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G.R. No. L-409

January 30, 1947


Claro M. Recto and Querube C. Makalintal for petitioner.First
Assistant Solicitor General Reyes and Solicitor Hernandez, Jr., for
In G.R. No. L-409, Anastacio Laurel vs. Eriberto Misa, etc., the
Court, acting on the petition for habeas corpus filed by Anastacio
Laurel and based on a theory that a Filipino citizen who adhered to
the enemy giving the latter aid and comfort during the Japanese
occupation cannot be prosecuted for the crime of treason defined
and penalized by article 114 of the Revised Penal Code, for the
reason (1) that the sovereignty of the legitimate government in the
Philippines and, consequently, the correlative allegiance of Filipino
citizens thereto was then suspended; and (2) that there was a
change of sovereignty over these Islands upon the proclamation of
the Philippine Republic:
(1) Considering that a citizen or subject owes, not a qualified and
temporary, but an absolute and permanent allegiance, which
consists in the obligation of fidelity and obedience to his
government or sovereign; and that this absolute and permanent
allegiance should not be confused with the qualified and temporary
allegiance which a foreigner owes to the government or sovereign
of the territory wherein he resides, so long as he remains there, in
return for the protection he receives, and which consists in the
obedience to the laws of the government or sovereign. (Carlisle vs.
Unite States, 21 Law. ed., 429; Secretary of State Webster Report
to the President of the United States in the case of Thraser, 6 Web.
Works, 526);
Considering that the absolute and permanent allegiance of the
inhabitants of a territory occupied by the enemy of their legitimate
government or sovereign is not abrogated or severed by the
enemy occupation, because the sovereignty of the government or
sovereign de jure is not transferred thereby to the occupier, as we

have held in the cases of Co Kim Cham vs. Valdez Tan Keh and
Dizon (75 Phil., 113) and of Peralta vs. Director of Prisons (75
Phil., 285), and if it is not transferred to the occupant it must
necessarily remain vested in the legitimate government; that the
sovereignty vested in the titular government (which is the supreme
power which governs a body politic or society which constitute the
state) must be distinguished from the exercise of the rights
inherent thereto, and may be destroyed, or severed and
transferred to another, but it cannot be suspended because the
existence of sovereignty cannot be suspended without putting it
out of existence or divesting the possessor thereof at least during
the so-called period of suspension; that what may be suspended is
the exercise of the rights of sovereignty with the control and
government of the territory occupied by the enemy passes
temporarily to the occupant; that the subsistence of the
sovereignty of the legitimate government in a territory occupied by
the military forces of the enemy during the war, "although the
former is in fact prevented from exercising the supremacy over
them" is one of the "rules of international law of our times"; (II
Oppenheim, 6th Lauterpacht ed., 1944, p. 482), recognized, by
necessary implication, in articles 23, 44, 45, and 52 of Hague
Regulation; and that, as a corollary of the conclusion that the
sovereignty itself is not suspended and subsists during the enemy
occupation, the allegiance of the inhabitants to their legitimate
government or sovereign subsists, and therefore there is no such
thing as suspended allegiance, the basic theory on which the
whole fabric of the petitioner's contention rests;
Considering that the conclusion that the sovereignty of the United
State was suspended in Castine, set forth in the decision in the
case of United States vs. Rice, 4 Wheaton, 246, 253, decided in
1819, and quoted in our decision in the cases of Co Kim Cham vs.
Valdez Tan Keh and Dizon and Peralta vs. Director of Prisons,
supra, in connection with the question, not of sovereignty, but of
the existence of a government de facto therein and its power to
promulgate rules and laws in the occupied territory, must have
been based, either on the theory adopted subsequently in the
Hague Convention of 1907, that the military occupation of an
enemy territory does not transfer the sovereignty to the occupant;
that, in the first case, the word "sovereignty" used therein should
be construed to mean the exercise of the rights of sovereignty,
because as this remains vested in the legitimate government and
is not transferred to the occupier, it cannot be suspended without

