BAR Exams Frequently Asked Questions Q&A – Criminal Law – Audiobook Review Part 1
Philippine Bar Exams
Frequently Asked Questions
Criminal Law Part 1
(1) Distinguish motive from intent. (1996; 1999)
Motive is the reason which impels one to commit an act for a definite result, while intent is the purpose to use a particular means to effect such result. Intent is an element of the crime (except in unintentional felonies), whereas motive is not.
( 2 ) W h a t d o y o u u n d e r s t a n d b y a b e r r a t i o i c t u s , e r r o r i n p e r s o n a e a n d p r a e t e r i n t e n t i o n e m ? Do they alter the criminal liability of the accused? (1989; 1993; 1994; 1999)
Aberratio ictus o r mistake in the blow occurs when the offender delivered the blow at his intended victim but missed, and instead such blow landed on an unintended victim. The situation generally brings about complex crimes where from a single act, two or more grave or less grave felonies resulted, namely the attempt against the intended victim and the consequences on the unintended victim. As complex crimes, the penalty for the more serious crime shall be the one imposed and in the maximum period. It is only when the resulting felonies are only light that complex crimes do not result and the penalties are to be imposed distinctly for each resulting crime.
Error in personae or mistake in identity occurs when the offender actually hit the person to whom the blow was directed but turned out to be different from and not the victim intended. The criminal liability of the offender is not affected, unless the mistake in identity resulted to a crime different from what the offender intended to commit, in which case the lesser penalty between the crime intended and the crime committed shall be imposed but in the maximum period (Art. 49, RPC).
Praeter intentionem o r where the consequence went beyond that intended or expected. This is a mitigating circumstance (Art. 13, par. 3, RPC) when there is a notorious disparity between the act or means employed by the offender and the resulting felony, i.e., the resulting felony could not be reasonably anticipated or foreseen by the offender from the act or means employed by him.
(3) Distinguish mala in se from mala prohibita. (1988; 1997; 1998; 2001; 2003)
Mala in se is wrong from its very nature, as most of those punished in the RPC. Hence, in its commission, intent is an element and good faith is a defense. The test to determine whether an offense is mala in se is not the law punishing it but the very nature of the act itself.
On the other hand, an act mala prohibita i s wrong because it is prohibited by law. Without the law punishing the act, it cannot be considered a wrong. Hence, the mere commission of that act is what constitutes the offense punished and criminal intent will be immaterial for reason of public policy.
(4) What are heinous crimes? Name ten specific heinous crimes. (1994; 1995; 1997)
Heinous crimes are those grievous, odious, and hateful offenses and which by reason of their inherent or manifest wickedness, viciousness, atrocity, and perversity, are repugnant and outrageous to the common standards and norms of decency and morality in a just, civilized and ordered society. They are punishable by reclusion perpetua to death. (WHEREAS CLAUSE, R.A. 7659)
The ten specific heinous crimes are:
- Qualified Piracy
- Qualified Bribery
- Kidnapping and Serious Illegal Detention
- Robbery with Homicide
- Destructive Arson
- Rape committed by two or more persons, or with a deadly weapon or with homicide
(5) What are the instances when the death penalty could not be imposed, although it should otherwise be meted out? (1997; 1998)
Under Art. 47 of the RPC, the death penalty shall not be imposed when:
1. The guilty person is below 18 years of age at the time of the commission of the crime, oR
2. Is more than 70 years of age, or
3. When upon appeal of the case by the SC, the required majority vote is not obtained for the imposition of the death penalty.
(6) When is the benefit of the Indeterminate Sentence Law not applicable? (1999; 2003)
The Indeterminate Sentence Law does not apply to:
1. Persons convicted of offenses punishable with death penalty or life imprisonment;
2. Those convicted of treason, conspiracy or proposal to commit treason;
3. Those convicted of misprision of treason, rebellion, sedition or espionage;
4. Those convicted of piracy;
5. Those who are habitual delinquents;
6. Those who shall have escaped from confinement or evaded sentence;
7. Those who violated the terms of conditional pardon granted to them by the Chief Executive;
8. Those whose maximum term of imprisonment does not exceed one year;
9. Those who, upon the approval of the law (December 5, 1933), had been sentenced by final judgment; 10. Those sentenced to the penalty of destierro or suspension.
(7) What is an impossible crime? (1993; 2003)
It is an act which would be an offense against persons or property, were it not for the inherent impossibility of its accomplishment, or on account of the employment of inadequate or ineffectual means. (Art. 4, par. 2)
But where the acts performed which would have resulted in an impossible crime also 1) constitute an offense under the RPC, or
(2) would subject the accused to criminal liability although of a different category, the penalty to be imposed should be that for the latter and not that for an impossible crime.
(8) Distinguish instigation from entrapment. (1990; 1995; 2003)
Instigation takes place when a peace officer induces a person to commit a crime. Without the inducement, the crime would not be committed. Hence, it is exempting by reason of public policy. Otherwise, the peace officer would be a co-principal.
On the other hand, entrapment signifies the ways and means devised by a peace officer to entrap or apprehend a person who has committed a crime. With or without the entrapment, the crime has been committed already. Hence, entrapment is not mitigating.
(9) What is the purpose of the Probation Law? (1986; 1989)
The purposes of the Probation Law are:
- To promote the correction and rehabilitation of an offender by providing him with individualized treatment;
- To provide an opportunity for the reformation of a penitent offender which might be less probable if he were to serve a prison sentence; and
- To prevent the commission of offenses.
(10) What is the doctrine of implied conspiracy?(1998; 2003)
The doctrine of implied conspiracy holds two or more persons participating in the commission of a crime collectively responsible and liable as co-conspirators although absent any agreement to that effect, when they act in concert, demonstrating unity of criminal intent and a common purpose or objective. The existence of a conspiracy shall be inferred or deduced from their criminal participation in pursuing the crime and thus the act of one shall be the act of all.