Alternative Circumstances

alternative circumstances
Alternative Circumstances

Alternative Circumstances – Those which must be taken into consideration as aggravating or mitigating according to the nature and effects of the crime and the other conditions attending its commission.

Basis
The nature and effects of the crime and the other conditions attending its commission.

The Alternative Circumstances Are:
1. Relationship;
2. Intoxication; and
3. Degree of instruction and education of the offender.

Relationship
The alternative circumstance of relationship shall be taken into consideration when the offended party is the –
1. Spouse,
2. Ascendant,
3. Descendant,
4. Legitimate, natural, or adopted brother or sister, or
5. Relative by affinity in the same degree of the offender.

Other Relatives Included (By Analogy):
1. The relationship of stepfather or stepmother and stepson or stepdaughter.

REASON: It is the duty of the step-parents to bestow upon their stepchildren a mother’s/father’s affection, care and protection.

2. The relationship of adopted parent and adopted child.

NOTE: But the relationship of uncle and niece is not covered by any of the relationship mentioned.

When Relationship Mitigating And When Aggravating:
1. As a rule, relationship is mitigating in crimes against property, by analogy to the provisions of Art. 332.
Thus, relationship is mitigating in the crimes of robbery (Arts. 294-302), usurpation (Art. 312), fraudulent insolvency (Art. 314) and arson (Arts. 321-322, 325-326).

2. In crimes against persons –
a) It is aggravating where the offended party is a relative of
(1). a higher degree than the offender, or
(2). when the offender and the offended party are relatives of the same level (e.g. brothers)

b) But when it comes to physical injuries:
(1). It is aggravating when the crime involves serious physical injuries (Art.263), even if the offended
party is a descendant of the offender. But the serious physical injuries must not be inflicted by a parent upon his child by excessive chastisement.
(2). It is mitigating when the offense committed is less serious physical injuries or slight physical injuries, if the offended party is a relative of a lower degree.
(3). It is aggravating if the offended party is a relative of a higher degree of the offender.

c) When the crime is homicide or murder, relationship is aggravating even if the victim of the crime is a relative of a lower degree.

d) In rape, relationship is aggravating where a stepfather raped his stepdaughter or in a case where a father raped his own daughter.

3. In crimes against chastity, like acts of lasciviousness (Art. 336), relationship is always aggravating, regardless of whether the offender is a relative of a higher or lower degree of the offended party. When the qualification given to the crime is derived from the relationship between the offender and the offended party, it is neither mitigating nor aggravating, because it is inseparable from and inherent in the offense. (e.g. parricide, adultery and concubinage).

Intoxication - When Intoxication Mitigating And When Aggravating:
1. Mitigating –
a. If intoxication is not habitual, or
b. If intoxication is not subsequent to the plan to commit a felony.
2. Aggravating –
a. If intoxication is habitual, or
b. If it is intentional (subsequent to the plan to commit a felony).

To Be Entitled To The Mitigating Circumstance Of Intoxication, It Must Be Shown:
1. That at the time of the commission of the criminal act, the accused has taken such quantity of alcoholic drinks as to blur his reason and deprive him of a certain degree of
control, and
2. That such intoxication is not habitual, or subsequent to the plan to commit the felony.

To be mitigating, the accused’s state of intoxication must be proved. Once intoxication is established by satisfactory evidence, in the absence of proof to the contrary, it is presumed to be non-habitual or unintentional.

Instruction or Education
As an alternative circumstance it does not refer only to literacy but more to the level of intelligence of the accused.

Refers to the lack or presence of sufficient intelligence and knowledge of the full significance of one’s acts.

Low degree of instruction and education or lack of it is generally mitigating. High degree of instruction and education is aggravating, when the offender took advantage of his learning
in committing the crime.

GENERAL RULE: Lack of sufficient education is mitigating
EXCEPTIONS:
1. Crimes against property (e.g. arson, estafa, theft, robbery)
2. Crimes against chastity, and
3. Treason – because love of country should be a natural feeling of every citizen, however unlettered or uncultured he may be.

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