Crimes against property are those that violate a person’s belongings – physical properties and intellectual properties both. These crimes are covered in Title 10, Book 2 of the Revised Penal Code. It spans Article 293 to Article 332. In general, crimes against property deprive or risk depriving the owner of their rightful property.
These types of crimes can range from petty shoplifting to destructive crimes like robbery and arson. The main object of the act is to gain money, property, or a similar benefit from the owner through unlawful means.
Any person who, with intent to gain, shall take any personal property belonging to another, by means of violence or intimidation of any person, or by using force upon anything shall be guilty of robbery.1930 Revised Penal Code of the Philippines
Essentially, it is theft accomplished using violence or threat of violence.
- The personal property belongs to another.
- There was unlawful taking of that property.
- It was done with intent to gain or animus lucrandi.
- There was violence against or intimidation of any person or force upon things.
- The offense can be committed by a band or with the use of firearms on a street, road or alley or by attacking a moving train, street car, motor vehicle or airship or by entering or taking the passenger conveyance by surprise.
- Other analogous acts are present.
Robbery with Violence or Intimidation of Persons
- The personal property belongs to another.
- There was unlawful taking of property.
- It was done with intent to gain or animus lucrandi.
- The taking was done with violence against or intimidation of persons.
Five Classes of Robbery with Violence or Intimidation
- Robbery with homicide
- Robbery with rape or intentional mutilation
- Robbery with physical injuries
- Robbery committed with unnecessary violence
- Robbery in other cases, or simply robbery where the violence against or intimidation of persons cannot be subsumed by or where it is not sufficiently specified so as to fall under, the first four
Robbery by the Use of Force Upon Things
- Personal property was taken.
- The property belonged to another.
- The taking was done with intent to gain or animus lucrandi.
- Further, it was done with force upon things.
Robbery in an Inhabited House or Public Building or Edifice Devoted to Worship
This happens if the perpetrators enters the house or building where the robbery was committed through the following:
- Through an opening not intended for entrance or egress.
- By breaking any wall, roof, or floor or breaking any door or window.
- By using false keys, picklocks, or similar tools. False keys include:
- lock picks
- genuine keys stolen from the owner
- Any keys other than those intended by the owner for use in the lock forcibly opened by the offender.
- By using a fictitious name or pretending to exercise public authority.
Or if the robbery is committed under the following circumstances:
- By the breaking of doors, wardrobes, chests, or any other kind of locked or sealed furniture or receptacle
- By taking such furniture or objects to be broken or forced open outside the place of the robbery
An inhabited house is any shelter, ship, or vessel constituting the dwelling of one or more persons, even though the inhabitants are temporarily absent from it when the robbery is committed.
Robbery in an Uninhabited Place or in a Private Building
The following circumstances is present in this type of crime:
- If the entry has been effected through any opening not intended for entrance or egress.
- If any wall, roof, or floor or outside door or window has been broken.
- If the entrance has been effected using false keys, picklocks or other similar tools.
- If any dorm, wardrobe, chest or sealed or closed furniture or receptacle has been broken.
- If any closed or sealed receptacle, as mentioned in the preceding paragraph, has been removed even if the same is broken open elsewhere.
Brigands, also known as Highway Robbers, are a group of more than three armed persons forming a band of robbers for the purpose of committing robbery in the highway, or kidnapping persons for the purpose of extortion or to obtain a ransom or for any other purpose to be attained by means of force or violence.
The Anti-Piracy and Anti-Highway Robbery Law of 1974 states that brigandage is the seizure of any person for ransom, extortion, or other unlawful purposes or the taking away of the property by another by means of violence against or intimidation of person or force upon things, or other unlawful means, committed by any person on any Philippine Highway.
According to the 1930 Revised Penal Code of the Philippines, theft is committed by any person who, with intent to gain but without violence or intimidation of persons nor force upon things, shall take personal property of another without the latter’s consent.
Theft is also committed by the following:
- Any person who, having found lost property, shall fail to deliver the same to the local authorities or to its owner;
- Any person who, after having maliciously damaged the property of another, shall remove or make use of the fruits or object of the damage caused by him; and
- Any person who shall enter an enclosed estate or a field where trespass is forbidden or which belongs to another and without the consent of its owner, shall hunt or fish upon the same or shall gather cereals, or other forest or farm products.