putting it out of existence or divesting said government thereof;

and that in the second case, that is, if the said conclusion or
doctrine refers to the suspension of the sovereignty itself, it has
become obsolete after the adoption of the Hague Regulations in
1907, and therefore it can not be applied to the present case;
Considering that even adopting the words "temporarily allegiance,"
repudiated by Oppenheim and other publicists, as descriptive of
the relations borne by the inhabitants of the territory occupied by
the enemy toward the military government established over them,
such allegiance may, at most, be considered similar to the
temporary allegiance which a foreigner owes to the government or
sovereign of the territory wherein he resides in return for the
protection he receives as above described, and does not do away
with the absolute and permanent allegiance which the citizen
residing in a foreign country owes to his own government or
sovereign; that just as a citizen or subject of a government or
sovereign may be prosecuted for and convicted of treason
committed in a foreign country, in the same way an inhabitant of a
territory occupied by the military forces of the enemy may commit
treason against his own legitimate government or sovereign if he
adheres to the enemies of the latter by giving them aid and
comfort; and that if the allegiance of a citizen or subject to his
government or sovereign is nothing more than obedience to its
laws in return for the protection he receives, it would necessarily
follow that a citizen who resides in a foreign country or state would,
on one hand, ipso facto acquire the citizenship thereof since he
has enforce public order and regulate the social and commercial
life, in return for the protection he receives, and would, on the
other hand, lose his original citizenship, because he would not be
bound to obey most of the laws of his own government or
sovereign, and would not receive, while in a foreign country, the
protection he is entitled to in his own;
Considering that, as a corollary of the suspension of the exercise
of the rights of sovereignty by the legitimate government in the
territory occupied by the enemy military forces, because the
authority of the legitimate power to govern has passed into the
hands of the occupant (Article 43, Hague Regulations), the political
laws which prescribe the reciprocal rights, duties and obligation of
government and citizens, are suspended or in abeyance during
military occupation (Co Kim cham vs. Valdez Tan Keh and dizon,
supra), for the only reason that as they exclusively bear relation to

the ousted legitimate government, they are inoperative or not

applicable to the government established by the occupant; that the
crimes against national security, such as treason and espionage;
inciting to war, correspondence with hostile country, flight to
enemy's country, as well as those against public order, such as
rebellion, sedition, and disloyalty, illegal possession of firearms,
which are of political complexion because they bear relation to,
and are penalized by our Revised Penal Code as crimes against
the legitimate government, are also suspended or become
inapplicable as against the occupant, because they can not be
committed against the latter (Peralta vs. Director of Prisons,
supra); and that, while the offenses against public order to be
preserved by the legitimate government were inapplicable as
offenses against the invader for the reason above stated, unless
adopted by him, were also inoperative as against the ousted
government for the latter was not responsible for the preservation
of the public order in the occupied territory, yet article 114 of the
said Revised Penal Code, was applicable to treason committed
against the national security of the legitimate government, because
the inhabitants of the occupied territory were still bound by their
allegiance to the latter during the enemy occupation;
Considering that, although the military occupant is enjoined to
respect or continue in force, unless absolutely prevented by the
circumstances, those laws that enforce public order and regulate
the social and commercial life of the country, he has, nevertheless,
all the powers of de facto government and may, at his pleasure,
either change the existing laws or make new ones when the
exigencies of the military service demand such action, that is,
when it is necessary for the occupier to do so for the control of the
country and the protection of his army, subject to the restrictions or
limitations imposed by the Hague Regulations, the usages
established by civilized nations, the laws of humanity and the
requirements of public conscience (Peralta vs. Director of Prisons,
supra; 1940 United States Rules of Land Warfare 76, 77); and that,
consequently, all acts of the military occupant dictated within these
limitations are obligatory upon the inhabitants of the territory, who
are bound to obey them, and the laws of the legitimate government
which have not been adopted, as well and those which, though
continued in force, are in conflict with such laws and orders of the
occupier, shall be considered as suspended or not in force and
binding upon said inhabitants;

