You are on page 1of 12

Answers to 2014 Bar Questions in Criminal Law.

I.

Battered Woman Syndrome


Yes, Ms. A can validly put up the defense of Battered Woman Syndrome as a
justifying circumstance.
Under the Anti-Violence against Women and their Children Act of 2004
(RA 9262), Battered Woman Syndrome is a justifying circumstance notwithstanding
that any of the elements of self-defense is lacking.
The emphasis on
notwithstanding that any of the elements of self-defense is lacking was added
precisely to avoid confusion with the rule on self-defense under the Revised Penal
Code.
RA 9262 defines Battered Woman Syndrome as a scientifically defined
pattern of psychological and behavioral symptoms found in women living in battering
relationships as a result of cumulative abuse.
Here, there was no longer unlawful aggression when Ms. A successfully
disarmed Mr. B when she had grappled with him to get the knife. Notwithstanding
this fact, the Battered Woman Syndrome may still be invoked as a justifying
circumstance.

II.

Reckless imprudence resulting to Homicide.


Macho committed the crime of homicide.
Article 4 of the Revised Penal Code provides that criminal liability is incurred
by a person committing a felony although the wrongful act done be different from
which he intended.
Here, Macho committed a felony. The fact that he had no intention of killing
Ganda when he accidentally pulled the trigger of the gun is of no moment. Hence, he
is liable for the death of Ganda.

III.

Plunder: Predicate crimes.


A. I will charge him with plunder.
Under the provisions of Plunder Law, as amended, plunder is a crime
wherein:
1. the offender is a public officer who by himself or in connivance with members of
his family, relatives by affinity or consanguinity, business associates,
subordinates or other persons;
2. amassed, accumulated or acquired ill-gotten wealth through a combination or
series of overt criminal acts as described in the same special law; and
3. the aggregate amount or total value of the amassed, accumulated or acquired illgotten wealth is at least fifty (50) million pesos.
Here, all the elements of the crime plunder are present. City Engr. A
accumulated more than fifty (50) million pesos, which was way beyond his legitimate
income, through a combination or series of overt criminal acts such as malversation
and direct bribery. Hence, the charge of plunder.

B. No, my answer will not be the same.


Here, the requisite for plunder that the aggregate amount or total value of
the amassed, accumulated or acquired ill-gotten wealth is at least fifty (50) million
pesos is absent. Hence, a different answer (from sub-question A).

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------A cannot be charged with plunder but shall be proceeded against each of the crimes he
committed.
1. Technical malversation.

2. Violations of RA 3019

3. Malversation through abandonment or negligence.

4. Malversation through misappropriation.

IV.

Qualified theft.
Madam X and Madam Y committed the crime of qualified theft.
Under the Revised Penal Code, to fall under the crime of qualified theft, the
following elements must concur:
1. there is a taking of personal property;
(that the/it be)
2. said property belongs to another;
3. said taking be done with intent to gain;
4. done without the owners consent;
5. accomplished without the use of violence or intimidation against persons, nor of
force upon things; and
6. done with grave abuse of confidence.
It is a settled jurisprudence that bank teller occupies a position of confidence.

Here, all the elements for the crime of qualified theft was committed by
Madam X as principal by direct participation and Madam W as principal by
indispensable cooperation.
V.

Prospectivity of penal laws; Ex-post facto laws.


The following objections may be made:
1. Penal law shall have no retroactive effect unless favorable to the accused who is
not a habitual delinquent.
2. No ex post facto law shall be enacted.
Under the principle that penal laws are prospective in nature, the general rule
is that acts or omissions will only be subject to a penal law if they are committed
after a penal law has taken effect. Conversely, acts or omissions which have been
committed before the effectivity of a penal law, could not be penalized by such penal
law.
Under the law, an ex post facto law is one which:
1. makes an action done before the passing of the law, and which was innocent
when done, criminal, and punishes such action;
2. aggravates the crime or makes it greater than when it was committed;
3. changes the punishment and inflicts a greater punishment than that which the
law annexed to the crime when it was committed;
4. alters the legal rules of evidence and receives less testimony than the law
required at the time of the commission of the offense in order to convict the
accused;
5. assumes to regulate civil rights and remedies only but, in effect, imposes a
penalty or deprivation of a right, which when done, was lawful; or
6. deprives a person accused of a crime of some lawful protection to which he has
become entitled (such as the protection of a former conviction or acquittal, or a
proclamation of amnesty).

