The subjective phase of a crime

Subjective phase phase of a crime is that portion of the acts constituting a crime, starting from the point where the offender begins the commission of the crime to that point where he still has control over his acts including their (acts) natural course. If between those two points, the offender is stopped by reason of any cause outside of his own voluntary desistance, the subjective phase has not been passed and it is merely an attempt.

When the crime enters its objective phase, the offender has achieved the result of the acts of execution, that is, the accomplishment of the crime. If the subjective and objective phases have been passed there is a consummated felony.

ALSO READ: GR No. 160188, 2007 (552 Phil. 381) - Project Jurisprudence.

CASE DIGEST: PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. AGAPITO LISTERIO y PRADO and SAMSON DELA TORRE y ESQUELA, accused, AGAPITO LISTERIO y PRADO, accused-appellant. (G.R. No. 122099. July 5, 2000)
FACTS: Brothers Jeonito and Marlon were walking when they met a group composed of men who blocked their path and attacked them with lead pipes and bladed weapons. One stabbed Jeonito from behind. Jeonito‘s brother, Marlon, was hit on the head.

  1. The SC held that the crime is a frustrated felony not an attempted offense considering that after being stabbed and clubbed twice in the head as a result of which he lost consciousness and fell. Marlon's attackers apparently thought he was already dead and fled.
  2. A crime cannot be held to be attempted unless the offender, after beginning the commission of the crime by overt acts, is prevented, against his will, by some outside cause from performing all of the acts which should produce the crime.
  3. In other words, to be an attempted crime, the purpose of the offender must be thwarted by a foreign force or agency which intervenes and compels him to stop prior to the moment when he has performed all of the acts which should produce the crime as a consequence, which acts it is his intention to perform.
  4. If he has performed all the acts which should result in the consummation of the crime and voluntarily desists from proceeding further, it cannot be an attempt.
NOTE: What the Court adopted in the above-discussed case of People v. Listerio is the third theory regarding the frustrated stage of crimes. The first theory is that it must be viewed from the viewpoint of the Court; does the court think that the wound is fatal? The second theory is that it must be viewed from the viewpoint of medical practitioners; does the attending physician think the wound is fatal? The third one is from the viewpoint of the offender; did the accused think that the wound was fatal?

It is submitted that the best theory is the second one as it has more scientific basis.