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Felonious Act of Scaring; Criminal Liability

Felonious Act of Scaring (1996 Bar Examination Question)

Alexander, an escaped convict, ran amuck on board a Superlines bus bound for Manila from Bicol and killed ten (10) persons. Terrified by the incident, Carol and Benjamin who are passengers of the bus, jumped out of the window and while lying unconscious after  hitting the pavement of the road, were ran over and crushed to death by a fast moving Desert Fox bus tailing the Superlines bus.

Can Alexander be held liable for the death of Carol and Benjamin although he was completely unaware that the two jumped out of the bus? Explain.

Yes, Alexander can be held liable for the death of Carol and Benjamin because of felonious act of running was the proximate cause of the victim's death. The rule is that when a person, by a felonious act, generates in the mind of another a sense of imminent danger, prompting the latter to escape from or avoid such danger and in the process, sustain injuries or dies, the person committing the felonious act is responsible for  such injuries or death.(US vs. Valdez, 41 Phil 1497; People vs. Apra, 27 SCRA 1037)


Felonious Act of Scaring (2001 Bar Examination Question)

Maryjane has two suitors, Felipe and Cesar. She did not openly show her preference but on two occasions, accepted Cesar's invitation to concerts by Regine and Pops. Felipe was a working student and could only ask Maryjane to see a movie which was declined. Felipe felt insulted and made plans to get even with Cesar by scaring him off somehow. One day, he entered Cesar's room in their boarding house and placed a rubber snake which appeared to be real in Cesar's backpack. Because Cesar has weak heart, he suffered a heart attack upon opening his backpack and seeing the snake. Cesar died without regaining consciousness. The police investigation resulted in pinpointing Felipe as the culprit and he was charged with Homicide for Cesar's death. In his defense, Felipe claimed that he
did not know about Cesar's weak heart and that he only intended to be play a practical joke on Cesa.

Is Felipe liable for the death of Cesar or will his defense prosper? Why?

Yes, Felipe is liable for the death of Cesar but he shall be given the mitigating circumstance that he did not intend to commit so grave a wrong as that which was  committed.(Art.13 par.3 RPC).

When Felipe intruded into Cesar's room without the latter's consent and took liberty with the latter's backpack where he placed the rubber snake. Felipe was already  committing a felony and any act done by him while committing a felony is no less wrongful, considering that they were part of "plans to get even with Cesar".

Felipe's claim that he intended only "to play a practical joke on Cesar does not persuade, considering that they are not friends but in fact rivals in courting Maryjane. This case is parallel to the case of People vs. Pugay et. al.

Alternative Answer:

No, Felipe is not liable because the act of frightening another is not a crime. What he did may be wrong, but not all wrongs amount to a crime. Because the act which caused the death of Cesar is not a crime, no criminal liability may arise therefrom.


Felonious Act of Scaring (2005 Bar Examination Question)

Belle saw Gaston stealing the prized cock of a neighbor and reported him to the police. Thereafter, Gaston, while driving a car saw Belle crossing the street. Incensed that  Belle had reported him, Gaston decided to scare her by trying to make it appear that he was about to run her over. He revved the engine of his car and drove towards her but he applied the brakes. Since the road was slippery at that time, the vehicle skidded and hit Belle causing her death.

Was Gaston criminally liable? What is the liability of Gaston? Why?

Yes, Gaston is liable for Belle's death because even though Gaston has no intent to kill Belle rather just to scare Belle. "To Scare" does not indicate intent to kill. However, under Art.4 of the Revised Penal Code, provides in part that criminal liability shall be incurred by any person committing a felony although the wrongful act done be different from that which he intended. In other words, the rule is that when a person, by a felonious act, generates in the mind of another a sense of imminent danger, prompting the latter to escape from or avoid such danger and in the process, sustains injuries or dies, the person committing the felonious act is responsible for such injuries or death.
(US vs. Valdez, 41 Phil 1497; People vs. Apra, 27 SCRA 1037)

Alternative Answer:

Yes, Gaston is liable for Belle's death because by his acts of revving the engine of his car and driving towards Belle is felonious, and such felonious act was the proximate cause of the vehicle to skid and hit Belle, resulting in the latter's death. Stated otherwise, the death of Belle was the direct, natural, and logical consequence of Gaston's felonious act.(People vs. Arpa, 27 SCRA 1037)

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Bigwas

My friends call me Bigwas, I have a degree in Law and Criminology, not English but Internet marketing and Web developing is what I do and I love to blog. I hope you learn something from my blog.

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