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1

What is Article 11 of the RPC?

ART. 11. JUSTIFYING CIRCUMSTANCES. -- The following do not incur criminal liability:

1. A.W.A.I.D.O. his PERSON or RIGHTS, provided that the following circumstances concur:

  1. Unlawful Aggression;
  2. Reasonable Necessity of the means employed to prevent or repel it;
  3. Lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the person defending himself.

2. A.W.A.I.D.O. the PERSON or RIGHTS of his Spouse, Ascendants/Descendants, or Legitimate, Natural, or A.Brothers and Sisters. Or of his relative by Affinity in the same Degrees, and those by consanguinity with the fourth civil degree, provided that the first and second requisites prescribed in the next preceding circumstance are present, and the further requisite, in case the provocation was given by the person attacked, that the one making defense had no part therein.

3. A.W.A.I.D.O. the PERSON or RIGHTS of a stranger, provided that the first and second requisite mentioned in the first circumstance of this article are present and that the person defending be not induced by revenge, resentment or other evil motive.

4. Any person who, in order to avoid an evil or injury does an act which causes damage to another, provided that the following requisites are present:

  1. That the evil sought to be avoided actually exists;
  2. That the injury feared be GREATER than that done to avoid it.
  3. That there be no other practical and less harmful means of PREVENTING it.

5. Any person who acts in the fulfillment of a duty or in the lawful exercise of a RIGHT or OFFICE.

6. Any person who acts in obedience to an order issued by a superior for some lawful purpose

2

WHAT ARE JUSTIFYING CIRCUMSTANCES?

  • They are those where the act of a person is said to be in accordance with law, so that such person is deemed not to have transgressed the law and is free from both criminal and civil liability. The law recognizes that there is the non-existence of a crime.
  • Acts of such persons are justified, thus, no crime and no criminal. 

3

WHO HAS THE BURDEN OF PROVING THE EXISTENCE OF JUSTIFYING CIRCUMSTANCES?

The accused.

  • The circumstances mentioned in Article 11 are matters of defenses so that it is incumbent upon the accused, in order to avoid criminal liability, to prove the justifying circumstances claimed by him to the satisfaction of the court. 

4

WHAT IS SELF-DEFENSE?

Anyone who acts in defense of his person or rights, provided the following circumstances concur:

  • Unlawful aggression
  • Reasonable necessity of the means employed to prevent or repel it
  • Lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the person defending himself. 

5

MUST ALL THE REQUISITES CONCUR IN ORDER TO INVOKE SELF-DEFENSE?

YES.

For complete self-defense to apply, there must be a concurrence of all three requisites.

Furthermore, the first requisite is an indispensable requisite, there can be no self-defense, complete or incomplete, unless the victim has committed an unlawful aggression. 

6

WHAT ARE THE RIGHTS INCLUDED IN SELF-DEFENSE?

  • Self defense includes not only the defense of the person or body of the one assaulted but also that of his rights.
  • When there is a defense of property, it must be coupled with an attack on the person entrusted with the said property. 

7

WHAT IS UNLAWFUL AGGRESSION?

  • There is unlawful aggression when the peril to one’s life limb or right is either ACTUAL or IMMINENT.
    • It is actual when there is an actual physical assault, and 
    • imminent when there is a threat to inflict real injury.

8

A policeman, threw stones at the accused who was avoiding arrest. The accused threw the stones back and hit the policeman in the head.

 

Can the accused plead self-defense? 

NO.

The first requisite of self-defense requires the aggression must be unlawful. In this case, the aggression caused by the policeman was lawful since the accused was trying to avoid arrest.

(People of the Philippines v. Gayrama) 

9

Two policeman, A and B, were kidding each other. A told B that he had no singing voice. B, in the spirit of fun, seized A by the throat. A then took hold of his gun and killed B.

 

Can A plead self-defense? 

NO.

The mere fact of seizing the accused by the throat in the spirit of fun cannot be considered unlawful aggression since there was no peril to A’s life, limb or right. 

10

A, uttered insulting words against B who retaliated by hitting A on the head.

 

Can B invoke self-defense?

NO.

Insulting words, addressed to the accused, no matter how objectionable they may have been without physical assault, could not constitute unlawful aggression. In this case, there was no peril to one’s lie which was actual or imminent. 

