PDF- -Speech delivered by Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P A Sereno - Callanta Notes (Criminal Law1)





Criminal Law – A branch of municipal law which defines crimes,

treats of their nature and provides for their punishment

Legal Basis of Punishment The power to punish violators of criminal law comes within the police power of the state

It is the injury inflicted to the public which a criminal action seeks to redress,

and not the injury to the individual

The objective of the punishment is two-fold: absolute and relative

The absolute theory is to inflict punishment as a form of retributive justice

It is to destroy wrong in its effort to annihilate right,

to put an end to the criminal activity of the offender

On the other hand,

the relative theory purports to prevent the offender from further offending public right or to the right to repel an imminent or actual aggression,

exemplary or by way of example to others not to follow the path taken by the offender and ultimately for reformation or to place him under detention to teach him the obligations of a law-abiding citizen

Power to Enact Penal Laws Only the legislative branch of the government can enact penal laws

While the President may define and punish an act as a crime,

such exercise of power is not executive but legislative as he derives such power from the law-making body

It is in essence,

an exercise of legislative power by the Chief Executive

Limitations on the power of Congress to enact penal laws 1

Must be general in application

Must not partake of the nature of an ex post facto law

Must not partake of the nature of a bill of attainder

Must not impose cruel and unusual punishment or excessive fines

Characteristics of Criminal Law: (G

General – the law is binding to all persons who reside in the Philippines

Generality of criminal law means that the criminal law of the country governs all persons within the country regardless of their race,


it is subject to certain exceptions brought about by international agreement


chiefs of states and other diplomatic officials are immune from the application of penal laws when they are in the country where they are assigned

Note that consuls are not diplomatic officers

This includes consul-general,

vice-consul or any consul in a foreign country,

not immune to the operation or application of the penal law of the country where they are assigned

Consuls are subject to the penal laws of the country where they are assigned

It has no reference to territory

Whenever you are asked to explain this,

It refers to persons that may be governed by the penal law

Exceptions to general application of criminal law: a) principles of public international law b) treaties or treaty stipulations


c) laws of preferential application Territorial – the law is binding to all crimes committed within the National Territory of the Philippines Exception to Territorial Application: Instances enumerated under Article 2

Territoriality means that the penal laws of the country have force and effect only within its territory

It cannot penalize crimes committed outside the same

This is subject to certain exceptions brought about by international agreements and practice

The territory of the country is not limited to the land where its sovereignty resides but includes also its maritime and interior waters as well as its atmosphere

Terrestrial jurisdiction is the jurisdiction exercised over land

Fluvial jurisdiction is the jurisdiction exercised over maritime and interior waters

Aerial jurisdiction is the jurisdiction exercised over the atmosphere

The Archipelagic Rule All bodies of water comprising the maritime zone and interior waters abounding different islands comprising the Philippine Archipelago are part of the Philippine territory regardless of their breadth,

Determines Jurisdiction in a Criminal Case

? Place where the crime was committed

The nature of the crime committed

and The person committing the crime

Prospective (Prospectivity)– the law does not have any retroactive effect

Exception to Prospective Application: when new statute is favorable to the accused

This is also called irretrospectivity

Acts or omissions will only be subject to a penal law if they are committed after a penal law had already taken effect


this act or omission which has been committed before the effectivity of a penal law could not be penalized by such penal law because penal laws operate only prospectively

The exception where a penal law may be given retroactive application is true only with a repealing law

If it is an original penal law,

that exception can never operate

What is contemplated by the exception is that there is an original law and there is a repealing law repealing the original law

It is the repealing law that may be given retroactive application to those who violated the original law,

if the repealing penal law is more favorable to the offender who violated the original law

If there is only one penal law,

it can never be given retroactive effect

Effect of repeal of penal law to liability of offender A repeal is absolute or total when the crime punished under the repealed law has been decriminalized by the repeal

Because of the repeal,

the act or omission which used to be a crime is no longer a crime

An example is Republic Act No

which decriminalized subversion

A repeal is partial or relative when the crime punished under the repealed law continues to be a crime inspite of the repeal

This means that the repeal merely modified the conditions affecting the crime under the repealed law

The modification may be prejudicial or beneficial to the offender

the following rule: Consequences if repeal of penal law is total or absolute (1)

If a case is pending in court involving the violation of the repealed law,

even though the accused may be a habitual delinquent

This is so because all persons accused of a crime are presumed innocent until they are convicted by final judgment


the accused shall be acquitted


If a case is already decided and the accused is already serving sentence by final judgment,

if the convict is not a habitual delinquent,

then he will be entitled to a release unless there is a reservation clause in the penal law that it will not apply to those serving sentence at the time of the repeal

But if there is no reservation,

those who are not habitual delinquents even if they are already serving their sentence will receive the benefit of the repealing law

They are entitled to release

This does not mean that if they are not released,

If they escape,

they commit the crime of evasion of sentence,

even if there is no more legal basis to hold them in the penitentiary

This is so because prisoners are accountabilities of the government

they are not supposed to step out simply because their sentence has already been,

or that the law under which they are sentenced has been declared null and void

If they are not discharged from confinement,

a petition for habeas corpus should be filed to test the legality of their continued confinement in jail

