Audiobook BAR FAQs Criminal Law Q&A

BAR Frequently Asked in Criminal Law Part 4

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


Concepts and Jurisprudence


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)


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)


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)


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)


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)


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)


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)


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)


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).

Audiobook BAR FAQs Criminal Law Q&A

BAR Frequently Asked in Criminal Law Part 3

BAR Exams Frequently Asked Q&A Cases & Jurisprudence – Criminal Law – Audiobook Review Part 3


Concepts and Jurisprudence


When accused-appellant Pugay poured gasoline on the victim’s body and thereafter his co- accused Samson set the victim on fire, there is nothing in the records showing that there was previous conspiracy or unity of criminal purpose and intention between the two accused-appellants immediately before the commission of the crime.

There was no animosity between the deceased and Pugay or Samson.

Their meeting at the scene of the incident was accidental. It is also clear that the accused and his group merely wanted to make fun of the deceased.

Hence, the respective criminal responsibility of Pugay and Samson arising from different acts directed against the deceased is individual and not collective, each of them is liable only for the act committed by him.

Pugay is liable for Homicide through Reckless Imprudence, while Samson is liable for Homicide.

Pugay failed to exercise all the diligence necessary to avoid every undesirable consequence arising from his act.

Samson knew very well that the liquid poured on the body of the deceased was gasoline and a flammable substance for he would not have committed the act of setting the latter on fire if it were otherwise.

Giving him the benefit of the doubt, it can be conceded that as of their fun-making he merely intended to set the deceased’s clothes on fire.

Article 4 of the Revised Penal Code provides, inter alia, that criminal liability shall be incurred by any person committing a felony although the wrongful act done be different from that which he intended. (PEOPLE vs. PUGAY, No. L-74324. November 17, 1988)


When the offender performs all the acts of execution which would produce the felony as a consequence but which, nevertheless, do not produce it by reason of causes independent of the will of the perpetrator.

Where the offender treacherously inflicted a wound upon the victim which was sufficient to have caused death, but the victim survives by reason of prompt medical attention, the offender is liable for frustrated murder. (PEOPLE vs. MISION. G.R. No. 63480. February 26,1991)


Self-defense is man’s inborn right. In a physical assault, retaliation becomes unlawful after the attack has ceased, because there would be no further harm to repel.

But that is not the case when it is aimed at a person’s good name.

Once the aspersion is cast its sting clings and the one thus defamed may avail himself of all the necessary means to shake it off.

He may hit back with another libel which, if adequate, will be justified. (PEOPLE vs. HIONG. No. 10413-R. October 20, 1954)

If there is no unlawful aggression, there is nothing to prevent or to repel and the second requisite of self-defense would have no basis.

Even if we allow appellant’s contention that Tuquero was the initial unlawful aggressor, we still cannot sustain his plea of self-defense.

After appellant successfully wrested the knife from Tuquero, the unlawful aggression had ceased.

After the unlawful aggression has ceased, the one making the defense has no more right to kill or even wound the former aggressor.

The presence of large number of wounds on the part of the victim, their nature and location disprove self-defense and instead indicate a determined effort to kill the victim. (PEOPLE vs. SO, G.R. No.104664. August 28, 1995)

Plainly, the accused-appellant could no longer retreat from the continuing assault by the victim who, as inexorably shown by his relentless advance towards the accused-appellant, was poised to kill the latter.
The danger to the accused-appellant’s life was clearly imminent.

It would not then be proper nor reasonable to claim that he should have fled or selected a less deadly weapon, because in the emergency in which, without any reason whatever, he was placed, there was nothing more natural than to use the weapon he had to defend himself.

In the natural order of the things, following the instinct of self-preservation, he was compelled to resort to a proper defense.

It is settled that reasonable necessity of the means employed does not imply material commensurability between the means of attack and defense.

What the law requires is rational equivalence, in the consideration of which will enter the principal factors the emergency, the imminent danger to which the person attacked is exposed, and the instinct more than the reason, that moves or impels the defense, and the proportionateness thereof does not depend upon the harm done, but rests upon the imminent danger of such injury. (PEOPLE vs. GUTUAL. G.R. No. 115233. February 22,1996).

The actuation of deceased Fleischer in angrily ordering the continuance of the fencing would have resulted in the further chiseling of the walls of appellant’s house as well as the closure of the access to and from his house and his rice mill—which were not only imminent but were actually in progress.

There is no question, therefore, that there was aggression on the part of the victims: Fleischer was ordering, and Rubia was actually participating in the fencing.

This was indeed an aggression, not on the person of appellant, but on his property rights.

The reasonableness of the resistance is also a requirement of the justifying circumstance of self-defense or defense of one’s rights under paragraph 1 of Article 11, Revised Penal Code. When the appellant fired his shotgun from his window, killing his two victims, his resistance was disproportionate to the attack.

