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CRIMINAL LAW

Questions & Answers

Territoriality
Q: Hubert and Eunice were married in the Philippines. Hubert took graduate studies in New York
and met his former girlfriend Eula. They renewed their friendship and finally decided to get married.
The first wife, Eunice, heard about the marriage and secures a copy of the marriage contract in New
York. Eunice filed a case of Bigamy against Hubert in the Philippines.
(a) Will the case prosper? Explain.
(b) If Eunice gave her consent to the second marriage, what will your answer be? Explain.
Ans:
(a) No, because the Philippine Courts have no jurisdiction over a crime committed outside of the
Philippine territory. Under the principle of territoriality, penal laws, specifically the RPC, are
enforceable only within the bounds of our territory (Art. 2, RPC).
(b) The answer will be the same. The consent of Eunice would not confer jurisdiction on Philippine
Courts.

ART. 4 Impossible Crime


Q: Charlie hated his classmate, Brad, because the latter was assiduously courting Lily, Charlies
girlfriend. Charlie went to a veterinarian and asked for some poison on the pretext that it would be
used to kill a very sick, old dog. Actually, Charlie intended to use the poison on Brad.
The veterinarian mistakenly gave Charlie a non-toxic powder which, when mixed with Brads food,
did not kill Brad.
Did Charlie commit any crime? If so, what and why? If not, why not?
Ans: Charlie committed an impossible crime of murder. His act of mixing the non- toxic powder with
Brads food, done with intent to kill, would have constituted murder which is a crime against persons,
had it not been for the employment of a means which, unknown to him, is ineffectual (Art. 4, par. 2,
RPC).

Art. 8 Conspiracy
Q: Ricky was reviewing for the bar exam when the commander of a vigilante came to him and
showed him a list of five policemen to be liquidated by them for graft and corruption. He was further
asked if any of them is innocent. After going over the list, Ricky pointed to two of the policemen as
honest. Later, the vigilante group liquidated the three other policemen in the list. The commander of
the vigilante group reported the liquidation to Ricky. Is Ricky criminally liable? Explain.
Ans: No, there was no conspiracy between Ricky and the Commander of the vigilante. Mere
vouching for the honesty of the two (2) policemen in the list cannot make him a co-conspirator for
the killing. Ricky enjoys the presumption of innocence.

Art. 11 Justifying Circumstances


Q: Jack and Jill have been married for seven years. One night, Jack came home drunk. Finding no
food on the table, Jack started hitting Jill only to apologize the following day.
A week later, the same episode occurred Jack came home drunk and started hitting Jill.
Fearing for her life, Jill left and stayed with her sister. To woo Jill back, Jack sent her floral
arrangements of spotted lilies and confectioneries. Two days later, Jill returned home and decided
to give Jack another chance. After several days, however, Jack again came home drunk. The
following day, he was found dead.
Jill was charged with parricide but raised the defense of "battered woman syndrome."
Would the defense prosper despite the absence of any of the elements for justifying circumstances
of self-defense under the Revised Penal Code? Explain.
Ans: Yes. Section 26 of Rep. Act No. 9262 provides that victim-survivors who are found by the
courts to be suffering from battered woman syndrome do not incur any criminal and civil liability
notwithstanding the absence of any of the elements for justifying circumstances of self-defense
under the Revised Penal Code.
Q: A constructed a small house in a piece of land which he believed to be a disposable public land.
He had been occupying the lot for over a year. One day, B came and claimed ownership over the
land. B proceeded in dismantling the house of A. The latter pleaded B to stop but his plea fell on
deaf ears. Thereupon, A pulled B to prevent him from further dismantling the house. In the process,
B fell on the ground and suffered physical injusries.
(a) Is A liable for the injuries sustained by B?
(b) Would your answer be the same if A shot B with his .45 caliber gun instead of pulling down B
and B dies a s a result.
Ans:
(a) No, A is not liable. Under the law, he has the right to employ reasonable force to prevent or repel
actual or threatened assault upon his property. His act of pulling B was reasonably necessary to
protect his possessory rights over his property.
(b) No. This time A is criminally liable for the death of B. His act of shooting B to death is not
reasonably necessary to prevent the invasion of his property.

Art. 12 Exempting Circumstances


Q: While his wife was on a 2-year scholarship abroad, Romeo was having an affair with his maid
Dulcinea. Realizing that the affair was going nowhere, Dulcinea told Romeo that she was going back
to the province to marry her childhood sweetheart. Clouded by anger and jealousy, Romeo strangled
Dulcinea to death while she was sleeping in the maids quarters.
The following day, Romeo was found catatonic inside the maids quarters. He was brought to the
National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) where he was diagnosed to be mentally unstable.
Charged with murder, Romeo pleaded insanity as a defense.
(a) Will Romeos defense prosper? Explain.
(b) What is the effect of the diagnosis of the NCMH on the case?
Ans:
(a) No, Romeos defense of insanity will not prosper because, even assuming that Romeo was
insane when diagnosed after he committed the crime, insanity as a defense to the commission of
crime must have existed and proven to be so existing at the precise moment when the crime was
being committed. The fact of the case indicate that Romeo committed the crime with discernment.
(b) The effect of the diagnosis made by NCMH is possibly a suspension of the proceedings against
Romeo and his commitment to appropriate institution for treatment until he could already understand
the proceedings.