If the convict,

he will continue serving the sentence in spite of the fact that the law under which he was convicted has already been absolutely repealed

This is so because penal laws should be given retroactive application to favor only those who are not habitual delinquents

Consequences if repeal of penal law is partial or relative (1)

If a case is pending in court involving the violation of the repealed law,

and the repealing law is more favorable to the accused,

it shall be the one applied to him

So whether he is a habitual delinquent or not,

if the case is still pending in court,

the repealing law will be the one to apply unless there is a saving clause in the repealing law that it shall not apply to pending causes of action

If a case is already decided and the accused is already serving sentence by final judgment,

even if the repealing law is partial or relative,

the crime still remains to be a crime

Those who are not habitual delinquents will benefit on the effect of that repeal,

so that if the repeal is more lenient to them,

it will be the repealing law that will henceforth apply to them

Express or implied repeal

– Express or implied repeal refers to the manner the repeal is done

Express repeal takes place when a subsequent law contains a provision that such law repeals an earlier enactment

For example,

there is an express provision of repeal of Title V of the Revised Penal Code

Implied repeals are not favored

It requires a competent court to declare an implied repeal

An implied repeal will take place when there is a law on a particular subject matter and a subsequent law is passed also on the same subject matter but is inconsistent with the first law,

such that the two laws cannot stand together,

one of the two laws must give way

It is the earlier that will give way to the later law because the later law expresses the recent legislative sentiment

So you can have an implied repeal when there are two inconsistent laws

When the earlier law does not expressly provide that it is repealing an earlier law,

what has taken place here is implied repeal

If the two laws can be reconciled,

the court shall always try to avoid an implied repeal

For example,

light felonies are those infractions of the law for the commission of which a penalty of arresto mayor or a fine not exceeding P200

On the other hand,

a fine whether imposed as a single or an alternative penalty,

is considered a correctional penalty

These two articles appear to be inconsistent

So to harmonize them,

the Supreme Court ruled that if the issue involves the prescription of the crime,

that felony will be considered a light felony and,

But if the issue involves prescription of the penalty,


the court avoided the collision between the two articles

Consequences if repeal of penal law is express or implied (1)

If a penal law is impliedly repealed,

the subsequent repeal of the repealing law will revive the original law

So the act or omission which was punished as a crime under the original law will be revived and the same shall again be crimes although during the implied repeal they may not be punishable


If the repeal is express,

the repeal of the repealing law will not revive the first law,

so the act or omission will no longer be penalized

These effects of repeal do not apply to self-repealing laws or those which have automatic termination

An example is the Rent Control Law which is revived by Congress every two years

When there is a repeal,

the repealing law expresses the legislative intention to do away with such law,

implies a condonation of the punishment

Such legislative intention does not exist in a self-terminating law because there was no repeal at all

In Co v

it was held that the principle of prospectivity of statutes also applies to administrative rulings and circulars

Theories of Criminal Law 1

Classical Theory – Man is essentially a moral creature with an absolute free will to choose between good and evil and therefore more stress is placed upon the result of the felonious act than upon the criminal himself

The purpose of penalty is retribution

The offender is made to suffer for the wrong he has done

There is scant regard for the human element of the crime

The law does not look into why the offender committed the crime

Capital punishment is a product of this kind of this school of thought

Man is regarded as a moral creature who understands right from wrong

So that when he commits a wrong,

he must be prepared to accept the punishment therefore

Positivist Theory – Man is subdued occasionally by a strange and morbid

phenomenon which conditions him to do wrong in spite of or contrary to his volition

(Crime is essentially a social and natural phenomenon) The purpose of penalty is reformation

There is great respect for the human element because the offender is regarded as socially sick who needs treatment,

Crimes are regarded as social phenomena which constrain a person to do wrong although not of his own volition

Eclectic or Mixed Philosophy This combines both positivist and classical thinking

Crimes that are economic and social and nature should be dealt with in a positivist manner

Heinous crimes should be dealt with in a classical manner

Sources of Criminal Law 1

The Revised Penal Code 2

Special Penal Laws – Acts enacted of the Philippine Legislature punishing offenses or omissions

Construction of Penal Laws 1

Criminal Statutes are liberally construed in favor of the offender

This means that no person shall be brought within their terms who is not clearly within them,

nor should any act be pronounced criminal which is not clearly made so by statute

The original text in which a penal law is approved in case of a conflict with an official translation

Interpretation by analogy has no place in criminal law

BASIC MAXIMS IN CRIMINAL LAW Doctrine of Pro Reo Whenever a penal law is to be construed or applied and the law admits of two interpretations – one lenient to the offender and one strict to the offender – that interpretation which is lenient or favorable to the offender will be adopted

This is in consonance with the fundamental rule that all doubts shall be construed in favor of the accused and consistent with presumption of innocence of the accused

