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Conspiracy to commit crime

A person merely served as a lookout in the commission of a crime, what is his liability?

He is a principal since one who participates in the material execution of the crime by standing
guard or lending moral support to the actual perpetrator is criminally responsible to the same
extent as the latter.

What must an accused establish when he pleads self-defense?

In self-defense the burden of proof rests upon the accused. His duty is to establish by sufficient,
satisfactory and convincing evidence the following requisites: (a) unlawful aggression on the part
of the victim; (b) reasonable necessity of the means employed to prevent or repel it; and, (c) lack
of sufficient provocation on the part of the person defending himself.

Is direct proof necessary to prove conspiracy?

Direct proof is not essential to establish conspiracy as this may be inferred from the acts of the
accused before, during and after the commission of the crime whuch indubitably, point to and are
indicative of a joint purpose, concert of action and community of interest.

When is it proper to award exemplary damages in a crime of rape?

The relationship of stepfather or stepmother and stepson or stepdaughter is included by analogy

as similar to that of ascendant and descendant, and where appreciated as an aggravating
circumstance in rape, the award of exemplary damages, in addition to moral damages, is proper.

Does an unexpected and sudden attack constitute treachery?

An unexpected and sudden attack under circumstances which render the victim unable and
unprepared to defend himself by reason of the suddenness and severity of the attack constitutes
alevosia, and the fact that the act was frontal does not preclude the presence of treachery.

Is there treachery when the victim is attacked while defenseless and dying?

There is treachery where the victim, soaked in his own blood, defenseless, and calling for help,
weakened and dying, was still attacked, thus employed means to insure or afford impunity.

What are the requisites of treachery?

For treachery to be present, two conditions must concur, namely, (a) the employment of means of
execution that gives the personnattacked no opportunity to defend himself or retaliate, and (b) the
means of execution was deliberately or consciously adopted.

When is the aggravating circumstance of nighttime absorbed in treachery?

Nighttime or nocturnity is absorbed in treachery when it is an integral part of pecuIiar treacherous

means and manner adopted to ensure the execution of the crimes or that it facilitated the
treacherous character of the attack.
What are the elements of the crime penalized under B.P. 22 or the Bouncing Checks Law?

The elements of the offense penalized under B.P. Blg. 22 are: (1) making, drawing, and issuance
of any check to apply to account or for value; (2) knowledge of the maker, drawer, or issuer that
at the time of issue he does not have sufficient funds in or credit with the drawee bank for the
payment of the check in full upon its presentment; and (3) subsequent dishonor of the check by
the drawee bank for insufficiency of funds or credit, or dishonor of the check for the same reason
had not the drawer, without any valid cause, ordered the bank to stop payment.

What is due process in a criminal case?

In a criminal case, due process requires that, among others, the accusation be in due form, and
that notice thereof and an opportunity to answer the charge be given the accused; hence, the
constitutional and reglementary guarantees as to accused's right "to be informed of the nature
and cause of the accusation against him." An accused should be given the necessary data as to
why he is being proceeded against and not be left in the unenviable state of speculating why he is
made the object of a prosecution, it being the fact that, in criminal cases, the liberty, even the life,
of the accused is at stake. It is always wise and proper that the accused be fully apprised of the
charge against him in order to avoid any possible surprise that may lead to injustice.

Is treachery present when a person is killed while asleep or just awakened?

It has been repeatedly held by this Court that there exists the qualifying circumstance of treachery
when one takes the life of a person who is asleep. As for a victim who had just awakened when
attacked, there was also treachery "because the victim, who may still be dazed and unprepared
for the attack, would not be in a position to offer any risk or danger of retaliation to the attacker.

If nothing is concealed or needed to be discovered, when does the prescriptive period

commence to run in estafa cases?

The period of prescription commences to run from the date of the commission of the crime if it is
known at the time of its commission. Thus, if there is nothing that was concealed or needed to be
discovered, because the entire series of transactions was by public instruments, duly recorded,
the crime of estafa committed in connection with said transaction was known to the offended
party when it was committed and the period of prescription commenced to run from the date of its

How is the aggravating circumstance of premeditation appreciated?

Premeditation cannot be appreciated if the evidence does not show when the plan to kill was
hatched, or how much time had elapsed before it was carried out. There must be a basis for
determining whether the accused had sufficient time between the inception of the plan and its
fulfillment to dispassionately consider and accept its consequences.

When is there treachery in the commission of a crime?

There is treachery when the means, manner or method of attack employed by the offender
offered no risk to himself from any defensive or retaliatory act which the victim might have taken.