VI.

Unjust vexation; Peeping Tom.


Unjust vexation as a form of light coercion causing annoyance or vexing the sense of
the offended party short of injury.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

VII.

Various crimes committed to effect the escape of prisoner.


Filthy.
Under the Revised Penal Code, Filthy committed the crime of delivering
prisoners from jail (Art. 156) and corruption of public officials (Art. 212).
Delivery of prisoners from jail is committed by a person rescuing prisoner
from jail who is not the custodian. He can be a civilian or a public officer is not the
prisoners custodian.

Corruption of public officials is the crime of the giver in bribery and it is


committed when any person offers or promises or gives gifts or presents to a public
officer by reason or in connection with the performance of his official duties. Bribery
requires concurrence of the will of the corruptor and the public officer.
The elements of corruption of public officials are the following:
1. That the offender makes offers or promises or gives gifts or presents to a public
officer; and
2. That the offers or promises are made or the gifts or presents are given to a public
officer under circumstances that will make the public officer liable for (direct or
indirect) bribery.

VIII.

Complex crime of forcible abduction with rape plus multiple rapes.


A. Guapo and Pogi committed forcible abduction with rape for the first rape
committed and as many separate counts of rape as are charged, alleged and
proved.
Under the Revised Penal Code, the elements of forcible abduction (Art. 342)
are that the:
1. (person abducted) victim is a woman, regardless of her age, civil status, or
reputation;
2. abduction is against her will; and
3. abduction is with lewd designs.
On the other hand, under the provisions of criminal law, the elements of rape
pertinent to this case are that:
1. the offender had carnal knowledge of a woman; and
2. such as is accomplished by using using force, threat or intimidation.
It is a settled jurisprudence that the rapes committed after the forcible
abduction with rape should be considered separate crimes and should be punished
separately from the complex crime of forcible abduction with rape.
B. No, Guapo and Pogi are not liable for Prettys death.

The act of Pretty in taking her own life by hanging is an act foreign from the
felony committed by Guapo and Pogi.
The law requires that to make anyone liable for felony committed their act
must be the proximate case of the same felony.
Proximate cause means all the direct, natural and logical consequences that
will result from the commission of the felony. Here, suicide is not a direct, natural
and logical consequences of either forcible abduction or rape.
IX.

Special complex crime of robbery with homicide.


A and B committed the special complex crime of robbery with homicide while
C committed robbery only.
Under the Revised Penal Code, to sustain a conviction of robbery with
homicide the following elements must concur:
1.
2.
3.
4.

the taking of personal property belonging to another;


with intent to gain;
with use of use of violence or intimidation against a person; and
on the occasion or by reason of the robbery, the crime of homicide, as used in its
generic sense, was committed.

A conviction requires certitude that the robbery is the main purpose and
objective of the malefactor, and the killing is merely incidental to the robbery. The
intent to rob must precede the taking of human life although the killing may occur
before, during or after the robbery.
Here, the overriding intention of A, B, and Cs conspiracy was to rob Mr. Ds
house.
While it was undisputed that only B accidentally shot D, it is a settled
jurisprudence that whenever homicide has been committed by reason of or on the
occasion of the robbery, all those who took part as principals in the robbery will also
be held guilty as principals of robbery with homicide although they did not take part
in the homicide, unless it appears that they sought to prevent the killing. It is
immaterial that death would supervene by mere accident or that the victim of
homicide is other than the victim of robbery. Hence , A and B committed the special
complex crime of robbery and homicide.
On the other hand, C committed robbery only.
Under the Revised Penal Code, a person is liable only to the extent of his
knowledge or participation in the commission of the crime.
C did not have anything to do with the killing made by B as he was positioned
as mere look out for the commission of robbery. But by reason of the conspiracy to
commit robbery, C is liable for said crime.
X.

Anti-trafficking in persons.

