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CASE DIGEST ON U.S. v. AH CHONG [15 Phil. 488 (1910)]

November 10, 2010


Facts: Ah Chong was a cook in Ft. McKinley. He was afraid of bad elements. One evening, before going to bed, he locked himself in his room by placing a chair against the door. After having gone to bed, he was awakened by someone trying to open the door. He called out twice, “Who is there,” but received no answer. Fearing that the intruder was a robber, he leaped from his bed & called out again, “If you enter the room I will kill you.” But at that precise moment, he was struck by the chair that had been placed against the door, & believing that he was being attacked he seized a kitchen knife & struck & fatally wounded the intruder who turned out to be his roommate.

Held: Ah Chong must be acquitted because of mistake of fact.

Ratio: Had the facts been as Ah Chong believed them to be, he would have been justified in killing the intruder under A11, par. 1, of the RPC, which requires, to justify the act, that there be:

?          unlawful aggression on the part of the person killed,

?          reasonable necessity of the means employed to prevent or repel it, &

?          lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the person defending himself

If the intruder was really a robber, forcing his way into the room of Ah Chong, there would have been unlawful aggression on the part of the intruder. There would have been a necessity on the part of Ah Chong to defend himself and/or his home. The knife would have been a reasonable means to prevent or repel such aggression. And Ah Chong gave no provocation at all. Under A11 of the RPC, there is nothing unlawful in the intention as well as in the act of the person making the defense.

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