1. By any person committing a felony (delito) although the wrongful act done be different from that which he intended.
2. By any person performing an act which would be an offense against persons or property, were it not for the inherent impossibility of its accomplishment or an account of the employment of inadequate or ineffectual means.
The rationale in Article 4 is found in the doctrine that says;
el que es causa de la causa es causa del mal causado”
is translated as;
“he who is the cause of the cause is the cause of the cause of the evil caused”
Under paragraph 1, Article 4, a person committing a felony is still liable even if –
The first one is…
Error in personae (Mistaken Identity)
Wilcris is a very clever guy. One day he saw a very beautiful girl. He was so caught with her that he brought up a very bad idea. He was so obsessed to hug and kiss her pretending that she is his girlfriend. Although he knew that she is not. He said laughingly to himself. I will just say sorry afterwards.
When he got the chance…
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So, he did everything as planned and succeed. The girl was shocked and called the police. Wilcris was charged of acts of lasciviousness. Of course, the clever Wilcris forseen all these to happen. And, as planned he told the judge that he thought she was his girlfriend. It was a mistake in person. Will he be convicted?
Aberratio ictus (Mistake in the blow). This is how it is.
A slapped B. B evaded the strike but when he avoided it, B hit his head on the long nail protruding the wall. B died from this.
A is liable for homicide.
And, the last is…
Praeter intentionem (The result is greater than that intented)
Mario was very angry at Ramon. When the two met, Mario raised his arm to slap him. Ramon evaded the attack. But when he did it he bumped his head to a nail protruding on the wall. Ramon died from it.
Mario was liable.
Paragraph 2, of Article 4 is about “Impossible Crime.”
Anton is an embalmer. One day, there was a celebrity who died from drug overdose. When it was brought to be mummified, Anton had sex with the body of celebrity. Somebody saw it and reported to the families. Anton was arrested and charged.
Is he criminally liable?
But what felony?
No. It would have been rape if the celebrity is still alive. But since she was already dead. And, dead cannot say no or yes to sex proposals. So, it could not be raped.
Therefore, Anton shall be held guilty only of IMPOSSIBLE CRIME as defined and penalized in paragraph 2, Article 4, in relation to Article 59, both of the Revised Penal Code, because of the factual impossibility of producing the crime of rape.