Loko is liable for violation of Anti-trafficking in Persons Act of 2003 (RA 9208)
in relation to Special Protection of Children against Child Abuse, Exploitation and
Discrimination Act (RA 7610, as amended).
Under ATi PA of 2003 (RA 9208), it shall be unlawful for any person, natural or
juridical, to recruit, transport, harbor, provide or receive a person by any
means, including those done under the pretext of domestic or overseas
employment or training or apprenticeship, for the purpose of prostitution,
pornography, sexual exploitation, forced labor, slavery, involuntary
servitude or debt bondage.
Also, the minority of Ganda qualifies the crime of trafficking.
Under SPo. CA CaEDA (RA 7610, as amended), any who shall engage in
trading and dealing with children including, but not limited to, the act of
buying and selling of a child for money, or for any other consideration, or
barter is punishable. The mere act of selling or bartering is punishable. The child
is not taken against his will.
XI.

Impossible crime.
A, in a public place, fired his gun at B with the intention of killing B, but the gun did
not fire because the bullet is a dud.
Note: Firing of a gun resulting to variant crimes.
When you fire a gun in a public place, then it will be alarm and scandal (RPC,
Art. 155) when the purpose of firing of the gun is to cause a public disturbance.
1. If the gun is fired in a public place merely to disturb alarm and scandal.
2. If a gun is fired at somebody else without the intent to kill illegal discharge of
firearm.
3. But if with intent to kill and the victim is not killed attempted felony.
4. If you fire the gun aimed at somebody else with the intent to kill, and he was not
killed, and then he spontaneously desisted at that stage grave threat.
5. If the tried to fire a gun without intent to kill -- aimed at somebody else, with
proper bullet, but the gun did not fire frustrated illegal discharge of
firearm.
6. If the gun is fired, not knowing that there is no bullet (without intent to kill)
impossible crime.

XII.

Multiple rape and serious illegal detention.


Pogi committed the separate crimes of multiple rape and serious illegal
detention. There is no complex crime because Sexy could have been raped even if
the she was not illegally detained.

The illegal detention was not a necessary means to the commission of the crime
rape.
XIII.

Impossible crime.

A. Puti committed an impossible crime.


Under the Revised Penal Code, criminal liability is incurred by any person
performing an act which would be an offense against persons or property, were it not
for the inherent impossibility of its accomplishment or on account of the employment
of inadequate or ineffectual means.
Here, Puti committed an impossible crime because there was an employment
of inadequate means to effect murder.
B. No. Puti no longer committed an impossible crime but he can be held liable for
less serious physical injuries.

XIV.

It is not an impossible crime if the act


Penal Code.
RA 3019 v. indirect bribery; estafa.
A. No, Malo is not correct.
charged.

constitutes a crime under the Revised

There is variance of the elements in the offenses

Under the provision of corrupt practices of public officers in the Anti-Graft


and Corrupt Practices Act (RA 3019, as amended), in addition to acts or
omissions of public officers already penalized by existing law, the following
shall constitute corrupt practices of any public officer and are hereby declared to be
unlawful:
(b)
directly or indirectly requesting or receiving any gift,
present, share, percentage or benefit, for himself or for any
other person, in connection with any contract or transaction
between the Government and any other party, wherein the
public officer in his official capacity has to intervene under the
law.
One may therefore be charged with violation of Aga CoPrA (RA 3019,
as amended) in addition to a felony under the Revised Penal Code for the
same delictual act, that is, either concurrently or subsequently to being
charged with the felony under the Revised Penal Code.
Here, although the two charges against Malo stemmed from the same
transaction, the same act gave rise to two separate and distinct offenses. No
double jeopardy attached since there was a variance between the offenses
charged. The Constitutional protection against double jeopardy proceeds
from a second prosecution for the same offense, not for a different one.
B. No, the charge of estafa under Art. 315 of the Revised Penal Code against Malo is
not correct.
Under Art. 315 of the Revised Penal Code, the fraud be committed
Here, there was no misrepresentation made by Malo of having any power or
influence. Malo merely promised that he will convince the judge to render a decision
of acquittal.

XV.

Privileged mitigating circumstance.


i.e. 17-year old offender, incomplete self-defense, incomplete defense of a relative

XVI.

