2016 (Criminal Law) Bar Exam Questions: Question 3

[Answer/discuss the question below, or see 2016 bar exam Criminal Law Instructions; 2016 Criminal Law questions: 1245678910111213141516171819 and 20; See also 2016 Bar Exam: Information, Discussions, Tips, Questions and Results]

-III-

Pedro is married to Tessie. Juan is the first cousin of Tessie. While in the market, Pedro saw a man stabbing Juan. Seeing the attack on Juan, Pedro picked up a spade nearby and hit the attacker on his head which caused the latter’s death.

Can Pedro be absolved of the killing on the ground that it is in defense of a relative? Explain. (5%)

4 comments

  1. BAR EXAMS QUESTION NO.3 (2016 CRIMINAL LAW)

    Pedro is married to Tessie. Juan is the first cousin of Tessie. While in the market, Pedro saw a man stabbing Juan. Seeing the attack on Juan, Pedro picked up a spade nearby and hit the attacker on his head which caused the latter’s death.

    Can Pedro be absolved of the killing on the ground that it is in defense of a relative? Explain. (5%

    SUGGESTED ANSWER:

    Yes, Pedro’s claim of self -defense and defense of a relative can be absolved, because he substantiate it with clear and convincing evidence. Upon invoking the justifying circumstance of self-defense,Pedro assumed the burden of proving the justification of his act with clear and convincing evidence. This is because his having admitted the killing required him to rely on the strength of his own evidence, not on the weakness of the Prosecution’s evidence, which, even if it were weak, could not be disbelieved in view of his admission. Unlawful aggression is a condition sine qua non for the justifying circumstance of self-defense and defense of a relative. There can be no self-defense unless the victim committed unlawful aggression against the person who resorted to self-defense.

    Without unlawful aggression, there can be no justified killing in defense of oneself. The test for the presence of unlawful aggression under the circumstances is whether the aggression from the victim put in real peril the life or personal safety of the person defending himself; the peril must not be an imagined or imaginary threat. Accordingly, the accused must establish the concurrence of three elements of unlawful aggression, namely: (a) there must be a physical or material attack or assault; (b) the attack or assault must be actual, or, at least, imminent; and (c) the attack or assault must be unlawful.

  2. Technically, this is not a defense of a relative because Juan is not a “relative” in the context of Article 12 par. 2. However he may be absolved on the ground that it is a defense of a stranger under Article 12 par. 3.

  3. No, Pedro cannot be absolved of the killing on the ground that it is in defense of a relative. The person being attacked, Juan, is the first cousin of Tessie. For purposes of applying the provisions of defense of a relative, the first cousin of a wife does not fall within the degree of relationship required for the defense of relatives by affinity.

    However, Pedro may be absolved on the ground of defense of a stranger. First, there is unlawful aggression. Second, it appears that Pedro is not induced by revenge, resentment, or other evil motive. Third, the means employed to repel the aggression is reasonably necessary under the circumstances.

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