Bar Q & A, Criminal Law

Bar Q & A and Recent Jurisprudence on Direct Assault, Direct Assault with Murder, and Direct Assault with Attempted Murder

2017 Bar

VII.

Bernardo was enraged by his conviction for robbery by Judge Samsonite despite insufficient evidence Pending his appeal, Bernardo escaped in order to get even with Judge Samsonite. Bernardo learned that the Judge regularly slept in his mistress’ house every weekend. Thus, he waited for the Judge to arrive on Saturday evening at the house of his mistress. It was about 8:00 p.m. when Bemardo entered the house of the mistress. He found the Judge and his mistress having coffee in the kitchen and engaging in small talk. Without warning, Bernardo stabbed the judge at least 10 times. The judge instantly died. 

Prosecuted and tried, Bernardo was convicted of direct assault with murder. Rule with reasons whether or not the conviction for direct assault with murder was justified

   x x x

 SUGGESTED ANSWER 

The phrase “on occasion of such performance” used in Article 148 of RPC means “by reason of the past performance of official duty because the purpose of the law is to allow them to discharge their duties without fear of being assaulted by reason thereof (People y, Renegado, GR No. L-27031, May 31, 1974). Attacking Judge Samsonite by reason of past performance of duty of convicting Bernardo based on his assessment of the evidences constitutes qualified direct assault (US v. Garcia, G.R. No. 6820, October 16, 1911). Since the single act of attacking Judge Samsonite  constitutes direct assault and murder qualified by the circumstance of treachery, the two shall be merged together to form a complex crime of direct assault with murder (People v. Estonilo, Jr., GR No. 201565).

Disregard of rank, being inherent in direct assault, is absorbed. Disregard of age shall not be considered for lack of showing of intent to offénd or insult the age of Judge Samsonite (People v. Onabia, GR No. 128288, April 20, 1999).

2017 Bar

IX.

During the nationwide transport strike to protest the phase out of old public utility vehicles, striking jeepney drivers Percy, Pablo, Pater and Sencio, each armed with guns, hailed several MMDA buses then providing free transport to the stranded public to stop them from plying their routes. They later on commandeered one of the buses without allowing any of the passengers to alight, and told the driver to bring the bus to Tanay, Rizal. 

Upon reaching a remote area in Tanay, Percy, Pablo, Pater and Sencio forcibly divested the Passengers of their cash and valuables. They ordered the passengers to leave thereafter Then, they burned the bus. When a tanod of the barangay of the area came around to intervene: Pater fired at him, instantly killing him. 

After Percy Pablo, Pater and Sencio were arrested, the police authorities recommended them to be charged with the following crimes, to wit:  (1) carnapping (2) robbery; (3) direct assault with homicide (4) kidnapping, and (5)arson.

State your legal opinion on the recommendation of the police authorities on the criminal liabilities incurred by Percy, Pablo, Pater and Sencio. (10%)

SUGGESTED ANSWER:

 x x x

Since death results by reason or on occasion of robbery, the crime committed is a special complex crime of robbery with homicide. This composite crime is committed even though the victim of homicide is a responding Barangay Tanod (People v. Pelagio, G.R. No. L-16177, May 24, 1967). Even though only Pater killed the Tanod, Percy, Pablo, and Sencio are also liable for robbery with homicide: since they failed to attempt to prevent the same (People v. Dela Cruz G.R. No. 168173, December 24, 2008; People v. Castro; G.R. No. 187073, March 14, 2012). Since the crime committed is robbery with homicide; all other felonies, such as arson and direct assault committed by reason or on occasion of robbery shall be integrated into the special complex crime of robbery with homicide

2012 Bar

13. Chris Brown was convicted of a complex crime of direct assault with homicide aggravated by the commission of the crime in a place where public authorities are engaged in the discharge of their duties. The penalty for homicide is reclusion temporal. On the other hand, the penalty for direct assault is prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods. What is the correct indeterminate penalty?

a) Twelve (12) years of prision mayor as minimum to twenty (20) years of reclusion temporal as maximum. (* People vs. Recto, GR 129069, October17, 2001)

b) Ten (10) years of prision mayor as minimum to seventeen (17) years and four (4) months of reclusion temporal as maximum.

c) Eight (8) years of prision mayor as minimum to eighteen (18) years and four (4) months of reclusion temporal as maximum.

d) Twelve (12) years of prision mayor as minimum to seventeen (17) years and four (4) months of reclusion temporal as maximum.

SUGGESTED ANSWER:

a) Twelve (12) years of prision mayor as minimum to twenty (20) years of reclusion temporal as maximum. (* People vs. Recto, GR 129069, October17, 2001)

2013 BAR 

VII.

Miss Reyes, a lady professor, caught Mariano, one of her

students, cheating during an examination. Aside from calling Mariano’s attention, she confiscated his examination booklet and sent him out of the room, causing Mariano extreme embarrassment.

In class the following day, Mariano approached Miss Reyes and without any warning, slapped her on the face. Mariano would have inflicted grave injuries on Miss Reyes had not Dencio, another student, intervened. Mariano then turned his ire on Dencio and punched him repeatedly, causing him injuries.

What crime or crimes, if any, did Mariano commit? (7%)

SUGGESTED ANSWER:

Mariano is liable of 2 counts of Direct Assault.

The elements of Direct Assault are: (a) that the accused makes an attack, employs force, makes a serious intimidation or a serious resistance; (b) that the person assaulted is a person in authority or his agent; (c) that at the time of the assault the person in authority or his agent is engaged in the performance of his official duties or that the assault was on the occasion of the performance of his official duties; (d) that the accused knows that the person he is assaulting is a person in authority or his agent in the exercise of his duties; and (e) that there is no public uprising.

