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CRIMINAL LAW

Questions & Answers


Art.1 - Art. 20

Territoriality
Q: Hubert and Eunice were married in the Philippines. Hubert took graduate studies in New York
and met his former girlfriend Eula. They renewed their friendship and finally decided to get married.
The first wife, Eunice, heard about the marriage and secures a copy of the marriage contract in New
York. Eunice filed a case of Bigamy against Hubert in the Philippines.
(a) Will the case prosper? Explain.
(b) If Eunice gave her consent to the second marriage, what will your answer be? Explain.
Ans:
(a) No, because the Philippine Courts have no jurisdiction over a crime committed outside of the
Philippine territory. Under the principle of territoriality, penal laws, specifically the RPC, are
enforceable only within the bounds of our territory (Art. 2, RPC).
(b) The answer will be the same. The consent of Eunice would not confer jurisdiction on Philippine
Courts.

ART. 4 Impossible Crime


Q: Charlie hated his classmate, Brad, because the latter was assiduously courting Lily, Charlies
girlfriend. Charlie went to a veterinarian and asked for some poison on the pretext that it would be
used to kill a very sick, old dog. Actually, Charlie intended to use the poison on Brad.
The veterinarian mistakenly gave Charlie a non-toxic powder which, when mixed with Brads food,
did not kill Brad.
Did Charlie commit any crime? If so, what and why? If not, why not?
Ans: Charlie committed an impossible crime of murder. His act of mixing the non- toxic powder with
Brads food, done with intent to kill, would have constituted murder which is a crime against persons,
had it not been for the employment of a means which, unknown to him, is ineffectual (Art. 4, par. 2,
RPC).

Art. 8 Conspiracy
Q: Ricky was reviewing for the bar exam when the commander of a vigilante came to him and
showed him a list of five policemen to be liquidated by them for graft and corruption. He was further
asked if any of them is innocent. After going over the list, Ricky pointed to two of the policemen as
honest. Later, the vigilante group liquidated the three other policemen in the list. The commander of
the vigilante group reported the liquidation to Ricky. Is Ricky criminally liable? Explain.
Ans: No, there was no conspiracy between Ricky and the Commander of the vigilante. Mere
vouching for the honesty of the two (2) policemen in the list cannot make him a co-conspirator for
the killing. Ricky enjoys the presumption of innocence.

Art. 11 Justifying Circumstances


Q: Jack and Jill have been married for seven years. One night, Jack came home drunk. Finding no
food on the table, Jack started hitting Jill only to apologize the following day.
A week later, the same episode occurred Jack came home drunk and started hitting Jill.
Fearing for her life, Jill left and stayed with her sister. To woo Jill back, Jack sent her floral
arrangements of spotted lilies and confectioneries. Two days later, Jill returned home and decided
to give Jack another chance. After several days, however, Jack again came home drunk. The
following day, he was found dead.
Jill was charged with parricide but raised the defense of "battered woman syndrome."
Would the defense prosper despite the absence of any of the elements for justifying circumstances
of self-defense under the Revised Penal Code? Explain.
Ans: Yes. Section 26 of Rep. Act No. 9262 provides that victim-survivors who are found by the
courts to be suffering from battered woman syndrome do not incur any criminal and civil liability
notwithstanding the absence of any of the elements for justifying circumstances of self-defense
under the Revised Penal Code.
Q: A constructed a small house in a piece of land which he believed to be a disposable public land.
He had been occupying the lot for over a year. One day, B came and claimed ownership over the
land. B proceeded in dismantling the house of A. The latter pleaded B to stop but his plea fell on
deaf ears. Thereupon, A pulled B to prevent him from further dismantling the house. In the process,
B fell on the ground and suffered physical injusries.
(a) Is A liable for the injuries sustained by B?
(b) Would your answer be the same if A shot B with his .45 caliber gun instead of pulling down B
and B dies a s a result.
Ans:
(a) No, A is not liable. Under the law, he has the right to employ reasonable force to prevent or repel
actual or threatened assault upon his property. His act of pulling B was reasonably necessary to
protect his possessory rights over his property.
(b) No. This time A is criminally liable for the death of B. His act of shooting B to death is not
reasonably necessary to prevent the invasion of his property.

Art. 12 Exempting Circumstances


Q: While his wife was on a 2-year scholarship abroad, Romeo was having an affair with his maid
Dulcinea. Realizing that the affair was going nowhere, Dulcinea told Romeo that she was going back
to the province to marry her childhood sweetheart. Clouded by anger and jealousy, Romeo strangled
Dulcinea to death while she was sleeping in the maids quarters.
The following day, Romeo was found catatonic inside the maids quarters. He was brought to the
National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) where he was diagnosed to be mentally unstable.
Charged with murder, Romeo pleaded insanity as a defense.
(a) Will Romeos defense prosper? Explain.
(b) What is the effect of the diagnosis of the NCMH on the case?
Ans:
(a) No, Romeos defense of insanity will not prosper because, even assuming that Romeo was
insane when diagnosed after he committed the crime, insanity as a defense to the commission of
crime must have existed and proven to be so existing at the precise moment when the crime was
being committed. The fact of the case indicate that Romeo committed the crime with discernment.
(b) The effect of the diagnosis made by NCMH is possibly a suspension of the proceedings against
Romeo and his commitment to appropriate institution for treatment until he could already understand
the proceedings.

