Corpus delicti

1. Concept

“Corpus delicti” – refers to the fact of the commission of the crime charged or to the body or substance of the crime. (Rimorin, Sr. v. People, G.R. No. 146481, 30 April 2003)

In its legal sense, [corpus delicti] does not refer to the ransom money in the crime of kidnapping for ransom or to the body of the person murdered. (Ibid.)

Corpus delicti is the body, foundation or substance of a crime. It refers to the fact of the commission of the crime, not to the physical body of the deceased. (People v. Bacares, G.R. No. 243024, 23 June 2020)

2. Requisites

[T]o prove the corpus delicti, it is sufficient for the prosecution to be able show that:

1) A certain fact has been proven — say, a person has died or a building has been burned; and

2) A particular person is criminally responsible for the act. (Rimorin, Sr. v. People, supra.)

a. Proven fact

Since the corpus delicti is the fact of the commission of the crime, this Court has ruled that even a single witness’ uncorroborated testimony, if credible, may suffice to prove it and warrant a conviction therefor. Corpus delicti may even be established by circumstantial evidence. (Ibid.)



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