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Parricide, Revised Penal Code

1. Concept and legal basis

“Parricide” – refers to offense/crime of killing another who may be a spouse or a direct blood ascendant or descendant, as penalized under Article 246 of the Revised Penal Code.

Parricide is the most terrible and unnatural of crimes. (People v. Tibon, G.R. No. 188320 29 June 2010)

Violence between husband and wife is nothing new. Marital violence that leads to spousal killing is parricide. Perceived as a horrific kind of killing, penal laws impose a harsher penalty on persons found guilty of parricide compared to those who commit the felony of homicide. (People v. Macal, G.R. No. 211062, 13 January 2016)

Article 246. Parricide. – Any person who shall kill his father, mother, or child, whether legitimate or illegitimate, or any of his ascendants, or descendants, or his spouse, shall be guilty of parricide and shall be punished by the penalty of reclusion perpetua to death. (Act 3815, Revised Penal Code)

2. Elements of the offense

Elements of the offense:

1) A person is killed;

2) The deceased is killed by the accused;

3) The deceased is the father, mother, or child, whether legitimate or illegitimate, or a legitimate other ascendants or other descendants, or the legitimate spouse of the accused. (People v. Bolasco, G.R. No. 211062, 13 January 2016)

Among the three requisites, the relationship between the offender and the victim is the most crucial. This relationship is what actually distinguishes the crime of parricide from homicide. (People v. Macal, supra.)

The key element in parricide is the relationship of the offender with the victim. (People v. Paycana, Jr., G.R. No. 179035, 16 April 2008)

In parricide involving spouses, the best proof of the relationship between the offender and victim is their marriage certificate. Oral evidence may also be considered in proving the relationship between the two as long as such proof is not contested. (People v. Macal, supra.)

a. A person is killed

PEOPLE v. VILLANUEVA, En Banc, G.R. No. L-28201, 08 February 1928

⦁ The accused in this case, Pablo Villanueva, and the injured woman, Salvacion Tesoro, are husband and wife; and until June 23, 1927, they were living together in the municipality of Balasan, in the Province of Iloilo. For some time prior to the day mentioned, ill feeling had existed on the part of the accused towards his wife; and a few days before the incident now to be referred to, in the course of the matrimonial dispute, the accused exhibited a hatchet to his wife and told her that he had not bought it for the purpose of splitting wood but to use upon her body. On the date mentioned the wife had a wordy altercation with a younger sister of the accused, whereupon the accused intervened and said to the girl, “Leave her alone, sister, for lightning is going to strike soon, and there will be a cutting.” Upon this, the sister retired, and the wife, Salvacion Tesoro, turned away. In a few minutes, however, the accused approached her with hatchet in hand struck her on the right occipital part of the head, making a gash that was not of a dangerous nature. Surprised at this aggression, Salvacion asked the accused why he had wounded her. Instead of answering, he placed himself in front of the woman and aimed at her a second blow, which she parried with her right hand, at the cost of fracturing a bone in her wrist. Following upon this aggression, the accused attempted to give the woman a third blow, but she evaded the stroke by stopping, and at the same time gave the accused a push. As consequence the blade of the hatchet passed harmlessly in the air, and only the handle struck on the woman’s left shoulder. At this moment another woman, who was the wife of a brother of the accused, stepped in and caught the accused by the shoulder, thereby causing to desist from the assault.

⦁ The wound inflicted upon the head of the injured woman appears to have taken some fifteen days to heal, while she did not recover the complete use of her forearm until the expiration of about twenty-five days, and even at the time of the trial she stated she still felt pains in her wrist. For fifteen days she was so far disabled as to be unable to attend to her customary duties.

⦁ As to the qualifications of the crime we agree with the Attorney-General that the offense for which the accused should be convicted is the infliction of minor physical injuries (lesiones menos graves), punishable under article 418 the Penal Code, because the injuries required more than eight but less than thirty for their cure. The fact that the injured woman was the wife of the accused is a circumstance to be taken into account as an aggravation of the offense (No. 1 art. 10, Penal Code). No mitigating circumstance is discernible. The proper penalty therefore falls within the maximum degree of the penalty indicated in the first paragraph of article 418 of the Penal Code; and in view of the ugly nature of the assault, we are of the opinion that the accused merits said penalty in its extreme extension, arresto mayor.

