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CRIMINAL LAW

NOTES AND CASES

GENERAL PRINCIPLES

Criminal Law
 It is that branch of public law which defines crimes, treats their nature, and provides for their punishment.

Crime
 It is an act committed or omitted in violation of a public law forbidding or commanding it.

What are the sources of criminal law?


1. Revised Penal Code
2. Special Penal Laws
3. Penal Presidential Decrees

Are there common law crimes in the Philippines?


No, common law crimes are not recognized in the Philippines, unless there is a particular provision in the penal code
or special law that defines and punishes the act, even if it be socially or morally wrong, no criminal liability is incurred
by its commission (U.S. vs. Taylor, 28 Phil. 599, 604).

Who has the power to define and punish crimes?


The State has the authority, under its police power, to define and punish crimes and to lay down the rules of criminal
procedure.

Limitations on the power of the lawmaking body to enact penal legislation


1. No ex post fact law or bill of attainder shall be enacted (Art. III, Sec. 22, Constitution)
a. It prohibits the passage of retroactive laws which are prejudicial to the accused.
b. Ex post facto law
i. It makes criminal an act done before the passage of the law and which was innocent when
done, and punishes such an act;
ii. Aggravates a crime, or makes it greater than it was, when committed;
iii. Changes the punishment and inflicts a greater punishment than the law annexed to the
crime when committed;
iv. Alters the legal rules of evidence, and authorizes conviction upon less or different
testimony than the law required at the time of the commission of the crime;
v. Assumes to regulate civil rights and remedies only, in effect imposes penalty or deprivation
of a right for something which when done was lawful; and
vi. Deprives a person accused of a crime some lawful protection to which he has become
entitled, such as the protection of a former conviction or acquittal, or a proclamation of
amnesty (In re: Kay Villegas Kami, Inc., 35 SCRA 429, 431).
c. Bill of Attainder – it is a legislative act which inflicts punishment without trial. Its essence is the
substitution of a legislative act for a judicial determination of guilt (People vs. Ferrer, 48 SCRA 382,
395).
i. Example: Congress passes a law which authorizes the arrest and imprisonment of
communists without the benefit of a judicial trial (Reyes, Revised Penal Code).
2. No person shall be held to answer for a criminal offense without due process of law (Art. III, Sec. 14[1])

What are the different characteristics of criminal law?


1. General – criminal law is binding on all persons who live or sojourn in Philippine territory (Art. 14, New Civil
Code).
a. Military Courts:
i. General Rule: Jurisdiction of civil courts is not affected by the military character of the
accused, unless controlled by express legislation to the contrary.
ii. Exceptions: Civil courts have jurisdiction over:
1. Murder cases committed by persons subject to military law;
2. Offense of malversation committed by an army finance officer (People vs. Livara,
G.R. No. L-6021, April 20, 1954)
3. In the times of war, civil courts have concurrent jurisdiction with the military
courts or general courts-martial over soldiers of the Philippine army, provided
that in the place of the commission of the crime no hostilities are in progress and
civil courts are functioning (Valdez vs. Lucero, 76 Phil. 356).
b. Exceptions to the general application of Criminal Law
i. Treaties or treaty stipulations (RP-US Visiting Forces Agreement)
ii. Law of preferential application
1. Constitution is a law of preferential application

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2. R.A. No. 75, a law in favor of diplomatic representatives and their domestic
servants
iii. Persons exempt from the operation of criminal laws by virtue of the principles of public
international law
1. Sovereigns and other chiefs of state;
2. Ambassadors, ministers’ plenipotentiary, ministers’ resident, and charges
d’affaires.
3. NOTE: Consul is not entitled to the privileges and immunities of an ambassador or
minister, but is subject to the laws and regulations of the country to which he is
accredited (Schneckenburger vs. Moran, 63 Phil. 250).
2. Territorial (Article 2, Revised Penal Code)
 As a rule, penal laws of the Philippines are enforceable only within its territory.
 Exceptions:
o Should commit an offense while on a Philippine ship or airship;
o Should forge or counterfeit any coin or currency note of the Philippines or obligations and securities
issued by the Government of the Philippines;
o Should be liable for acts connected with the introduction into the Philippines of the obligations and
securities mentioned in the preceding number;
o While being public officers or employees, should commit an offense in the exercise of their
functions; or
o Should commit any of the crimes against national security and the law of nations, defined in Title
One of Book Two of the Revised Penal Code.

