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U.S.

vs Ah Chong
G.R. No.: L-5272 March 19, 1910
United States (Plaintiff) vs. Ah Chong (defendant)
Ponente: J. Carson
Doctrine: This case is mainly on whether malice or criminal intent is an essential element of the
crimes of homicide and assassination.
Facts:
Ah Chong, a cook, and Pascual Gualberto, a houseboy, jointly occupied Officers quarters No.
27, Fort McKinley, Rizal Province
On August 14, 1908 at around 10 PM, Ah Chong was suddenly awakened by someone trying
to force open the door of the room. According to his statement, he called out twice and
threatened to kill whoever is behind the door if he enters. He was struck above the knee by
the chair that was against the door and mistook this for an attack from the other person. He
seized a kitchen knife from under his pillow and struck out wildly at the person who had
entered the room, who apparently was his roommate, Pascual. Realizing what had
happened, he immediately sought for help from his employers at No. 28 and went back to
secure bandages to bind up Pascuals wounds.
Pascual received a fatal wound to the stomach. He was conveyed to the military hospital and
died the following day.
Ah Chong was found guilty of simple homicide and was sentenced to six years and one
day presidio mayor.
Issue:
1. Whether the defendant was exempt from criminal liability;
Held:
1. YES. According to the facts of the case, he had struck Pascual with the belief that the
intruder or ladron who was forcing himself into the room was a thief. He merely acted on
self-defense, for fear of his life and his property; Hence, he acted in good faith and without
criminal intent.
The general provisions of article 1 of the code clearly indicate that malice, or criminal
intent in some form, is an essential requisite of all crimes and offense therein defined,
in the absence of express provisions modifying the general rule, such as are those touching
liability resulting from acts negligently or imprudently committed, and acts done by one
voluntarily committing a crime or misdemeanor, where the act committed is different from
that which he intended to commit.
Since evil intent is in general an inseparable element in every crime, any such mistake of
fact as shows the act committed to have proceeded from no sort of evil in the mind
necessarily relieves the actor from criminal liability provided always there is no fault
or negligence on his part
The essence of an offense is the wrongful intent, without which it cannot exist.

Defendant was ACQUITTED.
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Article 8 of the Penal Code provides that
The following are not delinquent and are therefore exempt from criminal liability:
4 He who acts in defense of his person or rights, provided there are the following attendant
circumstances:
(1) Illegal aggression.
(2) Reasonable necessity of the means employed to prevent or repel it.
(3) Lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the person defending himself.