⦁ The trial judge defined the offense as frustrated parricide, but the majority of this court are of the opinion that this qualification of the offense is too severe, because it does not appear beyond a reasonable doubt either that the accused actually intended to kill his wife or that he performed all of the acts of execution which should have resulted in the woman’s death and was only prevented from accomplishing this result by causes independent of his will. A fair interpretation of the evidence is, in our opinion, to the effect that the accused was somewhat of a blusterer and bully and that the threat implied in his statement, some days before the assault, that he had bought the hatchet to use on his wife, is at least partly explainable as having been prompted by a desire to intimidate the woman. Again, if the accused had really intended to kill his wife, it is difficult to see what there really was to prevent him when she was crouched helplessly on her knees before him.

In connection with offenses of his character, before the graver qualification can be placed upon the offense, the intention to take life must be proved with the same degree of certainty as required as to other elements of the crime, and the inference of such intent should not be drawn in the absence of circumstances sufficient to prove such intention beyond a reasonable doubt. Moreover, it is always to be remembered that the first and simplest presumption which the law draws with respect to human conduct, in connection with acts of violence, is that the actor intended the natural consequences of his acts; and this presumption should be applied in a fair and rational way, with proper regard to all the details of the act, and without the suppression of any of its elements. For instance, if an accused is shown to have fired a gun at his victim, thereby inflicting a minor wound in some part of the body, it should be assumed prima facie that he intended to inflict such a wound. And from the mere fact that the use of firearms is dangerous to life, the inference should not be drawn that the accused intended to kill. Likewise, in a case of this kind, where the accused inflicted a scalp wound with a hatchet and struck at his victim a second time, it should not be inferred, from the mere fact that a hatchet in the hands of an infuriated man is a deadly weapon, that the accused really intend to kill. In cases of this kind the intent to kill should be proved by convincing external evidence incompatible with any other intention. Prima facie a man must be assumed to have intended to do that which he actually did, and not something more. In the opinion of the court the proof of intention to kill in this case is lacking in certainty and convicting character.

⦁ Similar considerations make it improper to convict the accused of attempted parricide, because the intention to kill is equally necessary in case of an attempted homicide as in case of the frustrated crime; and we consider untenable the suggestion that in this case the desistance of the accused from the purpose to kill his wife was due to the intervention of a sister-in-law who caught the accused by the shoulders after he had struck at his victim the third time; for the woman who thus intervened ceased at once from this mild form of intervention at the command of her own husband, a brother of the accused, who was standing near and who, to judge by his words, sympathized with the aggression. The fair and natural interpretation of the acts of the accused is that he desisted from the assault of his own volition.

⦁ The judgment convicting the accused of frustrated parricide is therefore reversed, and judgment will be entered convicting the accused of the offense of lesiones menos graves and sentencing him to six months, arresto mayor, with the accessories appropriate to this penalty, and requiring him to pay all costs of prosecution, with proper credit of course for one-half the period of provisional confinement prior to the date when service of this sentence shall begin…

PEOPLE v. RABAO, En Banc, G.R. No. L-46530, 10 April 1939

⦁ The defendant and the deceased Salvacion Agawa were married before the justice of the peace of Naga on January 15, 1936 and had since been born to the marriage. Since their marriage they had made their home in the house of Urbano Rellora, who lived maritally with the mother of the accused. On the morning of December 15, 1937, when the defendant was hardly awake after staying up late the previous night on account of the elections held in the municipality of Naga, he noticed that his wife was preparing water with which to give the child a bath. He told his wife not to bathe the child because it had a cold, but the wife insisted and a quarrel arose in the heat of which the accused punched his wife on the abdomen. She fell seated on a sack of rice nearby and immediately suffered an attack of which she died in spite of the aid rendered her by the accused himself and other persons who had arrived. The following morning Dr. Vicente Roxas performed an autopsy and found that the spleen of the deceased had been hypertrophied due to an acute and chronic malaria from which she had been suffering, and that death was caused by the hemorrhage of the spleen when it was ruptured as a consequence of an external blow on the abdomen which might have been that delivered by the accused.

⦁ The defense alleges that the lower court erred in declaring that the accused hit the deceased on the abdomen, which caused her death, instead of finding him, at most, guilty of parricide through reckless imprudence.

⦁ After an examination of the evidence, we are of the opinion that the lower court did not err in finding that the accused hit the deceased on the abdomen which directly caused the rupture of her spleen producing thereby an internal hemorrhage that caused her almost instant death. Urbano Rellora who, as stated before, was the owner of the house where the defendant and the deceased lived and who maintained marital relations with the mother of the accused, testified positively that he saw the accused punched his wife on the abdomen, as a result of which she fell seated on a sack of rice and that very moment she had an attack, became unconscious and expired. This testimony is corroborated by Dr. Roxas who performed the autopsy, when he declared that the death was caused by the hemorrhage produced by the rupture of the spleen which rupture was caused by an external blow on the abdomen of the deceased. The defendant himself, in his sworn declaration (Exhibit C) subscribed before the justice of the peace of Naga, voluntarily admitted having hit his wife on the abdomen with his fist when she said things that offended and made him nervous. The aggression was likewise corroborated by another eye-witness, Raymundo Hilano, who declared that he was at that time passing in front of the defendant’s house when he heard and saw him quarrelling with his wife and that the defendant was delivering blows on his wife. The testimony of this witness however, seems incredible and deserves no merit for he testified having seen the aggression through a window which was three and a half meters high from the ground where he stood. Considering the height of the window and the location of the witness, it is clear that he could not have seen what was happening inside the house.

