People v. Prieto G.R. No.

L-399 | January 29, 1948 Plaintiff: People of the Philippines Defendant: Eduardo Prieto (Eddie Valencia) Ponente: Tuason, J. FACTS: Prieto was prosecuted in the People’s Court for 7 counts of treason. Initially, he pleaded not guilty to every charge. Later on, he entered a plea of guilty to counts 1, 2, 3 and 7, and maintained his original plea to counts 4, 5 and 6. - The prosecutor only presented evidence to count 4 as he admitted insufficiency of evidence as to counts 5 and 6. The court found him guilty to all counts except 5 and 6 of “treason complexed by murder and physical injuries.” ISSUE: What is the criminal liability of Prieto? DECISION (Not guilty of count 4, guilty of treason in counts 1, 2, 3 and 7): Prieto is acquitted in count 4 as the of two-witness principle requirement was not satisfied. They failed to corroborate each other: o Juanito Albano testified that the accused and other Filipino undercovers and Japanese officers caught an American aviator and had him carried to town on a sled pulled by a carabao. That on the way, Prieto walked behind the sled and the American was taken to the Kempetai headquarters. o Valentin Cuison testified that he saw the accused following the American whose hands were tied while walking and that he struck the flier with a rope. There was no mention of a sled and nor did he see Juanito Albano. There is no crime of treason complexed with other felonies because these were not separate offenses from treason. o When a deed is charged as an element of treason, it becomes identified with it and cannot be subject of a separate punishment, or used in combination with treason to increase the penalty. o Murder or physical injuries are charged as overt acts of treason and cannot be regarded separately under their general denomination. o But the brutality which accompanied the killing and the physical injuries are taken as aggravating circumstances since it augmented the sufferings of the offended parties unnecessarily to the attainment of the criminal objectives. o But there is a mitigating circumstance of plea of guilty, hence, the punishment should be reclusion perpetua. Other issue: o There is a presumption in favour of legality and regularity of the proceedings and the presumption that the accused was not denied of his rights. o The fact that the attorney appointed to defend Prieto is reluctant to accept the designation is not sufficient to overcome the presumption. The present counsel “sincerely believes that the said Attorney Carin did his best, although it was not the best of a willing worker.”

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful