Sample Bar Questions (Criminal Law)

This question was taken from a compilation of bar questions in Lex Libris. The answer is a product of my personal research, hence, only a legal information and in no way constitutes a legal advice to those in similar situations.

Bar Question on Criminal Law 2004:

Aki and Ben, while walking together, met Caloy. There was an altercation between Ben and Caloy so that Ben chased and stabbed Caloy with a knife hitting his right arm thereby causing slight physical injury. Ben desisted from further assaulting Caloy, but Aki lunged at Caloy and felled him this time with a bolo which mortally wounded Caloy. Thus, he died.
a) What is the criminal liability of Aki? How about that of Ben? Explain your answers.

Aki is liable for the murder of Caloy.

ARTICLE 248, Sec. 1 of RPC provides that “any person who, not falling within the provisions of Article 246 shall kill another, shall be guilty of murder and shall be punished by reclusión perpetua to death, if committed with any of the following attendant circumstances:
1. With treachery, taking advantage of superior strength, with the aid of armed men, or employing means to weaken the defense or of means or persons to insure or afford impunity.”

In this case, Aki employed treachery, taking advantage of his superior strength with the use of bolo and with the aid of armed men (Ben). Hence Aki is liable for murder.

Ben is liable for slight physical injuries, as stated in the problem.

(Art. 266 defines slight physical injuries as one:
1) when the offender has inflicted physical injuries which shall incapacitate the offended party for labor from one to nine days, or shall require medical attendance during the same period
2) when the offender has caused physical injuries which do not prevent the offended party from engaging in his habitual work nor require medical attendance.
3) when the offender shall ill-treat another by deed without causing any injury)

b) Assuming conspiracy is established, will your answer in problem (a) be the same? Explain your answer. (5%)
The answer would be different.

Art. 8 of RPC provides, “A conspiracy exists when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the commission of a felony and decide to commit it.”

In the case of People v. Geronimo, G.R. No. L-35700, October 15, 1973, it has been laid down as a rule that when the defendants by their acts aimed at the same object, one performing one part and another performing another part so as to complete it, with a view to the attainment of the same object, and their acts, though apparently independent were in fact concerted and cooperative, indicating closeness of personal association, concerted action and concurrence of sentiments, the court will be justified in concluding that said defendants were engaged in a conspiracy (People vs. Cabrera, 43 Phil. 64, 66; People vs. Carbonell, 48 Phil. 868). When conspiracy has been proven, all conspirators are liable as co-principals for the wrongful act and its consequences (U. S. vs. Bundal, 3 Phil. 89; People vs. Villamora, 47 O.G. 6180).

In acts of conspiracy, the acts of one are the acts of all. In this case, as there is an element of treachery committed by both Aki and Ben, both are liable for murder.”

(N.B. This the submission of our contributing author and does not necessarily reflect that of the other members of this Forum. For other discussions, please use the Bar Exams forum.)

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