Rebellion or Insurrection

ART. 134.

Rebellion or insurrection; How committed. - The crime of rebellion or insurrection is committed by rising publicly and taking arms against the Government for the purpose of removing from the allegiance to said Government or its laws, the territory of the Philippine Islands or any part thereof, of any body of land, naval or other armed forces, depriving the Chief Executive or the Legislature, wholly or partially, of any of their powers or prerogatives. (As amended by R.A. 6968).

1. That there be a public armed uprising; and
2. That the purpose of the uprising or movement is either:
a. to remove from the allegiance to said government or its laws the territory of the Philippines or any part thereof or any body of land, naval or other armed forces, or b. to deprive the chief executive or congress, wholly or partially, of any of their powers or prerogatives.

1. Any person who:
(a) promotes,
(b) maintains, or
(c) heads a rebellion or insurrection (leader);
2. Any person merely participating or executing the command of others in rebellion (participant); and
3. Any person who in fact directed the others spoke for them, signed receipts and other documents issued in their name, or performed similar acts, on behalf of the rebels (person deemed leader when leader is unknown)


POLITICAL CRIMES – are those directly aimed against the political order, as well as such common crimes as may be committed to achieve a political purpose. The decisive factor is the intent or motive.

Rebellion is the term used where the object of the movement is completely to overthrow and supersede the existing government.

Insurrection refers to a movement which seeks merely to effect some change of minor importance to prevent the exercise of governmental authority w/ respect to particular matters or subjects.

Purpose of the uprising must be shown but it is not necessary that it be accomplished. If there is no public uprising, the crime is direct assault.

Mere giving of aid or comfort is not criminal in the case of rebellion. There must be ACTUAL participation.

People vs. Hernandez ruling:
- rebellion cannot be complexed with ordinary crimes done pursuant to it

People vs. Geronimo ruling:
- crimes done for private purposes without political motivation should be separately punished

Enrile vs. Salazar ruling: upheld Hernandez
Thus: Rebellion absorbs other crimes committed in furtherance of rebellion. Illegal possession of firearms in furtherance of rebellion is absorbed by the crime of rebellion. A private crime may be committed during rebellion. Rape, even if not in furtherance of rebellion cannot be complexed with

Rebellion is a continuing crime along with the crime of conspiracy and proposal to commit rebellion.

People v.Fernando
- If killing or robbing were done for private purposes or for profit, without any political motivation, the crime would be separately be punished and would not be embraced by rebellion

If the leader is unknown, a person is deemed a leader of rebellion if he:
a. directed the others
b. spoke for them
c. signed receipts and other documents issued in their name, and
d. performed similar acts on behalf of the rebels.

Diverting public funds is malversation absorbed in rebellion.

Public officer must take active part, because mere silence or omission is not punishable as rebellion.

In rebellion, it is not a defense that the accused never took the oath of allegiance, or that they never recognized the government.

People v. Lovedioro (1995)
- The political motive of the act should be clearly demonstrated. If this could not be done, the accused should be convicted of the common crime not of rebellion.

Ponce Enrile v Amin (1990)
- All crimes, whether punishable under special a or general law, which are mere components or ingredients, or committed in furtherance thereof, become absorbed in the crime of rebellion and cannot be isolated and charged as separate crimes themselves.

Rebellion is not covered by Art. 2 on extraterritorial jurisdiction.

Rebellion cannot be complexed with but absorbs other crimes committed in furtherance of rebellion. There is no complex crime of rebellion with murder and other common crimes.

There is no crime of misprision of rebellion.

