Criminal Law

PEOPLE vs. BANDIAN G.R. No. 45186 September 30, 1936 Infanticide, Article 12 Exempting Circumstances

FACTS:

At About 7 in the morning of January 31, 1936, Valentine Aguilar, the apellant’s neighbor, saw the appellant go to the thicket about four or five brazas from her house, apparently to respond to a call of nature because it was there that the people of the place used to go for that purpose. A few minutes later, he then again saw her emerge from the thicket with her clothes stained with blood both in front and back, stagerring and visibly showing signs of not being able to support herself. He ran to her aid and having noted that she was very weak and dizzy, he supported and helped her back to her house and placed her in her bed.

Aguilar asked what had happened to her. The appellant answered that she was very dizzy.  Aguilar called Adriano Comcom who lived nearby to be there and help. He asked Comcom to take bamboo leaves to stop the hemhorrage of the appellant. Comcom had scarcely gone about five brazas when he saw the body of newborn baby near a path adjoining the thicket where the appellant had gone a few moments before. Comcom informed Aguilar of it and the latter told him to bring the body to the appellant’s house. Upon being asked whether the baby was hers or not, the appellant answered in the affirmative.

In the afternoon of the said day, Dr. Emilio Nepomuceno went to the appellant’s house and found her still lying in bed still bleeding. In his opinion, the physician declared that the appellant gave birth in her house, and afterwhich, she threw the child into the thicket to kill it for the purpose of concealing her dishonor from her husband, because the child was not his but with another man with whom she had previously has amorous relations. Nepomuceno testified that the appellant admitted killing her child.

ISSUE:

What was the crime committed by appellant?

RULING:

The evidence certainly does not show that the appellant , in causing her child’s death in one way or another, or in abandoning it in the thicket, did so willfully, consciously, or imprudently. She had no cause to kill or abandon it, to expose it to death, because her affair with a former lover, Kirol took place three years before the incident. The husband of the appellant testified at the trial affirming the belief that the child was his.

Infanticide and abandonment of a minor, to be punishable must be committed willfully and consciously, or at least it must be the result of a voluntary, conscious and free act or omission. Even in cases where said crimes are committed through mere imprudence, the person who commits them, under said circumstances, must be in the full enjoyment of his mental facilities, or must be conscious of his acts, in order that he may be held liable.

The law exempts from criminal liability any person who acts under the circumstances in which the appellant acted in this case, by giving birth to a child in the thicket and later abandoning it, not because of imprudence or any other cause than that she was overcome by severe dizziness and extreme debility, with no fault or intention on her part, she should not be blamed therefor because it all happened by mere accident, from liability any person who so acts and behaves under such circumstances (Art. 12, subsection 4, RPC).

Taking into account the foregoing facts and considerations, and granting that the appellant was aware of her involuntary childbirth in the thicket and that she later failed to take her child therefrom, having been so prevented by reason of causes entirely independent of her will, and it appearing that under such circumstances said appellant has the fourth and seventh exempting circumstances in her favor, is hereby acquitted of the crime of which she had bee accused and convicted.

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