In the crime of robbery with homicide, where conspiracy is present, what are the liabilities
of those who took part in its commission?
In a prosecution for robbery with homicide, where conspiracy is present, it does not matter that
the prosecution had failed to show who as between the two (2) accused actually stabbed the
victim. Both accused are liable as co-conspirators since the act of a co-conspirator is the act of
the other regardless of the precise degree of participation in the act. When the conspiracy to
commit the crime of robbery is conclusively shown by the concerted acts of the accused, and
homicide is committed as a consequence thereof, all those who took part as principals in the
robbery would also be held liable as principals in the complex crime of robbery with homicide
although they did not take part in the homicide unless it appears that they attempted to prevent
the killing.

In a conspiracy, is it necessary that each accused commits each and every act
constituting the offense?

For a conspiracy to be established, it is not necessary that all of the accused commit each and
every act constitutive of the offense. There is conspiracy where several accused, by their acts,
aimed at the same object, one performing one part and another performing another part so as to
complete it with a view to the attainment of the same object, and their acts, though apparently
independent, are in fact concerted and cooperative, indicating closeness of personal association,
concerted action and concurrence of sentiments.

In misappropriation of funds, can a conviction be based on a prima facie presumption?

Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code makes clear that "failure of a public officer to have duly
forthcoming any public funds or property with which he is chargeable, upon demand by any duly
authorized officer," merely gives rise to a prima facie presumption "that he has put such missing
finds or property to personal use." A conviction may be founded on the presumption
notwithstanding that there is no direct evidence of misappropriation, if the public officer fails to
satisfactorily explain the shortage in his accounts. But the presumption, being merely prima facie,
may be rebutted and destroyed by competent proof that the accountable officer has not in truth
put the funds or property in question to personal use.

Can estafa be committed through falsification of documents?

The falsification of a public document may be a means of committing estafa because before the
falsified document is actually utilized to defraud another, the crime of falsification has already
been consummated, damage or intent to cause damage not being an element of the crime of
falsification of public, official or commercial documents. The damage to another is caused by the
commission of estafa, not by the falsification of the document, hence, the falsification of the
public, official or commercial document is only a necessary means to commit the estafa.

How is the crime of attempted estafa committed?

If an offender has 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 own spontaneous
desistance but because of his apprehension by the authorities before he could obtain the amount,
he is guilty of attempted estafa.

What is deceit in estafa cases?

Basically, the two essential requisites of fraud or deceit and damage or injury must be established
by sufficient and competent evidence in order that the crime of estafa may be established. Deceit
is the false representation of a matter of fact (whether by words or conduct, by false or misleading
allegations, or by concealment of that which should have been disclosed) which deceives or is
intended to deceive another so that he shall act upon it to his legal injury.
What is the objective of probation?

Probation is not a right of an accused but a mere privilege, an act of grace and clemency or
immunity conferred by the state, which may be granted to a seemingly deserving defendant who
thereby escapes the extreme rigors of the penalty imposed by law for the offense for which he
was convicted. The primary objective in granting probation is the reformation of the probationer.
Courts must be meticulous enough to ensure that the ends of justice and the best interest of the
public as well as the accused be served by the grant of probation.

What should a court consider before granting probation?

Probation is a just privilege the grant of which is discretionary upon the court. Before granting
probation, the court must consider the potentiality of the offender to reform, together with the
demands of justice and public interest, along with other relevant circumstances.The courts are
not to limit the basis of their decision to the report or recommendation of the probation officer,
which is at best only persuasive.

What is the liability of those who participate in the crime of robbery with homicide?

When the conspiracy to commit the crime of robbery was conclusively shown by the concerted
acts of the accused and homicide was committed as a consequence thereof, all those who
participated are liable as principals in the robbery with homicide, although they did not actually
take part in the homicide, unless it appears that they attempted to prevent the killing. The
question as to who actually robbed or who actually killed is of no moment since all of them would
be held accountable for the crime of robbery with homicide.

How is the testimony of a rape victim, as to who abused her, treated by a court?

The testimony of the complainant on how she was forcibly taken from her home and brought to a
deserted hut, about half a kilometer away, and then raped twice, is credible and there is nothing
unusual or improbable in it. The Supreme Court has consistently held that the testimony of a rape
victim as to who abused her is credible where she had no motive to testify falsely against the
accused. The rule is that no Filipino girl would publicly admit that she had been ravished unless
this is the truth for her natural instinct is to protect her honor and future.

Is the credibility of a rape victim affected by the inconsistencies in her testimony?

