by Tristan

SULPICIO INTOD v. CA, GR No. 103119, 1992-10-21

Facts:

In the morning of February 4, 1979, Sulpicio Intod, Jorge Pangasian, Santos Tubio and Avelino Daligdig went to Salvador Mandaya's house... and asked him to go with them to the house of Bernardina Palangpangan.

Thereafter, Mandaya and

Intod, Pangasian, Tubio and Daligdig had a meeting with Aniceto Dumalagan. He told Mandaya that he wanted Palangpangan to be killed because of a land dispute between them and that Mandaya should accompany the four (4) men, otherwise, he would also be killed.

At about 10:00 o'clock in the evening of the same day,... Mandaya, Pangasian, Tubio and Daligdig, all armed with firearms, arrived at Palangpangan's house

At the instance of his companions, Mandaya pointed the location... of Palangpangan's bedroom. Thereafter, Petitioner, Pangasian, Tubio and Daligdig fired at said room. It turned out; however, that Palangpangan was in another City and her home was then occupied by her son-in-law and his family. No one was in the room when the accused fired the... shots. No one was hit by the gun fire.

After trial, the Regional Trial Court convicted Intod of attempted murder.

Petitioner seeks from this Court a modification of the judgment by holding him liable only for an impossible... crime

Issues:

Petitioner contends that, Palangpangan's absence from her room on the night he and his companions riddled it with bullets made the crime inherently impossible.

Ruling:

The Revised Penal Code, inspired by the Positivist School, recognizes in the offender his formidability,[7] and... now penalizes an act which were it not aimed at something quite impossible or carried out with means which prove inadequate, would constitute a felony against person or against property.[8] The rationale of Article 4(2) is to... punish such criminal tendencies.

Under this article, the act performed by the offender cannot produce an offense against persons or property because: (1) the commission of the offense is inherently impossible of accomplishment; or (2) the means employed is either (a) inadequate or (b)... ineffectual.

To be impossible under this clause, the act intended by the offender must be by its nature one impossible of... accomplishment.[11] There must be either (1) legal impossibility, or (2) physical impossibility of accomplishing the intended act[12] in order to qualify the act as an impossible... crime.

Legal impossibility occurs where the intended acts, even if completed, would not amount to a crime.[13] Thus:

Legal impossibility would apply to those circumstances where (1) the motive, desire and expectation is to perform an act in violation of the law; (2) there is intention to perform the physical act; (3) there is a performance of the intended physical act; and (4) the... consequence resulting from the intended act does not amount to a crime.

The impossibility of killing a person already dead[15] falls in this category.

On the other hand, factual impossibility occurs when extraneous circumstances unknown to the actor or beyond his control prevent the consummation of the intended crime.[16] One example is the man who puts his hand in the coat... pocket of another with the intention to steal the latter's wallet and finds the pocket empty.

The case at bar belongs to this category. Petitioner shoots the place where he thought his victim would be, although in reality, the victim was not present in said place and thus, the petitioner failed to accomplish his end.

In the Philippines, the Revised Penal Code, in Article 4(2), expressly provided for impossible crimes and made them punishable.

WE hereby hold Petitioner guilty of an impossible crime

Having in mind the social danger and degree of criminality shown by Petitioner, this Court sentences him to suffer the penalty of six (6) months of arresto mayor, together with the accessory penalties... provided by the law, and to pay the costs.

Principles:

The rationale of Article 4(2) is to... punish such criminal tendencies