Schizophrenia and criminal liability | Manila weather


Dear PAO,

My father was arrested for allegedly selling marijuana fruit tops in an alleged shopping bust. However, he was diagnosed with schizophrenia a year ago. Can my father escape criminal liability due to his mental illness?


Dear Caitlyn,

To answer your question, we will refer to the Revised Penal Code (CPR) of the Philippines which contains a provision that specifically applies to your question, namely:

“Article 12 of the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines provides that:” The following are exempt from criminal liability: 1. A fool or an insane person, unless the latter has acted during an interval of lucidity. When the fool or an insane person has committed an act that the law qualifies as a crime (delito), the court will order his internment in one of the hospitals or asylums established for the people thus afflicted, from which he will not be allowed to leave without first obtain authorization from the same court. xxx. “

In the Solomon G. Verdadero v People case (GR 216021, March 2, 2016), the Supreme Court through Deputy Judge Jose Mendoza stated:

“Schizophrenia is a chronic mental disorder characterized by an inability to distinguish between fantasy and reality, and often accompanied by hallucinations and delusions. Showing that an accused suffers from a mental disorder does not, however, automatically exonerate him from the consequences of his act. . The mere anomaly of mental faculties does not exclude accountability. xxx Insanity must relate to the time immediately preceding or coinciding with the commission of the offense with which the accused is charged. Otherwise, he must be found guilty of the said offense. In short, for the accused to be exonerated from criminal liability by virtue of an insanity plea, he must show categorically that: (1) he has been completely deprived of intelligence by reason of his mental condition or illness; and (2) this complete deprivation of intelligence must be manifest at or immediately before the commission of the offense. (emphasis provided)

It is clear from this provision and from the cases cited that an accused alleging insanity as an exonerating circumstance cannot be held criminally responsible if he can prove that he was totally deprived of liberty and intelligence at the time of the arrest. commission of the crime. You and your lawyer must produce evidence to support your claim that your father suffered from a mental illness or disorder which completely deprived him of his liberty and intelligence at the time he was arrested for allegedly having sold marijuana tops.

We hope we have been able to answer your questions. Remember that this advice is based only on the facts you have reported and our appreciation of them. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or developed.

Editor’s Note: Dear PAO is a daily column for the DA’s office. Questions for Chef Acosta can be sent to [email protected]

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