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BAR Frequently Asked in Criminal Law Part 4

BAR Exams Frequently Asked Q&A Cases & Jurisprudence – Criminal Law – Audiobook Review Part 4

BAR FREQUENTLY ASKED IN CRIMINAL LAW

PART 4
Concepts and Jurisprudence

#1. TREACHERY

As a rule, a sudden attack by the assailant, whether frontally or from behind, is treachery if such mode of attack was coolly and deliberately adopted by him with the purpose of depriving the victim of a chance to either fight or retreat.

The rule does not apply, however, where the attack was not preconceived and deliberately adopted but was just triggered by the sudden infuriation on the part of the accused because of the provocative act of the victim.

This is more so, where the assault upon the victim was preceded by a heated exchange of words between him and the accused.

In the case at bench, the assault came in the course of an altercation and after appellant had sharpened his bolo in full view of the victim.

Appellant’s act of sharpening his bolo can be interpreted as an attempt to frighten the victim so the latter would leave him alone. It was simply foolhardy for the victim to continue walking to and fro near appellant in a taunting manner while the latter was sharpening his bolo.

The suddenness of the attack does not, by itself, suffice to support a finding of alevosia where the decision to attack was made peremptorily and the victim’s helpless position was incidental. (PEOPLE vs. REAL, G.R. No. 93436. March 24, 1995)

#2. COMPLEX CRIME

Where the appellant inflicted a stab wound on each of the two (2) victims who were separated from each other by a distance of three (3) meters, the acts of the appellant may not be characterized as a delito compuesto.

There were, in other words two (2) distinct acts, directed at two (2) different victims successively, separated from each other by a brief but discernible interval of time and space.

A delito compuesto, in contrast, arises from a single physical act resulting in simultaneous injury to two (2) or more victims. (PEOPLE vs. MISION. G.R. No. 63480. February 26,1991)

#3. AMNESTY

A person released by amnesty stands before the law as though he had committed no offense.

Amnesty looks backward and abolishes and puts into oblivion the offense itself, it so overlooks and obliterates the offense with which he is charged. Amnesty is a public act of which the court should take judicial notice.

Thus, the right to the benefits of amnesty, once established by the evidence presented either by the complainant or prosecution or by the offense, can not be waived, because it is of public interest that a person who is regarded by the Amnesty Proclamation, which has force of the law, not only as innocent, for he stands in the eyes of the law as if he had never committed any punishable offense because of the amnesty, but as a patriot or hero, and not to be punished as a criminal. (PEOPLE vs. VERA, G.R. No. 26539. February 28, 1990)

#4. PARDON

Pardon does not ipso facto restore a convicted felon to public office necessarily relinquished or forfeited by reason of the conviction although such pardon undoubtedly restores his eligibility for appointment to that office.

The pardon granted to petitioner resulted in removing her disqualification from holding public employment, but to regain her former post, she must reapply and undergo the usual procedure required for a new appointment.

The Court cannot oblige her Civil liability arising from crime. It subsists notwithstanding service of sentence, or for any reason the sentence is not served by pardon, amnesty or commutation of sentence.

Petitioner’s civil liability may only be extinguished by the same causes recognized in the Civil Code, namely: payment, loss the thing due, remission of the debt, merger of the rights of creditor and debtor, compensation and novation. (MONSANTO vs. FACTORAN, G.R. No. 78239. February 9, 1989)

#5. MALVERSATION

It is settled that good faith is a valid defense in the prosecution of malversation for it would negate criminal intent on the part of the accused.

To constitute a crime, the act must, except in certain crimes made such by statute, be accompanied by criminal intent, or by such negligence or indifference to duty or to consequences as, in law, is equivalent to criminal intent.

The maxim is actus non facit reum, nisi mens sit rea—a crime is not committed if the mind of the person performing the act complained of is innocent. (TABUENA vs. SANDIGANBAYAN. G.R. Nos. 103501-03. February 17,1997)

#6. ESTAFA THROUGH FALSIFICATION

Acts of endorsing of checks by way of identification of the signatures of the payees entitled to said checks and their proceeds constitute the crime of estafa through falsification of mercantile document by reckless imprudence because such endorsement constituted a written representation that the payees participated in the indorsement and cashing of the checks, when in truth and in fact the true payees had no direct intervention in the proceedings.

In the crime of falsification by imprudence of public or mercantile documents the element of intent to cause damage is not required because what the law seeks to repress is the prejudice to the public confidence in these documents. (SAMSON vs. CA, et al. Nos. L-10364 and L-10376. March 31.1958)

#7. RAPE

There is no such crime as frustrated rape.

Clearly, in the crime of rape, from the moment the offender has carnal knowledge of his victim, he actually attains his purpose and from that moment also all the essential elements of the offense have been accomplished.

Nothing more is left to be done by the offender, because he has performed the last act necessary to produce the crime. Thus, the felony is consummated.

The uniform rule is that for the consummation of rape, perfect penetration is not essential. Any penetration of the female organ by the male organ is sufficient. Entry of the labia or the lips of the female organ, without rupture of the hymen or laceration of the vagina is sufficient to warrant conviction. (PEOPLE vs. QUIÑANOLA, G.R. No. 126148, May 5, 1999)

Absence of injuries does not negate the commission of rape. It is true that, although complainant testified that appellant boxed her on the stomach, the medical report did not indicate any abrasion, hematoma or bruise on that part of her anatomy.

