Conspiracy to commit a felony is the act of coming to an agreement by at least two (2) persons to commit a felony and which they have already decided upon. Proposal to commit a felony refers to the situation when the person who has decided to commit a felony proposes its execution to some other person or persons.
Conspiracy to commit felony – is the act of coming to an agreement by at least two (2) persons to commit a felony and which they have already decided upon.
Proposal to commit felony – refers to the situation “when the person who has decided to commit a felony proposes its execution to some other person or persons.” (REVISED PENAL CODE, Paragraph 3, Article 8)
NB: Conspiracy to commit felony and proposal to commit felony are not offenses per se. They only become offenses is so specified, e.g., conspiracy to commit treason, proposal to commit treason.
a. Legal basis
Article 8. Conspiracy and proposal to commit felony. – Conspiracy and proposal to commit felony are punishable only in the cases in which the law specially provides a penalty therefor.
A conspiracy exists when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the commission of a felony and decide to commit it.
There is proposal when the person who has decided to commit a felony proposes its execution to some other person or persons.
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2. Modes of commission
The following are the modes of committing the offense:
1) To conspire to commit felony; and
2) To propose to commit felony.
a. Mode 1: Conspiracy
Elements of the offense:
1) Two (2) or more persons came to an agreement;
2) The agreement concerned the commission of a felony; and
3) The execution of a felony was decided upon. (People v. Casabuena, G.R. No. 246580, June 23, 2020, Per Lazaro-Javier, J.)
1) Element 1: Agreement by at least 2 persons
That there should be at least two (2) people goes without saying. A person cannot make a proposal to him/herself. Neither can an individual make an agreement with him/herself in the context of conspiracy.
There is conspiracy when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the commission of a felony and decide to commit it. Conspiracy is not presumed. Like the physical acts constituting the crime itself, the elements of conspiracy must be proven beyond reasonable doubt. While conspiracy need not be established by direct evidence, for it may be inferred from the conduct of the accused before, during and after the commission of the crime, all taken together, however, the evidence must be strong enough to show the community of criminal design. For conspiracy to exist, it is essential that there must be a conscious design to commit an offense. Conspiracy is the product of intentionality on the part of the cohorts. (People v. Galica, G.R. No. 238911, June 28, 2021, Per Inting, J., citing People v. Lababo, G.R. No. 234651, June 6, 2018)
It is necessary that a conspirator should have performed some overt act as a direct or indirect contribution to the execution of the crime committed. The overt act may consist of active participation in the actual commission of the crime itself, or it may consist of moral assistance to his [co-conspirators]by being present at the commission of the crime or by exerting moral ascendancy over the other [co-conspirators]. Hence, the mere presence of an accused at the discussion of a conspiracy, even approval of it, without any active participation in the same, is not enough for purposes of conviction. (Ibid.)
2) Element 2: Commission of felony
The agreement by at least two (2) individuals concerns the commission of a felony or a crime, punishable by law. If it is neither, then they may simply be agreeing to something that is not considered or deemed an offense.
3) Element 2: Execution decided upon
The decision on the execution of the felony agreed upon should be clearly established.
Proof of conspiracy need not be based on direct evidence. It may be inferred from the parties’ conduct indicating a common understanding among themselves with respect to the commission of a crime. It is likewise not necessary to show that two (2) or more persons met together and entered into an explicit agreement setting out the details of an unlawful scheme or objective to be carried out. Conspiracy may be deduced from the mode or manner in which the crime was perpetrated. It may also be inferred from the acts of the accused evincing a joint or common purpose and design, concerted action, and community of interest. (People v. Casabuena, supra.)
Lacson v. People, G.R. No. 243805, September 16, 2020, Per Delos Santos, J.:
• Direct proof is not required to prove conspiracy. In a number of cases, the Court ruled that conspiracy may be proved by circumstantial evidence. It may be established through the collective acts of the accused before, during and after the commission of a felony, all the accused aimed at the same object, one performing one part and the other performing another for the attainment of the same objective; and that their acts, though apparently independent, were in fact concerted and cooperative, indicating closeness of personal association, concerted action and concurrence of sentiments.
• Here, the Lacsons were convincingly presented to have acted in unison in attacking the Santoses with steel pipes. The conduct of the Lacsons, before, during, and after the commission of the crime, showed that they possessed a joint and conceited purpose to assault the Santoses after chasing, hurling a beer bottle at them, and witnessing the heated discussion between some of their family members and Arnold, which escalated to a full-on attack. The Santoses had no means of defense, lacking the strength in numbers of the Lacsons who possessed steel pipes as weapons which caused injuries to their heads and different parts of their bodies. Thus, the act of one becomes the act of all and the Lacsons must be held accountable for their actions.
b. Mode 2: Proposal to commit
Elements of the offense:
1) A person has decided to commit a felony; and
2) The same person proposes its execution to some other person/s. (REVISED PENAL CODE, Paragraph 3, Article 8)
NB: A person cannot make a proposal to him/herself.
1) Element 1: Decided person
The person-offeror should already be decided to commit a felony. To be clear, the person already considered everything there is to commit the felony. Thus, if the person is still in-between or uncertain is excluded. In any case, it will be a case-to-case basis and for the courts to decide whether this element is present.
2) Element 2: Proposal
The person proposes the execution of the felony to some other person/s. This means that there should be another person to whom the person-offeror has made the offer or proposal. It is because a person cannot proposal to him/herself in the context of proposal to commit felony.
• Title 1 – Felonies and Circumstances which affect Criminal Liability, Book I, Act No. 3815, Revised Penal Code
/Updated: May 21, 2023