Immediate vindication, A13(5) Revised Penal Code

1. Concept

Immediate vindication of a grave offense – refers to the mitigating circumstance under the Revised Penal Code wherein the accused committed the offense in immediate vindication of a grave offense to the one committing the felony, his spouse, ascendants, or relatives by affinity within the same degrees.

a. Legal basis

Article 13. Mitigating circumstances. – The following are mitigating circumstances;
5. That the act was committed in the immediate vindication of a grave offense to the one committing the felony (delito), his spouse, ascendants, or relatives by affinity within the same degrees.

(Revised Penal Code)

2. Immediate vindication

For the mitigating circumstance of immediate vindication, the accused committed the offense as a form of immediate vindication of a grave offense against himself/herself, or his/her spouse, ascendants, or relatives by affinity within the same degrees.

People v. Santos, G.R. Nos. 99259-60, March 29, 1996, Per Francisco, J.:

• [T]he defense failed to adduce sufficient evidence to prove that a grave offense had in fact been committed by Francisco and Valentine against his father. By [the Accused]’s own admission, he was not present when the alleged skirmish took place. His testimony is hearsay, deserving no weight whatsoever and is in fact inadmissible in evidence. Further, proof exists that from the time [the Accused] learned of the alleged fight up to the time Francisco and Valentino arrived at [the Accused]’s house, sufficient time had lapsed within which [the Accused] could have recovered his composure and assuaged his vindictive sentiments. This may be inferred from [the Accused]’s testimony that upon knowing of the ill-treatment that his father suffered in the hands of Francisco and Valentino, he proceeded to prepare a weapon in the form of a samurai, after which, he anxiously awaited the arrival of Francisco and Valentino. Thus, the benefit of the said mitigating circumstance cannot be considered in favor of the [the Accused] pursuant to the established rule that there can be no immediate vindication of a grave offense when the accused had sufficient time to recover his serenity.

People v. Benito, En Banc, G.R. No. L-32042, February 13, 1975, Per Esguerra, J.:

• It is the contention of the accused that the criminal act of murder was committed in the immediate vindication of a grave offense done by the victim against the accused and, therefore, this mitigating circumstance must be credited in his favor. The supposed grave offense done by the victim was an alleged remark made in the presence of the accused at about 11:00 a.m. of December 12, 1969, that the Civil Service Commission is a hangout of thieves. The accused felt alluded to because he was facing then criminal and administrative charges on several counts involving his honesty and integrity.

• [The] victim’s remark even if actually uttered in the presence of the accused, cannot be considered a grave offense against the latter. The remark itself was general in nature and not specifically directed to the accused. If he felt alluded to by a remark which he personally considered insulting to him, that was his own individual reaction thereto. Other people in the vicinity who might have heard the remark could not possibly know that the victim was insulting the accused unless they were aware of the background of the criminal and administrative charges involving moral turpitude pending against the accused. At most, said remark might be considered a mere provocation and not a grave offense which might have impelled the accused to commit a crime in immediate retaliation. As the provocation was not sufficient and did not immediately precede the act, it may not be considered as a mitigating circumstance.

• In this case, however, the provocation was the remark uttered at 11:00 a.m. of December 12, 1969, while the crime of murder was committed by the accused at about 5:30 p.m. of the same day giving him several hours to reflect and hold his temper. Stated otherwise, the act of killing did not immediately or proximately follow the supposed sufficiently insulting and provocative remark. The juridical reason for appreciating this mitigating circumstance is the implied recognition by the law of the weakness of human nature such that an ordinary human being if sufficiently provoked would immediately retaliate in the unchristian spirit of vindictive retribution. But the circumstances of this case are such that the act of murder committed by the accused could not reasonably be attributed to an immediate or proximate retaliatory action on his part to vindicate what personal appeared to him as sufficient provocation in the form of an insulting remark allegedly uttered by the victim. The failure of the accused to immediately react to the supposed provocative insulting remark might even be taken as his ignoring it altogether or considering it unimportant at the moment he heard the remark. In other words, the remark was inadequate to stir or drive the accused to violence at the time it was uttered and he had more than sufficient time to suppress his emotion over said remark if he ever did resent it. The trial Court did not commit an error when it rejected the aforementioned incident as a basis for crediting mitigating circumstance in favor of the accused.


Title I – Felonies and Circumstances which Affect Criminal Liability, Book I, Act No. 3815, Revised Penal Code

/Updated: September 3, 2023

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