Extinction of criminal liability; Novation.


Under the Revised Penal Code, Mr. Ed may be held liable for estafa through
the issuance of a worthless check because the offended party parted with his goods
due to the assurance that checks will be honored when presented for payments and
the checks were issued to cover an obligation.
The accused may likewise be held liable under BP 22. The gravamen of BP 22
is the issuance of worthless check.
Under the Revised Penal Law, novation is not a mode of extinguishing criminal
liability.
It is well settled that criminal liability for estafa is not affected by
compromise or novation of contract, for it is a public offense which must be
prosecuted and punished by the Government on its own motion even though
complete reparation should have been made of the damage suffered by the offended
party.

XVII. Penal laws; Generality.


Yes, Pierce is correct.
Under the principle of generality, the general rule is that criminal law is
binding on all persons who live or sojourn in the Philippine territory. Exceptions to this
principle are a) sovereigns and other chiefs of state; b) ambassadors, ministers
plenipotentiary, ministers resident, and charge daffaires.
Here, Pierce is a foreign diplomat stationed in the Philippines. A foreign
diplomat enjoys diplomatic immunity. His immunity from suit is absolute. Hence,
Pierces defense is correct.

XVIII. Anti-fencing law.


A. Tonio may be charged with the crime of fencing.
Under Anti-Fencing Law (PD 1612), mere possession of a thing which the
accused knew or should have known to be a product of robbery or theft is a prima
facie evidence of fencing.
The elements of fencing are:
1. a robbery or theft has been committed;
2. the accused, who took no part in the robbery or theft, buys, receives, possesses,
keeps, acquires, conceals, sells or disposes, or buys and sells, or in any manner
deals in any article or object taken during that robbery or theft;
3. the accused knows or should have known that the thing is derived from that
crime; and
4. he intended by the deal he makes to gain for himself or for another.
Here, Tonios defense of no knowledge is not a complete defense in fencing.
Fencing is malum prohibitum. The special law creates a prima facie presumption of
fencing from evidence of possession by the accused of the thing subject of the
thievery.
B. Manolo is liable for qualified trespass to dwelling.
Under the Revised Penal Code, qualified trespass to dwelling (Art.
280) is committed when any private person enters the dwelling of another against
the latters will as when the entrance is made through means not intended for
ingress.
Here, Manolo entered Tonios house by destroying the wall which is through a
way not intended for the purpose. There is, however, no robbery nor theft because
the painting belongs to Manolo. Hence, there is no unlawful taking of a property that
belongs to another person but qualified trespass to dwelling only.

XIX.

Theft.
Cleptos defense is not tenable.
Under the Revised Penal Code, the elements of theft are the following:
1. there is a taking of personal property;
(that the/it be)
2. said property belongs to another;
3. said taking be done with intent to gain;
4. done without the owners consent; and

5. accomplished without the use of violence or intimidation against persons, nor of


force upon things.
It is a settled jurisprudence that unlawful taking, or apoderamiento, is deemed
complete from the moment the offender gains possession of the thing even if he has
no opportunity to dispose of the same. Unlawful taking, which is the deprivation of
ones personal property, is the element which produces the felony in its
consummated stage.
Here, there can be no question that as of the time that Clepto took possession
of the purse, she had performed all the acts to consummate the crime of theft even if
she left her own purse in place of the one she took.
XX.

Qualifying aggravating circumstance.


i.e. treachery, evident premeditation, cruelty
Not a qualifying aggravating circumstance: dwelling

XXI.

Circumstances with repetition.


The judge may appreciate the aggravating circumstance of a recidivist.
Under the Revised Penal Code (Art. 14), a recidivist is one who, at the time of
trial for a crime, he has been previously convicted by final judgment of another crime
embraced in the same title of the Revised Penal Code where the current crime on trial
is found.
Here, during the trial for Theft, AA had been previously convicted by final
judgment for the crime of Robbery, both crimes being embraced in the same title of
the Revised Penal Code. Hence, the judge can only appreciate the aggravating
circumstance of a recidivist.

