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Article 16 Persons Criminally Liable for Felonies

3. Who are liable? ONLY principals and accomplices. 4. Accessories are NEVER liable.

- enumerate (criminals)



subjects of


crime Important notes: - Since a corporation or partnership can only act through its officers and their agents, the president or manager can be held criminally liable for the violation of a law by the entity. - A corporation or partnership can be the passive subject of a crime.

- only natural persons can be the active subjects (through their acts or omission) - juridical persons are not liable because they do not act with malice or negligence (criminal actions are restricted to the officials of the corporation)

Who are criminally liable for grave and less grave felonies? 1. Principals 2. Accomplices 3. Accessories

- A dead person or an animal cannot be the passive subject. - When there is only one criminal, he is a principal by direct participation.

Who are criminally liable for light felonies? 1. Principals 2. Accomplices

Note: Accessories are not liable for light felonies because the social wrong as well as the individual prejudice is so small that penal sanction is deemed not necessary.

Rules relative to light felonies (LF) 1. LF is punishable only when they have been consummated 2. Exception to #1: When committed against persons or property

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Article 17 Principals in General

of a felony and decide to commit it. (Being aware or giving approval of the act without

Who are considered as principals? Those who 1. took direct participation 2. directly force or induce the offenders to commit the crime 3. cooperate in the commission of the offense without which the crime would not have been committed

cooperation or agreement to cooperate does not constitute conspiracy.) (It is not needed that there is a sufficient lapse of time between planning and execution. It is enough that the co-principals had the same purpose or objective and were united in its execution.)

When there is no conspiracy, each of the offenders is liable only for the act performed by him (criminal responsibility is individual).

Three types of principals (based on the enumeration above) Landmark cases: 1. Principal by direct participation - material executor People vs. Ortiz and Zausa (55 Phil. 995; pp. 501-502) Ortiz is acquitted because he did not take part in the attack made by Zausa. There were no previous agreement between the two. There is no sufficient When are two or more offenders considered as principals by direct participation (co-principals)? When these requirements are present: a. participation in the criminal resolution (there is conspiracy at the time of the commission of the crime) time for Ortiz and Zausa to make a criminal agreement. People vs. Timbol (G.R. Nos. 47471-47473; pp. 505-506) The four offenders had a common purpose of killing the deceased and were united during the commission of the felony. Thus, conspiracy is present in this case. US vs Ancheta (1 Phil. 165; p. 511) The seven defendants are co-principals. All are directly responsible for the incidents and consequences of the act committed. 1st requisite: Participation in the criminal resolution Notes: Conspiracy Article 8 of RPC: Two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the commission - In conspiracy, it is not enough that the attack is joint

b. carrying out of their plan and personally took part in the execution

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and simultaneous. It is necessary that the offenders had the same purpose or objective. Conspiracy is presumed when the crime is

Excerpt from the book (to settle the two ideas above): Conspirators are liable for the acts of another conspirator even though such act differ radically and substantially for that which they intend to commit. Art. 4 But when the conspirators selected a particular individual to be their victim, and another person was killed by one of them, only that conspirator who killed another person would be liable therefor. General rule

committed by a band. Members of the band = conspirators or co-principals. (See: U.S. vs. Santos, 2 Phil. 453 and U.S. vs. Asilo, 4 Phil. 175; pp. 511-512) - There may be conspiracy even if there is no evident premeditation. (Remember the two requisites of conspiracy: same purpose and unity in execution)

