1. Concept and legal basis
|Article 251. Death caused in a tumultuous affray. – When, while several persons, not composing groups organized for the common purpose of assaulting and attacking each other reciprocally, quarrel and assault each other in a confused and tumultuous manner, and in the course of the affray someone is killed, and it cannot be ascertained who actually killed the deceased, but the person or persons who inflicted serious physical injuries can be identified, such person or persons shall be punished by prision mayor.|
|If it cannot be determined who inflicted the serious physical injuries on the deceased, the penalty of prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods shall be imposed upon all those who shall have used violence upon the person of the victim. (Act 3815, Revised Penal Code)|
2. Elements of the offense
Elements of the offense:
1) That there be several persons;
2) That they did not compose groups organized for the common purpose of assaulting and attacking each other reciprocally;
3) That these several persons quarreled and assaulted one another in a confused and tumultuous manner;
4) That someone was killed in the course of the affray;
5) That it cannot be ascertained who actually killed the deceased; and,
6) That the person or persons who inflicted serious physical injuries or who used violence can be identified. (Wacoy v. People, supra.)
a. Several persons
|The disturbance or interruption shall be deemed to be tumultuous if caused by more than three persons who are armed or provided with means of violence. (Paragraph 3, Article 153, Act No. 3815, Revised Penal Code)|
Thus, there should be at least four (4) persons involved.
b. Not groups organized for assaulting and attacking
The concept of tumultuous affray is that random people joined in assaulting and attacking another, such as fights that break out in a drinking bar, during a sports match, in a prison or detention center, and analogous thereto.
Hence, there is a requirement that the individuals involved should not belong to groups which are organized for assaulting and attacking.
c. Quarreled and assaulted, in a confused and tumultuous manner
Since the fight or affray involves random strangers, the quarrel and assault was expected to have been done in a confused or tumultuous manner. Thus, those involved did not know who their friend or enemy during the struggle was.
d. Someone was killed in the affray
Unfortunately, during or as a result of the tumultuous affray, someone was killed. The death may be during the fight or sometime later in the hospital. What is important is that the death is directly related to the injuries sustained during the fight.
e. Who killed the deceased cannot be ascertained
Considering it was a tumultuous affray, it may be difficult to identify who actually killed the deceased.
NB: Since death by tumultuous affray presupposes that the one who killed cannot be identified, the crime is homicide if the person is identified despite the tumultuous circumstances.
f. Person/s who inflicted serious physical injuries or violence can be identified
Notwithstanding the confusion, it may be possible to identify the individuals who may have inflicted serious physical injuries or violence. This may be done via testimonial evidence of any of the participants or by a bystander. In the alternative, and where available, documentary evidence via CCTV footage or video recording may also be used to identify these persons.
⦁ Title 8 – Crimes Against Persons, Book 2, Revised Penal Code
/Updated: January 18, 2023