The husband of my househelper is being accused of killing his co-worker. At first, my househelper was told that her husband was charged with homicide but later she was informed that the charge was murder. Aren’t murder and homicide the same?
Dear Mrs. Z,
When a person kills another, the crime that may be charged against him will depend upon the circumstances surrounding the unlawful act. It may be parricide (Article 246, Revised Penal Code), murder (Article 248, Revised Penal Code), homicide (Article 249, Revised Penal Code) or infanticide (Article 255, Revised Penal Code).
Between homicide and murder, the latter is the graver crime for having the penalty of reclusion perpetua or imprisonment from twenty (20) years and one (1) day to forty (40) years as against that of homicide which is reclusion temporal only or imprisonment from twelve (12) years and one (1) day to twenty (20) years. The crime of murder shall be charged if a person, who, not falling within the crime of parricide or the killing of one’s father, mother or child, whether legitimate or illegitimate, or any of his ascendants, descendants or spouse, shall kill another with any of the attendant circumstances provided in Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code. These are the following: 1) With treachery, taking advantage of superior strength, with the aid of armed men, or employing means to weaken the defense or of means or persons to insure or afford impunity; 2) In consideration of a price, reward, or promise; 3) By means of inundation, fire, poison, explosion, shipwreck, stranding of a vessel, derailment or assault upon a street car or locomotive, fall of an airship, by means of motor vehicles, or with the use of any other means involving great waste and ruin; 4) On occasion of any of the calamities enumerated in the preceding paragraph, or of an earthquake, eruption of a volcano, destructive cyclone, epidemic or other public calamity; 5) With evident premeditation; 6) With cruelty, by deliberately and inhumanly augmenting the suffering of the victim, or outraging or scoffing at his person or corpse. On the other hand, the crime of homicide will be charged if the killing was done without any of the foregoing circumstances (Article 249, Revised Penal Code).
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.