The Supreme Court has ruled that "it is an accepted rule that the credibility of a rape victim is not
destroyed by some inconsistencies in her testimony more especially if she is testifying on minor
matters. In fact, such inconsistencies are to be expected if a witness is unrehearsed and testifies
spontaneously. In the case of People vs. Gozum (135 SCRA 295), it was held that minor
inconsistencies in the testimony of a complainant, a 16-year old girl not accustomed to a public
trial, do not affect her credibility.

How must the crime of rape be proved to overcome presumption of innocence?

Rape is an accusation easy to make, hard to prove but harder to defend by the accused, though
innocent. The evidence for the prosecution must be clear and convincing to overcome the
constitutional presumption of innocence. Rape is an offense to which, as is often the case, only
two people can testify, thus requiring the most conscientious effort on the part of the arbiter to
weigh and appraise the conflicting testimonies. If a reasonable doubt exists, the verdict must be
one of acquittal.
To prove the crime of rape, is it necessary to prove that the force and intimidation
employed in accomplishing it be so great or of such character as could not be resisted?

It has been held in one case that for rape to exist, it is not necessary that the force and
intimidation employed in accomplishing it be so great or of such character as could not be
resisted. It is only necessary that the force or intimidation be sufficient to consummate the
purpose which the accused had in mind. The intimidation must be judged in the light of the
victim’s perception and judgment at the time of the commission of the crime, and not by any hard
and fast rule.

Can denial prevail over positive identification?

A defense of mere denial, can not prevail over positive identification. The credibility of witnesses
is left to the sound discretion of the judge and in accepting one testimony and rejecting another,
he can not be overturned by the appellate tribunal unless he has seriously abused his discretion.

Is there any criminal liability when drug pushing is committed by the accused in a public

Drug-pushing when done on a small level belongs to that class of crimes that may be committed
at anytime and at any place. After the offer to buy is accepted and the exchange is made, the
illegal transaction is completed in a few minutes. The fact that the parties are in a public place
and in the presence of other people may not always discourage them from pursuing their illegal
trade as these factors may even serve to camouflage the same. Hence, the Court has sustained
the conviction of drug pushers caught selling illegal drugs in a billiard hall (People v. Rubio, G.R.
No. 66875, June 19, 1986, 142 SCRA 329; in front of a store; along a street at 1:45 p.m. (People
v. Toledo, G.R. No. 67609, November 22, 1985), and in front of a house (People v. Policarpio,
G.R. No. 69844, February 23, 1988).

Is the use of force or violence essential to convict the accused in a rape case?

It need not be over-emphasized that force or violence required in rape cases is relative. When
applied, it need not be too overpowering or irresistible. What is essential is that the force used is
sufficient to consummate the purpose for which the offender had in mind or to bring about the
desired result. In fact, even the absence of external signs of physical injuries does not negate the
commission of the crime of rape.

What kind of evidence is needed in order to sustain a conviction for the crime of robbery
with homicide?

It is settled that in order to sustain a conviction for the crime of robbery with homicide, it is
imperative that the robbery itself be proven as conclusively as any other essential element of a
crime. In the absence of such proof, that killing of the victim would only be simple homicide or
murder, depending on the absence or presence of qualifying circumstances.

Can alibi and denial overcome positive identification?

In the face of the clear and positive testimony of the prosecution witness regarding the
participation of the accused in the crime, the accused's alibi dwindles into nothingness. The
positive identification of the accused by the witness as the perpetrator of the crime cannot be
overcome by the mere denial of the accused. Such positive identification of the accused that he
killed the victim establishes the guilt of the accused beyond moral certainty.
What is the nature and the requisites of a valid self-defense?

The validity of self-defense is premised on the impossibility on the part of the State to at all times
prevent aggression upon its people. Founded in the human instinct to protect, repel and save
one's person from impending danger or peril, the right of self-defense justifies measures taken by
one who is attacked and placed in a situation where he either has to forfeit his life or has to take
the life of his assailant. Nevertheless, the application of this justifying circumstance, in this
context, requires a clear showing 1) that the victim has committed unlawful aggression amounting
to actual or imminent threat to the life and limb of the person claiming self defense; 2) that there
be reasonable necessity in the means employed to prevent or repel the unlawful aggression; and
3) that there be lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the person claiming self-defense or, at
least, that any provocation executed by the person claiming self-defense be not the proximate
and immediate cause of the victim's aggression.

What are the essential requisites of Article 4 of the Revised Penal Code?

