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Art. 48. Penalty for complex crimes.

When a single act constitutes

two or more grave or less grave felonies, or when an offense is a
necessary means for committing the other, the penalty for the most
serious crime shall be imposed, the same to be applied in its maximum


that at least 2 offenses are committed


that one or some of the offenses must be necessary to commit the other


that both or all the offenses must be punished under the same statute


The 2 or more grave or less grave felonies must be the result of a single
act, or an offense must be a necessary means to commit the crime.

Complex crime one crime only as there is only one criminal intent only
one information need be filed.


2 kinds of complex crimes:

compound crime single act constitutes 2 or more grave or less grave



No single act in the following cases:

When 2 persons are killed one after the other, by different acts, although

these 2 killings were the result of a single criminal impulse, the different acts
must be considered as distinct crimes.

When the acts are wholly different, not only in themselves, but also

because they are directed against 2 different persons, as when one fires his gun
twice in succession, killing one and injuring the other.

Light felonies produced by the same act should be treated and punished
as separate offenses or may be absorbed by the grave felony.


that only one single act is committed by the offender


that the single act produces


2 or more grave felonies


one or more grave and one or more less grave felonies


2 or more less grave felonies

a) several light felonies resulting from one single act not complex
Juan hit Pedros car, resulting in several light injuries and light felony of damage
to property. No complex crime because the crime of slight physical injuries and
damage to property are light felonies. There are as many crimes as there are
persons injured w/ light physical injuries and as many penalties as there are light
felonies committed, even though they are produced by a single act of the


complex crime proper when an offense is a necessary means for

committing another

b) when the crime is committed by force or violence, slight physical injuries are


Examples of complex crimes:

Juan was a barangay captain who was killed while discharging his duty, the

crime is a complex crime of homicide w/ assault upon a person of authority.


Juan raped Petra, causing her physical injuries w/c required a months

worth of medical attention. This is a complex crime of rape w/ less serious

physical injuries. The injuries were necessary to the commission of the rape.

when in obedience to an order, several accused simultaneously shot many

Kidnapping the victim to murder him in a secluded place ransom wasnt paid so
victim was killed. Kidnapping was a necessary means to commit murder. But
where the victim was taken from his home for the sole purpose of killing him and
not for detaining him illegally or for the purpose of ransom, the crime is simple

another mean. The means actually employed (another crime) was merely

offense, there being a single criminal impulse.

when various acts are executed for the attainment of a single purpose w/c
constitutes an offense, such acts must be considered only as one offense.
Example: Juan falsified 100 warehouse receipts from April to June which enabled
him to swindle the bank of 100 million. Theres only one complex crime of estafa
through multiple falsification of documents.

There is no complex crime of arson w/ homicide

Art 48 is applicable to crimes through negligence

Necessary means does not mean indispensable means. Indispensable

would mean it is an element of the crime. The crime can be committed by

persons, without evidence how many each killed, there is only a single

Example of complex crime proper (at least 2 crimes must be committed):

to facilitate and insure the consummation of the crime.

When in the definition of a felony, one offense is a means to commit the

other, there is no complex crime.

Ex. Murder committed by means of fire. Murder can be qualified by the

circumstance of fire so no complex crime even if Art 321 and 324 punishes
arson. Its plain and simple murder.

Not complex crime when trespass to dwelling is a direct means to commit

a grave offense. Like rape, there is no complex crime of trespass to
dwelling with rape. Trespass will be considered as aggravating (unlawful

Example: Juan lit a cigarette as he poured gas in the tank of his car in his garage.

entry or breaking part of a dwelling)

The gas caught fire and the house burned. His sister died and the maid suffered
serious physical injuries. The crimes of arson, homicide, serious physical injuries
and damage to property constitute a complex crime. There is only one penalty
but there are 3 civil liabilities.

No complex crime when one of the offenses is penalized by a special law

No complex crime when one offense is committed to conceal another

Example: Juan set the school on fire after committing homicide. 2 crimes.

When the offender had in his possession the funds w/c he

A complex crime of the second form may be committed by two persons.

But when one of the offenses, as a means to commit the other, was

misappropriated, the falsification of a public or official document involving

said funds is a separate offense. But when the offender had to falsify a
public or official document to obtain possession of the funds w/c he

committed by one of the accused by reckless imprudence, the accused who

misappropriated, the falsification is a necessary means to commit the

committed the crime by reckless imprudence is liable for his acts only.