Liability of participants when there is conspiracy - the act of one is the act of all - collective criminal responsibility - equally guilty as principals irrespective of the individual participation of each offender - degree of actual participation is immaterial (need NOT to identify who gave the fatal blow) Note: If the offense or injury results from negligence or General rule: Co-conspirators are liable only for acts done pursuant to the conspiracy. A conspirator is not liable for anothers crime which is not an object of the conspiracy or which is not a necessary and logical consequence thereof. Violation of crimes punishable by special law: Allowing or failing to prevent an act to be performed by another makes one a co-principal. Article 4, par. 1: Criminal liability shall be incurred by any person committing a felony although the wrongful act done be different from that which he intended. Based on the said provision, Where there is a. a driver who allowed his conductor to drive; the latter bumped into a jeepney resulting to the death of the driver (homicide and damage to property) b. storeowner was not aware of the sale of adulterated coffee by his employee (violation of the Pure Food and Drugs Act) imprudence by two or more persons, there is NO conspiracy. Remember that conspiracy presupposes agreement and decision to commit a felony. Suppose three persons conspired to commit robbery ONLY but one of them killed the owner of the house, must all of them be held liable for robbery with homicide? NO, only the one who committed the killing. Homicide was not contemplated in the conspiracy. (Article 296 of the RPC is not applicable.)

conspiracy to commit a felony, all the conspirators are liable for its consequences.

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criminal liability UNLESS the conspiracy involved 2nd requisite: The culprits carried out their plan and personally took part in its execution treason, rebellion or sedition. Conspiracy without execution of its purpose is not punishable by the RPC.



it mean?



by direct

2. Principal by induction - inducement: price, promise of reward, command and pacto - becomes liable only when the principal by direct participation committed the act induced (it must be shown that the crime was actually committed by the other)

participation must: a. he must be at the scene of the commission of the crime b. he must personally take part in the execution of the crime

Note: The acts of each offender must directly tend to the same end. It is not important that each of the offenders perform a positive act which directly contributes to the accomplishment of their common purpose. For example, if the purpose is to kill, it doesnt matter who gave the fatal blow. What is important is that each and everyone of the offenders are all directed to the same end.

What are the two ways of becoming a principal by induction? a. directly forcing another to commit a crime b. directly inducing another to commit a crime

What are the two ways of directly forcing another to commit a crime? a. by using irresistible force

Landmark Case: People vs. Samano (77 Phil. 136; pp. 523) Even if the accused is present at the scene of anothers crime, it does not mean that he is a principal by direct participation. If there is no conspiracy or unity of the criminal purpose, passive presence at the place where the crime was committed does not constitute complicity.

b. by causing uncontrollable fear

Note: The material executor is not criminally liable because of Article 12 (Exempting Circumstances par. 5 & 6). Who is liable? The principal by inducement (the one who used force or caused fear).

What are the two ways of directly inducing another to commit a crime? What if the second requisite is absent? There is only conspiracy (Article 8, RPC). Therefore there is no a. by giving price, or offering reward or promise

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Who are criminally liable? Both the giver and receiver (giver: principal by inducement; receiver: principal by direct participation) Aggravating circumstance (Art. 14, par. 11) b. by using words of command Who are criminally liable? Both are equally liable (collective criminal liability)

commission of the crime is the inducement made by the principal by induction.








(inducement as determining cause)? - when the offender had a personal reason to commit the crime (even if there is no inducement, such criminal would still execute the felonious act)

Requisites (In order for a person to be convicted as principal by inducement) a. that the inducement be made directly with the intention of procuring the commission of the crime 2. such inducement be the determining cause of the commission of the crime by the material executor

- when the prize or reward is given after the commission of the crime [Reason: such inducement did not influence the principal by direct participation to commit the crime]

Words of Command - must be the determining cause of the crime

Landmark cases: People vs. Otadora (86 Phil. 244, p. 526) Promise of pecuniary gain determining cause U.S. vs. Alcotin (10 O.G. 1888, p. 527) Proposition of the woman determining cause

- must be direct and powerful enough amounting to physical or mental coercion - uttered with the intention of producing the result