This is peculiar only to criminal law

Codal and Notes in CRIMINAL LAW BOOK I by RENE CALLANTA Nullum crimen,

nulla poena sine lege There is no crime when there is no law punishing the same

This is true to civil law countries,

but not to common law countries

Because of this maxim,

there is no common law crime in the Philippines

No matter how wrongful,

if there is no law defining the act,

the same is not considered a crime

Common law crimes are wrongful acts which the community/society condemns as contemptible,

even though there is no law declaring the act criminal

Not any law punishing an act or omission may be valid as a criminal law

If the law punishing an act is ambiguous,

Actus non facit reum,

nisi mens sit rea The act cannot be criminal where the mind is not criminal

This is true to a felony characterized by dolo,

but not a felony resulting from culpa

This maxim is not an absolute one because it is not applied to culpable felonies,

or those that result from negligence

Utilitarian Theory or Protective Theory The primary purpose of the punishment under criminal law is the protection of society from actual and potential wrongdoers

The courts,

in exacting retribution for the wronged society,

should direct the punishment to potential or actual wrongdoers,

since criminal law is directed against acts and omissions which the society does not approve

Consistent with this theory,

the mala prohibita principle which punishes an offense regardless of malice or criminal intent,

should not be utilized to apply the full harshness of the special law

In Magno v CA,

the Supreme Court acquitted Magno of violation of Batas Pambansa Blg

The wrongdoer is not Magno but the lessor who deposited the checks

He should have returned the checks to Magno when he pulled out the equipment

To convict the accused would defeat the noble objective of the law and the law would be tainted with materialism and opportunism

MALA IN SE AND MALA PROHIBITA Violations of the Revised Penal Code are referred to as malum in se,

that the act is inherently evil or bad or per se wrongful

On the other hand,

violations of special laws are generally referred to as malum prohibitum

that not all violations of special laws are mala prohibita

While intentional felonies are always mala in se,

it does not follow that prohibited acts done in violation of special laws are always mala prohibita

Even if the crime is punished under a special law,

if the act punished is one which is inherently wrong,

good faith and the lack of criminal intent is a valid defense

unless it is the product of criminal negligence or culpa

Likewise when the special laws requires that the punished act be committed knowingly and willfully,

criminal intent is required to be proved before criminal liability may arise

When the act penalized is not inherently wrong,

it is wrong only because a law punishes the same

For example,

Presidential Decree No

These acts are inherently wrong and although they are punished under special law,

the acts themselves are mala in se

good faith or lack of criminal intent is a defense

Mala in se vs

Mala prohibita Crimes mala in se Those so serious in their effects on society as to call for almost unanimous condemnation of its members

Crimes mala prohibita Those violations of mere rules of convenience designed to secure a more orderly regulation of the affairs of society

Codal and Notes in CRIMINAL LAW BOOK I by RENE CALLANTA Criminal intent necessary Criminal intent is not necessary Refers generally to felonies defined Refers generally to acts made and penalized by the Revised Penal criminal by special laws Code Distinction between crimes punished under the Revised Penal Code and crimes punished under special laws 1

As to moral trait of the offender In crimes punished under the Revised Penal Code,

the moral trait of the offender is considered

This is why liability would only arise when there is dolo or culpa in the commission of the punishable act

In crimes punished under special laws,

the moral trait of the offender is not considered

it is enough that the prohibited act was voluntarily done

As to use of good faith as defense In crimes punished under the Revised Penal Code,

good faith or lack of criminal intent is a valid defense

unless the crime is the result of culpa In crimes punished under special laws,

As to degree of accomplishment of the crime In crimes punished under the Revised Penal Code,

the degree of accomplishment of the crime is taken into account in punishing the offender

and consummated stages in the commission of the crime

In crimes punished under special laws,

the act gives rise to a crime only when it is consummated

there are no attempted or frustrated stages,

unless the special law expressly penalize the mere attempt or frustration of the crime

As to mitigating and aggravating circumstances In crimes punished under the Revised Penal Code,

mitigating and aggravating circumstances are taken into account in imposing the penalty since the moral trait of the offender is considered

In crimes punished under special laws,

mitigating and aggravating circumstances are not taken into account in imposing the penalty

As to degree of participation In crimes punished under the Revised Penal Code,

when there is more than one offender,

the degree of participation of each in the commission of the crime is taken into account in imposing the penalty

offenders are classified as principal,

In crimes punished under special laws,

the degree of participation of the offenders is not considered

All who perpetrated the prohibited act are penalized to the same extent

There is no principal or accomplice or accessory to consider

Test to determine if violation of special law is malum prohibitum or malum in se Analyze the violation: Is it wrong because there is a law prohibiting it or punishing it as such

? If the wording of the law punishing the crime uses the word “willfully”,

Where malice is a factor,

In violation of special law,

the act constituting the crime is a prohibited act

Therefore culpa is not a basis of liability,

unless the special law punishes an omission

When given a problem,

take note if the crime is a violation of the Revised Penal Code or a special law


This Code shall take effect on January 1,

Application of its provisions

the provisions of this Code shall be enforced not only within the Philippine Archipelago including its atmosphere,

its interior waters and Maritime zone,

but also outside of its jurisdiction,

Should commit an offense while on a Philippine ship or airship

Should forge or counterfeit any coin or currency note of the Philippine Islands or obligations and securities issued by the Government of the Philippine Islands