XXII. Degrees of liability; Principals.


A. Mr. Red has no liability.
Under criminal law, to be a principal by inducement, the inducement must be
the sole consideration which caused the person induced to commit the crime and
without which the crime would not have been committed.
In determining if the acts or utterances of an accused are sufficient to make
him guilty as co-principal by inducement was of such a nature and made in such a
way as to become the determining cause of the crime, and that such inducement was
offered precisely with the intention of producing the result.
It is a settled principle that mere careless comment made by one who
does not possess dominance or moral ascendancy over the offender will not
make him a principal by inducement. Here, it can be inferred that the comment
of Mr. Red are careless and vague. Hence, Mr. Red cannot be a principal by
inducement in the killing by Mr. White and Mr. Blue.
Mr. White and Mr. Blue are principals by direct participation who materially
executed the crime.

10

B. Mr. Red had no liability for the injuries of Ms. Yellow.


It is a settled principle that mere careless comment made by one who does
not possess dominance or moral ascendancy over the offender will not make him a
principal by inducement. Here, it can be inferred that the comment of Mr. Red are
careless and vague. Hence, Mr. Red cannot be a principal by inducement in the
killing by Mr. White and Mr. Blue.
Mr. White and Mr. Blue are principals by direct participation who materially
executed the crime.
XXIII. Kidnapping for ransom; Intent to demand ransom.
No, the prosecutor is not correct. Neither can the prosecutor file a case of
grave coercion because, here, the crime of kidnapping for ransom was
consummated.
The essence of the crime of kidnapping is the actual deprivation of the
victims liberty, coupled with the intent of the accused to effect it.
It is a settled jurisprudence that no specific form of ransom is required to
consummate the felony of kidnapping for ransom so long as it was intended as a
bargaining chip in exchange for the victim's freedom. In municipal criminal law,
ransom refers to the money, price or consideration paid or demanded for redemption
of a captured person or persons, a payment that releases from captivity. Neither
actual demand for nor actual payment of ransom is necessary for the crime to be
committed. It is enough if the crime was committed for the purpose of extorting
ransom.
XXIV. Minority.
A. Yes, minority may be appreciated.
B. Yes, the Indeterminate Sentence Law is applicable even if considering that life
imprisonment has no fixed duration and the Dangerous Drugs Law is malum
prohibitum.
C. No, Illegal Possession of Dangerous Drugs Act (RA 9165) prohibits it.
Non-applicability of the Probation Law.
Any person convicted of drug
trafficking or pushing under the Act, regardless of the penalty imposed by the court,
cannot avail of the privilege granted by the Probation Law (PD 968, as amended).
D. Under (Section 51 of RA 9344), he shall serve the sentence in Agricultural
Camps or other Training Facilities.
XXV.

Estafa through use of commercial documents.


A. The defense of Mr. Gray is not tenable.

11

It is a settled rule that even if there is no direct proof of forgery, the legal
presumption that the possessor or user of a forged document is the author
of the forgery applies.
In a case decided by the Supreme Court, it was held that although one of the
essential elements of estafa is damage or prejudice to the offended party, in the
absence of proof thereof, the offender would be guilty of attempted estafa.
Mr. Gray commenced the commission of the crime of estafa but he failed to
perform all the acts of execution which would produce the crime not by reason of his
spontaneous desistance but because of his apprehension by the authorities before he
could have obtained the amount and thereby causes damage or prejudice to the
offended party.
B. No, Mr. Gray is not correct.
At the time of Mr. Grays apprehension, the bank and the authorities were
already alerted of the complaint filed by Mr. White. The absence of a direct proof that
Mr. Gray was the author of the falsification is of no moment for the rule remain that
whenever someone has in his possession falsified documents and uttered or used
the same for his advantage and benefit, the presumption that he authored it arises.
The channeling of the checks to his savings account, his subsequent
withdrawals of said amount sufficiently establish his involvement in the attempted
estafa through use of commercial documents.

XXVI. Theft; eating a dog.


(Justice Peralta)
If you were bitten by a dog and you killed the dog malicious mischief.
If you burned the dog and it died arson.
If you burned the dog and it did not die impossible crime (there is no attempted
or frustrated malicious mischief).
If you killed and ate the dog simple theft. You make use of the damaged property
by reason of malicious mischief.

12