This is of no consequence. Medical authorities agree that when force is applied on the stomach, no marks may be detected. Injuries may have been caused in the internal organs, but external signs are not always visible.

The absence of injuries, however, does not negate the commission of rape. (PEOPLE vs. JOYA, G.R. No. 79090. October 1, 1993)

It should be underscored that the presence or absence of spermatozoa in the vagina is not determinative of the commission of rape because a sperm test is not a sine qua non condition for the successful prosecution of a rape case.

Thus, the lack of spermatozoa in the victim’s body does not negate the crime of rape. The important element in rape is penetration of the pudenda and not emission of seminal fluid. (PEOPLE vs. BONDOY, G.R. No. 79089. May 18, 1993)

#8. ROBBERY

When robbery is committed by three (3) persons in conspiracy and not by a band, that is more than three (3) armed malefactors taking part in the commission of the crime, only the offender committing rape shall be liable for the special complex crime of robbery with rape. (PEOPLE vs. MORENO, G.R. No. 92049, March 22, 1993)

It should be noted that there is no law providing that the additional rape/s or homicide/s should be considered as aggravating circumstances.

The enumeration of aggravating circumstances under Art. 14 of the Revised Penal Code is exclusive as opposed to the enumeration in Art. 13 of the same code regarding mitigating circumstances where there is a specific paragraph (par 10) providing for analogous circumstances.

It is true that the additional rapes (or killings in the case of multiple homicide on the occasion of robbery) would result in an analogous situation where from the standpoint of the gravity of the offense, robbery with one rape would be on the same level as robbery with multiple rapes. However, the remedy lies with the legislature.

A penal law is liberally construed in favor of the offender and no person should be brought within its terms if he is not clearly made so by the statute. In view of the foregoing, the additional rape committed by herein accused-appellant should not be considered as aggravating.

The proper penalty of reclusion perpetua imposed by the trial court is proper. (PEOPLE vs. REGALA, G.R. No. 130508. April 5, 2000)

In robbery with homicide cases, the prosecution need only to prove these elements:

(a) the taking of personal property with violence or intimidation against persons; (b) that the property taken belongs to another;

(c) the taking be done with animus lucrandi; and

(d) on the occasion of the robbery or by reason thereof, homicide (used in its generic sense) was committed.

These elements were present when accused-appellants, acting in unison, demanded money from her mother, forcibly took the same against her will and then hacked her to death. (PEOPLE vs. CABILES, G.R. No.113785. September 14, 1995)

It has been repeatedly held that when direct and intimate connection exists between the robbery and the killing, regardless of which the two precedes the other, or whether they are committed at the same time, the crime committed is the special complex crime of robbery with homicide.

It is a settled doctrine that when death supervenes by reason or on occasion of the robbery, it is immaterial that the occurrence of death was by mere accident.

What is important and decisive is that death results by reason or on occasion of the robbery.

The death of a robbery victim by accident can, however, be considered as a mitigating circumstance.

If the circumstances would indicate no intention to kill, as in the instant case where evidently, the intention is to prevent the deceased from making an outcry, and so a “pandesal” was stuffed into her mouth, the mitigating circumstance of not having intended to commit so grave may be appreciated.

The stuffing of the “pandesal” in the mouth would not have produced asphyxiation had it not slid into the neckline, “caused by the victim’s own movements.” (PEOPLE vs. OPERO, No. L- 48796. June 11, 1981)

#9. KIDNAPPING WITH SERIOUS ILLEGAL DETENTION

The essence of kidnapping or serious illegal detention is the actual confinement or restraint of the victim or the deprivation of his liberty. There is no kidnapping with murder, but only murder where a 3-year old child was gagged, hidden in a box where it he and ransom asked.

The demand for ransom did not convert the offense in to kidnapping with murder. The defendant was well aware that the child would be suffocated to death in a few moments after she left.

The demand for ransom is only a part of the diabolic scheme of the defendant to murder the child, to conceal his body and then demand money before the discovery of the cadaver. (PEOPLE vs. LORA, G.R. No.49430. March 30, 1982)

#10. DEATH UNDER EXCEPTIONAL CIRCUMSTANCES

There is no question that the accused surprised his wife and her paramour, the victim in this case, in the act of illicit copulation, as a result of which, he went out to kill the deceased in a fit of a passionate outburst.

Article 247 prescribes the following elements:

(1) that a legally married person surprises his spouse in the act of committing sexual intercourse with another person; and

(2) that he kills any of them or both of them in the act or immediately thereafter.

These elements are present in the case.

Though about one hour had passed between the time the accused-appellant discovered his wife having sexual intercourse with the victim and the time the latter was actually shot, the shooting must be understood to be the continuation of the pursuit of the victim by the accused- appellant.

The RPC, in requiring that the accused “shall kill any of them or both of them… immediately” after surprising his spouse in the act of sexual intercourse, does not say that he should commit the killing instantly thereafter.

It only requires that the death caused be the proximate result of the outrage overwhelming the accused after chancing upon his spouse in the basest act of infidelity.

But the killing should have been actually motivated by the same blind impulse, and must not have been influenced by external factors.

The killing must be the direct by-product of the accused’s rage. (PEOPLE vs. ABARCA. L-74433. September 14,1987).

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