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— Conspiracy and proposal to commit felony are punishable only in the cases in which the law specially provides a penalty therefor.

A conspiracy exists when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the commission of a felony and decide to commit it.

There is proposal when the person who has decided to commit a felony proposes its execution to some other person or persons.

 

IMPORTANT WORDS AND PHRASES

 “ Conspiracy and proposal to commit felony”

Conspiracy and proposal to commit felony are two different acts or felonies: (1) conspiracy to commit felony; and (2) proposal to commit a felony.

  1. “Only in the cases in which the law specially provides a penalty therefor.”

Unless there is a specific provision in the Revised Penal Code providing a penalty for conspiracy or proposal to commit a felony, mere conspiracy or proposal is not felony.

Conspiracy is not a crime except when the law specifically provides a penalty therefor.

A conspiracy exists when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the commission of a felony and decide to commit it. (Art.8)Generally, conspiracy is not a crime except when the law specifically provides a penalty therefor as in treason (Art.115), rebellion (Art.136) and sedition (Art.141). The crime of conspiracy known to the common law is not an indictable offense in the Philippines. (U.S v. Lim Buanco, 14 Phil.472; U.S v. Remigio, 37 Phil. 599, 614; People v. Asaad, 55 Phil. 697) An agreement to commit a crime is a reprehensible act from the viewpoint of morality, but as long as the conspirators do not perform overt acts in furtherance of their malevolent design, the sovereignty of the State is not outraged and the tranquility of the public remains undisturbed. However, when in resolute execution of a common scheme, a felony is committed by two or more malefactors, the existence of a conspiracy assumes pivotal importance in the determination of the liability of the perpetrators.

(People v. Peralta, 25 SCRA 759)

General Rule

Conspiracy and proposal to commit a felony are not punishable.

Exception:

They are punishable only in the cases in which the law specially provides a penalty therefor.

 

Reason for the rule.

Conspiracy and proposal to commit a crime are only preparatory acts, and the law regards them as innocent or at least permissible except in rare and exceptional cases.

The Revised Penal Code specially provides a penalty for mere conspiracy in Articles 115,136, and 141.

            Art. 115. Conspiracy x x x to commit treason- Penalty.- The conspiracy x x x to commit the crime of treason shall be punished x x x by prision mayor and a fine not exceeding  10,000 pesos x x x.

Art. 136. Conspiracy x x x to commit coup d’etat, rebellion or insurrection– The conspiracy x x x to commit coup d’etat shall be punished by prision mayor in its minimum period and a fine which shall not exceed 8,000 pesos.

The conspiracy x x x to commit rebellion or insurrection shall be punished x x x by prision correctional in its maximum period and a fine which shall not exceed 5,000 pesos x x x.

(As amended by Rep. Act No. 6968)

Art.141. Conspiracy to commit sedition.- Persons conspiring to commit the crime of sedition shall be punished by prision mayor in its medium period and a fine not exceeding 2,000 pesos. (As amended by P.D. No. 942)

 

Treason, coup d’etat, rebellion or sedition should not be actually committed.

The conspirators should not actually commit treason, coup d’etat rebellion or sedition. It is sufficient that two or more persons agree and decide to commit treason, rebellion or sedition.

If they commit, say, treason, they will be held liable for treason, and the conspiracy which they had before committing treason is only a manner of incurring criminal liability. It is not separate offense.

 

Conspiracy as a felony, distinguish from conspiracy as a manner of incurring criminal liability.

            When the conspiracy relates to crime actually committed, it is not a felony but only a manner of incurring criminal liability, that is, when where is conspiracy, the act of one is the act of all.

Even if the conspiracy relates to any of the crimes of treason, rebellion and sedition, but any of them is actually committed, the conspiracy is not a separate offense; it is only a manner of incurring criminal liability, that is , all the conspirator who carried out their plan and personally took part in its execution are equally liable. The offender are liable for treason, rebellion, or sedition, as the case may be, and the conspiracy is absorbed .

When conspiracy is only a manner of incurring criminal liability, it is not punishable as separate offense.

Illustration of conspiracy as felony and as a manner of incurring criminal liability

 

  1. A and B agreed and decided to rise publicly and take arms against the government with the help of their followers. Even if they did not carry out their plan to overthrow the government, A and B are liable for conspiracy to commit rebellion under Article 136 of the Revised Penal Code.

 

But if A and B and their followers dad rise publicly and take arms against the government to overthrow it, thereby committing rebellion, their conspiracy is only a manner of incurring criminal liability for rebellion.

 

  1. A,B and C, after having conceived a criminal plan, got together, agreed and decide to kill D. if A,B and C failed to carry out the plan for some reason or another, they are not liable for having conspired against D, because the crime they conspired to commit, which is murder, is not treason, rebellion or sedition.

But if they carried out the plan and personally took part in its execution which resulted in the killing of D, they are all liable for murder, even if A merely acted as guard outside the house where D was killed and B merely held the arms of D when C stabbed him to death.

Their conspiracy is only a manner of incurring criminal liability for murder. It is not an offense, not only because a crime was committed after the conspiracy, but also because conspiracy to commit murder is not punished in Revised Penal Code.

 

Article 186 of the Revised Penal Code punishing conspiracy.

Read par 1 of Article 186, Revised Penal Code.

Direct proof is not essential to establish conspiracy.  As long as it can be inferred from the collective acts of the accused before, during and after the commission of the crime.

Quantum of Proof required for conspiracy must be positive and conclusive.

Another thing…

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Phto by Cher

The Revised Penal Code specially provides penalty for mere proposal in Articles 115 and 136.

Article 115.

Conspiracy and proposal to commit treason; Penalty. — The conspiracy or proposal to commit the crime of treason shall be punished respectively, by prision mayor and a fine not exceeding P10,000 pesos, and prision correccional and a fine not exceeding P5,000 pesos.

Article 136.

Conspiracy and proposal to commit coup d’etat, rebellion or insurrection. — The conspiracy and proposal to commit coup d’etat shall be punished by prision mayor in minimum period and a fine which shall not exceed eight thousand pesos (P8,000.00).

The conspiracy and proposal to commit rebellion or insurrection shall be punished respectively, by prision correccional in its maximum period and a fine which shall not exceed five thousand pesos (P5,000.00) and by prision correccional in its medium period and a fine not exceeding two thousand pesos (P2,000.00). (As amended by R.A. 6968, approved October 24, 1990).

 

Treason should not be actually committed.

There is no criminal proposal when

  1. The person who proposes is not determined to commit the felony.
  2. There is no decided, concrete and formal proposal
  3. It is not the execution of a felony that is proposed.

It is not necessary that the person to whom the proposal is made agrees to commit treason of rebellion.

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