3. Prospective – a penal law cannot make an act punishable in a manner in which it was not punishable when
committed. As provided in the Art. 366 of RPC, crimes are punished under the laws in force at the time of
their commission.
a. Exceptions: Whenever a new statute dealing with crime establishes conditions more lenient or
favorable to the accused, it can be given a retroactive effect.
i. Exceptions to the exception:
1. Where the new law is expressly made inapplicable to pending actions or existing
causes of action (Tavera vs. Valdez, 1 Phil. 463, 470-471)
2. Where the offender is a habitual criminal under Rule 5, Art. 62, Revised Penal
Code (Art. 22, RPC).

Theories of Criminal Law


1. Classical Theory
a. Characteristics:
i. Basis of criminal liability is human free will and the purpose of the penalty is retribution
ii. Man is essentially a moral creature with an absolute free will to choose between good and
evil thereby placing more stress upon the effect or result of the felonious act than upon
the man, the criminal himself
iii. It has endeavored to establish a mechanical and direct proportion between crime and
penalty
iv. There is a scant regard to the human element
2. Positivist theory
a. Man is subdued occasionally by a strange and morbid phenomenon which constrains him to do
wrong, in spite of or contrary to his volition
b. Crime is essentially a social and natural phenomenon. Thus, it cannot be treated and checked by
the application of abstract principles of law and jurisprudence, nor by the imposition of a
punishment, fixed and determined a priori; rather, through the enforcement of individual measures
in each particular case after a thorough, personal and individual investigation conducted by a
competent body of psychiatrists and social scientists.

Rules as to jurisdiction over crimes committed aboard foreign merchant vessels


1. English 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.
2. French rule – such crimes are triable in that country, unless they merely affect things within the vessel or
they refer to the internal management thereof.

Felonies – acts and omissions punishable by the Revised Penal Code.


Elements:
1. There must be an act or omission;
2. The act or omission must be punishable by the RPC;

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3. The act is performed or the omission incurred by means of dolo or culpa (People vs. Gonzales, G.R. No. 80762,
March 19, 1990).

Distinguish intentional felonies from culpable felonies


In intentional felonies, the act is performed with deliberate intent; whereas in culpable felonies, the act or omission
of the offender is not malicious, unintentional, it being simply the incident of another act performed without malice.

Elements of Dolo or Malice


1. Freedom
2. Intelligence
3. Intent
NOTE:
 Actus non facit reum, nisi mens sit rea – a crime is not committed if the mind of the person performing to
act complained be innocent.
 There is no felony by dolo if there is no intent.

Mistake of Fact – it is a misapprehension of fact on the part of the person who caused injury to another. He is not,
however criminally liable, because he did not act with criminal intent. An honest mistake of fact destroys the
presumption of criminal intent which arises upon the commission of a felonious act (People vs. Coching, et.al., C.A.,
52 O.G. 293; People vs. Oanis, 74 Phil. 257).

Requisites of Mistake of Fact as a Defense


1. The act done would have been lawful had the facts been as the accused believe them to be
2. The intention of the accused in performing the act should be lawful
3. The mistake must be without fault or carelessness on the part of the accused
a. People vs. Ah Chong – Honest mistake of fact
b. People vs. Oanis – there is fault or carelessness on the part of the accused

Culpa or Fault
Requisites:
1. Freedom
2. Intelligence
3. Imprudent, negligent, or lack of foresight

Mala in se vs. Mala prohibita


1. In mala in se, the intent govers while in mala prohibita, the only inquiry is whether or not the law has been
violated.
2. Mala in se refers generally to felonies defined and penalized by the RPC; while mala prohibita refers generally
to acts made criminal by special laws.