Should be liable for acts connected with the introduction into these islands of the obligations and securities mentioned in the preceding number

While being public officers or employees,

should commit an offense in the exercise of their functions

or (Some of these crimes are bribery,

fraud against national treasury,

malversation of public funds or property,

and illegal use of public funds

A judge who accepts a bribe while in Japan

Should commit any crimes against the national security and the law of nations,

defined in Title One of Book Two of this Code

(These crimes include treason,

inciting to war or giving motives for reprisals,

correspondence with hostile country,

flight to enemy’s country and violation of neutrality) •

Rules as to crimes committed aboard foreign merchant vessels: French Rule – Such crimes are not triable in the courts of that country,

unless their commission affects the peace and security of the territory or the safety of the state is endangered

English Rule – Such crimes are triable in that country,

unless they merely affect things within the vessel or they refer to the internal management thereof

(This is applicable in the Philippines) 2

Requirements of “an offense committed while on a Philippine Ship or Airship” 1

Registered with the Philippine Bureau of Customs 2

Ship must be in the high seas or the airship must be in international airspace

Under international law rule,

a vessel which is not registered in accordance with the laws of any country is considered a pirate vessel and piracy is a crime against humanity in general,

such that wherever the pirates may go,

Bull A crime which occurred on board of a foreign vessel,

which began when the ship was in a foreign territory and continued when it entered into Philippine waters,

is considered a continuing crime

Hence within the jurisdiction of the local courts

Two situations where the foreign country may not apply its criminal law even if a crime was committed on board a vessel within its territorial waters and these are: (1)

When the crime is committed in a war vessel of a foreign country,

because war vessels are part of the sovereignty of the country to whose naval force they belong


When the foreign country in whose territorial waters the crime was committed adopts the French Rule,

which applies only to merchant vessels,

except when the crime committed affects the national security or public order of such foreign country

When public officers or employees commit an offense in the exercise of their functions As a general rule,

the Revised Penal Code governs only when the crime committed pertains to the exercise of the public official’s functions,

those having to do with the discharge of their duties in a foreign country

The functions contemplated are those,

to be performed by the public officer in the Foreign Service of the Philippine government in a foreign country

Exception: The Revised Penal Code governs if the crime was committed within the Philippine Embassy or within the embassy grounds in a foreign country

This is because embassy grounds are considered an extension of sovereignty


Felonies are committed not only by means of deceit (dolo) but also by means of fault (culpa)

There is deceit when the act is performed with deliberate intent

and there is fault when the wrongful results from imprudence,

Acts – an overt or external act Omission – failure to perform a duty required by law

To be considered as a felony there must be an act or omission

a mere imagination no matter how wrong does not amount to a felony

An act refers to any kind of body movement that produces change in the outside world

In felony by omission however,

there must be a law requiring the doing or the performance of an act

mere passive presence at the scene of the crime,

mere silence and failure to give the alarm,

without evidence of agreement or conspiracy is not punishable

Example of an omission: failure to render assistance to anyone who is in danger of dying or is in an uninhabited place or is wounded


such as violation of ordinance Crime


Requisites: a


A was driving a truck along a road

He hit B because it was raining


failure to foresee impending danger,

usually involves lack of foresight c

Requisites: 1

Freedom 2

Intelligence 3


Lack of intent Intentional felonies vs

Culpable Felonies Intentional Felonies Culpable Felonies Act or omission is malicious Act or omission is not malicious Offender has the intention to cause Offender has no intention to cause an injury to another injury Act performed or omission incurred Act or omission results from with deliberate intent imprudence,

lack or foresight or lack of skill Voluntariness comprehends the concurrence of freedom of action,

intelligence and the fact that the act was intentional

In culpable felonies,

there is no voluntariness if either freedom,

lack of foresight or lack of skill is lacking

Without voluntariness,

there can be no dolo or culpa,

Criminal Intent Criminal Intent is not deceit

translation is deliberate intent

Do not use deceit in translating dolo,

In criminal law,

intent is categorized into two: (1)

General criminal intent

Specific criminal intent

General criminal intent is presumed from the mere doing of a wrong act

This does not require proof

The burden is upon the wrong doer to prove that he acted without such criminal intent

Specific criminal intent is not presumed because it is an ingredient or element of a crime,

like intent to kill in the crimes of attempted or frustrated homicide/parricide/murder

The prosecution has the burden of proving the same

Criminal intent is not necessary in these cases: (1) When the crime is the product of culpa or negligence,

lack of foresight or lack of skill

When the crime is a prohibited act under a special law or what is called malum

Distinction between intent and discernment Intent is the determination to do a certain thing,

It is the design to resolve or determination by which a person acts

On the other hand,

discernment is the mental capacity to tell right from wrong

It relates to the moral significance that a person ascribes to his act and relates to the intelligence as an element of dolo,