Considering that, since the preservation of the allegiance or the

obligation of fidelity and obedience of a citizen or subject to his
government or sovereign does not demand from him a positive
action, but only passive attitude or forbearance from adhering to
the enemy by giving the latter aid and comfort, the occupant has
no power, as a corollary of the preceding consideration, to repeal
or suspend the operation of the law of treason, essential for the
preservation of the allegiance owed by the inhabitants to their
legitimate government, or compel them to adhere and give aid and
comfort to him; because it is evident that such action is not
demanded by the exigencies of the military service or not
necessary for the control of the inhabitants and the safety and
protection of his army, and because it is tantamount to practically
transfer temporarily to the occupant their allegiance to the titular
government or sovereign; and that, therefore, if an inhabitant of the
occupied territory were compelled illegally by the military occupant,
through force, threat or intimidation, to give him aid and comfort,
the former may lawfully resist and die if necessary as a hero, or
submit thereto without becoming a traitor;
Considering that adoption of the petitioner's theory of suspended
allegiance would lead to disastrous consequences for small and
weak nations or states, and would be repugnant to the laws of
humanity and requirements of public conscience, for it would allow
invaders to legally recruit or enlist the Quisling inhabitants of the
occupied territory to fight against their own government without the
latter incurring the risk of being prosecuted for treason, and even
compel those who are not aid them in their military operation
against the resisting enemy forces in order to completely subdue
and conquer the whole nation, and thus deprive them all of their
own independence or sovereignty such theory would sanction
the action of invaders in forcing the people of a free and sovereign
country to be a party in the nefarious task of depriving themselves
of their own freedom and independence and repressing the
exercise by them of their own sovereignty; in other words, to
commit a political suicide;
(2) Considering that the crime of treason against the government
of the Philippines defined and penalized in article 114 of the Penal
Code, though originally intended to be a crime against said
government as then organized by authority of the sovereign people
of the United States, exercised through their authorized
representative, the Congress and the President of the United

States, was made, upon the establishment of the Commonwealth

Government in 1935, a crime against the Government of the
Philippines established by authority of the people of the
Philippines, in whom the sovereignty resides according to section
1, Article II, of the Constitution of the Philippines, by virtue of the
provision of section 2, Article XVI thereof, which provides that "All
laws of the Philippine Islands . . . shall remain operative, unless
inconsistent with this Constitution . . . and all references in such
laws to the Government or officials of the Philippine Islands, shall
be construed, in so far as applicable, to refer to the Government
and corresponding officials under this constitution;
Considering that the Commonwealth of the Philippines was a
sovereign government, though not absolute but subject to certain
limitations imposed in the Independence Act and incorporated as
Ordinance appended to our Constitution, was recognized not only
by the Legislative Department or Congress of the United States in
approving the Independence Law above quoted and the
Constitution of the Philippines, which contains the declaration that
"Sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority
emanates from them" (section 1, Article II), but also by the
Executive Department of the United States; that the late President
Roosevelt in one of his messages to Congress said, among
others, "As I stated on August 12, 1943, the United States in
practice regards the Philippines as having now the status as a
government of other independent nations in fact all the
attributes of complete and respected nationhood" (Congressional
Record, Vol. 29, part 6, page 8173); and that it is a principle upheld
by the Supreme Court of the United States in many cases, among
them in the case of Jones vs. United States (137 U.S., 202; 34
Law. ed., 691, 696) that the question of sovereignty is "a purely
political question, the determination of which by the legislative and
executive departments of any government conclusively binds the
judges, as well as all other officers, citizens and subjects of the
Considering that section I (1) of the Ordinance appended to the
Constitution which provides that pending the final and complete
withdrawal of the sovereignty of the United States "All citizens of
the Philippines shall owe allegiance to the United States", was one
of the few limitations of the sovereignty of the Filipino people
retained by the United States, but these limitations do not away or
are not inconsistent with said sovereignty, in the same way that the