⦁ The defendant’s act is not mere reckless imprudence, as the defense contends, since under article 365 of the Revised Penal Code the acts that go to make up reckless imprudence must be lawful in themselves, and the attack consisting in the blow the defendant dealt his wife is certainly not lawful, since it transgresses the Revised Penal Code itself, which expressly prohibits it under pain of punishment.

⦁ The facts proven constitute the crime of parricide defined by article 246 of the Revised Penal Code, and in its commission there were present the following mitigating circumstances considered by the lower court in favor of the defendant: lack of intention to commit so grave a crime (article 13 [3], Revised Penal Code); having acted upon an impulse so powerful as naturally to have produced passion or obfuscation (article 13 [6]); having surrendered himself to the authorities immediately after the commission of the crime (article 13 [7]); with no aggravating circumstance. As to the penalty imposed, we find that it is not in accordance with that prescribed by the law. Under article 246 of the Revised Penal Code the crime of parricide is punished with reclusion perpetua to death. These penalties are indivisible and the Revised Penal Code provides, in article 63, rule 3, that whenever there is present some mitigating circumstance with no aggravating one, the lesser penalty shall be applied. In conformity with this legal provision, the penalty that should be imposed on the accused is that of reclusion perpetua.

b. Deceased is killed by the accused

PEOPLE v. SALES, G.R. No. 177218, 03 October 2011

⦁ In the case at bench, there is overwhelming evidence to prove the first element, that is, a person was killed. Maria testified that her son Noemar did not regain consciousness after the severe beating he suffered from the hands of his father. Thereafter, a quack doctor declared Noemar dead. Afterwards, as testified to by Maria, they held a wake for Noemar the next day and then buried him the day after. Noemar’s Death Certificate22 was also presented in evidence.

⦁ There is likewise no doubt as to the existence of the second element that the appellant killed the deceased. Same is sufficiently established by the positive testimonies of Maria and Junior. Maria testified that on September 20, 2002, Noemar and his younger brother, Junior, were whipped by appellant, their father, inside their house. The whipping continued even outside the house but this time, the brothers were tied side by side to a coconut tree while appellant delivered the lashes indiscriminately. For his part, Junior testified that Noemar, while tied to a tree, was beaten by their father in the head. Because the savagery of the attack was too much for Noemar’s frail body to endure, he lost consciousness and died from his injuries immediately after the incident.

⦁ As to the third element, appellant himself admitted that the deceased is his child. While Noemar’s birth certificate was not presented, oral evidence of filial relationship may be considered.23 As earlier stated, appellant stipulated to the fact that he is the father of Noemar during the pre-trial conference and likewise made the same declaration while under oath.24 Maria also testified that Noemar and Junior are her sons with appellant, her husband. These testimonies are sufficient to establish the relationship between appellant and Noemar.

⦁ Clearly, all the elements of the crime of parricide are obtaining in this case.

PEOPLE v. MARQUEZ, En Banc, G.R. No. 31268 31 July 1929

⦁ The defendant admits that he killed his wife, Oliva Sumampong; but he alleges that he caught her in the act of adultery, and so took her life.

⦁ This allegation of the defendant does not agree with his statements before the justice of the peace during the preliminary investigation. According to both Exhibit B and the testimony of the justice of the peace who conducted said investigation, the defendant had been fishing on the night of the crime.. “and when he came back at midnight the house was closed; he knocked at the door but his wife did not awake, so he knocked again, but still she slept on; then he went to the part of the house where his wife usually slept, and knocked on the wall; she awoke then opened the door; and when he went up, there was a man who jumped out of the window, and when he asked his wife why there was a man inside the house, she answered that there was no man, but as he insisted that there had been one, and that he had jumped out of the window, and as his wife would not tell the truth, for that reason alone he killed her.”

⦁ Once the appellant had admitted that it was he who killed his wife, it was incumbent upon him to completely prove his defense, which is, that he found her in the act of adultery. The testimony he gave during the hearing of this case in the trial court, noticeably weakened by his statements before the justice of the peace, cannot be considered sufficient proof of the justification he alleges, and so the fact remains that he took his wife’s life without having proven sufficient justification.