Appellant who was sleeping when the victims chiselled his house and fenced off his estate and who asked them to stop doing so is not guilty of sufficient provocation when he shot the victims who ignored his plea. (PEOPLE vs. NARVAEZ. Nos. L-33466-67. April 20,1983.)

Unlawful aggression presupposes an actual, sudden, unexpected attack or imminent danger thereof, not merely a threatening or intimidating attitude and the accused must present proof of positively strong act of aggression.

Even if we give credence to accused-appellant’s version of the events, specifically that the deceased hurled invectives at him and moved as if to draw something from his waist, the Court are unable to establish a finding of unlawful aggression on the victim’s part.

Unlawful aggression presupposes an actual, sudden, unexpected attack or imminent danger thereof, not merely a threatening or intimidating attitude and the accused must present proof of positively strong act of real aggression. (PEOPLE vs. ARIZALA, G.R. No. 130708. October 22, 1999)


The subordinate who, in following an order of the superior, failed to observe all auditing procedures of disbursement, cannot escape responsibility for such omission; but where he acted in good faith, his liability should only be administrative or civil in nature, not criminal. (TABUENA vs. SANDIGANBAYAN. G.R. Nos. 103501-03. February 17,1997)


Accuse-appellant must thus prove that he was completely deprived of reason when he killed his father in order to be exempt for parricide.

There is nothing either in the report of Dr. Gerona or his testimony which indubitably show that accused-appellant was completely without reason when he killed his father because the latter wanted him to leave the house.

The defense of insanity is in the nature of confession and avoidance and, like the justifying circumstance of self- defense, the burden is on the defense to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused was insane immediately before the commission of the crime or at the very moment of its execution.

Although schizophrenia is not exempting if it does not completely deprive the offender of the consciousness of his acts, it may nevertheless be considered mitigating under Art 13 (9) if it diminishes the exercise of his will power. (PEOPLE vs. BANEZ, G.R. No. 125849, January 20, 1999)


With respect to accused-appellant Rene Estepano, the records show that he was only thirteen (13) years of age at the time of the commission of the offense.

Under Art.12, par. (3), of the RPC, a person over nine (9) years of age and under fifteen (15) years is exempt from criminal liability unless it is shown that he acted with discernment.

The minor referred to here is presumed to have acted without discernment. Thus, it is incumbent upon the prosecution to prove that such minor acted otherwise.

Even if he was indeed a co-conspirator, he would still be exempt from criminal liability as the prosecution failed to rebut the presumption of non-discernment on his part by virtue of his age. (PEOPLE vs. ESTEPANO. G.R. No. 126283. May 23,1999)


At all events, accidents to be exempting, presupposes that the act done is lawful.

Here, however, the act of the accused-appellant of drawing a weapon in the course of a quarrel, the same not being in self-defense, is unlawful—it at least constitutes light threats (Art. 285,par. 1 of RPC). There is thus no room for the invocation of accident as ground for exemption.

The fact that the victim is not shot in the head, or in any vital part of her body does not negate intent to kill.

The extent of the physical injury inflicted on the victim, as above proved, manifests intention to extinguish life. Moreover, it was likewise declared that the bullet injured a vital organ of the victim. (PEOPLE vs. NEPOMUCENO, JR.. G.R. No.127818. November 11, 1998)


The presence of the 5th mitigating circumstance, that is, immediate vindication of a grave offense to said accused, may be taken into consideration in favor of the two accused.

There was no interruption from the time the offense was committed to the vindication thereof.

The herein accused belong to a family of old customs to whom the elopement of a daughter with a man constitutes a grave offense to their honor and causes disturbance of the peace and tranquility of the home and at the same time spreads uneasiness and anxiety in the minds of the members thereof. ( PEOPLE vs. DIOKNO, No. 45100 . October 26, 1936)


Reiteracion requires that if there is only one prior offense, that offense must be punishable by an equal or greater penalty than the one for which the accused has been convicted.

There is no reiteracion because that circumstance requires that the previous offenses should not be embraced in the same title of the Code.

While grave threats fall in a title, different from homicide, still reiteracion cannot be appreciated because such aggravating circumstance requires that if there is only one prior offense, that offense must be punishable by an equal or greater penalty that the one for which the accused has been convicted.

Likewise, the prosecution has to prove that the offender has been punished for the previous offense. There is no evidence presented by the prosecution to that effect. (PEOPLE vs. REAL, G.R. No. 93436. March 24, 1995)


In the absence of other notorious acts evincing his determination to murder the victim, known premeditation in the instant case cannot be deduced from the mere fact that six (6) hours before he stabbed the victim to death, the accused-appellant took the hunting knife of the victim.

There is nothing in the records to show that there was an enmity between the two and it is not for the Court to conjecture that there was. Indeed, it is foolhardy for the Court to draw from this single act a cold-blooded intention to take the life of another.