Art. 4. Criminal Liability. – Criminal liability shall be incurred:


1. By any person committing a felony (delito) although the wrongful act be different from the which he intended.
2. 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.

Criminal Liability – it is incurred by any person in the cases mentioned in Article 4 of the Revised Penal Code. The
manner of incurring criminal liability under the RPC is stated in Article 3, that is, performing or failing to do an act,
when either is punished by law, by means of deceit (with malice) or fault (through negligence or imprudence).

1) By any person committing a felony (delito) although the wrongful act be different from the which he intended.

Rationale of Paragraph 1: El que es causa de la causa es causa del mal causado – he who is the cause of the cause is
the cause of the evil caused (People vs. Ural, L-30801, March 27, 1974).

Requisites:
1. That an intentional felony has been committed; and
a. No felony is committed:
i. When the act or omission is not punishable by the Revised Penal Code; or
1. Example: An act which is not punishable by the RPC is attempting to commit
suicide (Art. 253, RPC).
ii. When the act is covered by any of the justifying circumstances enumerated in Article 11 of
the Revised Penal Code.

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2. That the wrong done to the aggrieved party be the direct, natural and logical consequence of the felony
committed by the offender (U.S. vs. Brobst, 14 Phil. 310).

Causes that may produce a result different from that which the offender intended
1. Error in personae (Mistake in the Identity)
2. Aberratio ictus (Mistake in the blow)
3. Praeter intentionem (Injurious result is greater than that intended)

Proximate Cause – the cause, which, in natural and continuous sequence, unbroken by any efficient intervening cause,
produces the injury, and without which the result would not have occurred (Bataclan vs. Medina, 102 Phil. 181).

The felony committed is not the proximate cause of the resulting injury when:
A) There is an active force than intervened between the felony committed and the resulting injury, and the
active force is a distinct act or fact absolutely forein from the felonious act of the accused; or
B) The resulting injury is due to the intentional act of the victim

When is death presumed to be the natural consequence of physical injuries inflicted?


The death of the victim is presumed to be the natural consequence of the physical injuries inflicted, when the following
facts are intended:
a) That the victim at the time the physical injuries were inflicted was in normal health.
b) That death may be expected from the physical injuries inflicted.
c) That death ensured within a reasonable time (People vs. Datu Baginda, C.A. 44 O.G. 2287).

The felony is not the proximate cause of the resulting injury when:
a) There is an active force that intervened between the felony committed and the resulting injury, and the
active force is a distinct act or fact absolutely foreign from the felonious act of the accused; or
b) The resulting injury is due to the intentional act of the victim.

2) 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 an account of the employment of inadequate or ineffectual
means.

Impossible crime (Article 4, par. 2 must be read together with Article 59, providing for its penalty, that is, arresto
mayor or a fine of P200.00 to P500.00)
 The commission of an impossible crime is indicative of criminal propensity or criminal tendency on the part
of the actor.
 In the case of Intod vs. CA, G.R. No. 103119, October 21, 1992, the Supreme Court held that:
o Under this article, the act performed by the offender cannot produce an offense against person or
property because: (1) the commission of the offense is inherently impossible of accomplishment:
or (2) the means employed is either (a) inadequate or (b) ineffectual.
o That the offense cannot be produced because the commission of the offense is inherently
impossible of accomplishment is the focus of this petition. To be impossible under this clause, the
act intended by the offender must be by its nature one impossible of accomplishment. There must
be either impossibility of accomplishing the intended act in order to qualify the act an impossible
crime.
o Legal impossibility would apply to those circumstances where (1) the motive, desire and expectation
is to perform an act in violation of the law; (2) there is intention to perform the physical act; (3)
there is a performance of the intended physical act; and (4) the consequence resulting from the
intended act does not amount to a crime.
o Legal impossibility, on the other hand, is a defense which can be invoked to avoid criminal liability
for an attempt. In U.S. vs. Berrigan, the accused was indicated for attempting to smuggle letters into
and out of prison. The law governing the matter made the act criminal if done without knowledge
and consent of the warden. In this case, the offender intended to send a letter without the latter's
knowledge and consent and the act was performed. However, unknown to him, the transmittal was
achieved with the warden's knowledge and consent. The lower court held the accused liable for
attempt but the appellate court reversed. It held unacceptable the contention of the state that
"elimination of impossibility as a defense to a charge of criminal attempt, as suggested by the Model
Penal Code and the proposed federal legislation, is consistent with the overwhelming modern view".
In disposing of this contention, the Court held that the federal statutes did not contain such
provision, and thus, following the principle of legality, no person could be criminally liable for an act
which was not made criminal by law.

