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People V.

Gona
Facts: On the evening of October 26, 1928, a number of Mansacas celebrated a reunion in the house of
the Mansaca Gabriel. There seems to have been liberal supply of alcoholic drinks and some of the men
present became intoxicated, with the result that a quarrel took the place between the Mansaca Dunca and
the defendant. Dunca and his son Aguipo eventually left the house and were followed by Mapudul and
one Award. The defendant left the house about the same time with intention of assaulting Dunca, but in
the darkness of the evening and in the intoxicated condition of the defendant, the mistook Mapudul for
Dunca and inflicated on him a mortal wound with a bolo.

Issue: Whether the accused is criminally liable even though he killed one man instead of the person he
intended to kill?

Ruling: Yes, In the case of United State vs. Mendieta (34 Phil., 242), the court said:

Even admitting that the defendant intended to injure Hilario Lauigan instead of Pedro Acierto, even that,
in view of the mortal wound which inflicted upon the latter, in no way could be considered as a relief
from his criminal act. That he made a mistake in killing one man instead of another, when it is proved
that he acted maliciously and willfully, cannot relieve him from criminal responsibility. Neither do we
believe that the fact that he made a mistake in killing the wrong man should be considered as a mitigating
circumstance.

The appealed sentence is affirmed with the costs against the defendant. So ordered.

Art. 49. Penalty to be imposed upon the principals when the crime committed is different from that
intended. — In cases in which the felony committed is different from that which the offender intended to
commit, the following rules shall be observed:

1. If the penalty prescribed for the felony committed be higher than that corresponding to the offense
which the accused intended to commit, the penalty corresponding to the latter shall be imposed in its
maximum period.

2. If the penalty prescribed for the felony committed be lower than that corresponding to the one which
the accused intended to commit, the penalty for the former shall be imposed in its maximum period.

3. The rule established by the next preceding paragraph shall not be applicable if the acts committed by
the guilty person shall also constitute an attempt or frustration of another crime, if the law prescribes a
higher penalty for either of the latter offenses, in which case the penalty provided for the attempted or the
frustrated crime shall be imposed in its maximum period.

Article 49 applies only when there is a mistake in the identity of the victim of the crime, and the
penalty for the crime committed is different from that for the crime intended to be committed.

Paragraph 1 of Article 4 covers: (1) aberration ictus (mistake in the blow), (2) error in personae (mistake
in the identity of the victim), (3) praeter intentionem (where a more serious consequence not intended by
the offender befalls the same person)

Ralph V. Ilagan 1
Error in Personae

Examples:
A, thinking that the person walking in a dark alley was B, a stranger, fired at that person, who
killed as a result. It turned out that person C, the father of A.

In this case, the crime actually committed is parricide, punishable by reclusion perpetua to death.
The crime which A intended to commit is homicide, punishable by reclusion temporal. In view of rule
no.1 provided for in Art. 49, the penalty for homicide shall be imposed in its maximum period.

But suppose that A wanted to kill his father and waited for the latter in a dark alley where he used
to pass in going home; when A saw a person coming and thinking that he was his father, A shot him; and
it turned out that that he was a stranger. In case, A should be punished with the penalty for homicide to be
applied in its maximum period.

Note that in either case, the lesser penalty is always to be imposed, only that it shall be imposed
in the maximum period.

Article 49 is applicable only when the intended crime and crime actually committed are punished
with different penalties.

Article 49 distinguished from Article 48


In article 49, the lesser penalty is to be imposed, to be applied in the maximum period (Pars. 1
and 2); in Article 48, the penalty for the more or most serious crime shall be imposed, the same to be
applied in its maximum period.

Ralph V. Ilagan 2

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