Blog Lecture No. 54: Criminal Negligence

Now for another instalment of my “world famous” blog-lectures…

Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code states:

CRIMINAL NEGLIGENCE

Art. 365. Imprudence and negligence. — Any person who, by reckless imprudence, shall commit any act which, had it been intentional, would constitute a grave felony, shall suffer the penalty of arresto mayor in its maximum period to prision correccional in its medium period; if it would have constituted a less grave felony, the penalty of arresto mayor in its minimum and medium periods shall be imposed; if it would have constituted a light felony, the penalty of arresto menor in its maximum period shall be imposed.

Any person who, by simple imprudence or negligence, shall commit an act which would otherwise constitute a grave felony, shall suffer the penalty of arresto mayor in its medium and maximum periods; if it would have constituted a less serious felony, the penalty of arresto mayor in its minimum period shall be imposed.

When the execution of the act covered by this article shall have only resulted in damage to the property of another, the offender shall be punished by a fine ranging from an amount equal to the value of said damages to three times such value, but which shall in no case be less than twenty-five pesos.

A fine not exceeding two hundred pesos and censure shall be imposed upon any person who, by simple imprudence or negligence, shall cause some wrong which, if done maliciously, would have constituted a light felony.

In the imposition of these penalties, the court shall exercise their sound discretion, without regard to the rules prescribed in Article sixty-four.

The provisions contained in this article shall not be applicable:

1. When the penalty provided for the offense is equal to or lower than those provided in the first two paragraphs of this article, in which case the court shall impose the penalty next lower in degree than that which should be imposed in the period which they may deem proper to apply.

2. When, by imprudence or negligence and with violation of the Automobile Law, to death of a person shall be caused, in which case the defendant shall be punished by prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods.

Reckless imprudence consists in voluntary, but without malice, doing or falling to do an act from which material damage results by reason of inexcusable lack of precaution on the part of the person performing of failing to perform such act, taking into consideration his employment or occupation, degree of intelligence, physical condition and other circumstances regarding persons, time and place.

Simple imprudence consists in the lack of precaution displayed in those cases in which the damage impending to be caused is not immediate nor the danger clearly manifest.

The penalty next higher in degree to those provided for in this article shall be imposed upon the offender who fails to lend on the spot to the injured parties such help as may be in this hand to give. (As amended by RA, 1790, approved June 21, 1957.)

What is the “crime” called reckless imprudence?

Reckless imprudence consists in voluntary, but without malice, doing or falling to do an act from which material damage results by reason of inexcusable lack of precaution on the part of the person performing of failing to perform such act, taking into consideration his employment or occupation, degree of intelligence, physical condition and other circumstances regarding persons, time and place.

What is the “crime” called simple imprudence?

Simple imprudence consists in the lack of precaution displayed in those cases in which the damage impending to be caused is not immediate nor the danger clearly manifest.

What is a tort?

Derived from the Latin word tortious which means wrong. A body of the law which permits an injured person to recover compensation from the injuring party. When one person injures another, either intentionally or by negligence, a court may award money damages to the injured party so that they will suffer the pain caused by their action.

What is negligence?

It is the failure to exercise the care that an ordinary prudent person would exercise: either doing that which a prudent person would not do, or failing to do that which a prudent person would do. It is caused by someone’s lack of skill or lack of foresight.

It is lack of diligence. By default, the diligence or care required under Philippine law is that of a good father of a family (Article 1163, Civil Code) unless the law or the parties stipulate on another standard of care/diligence.

What is the liability of someone negligent?

Aside from the penalties stated in the Revised Penal Code, whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there being fault or negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage done. Hence, the one that was at fault or was negligence is likewise civilly liable.

And what does being civilly liable entail?

Civil Liability includes:

1. Restitution;
2. Reparation of the damage caused;
3. Indemnification for consequential damages. (Article 104, Revised Penal Code)

What is restitution?

It is the return of the thing(especially applies to stolen goods). The restitution of the thing itself must be made whenever possible, with allowance for any deterioration, or diminution of value as determined by the court. (Article 105, RPC)

What is reparation?

Reparation entails mostly reimbursement or repayment for the damages caused. The court shall determine the amount of damage, taking into consideration the price of the thing, whenever possible, and its special sentimental value to the injured party, and reparation shall be made accordingly. (Article 106, RPC)

What is indemnification?

It is payment for consequential damages, such as loss of income, etc. Indemnification for consequential damages shall include not only those caused the injured party, but also those suffered by his family or by a third person by reason of the crime. (Article 107, RPC)

How do we apply this to the present situation?

Well, since people died, a lot were injured and property were destroyed during the stampede. Those responsible may be liable for reckless imprudence resulting into multiple homicide, serious and less serious physical injuries and damage to property. Note that there is no criminal intent to kill people or destroy property here. Unfortunately, somebody’s negligence, lack of skill or lack of foresight cause these tragic events so those responsible will be criminally and civilly liable.

I may deal with the different kinds of damages that can be “collected” next time…

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