Q: Immediately after murdering Bob, Jake went to his mother to seek refuge. His mother told him to
hide in the maids quarters until she finds a better place for him to hide. After two days, Jake
transferred to his aunts house. A week later, Jake was apprehended by the police.
Can Jakes mother and aunt be made criminally liable as accessories to the crime of murder?
Explain.
Ans: Obviously, Jakes mother was aware of her sons having committed a felony, such that her
act of harboring and concealing him renders her liable as an accessory. But being an ascendant to
Jake, she is exempt from criminal liability by express provision of Article 20 of the Revised Penal
Code.
On the other hand, the criminal liability of Jakes aunt depends on her knowledge of his commission
of the felony, her act of harboring and concealing Jake would render her criminally liable as
accessory to the crime of murder; otherwise without knowledge of Jakes commission of the felony,
she would not be liable.

Art. 14 Aggravating Circumstances


Q: Wenceslao and Loretta were staying in the same boarding house, occupying different rooms.
One late
evening, when everyone in the house was asleep, Wenceslao entered Lorettas room with the use
of a picklock. Then, with force and violence, Wenceslao ravished Loretta. After he had satisfied his
lust, Wenceslao stabbed Loretta to death and, before leaving the room, took her jewelry.
Discuss the applicability of the relevant aggravating circumstances of dwelling, nocturnity and the
use of the picklock to enter the room of the victim.
Ans: Dwelling is aggravating because the crimes were committed in the property of Lorettas room
which in law is considered as her dwelling. It is well settled that dwelling includes a room in a
boarding house being occupied by the offended party where she enjoys privacy, peace of mind and
sanctity of an abode. Nocturnally or nighttime is also aggravating because although it was not
purposely or especially sought for by Wenceslao, nighttime was obviously taken advantaged of by
him in committing the other crimes. Under the objective test, noctunity is aggravating when taken
advantage of by the offender during the commission of the crime thus facilitating the same. The use
of a picklock to enter the room of the victim is not an aggravating circumstance under Art. 14 of the
Code but punished as a crime by itself where the offender has no lawful cause for possessing it. The
use of picklocks is equivalent to force upon things in robbery with force upon things.

Q: Oscar was cleaning his car infront of Jimmys house when the latter arrived and confronted Oscar
about the noise coming from Oscars car stereo. Oscar ignored Jimmy and proceeded to clean his
car. Insulted, Jimmy raised his voice and shouted invectives at Oscar. This time Oscar faced Jimmy
and retorted with invectives of his own. Then Oscar boarded his car and sped away. After an hour,
Oscar came back and parked his car a few meters away from Jimmys house. He took a hand gun
and stealthily approached Jimmy from behind as the latter was sweeping the sidewalk. Oscar then
called Jimmys name, and when the latter turned around he was shot by Jimmy in the stomach.
Jimmy died as a consequence. Can treachery be considered to exist in this case?
Ans: Yes. Jimmy had no opportunity to anticipate the imminence of the Oscars attack, nor was
Jimmy in a position to defend himself or repel the aggression because he was unarmed. As a rule,
there can be no treachery when an altercation ensued between the offender and the victim. However,
the facts reveal that after the altercation, Oscar left and Jimmy was not aware that Oscar had come
back armed with a hand gun.
That Jimmy was shot facing Oscar does not negate treachery. The settled rule is that treachery can
exist even if the attack is frontal, as long as the attack is sudden and unexpected, giving the victim
no opportunity to repel it or to defend himself. What is decisive is that the execution of the attack,
without the slightest provocation from an unarmed victim, made it impossible for the latter to defend
himself or to retaliate. (PEOPLE vs. PEREZ, G.R. No. 134485. October 23, 2003)

