Principal by induction/Inducement

Art.17 Par 2. Principal By Induction

1. That the inducement be made directly with the intention of procuring the commission of the crime; and
2. That such inducement be the determining cause of the commission of the crime by the material executor.

One cannot be held guilty of having instigated the commission of the crime without first being shown that the crime was actually committed (or attempted) by another.

Thus, there can be no principal by inducement (or by indispensable cooperation) unless there is a principal by direct participation. But there can be a principal by direct participation without a
principal by inducement (or by indispensable cooperation).

Two Ways Of Becoming Principal By Induction:
1. By directly forcing another to commit a crime by :
      a) Using irresistible force.
      b) Causing uncontrollable fear.

In these cases, there is no conspiracy, not even a unity of criminal purpose and intention. Only the one using the force or causing the fear is criminally liable. The material executor is not criminally liable because of Art. 12, pars. 5 and 6 (exempting circumstances)

2. By directly inducing another to commit a crime by –
a) Giving of price, or offering of reward or promise.

The one giving the price or offering the reward or promise is a principal by inducement while the one
committing the crime in consideration thereof is a principal by direct participation. There is collective criminal responsibility.

b) Using words of command The person who used the words of command is a principal by inducement while the person who committed the crime because of the words of command is a principal by direct participation. There is also collective criminal responsibility.

Requisites for words of command to be considered inducement:
1. Commander has the intention of procuring the commission of the crime
2. Commander has ascendancy or influence
3. Words used be so direct, so efficacious, so powerful
4. Command be uttered prior to the commission
5. Executor had no personal reason

NOTE: Words uttered in the heat of anger and in the nature of the command that had to be obeyed do not make one an inductor

The inducement must precede the act induced and must be so influential in producing the criminal act that without it, the act would not have been performed. Mere imprudent advice is not inducement.

If the person who actually committed the crime had reason of his own to commit the crime, it cannot be said that the inducement was influential in producing the criminal act.

Effects Of Acquittal Of Principal By Direct Participation Upon Liability Of Principal By Inducement:
1. Conspiracy is negatived by the acquittal of co- defendant.
2. One cannot be held guilty of having instigated the commission of a crime without first being shown that the crime has been actually committed by another.

But if the one charged as principal by direct participation is acquitted because he acted without criminal intent or malice, his acquittal is not a ground for the acquittal of the principal by inducement.

REASON FOR THE RULE: In exempting circumstances, such as when the act is not voluntary because of lack of intent on the part of the accused, there is a crime committed, only that the accused is not a criminal.


While in the course of a quarrel, a person shouted to A, “Kill him! Kill him!” A killed the other person. Is the person who shouted criminally liable? Is that inducement?
- No. The shouting must be an irresistible force for the one shouting to be liable.

There was a quarrel between two families. One of the sons of family A came out with a shotgun. His mother then shouted, “Shoot!” He shot and killed someone. Is the mother liable?
- No.

People v. Balderrama 226 SCRA 537 (1993),
Ernesto shouted to his younger brother Oscar, “Birahin mo na, birahin mo na!” Oscar stabbed the victim. It was held that there was no conspiracy. Joint or simultaneous action per se is not indicia of conspiracy without showing of common design. Oscar has no rancor with the victim for him to kill the latter. Considering that Ernesto had great moral ascendancy and influence over Oscar, being much older (35 years old), than the latter, who was 18 years old, and it was Ernesto who provided his allowance, clothing, as well as food and shelter, Ernesto is principal by inducement.

People v. Agapinay, 188 SCRA 812 (1990),
The one who uttered “kill him, we will bury him.” while the felonious aggression was taking place cannot be held liable as principal by inducement. Utterance was said in the excitement of the hour, not a command to be obeyed.

People v. Madall, 188 SCRA 69 (1990),
The son was mauled. The family was not in good terms with their neighbors. The father challenged everybody and when the neighbors approached, he went home to get a rifle. The shouts of his wife “here comes another, shoot him” cannot make the wife a principal by inducement. It is not the determining cause of the crime in the absence of proof that the words had great influence over the
husband. Neither is the wife’s act of beaming the victim with a flashlight indispensable to the killing. She assisted her husband in taking good aim, but such assistance merely facilitated the felonious act of shooting. Considering that it was not so dark and the husband could have accomplished the deed without his wife’s help, and considering further that doubts must be resolved in favor of the accused, the liability of the wife is only that of an accomplice.

2002 Bar Exam Question

A asked B to kill C because of a grave injustice done to A by C. A promised B a reward. B was willing to kill C, not so much because of the reward promised to him but because he also had his own long-standing grudge against C, who had wronged him in the past. If C is killed by B, would A be liable as a principal by inducement?

No. A would not be liable as a principal by inducement because the reward he promised B is not the sole impelling reason which made B to kill C. To bring about criminal liability of a co-principal, the inducement made by the inducer must be the sole consideration which caused the person induced to commit the crime and without which the crime would not have been committed. The facts of the case indicate that B, the killer supposedly induced by A, had his own reason to kill C out of a long standing grudge.

1994 Bar Exam Question

Tata owns a three-storey building located at No. 3 Herran Street. Paco, Manila. She wanted to construct a new building but had no money to finance the construction. So, she insured the building for P3,000,000.00. She then urged Yoboy and Yongsi, for monetary consideration, to burn her building so she could collect the insurance proceeds. Yoboy and Yongsi burned the said building resulting to its total loss. What is their respective criminal liability?

Tata is a principal by inducement because she directly induced Yoboy and Yongsi, for a price or monetary consideration, to commit arson which the latter would not have committed were it not for such reason. Yoboy and Yongsi are principals by direct participation .