Monthly Archives: September 2006

Seventeenth…

I forgot to blog about this again…

Probably because the result was the same. Another no-show for the seventeenth visit…

Nothing further…

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Blog Lecture No. 67: Unjust Vexation

Now, let us tackle the other dimension the Samson Macariola affair…

What is unjust vexation?

Sadly, unjust vexation under our penal laws is undefined, intentionally or otherwise. Some criminal law minds (not criminal minds) think this is a catch-all provision where any crime that it not otherwise defined there will fall under unjust vexation.

So let’s go to dictionary definition of the term.

As defined here, vexation is defined as the act of harassing or causing trouble. So unjust vexation must mean harassing our causing trouble without justifiable reasons.

Can you give examples?

There’s a well-researched blog entry by a Bacolod-based lawyer here that already gave examples, such as:

1. Disturbing and interfering with a religious ceremony;
2. Stopping a jeep and causing a disturbance without just reasons;
3. Embracing and taking hold of the wrist of a complainant;
4. Unjustly cutting off the electricity, water and telephone lines of a tenant

What is the punishment for unjust vexation?

Unjust vexation is punished under the 2nd paragraph of Article 287 of the Revised Penal Code that says:

“Any other coercions or unjust vexations shall be punished by arresto menor or a fine ranging from 5 pesos to 200 pesos, or both.”

Again, a slap in the wrist and very much probationable.

Can Samson Macariola be guilty of unjust vexation?

Of course, given the catch-all nature of this penal provision, he can be liable under it.

IMHO, however, the vexation is justified. I believe that exposing the security risk and blunders of those tasked to protect us is more than enough justification.

As a matter of fact, these blundering security people should be the ones charged for unjust vexation for their huge security blunders.

And there are some people questioning the presence of that catch-all crime in our penal laws in the first place. Some people think this law is unconstitutional.

For more information, read that entry of that Bacolod-based lawyer. He tackled unjust vexation in more detail.

Have a nice weekend…

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Blog Lecture No. 66: Alarms and Scandals

What does our penal laws provide when it comes to alarms and scandals?

Article 155 of the Revised Penal Code provides:

Article 155. Alarms and scandals. — The penalty of arresto menor or a fine not exceeding P200 pesos shall be imposed upon:

1. Any person who within any town or public place, shall discharge any firearm, rocket, firecracker, or other explosives calculated to cause alarm or danger;

2. Any person who shall instigate or take an active part in any charivari or other disorderly meeting offensive to another or prejudicial to public tranquility;

3. Any person who, while wandering about at night or while engaged in any other nocturnal amusements, shall disturb the public peace; or

4. Any person who, while intoxicated or otherwise, shall cause any disturbance or scandal in public places, provided that the circumstances of the case shall not make the provisions of article 153 applicable.

What is this crime called alarms and scandals?

Briefly put, these are crimes of disturbance, disturbance of the public peace, by means of cause a scandal or an alarming situation, as described by the law above.

Give examples of act of the acts.

Sure.

1. A person firing a shot in the air, calculated to cause a panic in the crowd.
2. A person that starts or takes part in a charivari or some other disorderly meeting
3. A person wandering about the city’s nightlife in a rude manner, disturbing the peace
4. A drunk or other wise sober person just disturbing the peace in public nature that is not of a serious nature (or not as described above). If it’s serious, it’s called a tumult or a public disturbance under Article 153 of the Revised Penal Code.

What are scandalous acts?

These are acts offensive to morals, good customs and public policy such as streaking, etc.

If the one discharges the firearm at another, is that considered under this law?

That may be attempted or frustrated homicide (if it hit a vital part) and since that’s more serious he will be charged for this more serious offense rather than this “slap on the wrist” crime.

How what is aresto menor?

It’s imprisonment from one to thirty days.

Is this crime probationable?

Yes. And even if not, the prison term will be shorter than the time it would take to prosecute it, so pleading guilty to this may even be a better option…

What is a charivari?

