2016 (Criminal Law) Bar Exam Questions: Question 18

[Answer/discuss the question below, or see 2016 bar exam Criminal Law Instructions; 2016 Criminal Law questions: 123456789101112131415161719 and 20; See also 2016 Bar Exam: Information, Discussions, Tips, Questions and Results]

-XVIII-

Lina worked as a housemaid and yaya of the one-week old son of the spouses John and Joana. When Lina learned that her 70-year old mother was seriously ill, she asked John for a cash advance of P20,000.00, but the latter refused. In anger, Lina gagged the mouth of the child with stockings, placed him in a box, sealed it with masking tape, and placed the box in the attic. Lina then left the house and asked her friend Fely to demand a P20,000.00 ransom for the release ofthe spouses’ child to be paid within twenty-four hours. The spouses did not pay the ransom. After a couple of days, John discovered the box in the attic with his child already dead. According to the autopsy report, the child died o f asphyxiation barely minutes after the box was sealed.

What crime or crimes, if any, did Lina and Fely commit? Explain. (5%)

5 comments

    1. Lina is criminally liable for murder there was no kidnapping because she did not kidnap or detain the victim.

      Fely commited no crime because the killing is already consumated when Lina ask for her help demand for ransom is immaterial and will not convert the crime to kidnapping for ranson with murder.

  1. The question bear semblance to a case decided by the SC in 1982:

    G.R. No. L-49430, March 30, 1982, PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
    vs. BELINDA LORA Y VEQUIZO alias LORENA SUMILEW, accused-appellant

    where the SC held:

    The crime actually committed is not the complex crime of kidnapping
    with murder, as found by the trial court, but the simple crime
    of murder qualified by treachery.

    Kidnapping is a crime against liberty defined in Article 267,
    Title IX, Book 11 of the Revised Penal Code. The essence of kidnapping
    or serious illegal detention is the actual confinement or restraint of the
    victim or the deprivation of his liberty.

    Where there is no showing that the accused intended to deprive
    their victims of their liberty for some time and for some purpose, and
    there being no appreciable interval between their being taken and
    their being shot from which kidnapping may be inferred, the crimes
    committed were murder and frustrated murder and not the complex
    crimes of kidnapping with murder and kidnapping with frustrated murder.

    In the instant case. the gagging of the child with stockings, placing him in
    a box with head down and legs upward and covering the box with some
    sacks and other boxes were only the methods of the defendant to commit
    murder. The child instantly died of suffocation.

    The demand for ransom did not convert the offense into kidnapping with murder.
    The defendant was well aware that the child would be suffocated to death in a
    few moments after she left. The demand for ransom is only a part of the diabolic
    scheme of the defendant to murder the child, to conceal his body and then
    demand money before the discovery of the cadaver.

    Fely cannot be held liable with Lina for the crime of murder
    because the killing was already consummated.

    There is treachery because the victim is only a 3-year old child.
    The commission of the offense was attended with the aggravating
    circumstances of lack of respect due to the age of the victim, cruelty and abuse of confidence.

    The circumstance of lack of respect due to age applies in cases where the
    victim is of tender age as well as of old age. This circumstance was applied in a
    case where one of the victims in a murder case was a 12-year-old boy.
    In the instant case, the victim was only 3 years old. The gagging of the mouth of
    a three-year-old child with stockings, dumping him with head downwards into a box,
    and covering the box with sacks and other boxes, thereby causing slow suffocation, is cruelty.
    There was also abuse of confidence because the victim was entrusted to the care of the appellant.
    The appellant’s main duty in the household is to take care of the minor child. There existed a
    relation of trust and confidence between the appellant and the one against whom the crime
    was committed and the appellant made use of such relation to commit the crime.

    When the killer of the child is the domestic servant of the family and was sometimes the
    deceased child’s amah the aggravating circumstance of grave abuse of confidence is present.

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