Blog Lecture No. 69: Parricide, Homicide and Murder

Turns out, I cannot discuss homicide and murder without discussing parricide.

How does the law define these three crimes?

The Revised Penal Code states thus:

Art. 246. Parricide. — Any person who shall kill his father, mother, or child, whether legitimate or illegitimate, or any of his ascendants, or descendants, or his spouse, shall be guilty of parricide and shall be punished by the penalty of reclusion perpetua to death.

Art. 247. Death or physical injuries inflicted under exceptional circumstances. — 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.

Art. 248. Murder. — Any person who, not falling within the provisions of Article 246 shall kill another, shall be guilty of murder and shall be punished by reclusion temporal in its maximum period to death, if committed with any of the following attendant circumstances:

1. With treachery, taking advantage of superior strength, with the aid of armed men, or employing means to weaken the defense or of means or persons to insure or afford impunity.

2. In consideration of a price, reward, or promise.

3. By means of inundation, fire, poison, explosion, shipwreck, stranding of a vessel, derailment or assault upon a street car or locomotive, fall of an airship, by means of motor vehicles, or with the use of any other means involving great waste and ruin.

4. On occasion of any of the calamities enumerated in the preceding paragraph, or of an earthquake, eruption of a volcano, destructive cyclone, epidemic or other public calamity.

5. With evident premeditation.

6. With cruelty, by deliberately and inhumanly augmenting the suffering of the victim, or outraging or scoffing at his person or corpse.

Art. 249. Homicide. — Any person who, not falling within the provisions of Article 246, shall kill another without the attendance of any of the circumstances enumerated in the next preceding article, shall be deemed guilty of homicide and be punished by reclusion temporal.

What is parricide?

Basically, it’s killing one’s father, mother, or child, whether legitimate or illegitimate, or any of his ascendants, or descendants, or his spouse. But killing a spouse under the circumstances in Article 247 is not parricide but a homicide under exceptional circumstance, as stated in this previous blog lecture.

What is murder?

Basically (again), it’s killing aggravated by the following circumstances:

1. With treachery, taking advantage of superior strength, with the aid of armed men, or employing means to weaken the defense or of means or persons to insure or afford impunity.

2. In consideration of a price, reward, or promise.

3. By means of inundation, fire, poison, explosion, shipwreck, stranding of a vessel, derailment or assault upon a street car or locomotive, fall of an airship, by means of motor vehicles, or with the use of any other means involving great waste and ruin.

4. On occasion of any of the calamities enumerated in the preceding paragraph, or of an earthquake, eruption of a volcano, destructive cyclone, epidemic or other public calamity.

5. With evident premeditation.

6. With cruelty, by deliberately and inhumanly augmenting the suffering of the victim, or outraging or scoffing at his person or corpse.

What is treachery (or alevosia)?

As the law states it:

There is treachery when the offender commits any of the crimes against the person, employing means, methods, or forms in the execution thereof which tend directly and specially to insure its execution, without risk to himself arising from the defense which the offended party might make.

The operative word here is “insure” execution and insure such execution without risk to himself from the possible defense of the victim.

Can you give an example?

The classic example is hitting the person when he’s not looking, or from behind.

What is evident premeditation?

In its most simplest terms, evident premeditation means the killer really intended to kill his victim, that he has thought about it calmly, coolly and dispassionately, which clearly show his lack of remorse in the killing.

In jurisprudence, there is evident premeditation (hence, murder) when there is evidence that:

1. The killer has made a decision to kill;
2. He has clung to such decision;
3. There is a lapse of time where the killer had the opportunity to reflect on the consequences of his decision to kill and perhaps still desist.

But still killed his victim.

Can you give an example?

Sure.

When a killer decided to carry out his act, meticulously planned how he was to do it, prepared his tools to carry it out (like cleaned his gun, or any weapon of choice), there is evident premeditation and hence the crime is murder not homicide.

So what is homicide?

It’s basically a killing that cannot be classified as parricide or murder (or even an exceptional homicide under Article 247 of the Revised Penal Code). When you can’t classify it under anything else, it’s homicide.

Why do we need to distinguish?

Parricide and murder are capital offenses and hence, not bailable. Homicide is still bailable.

If you charge a person with homicide at the outset and is already arraigned for homicide, he cannot be convicted of a higher crime like murder or parricide even if the prosecution was able to prove circumstances to classify the crime as such. But if you charge murder or parricide but you could only prove homicide, the accused would be convicted of homicide since it is subsumed in murder or parricide.

Once arraigned, the charge can not be changed from homicide to murder anymore.

So now you know why the prosecution always guns for a higher offense. And why the defense would want to get an arraignment on the lesser offense.

What do you call killing an insect?

Insecticide.

What do you call killing then throwing the victim in the river?

Riverside.

What do you call killing then throwing the victim in the middle of the road?

Roadside.

What do you call killing then throwing in the trashcan, but missed?

Littering.

5 Comments

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5 responses to “Blog Lecture No. 69: Parricide, Homicide and Murder

  1. jennifer

    hey, just want to ask. if a child died in due of a negligence of a parents is that homicide?

  2. There is such a thing as reckless imprudence resulting to parricide. Also, the negligence itself is child abuse under Section 3 (b) (1) of Republic Act No. 7610.

  3. acoh

    i still can’t get which is which..i mean…murder and homicide? am having difficulty distinguishing those

    • Nikki Boy

      Murder is unlawfully killing a person qualified by any of the aforementioned circumstances/means in art. 248 of the Revised Penal Code. Homicide is also Murder in the sense that you unlawfully kill another person, provided that the presence of the qualified circumstances mentioned under Murder, ART 248 is not obtained.

      Gosh, this’ll be my recit next meeting.

  4. the homicide is bailable or be punished by reclusion temporal (temporary detention) while murder is non bailable and be punished by reclusion perpetua.

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