January 2014 Philippine Supreme Court Decisions on Criminal Law and Procedure

Here are select January 2014 rulings of the Supreme Court of the Philippine on criminal law and procedure:

1. Revised Penal Code

Acts of lasciviousness; elements. The elements of acts of lasciviousness under Art. 336 of the Revised Penal Code are as follows: (1) That the offender commits any act of lasciviousness or lewdness; (2) That it is done under any of the following circumstances: a. By using force or intimidation; or b. When the offended party is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious; or c. When the offended party is under 12 years of age; and (3) That the offended party is another person of either sex. People of the Philippines v. Bernabe Pareja y Cruz, G.R. No. 202122, January 15, 2014.

Complex crime of carnapping with homicide; when present; proof required. To prove the special complex crime of carnapping with homicide, there must be proof not only of the essential elements of carnapping, but also that it was the original criminal design of the culprit and the killing was perpetrated in the course of the commission of the carnapping or on the occasion thereof. The appellate court correctly observed that the killing of Jesus cannot qualify the carnapping into a special complex crime because the carnapping was merely an afterthought when the victim’s death was already fait accompli. Thus, appellant is guilty only of simple carnapping. People of the Philippines v. Joel Aquino y Cendana, G.R. No. 201092, January 15, 2014.

Damages; when awarded when death occurs due to a crime. It is enshrined in jurisprudence that when death occurs due to a crime, the following damages may be awarded: (1) civil indemnity ex delicto for the death of the victim; (2) actual or compensatory damages; (3) moral damages; (4) exemplary damages; and (5) temperate damages. There being no aggravating circumstance since abuse of superior strength is absorbed in the qualifying circumstance of treachery, the award of P75,000.00 as moral damages should be decreased to P50,000.00. Such an amount is granted even in the absence of proof of mental and emotional suffering of the victim’s heirs. Pursuant to current jurisprudence, the award of civil indemnity in the amount of P75,000.00 and exemplary damages in the amount of P30,000.00 is correct. The amount of actual damages duly proven in court in the sum of P60,100.00 is likewise upheld. Finally, the Supreme Court imposed interest at the rate of 6% per annum on all damages from the date of finality of this ruling until fully paid. People of the Philippines v. Joel Aquino y Cendana, G.R. No. 201092, January 15, 2014.

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