The first Direct Assault is qualified by laying of hands on a person in authority. Mariano slapped Ms. Reyes, a person in authority under Article 152, RPC, while she was in the performance of her official duties.

The second Direct Assault was committed when Mariano repeatedly punched Dencio who became an agent of a person in authority when he came to the aid of Ms. Reyes, a person in authority who was a victim of direct assault.

DIRECT ASSAULT WITH MURDER

Commission of –– The courts a quo are correct in ruling that appellants are liable for the complex crime of Direct Assault with Murder; appellants committed the second form of assault, the elements of which are: 1) that there must be an attack, use of force, or serious intimidation or resistance upon a person in authority or his agent; 2) the assault was made when the said person was performing his duties or on the occasion of such performance; and 3) the accused knew that the victim is a person in authority or his agent, that is, that the accused must have the intention to offend, injure or assault the offended party as a person in authority or an agent of a person in authority. (People vs.Vibal, Jr., G.R. No. 229678, June 20, 2018)

Penalty –– When the offense is a complex crime, the penalty for which is that for the graver offense, to be imposed in the maximum period; Art. 248 of the Revised Penal Code provides for the penalty of reclusion perpetua to death for the felony of murder; thus, the imposable penalty should have been death; considering that the imposition of death penalty has been prohibited by R.A. No. 9346, entitled “An Act Prohibiting the Imposition of Death Penalty in the Philippines”; the penalty of reclusion perpetua should be imposed upon appellants; the qualification “without eligibility for parole” should be affixed to qualify reclusion perpetua pursuant to A.M. No. 15-08-02-SC. (People vs.Vibal, Jr., G.R. No. 229678, June 20, 2018)

DIRECT ASSAULT WITH ATTEMPTED MURDER

Commission of –– It is well-settled that when the accused intended to kill his victim, as manifested by his use of a deadly weapon in his assault, and his victim sustained fatal or mortal wounds but did not die because of timely medical assistance, the crime committed is frustrated murder or frustrated homicide depending on whether or not any of the qualifying circumstances under Art. 249 of the Revised Penal Code are present; but, if the wounds sustained by the victim in such a case were not fatal or mortal, then the crime committed is only attempted murder or attempted homicide; application. (People vs. Vibal, Jr., G.R. No. 229678, June 20, 2018)

Penalty –– In Criminal Case No. 17648-B for the complex crime of Direct Assault with Attempted Murder, the penalty to be imposed on appellants should be that for Attempted Murder, which is the more serious crime; the penalty for Attempted Murder is two degrees lower than that prescribed for the consummated felony under Article 51 of the RPC; the imposable penalty is prision mayor;application ofthe Indeterminate Sentence Law. (People vs.Vibal, Jr., G.R. No. 229678, June 20, 2018)

DIRECT ASSAULT

Commission of —Direct assault, a crime against public order, may be committed in two ways; discussed; this case falls under the second form of direct assault. (Guelos vs. People, G.R. No. 177000, June 19, 2017)

Elements — The following elements must be present: 

1. That the offender 

(a) makes an attack, 

(b) employs force, 

(c) makes a serious intimidation, or 

(d) makes a serious resistance; 

2. That the person assaulted is a person in authority or his agent; 

3. That at the time of the assault, the person in authority or his agent (a) is engaged in the actual performance of official duties, or (b) is assaulted by reason of the past performance of official duties;

4.That the offender knows that the one he is assaulting is a person in authority or his agent in the exercise of his duties; and

5. That there is no public uprising. (Guelos vs. People, G.R. No. 177000, June 19, 2017)

People v. Balbar

Tiburcio Balbar allegedly entered the room where schoolteacher Ester Gonzales was conducting her classes. Without warning, and armed with a dagger, Balbar allegedly placed his arms around her and kissed her on the eye. Shocked, Ester instinctively pushed Balbar away and tried to flee. Balbar caught up with her before she was able to get out of the room. Defendant embraced her again. They both fell to the floor, as a result of which complainant sustained slight physical injuries.

Two informations, one for Direct Assault Upon A Person in Authority and another for Acts of Lasciviousness (Criminal Cases Nos. 823 and 841 respectively) were filed against Balbar.

HELD: 

The presence or absence of lewd designs is inferred from the nature of the acts themselves and the environmental circumstances. In the instant case, considering the manner, place and time under which the acts complained of were done, even as alleged in the information itself, lewd designs can hardly be attributed to accused. The factual setting, i.e., a schoolroom in the presence of complainant’s students and within hearing distance of her co-teachers, rules out a conclusion that the accused was actuated by a lustful design or purpose or that his conduct was lewd or lascivious. It may be that he did embrace the girl and kiss her but, this of itself would not necessarily bring the case within the provision of Article 336 of the Revised Penal Code. On the other hand, direct assault is committed “by any person or persons who, without a public uprising, shall attack, employ force, or seriously intimidate or resist any person in authority or any of his agents, while engaged in the performance of official duties or on occasion of such performance. As such, the accused committed direct assault (People v. Balbar, G.R. Nos. L-20216 & 202127, November 29, 1967).

3 thoughts on “Bar Q & A and Recent Jurisprudence on Direct Assault, Direct Assault with Murder, and Direct Assault with Attempted Murder

  1. I learned so much from the cases and discussion of direct assault here. Thank you very much Pinay Jurist.

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