Most news reports deal with cases of robbery. We usually hear holdup incidents and bank robberies. These are just examples of crimes referred to as robbery under Philippine Law.
What is robbery?
This crime is the taking of personal property belonging to another with intent to gain, by means of violence against, or intimidation of any person, or using force upon things.
How is robbery different from theft?
The difference between theft and robbery is that in theft the offender does not use violence or intimidation or does not enter a house or a building through any of the means specified in Art. 299 or 302, in taking the personal property of another with intent to gain.
What are the elements of robbery?
- There must be a (1) personal property; (2) belonging to another;
- There is (3) unlawful taking of that property;
- The taking must be (4) with intent to gain; and
- There is (5) violence against or intimidation of any person, or force upon anything.
What is meant by personal property?
Personal property refers to things defined under Arts. 416 and 417 of the Civil Code. To easily understand what these properties are, just think of items, which can be carried from one place to another without destroying the property to which they are fixed. For example, a cell phone is a personal property because you can carry it anywhere.
What does “belonging to another” mean?
This simply means that the property does not belong to the offender. Thus if Pedro stole his own property from a depositary he will not be charged with robbery.
What if the person from whom the offender stole the property is not the owner of that property, will the offender still be liable for robbery?
Yes. It is not necessary that the person from whom the offender stole the property is the owner thereof. Thus even if the victim merely borrowed that property from another, and the offender stole it while in the borrower’s possession, the offender can still be charged with robbery. The robber cannot make the defense: “Eh hindi naman yan sayo!.”
What does taking mean?
Taking here means depriving the offended party of ownership of the thing taken with the character of permanency. Taking should not be confused with delivery. Thus, if a property was delivered by mistake to Juan by Pedro, and Juan refused to give it back to Pedro, Juan cannot be held liable for robbery because he did not take the property, it was delivered to him.
How about unlawful taking?
It is unlawful when it is not authorized by the offended party or by the authority of law. Thus when a police officer entered a house and seized illegal substance under order of his superior but he took some portions of these substabce before delivering them to his superiors, he will not be liable for robbery (but for a different crime).
What does “intent to gain” mean?
It means that the offender took the property in order to benefit him or another. Intent to gain is presumed from the unlawful taking of property because it is hard to prove the intent. Note however that if the person who took the property did so under the claim of ownership, he will not be guilty of robbery. In case the offender took the property without intent to gain, the crime is not robbery but something else.
What is the meaning of “violence against or intimidation of any person” and “force upon anything”?
Violence or intimidation involves the use of threat or harming the victim. For example, if Juan used a knife to force Pedro to give him his cell phone, then that is robbery through violence or intimidation.
In robbery with force upon things, the offender used force to enter the building or to break doors, wardrobes, chests, or any other kind of locked or sealed furniture or receptacle inside the building or to force them open outside after taking the same from the building.