Requisites: a. the one uttering the words of command has the

Notes: - A thoughtless expression without intention to produce the result is not an inducement to commit a crime. - An imprudent and ill-conceived advice is not sufficient to constitute inducement. - The words of advice or the influence must have actually moved the hands of the principal by direct participation. - It is necessary that the determining cause of the

intention of procuring the commission of the crime b. the one making command has ascendancy or influence over the persons who acted c. the words used are so direct, so efficacious, so powerful as to amount to physical or moral coercion d. the words of command are uttered before the commission of the crime e. the material executor of the crime has no personal reason to commit the crime

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What happens to the liability of the principal by inducement if the principal by direct participation is acquitted in the criminal case filed against him? a. Conspiracy is negative by the acquittal of the codefendant. b. One cannot be held guilty without first showing that the crime was actually committed. (Note: If the acquittal of P. by DP is based on the absence of criminal intent or malice, the P by I is not acquitted.)

then such actor is called the principal by direct participation.

When are criminals individually liable? When the following are absent before the commission of the felony: a. previous conspiracy b. unity of criminal purpose or intention (In such case, each person is liable only for his own

3. Principal by indispensable cooperation - desire or wish a common thing - it is not necessary that previous understanding was made because it can be explained or inferred from the circumstances of each case


Requisites: a. Participation in the criminal resolution there is anterior conspiracy or unity of criminal purpose and intention IMMEDIATELY before the commission of the crime b. Cooperation in the commission of the felony is indispensable

Note: If the cooperation is not indispensable, the offender is only an accomplice.

The cooperation of the other accused (principal by indispensable cooperation) consisted in performing an act which is different from the act of execution of the crime committed by the other accused. If the act is necessary in the execution of the crime,

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Article 18 Accomplices

disclosed, he is only an accomplice.

Who are accomplices? The persons not being included in Article 17. These persons cooperate in the execution of the offense by previous or simultaneous acts. They do not have previous agreement with the principal by direct participation. There is no conspiracy.

What is the liability of an accomplice? One degree lower than that provided for the principal in a consummated felony. Difference between accomplice and conspirator
Accomplice Knows and agrees with the criminal design Becomes aware of the plan after the principal has decided to commit the offense Merely concurs to commit the crime An instrument who performs acts NOT essential to the perpetration of the offense Role is of minor character Conspirator Knows and agrees with the criminal design Plans the course of action to be taken for the commission of the felony Decides to commit the crime Authors of the crime

What is quasi-collective criminal responsibility? The liability incurred by the offenders of the crime wherein some are considered principals while others are accomplices.

Requisites: a. the person did not participate in the commission of the crime as a principal b. the person was aware of the criminal design of the principal or material executor c. the person concurred in the criminal design made by the chief actor by performing previous or simultaneous acts d. the act of the persons supplied material and moral aid in an efficacious way to the chief actor e. there must be a relation between the acts of the chief actor and those of the cooperator

Role is of major character

When is a person considered an accomplice? 1. when there is a community of design (the person knows the criminal design of the principal and concurs with the P) 2. when the person cooperates in the execution of the offence by previous or simultaneous acts (moral and material aid) 3. there is a relation between the acts done by the principal and the acts committed by the person charged as an accomplice

Note: When there is NO conspiracy but the offenders had the same purpose in committing the crime cannot be held as principals. They are accomplices.

How an accomplice acquires knowledge of the criminal design of the principal? 1. when the principal informs or tells the accomplice of the formers criminal purpose

When the participation of an accused is not

2. when the accomplice saw the criminal acts of the

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principal Note: In case of doubt, it shall be resolved in favor of What are the bases of the responsibility of two or more individuals? Concurrence of will or unity of purpose and action. lesser responsibility, that is, that of mere accomplice. There must be NO conspiracy between the principals and the accomplices.

Landmark cases: People vs. Cagalingan (G.R. No. 79168, p. 546) A person who assails a victim already fatally wounded by another is regarded as accomplice.

The cooperation of an accomplice is only necessary, not indispensable.

The wounds inflicted by an accomplice in crimes against persons should not have caused the death of the victim. Otherwise, such person becomes a principal by direct participation (see the requisites under Article 17.)