It is a medley of discordant voices, a mock serenade of discordant noises made on kettles, tins, horns, etc. designed to annoy or insult. In other words, the cr@p you see in Master Showman (or That’s Entertainment before).

Apply this law to Samson Macariola.

It will probably not apply/prosper in his case. I submit that the disturbance to the public should be instantaneous to the alarming or scandalous act itself. If there is a delayed reaction (such as in his case, a few days), there was no disturbance of the peace to speak of.

I’m more inclined to charge those handling airport security for this crime because their ineptness is now causing a such an alarm or a scandal.

But what about that other charge called unjust vexation?

I’ll tackle that later… Stay tuned…

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Blog Lecture No. 65: Death or Physical Injuries Under Exceptional Circumstances

What is the general rule when one kills or maims another?

Under ordinary circumstances, people who kill or inflict physical injuries upon another person get a prison term (and depending on other factors, even a life sentence).

But there is an exemption to this where a person merely gets destierro.

What the hell is destierro?

According to Article 114 of the Revised Penal Code:

Those sentence to destierro shall be precluded from entering the place or places designated in the sentence, or within the radius therein designated, which shall include a distance of 25 kilometers at least, and 250 kilometers at most, from the place designated.

It’s more a restraining order than anything else. The banishment is intended more for the protection of the offender rather than a penalty.

So what is this exceptional circumstance?

Under Article 247 of the Revised Penal Code:

“Any legally married person who having surprised his spouse in the act of committing sexual intercourse with another person, shall kill any of them or both of them in the act or immediately thereafter, or shall inflict upon them any serious physical injury, shall suffer the penalty of destierro.

If he shall inflict upon them physical injuries of any other kind, he shall be exempt from punishment.

These rules shall be applicable, under the same circumstances, to parents with respect to their daughters under eighteen years of age, and their seducer, while the daughters are living with their parents.

Any person who shall promote or facilitate the prostitution of his wife or daughter, or shall otherwise have consented to the infidelity of the other spouse shall not be entitled to the benefits of this article.”

So to whom does this apply?

This applies to:

1. A spouse who kills or injuries the other spouse and the paramour

2. A parent with respect to their daughters under eighteen years and her seducer.

So what are the requisites for this to apply?

1. The offender is any legally married person (or the parent while the daughter still lives with the parents);

2. The offender surprises his spouse (or the daughter under 18) in the act of committing sexual intercourse with another person (or the seducer in the case of the daughter);

3. The offender kills or seriously injures any or both of them;

4. The offender kills or seriously injures during the act of sexual intercourse or immediately thereafter.

What does “immediately thereafter” mean?

The term “immediately thereafter” means that from discovery to the escape and the killing, there must be no interruption or interval of time. The pursuit and the killing must form part of one continuous act.

However, it is not necessary that the victim is to be killed instantly by the accused after surprising his spouse in the act of intercourse with another person. This law only requires that the death caused must be the proximate result of the outrage overwhelming the accused after chancing upon his spouse in the act of infidelity, because the purpose of the law is to afford protection to a spouse (or the parent) who is considered to act in a justified outburst of passion or a state of mental instability.

“The vindication of a Man’s honor is justified because of the scandal an unfaithful wife creates; the law is strict on this, authorizing as it does, a man to chastise her, even with death. But killing the errant spouse as a purification is so severe as that it can only be justified when the unfaithful spouse is caught in flagrante delicto; and it must be resorted to only with great caution so much so that the law requires that it be inflicted only during the sexual intercourse or immediately thereafter.” (People vs. Wagas, 171 SCRA 69)

What does “caught in the act” mean?

Of course you know what “caught in the act” means… the carnal act is being committed by the victims at the time they are killed or injured by the offender.

Thus, it does not apply when a man kills his wife just because he saw another man jump out the window of his house upon his arrival or when his spouse and another man are merely sleeping on the same bed. It also does not include acts preparatory to sexual intercourse (such as… you know what means…).

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