Brothers and sisters living together are exempt from criminal liability

Persida Acosta

Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
What case can I file against my brother who intentionally broke my TV to get back on me after we had a disagreement?

Dear Teresita,
A person who intentionally and maliciously destroys the property of another may be held criminally liable for the crime of malicious mischief, which is defined and penalized under Article 327 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC):

Article 327. Any person who shall deliberately cause to the property of another any damage not falling within the terms of the next preceding chapter, shall be guilty of malicious mischief.

The crime of malicious mischief has the following elements: 1) that the offender deliberately caused damage to the property of another; 2) that such act does not constitute arson or other crimes involving destruction; 3) that the act of damaging another’s property be committed merely for the sake of damaging it (Luis B. Reyes, The Revised Penal Code, Book II (15th Ed.), page 837).

The act of your brother in intentionally breaking your TV to get back on you falls under Article 327 of the RPC. However, there are certain relatives who are exempt from criminal liability from the commission of the crime of malicious mischief. They are mentioned in Article 332 of the said law, to wit:

Article 332. Persons exempt from criminal liability. – No criminal but only civil liability shall result from the commission of the crime of theft, swindling, or malicious mischief committed or caused mutually by the following persons:

1. Spouses, ascendants and descendants, or relatives by affinity in the same line;

2. The widowed spouse with respect to the property which belonged to the deceased spouse before the same shall have passed into the possession of another;

3. Brothers and sisters and brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, if living together.

The exemption established by this article shall not be applicable to strangers participating in the commission of the crime.

If you and your brother are living together in the same house, he is exempt from criminal liability from the crime of malicious mischief. He is only civilly liable for the destruction of your TV. On the other hand, if he is not living with you, you may file a criminal complaint for malicious mischief against him before the Prosecutor’s Office of the place where he destroyed your TV.

We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts that 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


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1 Comment

  1. Eddie Batac on

    Dear Pao,
    My uncle died without children with no testament. Her wife died ahead of him. He was the younger brother of my father. Unfortunately he was the only illegitimate son of our grandfather with another woman. Our father who died ahead of him was the legitimate son.of our grandfather and we are now the legitimate nephews. Can we inherit from his Estate, he has no known relatives. There are no known heirs only us. Under the circumstances will article 992 be a burden to our claim? THANK YOU