Art.17 Par. 3 – Principal by indispensable cooperation
1. Participation in the criminal resolution, that is, there is
either anterior conspiracy or unity of criminal purpose and
intention immediately before the commission of the crime
2. Cooperation in the commission of the offense by performing
another act, without which it would not have been accomplished.
MEANING OF “cooperation in the commission of the offense”
- To desire or wish in common a thing. But that common will
or purpose does not necessarily mean previous understanding,
for it can be explained or inferred from the circumstances
of each case.
NOTE: If the cooperation is not indispensable, the offender is
only an accomplice.
Collective Criminal Responsibility:
- This is present when the offenders are criminally liable
in the same manner and to the same extent. The penalty to
be imposed must be the same for all.
Principals by direct participation have collective
criminal responsibility. Principals by induction, (except
those who directly forced another to commit a crime) and
principals by direct participation have collective criminal
responsibility. Principals by indispensable cooperation
have collective criminal responsibilities with the
principals by direct participation.
Individual Criminal Responsibility:
- In the absence of any previous conspiracy, unity of
criminal purpose and intention immediately before the
commission of the crime, or community of criminal design,
the criminal responsibility arising from different acts
directed against one and the same person is considered as
individual and not collective, and each of the participants
is liable only for the act committed by him.
- QUASI-COLLECTIVE criminal responsibility: Some of the
offenders in the crime are principals and the others are
What is the essence of being a principal by indispensable
- The focus is not just on participation but on the
importance of participation in committing the crime.
- The basis is the importance of the cooperation to the
consummation of the crime.
- If the crime could hardly be committed without such
cooperation, then such cooperation would bring
about a principal.
- If the cooperation merely facilitated or hastened
the consummation of the crime, this would make the
cooperator merely an accomplice.
In case of doubt, favor the lesser penalty or liability. Apply
the doctrine of pro reo.