Q: Immediately after murdering Bob, Jake went to his mother to seek refuge. His mother told him to
hide in the maids quarters until she finds a better place for him to hide. After two days, Jake
transferred to his aunts house. A week later, Jake was apprehended by the police.
Can Jakes mother and aunt be made criminally liable as accessories to the crime of murder?
Explain.
Ans: Obviously, Jakes mother was aware of her sons having committed a felony, such that her
act of harboring and concealing him renders her liable as an accessory. But being an ascendant to
Jake, she is exempt from criminal liability by express provision of Article 20 of the Revised Penal
Code.
On the other hand, the criminal liability of Jakes aunt depends on her knowledge of his commission
of the felony, her act of harboring and concealing Jake would render her criminally liable as
accessory to the crime of murder; otherwise without knowledge of Jakes commission of the felony,
she would not be liable.

Art. 14 Aggravating Circumstances


Q: Wenceslao and Loretta were staying in the same boarding house, occupying different rooms.
One late
evening, when everyone in the house was asleep, Wenceslao entered Lorettas room with the use
of a picklock. Then, with force and violence, Wenceslao ravished Loretta. After he had satisfied his
lust, Wenceslao stabbed Loretta to death and, before leaving the room, took her jewelry.
Discuss the applicability of the relevant aggravating circumstances of dwelling, nocturnity and the
use of the picklock to enter the room of the victim.
Ans: Dwelling is aggravating because the crimes were committed in the property of Lorettas room
which in law is considered as her dwelling. It is well settled that dwelling includes a room in a
boarding house being occupied by the offended party where she enjoys privacy, peace of mind and
sanctity of an abode. Nocturnally or nighttime is also aggravating because although it was not
purposely or especially sought for by Wenceslao, nighttime was obviously taken advantaged of by
him in committing the other crimes. Under the objective test, noctunity is aggravating when taken
advantage of by the offender during the commission of the crime thus facilitating the same. The use
of a picklock to enter the room of the victim is not an aggravating circumstance under Art. 14 of the
Code but punished as a crime by itself where the offender has no lawful cause for possessing it. The
use of picklocks is equivalent to force upon things in robbery with force upon things.

Art. 18
Q: Ponciano borrowed Rubens gun, saying that he would use it to kill Freddie. Because Ruben also
resented Freddie, he readily lent his gun, but told Ponciano: "O, pagkabaril mo kay Freddie, isauli
mo kaagad, ha." Later, Ponciano killed Freddie, but used a knife because he did not want
Freddies neighbors to hear the gunshot.
(a) What, if any, is the liability of Ruben? Explain.
(b) Would your answer be the same if, instead of Freddie, it was Manuel, a relative of Ruben, who
was killed by Ponciano using Rubens gun? Explain.
Ans:
(a) Rubens liability is that of an accomplice only because he merely cooperated in Poncianos
determination to kill Freddie. Such cooperation is not indispensable to the killing, as in fact the killing
was carried out without the use of Rubens gun. Neither way Ruben may be regarded as a co-
conspirator since he was not a participant in the decision-making of
Ponciono to kill Freddie; he merely cooperated in carrying out the plan which was already in place
(Art. 18, RPC).
*Alternative Answer: Ruben cannot be held liable as an accomplice in the killing of Freddie because
his act of lending his gun to Ponciano did not have the relation between the acts done by the latter
to that attributed to Ruben. Even if Ruben did not lend his gun, Ponciano would have consummated
the act of killing Freddie. In other words, Rubens act in lending his gun was not a necessary act to
enable Ponciano to consummate the crime.
(b) No, the answer would not be the same because Ruben lent his gun purposely for the killing of
Freddie only, not for any other killing. Poncianos using Rubens gun in killing a person other then
Freddie is beyond Rubens criminal intent and willing involvement. Only Ponciano will answer for the
crime against Manuel.
It has been ruled that when the owner of the gun knew it would be used to kill a particular person,
but the offender used it to kill another person, the owner of the gun is not an accomplice as to the
killing of the other person. While there was community of design to kill Freddie between Ponciano
and Ruben, there was none with respect to the killing of Manuel.

Criminal Liability
Q: Modesto and Abelardo are brothers. Sometime in August, 1998 while Abelardo was in his office,
Modesto, together with two other men in police uniform, came with two heavy bags. Modesto asked
Abelardo to keep the two bags in his vault until he comes back to get them. When Abelardo
later examined the two bags, he saw bundles of money that, in his rough count, could not be less
than P5 Million. He kept the money inside the vault and soon he heard the news that a gang that
included Modesto had been engaged in bank robberies. Abelardo, unsure of what to do under the
circumstances, kept quiet about the two bags in his vault. Soon after, the police captured, and
secured a confession from, Modesto who admitted that their loot had been deposited with Abelardo.
What is Abelardo's liability?
Ans: Abelardo is not criminally liable. To be criminally liable as an accessory under Article 19 of the
Code, such person must have knowledge of the commission of the crime. The term knowledge
under the law is not synonymous with suspicion. Mere suspicion that the crime has been committed
is not sufficient. Moreover, the facts as given in the problem would show lack or absent of intent to
conceal the effects of the crime as Abelardo is described as being unsure of what to do under the
circumstances. Even if he can be considered as an accessory under paragraph 2 of Article 19,
RPC, Abelardo is not liable, being the brother of Modesto under Article 20, RPC.