⦁ Nevertheless, it was established at the trial that on the occasion of the crime, the defendant saw an unknown person jump out of the window of his house and that the appellant’s wife begged for his pardon on her knees. The first of these facts, under the circumstances, warrants the conclusion that the defendant believed his wife to be unfaithful, and was overcome by passion and obfuscation. The second fact leads us to believe that the wife could not have been wholly unaware of the unknown person’s presence in her house that night, inasmuch as she considered herself guilty and begged her husband’s pardon, which is an undisputed fact in these proceedings. To our mind, such conduct on the part of his wife, thus inferred from the proceedings, constitutes a sufficient provocation, which must be considered as a mitigating circumstance in the face of the defendant.

⦁ We find no merit in the assignments of error made by the defense, and we conclude that the crime of parricide committed by the herein appellant is not justified in these proceedings.

c. The deceased is the father, mother, or child, etc.

The deceased is either of the following:

1) Father, mother, or child, whether legitimate or illegitimate;

2) Legitimate other ascendants or other descendants; or

3) Legitimate spouse of the accused.

1) Blood relationship only

The family relations are only by blood, and does not extend to in-laws. The only exception is the legitimate spouse.

2) Knowledge of blood relationship, irrelevant

Whether or not the accused knew of his family relationship with the victim, the crime of parricide is committed.

3) Proof of relationship

That [accused’s] certificate of live birth was not presented in evidence does not negate his culpability. For oral evidence of the fact of his filial relationship with the victim may be considered. In People v. Ayuman, the accused admitted during the trial that the victim was his son. Although the victim’s birth certificate was not presented, the Court considered as competent evidence the accused’s admission of his filiation to the victim and convicted him of parricide. (People v. Delos Santos, G.R. No. 248929 09 November 2020)

4) Subsequent annulment of marriage

PIMENTEL v. PIMENTEL, G.R. No. 172060, 13 September 2010

⦁ The relationship between the offender and the victim is a key element in the crime of parricide, which punishes any person “who shall kill his father, mother, or child, whether legitimate or illegitimate, or any of his ascendants or descendants, or his spouse.” The relationship between the offender and the victim distinguishes the crime of parricide from murder or homicide. However, the issue in the annulment of marriage is not similar or intimately related to the issue in the criminal case for parricide. Further, the relationship between the offender and the victim is not determinative of the guilt or innocence of the accused.

⦁ The issue in the civil case for annulment of marriage under Article 36 of the Family Code is whether petitioner is psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations. The issue in parricide is whether the accused killed the victim. In this case, since petitioner was charged with frustrated parricide, the issue is whether he performed all the acts of execution which would have killed respondent as a consequence but which, nevertheless, did not produce it by reason of causes independent of petitioner’s will. At the time of the commission of the alleged crime, petitioner and respondent were married. The subsequent dissolution of their marriage, in case the petition in Civil Case No. 04-7392 is granted, will have no effect on the alleged crime that was committed at the time of the subsistence of the marriage. In short, even if the marriage between petitioner and respondent is annulled, petitioner could still be held criminally liable since at the time of the commission of the alleged crime, he was still married to respondent.

5) Stranger

If killing is committed with another who is a stranger, the latter’s crime is either homicide or murder – not parricide.

PEOPLE v. PATRICIO, En Banc, G.R. No. L-20651, 25 October 1923

⦁ The crime committed by Antonia Patricio is that of parricade, in the commission of which are to be appreciated the aggravating circumstances of known premeditation, treachery, nocturnity and the abuse of superior strength. The crime committed by Antonina Manangan and Jose Malgana cannot be denominated parricide, though they cooperated as principals in the killing of a person whom they knew to be the husband of their coaccused, Antonia Patricio; for it is established doctrine that a stranger who participates in the perpetration of parricide is not guilty of parricide but only of murder or homicide according to the factors present in the offense. (Decision of the supreme court of Spain of March 11, 1887, 3 Viada, 8; 2 Hidalgo, Penal Code, 143.) The crime committed by Antonina Manangan and Jose Malgana is therefore that of murder, qualified by treachery, in the commission of which are to be appreciated, as to both of these accused, the aggravating circumstances of nocturnity, abuse of superior strength, and that the offense was committed in the dwelling of the deceased; and as to Antonina Manangan is further to be appreciated the circumstance of known premeditation, since she accompanied Antonia Patricio on the mission to hire Marcelo Miguel to kill the deceased.

