necessity of the Means Employed by the person defending
3) Lack of Sufficient Provocation on the part of the person defending
Subject of self-defense:
I. Defense of person – There is danger to the life or limb of the person
II. Defense of rights
III. Defense of property – Should be coupled with danger to the person
IV. Defense of honor
b. Defense of Relatives
1) Unlawful Aggression on the part of the offended party
2) Reasonable Necessity of the Means Employed by the person defending
3) If there was provocation arose from the relative being defended, the
person defending should have had no part in that provocation
Relatives contemplated:
I. Spouse
II. ascendants
III. descendants
IV. Brothers or sisters (legitimate, natural or adopted)
V. Relatives by affinity in the same degrees
VI. Relatives by consanguinity within the fourth (4th) civil degree
c. Defense of Stranger
1) Unlawful Aggression on the part of the offended party
2) Reasonable Necessity of the Means Employed by the person defending
3) The person defending should not be induced by revenge, resentment, or
other evil motive
d. Avoidance of greater evil or injury
1) The evil actually exists
2) The injury feared be greater than that done to avoid it
3) There be no other practical and less harmful means of prevention
e. Fulfillment of Duty/Lawful Exercise of Right or Office
1) That the accused acted in the performance of a duty or in the lawful
exercise of a right or office
2) That the injury caused or the offense committed be the necessary
consequence of the due performance of duty or lawful exercise of such
right or office
f. Obedience to a lawful order by a superior officer
1) That an order has been issued by a superior
2) That such order must be for some lawful purpose
3) That the means used by the subordinate to carry out said order is lawful

2. Exempting Circumstances –– if present during the commission of the crime will free the
accused from criminal liability

a. Imbecility or Insanity
one who is deprived completely of not so exempt because during a lucid
reason or discernment and freedom interval, the person can act with
of will when committing a crime; intelligence
exempted in all cases; mentality is
comparable to a child 2-7 years old NB: To be exempt, there must be (1)
complete deprivation of freedom of
intelligence; (2) total deprivation of will.
Mere abnormalities of mental faculties are
not enough.

b. Minority (discussed further on Juvenile Justice System)

c. Accident
1) A person is performing a lawful act
2) The act is done with due care
3) Causes an injury to another by mere accident
4) Injury was done without fault or intention of causing it
d. Compulsion of Irresistible Force
1) Compulsion to commit the crime is by means of physical force or violence
2) Physical force or violence is irresistible
3) Physical force or violence must come from a third person
e. Impulse of an Uncontrollable Fear
1) The existence of an uncontrollable fear
2) The fear must real and imminent
3) The fear of an injury is greater than or equal to that committed
f. Failure to perform a lawful act due to lawful or insuperable cause
1) An act is required by law to be done
2) That a person fails to perform such act
3) That the failure to perform such act was due to some lawful or insuperable

Notice and Hearing???



Section 12, Article III of the Constitution
1) Any person under investigation for the commission of an offense shall have the right to be
informed of his right to remain silent and to have competent and independent counsel
preferably of his own choice. If the person cannot afford the services of counsel, he must
be provided with one. These rights cannot be waived except in writing and in the presence
of counsel.
2) No torture, force, violence, threat, intimidation, or any other means which vitiate the free
will shall be used against him. Secret detention places, solitary, incommunicado, or other
similar forms of detention are prohibited.
3) Any confession or admission obtained in violation of this or Section 17 hereof shall be
inadmissible in evidence against him.
4) The law shall provide for penal and civil sanctions for violations of this Section as well as
compensation to the rehabilitation of victims of torture or similar practices, and their

Miranda Doctrine
 Prior to any questioning during custodial investigation, the person must be warned that he has a right
to remain silent, that any statement he gives may be used as evidence against him, and that he has
the right to the presence of an attorney, either retained or appointed. The defendant may waive
effectuation of these rights, provided the waiver is made voluntarily, knowingly, and intelligently.

Purpose of Miranda Doctrine:

 Protect a criminal defendant’s privilege against self-incrimination from the pressures arising
during custodial investigation by the police
 Provide practical safeguards for the practical reinforcement for the right against
compulsory self-incrimination.