What is the purpose of the law in punishing the impossible crime?

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To suppress criminal propensity or criminal tendencies. Objectively, the offender has not committed a felony, but
subjectively, he is a criminal (Reyes, pg. 89)

Requisites:
1. The act performed would be an offense against persons or property
a. Felonies against Persons are:
i. Parricide (Art. 246) – any person who shall kill his father, mother or child whether
legitimate or illegitimate, or any of his other ascendants or descendants (meaning –
legitimate) or his spouse shall be guilty of Parricide (Art. 246, RPC; Sec. 5, R.A. No. 7659).
ii. Infanticide (Art. 255) – it is the killing of a child less than three days old.
iii. Abortion (Art. 256) – it is an expulsion of a non-viable fetus. However, as long as the fetus
dies as a result of the violence used or the drugs administered, it is Abortion, even if the
fetus is full-term (People v. Pastrana, 2168-CR, March 31, 1980).
1. Intentional when the offender intentionally causes the abortion; unintentional
when the offender caused the abortion unintentionally but by violence.
iv. Murder (Art. 248) – it is the killing of another which is not parricide, infanticide, and
provided that the following circumstances are attendant:
1. With treachery, taking advantage of superior strength, with the aid of armed men,
or employing means to weaken the defense or means to insure or afford
impunity;
2. In consideration of a price, reward, or promise;
3. By means of inundation, fire, poison, explosion, shipwreck, stranding of a vessel,
derailment of or assault upon a street car or locomotion, fall of an airship, by
means of motor vehicles, or with the use of any other means involving greater
waste and ruin;
4. On occasion of any of the calamities enumerated in the preceding paragraph, or
of an earthquake, eruption of a volcano, destructive cyclone, epidemic, or any
other public calamity;
5. With evident premeditation;
6. With cruelty, by deliberately and inhumanly augmenting the suffering of the
victim or outraging or scoffing at his person or corpse (Art. 248, RPC).
Note: Murder is one of the instances when man descends to a level lower than
that of the beast, for it is non-instinctive killing, a deliberate destruction of a
member of the same species for reasons other than survival (People vs. Tuson,
261 SCRA 711).
v. Death under exceptional circumstances (Art. 247) – any legally married person who, having
surprised his spouse in the act of sexual intercourse with another, shall kill any or both of
them in the act or immediately thereafter or shall inflict upon them any serious physical
injury shall be penalized by destierro.
1. The same is true to the parents with respect to their daughters under 18 years of
age and their seducers, while their daughters are living with their parents.
2. The article does not apply to a person who promotes or facilitates the prostitution
of his wife or daughter or shall otherwise have consented to the infidelity of the
other spouse (Art. 247, RPC).
vi. Homicide (Art. 249) – it is the killing of a person when not any of the circumstances
mentioned in Art. 248 (Murder) is attendant (even if present, but not alleged in the
information), the killer is not the relative mentioned in Art. 246 (Parricide), and the victim
is not less than 3 years old. In other words, in order to classify killing as homicide, it must
not be murder, parricide, infanticide or abortion. It would seem that the process would be
one of elimination. The killing however must not be justified under any of the justifying
circumstances under Art. 11 of the RPC.
vii. Death in a tumultuous affray (Art. 251) – when several persons not composing groups
organized for the purpose of assaulting each other reciprocally, quarrel and assault each
other in a confused and tumultuous manner, and somebody died in the course of the
affray, and it cannot be ascertained who killed the deceased, those who inflicted serious
physical injuries shall be the ones liable, and the penalty is prision mayor.
1. The participants must be more than three, according to the definition of
tumultuous under Article 153, par. 3, which provides that the disturbance or
interruption shall be deemed to be tumultuous if caused by more than three
persons who are armed or provided with means of violence.
2. The person killed could be a participant or anybody caught in the melee.
viii. Giving assistance to suicide (Art. 253) – any person who assists another to commit suicide
to the extent of doing the killing himself shall suffer the penalty of reclusion temporal.

