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Direct Assaults, A148 Revised Penal Code

1. Concept

Art. 148. Direct assaults – Any persons who, without a public uprising, shall employ force or intimidation for the attainment of any of the purposes enumerated in defining the crimes of rebellion and sedition, or shall attack, employ force, or seriously intimidate or resist any person in authority of any of his agents, while engaged in the performance of official duties, or on occasion of such performance, shall suffer the penalty of prisión correccional in its medium and maximum periods and a fine not exceeding Two hundred thousand pesos (₱200,000), when the assault is committed with a weapon or when the offender is a public officer or employee, or when the offender lays hands upon a person in authority. If none of these circumstances be present, the penalty of prisión correccional in its minimum period and a fine not exceeding One hundred thousand pesos (₱100,000) shall be imposed. (Act No. 3815, Revised Penal Code)

Direct assault is committed by any person or persons who, without a public uprising shall attack, employ force, or seriously intimidate or resist any person in authority or any of his agents, while engaged in the performance of official duties or on occasion of such performance. (People v. Balbar, En Banc, G.R. No. L-20216 and L-20217, 29 November 1987)

2. Modes of commission

2 modes of committing the offense:

1) By any person or persons who, without a public uprising, shall employ force or intimidation for the attainment of any of the purposes enumerated in defining the crimes of rebellion and sedition; or,

2) By any person or persons who, without a public uprising, shall attack, employ force, or seriously intimidate or resist any person in authority or any of his agents, while engaged in the performance of official duties, or on occasion of such performance. (Guelos v. People, G.R. No. 177000, 19 June 2017)

a. Tantamount to rebellion and sedition

Elements of the offense:

1) That the offender employs force or intimidation;

2) That the purpose is for the attainment of any of the purposes enumerated in defining the crimes of rebellion and sedition;

3) That there is no public uprising. (People v. Recto, supra.)

The first mode is tantamount to rebellion or sedition, without the element of public uprising. (People v. Recto, En Banc, G.R. No. 129069, 17 October 2001)

b. Persons in authority engaged in performance of official duties or on occasion thereof

Elements of the offense:

1) That the offender (a) makes an attack, (b) employs force, (c) makes a serious intimidation, or (d) makes a serious resistance;

2) That the person assaulted is a person in authority or his agent;

3) That at the time of the assault, the person in authority or his agent (a) is engaged in the actual performance of official duties, or that he is assaulted by reason of the past performance of official duties; and,

4) That the offender knows that the one he is assaulting is a person in authority or his agent in the exercise of his duties.

5) That there is no public uprising. (Gelig v. People, G.R. No. 173150, 28 July 2010)

The second mode is the more common form of assault and is aggravated when: (a) the assault is committed with a weapon; or (b) when the offender is a public officer or employee; or (c) when the offender lays hand upon a person in authority. (De Guzman v. People, G.R. No. 138553, 30 June 2005)

1) Accused must have knowledge that person attacked is a person in authority

It is essential that the accused must have knowledge that the person attacked was a person in authority or his agent in the exercise of his duties, because the accused must have the intention to offend, injure, or assault the offended party as a person in authority or agent of a person in authority. (People v. Rodil, G.R. No. L-35156, 20 November 1981)

Case Law

1) In Gelig v. People, on the day of the commission of the assault, Gemma (a public schoolteacher) was engaged in the performance of her official duties, that is, she was busy with paperwork while supervising and looking after the needs of pupils who are taking their recess in the classroom to which she was assigned. Lydia was already angry when she entered the classroom and accused Gemma of calling her son a “sissy”. Lydia refused to be pacified despite the efforts of Gemma and instead initiated a verbal abuse that enraged the victim. Gemma then proceeded towards the principal’s office but Lydia followed and resorted to the use of force by slapping and pushing her against a wall divider. The violent act resulted in Gemma’s fall to the floor. (Supra.)

2) In People v. Balbar, the accused entered a classroom and placed his arms around and kissed the eye of the victim (a schoolteacher) who just finished writing on the blackboard. After the victim pushed back and run, she was pursued and caught by the accused who carried a “daga” (a local dagger). The accused embraced her holding the weapon and they fall on the for resulting in slight physical injuries. In overturning the trial court’s dismissal of the charge of direct assault on the ground that there were no allegations on the Information showing the accused knew that the victim was a person in authority, the Supreme Court held that “the information sufficiently alleges that the accused knew that fact, since she was in her classroom and engaged in the performance of her duties. He therefore knew that she was a person in authority, as she was so by specific provision of law. It matters not that such knowledge on his part is not expressly alleged, complainant’s status as a person in authority being a matter of law and not of fact, ignorance whereof could not excuse non-compliance on his part (Article 3, Civil Code).” (Supra.)

