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Jurisprudence Criminal Law

Insanity as Exempting Circumstances

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)

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Jurisprudence Criminal Law

Obedience to Order of a Superior Officer

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)

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Jurisprudence Criminal Law

Self-Defense

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)

Categories
Jurisprudence Criminal Law

Frustrated Felony

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)

Categories
Jurisprudence Criminal Law

Conspiracy

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.

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Jurisprudence Criminal Law

Dangerous Drugs Act

To sustain a conviction for selling prohibited drugs, the sale must be clearly and unmistakably established. To sell means to give, whether for money or any other material consideration. It must, therefore, be established beyond reasonable doubt that appellant actually sold and delivered two tea bags of marijuana dried leaves to Sgt. Lopez, who acted as the poseur- buyer, in exchange for twenty-peso bills.

(PEOPLE vs. SIMON. G.R. No.93028. July 29,1994.)

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Jurisprudence Criminal Law

Praeter Intentionem

When the Resulting Harm is Greater than Means Employed by the Offender

“Praeter intentionem” is defined as having an injurious result that is greater than that intended. The Revised Penal Code describes it as no intention to commit so grave a wrong.

In People vs. Ural, praeter intentionem is a mitigating circumstance “that the offender had no intention to commit so grave a wrong as that committed” (Par. 3, Art. 13, Revised Penal Code). It is manifested from the proven facts that appellant Ural had no intent to kill Napola.

His design being only to maltreat him, may be because in his drunken condition he was making a nuisance of himself inside the detention cell. Such that when he realized the fearful consequences of his felonious act, he allowed the victim to secure medical treatment at the municipal dispensary

People vs. Ural, G.R. No. L-30801 March 27, 1974

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Jurisprudence Criminal Law

Aberratio Ictus

Can A Wrongful Act Done Differently From That Which is Intended Incur Criminal Liability?

In “aberratio ictus” or mistake in the blow, a person directed the blow at an intended victim, but because of poor aim, that blow landed on somebody else. The intended victim as well as the actual victim are both at the scene of the crime.

In the People vs. Flora case, when Hermogenes Flora first fired his gun at Ireneo, but missed, and hit Emerita Roma and Flor Espinas instead, he became liable for Emerita’s death and Flor’s injuries. Hermogenes cannot escape culpability on the basis of aberratio ictus principle. Criminal liability is incurred by any person committing a felony, although the wrongful act be different from that which he intended.

Note, however, that when a person intended the commission of several felonies with a single act, it is not called aberratio ictus or mistake of blow, simply because there was no mistake in the commission of crime.

People vs. Flora, G.R. No. 125909, June 23, 2000

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Jurisprudence Political Law

Rights of the Accused

Know Your Rights: An accused cannot be convicted of an offense unless it is clearly charged in the complaint or information

In criminal cases, where the life and liberty of the accused is at stake, due process requires that the accused be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him.

An accused cannot be convicted of an offense unless it is clearly charged in the complaint or information.

To convict him of an offense other than that charged in the complaint or information would be a violation of this constitutional right.

– People vs. Umawid, G.R. No. 208719, June 9, 2014

Categories
Jurisprudence Criminal Law

Error in Personae

When does a Mistake in Identity Become a Criminal Liability?

Mistake In Identity

“Error in personae” or mistake in identity is injuring one person who is mistaken for another. The intended victim is not at the scene of the crime. It is the actual victim upon whom the blow was directed, but he is not really the intended victim. If the crime committed is the same as the crime intended, but on a different victim, error in persona does not affect the criminal liability of the offender.

The maxim “ignorantia facti excusat” applies only when the mistake is committed without fault or carelessness.

In this case, Oanis and Galanta, unlike Ah Chong, found no circumstances whatsoever which would press them to immediate action. The person in the room being then asleep, the two had ample time and opportunity to ascertain his identity without hazard to themselves, and could even effect a bloodless arrest if any reasonable effort to that end had been made, as the victim was accordingly unarmed. This, indeed, is the only legitimate course of action for appellants to follow even if the victim was really Balagtas, as they were instructed not to kill Balagtas at sight but to arrest him, and to get him dead or alive only if resistance or aggression is offered by him.

The crime committed by Oanis and Galanta is not merely criminal negligence, the killing being intentional and not accidental. 

People vs. Oanis, G.R. No. L-47722, July 27, 1943