Death or Physical Injuries Under Exceptional Circumstances


Death or physical injuries inflicted under exceptional circumstances. - Any legally married person who having surprised his spouse in the act of committing sexual intercourse with another person, shall kill any of them or both of them in the act or immediately thereafter, or shall inflict upon them any serious physical injury, shall suffer the penalty of destierro.

If he shall inflict upon them physical injuries of any other kind, he shall be exempt from punishment.

These rules shall be applicable, under the same circumstances, to parents with respect to their daughters under eighteen years of age, and their seducer, while the daughters are living with their parents.

Any person who shall promote or facilitate the prostitution of his wife or daughter, or shall otherwise have consented to the infidelity of the other spouse shall not be entitled to the benefits of this article.

1. A legally married person or parent surprises his spouse or daughter (the latter must be under 18 and living with them) in the act of committing sexual intercourse with another person;
2. He/she kills any or both of them or inflicts upon any or both of them any serious physical injury in the act or immediately thereafter; and
3. He has not promoted or facilitated the prostitution of his wife or daughter, or that he has not consented to the infidelity of the other spouse.

This article does not define or penalize a felony, the penalty is destierro.

Penalty of destierro for killer spouse is meant to protect him from acts of reprisal by relatives of dead spouse.

It is not necessary that the parent be legitimate for the application of this article.

This article applies only when the daughter is single.

Surprise means to come upon suddenly or unexpectedly.

Art. 247 is applicable even when the accused did not see his spouse in the act sexual intercourse with another person. It is enough that circumstances reasonably show that the carnal act is being committed or has been committed.

Sexual intercourse does not include preparatory acts.

Article does not apply: If the surprising took place before any actual sexual intercourse could be done or after the actual sexual intercourse was finished.

“Immediately thereafter” means that the discovery, escape, pursuit and the killing must all form parts of one continuous act.

Immediately thereafter – may be an hour after proximate result of outrage overwhelming accused  after chancing upon spouse in basest act of infidelity.

The killing must be the direct by-product of the rage of the accused.

No criminal liability is incurred when less serious or slight physical injuries are inflicted. Moreover, in case third persons caught in the crossfire suffer physical injuries, the accused is not liable for physical injuries. The principle that one is liable for the consequences of his felonious act is not applicable, because his act under Art.247 does not amount to a felony.

Requisites must be established by evidence of the defense

living with parent - is understood to be in their own dwelling because of the embarrassment and humiliation done to the parent and parental abode
- If done in a motel, article does not apply.

People v. Puedan
Evidence of the victim’s promiscuity is inconsequential to the killing. The offender must prove that he actually surprised his wife and her paramour in flagrante delicate, and that he killed the man during or immediately thereafter.

People v. Abarca
The killing must be the direct result of the outrage suffered by the cuckolded husband. Although about one hour had passed between the time the accused discovered his wife having sexual intercourse with the victim and the time the latter was actually killed, it was held that Article 247 was applicable, as the shooting was a continuation of the pursuit of the victim by the accused. Inflicting death under exceptional circumstances is not murder. Two other persons suffered physical injuries as they were caught in the crossfire when the accused shot the victim. A complex crime of double frustrated murder was not committed as the accused did not have the intent to kill the two victims. Here, the accused did not commit murder when he fired at the paramour of his wife. No aberratio ictus because he was acting lawfully.

Bar Exam Question (2001)

Death under Exceptional Circumstances (2001)

A and B are husband and wife. A is employed as a security guard at Landmark, his shift being from 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. One night, he felt sick and cold, hence, he decided to go home around midnight after getting permission from his duty officer. Upon reaching the front yard of his home, he noticed that the light in the master bedroom was on and that the bedroom window was open. Approaching the front door, he was surprised to hear sighs and giggles inside the bedroom. He opened the door very carefully and peeped inside where he saw his wife B having sexual intercourse with their neighbor
C. A rushed inside and grabbed C but the latter managed to wrest himself free and jumped out of the window, A followed suit and managed to catch C again and after a furious struggle, managed also to strangle him to death. A then rushed back to his bedroom where his wife B was cowering under the bed covers. Still enraged, A hit B with fist blows and rendered her unconscious. The police arrived after being summoned by their neighbors and arrested A who was detained, inquested and charged for the death of C and serious physical Injuries of B. 

a) Is A liable for C's death? Why?  
b) Is A liable for B's injuries? Why? 

Suggested Answer:

a) Yes, A is liable for C's death but under the exceptional circumstances in Article 247 of the Revised Penal Code, where only destierro is prescribed. Article 247 governs since A surprised his wife B in the act of having sexual intercourse with C, and the killing of C was "Immediately thereafter" as the discovery, escape, pursuit and killing of C form one continuous act. (U.S. vs. Vargas, 2 Phil. 194)

b) Likewise, A is liable for the serious physical injuries he inflicted on his wife B but under the same exceptional circumstances in Article 247 of the Revised Penal Code, for the same reasons.

Bar Exam Question (2005)

Death under Exceptional Circumstances (2005)

Pete, a security guard, arrived home late one night after rendering overtime. He was shocked to see Flor, his wife, and Benjie, his best friend, completely naked having sexual intercourse. Pete pulled out his service gun and shot and killed Benjie. Pete was charged with murder for the death of Benjie. Pete contended that he acted in defense of his honor and that, therefore, he should be acquitted of the crime. The court found that Benjie died under exceptional circumstances and exonerated Pete of the crime, but sentenced him to destierro, conformably with Article 247 of the Revised Penal Code. The court also ordered Pete to pay indemnity to the heirs of the victim in the amount of P50,000.00.  Is the defense of Pete meritorious? Explain.

Suggested Answer:

No. A person who commits acts penalized under Article 247 of the Revised Penal Code for death or serious physical injuries inflicted under exceptional circumstances is still criminally liable. However, this is merely an exempting circumstance when the victim suffers any other kind of physical injury. In the case at bar, Pete will suffer the penalty
of destierro for the death of Benjie.

Alternative Answer:

No. Pete did not act in defense of his honor. For this defense to apply under Art. 11, there must be an unlawful aggression which is defined as an attack or material aggression that poses a danger to his life or personal safety. It must be a real aggression characterized by a physical force or with a weapon to cause injury or damage to one's life. (People v. Nahayra, G.R. Nos. 96368-69, October 17, 1991; People v. Housing, G.R. No. 64965, July 18, 1991)

Did the court correctly order Pete to pay indemnity despite his exoneration under Article 247 of the Revised Penal Code? Explain.

Suggested Answer:

Yes, because the privilege defined under this Article exempts the offender from criminal liability but not from civil liability. (People v. Abarca, G.R, No. L-74483, September 14, 1987; Art. 12, Revised Penal Code)