people of each State of the Union preserves its own sovereignty

although limited by that of the United States conferred upon the
latter by the States; that just as to reason may be committed
against the Federal as well as against the State Government, in
the same way treason may have been committed during the
Japanese occupation against the sovereignty of the United States
as well as against the sovereignty of the Philippine
Commonwealth; and that the change of our form of government
from Commonwealth to Republic does not affect the prosecution of
those charged with the crime of treason committed during the
Commonwealth, because it is an offense against the same
government and the same sovereign people, for Article XVIII of our
Constitution provides that "The government established by this
constitution shall be known as the Commonwealth of the
Philippines. Upon the final and complete withdrawal of the
sovereignty of the United States and the proclamation of Philippine
independence, the Commonwealth of the Philippines shall
thenceforth be known as the Republic of the Philippines";
This Court resolves, without prejudice to write later on a more
extended opinion, to deny the petitioner's petition, as it is hereby
denied, for the reasons above set forth and for others to be stated
in the said opinion, without prejudice to concurring opinion therein,
if any. Messrs. Justices Paras and Hontiveros dissent in a separate
opinion. Mr. justice Perfecto concurs in a separate opinion.

March 2, 1949

G.R. No. L-433THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiffappellee,vs.GAUDENCIO ROBLE, defendant-appellant.

Gonzalo D. David for appellant.Assistant Solicitor General Roberto
A. Gianzon and Solicitor Jaime de los Angeles for appellee.
, J.:
Charged with treason on three counts, the defendant pleaded guilty
and was sentenced to death by the First Division of the Peoples
Court sitting in Tacloban, Leyte. The correctness of the penalty is
the sole question put in issue in this appeal.
The information alleges:
1. On or about March 20, 1944, in the municipality of Dalaguete,
province of Cebu, Philippines with the purpose of giving and with
the intent to give aid and comfort to the enemy and her military
forces said accused being a member of the Philippines Constabulary
did then and there wilfully unlawfully, feloniously and treasonably
lead guide and accompany 10 other member of the pro-Japanese
constabulary all armed like the accused and did apprehend and
arrest Paulino Osorio for having helped the guerrillas and of being
the Father of two guerrilla men; that the herein accused after
maltreating said Paulino Osorio did detain him in the municipal jail
of Dalaguete; that in the same date the accused and his
companions did apprehend Melchor Campomanes and 7 other
person who were also tortured for being guerrillas supporters and
sympathizers and the accused herein with his firearm did shoot
Melchor Campomanes killing him instantly;
2. Sometime during the month of March 1944 in the municipality of
Dalaguete Province of Cebu, Philippines with the purpose of giving
and with the intent to give aid and comfort to the enemy and her
military forces said accused being a soldier of the Philippines
Constabulary did then and there wilfully, feloniously and treasonably
lead guide and accompany a patrol of 13 constabulary soldiers and
did arrest and apprehend Fortunato Linares for being guerrillas and
or guerrilla supporters; that said accused did tie and torture the
aforesaid person and cut a portion of their ears, the tortures being
so severe especially with respect to Antolin Rodriguez who
effectively died as a result of said tortures administered by the
3. On or about May 18, 1944, in Cebu City Philippines with the
purpose of giving and with the intent to give aid and comfort to the
enemy and her military forces, said accused being a soldier of the
Philippines Constabulary did then and there wilfully, unlawfully
feloniously and treasonable accompany a group of Constabulary
soldiers all armed, to Mambaling and other parts of Cebu City and

