|

Malicious mischief, A327-A331 Revised Penal Code

Malicious mischief refers to the offense of deliberately causing damage to another’s property for mere sake of doing so and such act does not constitute arson or other crimes involving damage to property.

1. Concept

Malicious mischief – is the crime committed by a person who shall deliberately cause to the property of another any damage which does not constitute arson (Footnote 3 in Alemndra v. Alvero, En Banc, G.R. No. L-19820, September 20, 1965)

a. Legal basis

Article 327. Who are liable for malicious mischief. – Any person who shall deliberately cause the property of another any damage not falling within the terms of the next preceding chapter shall be guilty of malicious mischief.

(Revised Penal Code)

2. Modes of commission

The following are the modes of committing the offense:

1) Deliberately damaging another’s property

a. Mode 1: Deliberate damage to another’s property

Elements of the offense of malicious mischief:

1) That the offender deliberately caused damage to the property of another;

2) That such act does not constitute arson or other crimes involving destruction; and

3) That the act of damaging another’s property be committed merely for the sake of damaging it. (Taguinod v. People, G.R. No. 185833, October 12, 2011, Per Peralta, J.)

1) Element 1: Deliberately caused damage

That the offender deliberately caused damage to the property of another presupposes that the offender willfully and voluntarily caused the damage, as opposed to having done so by accident or negligence.

Taguinod v. People, G.R. No. 185833, October 12, 2011, Per Peralta, J.:

In finding that all the… elements are present, the MeTC rightly ruled that:

The following were not disputed: that there was a collision between the side view mirrors of the two (2) vehicles; that immediately thereafter, the wife and the daughter of the complainant alighted from the CRV and confronted the accused; and, the complainant, in view of the hostile attitude of the accused, summoned his wife and daughter to enter the CRV and while they were in the process of doing so, the accused moved and accelerated his Vitara backward as if to hit them.

The incident involving the collision of the two side view mirrors is proof enough to establish the existence of the element of “hate, revenge and other evil motive.” Here, the accused entertained hate, revenge and other evil motive because to his mind, he was wronged by the complainant when the CRV overtook his Vitara while proceeding toward the booth to pay their parking fee, as a consequence of which, their side view mirrors collided. On the same occasion, the hood of his Vitara was also pounded, and he was badmouthed by the complainant’s wife and daughter when they alighted from the CRV to confront him for the collision of the side view mirrors. These circumstances motivated the accused to push upward the ramp complainant’s CRV until it reached the steel railing of the exit ramp. The pushing of the CRV by the Vitara is corroborated by the Incident Report dated May 26, 2002 prepared by SO [R.] Cambre, Shift-In-Charge of the Power Plant Mall, as well as the Police Report. x x x

• The CA also accurately observed that the elements of the crime of malicious mischief are not wanting in this case, thus:

Contrary to the contention of [the Accused], the evidence for the prosecution had proven beyond reasonable doubt the existence of the foregoing elements. First, the hitting of the back portion of the CRV by [the Accused] was clearly deliberate as indicated by the evidence on record. The version of the private complainant that [the Accused] chased him and that the Vitara pushed the CRV until it reached the stairway railing was more believable than [the Accused]’s version that it was private complainant’s CRV which moved backward and deliberately hit the Vitara considering the steepness or angle of the elevation of the P2 exit ramp. It would be too risky and dangerous for the private complainant and his family to move the CRV backward when it would be hard for him to see his direction as well as to control his speed in view of the gravitational pull. Second, the act of damaging the rear bumper of the CRV does not constitute arson or other crimes involving destruction. Lastly, when the Vitara bumped the CRV, [the Accused] was just giving vent to his anger and hate as a result of a heated encounter between him and the private complainant.

• In sum, this Court finds that the evidence on record shows that the prosecution had proven the guilt of [the Accused] beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of malicious mischief. This adjudication is but an affirmation of the finding of guilt of [the Accused] by both the lower courts, the MeTC and the RTC.

2) Element 2: Damaging act is not arson or other crime involving destruction of property

The act of damaging another’s property should not constitute arson or other crimes involving destruction. Otherwise, the offense would not be malicious mischief; rather, it would be another crime such as destructive arson.

3) Element 3: Merely for the sake of damaging property

That the act of damaging another’s property is committed merely for the sake of damaging it is the gravamen of the offense. The usual drive or motive behind such act is some sort of petty revenge at the other person, such as intentionally hitting another’s car due to a traffic altercation.

This contrasts with situations where a person may be authorized to damage a property, such as law enforcement in the process of making an arrest, or where a person is justified in damaging a property, such as when using it in the act of self-defense.

