Name the four (4) kinds of aggravating circumstances and state their effect on the penalty of crimes and nature thereof.

The four (4) kinds of aggravating circumstances are:

1. Generic Aggravating or those that can generally apply to all crimes, and can be offset by mitigating circumstances, but if not offset, would affect only the maximum of the penalty prescribed by law;

2. Specific Aggravating or those that apply only to particular crimes and cannot be offset by mitigating circumstances;

3. Qualifying Circumstances or those that change the nature of the crime to a graver one, or brings about a penalty next higher in degree, and cannot be offset by mitigating circumstances.

4. Inherent Aggravating or those that essentially accompany the commission of the crime and does not affect the penalty whatsoever.

2000 Bar Exam Question (Aggravating; Must be alleged in the information)

Rico, a member of the Alpha Rho Fraternity, was killed by Pocholo, a member of the rival group, Sigma Phi Omega. Pocholo was prosecuted for homicide before the Regional Trial Court in Binan, Laguna. During the trial, the prosecution was able to prove that the killing was committed by means of poison in consideration of a promise or reward and with cruelty.

If you were the judge, with what crime will you convict Pocholo? Explain.

Pocholo should be convicted of the crime of homicide only because the aggravating circumstances which should qualify the crime to murder were not alleged in the information.

The circumstances of using poison, in consideration of a promise or reward, and cruelty which attended the killing of Rico could only be appreciated as generic aggravating circumstances since none of them have been alleged in the information to qualify the killing to murder. A qualifying circumstance must be alleged in the information and proven beyond reasonable doubt during the trial to be appreciated as such.