Rebellion - more frequently used where the object of the movement is completely to overthrow and supersede the existing government (Reyes, citing 30 Am. Jr. 1)

Bar Exam Question (1998)

Art 134; Rebellion; Politically Motivated; Committed by NPA Members (1998)

On May 5, 1992, at about 6:00 a.m., while Governor Alegre of Laguna was on board his car traveling along the National Highway of Laguna, Joselito and Vicente shot him on the head resulting in his instant death. At that time, Joselito and Vicente were members of the liquidation squad of the New People's Army and they killed the governor upon orders of their senior officer. Commander Tiago. According to Joselito and Vicente, they were ordered to kill Governor Alegre because of his
corrupt practices. If you were the prosecutor, what crime will you charge Joselito and Vicente?


If I were the prosecutor, I would charge Joselito and Vicente with the crime of rebellion, considering that the killers were members of the liquidation squad of the New People's Army and the killing was upon orders of their commander; hence, politically-motivated. This was the ruling in People vs. Avila, 207 SCRA 1568 involving identical facts which is a movement taken judicial notice of as engaged in rebellion against the Government.


If I were the prosecutor, I would charge Joselito and Vicente for the crime of murder as the purpose of the killing was because of his "corrupt practices ", which does not appear to be politically motivated. There is no indication as to how the killing would promote or further the objective of the New Peoples Army. The killing is murder because it was committed with treachery.

The crime should be rebellion with murder considering that Art. 135 of the Revised Penal Code has already been amended by Rep. Act No. 6968, deleting from said Article, common crimes which used to be punished as part and parcel of the crime of rebellion. The ruling in People vs. Hernandez, 99 Phil. 515 (1994), that rebellion may not be completed with common crimes committed in furtherance thereof, was because the common crimes were then penalized in Art. 135 together with the rebellion, with one penalty and Art. 48 of the Rev. Penal Code cannot be applied. Art. 135 of said Code remained exactly the same when the case of Enrile vs, Salazar, 186 SCRA 217 (1990) was resolved. Precisely for the reason that Art. 48 cannot apply because the common crimes were punished as part of rebellion in Art. 135, that this Article was amended, deleting the common crimes therefrom. That the common crimes were deleted from said Article, demonstrates a clear legislative intention to treat the common crimes as distinct from rebellion and remove the legal impediment to the application of Art. 48. It is noteworthy that in Enrile vs. Salazar (supra) the Supreme Court said these: "There is an apparent need to restructure the law on rebellion, either to raise the penalty therefor or to clearly define and delimit the other offenses to be considered as absorbed thereby, so that if it cannot be conveniently utilized as the umbrella for every sort of illegal activity undertaken in its name. The Court has no power to effect such change, for it can only interpret the law as it stands at any given time, and what are needed lies beyond interpretation. Hopefully, Congress will perceive the need for promptly seizing the initiative in this matter, which is purely within its province," And significantly the said amendment to Art. 135 of the Rev. Penal Code was made at around the time the ruling in Salazar was handled down, obviously to neutralize the Hernandez and the Salazar rulings. The amendment was sort of a rider to the coup d'etat law, Rep. Act No 6968.

Bar Exam Question (2004)

Art. 134; Rebellion vs. Coup d'etat

Distinguish clearly but briefly: Between rebellion and coup d'etat, based on their constitutive elements as criminal offenses.

Suggested Answer:

REBELLION is committed when a multitude of persons rise publicly in arms for the purpose of overthrowing the duly constituted government, to be replaced by a government of the rebels. It is carried out by force and violence, but need not be participated in by any member of the military, national police, or any public officer.

COUP D'ETAT is committed when members of the military, Philippine National Police, or public officer, acting as principal offenders, launched a swift attack thru strategy, stealth, threat, violence or intimidation against duly constituted authorities of the Republic of the Philippines, military camp or installation, communication networks, public facilities or utilities needed for the exercise and continued possession of governmental powers, for the purpose of seizing or diminishing state powers.

Unlike rebellion which requires a public uprising, coup d'etat may be carried out singly or simultaneously and the principal offenders must be members of the military, national police or public officer, with or without civilian support. The criminal objective need not be to overthrow the existing government but only to destabilize or paralyze the existing government.