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ix. Duel (Art. 260) – any person who shall kill his adversary in a duel shall suffer the penalty of
reclusion temporal.
1. Duel involves an agreement to fight under determined conditions and with the
participation and intention of seconds, who fix such conditions (People vs.
Navarro, 7 Phil. 723).
b. Crimes against Property
i. Robbery (Art. 293) – it is committed by any person who, with intent to gain, shall take any
personal property belonging to another, by means of violence against or intimidation of
any person, or by using force upon anything.
ii. Theft (Art. 308) – it is committed by any person who, with intent to gain but without
violence against or intimidation of persons nor force upon things, shall take personal
property of another without the latter’s consent.
iii. Qualified Theft (Art. 310)
iv. Theft of Motor Vehicle (R.A. No. 6539)
v. Brigandage (Art. 306)
vi. Usurpation of Real Rights (Art. 312)
vii. Culpable or Fraudulent Insolvency (Art. 314)
viii. Estafa (Art. 315)
ix. Other forms of swindling (Art. 316)
x. Arson (Art. 320 to 326-B, as amended by PD No. 1613 and R.A. No. 7659)
xi. Malicious Mischief (Art. 327)
2. The act was done with evil intent
3. Its accomplishment is inherently impossible, or that the means employed is either inadequate or ineffectual
4. The act performed should not constitute a violation of another provision of the Revised Penal Code

What are the different stages of felony?


According to Article 6 of the Revised Penal Code, the stages of felony are consummated, frustrated, and attempted.
1. A felony is consummated when all the elements necessary for its execution and accomplishment are present.
2. It is frustrated 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.
3. It is attempted when the offender commences the commission of a felony directly by overt acts, and does
not perform all the acts of execution which would produce the felony by reason of some cause or accident
other than his own spontaneous desistance.

When is a felony deemed commenced directly by overt acts?


When the following requisites are present, namely:
1) That there be external acts;
2) Such external acts have direct connection with the crime intended to be committed.

What are light felonies?


Light felonies are those infractions of law for those commission of which the penalty of arresto menor or a fine not
exceeding 200 pesos, or both, is provided (Art. 9, par. 3 of the Revised Penal Code).

When are light felonies punishable?


Article 7 of the Revised Penal Code provides that light felonies are punishable only when they have been
consummated with the exception of those committed against persons or property.

In what cases are light felonies punished by the Code?


1. Slight physical injuries (Art. 266)
2. Theft (Art. 309, pars. 7 and 8)
3. Alteration of boundary marks (Art. 313)
4. Malicious mischief (Art. 328, par. 3; Art. 329, par. 3)
5. Intriguing against honor (Art. 364).

Note: The penalty for the above-mentioned crimes is arresto menor (imprisonment from one day to thirty days),
or a fine not exceeding P200.00

G.R.: Light felonies are punishable only when they have Reason for the general rule: Light felonies produce such
been consummated. light, such insignificant moral and material injuries that
public conscience is satisfied with providing a light
penalty for their consummation. If they are not
consummated, the wrong done is so slight that there is
no need of providing a penalty at all (Albert).

