2013 Criminal Law Exam Essay Questions

October 29, 2013
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Bruno was charged with homicide for killing the 75-year old owner of his rooming house. The prosecution proved that Bruno stabbed the owner causing his death; and that the killing happened at 10 in the evening in the house where the victim and Bruno lived. Bruno, on the other hand, successfully proved that he voluntarily surrendered to the authorities; that he pleaded guilty to the crime charged; that it was the victim who first attacked and did so without any provocation on his (Bruno’s) part, but he prevailed because he managed to draw his knife with which he stabbed the victim. The penalty for homicide is reclusion temporal.

Assuming a judgment of conviction and after considering the attendant circumstances, what penalty should the judge impose? (7%)


While walking alone on her way home from a party, Mildred was seized at gun point by Felipe and taken on board a tricycle to a house some distance away. Felipe was with Julio, Roldan, and Lucio, who drove the tricycle.

At the house, Felipe, Julio, and Roldan succeeded in having sexual intercourse with Mildred against her will and under the threat of Felipe’s gun. Lucio was not around when the sexual assaults took place as he left after bringing his colleagues and Mildred to their destination, but he returned everyday to bring food and the news in town about Mildred’s disappearance. For five days, Felipe, Julio and Roldan kept Mildred in the house and took turns in sexually assaulting her. On the 6th day, Mildred managed to escape; she proceeded immediately to the nearest police station and narrated her ordeal.

What crime/s did Felipe, Julio, Roldan, and Lucio commit and what was their degree of participation? (7%)


Modesto and Abelardo are brothers. Sometime in August, 1998 while Abelardo was in his office, Modesto, together with two other men in police uniform, came with two heavy bags. Modesto asked Abelardo to keep the two bags in his vault until he comes back to get them. When Abelardo later examined the two bags, he saw bundles of money that, in his rough count, could not be less than Php5 Million. He kept the money inside the vault and soon he heard the news that a gang that included Modesto had been engaged in bank robberies. Abelardo, unsure of what to do under the circumstances, kept quiet about the two bags in his vault. Soon after, the police captured, and secured a confession from, Modesto who admitted that their loot had been deposited with Abelardo.

What is Abelardo’s liability? (7%)


In her weekly gossip column in a tabloid, Gigi wrote an unflattering article about Pablo, a famous singer, and his bitter separation from his wife. The article portrayed Pablo as an abusive husband and caused him to lose lucrative endorsement contracts. Pablo charged Gigi with libel. In her defense, Gigi countered that she did not commit libel because Pablo has attained the status of a public figure so that even his personal life has become a legitimate subject of public interest and comment.

Is Gigi correct? (7%)


Michael was 17 years old when he was charged for violation of Sec. 5 of R.A. 9165 (illegal sale of prohibited drug). By the time he was convicted and sentenced, he was already 21 years old. The court sentenced him to suffer an indeterminate penalty of imprisonment of six (6) years and one (1) day of prision mayor, as minimum, to seventeen (17) years and four (4) months of reclusion temporal, as maximum, and a fine of P500,000.Michael applied for probation but his application was denied because the probation law does not apply to drug offenders under R.A. 9165. Michael then sought the suspension of his sentence under R.A. 9344 or the Juvenile Justice and Youth Welfare Code.

Can Michael avail of the suspension of his sentence provided under this law? (7%)


Roberto bought a Toyota Fortuner from Inigo for P500,000. While driving his newly-bought car, Roberto met a minor accident that made the examination of his vehicle’s Registration Certificate necessary. When the policeman checked the plate, chassis and motor numbers of the vehicle against those reflected in the Registration Certificate, he found the chassis and motor numbers to be different from what the Registration Certificate stated. The Deed of Sale covering the sale of the Fortuner, signed by Inigo, also bore the same chassis and motor numbers as Roberto’s Registration Certificate. The chassis and motor numbers on the Fortuner were found, upon verification with the Land Transportation Office, to correspond to a vehicle previously reported as carnapped.

Roberto claimed that he was in good faith; Inigo sold him a carnapped vehicle and he did not know that he was buying a carnapped vehicle.

If you were the prosecutor, would you or would you not charge Roberto with a crime? (7%)


Miss Reyes, a lady professor, caught Mariano, one of her students, cheating during an examination. Aside from calling Mariano’s attention, she confiscated his examination booklet and sent him out of the room, causing Mariano extreme embarrassment.

In class the following day, Mariano approached Miss Reyes and without any warning, slapped her on the face. Mariano would have inflicted grave injuries on Miss Reyes had not Dencio, another student, intervened. Mariano then turned his ire on Dencio and punched him repeatedly, causing him injuries.

What crime or crimes, if any, did Mariano commit? (7%)


William is the son-in-law of Mercedes who owns several pieces of real property. In 1994, William’s wife, Anita, died. In 1996, William caused the preparation of a Special Power of Attorney (SPA) giving him the authority to sell two (2) parcels of land registered in the name of Mercedes. The signature of Mercedes in the SPA was forged and, through this forged SPA and without the consent and knowledge of Mercedes, William succeeded in selling the two (2) parcels for Php2,000,000. He pocketed the proceeds of the sale.

Mercedes eventually discovered William’s misdeeds and filed a criminal complaint. William was subsequently charged with estafa through falsification of public document.

Was the criminal charge proper’? (7%)


Roman and Wendy are neighbors. On Valentine’s Day, without prior notice, Roman visited Wendy at her condo to invite her to dinner, but Wendy turned him down and abruptly left, leaving her condo door unlocked. Roman attempted to follow, but appeared to have second thoughts; he simply went back to Wendy’s condo, let himself in, and waited for her return. On Wendy’s arrival later that evening, Roman grabbed her from behind and, with a knife in hand, forced her to undress. Wendy had no choice but to comply. Roman then tied Wendy’s hands to her bed and sexually assaulted her five (5) times that night.

Roman was charged with, and was convicted of, five (5) counts of rape, but the judge did not impose the penalty of reclusion perpetua for each count. Instead, the judge sentenced Roman to 40 years of imprisonment on the basis of the three-fold rule.

Was the judge correct? (7%)


Frank borrowed Php1,000,000 from his brother Eric. To pay the loan, Frank issued a post-dated check to be presented for payment a month after the transaction. Two days before maturity, Frank called Eric telling him he had insufficient funds and requested that the deposit of the check be deferred. Nevertheless, Eric deposited the check and it was dishonored. When Frank failed to pay despite demand, Eric filed a complaint against him for violation of Batas Pambansa Big. 22 (The Bouncing Checks Law).

Was the charge brought against Frank correct? (7%)


Assume that you are a member of the legal staff of Senator Salcedo who wants to file a bill about imprisonment at the National Penitentiary in Muntinlupa. He wants to make the State prison a revenue earner for the country through a law providing for premium accommodations for prisoners (other than those under maximum security status) whose wives are allowed conjugal weekend visits, and for those who want long-term premium accommodations.

For conjugal weekenders, he plans to rent out rooms with hotel-like amenities at rates equivalent to those charged by 4-star hotels; for long-term occupants, he is prepared to offer room and board with special meals in air conditioned single-occupancy rooms, at rates equivalent to those charged by 3-star hotels.

What advice will you give the Senator from the point of view of criminal law, taking into account the purpose of imprisonment (7%) and considerations of ethics and morality (3%)? (10% total points)

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