Q: On June 24, 2005, Ondo and his friends went to the Clear Water Resort for a swimming
party. At about 5:00 p.m., Ondo and his friends headed back home. Two men, one of whom was
Edgar, were having some drinks. When they saw Ondo, Edgar and his friend offered him a drink of
Tanduay. Ondo, declined, saying "Bay, I am not drinking now." Thereafter, Ondo left. Edgar was
peeved. He rose from his seat and followed Ondo. Edgar then took hold of Ondo's right shoulder,
took out a stainless knife and stabbed the latter on the breast. Edgar left the scene. Mortally
wounded, Ondo ran towards the vehicle and fell inside it. Ondo's companions brought him to the
Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
Ans: No, mere suddenness of the attack on the unarmed and unsuspecting victim does not justify
the finding of treachery. As a general rule, a sudden attack by the assailant, whether frontally or from
behind, is treachery if such mode of attack was deliberately adopted by him with the purpose of
depriving the victim of a chance to either fight or retreat. The rule does not apply if the attack was
not preconceived but merely triggered by infuriation of Edgar on an act made by Ondo. In the present
case, it is apparent that the attack was not preconceived. It was triggered by Edgars anger because
of the Ondos refusal to have a drink with the former and his companion.
Treachery cannot be appreciated if it has not been proved beyond reasonable doubt that the
assailant did not make any preparation to kill the victim in such a manner as to insure the killing or
to make it impossible or difficult for the victim to defend himself. The prosecution must prove that the
killing was premeditated or that the assailant chose a method of attack directly and specially to
facilitate and insure the killing without risk to himself. The mode of attack must be planned by the
offender and must not spring from the unexpected turn of events. (PEOPLE vs. DUMADAG, G.R.
No. 147196. June 4, 2004)

Q: Francisco rented a room in the house under the care of Purita. Purita occupied another room in
the house. She had a very close relationship with Francisco, but became disillusioned when he failed
to pay the monthly rentals. Exasperated, Purita had the matter placed in the police blotter. This
infuriated Francisco.
One evening, Francisco arrived at his neighbors residence and blurted: Pare, I will kill Purita.
However, the neighbor told Francisco that Purita was very kind to him and counseled against killing
her. At 5:00 a.m. on October 11, 1995, Francisco stabbed Purita while the later was asleep inside
her room, thereby causing her death.
Were the aggravating circumstances of treachery and evident premeditation present in this case?
Ans: No, the facts fail to show that Francisco deliberately or consciously adopted a mode of
attack to ensure the killing. There is even no showing of the particulars as to how the aggression
commenced or the events that led to the stabbing. For treachery to be qualifying, the prosecution
must prove the confluence of the following requisites: (a) the employment of means of execution that
gives the person attacked the opportunity to defend himself or retaliate; (b) that the accused
deliberately and consciously adopted the means of execution.
Neither was evident premeditation attendant in the commission of the crime. Francisco may have
intended to kill the victim even before October 11, 1995. However, there is nothing in the facts to
show that from that time on, until the victim was stabbed and killed, Francisco performed overt acts
indicating his determination to commit the crime. For evident premeditation to be appreciated the
following must be present: (1) the time when the accused decided to commit the crime; (2) an overt
act showing that the accused clung to their determination to commit the crime; and (3) the lapse of
a sufficient period of time, as to allow the accused to reflect upon the consequences of the act.
(PEOPLE vs. SANTIAGO, G.R. No. 147314. February 6, 2004)

Q: Vicente, on his way home from work, found his wife and daughter, Teodora and Julia respectively,
at a neighbors house hiding. He found out that, Gabby, the husband of his other daughter Julia,
earlier came to Vicentes house drunk and started boxing and kicking Julia; after which Gabby went
home and slept.
Frightened of further trouble from Gabby, Vicente referred the matter to Juan, the leader of
Greenan, an aggrupation of civilians armed with bolos and hunting knives who tasked themselves
to preserve the peace and order in the community. Vicente talked to Juan and the latter agreed to
arrest Gabby. The other members of Greenan were then called to help in the arrest. They went to
Gabbys house and were able to eventually awaken him and tied his hands behind him. Gabby was
brought before Julia and was asked why he had boxed Julia. Gabyy said it was because he was
angry and that he was drunk. Juan then and there adjudged him guilty. They then started walking.
When Juan and the others were 3 meters ahead of Gabby, they stopped. Gabby was then stabbed
at his side and back and then finally shot. Greenan dumped the dead body at a meat grinder where
it was shredded beyond recognition.
Can cruelty be appreciated as an aggravating circumstance in this case?
Ans: No. Paragraph 21, Article 14 of the Revised Penal Code provides that there is cruelty in the
commission of a felony when the wrong done in the commission of the crime is deliberately
augmented by causing other wrong not necessary for its commission. There is no cruelty when the
other wrong is done after the victim is already dead. The test in appreciating cruelty as an
aggravating circumstance is whether the accused deliberately and sadistically augmented the wrong
by causing another wrong not necessary for its commission, or inhumanly increased the victim's
suffering or outraged or scoffed at his person or corpse. In this case, Juan and his confederates
threw Gabby into the meat grinder, the latter was already dead. (PEOPLE vs. SIBONGA, et al., G.R.
No. 95901. June 16, 2003)