Four Modes of Theft
- Asportation The carrying away of someone else’s property that is an element of larceny. The taking away is accomplished without violence or intimidation against person or force upon things.
- Lost Property The perpetrator finds a lost item or property and failed or did not intend to deliver the lost property to its rightful owner.
- Damage to Property The offender maliciously damages the property of others, and he removes or makes use of the fruits or objects of the damage caused by him.
- Hunting or Gathering The violator enters an enclosed estate or a field without any consent of the owner, and where trespass is forbidden. He hunts or fishes, or gathers crops without the consent of the owner.
This is a special form of theft that is committed by the following:
- A domestic servant,
- With grave abuse of confidence,
- If the property stolen is motor vehicle, mail matter or large cattle or consists of coconuts taken from the premises of the plantation or fish taken from a fishpond or fishery, or
- If property is taken on the occasion of fire, earthquake, typhoon, volcanic eruption, or any other calamity, vehicular accident or civil disturbance.
It is the occupation of real property or any real rights in property belonging to another by means of violence against or intimidation of persons. According to the RPC, this includes altering boundaries or landmarks. The elements of the offense are:
- Occupation of another’s real property or usurpation of a real right belonging to another person;
- Violence or intimidation should be employed in possession the real property or in usurping the real right
- The accused should be animated by the intent to gain
Also known as fraudulent insolvency, it is committed by any person who absconds with his property to prejudice of his creditors. Insolvency refers to situations where a debtor cannot pay the debts she owes. Culpable Insolvency is the fraudulent disposal or concealment and or disposal of properties of a debtor to defraud his creditors.
Also known as estafa, it is an act of defrauding another the person by any of the following means:
- Unfaithfulness or abuse of confidence:
- Altering the quality, quantity, and substance of the subject matter in a contract;
- Misappropriating or converting someone else’s money, goods, or any other personal property; or denying these from them;
- Taking advantage of a signature in blank
- Deceit or fraudulent acts:
- Using a fictitious identity to deceive another;
- Altering quality, fineness or weight of anything pertaining to art or business;
- Issuing unfunded or postdated checks;
- Availing of services from hotels, restaurants, inns, etc. without paying for them
- Fraudulent means:
- Inducing another, through deceit, to sign any document;
- Resorting to fraudulent practice to ensure success in a gambling game;
- Removing, concealing or destroying (in whole or in part) any court record, office files, document, or any other papers.
According to the Revised PNP Criminal Investigation Manual (2010) the elements of estafa are:
- Damage or prejudice to the offended party
- The deceit is accomplished through unfaithfulness or abuse of confidence.
- Some by means of false pretenses or fraudulent acts or means
- Other analogous acts
Syndicated Estafa is a swindling (estafa) that is committed by a syndicate consisting of five or more persons formed with the intention of carrying out the unlawful or illegal act, transaction, enterprise or scheme, and the fraud results in the misappropriation of money contributed by stockholders, or members of rural banks, cooperatives, “samahang nayon(s)”, or farmers association, or of funds solicited by corporations/associations from the general public.
The following are the standards by which a group of purported swindlers may be considered as a syndicate under PD 1689:
- They must be at least five (5) in number;
- They must have formed or managed a rural bank cooperative, “samahang nayon, farmer’s association or any other corporation or association that solicits funds from the general public.
- They formed or managed such associations with the intention of carrying out an unlawful or illegal act, transaction, enterprise or scheme i.e., they used the very association that they formed or managed as the means to defraud its own stockholders, members and depositors.
Crimes Involving Chattel Mortgage
Chattel mortgage is a conditional sale of personal property as security for the payment of a debt, or the performance of some other obligation specified therein, the condition being that the sale shall be void upon the seller paying to the purchaser a sum of money or doing some other act named. If the condition is performed according to its term the mortgage and sale immediately become void, and the mortgagee thereby divested of his title.
According to the RPC, the following are considered offenses involving chattel mortgage:
- Knowingly removing personal property mortgaged to any province or city other than the one in which it was located at the time of the execution of the mortgage without the written consent or the owner.
