Criminal Liability

Par.1 Criminal liability for a felony committed different from  that intended to be committed

1. felony has been committed intentionally
2. injury or damage done to the other party is the direct, natural and logical consequence of the felony

Hence, since he is still motivated by criminal intent, the offender is criminally liable in:
1. Error in personae – mistake in identity
2. Abberatio ictus – mistake in blow
3. Praetor intentionem - lack of intent to commit so grave a wrong

PROXIMATE CAUSE – the cause, which in the natural and continuous sequence unbroken by any efficient intervening cause, produces the injury, without which the result would not have occurred

1996 Bar Examination Question (Proximate Cause)
2003 Bar Examination Question (Immediate Cause)

Par. 2 Impossible Crime

1. Act would have been an offense against persons or property.
2. There was criminal intent.
3. Accomplishment is inherently impossible; or inadequate or ineffectual means are employed.
4. Act is not an actual violation of another provision of the Code or of special law.

Impossible crime occurs when there is:
1. inherent impossibility to commit the crime
2. inadequate means to consummate the crime
3. ineffectual means to consummate the crime


1996 Bar Examination Question (felonious act of scaring)
2000 Bar Examination Question (impossible crime)

1994 Bar Exam Question

Distinguish aberratio ictus from error in personae.

Aberratio ictus or mistake in the blow occurs when a felonious act missed the person against whom it was directed and hit instead somebody who was not the intended victim.

Error in personae, or mistake in identity occurs when the felonious act was directed at the person intended, but who turned out to be somebody else. Aberratio ictus brings about at least two (2) felonious consequence, ie. the attempted felony on the intended victim who was not hit and the felony on the unintended victim who was hit. A complex crime of the first form under Art. 48, RPC generally result. In error in personae only one crime is committed.

1999 Bar Exam Question

What do you understand by aberratio ictus: error in personae; and praeter intentionem? Do
they alter the criminal liability of an accused?

ABERRATIO ICTUS or mistake in the blow occurs when the offender delivered the blow at his intended victim but missed, and instead such blow landed on an unintended victim. The situation generally brings about complex crimes where from a single act, two or more grave or less grave felonies resulted, namely the attempt against the intended victim and the consequence on the unintended victim. As complex crimes, the penalty for the more serious crime shall be the one imposed and in the maximum period. It is only when the resulting felonies are only light that complex crimes do not result and the penalties are to be imposed distinctly for each resulting crime.

ERROR IN PERSONAE or mistake in identity occurs when the offender actually hit the person to whom the blow was directed but turned out to be different from and not the victim intended. The criminal liability of the offender is not affected, unless the mistake in identity resulted to a crime different from what the offender intended to commit, in which case the lesser penalty between the crime intended and the crime committed shall be imposed but in the maximum period (Art. 49, RPC).

PRAETER INTENTIONEM or where the consequence went beyond that intended or expected. This is a mitigating circumstance (Art. 13. par. 3, RPC) when there is a notorious disparity between the act or means employed by the offender and the resulting felony, i,e., the resulting felony could not be reasonably anticipated or foreseen by the of fender from the act or means employed by him.

2000 Bar Examination Question

Despite the massive advertising campaign in media against firecrackers and gun-firing during the New Year's celebrations, Jonas and Jaja bought ten boxes of super lolo and pla-pla in Bocaue, Bulacan. Before midnight of December 31, 1999, Jonas and Jaja started their celebration by having a drinking spree at Jona's place by exploding their high-powered firecrackers in their neighborhood. In the course of their conversation, Jonas confided to Jaja that he has been keeping a long-time grudge against his neighbor Jepoy in view of the latter's refusal to lend him some money. While under the influence of liquor, Jonas started throwing lighted super lolos inside Jepoy's fence to irritate him and the same exploded inside the latter's yard. Upon knowing that the throwing of the super lolo was deliberate, Jepoy became furious and sternly warned Jonas to stop his malicious act or he would get what he wanted. A heated argument between Jonas and Jepoy ensued but Jaja tried to calm down his friend. At midnight, Jonas convinced Jaja to lend him his .45 caliber pistol so that he could use it to knock down Jepoy and to end his arrogance. Jonas thought that after all, explosions were everywhere and nobody would know who shot Jepoy. After Jaja lent his firearm to Jonas, the latter again started throwing lighted super lolos and pla-plas at Jepoy's yard in order to provoke him so that he would come out of his house. When Jepoy came out, Jonas immediately shot him with Jaja's .45 caliber gun but missed his target. Instead, the bullet hit Jepoy's five year old son who was following behind him, killing the boy instantaneously, a) What crime or crimes can Jonas and Jaja be charged with? Explain.

Jonas and Jaja, can be charged with the complex crime of attempted murder with homicide because a single act caused a less grave and a grave felony (Art. 48. RPC).

Attempted murder is a less grave felony, while consummated homicide is a grave felony: both are punishable by afflictive penalties.