did apprehend Eleuterio Padilla, a former USAFFE soldier for being a

guerrilla, and there herein accused and his companions did tie and
torture said Eleuterio Padilla detain him at the Constabulary
Headquarters for several days after which he was taken out and
mercilessly killed on May 26, 1944 by said accused.
The court held that the facts alleged in the information is a complex
crime of treason with murders with the result that the penalty
provided for the most serious offense was to be imposed on its
maximum degree. Viewing the case from the standpoint of
modifying circumstances the court believed that the same result
obtained. It opined that the killing were murders qualified by
treachery and aggravated by the circumstances of evident
premeditation superior strength cruelty and an armed band.
We think this is error. The torture and murders set forth in the
information are merged in and formed part of treason. They were in
this case the overt acts which besides traitorous intention supplied a
vital ingredient in the crime. Emotional or intellectual attachment
and sympathy with the foe unaccompanied by the giving of aid and
comfort is not treason. The defendant would not be guilty of treason
if he had not committed the atrocities in question.
On the question of the applicability of the aggravating
circumstances which impelled the court against its sentiment to give
the defendant the extreme penalty we only have to refer to People
vs. Racaza (82 Phil. 623) in which this question was discussed and
decided. There we said:
The trial court found the aggravating circumstances of evident
premeditation superior strength treachery and employment of
means for adding ignominy to the natural effects of the crime.
The first three circumstances are by their nature inherent in the
offense of treason and may not taken to aggravate the penalty.
Adherence and the giving of aid and comfort to the enemy is in
many cases as in this a long continued process requiring for the
successful consummation of the traitors purpose, fixed, reflective
and persistent determination and planning.
So are superior strength and treachery included in the crime of
treason. Treachery is merged in superior strength; and to overcome
the opposition and wipe out resistance movements which was
Racazas purpose in collaboration with the enemy the use of a large
force and equipment was necessary. The enemy to whom the
accused adhered was itself the personification of brute superior
force and it was this superior force which enabled him to overrun
the country and for a time subdue its inhabitants by his brutal rule.
The law does not expect the enemy and its adherents to meet their
foes only on even terms according to he romantic traditions of

But the law does abhor inhumanity and the abuse of strength to
commit acts unnecessary to the commission of treason. There is no
incompatibility between treason and decent, human treatment of
prisoners, Rapes, wanton robbery for personal grain and other
forms of cruelties are condemned and the perpetration of these will
be regarded as aggravating circumstances of ignominy and of
deliberately augmenting unnecessary wrong to the main criminal
objective under paragraphs 17 and 21 of Article 14 of the Revised
Penal Code. The atrocities above mentioned of which the appellant
is beyond doubt guilty fall within the terms of the above
For the very reason that premeditation treachery and use of
superior strength are absorbed inn treason characterized by killings,
the killing themselves and other accompanying crime should be
taken into consideration for measuring the degree and gravity of
criminal responsibility irrespective of the manner in which they were
committed. Were not this the rule treason the highest crime known
to law would confer on its perpetrator advantage that are denied
simple murderer. To avoid such incongruity and injustice the penalty
in treason will be adapted within the range provided in the Revised
Penal Code to the danger and harm and to which the culprit has
exposed his country and his people and to the wrongs and injuries
that resulted from his deeds. The letter and pervading spirit of the
Revised Penal Code adjust penalties to the perversity of the mind
that conceived and carried the crime into execution. Where the
system of graduating penalties by the prescribed standards is
inapplicable as in the case of homicides connection with treason the
method of analogies to fit the punishment with the enormity of the
offense may be summoned to the service of justice and consistency
and in the furtherance of the laws aims.
Considering all the facts and circumstances of the case we believe
that the appellants spontaneous plea of guilty is sufficient to entitle
him to a penalty below the maximum. The appealed decision is
therefore modified and the sentence reduced to reclusion perpetua
with the legal accessories and costs.

G.R. No. L-985

January 23, 1948

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs.