When the cooperation is by simultaneous act, the accomplice takes part WHILE the crime is being committed by the principal by direct participation or IMMEDIATELY thereafter.

An accomplice may be liable for a crime different from that which the principal committed.

Unity of purpose and action must exist not only among the principals themselves but also between the principals and the accomplices.

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Article 19 Accessories

delecti (meaning: A specific offense was in fact committed by someone). - The concealing of the body of the victim is in effect concealing the crime itself.

Who are accessories? Those who - have knowledge about the commission of the crime - do not participate as principals or accomplices - take part SUBSEQUENT to the commission of the following: a. profiting themselves or assisting the offender to profit by the effects of the crime b. concealing or destroying the body of the crime or the effects or instruments thereof, in order to prevent its discovery c. by harboring, concealing or assisting in the escape of the principal of the crime (provided: public officers and private persons guilty of certain crimes)

Two classes of accessories under Article 19 (par. 3) 1. Public officers who harbor, conceal or assist in the escape of the principal in any crime with ABUSE of his functions 2. Private persons who harbor, conceal or assist in the escape of the author of the crime.

Requisites (PUBLIC OFFICERS) a. The accessory is a public officer. b. He harbors, conceals or assists in the escape of the principal.

Important: 1. The accessory must have knowledge about the commission of the crime. Otherwise, he is not liable. - Knowledge of the commission of the crime may be established by circumstantial evidence. 2. The crime committed by the principal must be proved beyond reasonable doubt. 3. The accessory take part AFTER the crime has been committed.

c. The officer acts in abuse of his public functions. d. The crime committed by the principal is any crime (not light felony.)

Requisites (PRIVATE PERSONS) a. The accessory is a private person. b. He harbors, conceals or assists in the escape of the principal. c. The crime committed by the principal is

either: treason, parricide, murder, an attempt against Notes: - An accessory should not be in conspiracy with the principal. Body of the crime is same with corpus the life of the president OR habitually guilty of some other crime.

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Note: - One who kept silent with regard to the crime he witnessed is not an accessory. - The corresponding responsibilities of the principal, accomplice and accessory are distinct from each other. - A person who benefits from the thing stolen is guilty as an accessory for the crime of theft even if the principal has not been discovered. (Provided, he knows about that such thing was acquired illegally.)

ANTI-FENCING LAW OF 1979 or P.D. 1612 - imposes heavy penalties for accessories in robbery or theft - March 2, 1979

What is fencing? An act of any person, who with intent to gain for himself or for another, shall buy, receive, possess, keep, acquire, conceal, sell or dispose of any article, item, object or anything of value which he knows, or should be known to him, to have been derived from

OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE or P.D. 1829 - Any person who conceals or obstructs the end of justice is considered as a principal not as an accessory or an accomplice.

the proceeds of the crime of robbery or theft.

What are the liabilities of a person who conceals or destroyed the body of a crime? a. accessory under Article 19 (RPC) b. principal under P.D. 1829

Elements: 1. the offender knowingly or willfully obstructs, impedes and frustrates the investigation and prosecution of the criminal cases 2. the offender alters, destroys or suppresses the body or object of the crime 3. the offender intended to impair the authenticity or legibility of the evidences of the crime

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Article 20 Accessories Exempt from Criminal Liability

Who is exempted? One who is a (*see list below) of the principal. a. spouse b. ascendant c. descendant d. legitimate, natural, or adopted brother, sister or relative by affinity within the same degree

Reason for exemption: Ties of blood and preservation of the cleanliness of ones name

General rule: The accessories enumerated above are exempted if they help the principals related to them. Exemption: They are criminally liable if they are profited by the effects of the crime and they assisted the offender to profit by the effects of the crime.

Reason for exemption to the general rule: The persons act was prompted not by affection but by a detestable greed.

Notes compiled by The Law Chic. Taken from The Revised Penal Code Criminal Law by Luis B. Reyes (Book One) 2008 ed.

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