The killing was simply committed as a-spur-of-the-moment, induced by that degree of intoxication which then triggered the bellicosity in the accused-appellant who, incidentally, is known in the community as an ex-convict and a killer. (PEOPLE vs. CALIJAN, G.R. No. 94592. September 28, 1993)

Audiobook BAR FAQs Criminal Law Q&A

BAR Frequently Asked in Criminal Law Part 2

BAR Exams Frequently Asked Questions Q&A – Criminal Law – Audiobook Review Part 2

PART 2 Concepts

QUESTION: What is the ​doctrine of implied conspiracy​? (1998; 2003)

ANSWER: 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.

QUESTION: Are ​reclusion perpetua and ​life imprisonment the same? Can they be imposed interchangeably? (1991; 1994; 2001)

ANSWER: NO. ​Reclusion perpetua i​s a penalty prescribed by the RPC, with a fixed duration of imprisonment from 20 years and 1 day to 40 years, and carries with it accessory penalties.

Life imprisonment,​ on the other hand, is a penalty prescribed by special laws, with no fixed duration of imprisonment and without any accessory penalty.

QUESTION: What is a ​memorandum check​? Is a person who issues a memorandum check without sufficient funds guilty of violating B.P Blg. 22? (1994;1995)

ANSWER: A ​memorandum check ​is an ordinary check with the word “Memorandum,” “Memo,” or “Mem” written across the check, signifying that the maker or drawer engages to pay its holder absolutely, thus partaking the nature of a promissory note. It is drawn on a bank and is a bill of exchange within the purview of Sec. 185 of the Negotiable Instruments Law.

A person who issued a memorandum check without sufficient funds is guilty of violating B.P. Blg. 22 as said law covers all checks whether it is an evidence of indebtedness, or in payment of a pre-existing obligation, or as deposit or guarantee.

QUESTION: Distinguish clearly but briefly between ​rebellion and ​coup d’etat based on their constitutive elements as criminal offenses.

ANSWER: ​Rebellion is committed by a public uprising and taking arms against the government while coup d’ etat is committed by means of swift attack accompanied by violence, intimidation, threat, strategy, and stealth.

The purpose of ​rebellion is either to remove from the allegiance to the Philippine Government or its laws the territory of the Philippines or any part thereof or any body of land, naval or other armed forces; or to deprive the Chief Executive or Congress wholly or partially of any of their powers or prerogatives.

On the other hand, the purpose of a coup d’ etat is to seize or diminish state power from the duly constituted authorities of the government or any military camp or the installation communication networks, public utilities and other facilities needed for the exercise of continued possession of powers.

Rebellion may be committed by any group of persons while coup d ‘etat is committed by a person or persons belonging to the military or police, or holding any public office or employment. Rebellion is committed by more than 1 person as it involves a public uprising, while coup d ‘etat may be committed by only one person.

QUESTION: Distinguish clearly but briefly between ​compound and ​complex crimes as concepts in the Penal Code.

ANSWER: ​Compound crime is when a single act constitutes two or more grave or less grave felonies while a ​complex crime​ is when an offense is a necessary means for committing the other.

QUESTION: Distinguish clearly but briefly between ​justifying and ​exempting circumstances in criminal law.

ANSWER: ​Justifying circumstances are those when the act of a person is said to be in accordance with law, so that such person is deemed not to have transgressed the law and is free from both criminal and civil liability.

On the other hand, ​exempting circumstances ​are those grounds for exemption from punishment because there is wanting in the agent of the crime any of the conditions which makes the act voluntary or negligent.

QUESTION: Distinguish clearly but briefly between ​intent​ and ​motive​ in the commission of an offense.

ANSWER: ​Intent is the purpose to use a particular means to effect a definite result while ​motive is the moving power which impels one to action for such result.

QUESTION: Distinguish clearly but briefly between​ oral defamation​ and ​criminal conversation.

ANSWER: ​Oral defamation, known as slander, is a malicious imputation of any act, omission or circumstance against a person, done orally in public, tending to cause dishonor, discredit, contempt, embarrassment or ridicule to the latter. This is a crime against honor penalized in Art. 358 of the Revised Penal Code.

Criminal conversation is a term used in making a polite reference to sexual intercourse as in certain crimes, like rape, seduction and adultery. It has no definite concept as a crime.

BAR FAQs Audiobook Criminal Law Q&A

BAR Frequently Asked in Criminal Law Part 1

BAR Exams Frequently Asked Questions Q&A – Criminal Law – Audiobook Review Part 1

See complete list of episodes here.

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:

  1. Treason
  2. Qualified Piracy
  3. Qualified Bribery
  4. Parricide
  5. Murder
  6. Kidnapping and Serious Illegal Detention
  7. Robbery with Homicide
  8. Destructive Arson
  9. Rape committed by two or more persons, or with a deadly weapon or with homicide
  10. Plunder

(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.