Grave scandal

LAW EACH WEEK

Grave Scandal

The crime of grave scandal is committed with the presence of the following elements: 1) Offender performs an act or acts; 2) Such act or acts be highly scandalous as offending against decency or good customs; 3) The highly scandalous conduct is not expressly falling within any other article of this Code; and 4) The act or acts complained of be committed in a public place or within the public knowledge or view. (Article 200, Revised Penal Code).

The acts punishable by Art. 200 are those which, by their publicity and character, can cause public scandal among the persons witnessing them, besides being contrary to morals and good customs. (People vs. Dumlao, CA, 38 O.G. 3715) It is also essential that the acts are performed in a public place or within the public knowledge and view.

To illustrate: When the lascivious acts done were committed at night in a private dwelling and at a time when no one was present except the accused, the mistress of the house, and one servant, then these circumstances do not constitute that degree of publicity which is an essential element of the crime.

How are “decency” and “good customs” defined under the law?

In legal parlance, decency simply means proprietary of conduct or that proper observance of the requirements of modesty while “good customs” is that established usage, social conventions carried on by tradition and enforced by social disapproval of any violation thereof.

If the act is indecent done inside a household, does that still qualify as “grave scandal”?

Jurisprudence dictates that the acts must be performed in a public place or within the public knowledge or view. If it is committed in a private place, the crime of grave scandal is not committed.

Related article: The crime of libel – What are its nature?