Under Article 4 of the Revised Penal Code, criminal liability shall be incurred "by any person
committing a felony (delito) although the wrongful act done be different from that which he
intended." Based on the doctrine that "el que es causa de la causa es causa del mal causado"
(he who is the cause of the cause is the cause of the evil caused), the essential requisites of
Article 4 are: (a) that an intentional felony has been committed, and (b) that the wrong done to the
aggrieved party be the direct, natural and logical consequence of the felony committed by the

What is proximate legal cause?

Proximate legal cause is defined as "that acting first and producing the injury, either immediately
or by setting other events in motion, all constituting a natural and continuous chain of events,
each having a close causal connection with its immediate predecessor, the final event in the
chain immediately effecting the injury as a natural and probable result of the cause which first
acted, under such circumstances that the person responsible for the first event should, as an
ordinarily prudent and intelligent person, have reasonable ground to expect at the moment of his
act or default that an injury to some person might probably result therefrom.

What are the requisites needed to appreciate evident premeditation as an aggravating


The requisites necessary to appreciate evident premeditation are: (a) the time when the accused
determined to commit the crime; (b) an act manifestly indicating that the accused had clung to
their determination to commit the crime; and (c) the lapse of sufficient length of time between the
determination and execution to allow him to reflect upon the consequences of his act.

What is conspiracy and what are its elements?

A: The second paragraph of Article 8 of the Revised Penal Code defines conspiracy, as follows:

“A conspiracy exists when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the
commission of a felony and decide to commit it.”
The elements of conspiracy are the following: (1) two or more persons came to an agreement, (2)
the agreement concerned the commission of a felony, and (3) the execution of the felony was
decided upon.

What are the requisites of and what is the burden of the accused in proving self defense?
To prove self-defense, the accused must show with clear and convincing evidence, that: [1] he is
not the unlawful aggressor; [2] there was lack of sufficient provocation on his part; and [3] he
employed reasonable means to prevent or repel the aggression. It is well-settled in this
jurisdiction that once an accused had admitted that he inflicted the fatal injuries on the deceased,
it was incumbent upon him, in order to avoid criminal liability, to prove the justifying circumstance
claimed by him with clear, satisfactory and convincing evidence. He cannot rely on the weakness
of the prosecution but on the strength of his own evidence, “for even if the evidence of the
prosecution were weak, it could not be disbelieved after the accused himself had admitted the

What is the difference between entrapment and instigation?

In instigation, the instigator practically induces the will be accused into the commission of the
offense and himself becomes a co-principal, while entrapment is defined as the employment of
means and ways for the purpose of trapping and capturing the law breaker. It is sanctioned and
permissible. Under the first instance, no crime has been committed, and to induce one to commit
it makes of the instigator a co-criminal. Under the last instance, the crime has already been
committed and all that is done is to entrap and capture the law breaker.

Is a sudden attack on the victim considered treachery?

A sudden attack by the assailant constitutes treachery only 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. But suddenness of an attack does not by itself prove the existence of treachery. There
must also be proof that the accused consciously adopted the mode of attack to facilitate the
perpetration of the killing without risk to himself.

Is an accused entitled to be represented by counsel during identification in a police line-


The right to be assisted by counsel attaches only during custodial investigation and cannot be
claimed by the accused during identification in a police line-up because it is not part of the
custodial investigation process. This is because during a police line-up, the process has not yet
shifted from the investigatory to the accusatory and it is usually the witness or the complainant
who is interrogated and who gives a statement in the course of the line-up. (People vs.
Amestuzo,, G.R. No. 104383, July 12, 2001)

Is the credibility of a rape victim affected by her inability and delay in reporting the crime?

No. The Supreme Court has reiterated in a long line of cases that the long silence and delay in
reporting the crime of rape are not always an indication of false accusation. A considerable lapse
of time before a private complainant reports the sexual abuses should not detract from the fact
that the sexual abuses were indeed perpetrated by an accused. Threats and intimidation, coupled
with the natural reluctance of Filipina women to report sexual attacks due to shame and fear of
the stigma these would carry, can effectively stymie the tongue of a rape victim for a considerable
time, especially one of tender years.

What is quasi-recidivism?

Quasi-recidivism is a special aggravating circumstance which imposes the maximum of the

penalty for the new offense. It makes no difference, for the purpose of the effect of quasi-
recidivism under Article 160 of the Revised Penal Code, whether the crime for which an accused
is serving sentence at the time of the commission of the offense charged, falls under the said
Code or under special law. Quasi-recidivism is punished with more severity than recidivism
proper because the aggravating circumstance of recidivism, as any other aggravating
circumstance, may be offset by a mitigating circumstance present in the commission of the crime,
whereas, in a case of quasi-recidivism the maximum degree of the penalty prescribed by law for
the crime committed should always be imposed irrespective of the presence of any mitigating