Distinction between intent and motive

Codal and Notes in CRIMINAL LAW BOOK I by RENE CALLANTA Intent is demonstrated by the use of a particular means to bring about a desired result – it is not a state of mind or a reason for committing a crime

On the other hand,

It is the moving power which impels one to do an act

When there is motive in the commission of a crime,

it always comes before the intent

But a crime may be committed without motive

If the crime is intentional,

it cannot be committed without intent

Intent is manifested by the instrument used by the offender

The specific criminal intent becomes material if the crime is to be distinguished from the attempted or frustrated stage

Criminal intent is on the basis of the act,

not on the basis if what the offender says

Look into motive to determine the proper crime which can be imputed to the accused •

Mistake of fact

He is not criminally liable

Requisites: 1

that the act done would have been lawful had the facts been as the accused believed them to be

intention of the accused is lawful

mistake must be without fault of carelessness

Mistake of fact would be relevant only when the felony would have been intentional or through dolo,

but not when the felony is a result of culpa

When the felony is a product of culpa,

do not discuss mistake of fact

It exists when a person who in the exercise of due diligence,

acts under the influence of an erroneous appreciation of facts,

which if true would relieve him from criminal responsibility

It is an omission or commission performed by the individual which is the result of a misconception or misapprehension of events or facts before him which in law is considered voluntary

The accused performed acts or omissions which would be lawful,

had it been true as he perceived them to be

To be an absolutory cause,

the mistake of facts as committed must originate from legitimate sentiment or intention

The further requirement in order to escape criminal responsibility,

that the mistake of facts was done without negligence

The good faith of the offender maybe derived from the sequence of events,

during and after the alleged mistake of facts

If at anytime there is a showing that the actor was at fault for not exercising ordinary prudence,

then he will be liable criminally,

Example: United States v

Ah Chong

Ah Chong being afraid of bad elements,

locked himself in his room by placing a chair against the door

After having gone to bed,

he was awakened by somebody who was trying to open the door

He asked the identity of the person,

but he did not receive a response

Fearing that this intruder was a robber,

he leaped out of bed and said that he will kill the intruder should he attempt to enter

At that moment,

Believing that he was attacked,

he seized a knife and fatally wounded the intruder

Mens rea The technical term mens rea is sometimes referred to in common parlance as the gravamen of the offense

To a layman,

that is what you call the “bullseye” of the crime

This term is used synonymously with criminal or deliberate intent,

but that is not exactly correct

Mens rea of the crime depends upon the elements of the crime

You can only detect the mens rea of a crime by knowing the particular crime committed

Without reference to a particular crime,

For example,

the mens rea is the taking of the property of another with intent to gain

In falsification,

the mens rea is the effecting of the forgery with intent

Codal and Notes in CRIMINAL LAW BOOK I by RENE CALLANTA to pervert the truth

It is not merely writing something that is not true

the intent to pervert the truth must follow the performance of the act

In criminal law,

we sometimes have to consider the crime on the basis of intent

For example,

attempted or frustrated homicide is distinguished from physical injuries only by the intent to kill

Attempted rape is distinguished from acts of lasciviousness by the intent to have sexual intercourse

In robbery,

the mens rea is the taking of the property of another coupled with the employment of intimidation or violence upon persons or things

remove the employment of force or intimidation and it is not robbery anymore

Real concept of culpa Under Article 3,

it is clear that culpa is just a modality by which a felony may be committed

A felony may be committed or incurred through dolo or culpa

Culpa is just a means by which a felony may result

The concept of criminal negligence is the inexcusable lack of precaution on the part of the person performing or failing to perform an act

If the danger impending from that situation is clearly manifest,

you have a case of reckless imprudence

But if the danger that would result from such imprudence is not clear,

not manifest nor immediate you have only a case of simple negligence

Criminal liability

By any person committing a felony,

although the wrongful act done be different from that which he intended

In the first paragraph,

two elements must be present: 1

A felony committed

The felony committed resulted in the commission of another felony

The requirement however,

that the resulting other felony or felonies must be direct,

material and logical consequence of the felony committed even if the same is not intended or entirely different from what was in the mind of the offender

Doctrine of Proximate Cause – such adequate and efficient cause as,

in the natural order of events,

and under the particular circumstances surrounding the case,

which would necessarily produce the event

Requisites: a

produces the injury or damage c

unbroken by any sufficient intervening cause d

without which the result would not have occurred

Proximate Cause is negated by: a

Active force,

or fact absolutely foreign from the felonious act of the accused,

which serves as a sufficient intervening cause

Resulting injury or damage is due to the intentional act of the victim

Requisite for Presumption that the blow was cause of the death – Where there has been an injury inflicted sufficient to produce death followed by the demise of the person,

the presumption arises that the injury was the cause of the death

Provided: a

death ensued within a reasonable time

Even if other causes cooperated in producing the fatal result as long as the wound inflicted is dangerous,

calculated to destroy or endanger

Codal and Notes in CRIMINAL LAW BOOK I by RENE CALLANTA life,

This is true even though the immediate cause of death was erroneous or unskillful medical treatment,

refusal of the victim to submit to surgical operation,

or that the deceased was suffering from tuberculosis,

heart disease or other internal malady or that the resulting injury was aggravated by infection