11

Two persons met in the street. One slapped the face of the other and the latter repelled it by clubbing him and inflicting less serious physical injuries.

Is a slap on the face considered unlawful aggression?

 

YES.

Since the face represents a person and his dignity, slapping it is a serious personal attack. It is a physical assault coupled with a willful disregard, nay, a defiance of an individual’s personality. It may, therefore, be frequently regarded as placing in real danger a person’s dignity, rights and safety.

(People of the Philippines v. Sabio) 

12

A, who was looking for her husband, went to the paramour’s house. As she was about to go up the latter’s stairs, she saw the paramour with a knife in her hand and in a threatening manner asked what had brought A there. A then took the gun she brought and fired at the paramour.

Can A invoke self-defense?

NO.

There was no unlawful aggression on the part of the paramour. In order to consider that unlawful aggression was actually committed, it is necessary that an attack or material aggression, an offensive act positively determining the intent of the aggressor to cause an injury shall have been made. A mere threatening or intimidating attitude is not sufficient. 

13

A and B were walking down an alley. A suddenly attacked C to the surprise of B. C drew out his knife, causing A to run, and stabbed B.

Can C invoke self-defense?

NO.

Although the accused was unlawfully attacked, nevertheless, the aggressor was not the deceased but another person. Consequently, this unlawful aggression cannot be considered in this case as an element of self-defense; because in order to constitute an element of self-defense, the unlawful aggression must come, directly or indirectly, from the person who was subsequently attacked by the accused.

(People of the Philippines v. Guttierez) 

14

A, a 24-year old male armed with a gun and a bolo, claims that B, who is 60 years old, suddenly attacked him. According to A, he was only defending himself when he struck B and killed him.

Is A’s contention correct?

It was unlikely that a sexagenarian would have gone to the extent of assaulting the 24-year old accused who was armed with a gun and a bolo. In a plea of self-defense the circumstances of the case (nature of the wound, improbability of the deceased being the aggressor), must be considered.

15

A, unlawfully attacked B with a knife. B then took out his gun which caused A to run away. B, after treating his wounds, pursued A and shot him.

 

Can B invoke self-defense?

 

NO.

When lawful aggression which has begun no longer exists, because the aggressor runs away, the one making a defense has no more right to kill or even to wound the former aggressor.

In order to justify homicide on the ground of self-defense, it is essential that the killing of the deceased by the defendant be simultaneous with the attack made by the deceased, or at least both acts succeeded each other without appreciable interval of time.

16

A, with a knife in his hand, challenged B to a fight. B accepted. In the course of the fight, A got killed.

Can B claim self-defense?

NO.

There is no unlawful aggression when there is an agreement to fight. But if the challenge to a fight was not accepted, the accused can invoke self-defense. 

17

A, in the peaceable pursuit of his affairs, sees B rushing toward him, with a pistol in his hand and shouting violent words against him. Having approached near enough in the same attitude, A suddenly strikes B with a club, killing him. It turned out that gun was only a toy.

Can A invoke self-defense?

YES.

The honest belief of the accused may be considered in determining the existence of unlawful aggression, provided he really believed it was a real gun. 

18

EXPLAIN THE SECOND REQUISITE OF SELF-DEFENSE?

The second requisite means that there must be:

  • Necessity of the course of action taken by the person making a defense, and
  • Necessity of the means used.

 

Both must be reasonable, which is dependent on the existence of the unlawful aggression.


The law protects the person who repels (which refers to actual) as well as the person who prevents (which refers to imminent) the unlawful aggression. 

19

HOW CAN YOU DETERMINE THE REASONABLENESS OF THE NECESSITY OF THE COURSE OF ACTION TAKEN?

The necessity of the course of action taken depends on the existence of unlawful aggression, without which there would be no necessity for any course of action to take as there is nothing to prevent or to repel.

The existence of unlawful aggression can be determined by examining the place and occasion of the assault as well as other circumstances. 

20

HOW DO YOU TEST THE REASONABLENESS USED BY THE PERSON IN MAKING THE DEFENSE?