DIONISIO AGONCILLO, defendant-appellant.
Macario Nicolas for appellant.Assistant Solicitor General Ruperto
Kapunan, Jr., and Solicitor Federico V. Sian for appellee.
This is an appeal from the judgment of the People's Court finding
the appellant, Dionisio Agoncillo, guilty of treason and sentencing
him to suffer fifteen years of reclusion temporal and to pay a fine of
two thousand pesos and the costs.
According to the information, from February, 1944, to March, 1945,
in Cebu City and its environs, the appellant (1) "did consistently
and continuously traffic in war materials and sold them to the
enemy," and (2) "did join and serve the enemy as informer, agent,
and spy." The People's Court held that the second count was not
proven, and the appealed judgment of conviction is predicated
solely on the first count.
Under the theory of the prosecution, appellant's adherence to the
enemy is inferable from the following alleged facts: (a) In the
afternoon of September 20, 1944, while the appellant was taking a
bath in the house of his neighbor Rufina Cepeda, the latter's
cousin (Olimpio Do), who knew how to read Chinese, examined
appellant's clothes and found therein appellant's identification card
written in Japanese and Chinese characters tending to show that
the appellant was a Japanese undercover. (b) In January 1945,
after a trip to Bohol, Rufina Cepeda told the appellant that there
were guerrillas in Bohol and that Japanese notes were no longer
accepted in said place. In the evening of the next day, Rufina
Cepeda was arrested by the Japanese and their undercovers and
asked about things she saw in Bohol. Rufina was detained for
three days. After her release, the appellant came to her house and
got some chickens for the consumption of the Japanese who
arrested her. A Japanese also used to sleep once in a while in
appellant's house.
Upon the other hand, appellant's alleged overt acts of giving aid
and comfort to the enemy are summarized in the brief for
Government as follows: In the middle of April, 1944, the appellant
sold about 300 kilos of alum crystals, at three pesos a kilo, to the
Keribo, a construction company operated by the Japanese Army.

Two or three weeks thereafter, he sold to the same entity some

100 pieces of water pipes, the price of which was not known.
About the third week of December, 1944, the appellant was seen
on Jones Avenue helping push a handcart full of truck and auto
tires, batteries and spare parts into the intermediate and high
school premises then used by the Japanese Army as a motor pool.
Regardless of the writer's view on suspension of political laws and
change of sovereignty as heretofore expressed, the Court is of the
opinion that the overt acts imputed to the appellant have not been
duly proven. With respect to the sale of 300 kilos of alum crystals,
the testimony of the prosecution witness Lorenzo Barria to the
effect that the price was P3 a kilo, is not corroborated by any other
witness. With respect to the alleged sale of 100 pieces of water
pipes, counsel for the appellee admits that the price thereof was
not known. An essential part of the overt act charged in the
information was therefore lacking. No pretense was made that the
appellant donated the articles in question. The alleged delivery of
truck and auto tires, batteries and spare parts can be disregarded.
The only detail that may at most be considered established by the
prosecution refers to the fact that the appellant helped in pushing a
handcart loaded with such articles, and the evidence is even
uncertain in one respect, namely that the cart was brought either to
the intermediate school premises or the high school building.
Indeed it was acknowledged by the lower court that the witnesses
for the Government did not know how the appellant disposed of
the articles loaded in the cart.
Even supposing, however, that the appellant had really sold for a
definite price alum crystals and water pipes, the same did not per
se constitute treason. As said articles or materials were not
exclusively for war purposes, their sale did not necessarily carry an
intention on the part of the vendor to adhere to the enemy. The
theory of the prosecution is that the sale was treasonable in view
of the other proven acts showing appellant's adherence to the
enemy. It appears, however, that the alleged acts of adherence
performed by the appellant took place after the overt act in
question. It is not unlikely that at the time the appellant made the
sale, his motive was purely personal gain, uninfluenced by any
benefit inuring to the enemy. Where two probabilities arise from the
evidence, the one compatible with the presumption of innocence
will be adopted. (People vs. Agpangan, G.R. No. L-778, October
10, 1947.)

