Introduction - Aggravating Circumstances

AGGRAVATING CIRCUMSTANCES – Those which, if attendant in the commission of the crime, serve to have the penalty imposed in its maximum period provided by law for the offense or those that change the nature of the crime.

BASIS: The greater perversity of the offender manifested in the commission of the felony as shown by:
1. the motivating power itself,
2. the place of the commission,
3. the means and ways employed
4. the time, or
5. the personal circumstances of the offender, or the offended party.

KINDS OF AGGRAVATING CIRCUMSTANCES:
1. Generic - those which apply to all crimes
2. Specific - those which apply only to specific crimes,
3. Qualifying - those that change the nature of the crime
4. Inherent - which of necessity accompany the commission of the crime, therefore not considered in increasing the penalty to be imposed
5. Special - those which arise under special conditions to increase the penalty of the offense and cannot be offset by mitigating circumstances

2003 Bar Exam Question (Qualifying; Elements of a Crime)

When would qualifying circumstances be deemed, if at all, elements of a crime?

A qualifying circumstance would be deemed an element of a crime when
- it changes the nature of the crime, bringing about a more serious crime and a heavier penalty;
- it is essential to the crime involved, otherwise some other crime is committed; and
- it is specifically alleged in the information and proven during trial.

Alternative answer:

A qualifying circumstance is deemed an element of a crime when it is specifically stated by law as included in the definition of a crime, like treachery in the crime of murder.

Generic Aggravating Circumstance Distinguished From Qualifying Aggravating Circumstance
1. Generic Aggravating Circumstances - EFFECT : When not set off by any mitigating circumstance, Increases the penalty which should be imposed upon the accused to the maximum period but without exceeding the limit prescribed by law

Qualifying Aggravating Circumstance - EFFECT: Gives the crime its proper and exclusive name and places the author of the crime in such a situation as to deserve no other penalty than that specially prescribed by law for said crimes (People v. Bayot, 64 Phil 269, 273)

2. Generic Aggravating Circumstances - If not alleged in the information, a qualifying aggravating circumstance will be considered generic

Qualifying Aggravating Circumstances - To be considered as such, MUST be alleged in the information.

3. Generic Aggravating Circumstances - May be offset by a mitigating circumstance.

Qualifying Aggravating Circumstances - Cannot be offset by a mitigating circumstance.

RULES ON AGGRAVATING CIRCUMSTANCES:
1. Aggravating circumstances shall NOT be appreciated if:
a) They constitute a crime specially punishable by law, or
b) It is included by the law in defining a crime with a penalty prescribed, and therefore shall not be taken into account for the purpose of increasing the penalty.

Ex: “That the crime be committed by means of ...fire,... explosion” (Art. 14, par. 12) is in itself a crime of arson (Art. 321) or a crime involving destruction (Art. 324). It is not to be considered to increase the penalty for the crime of arson or for the crime involving destruction.

2. The same rule shall apply with respect to any aggravating circumstance inherent in the crime to such a degree that it must of necessity accompany the commission thereof (Art.62, par.2)

3. Aggravating circumstances which arise:
a) From the moral attributes of the offender;
b) From his private relations with the offended party; or
c) From any personal cause, shall only serve to aggravate the liability of the principals, accomplices and accessories as to whom such circumstances and a attendant. (Art.62, par. 3)

4. The circumstances which consist :
a) In the material execution of the act, or
b) In the means employed to accomplish it, shall serve to aggravate the liability of only those persons who had knowledge of them at the time of the execution of the act or their cooperation therein. Except when there is proof of conspiracy in which case the act of one is deemed to be the act of all, regardless of lack of knowledge of the facts constituting the circumstance. (Art. 62, par.4)

5. Aggravating circumstances, regardless of its kind, should be specifically alleged in the information AND proved as fully as the crime itself in order to increase the penalty. (Sec. 9, Rule 110, 2000 Rules of Criminal Procedure)

6. When there is more than one qualifying aggravating circumstance present, one of them will be appreciated as qualifying aggravating while the others will be considered as generic aggravating.

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