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Exception: Light felonies committed against persons or Reason for the exception: The commission of felonies
property are punishable even if attempted or frustrated. against persons or property presupposes in the offender
moral depravity. For that reason, even attempted or
frustrated light felonies against persons or property are
punishable.

Conspiracy and Proposal to commit felony


 Punishable only in the cases which the law specially provides a penalty therefor.
 Reason for the Rule: Conspiracy and proposal to commit a crime are only preparatory acts, and when the law
regards them as innocent or at least permissible, except in rare and exceptional circumstances.
 Conspiracy
o it exists when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the commission of a felony
and decide to commit it.
o Requisites:
 That two or more persons came to an agreement.
 Agreement presupposes meeting of the minds of two or more persons.
 That the agreement concerned the commission of a felony.
 Agreement must refer to the commission of a crime. It must be an agreement to
act, to effect, to bring about what had already been conceived and determined.
 That the execution of the felony be decided upon.
 The conspirators have made up their minds to commit the crime. There must be
a determination to commit the crime of treason, rebellion or sedition.
o It is not a crime except when the law specifically provides a penalty therefor. Thus, the law provides
for the following felonies:
 Conspiracy to commit treason (Art. 115)
 Conspiracy to commit coup d’etat, rebellion or insurrection (Art. 136)
 Conspiracy to commit sedition (Art. 141)
o When the conspiracy relates to a crime actually committed, it is not a felony but only a manner of
incurring criminal liability, that is, when there is conspiracy, the act of one is the act of all. On the
other hand, when conspiracy is a manner of incurring criminal liability, it is not punishable as a
separate offense.
o Indications of Conspiracy:
 Unity of Purpose
 Unity in the execution of the unlawful objective
 The acts of the conspirators must show a common design (People vs. Dorico, G.R. No. L-
31568, November 29, 1973).
o Direct proof is not essential to commit conspiracy. It may be inferred from the collective acts of the
accused before, during and after the commission of the crime. Conspiracy can be presumed from
and proven by acts of the accused themselves when the said acts point to a join purpose and design,
concerted action and community of interests. It is not necessary to show that all the conspirators
actually hit and killed the victim. Conspiracy renders all the conspirators as co-principals regardless
of the extent and character of their participation because in contemplation of law the act of one
conspirator is the act of law (People vs. Buntag, G.R. No. 123070, April 14, 2004).
o Quantum of proof required to establish conspiracy: To establish conspiracy, evidence of actual
cooperation rather than mere cognizance or approval of an illegal act is required.
 Proposal – when the person who has decided to commit a felony proposes its execution to some other person
or persons.
o Requisites:
 A person has decided to commit a felony
 He proposes its execution to some other person or persons.
o Instances where proposal to commit a felony is punished
 Proposal to commit treason (Art. 115)
 Proposal to commit coup d’etat, rebellion or insurrection (Art. 136)
o There is no criminal proposal when:
 The person who proposes is not determined to commit the felony.
 There is no decided, concrete and formal proposal.
 It is not the execution of a felony that is proposed.
 Why is conspiracy and proposal to commit a crime punishable in crimes against external and internal security
of the State?
o In ordinary crimes, the State survives the victim, and the culprit cannot find in the success of his
work any impunity. Whereas, in crimes against the external and internal security of the State, if the
culprit succeeds in his criminal enterprise, he would obtain the power and therefore impunity for
the crime committed.

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Grave felonies, less grave felonies, and light felonies (Art. 9)


1. Grave felonies – those to which the law attaches the capital punishment or penalties which in any of their
periods are afflictive, in accordance with Art. 25 of this Code.
2. Less grave felonies – those which the law punishes with penalties which in their maximum period are
correctional, in accordance with Art. 25 of the Code.
3. Light felonies – those infractions of law for the commission of which the penalty of arresto menor or a fine
not exceeding 200 pesos, or both, is provided.

State the rule in Article 10.


General Rule: Revised Penal Code shall be supplementary to special laws.
Exception: Unless the latter should specially provide the contrary.