Reasonable necessity of the means employed does not imply material commensurability between the means of attack and defense. What the law requires is rational equivalence, in the consideration of which will enter as principal factors the emergency, the imminent danger to which the person attacked is exposed and the instinct, more than reason, that moves or impels the defense, and the proportionateness thereof does not depend upon the harm done, but rests upon the imminent danger of such injury.

(People of the Philippines v. Encomienda) 

21

What is the TEST of reasonableness of the means used?

Test of reasonableness of the means used:

  1. nature and quality of the weapons used by the aggressor
  2. physical condition, character, size, and other circumstances and those of the person defending himself (3)place and occasion of the assault.

Perfect equality between the weapon used by the one defending himself and that of the aggressor is not required, because the person assaulted does not have sufficient tranquility of the mind to think, to calculate, which weapon to use. 

22

WHAT IS THE RULE REGARDNG THE REASONABLENESS OF THE NECESSITY OF THE MEANS EMPLOYED WHEN THE ONE DEFENDING HIMSELF IS A PEACE OFFICER?

The peace officer, in the performance of his duty, represents the law which he must uphold. While the law on self-defense allows a private individual to prevent or repel an aggression, the duty of a peace officer requires him to overcome his opponent. 

23

A was attacked by B, who quickly ran after the attack. When A recovered, he took a knife and looked for B and stabbed him.

Can A invoke self-defense?

NO.

Self-defense is based on the necessity of the part of the person attacked to prevent or repel the unlawful aggression. In this case, the danger or risk of aggression has disappeared so the second requisite of self-defense is lacking. 

24

At the moment A was about to stab B, the latter hit the deceased with a piece of wood on the head. It is contended that B should have only struck the hand of A or hit him in a less vulnerable part.

Is the contention correct?

NO.

When the aggression is so sudden that there is no time left to the one making a defense to determine as to what course of action to take, the second requisite of self-defense is satisfied. 

25

A was suddenly hit on the head by B with an iron bar at the mall. Knowing there were many people, A fired at random hoping that he would hit B. As a consequence, a lot of other people were shot.

 

Can A invoke self-defense?

NO.

The course of action taken by A was not necessary. In repelling or preventing an unlawful aggression, the one defending must aim at his assailant, and not indiscriminately fire his deadly weapon. 

26

A slapped B in the face. B then drew out his gun and killed A, invoking self-defense.

Is B’s contention correct?

NO.

The means employed by the person making a defense must be rationally necessary to prevent or repel an unlawful aggression. In this case, there was no rational necessity to employ the means used. 

27

A, being abruptly awakened by shouts that B was pursuing A’s children, and seeing upon awakening that in fact B was infuriated and pursuing A’s husband with a bolo in his hand and his arm raised in an attitude as if to strike, took up a shotgun lying within her reach and fired at B, killing him at once.

Was the means reasonable? 

  • Under the circumstances, in view of the imminence of the danger, the only remedy which would be considered reasonably necessary to repel or prevent that aggression, was to render the aggressor harmless.
  • As A had on hand a loaded shotgun, this weapon was the most appropriate one that could be used for the purpose, even at the risk of killing the aggressor, since the latter’s aggression also gravely threatened the lives of the parties assaulted. 

28

WHAT IS THE REASON FOR THE THIRD REQUISITE OF SELF-DEFENSE?

  • When the person defending himself from the attack by another gave sufficient provocation to the latter, the former is also to be blamed for having given cause for the aggression.
  • Hence, to be entitled to the benefit of the justifying circumstance of self-defense, the one defending himself must not have been given cause for the aggression by his unjust conduct or by inciting or provoking the assailant. 

29

WHAT ARE THE CAUSES IN WHICH THE THIRD REQUISITE OF SELF DEFENSE IS CONSIDERED PRESENT?

  • When no provocation at all was given to the aggressor by the person defending himself; or
  • When, even if a provocation was given, it was not sufficient; or
  • When, even if the provocation was sufficient, it was not given by the person defending himself; or
  • When, even if a provocation was given by the person defending himself, it was not proximate and
  • immediate to the act of aggression. 

30

HOW DO YOU DETERMINE THE SUFFICIENCY OF THE PROVOCATION?

The provocation must be sufficient, which means that it should be proportionate to the act of aggression and adequate to stir the aggressor to its commission.

(People of the Philippines v. Alconga)