EXEMPTING CIRCUMSTANCES – grounds for exemption from punishment because there is wanting in the agent of the crime any of the conditions which make the act voluntary or negligent.

Basis: The exemption from punishment is based on the complete absence of intelligence, freedom of action, or intent, or on the absence of negligence on the part of the accused.

Burden of proof: Any of the circumstances is a matter of defense and must be proved by the defendant to the satisfaction of the court.

Par. 1 Imbecility or Insanity

IMBECILE – one while advanced in age has a mental development comparable to that of children between 2 and 7 years old. He is exempt in all cases from criminal liability.

INSANE – one who acts with complete deprivation of intelligence/reason or without the least discernment or with total deprivation of freedom of will. Mere abnormality of the mental faculties will not exclude imputability.

   General Rule: Exempt from criminal liability

   Exception: The act was done during a lucid interval.

NOTE: Defense must prove that the accused was insane at the time of the commission of the crime because the presumption is always in favor of sanity.

Par. 2 Under Nine Years of Age

Requisite: Offender is under 9 years of age at the time of the commission of the crime. There is absolute criminal irresponsibility in the case of a minor under 9 years of age.

NOTE: Under R.A. 9344 or the Juvenile Justice And Welfare Act a minor 15 years and below is exempt from criminal liability

1998 Bat Exam Question

John, an eight-year old boy, is fond of watching the television program "Zeo Rangers"." One evening while he was engrossed watching his favorite television show, Petra, a maid changed the channel to enable her to watch "Home along the Riles." This enraged John who got his father's revolver, and without warning, shot Petra at the back of her head causing her instantaneous death.

Is John Criminally liable?

No, John is not criminally liable for killing Petra because he is only 8 years old when he committed the killing. A minor below nine (9) years old is absolutely exempt from criminal liability although not from civil liability. (Art.12, par.2, RPC).

Par. 3 Person Over 9 and Under 15 Acting Without Discernment

NOTE: Such minor must have acted without discernment to be exempt. If with discernment, he is criminally liable.
Presumption: The minor committed the crime without discernment.

DISCERNMENT – mental capacity to fully appreciate the consequences of the unlawful act, which is shown by the:
1. manner the crime was committed
2. conduct of the offender after its commission

NOTE: Under R.A. 9344 a minor over 15 but below 18 who acted without discernment is exempt from criminal liability

2000 Bar Examination Question

While they were standing in line awaiting their vaccination at the school clinic, Pomping repeatedly pulled the ponytail of Katreena, his 11 years, 2 months, and 13 days old classmate in Grade 5 at the Sampaloc Elementary School. Irritated, Katreena turned around and swung at Pomping with a ball pen. The top of the ball pen hit the right eye Pomping which bleed profusely. Realizing what she had caused, Katreena immediately helped  Pomping. When investigated, she freely admitted to the school principal that she was responsible for the injury to Pomping's eye. After the incident, she executed a
statement admitting her culpability. Due to the injury, Pomping lost his right eye.

a. Is Karen criminally liable? Why?
b. Discuss the attendant circumstances and effect thereof.

a. No, Katreena is not criminally liable although she is civilly liable. Being a minor less than fifteen (15) years old although, over nine (9) years of age, she is generally exempt from criminal liability. The exception is where the prosecution proved that the act was committed with discernment. The burden is upon the prosecution to prove that the accused acted with discernment.

The presumption is that such minor acted without discernment, and this is strengthened by the fact that Katreena only reacted with a ballpen which she must be using in class at the time, and only to stop Pomping's vexatious act of repeatedly pulling her ponytail. In other words, the injury was accidental.

b. The attendant circumstances which may be considered are:

1. Minority of the accused as an exempting circumstances under Art.12. paragraph 3, Revised Penal Code, where she shall be exempt from criminal liability, unless it was proved that she acted with discernment. She is however, civilly liable.

2. If found criminally liable, the minority of the accused is a privilege mitigating circumstance. A discretionary penalty lower by at least two (2) degrees than that prescribed for the crime committed shall be imposed in accordance with Art.68. paragraph 1, Revised Penal Code. The sentence, however, should automatically be suspended in accordance with Section 5(a) of Republic Act No.8369 otherwise known as the "Family Courts Act of 1997".

(1) Also if found criminally liable, the ordinary mitigating circumstance of not intending to commit so grave a wrong as that committed, under Art.13. paragraph 3, Revised Penal Code; and

(2) The ordinary mitigating circumstance of sufficient provocation on the part of the offended party immediately preceded the act.

Par. 4 Accident without fault or intention of causing it
1. A person is performing a lawful act
2. with due care
3. He causes injury to another by mere accident
4. Without fault or intention of causing it.

Par. 5 Irresistible Force

IRRESISTIBLE FORCE – offender uses violence or physical force to compel another person to commit a crime.

   1. The compulsion is by means of physical force.
   2. The physical force must be irresistible.
   3. The physical force must come from a third person

   NOTE: Force must be irresistible so as to reduce the individual to a mere instrument.

Par. 6 Uncontrollable Fear

UNCONTROLLABLE FEAR – offender employs intimidation or threat in compelling another to commit a crime.

DURESS – use of violence or physical force

1. The threat which causes the fear is of an evil greater than, or at least equal to, that which he is required to commit.
2. It promises an evil of such gravity and imminence that an ordinary man would have succumbed to it.

NOTE: Duress to be a valid defense should be based on real, imminent or reasonable fear for one’s life or limb. It should not be inspired by speculative, fanciful or remote fear. A threat of future injury is not enough.

ACTUS ME INVITO FACTUS NON EST MEUS ACTUS – Any act done by me against my will is not my act.

PAR 7. Insuperable Cause

INSUPERABLE CAUSE – some motive, which has lawfully, morally or physically prevented a person to do what the law commands

1. An act is required by law to be done.
2. A person fails to perform such act.
3. His failure to perform such act was due to some lawful or insuperable cause.

1. A priest can’t be compelled to reveal what was confessed to him.
2. No available transportation – officer not liable for arbitrary detention
3. Mother who was overcome by severe dizziness and extreme debility, leaving child to die – not liable for infanticide (People v. Bandian, 63 Phil 530)

ABSOLUTORY CAUSES – where the act committed is a crime but for some reason of public policy and sentiment, there is no penalty imposed. Exempting and justifying circumstances are absolutory causes.

Examples of such other circumstances are:
1. spontaneous desistance (Art. 6)
2. accessories exempt from criminal liability (Art. 20)
3. Death or physical injuries inflicted under exceptional circumstances (Art. 247)
4. persons exempt from criminal liability from theft, swindling, malicious mischief (Art 332)
5. instigation

NOTE: Entrapment is NOT an absolutory cause. A buy-bust operation conducted in connection with illegal drug-related offenses is a form of entrapment.

Entrapment from Instigation
1. The ways and means are resorted to for the purpose of trapping and capturing the lawbreaker in the execution of his criminal plan. while The Instigator practically induces the would-be accused into the commission of the offense and himself becomes a co-principal
2. In Entrapment, not a bar to accused prosecution and conviction while in Instigation, Accused will be acquitted.
3. Entrapment is not an absolutoty cause while Instigation is an absolutory cause.