Wherefore, the appealed judgment is reversed and the appellant

acquitted with costs de oficio. So ordered.

G.R. No. L-856

April 18, 1949

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs.

SUSANO PEREZ (alias KID PEREZ), defendant-appellant.
Crispin Oben and Isidro Santiago for appellant.Assistance Solicitor
General Manuel P. Barcelona and Solicitor Esmeraldo Umali for
Susano Perez alias Kid Perez alias Kid Perez was convicted of
treason by the 5th Division of the People's Court sitting in Cebu
City and sentenced to death by electrocution.
Seven counts were alleged in the information but the prosecution
offered evidence only on counts 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6, all of which,
according to the court, were substantiated. In a unanimous
decision, the trial court found as follows:
"As regards count No. 1
Count No. 1 alleges that the accused, together with the other
Filipinos, recruited, apprehended and commandeered numerous
girls and women against their will for the purpose of using them, as
in fact they were used, to satisfy the immoral purpose and sexual
desire of Colonel Mini, and among such unfortunate victims, were
Felina Laput, Eriberta Ramo alias Miami Ramo, Eduarda Daohog,
Eutiquia Lamay, Feliciana Bonalos and Flaviana Bonalos.
It would be unnecessary to recite here the testimonies of all the
victims of the accused; it sufficient to reproduce here succinctly the
testimony of Eriberta Ramo. She testified that on June 15, 1942,
the accused came to her house to get her and told her that she
was wanted in the house of her aunt, but instead, she was brought
to the house of the Puppet Governor Agapito Hontanosas; that she
escaped and returned to Baclayon her hometown; that the
accused came again and told her that Colonel Mini wanted her to
be his Information Clerk; that she did not accept the job; that a
week later the accused came to Baclayon to get her, and
succeeded in taking some other girls Puppet Governor Agapito
Hontanosas; that Governor Hontanosas told her that Colonel Mini
wanted her to be his wife; that when she was brought to Colonel
Mini the latter had nothing on but a "G" string; that he, Colonel Mini
threatened her with a sword tied her to a bed and with force
succeeded in having carnal knowledge with her; that on the

following night, again she was brought to Colonel Mini and again
she was raped; that finally she was able to escape and stayed in
hiding for three weeks and only came out from the hiding when
Colonel Mini left Tagbilaran.
"As regards count No. 2
Count No. 2 of the information substantially alleges: That accused
in company with some Japanese and Filipinos took Eriberta Ramo
and her sister Cleopatra Ramo from their home in Baclayon to
attend a banquet and a dance organized in honor of Colonel Mini
by the Puppet Governor, Agapito Hontanosas in order that said
Japanese Colonel might select those first who would later be taken
to satisfy his carnal appetite and that by means of threat, force and
intimidation, the above mentioned two sister were brought to the
headquarters of the Japanese Commander at the Mission Hospital
in Tagbilaran where Eriberta Ramo was forced to lived a life of
shame. All these facts alleged in count No. 2 were testified to by
said witnesses Eriberta Ramo her mother Mercedes de Ramo. It is
not necessary here to recite once more their testimony in support
of the allegations in court No. 2; this Court is fully convinced that
the allegation in said count No. 2 were fully substantiated by the
evidence adduced.
"As regards count No. 4
Count No. 4 substantially alleges that on July 16, 1942, the two
girls named Eduardo S. Daohog and Eutiquia Lamay, were taken
from their homes in Corella, Bohol, by the accused and his
companion named Vicente Bullecer, and delivered to the Japanese
Officer, Dr. Takibayas to satisfy his carnal appetite, but these two,
the accused Susano Perez and his companion Vicente Bullecer,
before delivering them to said Japanese Officer, satisfied first their
lust; the accused Susano Perez raping Eduarda S. Daohog and
his companion, Vicente Bullecer, the other girl Eutiquia Lamay.
Eduarda S. Daohog, testifying, said: that while on the way to
Tagbilaran, the accused though force and intimidation, raped her in
an uninhabited house; that she resisted with all her force against
the desire of the accused, but of no avail; that upon arriving in
Tagbilaran, she was delivered to the Japanese Officer named
Takibayas who also raped her. Eutiquia Lamay testified that on
July 16, 1942, the accused and his companion, Bullecer, went to
her house to take her and her sister; that her sister was then out of

