People vs Lol-lo and Saraw

27 February 1922 | Ponente: Malcolm Overview: Moros surrounded a boat, took its cargo, took two women and left it for it to sink. The marauders, Lol-lo and Saraw, who were in Tawi-Tawi, were arrested for piracy. They questioned the jurisdiction of the Philippines to the case, but the court ruled that piracy is a crime against all mankind, so every court also has jurisdiction to try these cases. In addition, the Spanish Penal Code is still in force in the Philippines. Statement of Facts: On or about 30 June 1920: Two boats left Matuta, a Dutch possession, for Peta, another Dutch possession. Boat 1 had one Dutch subject Boat 2 had 11 men, women and children, likewise from Holland. After several days, at 7pm, Boat 2 arrived in Buang and Bukid in the Dutch East Indies. Here, the boat was surrounded by 6 vintas, manned by 24 armed Moros. The Moros first asked for food, but once in the boat, took all the cargo, attacked some of the men, and brutally violated 2 of the women. The Moros took the 2 women with them, placed holes in the ship to let it sink, and left the people there. After 11 days, the Moros arrived at Maruro, a Dutch possession. The two Moro marauders were identified as Lol-lo, as the one who raped one of the women, and Saraw. While in Maruro, the two women were able to escape. - One day, Lol-lo and Saraw went home to South Ubian, Tawi-Tawi, Sulu. Here, they were arrested and charged with piracy at the CFI. The Moros interposed a demurrer, saying that the charge was not within the jurisdiction of the CFI, nor of any court in the Philippines. They were saying that the facts did not constitute a public offense under Philippine laws. The demurrer was overruled, and Lol-lo and Saraw were found guilty, and were both sentenced to life imprisonment, together with Kinawalang and Maulanis, two other defendants in another case. In addition to imprisonment, they were ordered to return the 39 sacks of copra they robbed, or to indemnify the offended parties 924 rupees, and to pay one-half of the costs. Issue: Did the CFI in the Philippines have jurisdiction over Lol-lo and Saraw? YES Rationale First of all, the facts can’t be disputed. All the elements of the crime of piracy were there. Piracy is robbery or forcible depredation on the high seas, without lawful authority and done animo furandi, and in the spirit and intention of universal hostility. - The CFI has jurisdiction because pirates are in law hostes humani generis. Piracy is a crime against all mankind, therefore, it can be punished in any competent tribunal of any country where the offender may be found. The jurisdiction of piracy has no territorial limits. The crime is against all mankind, so it is also punished by all. It doesn’t matter that the crime was committed within the jurisdictional 3-mile limit of a foreign state. Those limits, though neutral to war, are not neutral to crimes. Issue: Are the provisions of the Penal Code dealing with piracy still in force? YES Rationale Art. 153 of the Penal Code refers to the crime of piracy “committed against Spaniards, or subjects of another nation not war with Spain shall be punished with a penalty ranging from cadena temporal to cadena perpetua. If the crime is against nonbelligerent subjects of another nation at war with Spain, it shell be punished with the penalty of presidio mayor.” Since Spain already ceded the Philippines to the US, the rule is that “the political law of the former sovereignty is necessarily changed. But corollary to this rule, laws subsisting at the time of transfer, designed to secure good order and peace in the community, which are strictly of a municipal character, continue until by direct action of the new government they are altered or repealed. The instructions of President McKniley on May 19, 1989 to General Wesley Merrit, Commanding General of the Army of Occupation in the Philippines, was clear that municipal laws that provide for the punishment of crime, are considered continuing in force so far as they are compatible with the new order of things until superseded. Background on the laws of piracy: The Spanish Penal Code was applicable to the Philippines because of Art. 156 of the Penal Code. Grotius: Piracy by the law of nations is the same thing as piracy by the civil law. Piracy in the penal code as similar to the concepts of civil law, especially since the Penal Code found its inspiration from the Novelas, Partidas and Novisima Recopilacion. The US Constitution itself defines and punishes piracy – that whoever on the high seas, commits the crime of piracy as defined by the law of nations, shal be imprisoned for life. This definition rests its conception of piracy on the law of nations. This further shows that the Penal Code is not inconsistent with the provisions in force in the US.

As to Kinawalang and Maulanis. Spain ceded the Philipines to the US. 153 and 154 of the Penal Code. they shall indemnify the offended parties with 924 rupees.- Since by the Treaty of Paris. The punishment is unanimous for Lol-lo. were still in force in the Philippines at this time. it’s logical that the construction of the Penal Code be changed simply to substitute “Spain” to “United States”. Judgment: Piracy was committed with offense against chastity and abandonment of persons without apparent means of saving themselves. So only Lol-lo is sentenced to be hung until dead. Therefore. the penalty imposed is the capital punishment. . and “Spaniards” to “citizens of the US and citizens of the Philippines”. but no unanimous as to Saraw. There is one mitigating circumstance of lack of instruction. and half of the costs of both instances. There are three aggravating circumstances – the wrong done was deliberately augmented by causing other wrongs not necessary for its commission. the Penal Code. who raped on of the women. specifically Art. But due to the horrible nature of the crime committed. advantage was taken of superior strength and ignominy.

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