There must however be no efficient intervening cause

Article 4,

paragraph 1 presupposes that the act done is the proximate cause of the resulting felony

It must be the direct,

and logical consequence of the felonious act

Proximate cause is that cause which sets into motion other causes and which unbroken by any efficient supervening cause produces a felony without which such felony could not have resulted

As a general rule,

the offender is criminally liable for all the consequences of his felonious act,

if the felonious act is the proximate cause of the felony or resulting felony

A proximate cause is not necessarily the immediate cause

This may be a cause which is far and remote from the consequence which sets into motion other causes which resulted in the felony

In criminal law,

as long as the act of the accused contributed to the death of the victim,

even if the victim is about to die,

he will still be liable for the felonious act of putting to death that victim

proximate cause does not require that the offender needs to actually touch the body of the offended party

It is enough that the offender generated in the mind of the offended party the belief that made him risk himself

The one who caused the proximate cause is the one liable

The one who caused the immediate cause is also liable,

but merely contributory or sometimes totally not liable

Causes which produce a different result: a

Mistake in identity of the victim – injuring one person who is mistaken for another e

A intended to shoot B,

but he instead shot C because he (A) mistook C for B

In error in personae,

the intended victim was not at the scene of the crime

It was the actual victim upon whom the blow was directed,

but he was not really the intended victim How does error in personae affect criminal liability of the offender

? Error in personae is mitigating if the crime committed is different from that which was intended

If the crime committed is the same as that which was intended,

error in personae does not affect the criminal liability of the offender

In mistake of identity,

if the crime committed was the same as the crime intended,

error in persona does not affect the criminal liability of the offender

But if the crime committed was different from the crime intended,

Article 49 will apply and the penalty for the lesser crime will be applied

In a way,

mistake in identity is a mitigating circumstance where Article 49 applies

Where the crime intended is more serious than the crime committed,

the error in persona is not a mitigating circumstance In any event,

the offender is prosecuted for the crime committed not for the crime intended

Mistake in blow – hitting somebody other than the target due to lack of skill or fortuitous instances (this is a complex crime under Art

B and C were walking together

A wanted to shoot B,

In aberratio ictus,

a person directed the blow at an intended victim,

that blow landed on somebody else

In aberratio ictus,

the intended victim as well as the actual victim are both at the scene of the crime

If the actor 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

Codal and Notes in CRIMINAL LAW BOOK I by RENE CALLANTA Distinguish this from error in personae,

where the victim actually received the blow,

but he was mistaken for another who was not at the scene of the crime

The distinction is important because the legal effects are not the same

In aberratio ictus,

the offender delivers the blow upon the intended victim,

but because of poor aim the blow landed on somebody else

You have a complex crime,

unless the resulting consequence is not a grave or less grave felony

You have a single act as against the intended victim and also giving rise to another felony as against the actual victim

If the resulting physical injuries were only slight,

In other words,

generally gives rise to a complex crime

This being so,

the penalty for the more serious crime is imposed in the maximum period

Injurious result is greater than that intended – causing injury graver than

intended or expected (this is a mitigating circumstance due to lack of intent to commit so grave a wrong under Art

A wanted to injure B


In praeter intentionem,

it is mitigating only if there is a notable or notorious disparity between the means employed and the resulting felony

In criminal law,

intent of the offender is determined on the basis employed by him and the manner in which he committed the crime

Intention of the offender is not what is in his mind

it is disclosed in the manner in which he committed the crime

In praeter intentionem,

it is essential that there is a notable disparity between the means employed or the act of the offender and the felony which resulted

This means that the resulting felony cannot be foreseen from the acts of the offender

If the resulting felony can be foreseen or anticipated from the means employed,

the circumstance of praeter intentionem does not apply

Intent to kill is only relevant when the victim did not die

This is so because the purpose of intent to kill is to differentiate the crime of physical injuries from the crime of attempted homicide or attempted murder or frustrated homicide or frustrated murder

But once the victim is dead,

you do not talk of intent to kill anymore

The best evidence of intent to kill is the fact that victim was killed

In all these instances the offender can still be held criminally liable,

since he is motivated by criminal intent

By any person performing 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

Requisites: a

Act would have been an offense against persons or property b

Act is not an actual violation of another provision of the Code or of a special penal law c

There was criminal intent

Accomplishment was inherently impossible

or inadequate or ineffectual means were employed

Notes: a

Offender must believe that he can consummate the intended crime,

a man stabbing another who he knew was already dead cannot be liable for an impossible crime

