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Lacsamana, Jethro Thomas B.


The Parricide Problem

In the case at hand, a husband was caught by her wife to have in his possession incriminating
materials that she concluded will lead to her murder. These materials consist of crime fiction
books, sketches of a plan on how to proceed with the murder and the actual weapon from such
plans along with the materials used to construct it. What petrified the wife even more is that when
she closely examined the sketches, she noticed that they illustrate a murder disguised as an
accident; whereby a paddle was furnished with the same materials as their dining table so that it
would be easy to make a mortal strike upon her seem like she just fell off her chair and hit her
head in said table. Thereafter, the wife instituted a charge for attempted murder against her

When trial started, the husband argued that it was all merely a fantasy, an escape he used to
feel empowered, a sensation he said he never felt in all his years with his wife. He added that he
never really intended to pursue it, and reinforced that it was all confined within his thoughts. To
this, the court and the jury agreed, acquitting the husband of all charges against him.

However, this paper believes that the court and the jury committed a grave mistake by doing
so. The husband is adamant that he never intended to pursue his fantasies, but this defense is
undoubtedly negated by both his sketches wreaking with unambiguous showing of his intent to
kill and especially his furnishing of the murder weapon. It is iron clad that the state must always
protect the freedom of thought for all its citizens, and for that reason, the imaginations and mental
caprices of any person, no matter how sinister, may not be used to incriminate anyone. But is it
still mere thought when the person decides to build the murder weapon itself? Merriam-Webster’s
dictionary defines fantasy as the power or process of creating especially unrealistic or improbable
mental images in response to psychological need; the key word here being mental images.
Clearly, the weapon shows that the husband’s fantasies are no longer confined within his mind.

On the other hand, the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines states that there is an attempt
of a felony when the offender commences the commission of a felony directly by overt acts but
fails to perform all acts of execution due to a reason or cause other than his own spontaneous
desistance. Atty. Amurao in his Commentaries on Criminal Law stated that only when the intent
of the offender is clear and unambiguous, shall his actions be considered as overt acts. In other
words, if one’s actions are deemed to still be in the indeterminate stage, then there must not be
a crime against him because he himself has not determined it yet; there are still other possibilities
when he was caught. This understanding of the law is exemplified in the case of People v.
Lamahang, where it states that the trespassing of a person does not constitute the crime of
attempted robbery because his final objective, once he succeeded in entering the store, was not
clear on whether he will rob, cause physical injury to its occupants, or commit any other offense.
There is simply nothing in the record to justify a concrete finding.

This may have been a tenable defense for the husband, but the facts of his case simply defy
it. The furnishing of the paddle paired with his sketches evidently removes him from the
indeterminate stage. It just so happens that a cause other than his own spontaneous desistance,
his wife’s discovery of his materials, hindered him from ever inconspicuously committing the
murder he long dreamed of. Also, the murder weapon is basically a duplicate of a quarter of their
own dining table, fashioned as a paddle; unlike the purchase of a ski mask or a knife for example,
there could have been no other logical use for such a thing. All of the evidences presented against
the husband establishes that when he was caught, there was only one possible outcome from all
of it, the murder of his own wife.

One can argue that such materials have been laying unused by the husband for years, hence
proving that these were mere fantasies. But it must be noted that he deliberately and consistently
tried to stop his wife from going to the attic with the excuse that he was sculpting a surprise for
her. This action implies that he is aware of the maliciousness and inherent wrongness of his acts.
It also proves that he never wanted the discovery of said materials for again, only one possible
reason, his eventual use of it. He could have discarded or destroyed the weapon at least, if it was
really just a fantasy he wanted to indulge in. But he held on to them, showing all the requisites of
evident premeditation, nonetheless. If a person never really intended to use this paddle, would he
have kept it for a day dream? Wouldn’t his books be enough to engage him in this dream of his?
Then again, it wasn’t at all a fantasy anymore for the husband after all.

It should not get to a point where the courts, an institution that aims to protect its public through
the law, waits for a strike or a blow if the circumstances of the case are clear enough to show that
a person is already in harm’s way. To consider these sketches and the paddle as a figment of
one’s imagination is a convenient excuse for a person who was caught red handed. If the wife
had not discovered these materials, surely, one way or another, she would have been laying on
the floor with her skull cracked by now, and we mourn yet another innocent life lost. Fortunately,
she did.

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