(1) Any person under custodial investigation has the right to remain silent;
(2) Anything he says can and will be used against him in a court of law;
(3) He has the right to talk to an attorney before being questioned and to have his counsel present when
being questioned; and
(4) If he cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided before any questioning if he so desires.

Custodial Investigation, defined.

 Any questioning initiated by law enforcement officers after a person has been taken into
custody or otherwise deprived of his freedom of action in any significant way.
 Begins as soon as the investigation is no longer a general inquiry unto an unsolved crime,
and direction is then aimed upon a particular suspect who has been taken into custody
and to whom the police would then direct interrogatory questions which tend to elicit
incriminating statements.
 Shall include the practice of issuing an invitation to a person who is investigated in
connection with an offense he is suspected to have committed, without prejudice to the
liability of the inviting officer for any violation of law.

Extrajudicial confession is Admissible when:

(a) Voluntary;
(b) With assistance of counsel;
(c) In writing; and
(d) Express.

Rights Under Custodial Investigation

(a) To be informed of right to remain silent and to counsel
 Carries the correlative obligation on the part of the investigator to explain and
contemplates effective communication which results in the subject
understanding what is conveyed.
(b) To be reminded that if he waives his right to remain silent, anything he says can and will be
used against him
(c) To remain silent
(d) To have competent and independent counsel preferably of own choice
(e) To be provided with counsel if the person cannot afford the services of one
(f) No torture, force, violence, threat, intimidation or any other means which vitiate the free
will shall be used against him
(g) Secret detention places, solitary, incommunicado, or other similar forms of detention are
(h) Confessions or admissions obtained in violation of these rights are inadmissible as evidence

Rights That May Be Waived

–– waiver must be in writing and in the presence of counsel
1) Right to remain silent
2) Right to Counsel

Rights That Cannot Be Waived

(a) Right to be informed of his right to remain silent and to counsel
(b) Right to counsel when making the waiver of the right to remain silent or to counsel

 Right to counsel de parte is not unlimited. Accused cannot repeatedly ask for postponement.
He must be provided with counsel de oficio.
 RA 7309: victims of unjust imprisonment may file their claims with the Board of Claims under the
Department of Justice

Section 13, Art. III.
All persons, except those charged with offenses punishable by reclusion perpetua when evidence of guilt is
strong, shall, before conviction, be bailable by sufficient sureties, or be released on recognizance as may be
provided by law. The right to bail shall not be impaired even when the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus
is suspended. Excessive bail shall not be required.

 Security given for the release of a person in custody of law, furnished by him or a bondsman, to
guaranty his appearance before any court as may be required

Forms of bail
1. corporate surety
2. property bond
3. cash deposit
4. recognizance

Who may invoke Bail?

A person under detention even if no formal charges have yet been filed (Rule 114, Rules of Court)
Who are Entitled to Bail?
 In the MTC, it is a matter of right before or after conviction, regardless of the offense.
 In the RTC, it is a matter of right before conviction, except for offenses punishable by death,
reclusion perpetua, or life sentence and the evidence of guilt is strong, in which case it is
discretionary. After conviction, bail is a matter of discretion regardless of the offense. The
application for bail may be filed and acted upon by the trial court as long as the original
record of the case has not been transmitted to the appellate court. However, if the
decision of the trial court changed the nature of the offense from non-bailable to bailable,
the application should be addressed and resolved by the appellate court.

Other Rights in Relation to Bail

 The right to bail shall NOT be impaired even when the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is
 Excessive bail shall not be required.