The law intends to punish the criminal intent

There is no attempted or frustrated impossible crime

Felonies against persons: parricide,

Felonies against property: robbery,


Inherent impossibility: A thought that B was just sleeping

B was already dead

A shot B

A is liable

If A knew that B is dead and he still shot him,

this means that under any and all circumstances,

the crime could not have materialized

If the crime could have materialized under a different set of facts,

employing the same mean or the same act,

it would be an attempted felony

Legal impossibility occurs where completed,

Factual impossibility occurs when an extraneous circumstances is unknown to the actor or beyond his control to prevent the consummation of the intended crime

Under Art

the law does not make any distinction between factual or physical impossibility and legal impossibility

Employment of inadequate means: A used poison to kill B


B survived because A used small quantities of poison

Ineffectual means: A aimed his gun at B

When he fired the gun,

no bullet came out because the gun was empty

A is liable

Whenever you are confronted with a problem where the facts suggest that an impossible crime was committed,

be careful about the question asked

If the question asked is: “Is an impossible crime committed

then you judge that question on the basis of the facts

If really the facts constitute an impossible crime,

then you suggest than an impossible crime is committed,

then you state the reason for the inherent impossibility

If the question asked is “Is he liable for an impossible crime

Even though the facts constitute an impossible crime,

if the act done by the offender constitutes some other crimes under the Revised Penal Code,

he will not be liable for an impossible crime

He will be prosecuted for the crime constituted so far by the act done by him

The reason is an offender is punished for an impossible crime just to teach him a lesson because of his criminal perversity

Although objectively,

That purpose of the law will also be served if he is prosecuted for some other crime constituted by his acts which are also punishable under the RPC

By its very nature,

an impossible crime is a formal crime

It is either consummated or not committed at all

There is therefore no attempted or frustrated impossible crime

At this stage,

it would be best to distinguish impossible crime from attempted or frustrated felony

The evil intent is attempted or frustrated felony is possible of accomplishment,

it cannot be accomplished because of its inherent impossibility

In attempted or frustrated felony,

what prevented its accomplishment is the intervention of a certain cause or accident independent of the will of the perpetrator or offender

Unconsummated felonies (Attempted crimes Attempted of Frustrated Felony Intent is not accomplished Intent of the offender possible of accomplishment Accomplishment is prevented by the intervention of certain cause or accident in which the offender had no part

Impossible Impossible Crime Intent is not accomplished Intent of the offender,

cannot be accomplished Intent cannot be accomplished because it is inherently impossible of accomplishment or because the means employed by the offender is inadequate or ineffectual


Duty of the court in connection with acts which should be repressed but which are not covered by the law,

and in cases of excessive penalties

– Whenever a court has knowledge of any act which it may deem proper to repress and which is not punishable by law,

it shall render the proper decision and shall report to the Chief Executive,

through the Department of Justice,

the reasons which induce the court to believe that said act should be made subject of legislation

In the same way the court shall submit to the Chief Executive,

through the Department of Justice,

such statement as may be deemed proper,

without suspending the execution of the sentence,

when a strict enforcement of the provisions of this Code would result in the imposition of a clearly excessive penalty,

taking into consideration the degree of malice and the injury caused by the offense

NO CRIME UNLESS THERE IS A LAW PUNISHING IT When a person is charged in court,

and the court finds that there is no law applicable,

the court will acquit the accused and the judge will give his opinion that the said act should be punished

Article 5 covers two situations: (1) The court cannot convict the accused because the acts do not constitute a crime

The proper judgment is acquittal,

but the court is mandated to report to the Chief Executive that said act be made subject of penal legislation and why

Where the court finds the penalty prescribed for the crime too harsh considering the conditions surrounding the commission of he crime,

the judge should impose the law (Dura lex sed lex)

The most that he could do is to recommend to the Chief Executive to grant executive clemency

Paragraph 2 does not apply to crimes punishable by special law,

and illegal possession of firearms or drugs

There can be no executive clemency for these crimes


as well as those which are frustrated and attempted,

A felony is consummated when all the elements necessary for its execution and accomplishment are present

and it is frustrated when the offender performs all the acts of execution which would produce the felony as a consequence but which,

do not produce it by reason of causes independent of the will of the perpetrator

There is an attempt when the offender commences the commission of a felony directly by overt acts,

and does not perform all the acts of execution which should produce the felony by reason of some cause or accident other than his own spontaneous desistance

Development of a crime 1

Internal acts – intent and plans

External acts a

Preparatory Acts – acts tending toward the crime b

Acts of Execution – acts directly connected the crime

Mere intention is therefore,

For as long as there is no physical form of the internal acts,

the same is outside the inquiry of criminal law

Codal and Notes in CRIMINAL LAW BOOK I by RENE CALLANTA Stages of Commission of a Crime Attempt Frustrated Consummated • Overt acts of execution • All acts of execution are • All the acts of execution are started present are present • Not all acts of execution • Crime sought to be • The result sought is are present committed is not achieved achieved • Due to reasons other than • Due to intervening causes the spontaneous independent of the will of desistance of the the perpetrator perpetrator There are three stages in the commission of felonies or crimes committed by means of dolo

they do not refer to felonies committed by means of culpa

It is essentially incompatible with the elements of negligence as another means to commit felony

