We shall discuss mankind and complexities of crimes. We, humans, are driven by our instinct to survive. With that comes our insatiable cravings to make our lives better, if not the best. However, in so doing, we commit acts that tend to injure others. Progressively, throughout our existence, we crafted rules, which became laws, to govern ourselves and our interactions with one another.
One of the branches of rules is Criminal Law. In the Philippine setting, we have our own set of criminal statutes. In this discussion, we are about to, in a nutshell, dive into crimes and their complexities.
An Organized Mankind and Complexities of Crimes
Humans are indeed organized beings. From the dawn of time, we have thrived to make use of anything or do something in an efficient manner. We are composed of systems built by ourselves and we run them continuously with accuracy with the idea that everything should be organized.
We do this so well that we have now got to the point where we develop needless hierarchies, the seemingly endless classification of arguably nonsensical and impractical ideas based on the mind, and the ever-expanding list of nomenclature. I guess judging must presumably be one of the things that we excel in doing—or do so very often.
Just as how there are blacks and whites, right or wrong, and good, better or best; we keep track of everything that mankind values the most or does the most. Unfortunately, though, crime is just another thing that men ought to do so much that it has been labeled, broken down, and categorized as it is right now—most especially because such unlawful acts themselves are evolving to be even more organized upon every single day that passes.
“An eye for an eye…” this is arguably the very basis of punishment or artificial karma that we use until this very day when it comes to the justice system. It may no longer be as literal as it was way back during Hammurabi’s time, but I think that you have now got the idea.
Our Revised Penal Code
As it stands, the Revised Penal Code classifies numerous acts of immorality and other unlawful actions and/or omission. It gives each one of those their most appropriate counterpart as a punishment in return for the criminal wrongdoing.
For example, take a murderer who took a life, while a death sentence is no longer a thing in this day and age, the closest that we have is Reclusion Perpetua or lifetime imprisonment.
The logic of course, is while it may not take the life of the criminals, they will, on the other hand, not experience freedom throughout their lifetime [maybe] as well in order to atone for their sins.
As the Revised Penal Code undergoes several revisions and adds in even more intricacies along the way, crime classification by itself has also been transforming along with it and adds even more complications. For now, however, we would only talk about complex and special complex crimes.
Art. 48. Penalty for complex crimes. — When a single act constitutes two or more grave or less grave felonies, or when an offense is a necessary means for committing the other, the penalty for the most serious crime shall be imposed, the same to be applied in its maximum period. (Revised Penal Code, as amended by Act No. 4000)
From the provision, the following are to be noted:
- At least two crimes must be committed. – There must be a combination of two or more grave or less grave felonies. Another form, an offense is a necessary means to commit the other.
- A complex crime is only one crime. – Although there are two grave or less grave felonies or the first crime is a necessary means to commit the other, they only constitute one crime.
- Compound crime – A single act constitutes two or more grave or less grave felonies.
Example: Throwing a grenade produced murder and multiple attempted murders
- Complex crime proper – An offense is a necessary means for committing the other.
Example: Falsifying a Public Document to commit Estafa
Special Complex Crime
It is made up of more than one crime but is considered only as a single indivisible offense in accordance with the law; hence, it is penalized under one article in the Revised Penal Code (e.g. Article 294 for robbery with homicide).
- Robbery with homicide
- Robbery with rape
- Robbery with arson
- Kidnapping with serious physical injuries
- Kidnapping with murder or homicide
- Kidnapping with rape
- Rape with homicide
- Arson [with homicide]
Distinction Between Complex Crime and Special Complex Crime
As to Penalty
- In Complex Crime, the penalty for the most serious crime shall be imposed in its maximum period.
- In Special Complex crime, only one penalty is prescribed for all the component crimes which are regarded as one indivisible offense. The component crimes are not regarded as distinct crimes so the penalty for the most serious crime is not the penalty to be imposed nor in its maximum period.
Manner of Commission
- In Complex Crime, one offense is a necessary means to commit the other [delito compuesto]. Another form thereof is that a single act produces two or more grave or less grave felonies [delito complejo].
- In Special Complex Crime, there are two or more separate crimes or felonies that have been committed by one or more persons; yet, the law treats them as one and single offense. One or more crimes are committed on the occasion of, or by reason of the perpetration of another offense.
It really is quite amusing how one word or adjective could definitely change or alter the meaning of something. As per this case, we clearly saw that being “special”—in the case of complex crimes—made variations and differentiated itself from the base complex crime in a severely corrupted world where immoral acts needed to be deemed as such.
No matter the complexity, one could argue that a crime is still a crime. Generally, a crime is bad, illegal, and unacceptable. However, if we are on the same logic until this very day, the poor people who steal food just so they could give their children something to eat and a psychedelic mass murderer who kills people just for the sake of self-indulgence and a twisted form of euphoria are going to be weighed in in different manners.
Historical And Fictional Significance
Think of it as how differently people treat Hitler versus the fictional “Robin Hood”—despite both of them being criminals, we really still could see that there are some stark differences, not just in their personalities, but also in the illegalities they have committed.
Crime Is Still An Offense Requiring Retribution
No matter how unfortunate it may seem, crime, at the end of the day, is still just one out of the several acts of men that has been persistent and ever-existing.
Hence, as organized, intellectual, and civilized beings, we too have our own reasons based on individuality in order to justify the things that we do, and the jury, as well as the written laws—which are also made by humans, are meant to judge in accordance with the level of sympathy that an act could garner from the mind—thus, the reason why we have defense lawyers in the first place.
Justice must be served. Innocent must be protected. Criminals must be punished. The State must use its inherent power in accordance with law to curb criminality.
We have to strive hard to achieve a peaceful community. Consequently, it is our duty and responsibility to do what is right, legal, and just. Thus the law: “Every person must, in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of his duties, acts with justice, give everyone his due, and observed honesty and good faith.” (Article 19 of the New Civil Code, Philippines)