Place and personality are sanctuaries which deserve due consideration, respect, and recognition. In pursuit to the calling of the natural law to live happily and safe, the Philippine penal code gives reverence to one’s personal disposition and abode. Thus, Article 14, Paragraph 3 of the Revised Penal code imposes higher penalty to crimes committed in an insult to the offended party by his rank, age, sex crimes and/or in the dwelling of the offended party — an aggravating circumstance.
In rank, age, sex, we respect
Everyone is expected to respect one’s rank, age, and sex. Jurisprudence defines “rank” as a high social position or standing as a grade in the armed forces, or to a graded official standing, or to an official standing relative to position in social life or in any scale of comparison.1
On the other hand, the law considers “age”, the tenderness or oldness vis-à-vis one’s physical and mental capabilities in relation thereto. Lastly, “sex” in this circumstance refers to female sex elucidating the vulnerability of women to violence and abuses.
Thus, a deliberate insult or direct and purposive disregard of the aforementioned personal conditions may constitute an aggravating circumstance.
Dwelling | The Sanctity thereof
Dwelling is defined as a sacred place of the owner,2 where she enjoys space, privacy and authority. It is considered as an aggravating circumstance because of the sanctity of privacy the law accords to human abode. A violation thereof, which may be characterized by violence or against the will of the owner aggravates the commission of the crime.
Thus, it is based on the greater perversity of the offender, as shown by the place of the commission of the offense.3
The Law | Rank, Age, Sex, and Dwelling as Aggravating Circumstances
Article 14, Paragraph 3 is an aggravating circumstance providing:
That the act be committed (1) with insult or in disregard of the respect due the offended party on account of his rank, age, sex, or that it be committed in the dwelling of the offended party if the latter has not given provocation.4
Insult of or in disregard of the respect:
What should be respected here are the following, namely:
- rank of the offended party
- age of the offended party
- sex of the offended party
With respect to dwelling, the following must also be present, to wit:
- Crime be committed in the dwelling of the offended party.
- Offended party must not give provocations.
What is Article 14, Paragraph 3 of the Revised Penal Code?
This paragraph is one of the enumerate ordinary aggravating circumstances in Article 14 of the Revised Penal Code. Specifically, it identifies four (4) circumstances: (a) insult or in disregard of the respect due the offended party on account of his rank; (b) age; (c) sex, or (d) be committed in the dwelling of the offended party, which should be considered as a single aggravating circumstances if all are present.
This circumstance of disregard of the respect due the offended party on account of his rank, age, or sex is only applicable in crimes against persons or honors. To constitute an aggravating effect, the commission of the crime requires an insult or disrespect to rank, age or sex which is evidenced by a deliberate intent to offend the same.
Rank, age, and sex
In insult or disregard to the rank of the offended party, there must be a social differential or a social gap of the offender and the offended party, given that there is a deliberate intent to offend the rank of the victim.
In People vs. Valeriano,5 the aggravating circumstances of insult or disregard of the respect due the offended party on account of his rank is present when the Court discovered the evidence that the defendants wanted to kill the Judge specially because he was strict as a Judge, with their purpose to eliminate Judge B of the Court of First Instance so he could not try three Huks who at that time were about to be tried by said Judge.6
In insult or disregard to the age, the crime was committed by reason of age of the offended party, either where he is of tender age or old age given that there is deliberate intent to offend the age of the victim.
In People vs. Curatchia,7 the crime was committed in disregard of the respect due to the victim on account of age and relationship, the accused being a grandson of the deceased. While in People vs. Lora, the Court imposed this aggravating circumstance for killing of 12-year-old boy.8
In insult or disregard to the sex of the offended party, the law refers to female and not to males, with the deliberate intent to offend or insult the sex of the victim or manifest disrespect to womanhood.
