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Culpa vs Dolo
Felonies can be committed either by means of deceit or by means of fault. If a felony is committed by means of deceit it is dolo or otherwise known as intentional felonies such as robbery. If it is committed by means of fault, then it is culpa or otherwise known as culpable felonies such as reckless imprudence resulting in damage to properties.
There is dolo if there exist malice or deliberate intent. There is culpa when the felony results from negligence, imprudence, lack of foresight or lack of skill. In intentional felonies, there is criminal intent in the mind of the offender. In culpable felonies, there is no criminal intent in the mind of the offender but his acts or omissions are still punished by law because of the damages or injury caused to others as a result of his negligence, imprudence, lack of skill or lack of foresight.
How to determine if a felony is intentional?
There is deliberate intent in the commission of a felony if the offender, in doing the act or in omitting to do an act, has done so with FREEDOM, INTELLIGENCE, and INTENT.
1. Freedom – When a person acts without freedom the law looks at him as a mere tool. And as such, his liability is likened to “the knife that wounds, or of the torch that sets fire, or of the key that opens a door, or of the ladder that is placed against the wall of a house in committing robbery.”
2. Intelligence – If a person acted without intelligence in committing a felony, then no crime exists. This requisite is necessary to determine the morality of human acts. Hence, the law exempts certain classes of persons from criminal liability such as minors (15 below) and insane persons.
3. Intent – “Intent to commit the act with malice, being purely a mental process, is presumed and the presumption arises from the proof of the commission of an unlawful act.”
How to determine if a felony is committed by means of culpa?
There is culpable felony if the offender, in doing the act or in omitting to do an act, has done so with FREEDOM, INTELLIGENCE, and IMPRUDENCE, NEGLIGENCE, LACK of FORESIGHT or LACK OF SKILL.
1. Imprudence – It usually involves lack of skill. A deficiency of action or failure to take necessary precaution to avoid injury or damage such as when a driver fails to check and determine the road worthiness of his vehicle before hitting the road where thereafter he had a brake failure which caused him to run over a pedestrian. Such may have been avoided if he had prudently checked his vehicle.
2. Negligence – It usually involves lack of foresight. A deficiency of perception or failure to pay proper attention and to use diligence to a void a foreseeable damage or injury such as when a cop indiscriminately fires his gun in the air during New Year’s Eve which caused injury to another. had the cop foreseen that firing his gun in open air might injure someone the incident would not have happened.
References: Revised Penal Code Criminal Law Book I by Justice J.B.L Reyes; The Revised Penal Code Act No. 3815 As Amended Book One by Dean Abelardo Estrada
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