Direct Assault

ART. 148.

Direct assaults. - Any person or persons who, without a public uprising, shall employ force or intimidation for the attainment of any of the purpose enumerated in defining the crimes of rebellion and sedition, or shall attack, employ force, or seriously intimidate or resist any person in authority or any of his agents, while engaged in the performance of official duties, or on occasion of such performance, shall suffer the penalty of prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods and a fine not exceeding P1,000 pesos, when the assault is committed with a weapon or when the offender is a public officer or employee, or when the offender lays hands upon a person in authority. If none of these circumstances be present, the penalty of prision correccional in its minimum period and a fine not exceeding P500 pesos shall be imposed.


1. Without public uprising, by employing force or intimidation for attainment of any of the purposes enumerated in defining the crimes of rebellion and sedition (first form)

1. Offender employs  force or intimidation;
2. Aim of offender is to attain any of the purposes of the crime of rebellion and sedition; and
3. That there is no public uprising.

2. Without public uprising, by attacking, by employing force or by seriously intimidating or by seriously resisting any person in authority or any of his agents, while engaged in the performance of official duties, or on occasion of such performance. (second form)

1. Offender
(a) makes an attack,
(b) employs force,
(c) makes a serious intimidation, or
(d) makes a serious resistance;
2. Person assaulted is a person in authority or his agent;
3. At the time of the assault the person in authority or his agent
a. is engaged in the actual performance of official duties (motive is not essential); or
b. is assaulted by reason of the past performance of official duties (motive is essential);
4. That the offender knows that the one he is assaulting is a person in authority or his agent (with intention to offend, injure or assault); and
5. No public uprising.


General Rule: Direct assault is always complexed with the material consequence of the act (Ex. direct assault with murder).
Exception: If resulting in a light felony, the consequent crime is absorbed.

The force employed need not be serious when the offended party is a person in authority (Ex. Laying of hands).

The intimidation or resistance must be serious whether the offended party is an agent-only or a person in authority (Ex. Pointing a gun).

A person in authority is any person directly vested with jurisdiction (power or authority to govern and execute the laws) whether as an individual or as a member of some court or governmental corporation, board, or commission.

Examples: A barangay captain, a Division Superintendent of Schools, President of Sanitary Division and a teacher.

An agent is one who, by direct provision of law or by election or by appointment by competent authority, is charged with the maintenance of public order and the protection and security of life and property.

Examples: Barrio councilman and any person who comes to the aid of the person in authority, policeman, municipal treasurer, postmaster, sheriff, agents of the BIR, MalacaƱang confidential agent.

Even when the person in authority or the agent agrees to fight, direct assault is still committed.

When the person in authority or the agent provoked/attacked first, innocent party is entitled to defend himself and cannot be held liable for assault or resistance nor for physical injuries, because he acts in legitimate self-defense.

There can be no assault upon or disobedience to one’s authority by another when they both contend that they were in the exercise of their respective duties.

When assault is made by reason of the performance of his duty there is no need for actual performance of his official duty when attacked.

Direct assault cannot be committed during rebellion.

Direct assault may be committed upon a private person who comes to the aid of a person in authority since he is then considered an agent of a person in authority.

Classifications of direct - simple and qualified.

1. when the assault is committed with a weapon;
2. when the offender is a public officer or employee; or
3. when the offender lays hand upon a person in authority

The first form of direct assault is tantamount to rebellion or sedition, except that there is no pubic uprising.

When the assault results in the killing  of that agent or of a person in  authority, there arises a complex  crime of direct assault with murder or homicide.

The only time when it is not complexed is when material consequence is a light felony, that is, slight physical injury. Direct assault absorbs the lighter felony.

Resistance or disobedience to an agent of a person in authority is always serious, but to an agent of a person in authority, it may or may not be serious.

If the public officer is not a person in authority, the assault on him is an aggravating circumstance in Art. 14, no. 3 (rank).

Teachers, lawyers and heads of schools recognized by government are persons in authority only for purposes of Art. 152 in relation to Arts. 148 and 151, and in connection with their duties.

A person in authority includes a barangay chairman and members of the Lupong Tagapagkasundo as provided under the Local Government Code.

direct assault
Example of Direct Assault (1995 Bar Examination Question)

On his way to buy a lotto ticket, a policeman suddenly found himself surrounded by four men. One of them wrestled the police officer to the ground and disarmed him while the other companions who were armed with a hunting knife, an ice pick, and a balisong, repeatedly stabbed him. The policeman died as a result of the multiple stab wounds inflicted by his assailants.

What crime or crimes were committed? Discuss fully.

All the assailants are liable for the crime of murder, qualified by treachery,(which absorbed abuse of superior strength) as the attack was sudden and unexpected and the victim was totally defenseless. Conspiracy is obvious from the concerted acts of the assailants. Direct assault would not complex the crime, as there is no showing that the assailants knew that the victim was a policeman; even if there was knowledge, the fact is that he was not in the performance of his official duties, and therefore there is no direct assault.

Bar Exam Question (2001)

Art 148; Direct Assault vs. Resistance & Disobedience

A, a teacher at Mapa High School, having gotten mad at X, one of his pupils, because of the latter's throwing paper clips at his classmates, twisted his right ear. X went out of the classroom crying and proceeded home located at the back of the school. He reported to his parents Y and Z what A had done to him. Y and Z immediately proceeded to the school building and because they were running and talking in loud voices, they were seen by the barangay chairman, B, who followed them as he suspected that an untoward incident might happen. Upon seeing A inside the classroom, X pointed him out to his father, Y, who administered a fist blow on A, causing him to fall down. When Y was about to kick A, B rushed towards Y and pinned both of the latter's arms. Seeing his father being held by B, X went near and punched B on the face, which caused him to lose his grip on Y. Throughout this incident, Z shouted words of encouragement at Y, her husband, and also threatened to slap A. Some security guards of the school arrived, intervened and surrounded X, Y and Z so that they could be investigated in the principal's office. Before leaving, Z passed near A and threw a small flower pot at him but it was deflected by B. 

a) What, if any, are the respective criminal liability of X Y and Z? 
b) Would your answer be the same if B were a barangay tanod only?