PEOPLE v. CARIQUEZ, G.R. No. 129304, 27 September 1999

⦁ We agree with the trial court’s appreciation of conspiracy against AVA and LEEZEL. The rule is well settled that in conspiracy the act of one is the act of all, and each of the conspirators is liable for the crimes committed by the other conspirators. 27 Proof of conspiracy need not be direct but may be inferred from proof of facts and circumstances. 28 If it is proved that two or more persons aimed by their acts towards the accomplishment of the same unlawful object each doing a part so that their acts, though apparently independent were in fact connected, indicating a closeness of formal association and a concurrence of sentiment, a conspiracy may be inferred though no actual meeting among them to concert means is proved. 29 The facts and circumstances proven in this case unerringly lead us to a conclusion that AVA and LEEZEL conspired to maltreat, injure, inflict pain, torture ETHEL and they were united in that purpose and intention. The totality of their evil deeds demonstrated beyond doubt their resolve to pursue with persistence their common objective, which eventually resulted in the death of ETHEL. As amply demonstrated by the evidence, ETHEL’s injuries, particularly that on the head, in addition to those on the body, were sustained not only on the date of the fateful incident but on dates before the day of the incident. Thus, Bienvenida testified that: he noted that the injury on the head was a “confluent injury,” which means that it was sustained on different dates; 30 one portion of the injury was “resolving hematoma” which was at least (2) days old, while the more acute injury was sustained within 24 hours from his examination. 31 Likewise, the result of the CT-Scan which was taken on the child showed a combination of chronic and acute subdural hematoma on the left fronto-temporoparietal (front side and apex) convexity of the brain. Massive edema and musk effect in the left cerebral hemisphere and right fronto-parietal lobe were noted. A fracture was also noted on the left frontal bone. Blood clot was found in almost the entire cerebral hemisphere. Also found were soft tissue injuries, i.e., hematoma and abrasions, in other parts of the body. 32 In the autopsy conducted by Dr. Vertido of the NBI, the doctor concluded as the cause of Ethel’s death: “Traumatic Head Injury.” 33

⦁ Indisputably, AVA committed the crime of parricide under Article 246 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by R.A. No. 7659, which is punished by reclusion perpetua to death. Considering that no modifying circumstances were proven, then pursuant to Article 63 of the Revised Penal Code, the lesser of the penalty, i.e., reclusion perpetua, was correctly imposed by the trial court on AVA. LEEZEL was correctly held liable for the crime of homicide only as he was a stranger to the victim, ETHEL. Previous to its amendment by R.A. 7610, the penalty for homicide under Article 249 of the Revised Penal Code, was reclusion temporal. As amended by R.A. 7610, the penalty for homicide in cases where the victim is a child below twelve (12) years of age is reclusion perpetua…

4. Complex crime

a. With unintentional abortion

PEOPLE v. SALUFRANIA, En Banc, G.R. No. L-50884, 30 March 1988

⦁ [A]ppellant alleges that, assuming he indeed killed his wife, there is no evidence to show that he had the intention to cause an abortion. In this contention, appellant is correct. He should not be held guilty of the complex crime of Parricide with Intentional Abortion but of the complex crime of Parricide with Unintentional Abortion…

⦁ The evidence on record, therefore, establishes beyond reasonable doubt that accused Filomeno Salufrania committed and should be held liable for the complex crime of parricide with unintentional abortion. The abortion, in this case, was caused by the same violence that caused the death of Marciana Abuyo, such violence being voluntarily exerted by the herein accused upon his victim.

⦁ It has also been clearly established (a) that Marciana Abuyo was seven (7) to eight (8) months pregnant when she was killed; (b) that violence was voluntarily exerted upon her by her husband accused; and (c) that, as a result of said violence, Marciana Abuyo died together with the foetus in her womb. In this afternoon, Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code states that the accused should be punished with the penalty corresponding to the more serious came of parricide, to be imposed in its maximum period which is death. However, by reason of the 1987 Constitution which has abolished the death penalty, appellant should be sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua.

5. Paricide vs. Murder vs. Homicide

Parricide is differentiated from murder and homicide by the relationship between the killer and his or her victim. Even without the attendant circumstances qualifying homicide to murder, the law punishes those found guilty of parricide with reclusion perpetua to death, prior to the enactment of Republic Act No. (RA) 9346 (An Act Prohibiting the Imposition of the Death Penalty in the Philippines). The commission of parricide is punished more severely than homicide since human beings are expected to love and support those who are closest to them. The extreme response of killing someone of one’s own flesh and blood is indeed unnatural and tragic. (People v. Tibon, supra.)

References

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

/Updated: January 18, 2023

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