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Article 12 (RPC): Circumstances which exempt from criminal liability. The following are
exempt from criminal liability:
1) An imbecile or an insane person, unless the latter has acted during a
lucid interval.
2) A person under nine years of age
3) A person over nine years of age and under fifteen, unless he has acted with
discernment, in which case, such minor shall be proceeded against in accordance with the
provisions of Article 80 of this Code.
4) Any person who, while performing a lawful act with due care, causes an injury by
mere accident without fault or intention of causing it.
5) Any person who acts under the compulsion of an irresistible force.
6) Any person who acts under the impulse of uncontrollable fear of an equal or
greater injury
7) Any person who fails to perform an act required by law, when prevented by some
lawful or insurpable cause.
ILLNESS (Philippine Setting)
Pre- Spanish Era: Each illness, whether
psychiatric or not in origin, was cause by
natural or supernatural phenomena and/or
inanimate objects.

Spanish Era: Mental illness or conditions to

be caused by supernatural forces such as
angry deities, witches, or devilmen.
1810: First institutional care and treatment
of the mentally ill in the country in Hospicio
de San Jose
Enagenacion mental- term used to refer
to all forms of insanity or dementia d/t
ones inability to face reality or handle lifes




Ancient Hebraic Law: Idiots, lunatics, and

children below a certain age ought not to
be held criminally responsible because they
could not distinguish good from evil, right
from wrong and were thus considered as
blameless in the eyes of God and man
Plato: If a criminal is senile, a child or
proven insane, he should be held to no
more than the payment of civil damages
Shakespeares Hamlet: If I wrong someone
when not myself, then Hamlet does it not,
Hamlet denies it. Who does it then? His
1226: Use of insanity as mitigating
1265 (Henri de Bracton): An insane person
is a person who does not know what he is
doing, is lacking in mind and reason, and is
not far removed from the brutes.
1275: Insanity is recognized as a defense
by English common law
1278: First case of NOT GUILTY by REASON
of INSANITY (NGRI), Hugh de Misyn
1307: Wild beast theory by King Edward II
1581: Good v Evil rule
1843: MNaghten Rule
To establish a defense on the
grounds of insanity, it must be clearly
proved that, at the time of committing the
act, the party accused was laboring under
such a defect of reason, from disease of the
mind, as not to know the nature and quality
of the act he was doing; or if he did know it,

Sisa (Noli





End of Spanish Era: Recognition of the

organic cause of mental illness
American Regime: mental illness as a
1917: Mental illness as a health condition

that he did not know that what he was

doing was wrong.
1869: New Hampshire Rule
Test of criminal responsibility is
whether the act was the offspring or
product of mental disease in the defendant
1962: American Law Institute
A person is not responsible for
criminal conduct if at the time of such
conduct, as a result of mental disease or
defect, he lacks substantial capacity either
to appreciate the criminality of his conduct
or to conform his conduct to the
requirements of law.

A severe mental condition in which there is disorganization of the personality, deterioration
in social functioning, and loss of contact with, or distortion of, reality. There may be
evidence of hallucinations and delusional thinking.
Dementia praecox is also called premature dementia, is a deteriorating psychotic
disorder characterized by rapid cognitive disintegration, usually beginning in the late teens
or early adulthood. It differs from manic-depressive disorders because the focus is the
changes in the thought process while the latter focuses on mood changes (Sadock & Sadock,
Dementia praecox, though similar with manic depressive psychosis in symptoms, also take
into account the hereditary factors, biological factors and abnormalities (e.g. difficulty in
labor, premature births, brain lesions) (Adityanjee, 1999).
Schizophrenia, as Eugene Bleuler described, replaced the concept of schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia, according to him, included a weakness of the associative psychic acts that
brings about a loosening of mental links between mental contents (Adityanjee, 1999).
US v Hontiveros Carmona (1910): The accused was charged with the killing of his mother-inlaw, sister-in-law and wife and was found guilty. Upon appeal, defense use the insanity
defense claiming that on the night of the crime the defendant was sick with fever and out of
his mind and that in one of his paroxysms he committed the said acts, wounding his wife
and the other members of her family, without any motives whatever. In the absence of
sufficient proof, the Court ruled that it is improper to conclude that he acted
unconsciously, in order to relieve him from responsibility on the ground of
exceptional mental condition.
US v Martinez (1916): Valerio Martinez was found guilty of the crime of homicide. Upon
appeal, the defense claimed that the accused was suffering from mental derangement at
the time he committed the crime. The Court held that while the defendant, on many
occasions before the commission of the crime which he admits he committed, did many
things that would indicate that he was not of sound mind, such acts tend to show, however,
that he was of a depraved mental character, rather than a man of unsound mind.

The burden was upon him, having alleged mental unsoundness, to establish that fact. The
law presumes that all men are sane, until the contrary is shown.
People v Bascos (1922): Bascos was charged with the murder of Victoriano Romero. He used
the insanity defense in his plea of not guilty. The physician who examined Bascos testified

that the accused is a violent maniac, and that from the information he had received
from the neighbors of the accused, the latter had been insane for some time. He
opined that Bascos was probably insane when he killed Romero. It was also
established that Bascos had a total lack of motive to kill. Because of these details,
the Court ruled that he is exempt from criminal liability.
People v Bonoan (1937): Bonoan (defendant) was charged with killing another person and
entered his plea of not guilty by reason of insanity. The act was committed because of his
delusions of being interfered with sexually and of his properties being taken. The defense
used his history of being diagnosed of dementia praecox and confinement prior to
commission of said act (committed in 1934). Those suffering from dementia praecox have

similar symptoms to those of manic depressive, wherein a person has no control

whatever of his acts during periods of excitement. The action was due to an
irresistible homicidal impulse. The Court ruled that he was exempt from criminal
liability because it was proven that he was demented during the commission of the act.
People v Puno (1981): Puno was charged with killing Francisca Col, claiming that she was a
mambabarang. The defense contended that Puno was insane when he killed Francisca Col
because he had chronic schizophrenia since 1962; he was suffering from schizophrenia on
September 8, 1970, when he liquidated the victim, and schizophrenia is a form of psychosis
which deprives a person of discernment and freedom of will. Based on the testimonies of
physicians presented, it was established that Puno, who previously was suffering from a
mental illness called schizophrenia, was free from any social incapacitating psychotic
symptoms during the commission of the act. Citing previous cases, the Court held that
insanity exists when there is complete deprivation of intelligence in committing the act,
that is, the accused is deprived of reason, he acts without the least discernment because
there is complete absence of the power to discern, or that there is total deprivation
of freedom of the will.
Adityanjee, e. a. (1999). Dementia praecox to schizophrenia: the first 100 years. Psychiatry and Clinical
Neurosciences, 437-448.
Sadock, B. J., & Sadock, V. A. (2007). Kaplan & Sadock's Synopsis of Psychiatry: Behavioral Sciences/ Clinical
Psychiatry, 10th Edition. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Torres-Yap, M. R. (n.d.). History of Philippine Psychiatry. Retrieved from The Philippine Psychiatric Association:
Townsend, M. (2008). Essentials of psychiatric mental health nursing 4th edition. Philadelphia: F. A. Davis.
US v Hontiveros Carmona G.R. No. L-5900 (December 22, 1910)
US v Martinez, G.R. No. 10889 (March 21, 1916)
People v Bascos, G.R. No. L-19605 (December 19, 1922)
People v Bonoan, G.R. No. L-45130 (February 17, 1937)
People v Puno, G.R. No. L-33211 (June 29, 1981)