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SULPICIO INTOD, petitioner,



Intod, with 4 other men went to the house of Bernardina Palngpangan in Katugasan,
Misamis Occidental, with intent to kill the latter due to a land dispute. Arriving at Palangpangans
house with firearms in hand, one of them pointed out Palangpangans bedroom. Thereafter, they
fired at the said room thinking that Palangpangan was there but as it turned out she was in
another city and the room was occupied then by her son-in-law and his family. No one was hit by
the gunfire.

The Regional Trial Court convicted him of attempted murder, with the Court of Appeals
affirming the decision hence, the present petition for review, Intod claiming that he should be
liable only for an impossible crime citing Article 4 (2) of the Revised Penal Code.


WON Intod is liable for an impossible crime under Article 4 (2) of the Revised Penal


The SC granted the petition, making Intod liable only for an impossible crime.

In justifying the decision the SC distinguished factual impossibility from legal

impossibility. Legal impossibility occurs when the intended act, even if completed, would not
amount to a crime. While factual impossibility occurs when other circumstances unknown and
beyond the actors control prevents the consummation of the crime. The case at bar belongs to
this category (factual impossibility).

The respondent on the other hand argued that the crime was not impossible because the
crime was not consummated due to its inherent impossibility of accomplishment but due to a
cause other than petitioners and co-accuseds own spontaneous desistance. In support,
respondent cited similar cases decided by US courts, where one is liable for an attempted crime
when the act committed is factually impossible for accomplishment. It is only legal impossibility
that is a valid defense to avoid criminal liability in the US.

But the SC held that the US cases cited by the respondents cannot apply here in the
Philippines for in the US, their law is silent with regards to impossible crimes. Article 4 (2) of
the RPC expressly provided for impossible crimes and made them punishable. Furthermore, the
phrase inherent impossibility makes no distinction between factual or physical and legal
impossibility. When the law does not distinguish the court shall not distinguish.

Also, if the contention of the respondent is to be held, it will render Article 4 (2) of the
RPC useless.

Hence, Intod is liable only for an impossible crime.


Impossible crime Requirements:

(1) The commission of the offense is inherently impossible of accomplishment

(2) The means employed is either (a) inadequate or (b) ineffectual.

To be impossible under the clause the act must either have:

(1) Legal impossibility, or
(2) Physical impossibility (or factual impossibility) of accomplishing the intended act