Penalty For Complex Crimes


COMPLEX CRIME – although there actually are two or more crimes,
the law treats them as constituting only one - as there is only
one criminal intent. Only one information need be filed.

2 Kinds Of Complex Crimes:
   1. Compound crime – single act constitutes 2 or more grave or
      less grave felonies.

      a. that only one single act is performed by the offender
      b. that the single act produces
         i. 2 or more grave felonies
        ii. one or more grave and one or more less grave felonies
       iii. 2 or more less grave felonies

   2. Complex crime proper – when an offense is a necessary means
      for committing another.

      1. That at least 2 offenses are committed
      2. That one or some of the offenses must be necessary to
         commit the other
      3. That both or all the offenses must be punished under
         the same statute

No Single Act In The Following Cases:
1. When 2 persons are killed one after the other, by different
   acts, although these 2 killings were the result of a single
   criminal impulse. The different acts must be considered as
   distinct crimes.
2. When the acts are wholly different, not only in themselves,
   but also because they are directed against 2 different persons,
   as when one fires his gun twice in succession, killing one and
   injuring the other.

   Light felonies produced by the same act should be treated and
   punished as separate offenses, or may be absorbed by the grave


When in obedience to an order, several accused simultaneously
shot many persons, w/o evidence how many each killed, there is
only a single offense, there being a single criminal impulse.

For the attainment of a single purpose w/c constitutes an offense,
various acts are executed, such acts must be considered only
as one offense.

When a complex crime is charged and one offense is not proven,
the accused can be convicted of the other.

There is no complex crime of arson w/homicide.

Art 48 is applicable to crimes through negligence.

Kidnapping the victim to murder him in a secluded place –
ransom wasn’t paid so victim was killed. Kidnapping was a
necessary means to commit murder. But where the victim was
taken from his home but it was solely for the purpose of
killing him and not for detaining him illegally or for the
purpose of ransom, the crime is simple murder.

“Necessary means” does not mean “indispensable means”.
Indispensable would mean it is an element of the crime. The
crime can be committed by another mean. The means actually
employed (another crime) was merely to facilitate and insure
the consummation of the crime.

It is not a complex crime when trespass to dwelling is a direct
means to commit a grave offense. Like rape, there is no complex
crime of trespass to dwelling with rape. Trespass will be
considered as aggravating (unlawful entry or breaking part of
a dwelling)

When the offender had in his possession the funds w/c he
misappropriated, the falsification of a public or official
document involving said funds is a separate offense. But when
the offender had to falsify a public or official document to
obtain possession of the funds w/c he misappropriated, the
falsification is a necessary means to commit the malversation.

There is no complex crime of rebellion w/ murder, arson, robbery
or other common crimes. They are mere ingredients of the crime
of rebellion – absorbed already.

When 2 crimes produced by a single act are respectively within
the exclusive jurisdiction of 2 courts of different jurisdiction,
the court of higher jurisdiction shall try the complex crime.

Art. 48 is intended to favor the culprit.

The penalty for complex crime is the penalty for the most
serious crime, the same to be applied in its maximum period.
If the different crimes resulting from one single act are
punished w/ the same penalty, the penalty for any one of them
shall be imposed, the same to be applied in the maximum period.
The same rule shall be observed when an offense is a necessary
means to commit the other.

A complex crime of the second form may be committed by two persons.

But when one of the offenses, as a means to commit the other,
was committed by one of the accused by reckless imprudence, the
accused who committed the crime by reckless imprudence is liable
for his acts only.

When two felonies constituting a complex crime are punishable by
imprisonment and fine, respectively, only the penalty of
imprisonment shall be imposed. Reason: Fine is not included in
the list of penalties in the order of severity and it is the
last in the graduated scales in Art. 71.

When a single act constitutes two grave or less grave or one
grave and another less grave, and the penalty for one is
imprisonment while that for the other is fine, the severity of
the penalty for the more serious crime should not be judged by
the classification of each of the penalties involved, but by
the nature of the penalties.

In the order of severity of the penalties, arresto mayor and
arresto menor are considered more severe than destierro and
arresto menor is higher in degree than destierro.

There is NO COMPLEX CRIME in the following:
1. In case of continuing crimes
2. When one offense is committed to conceal the other
3. When the other crime is an indispensable part or an element
   of the other offenses as defined
4. Where one of the offenses is penalized by a special law
5. When the law provides one single penalty for special complex
   a. Robbery with Homicide
   b. Robbery with Rape
   c. Rape with Homicide
   d. Kidnapping with Serious Physical Injuries
   e. Kidnapping with Homicide

PLURALITY OF CRIMES – consists in the successive execution by
the same individual of different criminal acts upon any of
which no conviction has yet been declared.

Kinds Of Plurality Of Crimes:
1. Formal or Ideal – only one criminal liability. Formal or ideal
   crimes are further divided into three groups, where a person
   committing multiple crimes is punished with only one penalty:
   a. when the offender commits any of the complex crimes
      defined in Art. 48
   b. when the law specifically fixes a single penalty for 2 or
      more offenses committed: robbery w/ homicide, kidnapping w/
      serious physical injuires
   c. when the offender commits continued crimes

2. Real Or Material – there are different crimes in law as well
   as in the conscience of the offender. In such cases, the
   offender shall be punished for each and every offense that he

Under Art.49 - Lesser penalty to be imposed in its maximum period
Under Art.48 - Penalty for the more serious crime shall be imposed
               in its maximum period.

CONTINUED CRIME – refers to a single crime consisting of a series
of acts but all arising from one criminal resolution. Although
there is a series of acts, there is only one crime committed, so
only one penalty shall be imposed.

   Example of continued crimes:
   a. A collector of a commercial firm misappropriates for his
      personal use several amounts collected by him from different
      persons. There is only one crime because the different and
      successive appropriations are but the different moments
      during w/c one criminal resolution arises.
   b. Juan steals 2 books belonging to 2 different persons. He
      commits only one crime because there is unity of thought
      in the criminal purpose of the offender

NOTE: A continued crime is not a complex crime, as the offender
does not perform a single act but a series of acts. Therefore:
a. penalty not to be imposed in the maximum
b. no actual provision punishing continued crime – It is a
   principle applied in connection with 2 or more crimes
   committed with a single intention.

NOTE: A continued (continuous or continuing) crime is different
from a transitory crime. Transitory crime is “moving crime”.


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