Q: On November 9, 1995, Rolando asked Leah and Lettymar, could stay in his house to watch over
his daughter, Princess, while he was out on his tricycle making a living. The two consented and
stayed at Rolandos house. At that particular moment, Samuel, was staying with his brother Rolando.
At about 6:30 pm, Leah was seen emerging from the house of Rolando, running towards the street
while shouting uncle Sam, uncle Sam! She was followed by Samuel who was in possession of an
8-inch knife. Samuel stabbed Leah eighteen times which ultimately caused her death.
After trial on the merits, the court a quo found Samuel guilty beyond reasonable doubt of murder,
qualified by the circumstance of abuse of superior strength, for the death of Leah. Samuel contends
that the trial court erred in holding him guilty of murder since the killing was not made with abuse of
superior strength.
Was there present in the killing abuse of superior strength as to qualify the crime to murder?
Ans: Yes. Samuel was armed with a knife and used the same in repeatedly stabbing Leah, a
young wisp of a girl, no less than eighteen times after overtaking her. Infragably, then, Samuel
abused his superior strength in stabbing Leah. There are no fixed and invariable rules regarding
abuse of superior strength or employing means to weaken the defense of the victim. Superiority does
not always means numerical superiority. Abuse of superiority depends upon the relative strength of
the aggressor vis-a-vis the victim. There is abuse of superior strength even if there is only one
malefactor and one victim. Abuse of superiority is determined by the excess of the aggressors
natural strength over that of the victim, considering the position of both and the employment of means
to weaken the defense, although not annulling it. The aggressor must have taken advantage of his
natural strength to insure the commission of the crime. (PEOPLE vs. LORETO, GR No. 137411-13.
February 28, 2003)

Art. 18
Q: Ponciano borrowed Rubens gun, saying that he would use it to kill Freddie. Because Ruben also
resented Freddie, he readily lent his gun, but told Ponciano: "O, pagkabaril mo kay Freddie, isauli
mo kaagad, ha." Later, Ponciano killed Freddie, but used a knife because he did not want
Freddies neighbors to hear the gunshot.
(a) What, if any, is the liability of Ruben? Explain.
(b) Would your answer be the same if, instead of Freddie, it was Manuel, a relative of Ruben, who
was killed by Ponciano using Rubens gun? Explain.
Ans:
(a) Rubens liability is that of an accomplice only because he merely cooperated in Poncianos
determination to kill Freddie. Such cooperation is not indispensable to the killing, as in fact the killing
was carried out without the use of Rubens gun. Neither way Ruben may be regarded as a co-
conspirator since he was not a participant in the decision-making of
Ponciono to kill Freddie; he merely cooperated in carrying out the plan which was already in place
(Art. 18, RPC).
*Alternative Answer: Ruben cannot be held liable as an accomplice in the killing of Freddie because
his act of lending his gun to Ponciano did not have the relation between the acts done by the latter
to that attributed to Ruben. Even if Ruben did not lend his gun, Ponciano would have consummated
the act of killing Freddie. In other words, Rubens act in lending his gun was not a necessary act to
enable Ponciano to consummate the crime.
(b) No, the answer would not be the same because Ruben lent his gun purposely for the killing of
Freddie only, not for any other killing. Poncianos using Rubens gun in killing a person other then
Freddie is beyond Rubens criminal intent and willing involvement. Only Ponciano will answer for the
crime against Manuel.
It has been ruled that when the owner of the gun knew it would be used to kill a particular person,
but the offender used it to kill another person, the owner of the gun is not an accomplice as to the
killing of the other person. While there was community of design to kill Freddie between Ponciano
and Ruben, there was none with respect to the killing of Manuel.

Criminal Liability
Q: Modesto and Abelardo are brothers. Sometime in August, 1998 while Abelardo was in his office,
Modesto, together with two other men in police uniform, came with two heavy bags. Modesto asked
Abelardo to keep the two bags in his vault until he comes back to get them. When Abelardo
later examined the two bags, he saw bundles of money that, in his rough count, could not be less
than P5 Million. He kept the money inside the vault and soon he heard the news that a gang that
included Modesto had been engaged in bank robberies. Abelardo, unsure of what to do under the
circumstances, kept quiet about the two bags in his vault. Soon after, the police captured, and
secured a confession from, Modesto who admitted that their loot had been deposited with Abelardo.
What is Abelardo's liability?
Ans: Abelardo is not criminally liable. To be criminally liable as an accessory under Article 19 of the
Code, such person must have knowledge of the commission of the crime. The term knowledge
under the law is not synonymous with suspicion. Mere suspicion that the crime has been committed
is not sufficient. Moreover, the facts as given in the problem would show lack or absent of intent to
conceal the effects of the crime as Abelardo is described as being unsure of what to do under the
circumstances. Even if he can be considered as an accessory under paragraph 2 of Article 19,
RPC, Abelardo is not liable, being the brother of Modesto under Article 20, RPC.