Factors in Fixing Amount of Bail

(a) Ability to post bail
(b) Nature of the offense
(c) Penalty imposed by law
(d) Character and reputation of the accused
(e) Health of the accused
(f) Strength of the evidence
(g) Probability of appearing at the trial
(h) Forfeiture of previous bail bonds
(i) Whether accused was a fugitive from justice when arrested
(j) If accused is under bond in other cases

Implicit Limitations on the Right to Bail

(a) The person claiming the right must be in actual detention or custody of the law.
(b) The constitutional right is available only in criminal cases, not, e.g. in deportation and extradition


Section 14, Art. III.
1. No person shall be held to answer for a criminal offense without due process of law.
2. In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be presumed innocent until the contrary is
proved, and shall enjoy the right to be heard by himself and counsel, to be informed of the
nature and cause of the accusation against him, to have a speedy, impartial, and public
trial, to meet the witnesses face to face, and to have compulsory process to secure the
attendance of witnesses and the production of evidence in his behalf. However, after
arraignment, trial may proceed notwithstanding the absence of the accused: Provided,
that he has been duly notified and his failure to appear is unjustifiable.

The Rights of the Accused Include

1) Criminal due process;
2) Presumption of innocence;
3) Right to be heard by himself or counsel;
4) Right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him;
5) Right to speedy, impartial and public trial;
6) Right to meet the witnesses face to face;
7) Right to compulsory process to secure attendance of witnesses and production of
evidence; and
8) Trial in absentia

Criminal Due Process

Criminal process includes
a) Investigation prior to the filing of charges
b) Preliminary examination and investigation after charges are filed
c) Period of trial

Requirements of Criminal Due Process

1. Impartial and competent court in accordance with procedure prescribed by law;
2. Proper observance of all the rights accorded the accused under the Constitution and the applicable
statutes (example of statutory right of the accused: right to Preliminary investigation)

 Mistrial may be declared if shown that proceedings were held under circumstances as would
prevent the accused from freely making his defense or the judge from freely arriving at his decision.
 There is violation of due process when law not published and a person is impleaded for violation of
such law.
 There is violation of due process when appeal is permitted by law but there is denial thereof.

Presumption of Innocence
 Burden of proof to establish the guilt of the accused is with the prosecution.
 Conviction depends on the strength of prosecution, not on the weakness of the defense
 The presumption may be overcome by contrary presumption based on the experience of human
conduct. (e.g unexplained flight may lead to an inference of guilt, as “the wicked flee when no man
pursueth, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.”)
 The constitutional presumption will not apply as long as there is some rational connection between
the fact proved and the ultimate fact presumed, and the inference of one fact from proof of
another shall not be so unreasonable as to be a purely arbitrary mandate. – Cooley
 No inference of guilt may be drawn against an accused for his failure to make a statement of any

Equipoise Rule –– evidence of both sides are equally balanced, in which case the constitutional presumption
of innocence should tilt the scales in favor of the accused.

Right to be Heard by Himself and Counsel

 Indispensable in any criminal prosecution where the stakes are the liberty or even the life of the
 Assistance of counsel begins from the time a person is taken into custody and placed under
investigation for the commission of a crime.
 This is not subject to waiver.
 Right to counsel means the right to effective representation.

If the accused appears at arraignment without counsel, the judge must:

(a) Inform the accused that he has a right to a counsel before arraignment;
(b) Ask the accused if he desires the aid of counsel;
(c) If the accused desires counsel, but cannot afford one, a counsel de oficio must be appointed;
(d) If the accused desires to obtain his own counsel, the court must give him a reasonable time to
get one.

Nature and Cause of Accusation

Purpose for the Right to be informed of the Nature and Cause of Accusation
(1) To furnish the accused with a description of the charge against him as will enable him to make
his defenses;
(2) To avail himself of his conviction or acquittal against a further prosecution for the same cause;
(3) To inform the court of the facts alleged.

 The description and not the designation of the offense is controlling (The real nature of the crime
charged is determined from the recital of facts in the information. It is not determined based on the
caption or preamble thereof nor from the specification of the provision of law allegedly violated.)
 If the information fails to allege the material elements of the offense, the accused cannot be
convicted thereof even if the prosecution is able to present evidence during the trial with respect to
such elements.

Void for Vagueness Rule –– accused is denied the right to be informed of the charge against him and to due
process as well, where the statute itself is couched in such indefinite language that it is not possible for men of
ordinary intelligence to determine therefrom what acts or omissions are punished and hence, shall be

Factors in Determining Whether There Is Violation
(a) Time expired from the filing of the information
(b) Length of delay involved
(c) Reasons for the delay
(d) Assertion or non-assertion of the right by the accused
(e) Prejudice caused to the defendant.