2) Persons in Authority

In direct assaults, the victim is a person in authority or his agent, and the attack, employment of force or intimidation is committed on the occasion of the performance of official duties or by reason of such performance of official duties or by reason of such performance. (Villanueva v. Ortiz, G.R. No. L-15344, 30 May 1960)

By express provision of law (Com. Act No. 578, now part of Article 152 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 1978), “teachers, professors, and persons charged with the supervision of public or duly recognized private schools, colleges and universities shall be deemed persons in authority, in applying the provisions of Article 148.” This special classification is obviously intended to give teachers protection, dignity, and respect while in the performance of their official duties. (People v. Balbar, En Banc, G.R. No. L-20216 and L-20217, 29 November 1987)

3) Failure to allege in Information, not defective

Failure to expressly alleged in the information that the accused had knowledge that the person attacked was a person in authority does not render the information defective so long as there are facts alleged therein from which it can be implied that the accused knew that the person attacked was a person in authority. (People v. Rodil, G.R. No. L-35156, 20 November 1981)

Case Law

1) In People v. Balbar, Complainant was a teacher. The information sufficiently alleges that the accused knew that fact, since she was in her classroom and engaged in the performance of her duties. He therefore knew that she was a person in authority, as she was so by specific provision of law. It matters not that such knowledge on his part is not expressly alleged, complainant’s status as a person in authority being a matter of law and not of fact, ignorance whereof could not excuse non-compliance on his part (Article 3, Civil Code). This article applies to all kinds of domestic laws, whether civil or penal (De Luna vs. Linatoc, 74 Phil. 15) and whether substantive or remedial (Zulueta vs. Zulueta, 1 Phil. 254) for reasons of expediency, policy and necessity. (People v. Balbar, En Banc, G.R. No. L-20216 and L-20217, 29 November 1987)

a) Remedy is to re-file a valid Information

The fiscal’s proper course of action is not a petition for review on certiorari but the refiling of a valid information against the accused. (People v. Rodil, G.R. No. L-35156, 20 November 1981)

4) When a complex crime

When the assault results in the killing of that agent or of a person in authority for that matter, there arises the complex crime of direct assault with murder or homicide. (People v. Abalos, G.R. No. 88189, 09 July 1996)

Case Law

1) Considering that Antonio Macalipay was a kagawad who was in the actual performance of his duties when he was shot, the attack on him constituted direct assault… Applying the provisions of Articles 148 (direct assault), 249 (homicide) and 48 (penalty for complex crimes), appellant should be held liable for the complex crime of qualified direct assault with homicide. The penalty to be imposed on him should be for homicide, which is the more serious crime, to be imposed in the maximum period. This penalty shall comprise the maximum of his indeterminate sentence, and the minimum shall be within the range of the penalty next lower than that prescribed for homicide. (People v. Recto, En Banc, G.R. No. 129069, 17 October 2001)

CHAPTER 4: ASSAULT UPON, AND RESISTANCE AND DISTURBANCE TO, PERSONS IN AUTHORITY AND THEIR AGENTS

COMMON PROVISIONS

PERSON IN AUTHORITY: In applying the provisions of the preceding and other articles of the Revised Penal Code, any person directly vested with jurisdiction, whether as an individual or as a member of some court or governmental corporation, board, or commission, shall be deemed a person in authority. A barrio captain and a barangay chairman shall also be deemed a person in authority. (Article 152, Ibid.)

AGENT OF A PERSON IN AUTHORITY: A person who, by direct provision of law or by election or by appointment by competent authority, is charged with the maintenance of public order and the protection and security of life and property, such as a barrio councilman, barrio policeman and barangay leader and any person who comes to the aid of persons in authority, shall be deemed an agent of a person in authority. (Paragraph 2, Article 152, Ibid.)

TEACHERS, PROFESSORS, LAWYERS IN ACTUAL PERFORMANCE OF DUTIES: In applying the provisions of Articles 148 and 151 of this Code, teachers, professors and persons charged with the supervision of public or duly recognized private schools, colleges and universities, and lawyers in the actual performance of their professional duties or on the occasion of such performance, shall be deemed persons in authority.

References

Title 3 – Crimes Against Public Order, Book 2, Revised Penal Code

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