JUSTIFYING CIRCUMSTANCES AND CIRCUMSTANCES WHICH EXEMPT FROM CRIMINAL LIABILITY

What are the circumstances affecting criminal liability and briefly explain each?
1) Justifying circumstances (Art. 11)
2) Exempting circumstances (Art. 12), and other absolutory causes (Arts. 20; 124, last par.; 280, last par.; 332;
344)
3) Mitigating circumstances (Art. 13)
4) Aggravating circumstances (Art. 14)
5) Alternative circumstances (Art. 15)

Justifying Circumstances
- Are those where 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.
- There is no civil liability, except in par. 4, Article 11 where the civil liability is borne by the persons benefited
by the act.
- Basis: The law recognizes the non-existence of a crime by expressly stating in the opening sentence of Art.
11 that the persons therein mentioned “do not incur any criminal liability.”

Par. 1. Self-Defense
- Requisites: The essential requisites of self-defense are the following:
1) Unlawful aggression on the part of the victim;
 Unlawful aggression is the most essential element of self-defense. It presupposes actual,
sudden, unexpected or imminent danger — not merely threatening and intimidating
action.
 There is aggression, only when the one attacked faces real and immediate threat to his life.
 The peril sought to be avoided must be imminent and actual, not merely speculative.
2) Reasonable necessity of the means employed to prevent or repel such aggression; and
3) Lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the person resorting to self-defense.
o In other words, there must have been an unlawful and unprovoked attack that endangered the life
of the accused, who was then forced to inflict severe wounds upon the assailant by employing
reasonable means to resist the attack (Sherwin Dela Cruz vs. People of the Philippines, G.R. No.
189405, November 19, 2014).
- Burden of Proof: Considering that self-defense totally exonerates the accused from any criminal liability, it is
well settled that when he invokes the same, it becomes incumbent upon him to prove by clear and convincing
evidence that he indeed acted in defense of himself. The burden of proving that the killing was justified and
that he incurred no criminal liability therefor shifts upon him. As such, he must rely on the strength of his
own evidence and not on the weakness of the prosecution for, even if the prosecution evidence is weak, it
cannot be disbelieved after the accused himself has admitted the killing.
- Battered Woman Syndrome (RA 9262)
o It refers to a scientifically defined pattern of psychological and behavioral symptoms found in
women living in battering relationships as a result of cumulative abuse (Sec. 3[c], R.A. 9262).
o Cycle of Violence, according to the ruling in People vs. Genosa (G.R. No. 135981, January 15, 2004).
 During the tension-building phase, minor battering occurs -- it could be verbal or slight
physical abuse or another form of hostile behavior. The woman usually tries to pacify the
batterer through a show of kind, nurturing behavior; or by simply staying out of his way.
What actually happens is that she allows herself to be abused in ways that, to her, are
comparatively minor. All she wants is to prevent the escalation of the violence exhibited
by the batterer. This wish, however, proves to be double-edged, because her placatory and
passive behavior legitimizes his belief that he has the right to abuse her in the first place.
 The acute battering incident is said to be characterized by brutality, destructiveness and,
sometimes, death. The battered woman deems this incident as unpredictable, yet also
inevitable. During this phase, she has no control; only the batterer may put an end to the

8
CRIMINAL LAW
NOTES AND CASES

violence. Its nature can be as unpredictable as the time of its explosion, and so are his
reasons for ending it. The battered woman usually realizes that she cannot reason with
him, and that resistance would only exacerbate her condition.
 The final phase of the cycle of violence begins when the acute battering incident ends.
During this tranquil period, the couple experience profound relief. On the one hand, the
batterer may show a tender and nurturing behavior towards his partner. He knows that he
has been viciously cruel and tries to make up for it, begging for her forgiveness and
promising never to beat her again. On the other hand, the battered woman also tries to
convince herself that the battery will never happen again; that her partner will change for
the better; and that this good, gentle and caring man is the real person whom she loves.
- The rule in self-defense is: stand ground when in the right.