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Mathematical formula in Criminal

Law
MB CAMPANILLAWEDNESDAY, JANUARY 18, 2017

In appreciating a qualifying or aggravating circumstance, the court must consider the


intention of the accused. If the accused burned the body of the victim to kill him, the
crime committed is murder qualified by the circumstance of by means of fire. If he
burned the victim after inflicting a mortal wound to augment his physical suffering,
cruelty is present. If he burned the dead body of the victim after stabbing him to destroy
the corpus delicti, employment of means to afford impunity can be appreciated. If he
burned the dead body of the victim after stabbing him to scoff or outrage the corps of the
victim, scoffing may qualify the killing into murder.
If there are two or more circumstances based on the same incident, only one will be
appreciated while the others are absorbed. If the offenders, who killed the victim, took
advantage of their superior strength to render him defenseless, the crime committed is
murder qualified by the circumstance of treachery. Abused of superior strength is
absorbed. If the offender, who killed the victim, took advantage of the darkness of the
night to render the him defenseless, treachery will qualify the killing into murder while
nighttime is absorbed.
If there are two or more circumstances not based on the same incident, one will be
appreciated to qualify the killing into murder and the others to aggravate the criminal
liability of the accused.
In People vs. Laspardas, G.R. No. L-46146, Oct. 23, 1979, the Supreme Court
appreciated abuse of superior strength as a circumstance that qualifies the killing into
murder while scoffing at the corps of the victim (sodomizing the victim after killing her)
as an ordinary aggravating circumstance. According to Regalado, this ruling is erroneous
since scoffing is not listed in Article 14 of RPC as an ordinary aggravating circumstance.
The court should have appreciated scoffing as a qualifying circumstance in Article 248

while abuse of superior strength as an ordinary aggravating circumstance, and not the
other way around.
If the offender after inflicting fatal wound upon the victim, undressed her to augment her
emotional suffering, this circumstance can be appreciated either as ignominy or scoffing
at the person of the victim. If offender killed the victim with treachery, the crime
committed is murder. Undressing the dying victim must be appreciated as an ordinary
aggravating circumstance of ignominy, and not scoffing at the person of the victim.
Article 14 of RPC has not listed scoffing as an ordinary aggravating circumstance. If
offender killed the victim without other circumstance, undressing the dying victim must
be appreciated as qualifying circumstance of scoffing, and not ignominy. Article 248 of
RPC on murder has not listed ignominy as a qualifying circumstance.
If the offender was wearing a mask to conceal his identity at that time that he killed the
victim, this circumstance can be appreciated as either disguise or employment of means
to afford impunity. If offender killed the victim with treachery, the crime committed is
murder. Wearing a mask must be appreciated as an ordinary aggravating circumstance of
disguise, and not employment of means to afford impunity. Article 14 of RPC has not
listed employment of means to afford impunity as an ordinary aggravating circumstance.
What is listed in this provision is committing a crime with the aid of person to afford
impunity. If the offender killed the victim without other circumstance, wearing a mask
must be appreciated as qualifying circumstance of employment of means to afford
impunity, and not disguise. Article 248 of RPC on murder has not listed disguise as a
qualifying circumstance.
There is no mathematical formula in appreciating a circumstance either as qualifying or
aggravating circumstance. Such appreciation will always be dependent on the particular
situations of the case. Cutting the ear of a dying victim can be considered as qualifying or
ordinary aggravating circumstance of cruelty, or qualifying circumstance of scoffing.
Taking advantage of the darkness of the night to hide his identity may be treated as
ordinary aggravating circumstance of nighttime or qualifying circumstance of
employment of means to afford impunity. And so on, and so forth.