Accessories are those who:
1. having knowledge of the commission of the crime, and
2. without having participated therein either as principals or
accomplices, take part subsequent to its commission in any
of the following acts:
a. By profiting themselves or assisting the offender to profit
by the effects of the crime.
b. Assisting the offender to profit by the effects of the crime.
c. By concealing or destroying the body of the crime to prevent
In profiting by the effects of the crime, the accessory must
receive the property from the principal. He should not take it
without the consent of the principal. If he took it without the
consent of the principal, he is not an accessory but a principal
in the crime of theft.
PAR. 1 - person received and used property from another, knowing
it was stolen
PAR. 2 - placing a weapon in the hand of the dead who was
unlawfully killed to plant evidence, or burying the
deceased who was killed by the principals
PAR. 3 - a) public officers who harbor, conceal or assist in
the escape of the principal of any crime (not light
felony) with abuse of his public functions
b) private persons who harbor, conceal or assist in
the escape of the author of the crime – guilty of
treason, parricide, murder or an attempt against
the life of the President, or who is known to be
habitually guilty of some crime.
GENERAL RULE: If the Principal is acquitted the Accessory is
also acquitted. The responsibility of the accessory is
subordinate to that of the principal in a crime
Exception: When the crime was in fact committed by the
principal, but the principal is covered by exempting
circumstances (Art 12) and as a result he is not held liable.
However, it is possible that the accessory may still be held
liable even if the principal was acquitted by an
Trial of accessory may proceed without awaiting the result
of the separate charge against the principal because the
criminal responsibilities are distinct from each other.
Two classes of accessories contemplated in par. 3 of art. 19
1. PUBLIC officers, who harbor, conceal or assist in the escape
of the principal of any crime (not light felony) with abuse
of his public functions.
1. The accessory is a public officer.
2. He harbors, conceals, or assists in the escape of the
3. The public officer acts with abuse of his public functions.
4. The crime committed by the principal is any crime,
provided it is not a light felony.
2. PRIVATE persons who harbor, conceal or assist in the escape
of the author of the crime who is guilty of treason, parricide,
murder, or attempts against the life of the President, or
who is known to be habitually guilty of some other crime.
1. The accessory is a private person.
2. He harbors, conceals or assists in the escape of the
author of the crime.
3. The crime committed by the principal is either:
d. An attempt against the life of the President, or
e. That the principal is known to be habitually guilty
of some other crime.
Neither the letter nor the spirit of the law requires that
the principal be convicted before one may be punished as
an accessory. As long as the corpus delicti is proved and
the accessory’s participation as such is shown, he can be
held criminally responsible and meted out the corresponding
penalty (Inovero vs. Coronel, CA, 65 O.G.3160).
The prescribed acts of the accessory under par.2 must have
been intended to prevent the discovery of the crime, hence,
mere silence does not make one an accessory. If, however,
the crime involved is a conspiracy to commit treason, his
silence may hold him liable for misprision of treason
(Art. 116) but as a principal thereof.
Where the accused misleads the authorities by giving them
false information, such act is equivalent to concealment
and he should be held as an accessory.
Principal Distinguished from Accessory
1. Principal - Takes direct part or cooperates in, or induces
the commission of the crime.
Accessory - Does NOT take direct part or cooperates in, or
induces the commission of the crime.
2. Principal - cooperates in the commission of the offense by
acts either prior thereto or simultaneous therewith.
Accessory - does not take part in the commission of the
3. Principal - Participates during commission of the crime.
Accessory - Participation of the accessory in all cases
always SUBSEQUENT to the commission of the crime.