Effect of dismissal based on violation of this right:

It amounts to an acquittal and can be used as basis to claim double jeopardy. This would be the effect even
if the dismissal was made with the consent of the accused

Remedy if the Right is Violated

(1) He can move for the dismissal of the case;
(2) If he is detained, he can file a petition for the issuance of writ of habeas corpus.

Speedy trial Impartial trial Public trial

1. Free from vexatious, the accused is entitled to the The attendance at the trial is
capricious and oppressive “cold neutrality of an impartial open to all irrespective of their
delays judge”. It is an element of due relationship to the
2. To relieve the accused from process. accused. However, if the
needless anxieties before evidence to be adduced is
sentence is pronounced “offensive to decency or public
upon him morals”, the public may be

The right of the accused to a public trial is not violated if the hearings are conducted on Saturdays,
either with the consent of the accused or if failed to object thereto.
The right to be present covers the period from arraignment to promulgation of sentence.

The Right to Meet the Witnesses Face to Face

Purposes of the Right to Meet the Witnesses Face to Face
(1) To afford the accused an opportunity to cross-examine the witness
(2) To allow the judge the opportunity to observe the deportment of the witness
Principal Exceptions to this Right
(1) The admissibility of “dying declarations”
(2) Trial in absentia under Section 14(2)

Compulsory Process
 The accused is entitled to the issuance of subpoena ad testificandum and subpoena duces
tecum for the purpose of compelling the attendance of witness and the production of evidence
that he may need for his defense.
 Failure to obey – punishable as contempt of court.
 There are exceptional circumstances when the defendant may ask for conditional examination,
provided the expected testimony is material of any witness under circumstances that would make
him unavailable from attending the trial.

Trial in Absentia
(1) Accused has been validly arraigned;
(2) Accused has already been arraigned;
(3) Accused has been duly notified of the trial; and
(4) His failure to appear is unjustifiable.



–– Justifying circumstance where there is no crime and no criminal therefore, the act is justified
and is not liable for any criminal liability

Who is a Child?
Someone who is 15 years of age or below at the time of the commission of the crime shall be
exempt from criminal liability but will undergo an intervention program; a child above 15 years of
age or below 18 years of age shall be exempt and be subjected to an intervention program unless
s/he acted with discernment in which case such child will be subject to the appropriate
proceedings in accordance with this Act (Section 6, RA 9344)

Child in Conflict with Law

 Children falling under this Act are referred to as a child in conflict with the law; normally
minor offenders are referred to as the accused, juvenile delinquent, prisoner, respondent,
etc. but it is contemplated that these terms refer to persons who have committed crimes;
RA 9344 prohibits the use of these terms to refer to minor offenders, only the
abovementioned term can be used
 There is a presumption of the absence or lack of intelligence
 Free from criminal liability but is not exempted from civil liability

Legal Effect of the Exemption Another Effect

the child shall be given to the custody of the parent In Intervention or Diversion Program:
or guardian; in their absence, the custody is given to Involves: seminars and classes on
the following, according to their order of availability: family and mediation, skills
(a) registered non-governmental organization improvement, emotional
(b) registered religious organization management, etc.; other diversion
(c) member of the Barangay Council for the programs are for reformation and
Protection of Children (BCPC) rehabilitation, in which the public
(d) local office of the Dept. of Social Welfare & prosecutor usually initiates the
Development (DSWD) recommendation for the minor to be
(e) national office of the Dept. of Social Welfare & subjected under the program
Development (DSWD)

Who are Children at Risk?

GENERAL RULE: Those above 15 or below 18 that are exempted because of the presumption that
they acted without negligence
EXCEPTION: Minor who acted with discernment

How is discernment determined?

(1) manner of committing the crime
(2) conduct of the offender

 Discernment can also be determined by the words uttered by the minor attendant to the
commission of the act, e.g. the words, “Buti nga sa’yo!”, which indicates an expression of
accomplishment, victory or satisfaction