Cabales v. Department of Agrarian Reform, G.R. No. 78214, December 5, 1988, Per Sarmiento, J.:

• The private respondent can not be held criminally liable for malicious mischief in cutting the banana trees because, as an authorized occupant or possessor of the land, and as planter of the banana trees, he owns said crops including the fruits thereof The private respondent’s possession of the land is not illegal or in bad faith because he was snowed by the previous owners to enter and occupy the premises. In other words, the private respondent worked the land in dispute with the consent of the previous and present owners. Consequently, whatever the private respondent planted and cultivated on that piece of property belonged to him and not to the landowner. Thus, an essential element of the crime of malicious mischief, which is “damage deliberately caused to the property of another,” is absent because the private respondent merely cut down his own plantings.

Grana v. People, G.R. No. 202111, November 25, 2019, Per Hernando, J.:

• Under the third element, assuming that [the Accused] Teofilo owned the property in controversy, he and his co-accused were not justified in summarily destroying the improvements built thereon by Bolbes. They unlawfully took the law into their own hands when they surreptitiously entered Bolbes’s enclosed lot and destroyed its fence and foundation. Evidently, [the Accused’s] actions were made out of hatred, revenge or evil motive. As aptly found by the RTC:

[T]o the mind of the court, accused did the act complained of not for the purpose of protecting his right as the alleged owner of the subject property but to give vent to their anger and disgust over private complainant’s alleged act of putting the fence and cement thereon without their consent. x x x

• Considering that all the elements of the crime of Malicious Mischief are present in this case, [the Accused] were properly adjudged guilty thereof.

3. Things to note

The following are some additional things to note about this offense.

a. Common provisions

This offense shares common provisions with other offenses under Title X of the Revised Penal Code – Crimes Against Property. See: Crimes Against Property

b. Excludes negligence

The necessity of the special malice for the crime of malicious mischief is contained in the requirement of Art. 327 of our Revised Penal Code… that the offender “shall deliberately cause to the property of another any damage not falling within the terms of the next preceding chapter”, i.e., not punishable as arson. It follows that, in the very nature of things, malicious mischief can not be committed through negligence, since culpa (negligence) and malice (or deliberateness) are essentially incompatible. Hence, the Supreme Court of Spain in its decisions… has expressly recognized that this crime is one of those that can not be committed by imprudence or negligence. (Quizon v. Justice of the Peace of Bacolor, En Banc, G.R. No. L-6641, July 28, 1955, Per Reyes, J.B.L., J.)

c. Special cases of malicious mischief

Art. 328. Special cases of malicious mischief. – Any person who shall cause damage to obstruct the performance of public functions, or using any poisonous or corrosive substance; or spreading any infection or contagion among cattle; or who causes damage to the property of the National Museum or National Library, or to any archive or registry, waterworks, road, promenade, or any other thing used in common by the public, shall be punished:
1. By prisión correccional in its minimum and medium periods, if the value of the damage caused exceeds Two hundred thousand pesos (P200,000);
2. Bv arresto mayor if such value does not exceed the abovementioned amount but is over Forty thousand pesos (P40,000); and
3. By arresto menor, if such value does not exceed Forty thousand pesos (P40,000).

(Revised Penal Code)

d. Other mischiefs

Art. 329. Other mischiefs. – The mischiefs not included in the next preceding article shall be punished:
1. By arresto mayor in its medium and maximum periods, if the value of the damage caused exceeds Two hundred thousand pesos (P200,000);
2. By arresto mayor in its minimum and medium periods, if such value is over Forty thousand pesos (P40,000) but does not exceed Two hundred thousand pesos (P200,000); and
3. By arresto menor or a fine of not less than the value of the damage caused and not more than Forty thousand pesos (P40,000), if the amount involved does not exceed Forty thousand pesos (P40,000) or cannot be estimated. (As amended by R.A. 10951)

(Revised Penal Code)

e. Damage and obstruction to means of communication

Article 330. Damage and obstruction to means of communication. – The penalty of prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods shall be imposed upon any person who shall damage any railway, telegraph or telephone lines.
If the damage shall result in any derailment of cars, collision or other accident, the penalty of prision mayor shall be imposed, without prejudice to the criminal liability of the offender for the other consequences of his criminal act.
For the purpose of the provisions of the article, the electric wires, traction cables, signal system and other things pertaining to railways, shall be deemed to constitute an integral part of a railway system.

(Revised Penal Code)

f. Destroying/damaging statues, etc.

Art. 331. Destroying or damaging statues, public monuments or paintings. – Any person who shall destroy or damage statues or any other useful or ornamental public monument, shall suffer the penalty of arresto mayor in its medium period to prisión correccional in its minimum period.
Any person who shall destroy or damage any useful or ornamental painting of a public nature shall suffer the penalty of arresto menor or a fine not exceeding Forty thousand pesos (P40,000), or both such fine and imprisonment, in the discretion of the court. (As amended by R.A. 10951)

(Revised Penal Code)

References

Title 10 – Crimes Against Property, Book 2, Revised Penal Code

/Updated: November 6, 2023

Similar Posts