Allegations in the complaint determine the crime for which accused will be punished

Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to



The Manila Times


Dear PAO, Is it possible for a person charged for one section of a law to be penalized for another section of such law? Our neighbor was sued in court for a crime. Come judgment, it turned out that the court penalized him for another section of the law, not the section indicated in the complaint. His family was told that, anyway, the Information itself described his offense. Please advise. Becky Dear Becky, As DEfinED unDEr our REvIsED RulEs on CrImInAl ProCEDurE, “An information is an accusation in writing charging a person with an offense, subscribed by the prosecutor and filed with the court.” (SectIon 4, RulE 110, ID.) To BE suFfiCIEnt, SECtIons 6 AnD 9 oF tHE sAID REvIsED RulEs rEquIrE tHAt: “SECtIon 6. SuFfiCIEnCy oF ComplAInt or InFormAtIon. — A ComplAInt or InFormAtIon Is suFfiCIEnt IF It stAtEs tHE nAmE oF tHE ACCusED; tHE DEsIGnAtIon oF tHE oFFEnsE GIvEn By tHE stAtutE; the acts or omissions complained of as constituting the offense; tHE nAmE oF tHE oFFEnDED pArty; tHE ApproxImAtE DAtE oF tHE CommIssIon oF tHE oFFEnsE; AnD tHE plACE wHErE tHE oFFEnsE wAs CommIttED. x x x “SECtIon 9. CAusE oF tHE ACCusAtIon. — The acts or omissions complained of as constituting the offense and the qualifying and aggravating circumstances must be stated in ordinary and concise language and not necessarily in the language used in THE STATUTE BUT IN TERMS SUFfiCIENT TO enable a person of common understanding to know what offense is being charged as well as its qualifying and aggravating circumstances and for the court to pronounce judgment.” (EmpHAsIs supplIED). ACCorDInGly, It Is possIBlE For An ACCusED to BE ConvICtED oF A CrImE tHAt Is pEnAlIzED unDEr tHE lAw AltHouGH HE or sHE wAs CHArGED unDEr A DIFFErEnt provIsIon oF tHE sAmE lAw As lonG As tHE FACts wHICH HAvE BEEn AllEGED In tHE ComplAInt or InFormAtIon ClEArly sHow tHE vIolAtIon/s For wHICH HE or sHE wAs ACCusED oF AnD tHErEAFtEr ConvICtED. For A BEttEr unDErstAnDInG, our SuprEmE Court HAs ExplAInED In tHE CAsE oF Melvin Encinares y Ballon vs. People of the Philippines (GR 252267, JAn. 11, 2021, PonEntE: AssoCIAtE JustICE EstElA PErlAs-BErnABE): “In lIGHt oF tHE ClEAr DEfinItIon oF tHE tErm vIs-A-vIs tHE EvIDEnCE prEsEntED In tHIs CAsE, tHE Court finDs tHAt pEtItIonEr’s ACts oF puttInG AAA’s pEnIs InsIDE HIs moutH AnD plAyInG wItH It For tEn (10) mInutEs ConstItutE LAsCIvIous ConDuCt unDEr SECtIon 5 (B) oF RA 7610. As suCH, It wAs An Error For tHE Courts A quo to HAvE ConvICtED HIm unDEr SECtIon 10 (A) oF tHE sAmE ACt. TruE, tHE InFormAtIon filED AGAInst pEtItIonEr CHArGED HIm unDEr SECtIon 10 (A) oF RA 7610. HowEvEr, It Is A wEll-sEttlED rulE tHAt “tHE nAturE AnD CHArACtEr oF tHE CrImE CHArGED ArE DEtErmInED not By tHE spECIfiCAtIon oF tHE provIsIon oF tHE lAw AllEGED to HAvE BEEn vIolAtED But By tHE FACts AllEGED In tHE InDICtmEnt, tHAt Is, tHE ACtuAl rECItAl oF tHE FACts As AllEGED In tHE BoDy oF tHE InFormAtIon, AnD not tHE CAptIon or prEAmBlE oF tHE InFormAtIon or ComplAInt nor tHE spECIfiCAtIon oF tHE provIsIon oF lAw AllEGED to HAvE BEEn vIolAtED, tHEy BEInG ConClusIons oF lAw. THE FACts AllEGED In tHE BoDy oF tHE InFormAtIon, not tHE tECHnICAl nAmE GIvEn By tHE prosECutor AppEArInG In tHE tItlE oF tHE InFormAtIon, DEtErmInE tHE CHArACtEr oF tHE CrImE.” FurtHEr, tHE InFormAtIon must suFFICIEntly AllEGE tHE ACts or omIssIons ComplAInED oF to InForm A pErson oF Common unDErstAnDInG wHAt oFFEnsE HE Is BEInG CHArGED wItH — In otHEr worDs, tHE ElEmEnts oF tHE CrImE must BE ClEArly stAtED.” THus, your nEIGHBor CoulD BE vAlIDly ConvICtED unDEr AnotHEr sECtIon oF tHE lAw For As lonG As tHE rECItAls or FACts ContAInED In tHE InFormAtIon AnD tHE EvIDEnCE prEsEntED DurInG tHE trIAl suFfiCIEntly sHowED tHAt HE InDEED CommIttED suCH CrImE AnD Is GuIlty BEyonD rEAsonABlE DouBt. WE HopE tHAt wE wErE ABlE to AnswEr your quErIEs. 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.