Charging a person with homicide and murder of the same victim is possible?

Atty. Noel Atienza
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In the Philippines, homicide and murder are considered as two separate and distinct crimes punishable under the Revised Penal Code. They are both crimes against persons.

To be able to distinguish these two crimes, the elements must be determined.

Homicide Defined

The crime of Homicide is defined and penalized under Article 249 of the RPC, which reads:

“Art. 249. Homicide. – Any person who, not falling within the provisions of Article 246, shall kill another, without the attendance of any of the circumstances enumerated in the next preceding article, shall be deemed guilty of homicide and be punished by reclusion temporal.”

The elements of Homicide are the following:

(a) a person was killed;

(b) the accused killed him without any justifying circumstance;

(c) the accused had the intention to kill, which is presumed; and

(d) the killing was not attended by any of the qualifying circumstances of Murder, or by that of Parricide or Infanticide.

Murder Defined

On the other hand, Murder is defined and penalized under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC), as amended, which provides:

“ART. 248. Murder. Any person who, not falling within the provisions of Article 246, shall kill another, shall be guilty of murder and shall be punished by reclusion perpetua, to death if committed with any of the following attendant circumstances:

  1. With treachery, taking advantage of superior strength, with the aid of armed men, or employing means to weaken the defense, or of means or persons to insure or afford impunity;
  2. In consideration of a price, reward, or promise;
  3. By means of inundation, fire, poison, explosion, shipwreck, stranding of a vessel, derailment or assault upon a railroad, fall of an airship, by means of motor vehicles, or with the use of any other means involving great waste and ruin;
  4. On occasion of any calamities enumerated in the preceding paragraph, or of an earthquake, eruption of a volcano, destructive cyclone, epidemic, or any other public calamity;
  5. With evident premeditation;
  6. With cruelty, by deliberately and inhumanly augmenting the suffering of the victim, or outraging or scoffing at his person or corpse.

Generally, the elements of murder are:

1) That a person was killed;

2) That the accused killed him;

3) That the killing was attended by any of the qualifying circumstances mentioned in Art. 248; and

4) That the killing is not parricide or infanticide.

Different Penalties for Homicide and Murder

Under the Revised Penal Code, the penalty imposed for the crime of murder is reclusion perpetua (20 years and 1 day to 40 years, but still indivisible penalty) while for homicide, the penalty is reclusion temporal with a duration of 12 years and 1 day to 20 years. 

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