Desistance Desistance on the part of the offender negates criminal liability in the attempted stage

Desistance is true only in the attempted stage of the felony

If under the definition of the felony,

the act done is already in the frustrated stage,

no amount of desistance will negate criminal liability

The spontaneous desistance of the offender negates only the attempted stage but not necessarily all criminal liability

Even though there was desistance on the part of the offender,

if the desistance was made when acts done by him already resulted to a felony,

that offender will still be criminally liable for the felony brought about his act

What is negated is only the attempted stage,

but there may be other felony constituting his act

The desistance referred to under Article 6 has reference to the crime intended to be committed

It has no reference to the crime actually committed by the offender before the desistance

In deciding whether a felony is attempted or frustrated or consummated,

there are three criteria involved: (1)

The manner of committing the crime

The elements of the crime

The nature of the crime itself

Manner of committing a crime

For example,

let us take the crime of bribery

Can the crime of frustrated bribery be committed

the common concept of bribery is that it is the act of one who corrupts a public officer


bribery is the crime of the receiver not the giver

The crime of the giver is corruption of public official

Bribery is the crime of the public officer who in consideration of an act having to do with his official duties would receive something,

or accept any promise or present in consideration thereof

) The confusion arises from the fact that this crime requires two to commit

The law called the crime of the giver as corruption of public official and the receiver as bribery

Giving the idea that these are independent crimes,

they cannot arise without the other

if only one side of the crime is present,

you cannot have a consummated corruption without the corresponding consummated bribery

There cannot be a consummated bribery without the corresponding consummated corruption

If you have bribery only,

it is only possible in the attempted stage

If you have a corruption only,

it is possible only in the attempted stage

A corruptor gives money to a public officer for the latter not to prosecute him

The public officer received the money but just the same,

He received the money to have evidence of corruption

Do not think that because the corruptor has already delivered the money,

he has already performed all the acts of execution,

the corruption is already beyond the attempted stage

That thinking does away with the concept of the crime that it requires two to commit

The manner of committing the crime requires the meeting of the minds between the giver and the receiver

Codal and Notes in CRIMINAL LAW BOOK I by RENE CALLANTA When the giver delivers the money to the supposed receiver,

but there is no meeting of the minds,

the only act done by the giver is an attempt

It is not possible for him to perform all the acts of execution because in the first place,

the receiver has no intention of being corrupted


when a public officer demands a consideration by official duty,

the corruptor turns down the demand,

If the one to whom the demand was made pretended to give,

but he had reported the matter to higher authorities,

the money was marked and this was delivered to the public officer

If the public officer was arrested,

do not think that because the public officer already had the money in his possession,

the crime is already frustrated bribery,

This is because the supposed corruptor has no intention to corrupt

In short,

there is no meeting of the minds

On the other hand,

if there is a meeting of the minds,

there is consummated bribery or consummated corruption

This leaves out the frustrated stage because of the manner of committing the crime

But indirect bribery is always consummated

This is because the manner of consummating the crime does not admit of attempt or frustration

You will notice that under the Revised Penal Code,

when it takes two to commit the crime,

there could hardly be a frustrated stage

For instance,

There is no frustrated adultery

Only attempted or consummated

This is because it requires the link of two participants

If that link is there,

there is only an attempted adultery

There is no middle ground when the link is there and when the link is absent

There are instances where an intended felony could already result from the acts of execution already done

Because of this,

there are felonies where the offender can only be determined to have performed all the acts of execution when the resulting felony is already accomplished

Without the resulting felony,

there is no way of determining whether the offender has already performed all the acts or not

It is in such felonies that the frustrated stage does not exist because without the felony being accomplished,

there is no way of stating that the offender has already performed all the acts of execution

An example of this is the crime of rape

The essence of the crime is carnal knowledge

No matter what the offender may do to accomplish a penetration,

if there was no penetration yet,

it cannot be said that the offender has performed all the acts of execution

We can only say that the offender in rape has performed all the acts of execution when he has effected a penetration

Once there is penetration already,

For this reason,

rape admits only of the attempted and consummated stages,

This was the ruling in the case of People v

In rape,

it requires the connection of the offender and the offended party

No penetration at all,

there is only an attempted stage

Slightest penetration or slightest connection,

You will notice this from the nature of the crime requiring two participants

This is also true in the crime of arson

It does not admit of the frustrated stage

In arson,

the moment any particle of the premises intended to be burned is blackened,

that is already an indication that the premises have begun to burn

It does not require that the entire premises be burned to consummate arson

Because of that,

the frustrated stage of arson has been eased out

The reasoning is that one cannot say that the offender,

has already performed all the acts of execution which could produce the destruction of the premises through the use of fire,

unless a part of the premises has begun to burn

If it has not begun to burn,

that means that the offender has not yet performed all the acts of execution

On the other hand,


the frustrated stage is already standing on the consummated stage except that the outcome did not result

As far as the stage is concerned,

the frustrated stage overlaps the consummated stage

Because of this reasoning by the Court of Appeals in People

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