Death or physical injuries inflicted under exceptional circumstances, A247 Revised Penal Code

1. Concept and legal basis

Article 252. Physical injuries inflicted in a tumultuous affray. – When in a tumultuous affray as referred to in the preceding article, only serious physical injuries are inflicted upon the participants thereof and the person responsible thereof cannot be identified, all those who appear to have used violence upon the person of the offended party shall suffer the penalty next lower in degree than that provided for the physical injuries so inflicted.
When the physical injuries inflicted are of a less serious nature and the person responsible therefor cannot be identified, all those who appear to have used any violence upon the person of the offended party shall be punished by arresto mayor from five to fifteen days. (Act 3815, Revised Penal Code)

2. Elements of the offense

a. 1st Mode

Elements of the offense:

1) That a legally married person surprises his spouse in the act of committing sexual intercourse with another person; and,

2) That he kills any of them or both of them in the act or immediately thereafter. (People v. Abarca, G.R. No. 74433, 14 September 1987)

b. 2nd Mode

Elements of the offense:

1) The offenders are legal parents;

2) Their daughter  living with them; and,

3) They have surprised their  daughter under eighteen years of age in the act of committing sexual intercourse with her seducer; and,

4) They kill any of them or both of them in the act or immediately thereafter, or shall inflict upon them any serious physical injury. (Paragraph 3, Article 247, Act No. 3815, Revised Penal Code)

3. Proximate result or by-product of rage

Though quite a length of time, about one hour, had passed between the time the accused-appellant discovered his wife having sexual intercourse with the victim and the time the latter was actually shot, the shooting must be understood to be the continuation of the pursuit of the victim by the accused-appellant. The Revised Penal Code, in requiring that the accused “shall kill any of them or both of them… immediately” after surprising his spouse in the act of intercourse, does not say that he should commit the killing instantly thereafter. It only requires that the death caused be the proximate result of the outrage overwhelming the accused after chancing upon his spouse in the basest act of infidelity. But the killing should have been actually motivated by the same blind impulse, and must not have been influenced by external factors. The killing must be the direct by-product of the accused’s rage.” (People v. Abarca, supra.)

4. No crime under Article 247, but a privilege or benefit

Article 247 of the Revised Penal Code does not define and provide for a specific crime, but grants a privilege or benefit to the accused for the killing of another or the infliction of serious physical injuries under the circumstances therein mentioned. (People v. Araquel, En Banc, G.R. No. L-12629, 09 December 1959)

a. Destierro

Since there is no crime, punishment is not inflicted upon the accused. He is banished, but that is intended for his protection. (People v. Abarca, supra.)

b. No aggravating, mitigating, qualifying circumstances

It shall likewise be noted that inflicting death under exceptional circumstances, not being a punishable act, cannot be qualified by either aggravating or mitigating or other qualifying circumstances (Ibid.)

c. By-standers who get injured

Inflicting death under exceptional circumstances is not murder and thus no charge of frustrated murder may be had if by-standers get injured. Instead, physical injuries is the proper offense. (Ibid.)

d. Excluded from privilege or benefit

Any person who shall promote or facilitate the prostitution of his wife or daughter, or shall otherwise have consented to the infidelity of the other spouse shall not be entitled to the benefits of this article. (Last Paragraph, Article 247, Ibid.)


Title 8 – Crimes Against Persons, Book 2, Revised Penal Code

/Updated: January 18, 2023

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