- Selling or pledging personal property already mortgaged or any part thereof, under the terms of the Chattel Mortgage Law without the consent of the mortgage written on the back of the mortgage and duly recorded in the CM Register.
These are attempts against another’s property inspired sometimes by hatred or a desire for revenge and sometimes by the mere pleasure of destroying. According to the RPC, any person who shall deliberately cause the property of another any damage not falling within the terms of the subsequent crimes shall be guilty of malicious mischief.
- That the offender deliberately caused damage to the property of another;
- That such act does not constitute arson or other crimes involving destruction;
- That the act of damaging another’s property be committed merely for the sake of damaging it.
Types of Malicious Mischiefs
- Causing damage to obstruct the performance of public functions,
- Using any poisonous or corrosive substance;
- Spreading any infection or contagion among cattle;
- Causing damage to the property of the National Museum or National Library, or to any archive or registry, waterworks, road, promenade, or any other thing used in common by the public
This is an act of making or drawing and issuance of a check without sufficient funds or credit. This also includes any person who, having sufficient funds in or credit with the drawee bank when he makes or draws and issues a check, shall fail to keep sufficient fund or to maintain a credit to cover the full amount of the check if present within a period of ninety (9) days from the date appearing thereon, for which reason it is dishonored by the drawee bank.
Arson is the intentional burning or setting fire to the property another or own property under circumstances which expose to dang the life or property of another.
- Actual burning took place.
- Actual burning is done with malicious intent.
- The actual burning is done by a person(s) legally and criminally liable.
According to the Presidential Decree 1613 (1979), arson is considered destructive if the property burned is any of the following:
- Any ammunition factory and other establishment where explosives, inflammable or combustible materials are stored.
- Any archive, museum, whether public or private, or any edifice devoted to culture, education or social services.
- Any church or place of worship or other building where people usually assemble.
- Any train, airplane or any aircraft, vessel or watercraft, or conveyance for transportation of persons or property
- Any building where evidence is kept for use in any legislative, judicial, administrative or other official proceedings.
- Any hospital, hotel, dormitory, lodging house, housing tenement, shopping center, public or private market, theater or movie house or any similar place or building.
- Any building, whether used as a dwelling or not, situated in a populated or congested area.
Other Cases of Arson
The following are other cases of Arson (PD 1613,1979, Section 3):
- Any building used as offices of the government or any of its agencies;
- Any inhabited house or dwelling;
- Any industrial establishment, shipyard, oil well or mine shaft, platform or tunnel;
- Any plantation, farm, pastureland, growing crop, grain field, orchard, bamboo grove or forest;
- Any rice mill, sugar mill, cane mill or mill central; and
- Any railway or bus station, airport, wharf or warehouse.
Special Aggravating Circumstances in Arson
- If committed with intent to gain;
- If committed for the benefit of another;
- If the offender is motivated by spite or hatred towards the owner or occupant of the property burned;
- If committed by a syndicate.
Levels of Offense for Arson
The Suspect gets a rag and soaks it in kerosene with intent to burn the house of the victim, his enemy. Suspect puts the rag in a combustible portion of the victim’s house and when in the act of striking his match in order to burn the rag soaked with kerosene, suspect is arrested by a policeman who happens to pass by.
The suspect begins the commission of the felony directly by overt acts but does not fulfil all the acts of execution necessary to produce the felony by reason of the timely arrival of the policeman.
The suspect, A, with intent to burn, puts the rag soaked with kerosene in the combustible part of the victim’s house. A lights the rag and while it is burning, suspect runs away. Before the fire from the rag consumes any part of the house, the victim discovers it and extinguishes the fire.
Suspect has already performed all the acts of execution necessary to produce the felony but the felony was not produced by the reason of the timely arrival of the victim, which is independent of the will of the suspect.
The suspect, with intent to burn, lights a rag soaked with kerosene in the combustible part of the victim’s house. But before the fire was extinguished by the victim, it had already burned a small portion of the house.
The Suspect has already performed all the acts of execution necessary to produce the felony. The consummation of the crime does not depend upon the extent of damage caused. Any charring of the wood or any structure, whereby the fiber of the wood is destroyed, is already sufficient. It is not necessary that the wood or structure should be ablaze. Setting fire to the contents inside the building can constitute a consummated crime of arson, regardless if no part of the building was burned.