Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Intod vs. CA, 215 SCRA 52

Facts: Sulpicio Intod and 3 other men went to Salvador Mandaya’s house to ask him to go with them to the house of Bernardina Palangpangan. The group had a meeting with Aniceto Dumalagan who told Mandaya that he wanted Palangpangan to be killed because of a land dispute between them and that Mandaya should accompany the 4 men otherwise he would also be killed. At 10:00 p.m. of that same day, Intod and companions, all armed with firearms arrived at Palangpangan’s house. Thereafter, petitioner fired at the said room. It turned out the Palangpangan was in another city and her home was then occupied by her son-in-law and his family. No one was in the room when the accused fired. No one was hit by the gunfire. The RTC convicted Intod of attempted murder. Petitioner Intod seeks a modification of the judgment on the ground that he is only liable for an impossible crime {Art. 4(2)}. Petitioner contends that, Palangpangan's absence from her room on the night he and his companions riddled it with bullets made the crime inherently impossible. On the other hand, Respondent People of the Philippines argues that the crime was not impossible instead the facts were sufficient to constitute an attempt and to convict Intod for attempted murder. Respondent likewise alleged that there was intent. Further, In its Comment to the Petition, respondent pointed out that “xxx. The crime of murder was not consummated, not because of the inherent impossibility of its accomplishment (Art 4 (2), RPC), but due to a cause of accident other that petitioner’s and his co-accused’s own spontaneous desistance (Art. 3) Palangpangan did not sleep at her house at that time. Had it not been for this fact, the crime is possible, m not impossible.

Issue: Is petitioner is liable only for an impossible crime?

Held: Under Article 4(2) of the RPC, the act performed by the offender cannot produce an offense against person or property because: 1) the commission of the offense is inherently impossible of accomplishment; or 2) the means employed is either a) inadequate or b) ineffectual.

To be impossible under this clause, the act intended by the offender must be by its nature one impossible of accomplishment. There must be either 1) legal impossibility, or 2) physical impossibility of accomplishing the intended act in order to qualify the act as an impossible crime.

Legal impossibility occurs where the intended act, even if complete would not amount to a crime. Thus: legal impossibility would apply to those circumstances where 1) the motive, desire and expectation is to perform an act in violation of the law; 2) there is intention to perform the physical act; 3) there is a performance of the intended physical act; and 4) the consequence resulting from the intended act does not amount to a crime. The impossibility of killing a person already dead falls in this category.

On the other had, factual impossibility occurs when extraneous circumstances unknown to the actor or beyond his control prevent the consummation of the intended crime. One example is the man who puts his hand in the cot pocket of another with the intention to steal the latter’s wallet and finds the pocket empty.

The case at bar belongs to this category. Petitioner shoots the place where he thought his victim would be, although in reality, the victim was not present in said place and thus, the petitioner failed to accomplish his end.

The factual situation in the case at bar presents a physical impossibility which render the intended crime impossible of accomplishment. And under Article 4, paragraph 2 of the Revised Penal Code, such is sufficient to make the act an impossible crime.

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