Justifying Circumstances – where the act of a person is
in accordance with law such that said person is deemed not to have
violated the law.
General Rule: No criminal and civil liability incurred.
Exception: There is civil liability with respect to par. 4
where the liability is borne by persons benefited
by the act.
Par. 1 Self-defense
1. Unlawful Aggression
- indispensable requirement
- There must be actual physical assault or aggression or
an immediate and imminent threat, which must be offensive
and positively strong.
- The defense must have been made during the existence of
aggression, otherwise, it is no longer justifying.
- While generally an agreement to fight does not constitute
unlawful aggression, violation of the terms of the agreement
to fight is considered an exception.
2. Reasonable necessity of the means employed to prevent or repel it
Test of reasonableness depends on:
(1) weapon used by aggressor
(2) physical condition, character, size and other circumstances
(3) physical condition, character, size and circumstances of
person defending himself
(4) place and occasion of assault
3. Lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the person
NOTE: Perfect equality between the weapons used,
nor material commensurability between the means of
attack and defense by the one defending himself and
that of the aggressor is not required
REASON: the person assaulted does not have sufficient
opportunity or time to think and calculate.
Rights included in self-defense:
1. defense of person
2. defense of rights protected by law
3. defense of property (only if there is also an actual and
imminent danger on the person of the one defending)
4. defense of chastity
Kinds of Self-Defense:
1. self-defense of chastity – there must be an attempt to
rape the victim
2. defense of property – must be coupled with an attack on the
person of the owner, or on one entrusted with the care of
People v. Narvaez, (GR No. L-33466-67, April 20, 1983)
Attack on property alone was deemed sufficient to comply
with element of unlawful aggression.
3. self-defense in libel – justified when the libel is aimed
at a person’s good name.
“Stand ground when in the right” - the law does not require
a person to retreat when his assailant is rapidly advancing
upon him with a deadly weapon.
NOTE: Under Republic Act 9262 (Anti-Violence Against Women
and Their Children Act of 2004), victim-survivors who are
found by the Courts to be suffering from Battered Woman
Syndrome (BWS) do not incur any criminal or civil liability
despite absence of the necessary elements for the justifying
circumstance of self-defense in the RPC. BWS is a
scientifically defined pattern of psychological and behavioral
symptoms found in women living in battering relationships as
a result of cumulative abuse.
Par. 2 Defense of Relative
1. Unlawful Aggression (indispensable requirement)
2. reasonable necessity of the means employed to prevent or repel it
3. In case the provocation was given by the person attacked,
the one making the defense had no part in such provocation.
Relative entitled to the defense:
4. legitimate, natural or adopted brothers and sisters, or
relatives by affinity in the same degrees
5. relatives by consanguinity within the 4th civil degree
NOTE: The relative defended may be the original
aggressor. All that is required to justify the act of the
relative defending is that he takes no part in such
Par. 3 Defense of Stranger
1. unlawful aggression (indispensable requirement)
2. reasonable necessity of the means employed to prevent or
3. person defending be not induced by revenge, resentment or
other evil motive
Par. 4 State of Necessity (Avoidance of Greater Evil or Injury)
1. evil sought to be avoided actually exists
2. injury feared be greater than that done to avoid it
3. no other practical and less harmful means of preventing it
NOTE: The necessity must not be due to the negligence or
violation of any law by the actor.
Par. 5 Fulfillment of Duty or Lawful Exercise of a Right or Office
1. accused acted in the performance of duty or in the lawful
exercise of a right or office
2. the injury caused or offense committed be the necessary
consequence of the due performance of the duty, or the
lawful exercise of such right or office.
NOTE: The accused must prove that he was duly
appointed to the position claimed he was discharging
at the time of the commission of the offense. It must
also be shown that the offense committed was the
necessary consequence of such fulfillment of duty, or
lawful exercise of a right or office.
Par. 6 Obedience to a Superior Order
1. an order has been issued
2. order has a lawful purpose (not patently illegal)
3. means used by subordinate to carry out said order is lawful
NOTE: The superior officer giving the order cannot
invoke this justifying circumstance. Good faith is
material, as the subordinate is not liable for carrying
out an illegal order if he is not aware of its illegality
and he is not negligent.
General Rule: Subordinate cannot invoke this
circumstance when order is patently illegal.
Exception: When there is compulsion of an
irresistible force, or under impulse of