In People vs. Dayug,9 this aggravating circumstance has been taken in consideration when the accused intentionally selected and killed a female relative in his retaliation. In this case, the death of the woman is a result of the deliberate intention of the offender to insult a womanhood upon specifically selecting the victim, unlike in a situation where B was stabbed by her sweetheart A for falling out love.10
The aggravating circumstance cannot be considered in the latter as it has never been proved nor admitted by the defendant that in committing the crime he had intended to offend or insult the sex of the victim.11
Nothing appears in the judgment from which it may be presumed that in the commission of the crime, the accused deliberately intended to offend or insult the sex or age of the offended party, but only to execute his evil purpose in a treacherous manner, taking advantage of the weakness of her sex and the tenderness of her age in order to perpetrate the same without risk to his person, etc.12
Hence, insult to sex is absorbed in cases of parricide, rape, abduction, seduction because womanhood is indispensable or inherent in the commission of the crime.
“Home is a sort of sacred place for its owner,” thus, one who enters another to hurt him or do him wrong, is more guilty than he who offends him elsewhere. In appreciating the aggravating circumstance of dwelling, the law requires that the crime be committed in the dwelling of the offended party and that the latter not give any provocation thereof.
Dwelling as defined by Justice Reyes must be a building or a structure exclusively used for rest and comfort, either for temporary or permanent. Dwelling is considered as an aggravating circumstance because of the sanctity of privacy the law accords to human abode.13 And to consider dwelling as aggravating, the crime be committed in the dwelling of the offended party where the sanctity of home has been violated or trespassed.
Dwelling, as an aggravating circumstance, also compels that the offended party must not give provocation to the offender. As if the offended party provoked the commission of the crime, he loses his right to the respect and consideration due him in his own house. The offended party is deemed to have given provocation where the provocation is given by the owner, sufficient, and is immediate to the commission of crime. Thus, there would be no aggravating circumstance.
Dwelling, as an aggravating circumstance is not appreciated when the offended and the victim is living in the same house. In People vs. Nuguid,14 rape cannot be aggravated with dwelling because offender resided in the same house as the victim when the offense was committed, offender resided in the same house as the victim when the offense was committed.15
But when the victim, as a bed spacer occupies a separate room in a boarding house and the crime was committed inside the room against her, dwelling is appreciate because the room satisfies the definition of a dwelling where she enjoys space, privacy, and comfort.
Dwelling is also appreciated when the victim inside his house has been attacked but managed to go outside, or even the offender through firing a gun outside one’s home. It is not necessary that the accused should have actually entered the dwelling of the victim; it is enough that the victim was attacked inside his own house.
In abduction or illegal detention, dwelling is also aggravating. In U.S. vs. Banila,16 the aggravating circumstance of commission of the acts in the house of the offended party is present where the victim was taken away from her house by means of violence and carried away to another place trying to force her to marry the offender.17
Hence, in crime of trespass, dwelling is absorbed as an inherent element of the crime because the commission can only be done in the dwelling of another.
The aggravating circumstance of insult in disregard of the respect due the offended party on account of his rank, age and sex and dwelling are provided in Article 14, Paragraph 3 of the Revised Penal Code. These circumstances shall be considered as one aggravating if simultaneously present in a case, but is not required to concur. Dwelling alone can aggravate a crime.
The law established that a crime violating a “dwelling” which is a “sanctuary worthy of respect” is an aggravating circumstance, given that the offended has not given any provocation therein. On the other hand, a deliberate intent and purpose is necessary to aggravate an act insulting one’s rank, age or sex. Thus, the circumstances are based on the greater perversity of the offender against the personality and place of the victim.
- Reyes, Revised Penal Code, Book 1, 2021, pp. 362-365[↩]
- Viada, Commentaries on the Penal Code. Vol. I, pp. 329[↩]
- Reyes, Revised Penal Code, Book 1, Ibid, pp. 367-374[↩]
- Article 14, Paragraph 3, Revised Penal Code[↩]
- G.R. No. L-2159, September 19, 1951[↩]
- G.R. No. L-31771, May 16, 1980[↩]
- G.R. No. 25782, September 30, 1926[↩]
- People vs. Mangsant, G.R. No. L-45704, May 25, 1938[↩]
- Viada, Supra.[↩]
- Reyes, Supra.[↩]
- G.R. No. 148991, January 21, 2004[↩]
- G.R. No. L-6624, March 20, 1911[↩]