Can a surgeon be held liable for the crime of mutilation if he amputates a leg to save a patient from gangrene?
He is acting in the lawful exercise of his office.
PARAGRAPH 6 – OBEDIENCE TO ORDER
WHAT ARE THE REQUISITES OF OBEDIENCE TO ORDER?
- That an order has been issued by a superior
- That such order must be for some lawful purpose
- That the means used by the subordinate to carry out said order is lawful.
The court ordered A, an executioner to execute a convict on a certain date. A put him to death a day earlier than scheduled.
Can A invoke paragraph 6?
There is in this case an absence of the third requisite. Although a lawful order has been issued, the means used by the subordinate to carry out the order was not lawful since he went against the date set by the court, in accordance with Article 82 of the Revised Penal Code.
A, a soldier, was ordered by his superiors to torture a man. The man died as a consequence. A contends that he was justified since he was only following an order in accordance with paragraph 6.
Is his contention correct?
Obedience to an order of a superior is justified only when the order is for some lawful purpose. The order to torture the deceased was illegal, and the accused was not bound to obey it.
(People of the Philippines v. Margen)
A, a soldier, was ordered by his sergeant to capture B, dead or alive. B got killed. It turned out that the sergeant’s orders were personal and was not given by his superiors.
Is A criminally liable?
The accused acted upon the order of a superior officer, which he as a military subordinate could not question. He obeyed the orders in good faith without being aware of their illegality, without any fault or negligence on his part. He is not liable because he had no criminal intent and was not negligent.
(People of the Philippines v. Beronilla)