Friday, December 9, 2011

Accident as mitigating circumstance; Art. 12, Par. 4, Rev. Penal Code - G.R. No. 180219

G.R. No. 180219

"x x x.

Secondly, Talampas could not relieve himself of criminal liability by invoking accident as a defense. Article 12(4) of the Revised Penal Code,[10] the legal provision pertinent to accident, contemplates a situation where a person is in fact in the act of doing something legal, exercising due care, diligence and prudence, but in the process produces harm or injury to someone or to something not in the least in the mind of the actor – an accidental result flowing out of a legal act.[11] Indeed, accident is an event that happens outside the sway of our will, and although it comes about through some act of our will, it lies beyond the bounds of humanly foreseeable consequences.[12] In short, accident presupposes the lack of intention to commit the wrong done.

The records eliminate the intervention of accident. Talampas brandished and poked his revolver at Eduardo and fired it, hitting Eduardo, who quickly rushed to seek refuge behind Ernesto. At that point, Talampas fired his revolver thrice. One shot hit Ernesto at the right portion of his back and caused Ernesto to fall face down to the ground. Another shot hit Eduardo on the nape, causing Eduardo to fall on his back. Certainly, Talampas’ acts were by no means lawful, being a criminal assault with his revolver against bothEduardo and Ernesto.

And, thirdly, the fact that the target of Talampas’ assault was Eduardo, not Ernesto, did not excuse his hitting and killing of Ernesto. The fatal hitting of Ernesto was the natural and direct consequence of Talampas’ felonious deadly assault against Eduardo. Talampas’ poor aim amounted to aberratio ictus, or mistake in the blow, a circumstance that neither exempted him from criminal responsibility nor mitigated his criminal liability.Lo que es causa de la causa, es causa del mal causado (what is the cause of the cause is the cause of the evil caused).[13] Under Article 4 of the Revised Penal Code,[14] criminal liability is incurred by any person committing a felony although the wrongful act done be different from that which he intended.

x x x."