I had a physical altercation with my former teammate. As a result of the incident, I sustained physical injuries. I wanted to report him for serious physical injuries but the police told me that it was not possible. I showed them my medical certificate but they merely advised me to bring the matter before the barangay because, according to them, the barangay captain should decide on the matter since we live in the same municipality. Are they correct?
We understand your desire to file a complaint for serious physical injuries considering that harm was done to you. Please be reminded, however, that it is not the complainant’s allegation that would determine the particular case to be filed but the provisions of our laws.
Accordingly, the police officer may be correct in stating that a complaint for serious physical injuries may not prosper if what transpired between you and your assailant does not fall under any of the circumstances mentioned under Article 263 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC). As illustrated therein, there may only be a crime of serious physical injuries if a person shall wound, beat or assault another who: (1) becomes insane, imbecile, impotent or blind; (2) loses the use of speech or the power to hear or to smell, or shall have lost an eye, a hand, a foot, an arm or a leg or shall have lost the use of any such member, or shall have become incapacitated for the work in which he was therefore habitually engaged; (3) becomes deformed, or shall have lost any other part of his body, or shall have lost the use thereof, or shall have been ill or incapacitated for the performance of the work in which he has habitually engaged for a period of more than ninety days; or (4) becomes ill or incapacitated for labor for more than thirty days (Article 263, RPC).
Nevertheless, we want to point out that you may file a complaint for less serious physical injuries if the injuries you sustained incapacitated you for labor for ten days to ninety days, or shall require medical assistance for the same period, as substantiated by the medical certificate issued in your favor (Article 265, RPC). If, however, the injuries which you sustained incapacitated you for labor for one to nine days, or shall require medical attendance during the same period, or such physical injuries did not prevent you from engaging in your habitual work nor require medical assistance, a complaint for slight physical injuries is the appropriate case to file (Article 266, RPC). Either way, you would have to initiate the said complaint before the barangay considering that you both live within the same municipality and the said crimes are cognizable by the barangay (Section 408, Chapter 7, Title 1, Book III, Republic Act No. 7160, as amended).
We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org