Suggested Answer:

a) X is liable for Direct Assault only, assuming the physcal injuries inflicted on B, the Barangay Chairman, to be only slight and hence, would be absorbed in the direct assault. A Barangay Chairman is a person in authority (Art. 152, RPC) and in this case, was performing his duty of maintaining peace and order when attacked. Y is liable for the complex crimes of Direct Assault With Less Serious Physical Injuries for the fist blow on A, the teacher, which caused the latter to fall down. For purposes of the crimes in Arts. 148 and 151 of the Revised Penal Code, a teacher is considered a person in authority, and having been attacked by Y by reason of his performance of official duty, direct assault is committed with the resulting less serious physical injuries completed. Z, the mother of X and wife of Y may only be liable as an accomplice to the complex crimes of direct assault with less serious physical injuries committed by Y. Her participation should not be considered as that of a co-principal since her reactions were only incited by her relationship to X and Y. as the mother of X and the wife of Y.

b) If B were a Barangay Tanod only, the act of X of laying hand on him, being an agent of a person in authority only, would constitute the crime of Resistance and Disobedience under Article 151, since X, a high school pupil, could not be considered as having acted out of contempt for authority but more of helping his father get free from the grip of B. Laying hand on an agent of a person in authority is not ipso facto direct assault, while it would always be direct assault if done to a person in authority in defiance to the latter is exercise of authority.

Bar Exam Question (2002)

Art 148; Direct Assault; Teachers and Professors (2002)

A, a lady professor, was giving an examination. She noticed B, one of the students, cheating. She called the student's attention and confiscated his examination booklet, causing embarrassment to him. The following day, while the class was going on, the student, B, approached A and, without any warning, slapped her. B would have inflicted further injuries on A had not C, another student, come to A's rescue and prevented B from continuing his attack. B turned his ire on C and punched the latter. What crime or crimes, if any, did B commit? Why? 

Suggested Answer:

B committed two (2) counts of direct assault: one for slapping the professor, A, who was then conducting classes and thus exercising authority; and another one for the violence on student C, who came to the aid of the said, professor. By express provision of Article 152, in relation to Article
148 of the Revised Penal Code, teachers, and professors of public or duly recognized private schools, colleges and universities in the actual performance of their professional duties or on the occasion of such performance are deemed persons in authority for purposes of the crimes of direct assault and of resistance and disobedience in Articles 148 and 151 of said Code. And any person who comes to the aid of persons in authority shall be deemed an agent of a person in authority. Accordingly, the attack on C is, in the eyes of the law, an attack on an agent of a person in authority, not just an attack on a student.

Bar Exam Question (2000)

Complex Crime; Direct Assault with murder (2000)

Because of the approaching town fiesta in San Miguel, Bulacan, a dance was held in Barangay Camias. A, the Barangay Captain, was invited to deliver a speech to start the dance. While A was delivering his speech. B, one of the guests, went to the middle of the dance floor making obscene dance movements, brandishing a knife, and challenging everyone present to a fight. A approached B and admonished him to keep quiet and not to disturb the dance and peace of the occasion. B, instead of heeding the advice of A, stabbed the latter at his back twice when A turned his back to proceed to the microphone to continue his speech. A fell to the ground and died. At the time of the incident A was not armed. What crime was committed?

Suggested Answer:

The complex crime of direct assault with murder was committed. A, as a Barangay Captain, is a person in authority and was acting in an official capacity when he tried to maintain peace and order during the public dance in the Barangay, by admonishing B to keep quiet and not to disturb the dance and peace of the occasion. When B, instead of heeding A's advice, attacked the latter, B acted in contempt and lawless defiance of authority constituting the crime of direct assault, which characterized the stabbing of A. And since A was stabbed at the back when he was not in a position to defend himself nor retaliate, there was treachery in the stabbing. Hence, the death caused by such stabbing was murder and having been committed with direct assault, a complex crime of direct assault with murder was committed by B.

Bar Exam Question (1995)

Pascual operated a rice thresher in Barangay Napnud where he resided. Renato, a resident of the neighboring Barangay Guihaman, also operated a mobile rice thresher which he often brought to Barangay Napnud to thresh the palay of the farmers there. This was bitterly resented by Pascual, one afternoon Pascual, and his two sons confronted Renato and his men who were operating their
mobile rice thresher along a feeder road in Napnud. A heated argument ensued. A barangay captain who was fetched by one of Pascual's men tried to appease Pascual and Renato to prevent a violent confrontation. However, Pascual resented the intervention of the barangay captain and hacked him to death. What crime was committed by Pascual? Discuss fully.

Suggested Answer:

Pascual committed the complex crime of homicide with assault upon a person in authority (Arts. 148 and 249 in relation to Art, 48, RPC). A barangay chairman, is in law (Art. 152), a person in authority and if he is attacked while in the performance of his official duties or on the occasion thereof the felony of direct assault is committed.

Art. 48, RPC, on the other hand, provides that if a single act produces two or more grave or less grave felonies, a complex crime is committed. Here, the single act of the offender in hacking the victim to death resulted in two felonies, homicide which is grave and direct assault which is less grave.