There is no complex crime of rebellion with murder, arson, robbery or

Example: Juan cooperated in the commission of the complex offense of estafa

through falsification by reckless imprudence by acts without which it could not

other common crimes. They are mere ingredients of the crime of rebellion

have been accomplished, and this being a fact, there would be no reason to

absorbed already.

exculpate him from liability. Even assuming he had no intention to defraud Tomas
if his co-defendants succeeded in attaining the purpose sought by the culprits,

When 2 crimes produced by a single act are respectively within the

Juans participation together w/ the participation of his co-defendants in the

exclusive jurisdiction of 2 courts of different jurisdiction, the court of higher

commission of the offense completed all the elements necessary for the

jurisdiction shall try the complex crime.

perpetration of the complex crime of estafa through falsification of documents.

Example: Although the forcible abduction which was supposedly commenced in

When two felonies constituting a complex crime are punishable by

Manila was not proven, and although the rape which was proven was actually

imprisonment and fine, respectively, only the penalty of imprisonment shall

committed in Cavite, still the RTC of Manila had jurisdiction to convict the

be imposed.

accused of rape. The complex crime of forcible abduction with rape was charged
in the complaint on the basis of which the case was tried.

When a single act constitutes two grave or less grave or one grave and
another less grave, and the penalty for one is imprisonment while that for

Art. 48 is intended to favor the culprit.

The penalty for complex crime is the penalty for the most serious crime,

the other is fine, the severity of the penalty for the more serious crime
should not be judged by the classification of each of the penalties involved,
but by the nature of the penalties.

the same to be applied in its maximum period. If the different crimes

resulting from one single act are punished with the same penalty, the

Example: Even if the fine for damage to property through reckless imprudence is

penalty for any one of them shall be imposed, the same to be applied in

P40,000, an afflictive penalty, and the penalty for the physical injuries resulting

the maximum period. The same rule shall be observed when an offense is a

from the same act is only 4 mos of arresto mayor, a correccional penalty may be

necessary means to commit the other.


In the order of severity of the penalties, arresto mayor and arresto menor

real or material there are different crimes in law as well as in the

are considered more severe than destierro and arresto menor is higher in

conscience of the offender, in such cases, the offender shall be punished for

degree than destierro.

each and every offense that he committed.

Fine is not included in the list of penalties in the order of severity and it is
the last in the order.


Art 48 applies only to cases where the Code doesnt provide a specific

Example: Juan stabbed Pedro, then Juan stabbed Tomas too. There are 2
committed as 2 acts were performed.
No conviction of the crimes committed

penalty for a complex crime.

Art 48 doesnt apply when the law provides one single penalty for single

robbery w/ homicide


robbery w/ rape


kidnapping w/ serious physical injuries


rape w/ homicide


when the offender commits any of the complex crimes defined in art 48


when the law specifically fixes a single penalty for 2 or more offenses

committed: robbery w/ homicide, kidnapping w/ serious physical injuires


when the offender commits continued crimes

When a complex crime is charged and one offense is not proven, the

Continued crimes refers to a single crime consisting of a series of acts

but all arising from one criminal resolution. Although there is a series of

accused can be convicted of the other.

Formal/ideal plural crimes are divided into 3 groups: (a person committing

multiple crimes is punished w/ one penalty in the ff cases)

complex crimes like the ff:


There must be conviction by final
judgment of the first prior offense

acts, there is only one crime committed, so only one penalty shall be

Plurality of crimes consists in the successive execution by the same

individual of different criminal acts upon any of w/c no conviction has yet

Examples of continued crimes:

been declared.


Kinds of plurality of crimes:

formal or ideal only one criminal liability

a collector of a commercial firm misappropriates for his personal use

several amounts collected by him from different persons. There is only one crime
because the different and successive appropriations are but the different
moments during which one criminal resolution arises.


Juan stole 2 books belonging to 2 different persons. He commits only one

crime because there is unity of thought in the criminal purpose of the offender.

A continued crime is not a complex crime as offender does not perform a

single act but a series of acts. Therefore:


penalty not to be imposed in the maximum


no actual provision punishing a continued crime its a principle applied in

connection w/ 2 or more crimes committed w/ a single intention.

Continued crime is different from a transitory crime. Transitory crime is

moving crime.

Example: kidnapping someone for ransom and moving him to another venue.
The offenders can be prosecuted and tried in either of the 2 areas.
There is a series of acts performed by the
Each act performed constitutes a separate
crime because each act is generated by a
criminal impulse

Different acts constitute only one crime
because all of the acts performed arise
from one criminal resolution.