We shall examine the doctrine of analogous circumstances in criminal law. This refers to mitigating circumstances under Article 13, paragraph 10 of the Revised Penal Code.
Mitigating circumstances are those circumstances that if present in the commission of the crime, do not entirely free the actor from criminal liability but serve only to reduce the penalty.1
Simply put, when we discuss mitigating circumstances, we are referring to those situations that diminish the seriousness of a crime that has been committed. Although the sentence will be lessened in light of any relevant mitigating circumstances, the accused is nevertheless criminally responsible for the crime. Limited freedom of action, diminished intelligence, lacking in intent, or reduced perversity of the criminal serve as the foundation for mitigating circumstances..
The Law | Analogous Circumstances
Article 13 of the Revised Penal Code laid down the following circumstances as mitigating:
- Incomplete justifying or exempting circumstance;
- over 15 but under 18; or
- over 70 years old;
- Praeter Intentionem (no intention to commit so grave a wrong);
- Sufficient threat or provocation;
- Immediate vindication of a grave offense;
- Passion or obfuscation;
- Voluntary surrender, and voluntary confession of guilt;
- Physical defect;
- Illness of the offender; and
- Similar and analogous circumstances.
Specifically, in Article 13, par. 102, it states that:
“Article 13. Mitigating circumstances. – The following are mitigating circumstances;3
10] And, finally, any other circumstances of a similar nature and analogous to those above mentioned.”4
What is Article 13, par. 10 of the Revised Penal Code?
The above-mentioned provision is also called similar and analogous circumstances. When we talk about analogous circumstances, these are the ones comparable to the circumstances in paragraphs 1-9. That is not precisely the circumstance, but it is analogous or of a similar kind to those listed.
It is worthy to note that, even though, a particular circumstance does not fall under any of the enumerated circumstances in Article 13, the court is authorized to consider in favor of the accused “any other circumstance of a similar nature and analogous to those mentioned.”
What has been decided?
In People vs. Genosa,5 the Supreme Court held that manifestations of Battered Wife Syndrome are analogous to an illness contemplated in Article 13, par. 9:
“In sum, the cyclical nature and the severity of the violence inflicted upon appellant resulted in “cumulative provocation which broke down her psychological resistance and natural self-control,” “psychological paralysis,” and “difficulty in concentrating or impairment of memory.”6
“Based on the explanations of the expert witnesses, such manifestations were analogous to an illness that diminished the exercise by appellant of her will power without, however, depriving her of consciousness of her acts.7
“There was, thus, a resulting diminution of her freedom of action, intelligence or intent. Pursuant to paragraphs 9 and 10 of Article 13 of the Revised Penal Code, this circumstance should be taken in her favor and considered as a mitigating factor.”8
In People vs. Macbul,9 the Supreme Court upheld the decision of the Trial Court considering stealing due to extreme poverty and necessity as a mitigating circumstance, to wit:
“The trial court considered extreme poverty and necessity as a mitigating circumstance falling within No. 10 of article 13 of the Revised Penal Code, which authorizes the court to consider in favor of an accused “any other circumstance of a similar nature and analogous to those above mentioned.”10
“The trial court predicates such consideration upon its finding that the accused, on account of extreme poverty and of the economic difficulties brought about by the present cataclysm, was forced to pilfer the two sacks of papers mentioned in the information from the Customhouse Building, which he sold for P2.50, in order to be able to buy something to eat for various minor children of his. (The stolen goods were subsequently recovered.)11
“The Solicitor General interposes no objection to the consideration of such circumstance as mitigating under No. 10 of article 13. This court approves it, recognizing the immanent principle that the right to life is more sacred than a mere property right. That is not to encourage or even countenance theft but merely to dull somewhat the keen and pain-producing edges of the stark realities of life.”12
Another example of an analogous circumstance can be seen in the case of People vs. Ong.13 In this case, Benjamin Ong was charged with kidnapping with murder, and pleaded guilty for murder. The Court ruled that aside from his voluntary confession of guilt, Ong is likewise entitled to analogous circumstance akin to passion and obfuscation. According to the Supreme Court:
“The manner in which the frequent and persistent demands for payment of accused’s debts annoyed and scandalized the latter’s co-workers in the office to whom he lost face being the assistant manager, so much so that he had to resign from his job.14
“Under these circumstances, and adding the treat to his life, the urge in the feeling of appellant to kill his tormentor was less than purely voluntary which diminution is the basis of the mitigating circumstances contemplated in Article 13(5) of the Revised Penal Code.”15
Furthermore, retaliating for having been assaulted during a public dance where the accused was well known and respected is similar to vindication, as what is ruled in People vs. Libria:16
“Strictly speaking, inasmuch it was done several days after the wrong (boxing) committed on the appellant by the deceased, it may not be considered as sufficient provocation that “immediately preceded” the act, under Art. 13, paragraph 4; or that appellant acted upon an impulse so powerful as to have produced passion and obfuscation under the same article, paragraph 6, of the Penal Code.17
“However, it is not difficult to see that Idloy’s boxing appellant during a dance and in the presence of so many people, and he, an ex-soldier and ex-member of a military organization and unit, well-known and respected, undoubtedly produced rancour in the breast of Libria who must have left deeply insulted; and to vindicate himself and appease his self-respect, he committed the crime. The mitigation may well be found under paragraph 10 of the same article which reads —“And, finally, any other circumstance of a similar nature and analogous to those above mentioned.”18
Stated case laws above are just few of the many examples of circumstances that can be analogous to specific mitigating circumstances. This paragraph is just as important as the nine (9) paragraphs because this gives authority to the court to appreciate circumstances that are analogous but do not specifically fall under these circumstances.
This provision could be construed as liberally in favor of the accused (as what criminal law is all about). However, circumstances that deal with killing of the wrong man, parricide invoking the relative was a rascal and a bully, and not resisting arrest do not fall under any of the mitigating circumstances and thus, will not be considered as analogous as well.
In sum, mitigating circumstances, inasmuch as they reduce the penalty of the accused would not free them from criminal liability. Analogous circumstances, specifically, are difficult to appreciate and these circumstances should first and foremost be of similar nature to the other circumstances before the court can consider, recognize, and approve them as mitigating circumstances.
- The Revised Penal Code, Criminal Law Book 1, Luis B. Reyes, 2017[↩]
- Act No. 3815, as amended, Revised Penal Code[↩]
- G.R. No. 135981, January 15, 2004[↩]
- G.R. No. 48976, October 11, 1943[↩]
- G.R. No. L-34497, January 30, 1975[↩]
- G.R. No. L-6585, July 16, 1954[↩]