Criminal Law

Dungo v. People G.R. No. 209464, July 01, 2015 R. A. No. 8049 Anti-Hazing Law, Malum Prohibitum

FACTS:

Villanueva, a UP Los Baños student, was a neophyte of the APO – Theta Chapter Fraternity and that Dungo and Sibal, as members of the said fraternity, together with the other fraternity members, officers and alumni, brought and transported Villanueva and two other neophytes to Villa Novaliches Resort at Barangay Pansol, Calamba City, for the final initiation rites  conducted inside the resort, performed under the cover of darkness and secrecy.

Due to the injuries sustained by Villanueva, the fraternity members and the other two neophytes haphazardly left the resort, while Dungo and Sibal boarded a tricycle and brought the lifeless body of Villanueva to JP Rizal Hospital, where Villanueva was pronounced dead.

The RTC found Dungo and Sibal guilty of the crime of violating Section 4 of the Anti-Hazing Law and sentenced them to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua.

Upon appeal, the CA ruled that the appeal of Dungo and Sibal was bereft of merit.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the absence of proof of intent to kill the victim will affect the liability of the accused.

RULING:

The crime of hazing under R.A. No. 8049 is malum prohibitum.

R.A. No. 8049, or the Anti-Hazing Law of 1995, has been enacted to regulate hazing and other forms of initiation rites in fraternities, sororities, and other organizations. It was in response to the rising incidents of death of hazing victims.

Criminal law has long divided crimes into acts wrong in themselves called acts mala in se; and acts which would not be wrong but for the fact that positive law forbids them, called acts mala prohibita. This distinction is important with reference to the intent with which a wrongful act is done. The rule on the subject is that in acts mala in se, the intent governs; but in acts mala prohibita, the only inquiry is, has the law been violated? When an act is illegal, the intent of the offender is immaterial. When the doing of an act is prohibited by law, it is considered injurious to public welfare, and the doing of the prohibited act is the crime itself.

The study of the provisions of R.A. No. 8049 shows that it is complete and robust in penalizing the crime of hazing.

It was made malum prohibitum to discount criminal intent and disallow the defense of good faith. It took into consideration the different participants and contributors in the hazing activities.

Recognizing the malum prohibitum characteristic of hazing, the law provides that any person charged with the said crime shall not be entitled to the mitigating circumstance that there was no intention to commit so grave a wrong.

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