Destructive Arson

Art.320 - Art.326 expressly repealed by PD 1613 But PD 1744 revived Art.320 (Destructive Arson)

Arson is the malicious destruction of property by fire.

Arson committed by any person who burns or sets fire to the property of another or to his own property under circumstances which expose to danger the life or property of another.

Attempted: Ex. Rags in gasoline,

Consummated: If any part of building burned

Frustrated:there is fire, but no part of house burned

THREE KINDS OF ARSON:
1. Arson
2. Destructive arson; and
3. Other cases of arson.

A. ELEMENTS of CRIME INVOLVING DESTRUCTION:
1. That the offender causes destruction of the property; and
2. That the destruction was done by means of:
a. explosion,
b. discharge of electric current,
c. inundation,
d. sinking or stranding of a vessel,
e. damaging the engine of the vessel,
f. taking up rails from the railway track,
g. destroying telegraph wires and posts or those of any other system, or
h. other similar effective means of destruction.

B. ELEMENTS of BURNING ONE’S PROPERTY AS A MEANS TO COMMIT ARSON:
1. That the offender set fire to or destroyed his own property;
2. That the purpose of the offender in doing so was to commit arson or to cause a great destruction; and
3. That the property belonging to another was burned or destroyed.

C. ELEMENTS of ARSON:
1. That the property burned is the exclusive property of the offender; and
2. That
(a) the purpose of the offender is burning it is to defraud or cause damage to another, or
(b) prejudice is actually caused, or
(c) the thing burned is a building in an inhabited place.

Special aggravating circumstances in arson:
1. If committed with intent to gain;
2. If committed for the benefit of another;
3. If the offender is motivated by spite or hatred towards the owner or occupant of the property burned; or
4. If committed by a syndicate.

DESTRUCTIVE ARSON:
The penalty of reclusion temporal in its maximum period to reclusion perpetua shall be imposed upon any person who shall burn:
1. Building or Edifice
2. Building Open to Public
3. Train, Locomotive, Ship or Vessel for transportation, public use, leisure, entertainment
4. Building, factory, warehouse for service of Public Utilities
5. Building to conceal evidence, conceal bankruptcy, defraud creditors
6. Arsenal/Military/General Museum
7. Inhabited Place

SECTION 6 OF PD 1613: PRIMA FACIE EVIDENCE OF GUILT
1. If the fire started simultaneously in more than one part of the building or establishment
2. If substantial amount of flammable substances or materials are stored within the building not of the offender nor for household use
3. If gasoline, kerosene, petroleum or other flammable or combustible substances or materials soaked therewith or containers thereof, or any mechanical, electrical, chemical, or electronic contrivance designed to start a fire, or ashes or traces of any of the foregoing are found in the ruins or premises of the burned building or property
4. If the building or property is insured for substantially more than its actual value at the time of the issuance of this policy
5. If during the lifetime of the corresponding fire insurance policy more than two fires have occurred in the same or other premises owned or under control of the offender and/or insured
6. If shortly before the fire, a substantial portion of the effects insured and stored in a building or property had been withdrawn from the premises except in the ordinary course of business
7. If a demand for money or other valuable consideration was made before the fire in exchange for the desistance of the offender or for the safety of the person or property of the victim


1994 Bar Exam Question

Tata owns a three-storey building located at No. 3 Herran Street. Paco, Manila. She wanted to construct a new building but had no money to finance the construction. So, she insured the building for P3,000,000.00. She then urged Yoboy and Yongsi, for monetary consideration, to burn her building so she could collect the insurance proceeds. Yoboy and Yongsi burned the said building resulting to its total loss. What crime did Tata, Yoboy and Yongsi commit?

Tata, Yoboy and Yongsi committed the crime of destructive arson because they collectively caused the destruction of property by means of fire under the circumstances which exposed to danger the life or property of others (Art, 320, par. 5, RPC. as amended by RA No. 7659).