the house; that the accused threatened her with a revolved if she
refuses to go; that she was placed in a car where Eduarda Daohog
was; that while they were in the car, the accused carried Eduarda
out of the car, and their companion Bullecer took the other witness
(Eutiquia Lamay); that when the accused and Eduarda returned to
the car, the latter; Eduarda, covered her face, crying; that later, she
and Eduarda were taken to the Governor's house; that on arriving
and in the presence of the Puppet Governor Hontanosas, the
Governor exclaimed: "I did not call for these girls": but the accused
replied saying: "These girls talked bad against the Japanese , and
that is why we arrested them"; that the said Governor Hontaosas
then, said: "Take them to the Japanese "; that the accused and
Bullecer brought the two girls to the Japanese headquarters; that
Eduarda was taken to one room by the Japanese Captain called
Dr. Takibayas, and she (Eutiquia Lamay) was taken to another
room by another Japanese living in that house; that she was raped
by that Jap while in the room; that she resisted all she could, but of
no avail.
In the light of the testimonies of these two witnesses, Eduarda S.
Daohog and Eutiquia Lamay, all the allegations in Court No. 4
were fully proven beyond reasonable doubt.
"As regards count No. 5
Count No. 5 alleges: That on or about June 4, 1942, the said
accused commandeered Feliciana Bonalos and her sister Flaviana
Bonalos on the pretext that they were to bee taken as witnesses
before a Japanese Colonel in the investigation of a case against a
certain Chinese (Insik Eping), and uponarriving at Tagbilaran,
Bohol, the accused brought the aforesaid two girls to the residence
of Colonel Mini, Commander of the Japanese Armed Forces in
Bohol and by means of violence threat and intimidation, said
Japanese Colonel abused and had sexual intercourse with
Flaviana Bonalos; that the accused subsequently of Colonel Mini
and through violence, threat and intimidation, succeeded in having
carnal knowledge with her against her will; that two days, later,
upon the pretext of conducting the unfortunate girls to their home,
said accused brought the other girls Feliciana Bonalos to a
secluded place in Tagbilaran, Bohol, and in the darkness, by mean
of threat and violence had carnal knowledge with her against her

Feliciana Bonalos testifying in this count, declared that the

accused came to get her on the pretext that she was to be used as
witness in a case affecting certain Chinaman before Colonel Mini;
that she and her younger sister Flaviana were brought in a car
driven by the accused; they were brought to the house of Colonel
Mini; that sister Flaviana was conducted into a room and after
remaining in the same for about an hour, she came out with her
hair and her dress in disorder; that Flaviana told her immediately
that she was raped against her will by Colonel Mini; that she
(Feliciana), after leaving the residence of said Jap officer, was
taken by Perez to an uninhabited house and there by threat and
intimidation, the accused succeeded in raping her; that when she
returned to her (the witness), Flaviana was crying; that the
following day while conducting the two girls back to their
hometown, she (Feliciana) was also raped by the accused in an
uninhabited house, against her will.
Victoriana Arayan (mother of Feliciana and Flaviana Bonalos)
testified as following: That on June 15, 1942, the accused came
and told her that the Japanese needed her daughters to be
witnesses; that accordingly, he daughters, under that
understanding, started for Tagbilaran; that later, she went to
Tagbilaran to look for her daughters and she found them in the
office of the Puppet Governor; that on seeing her, both daughters
wept and told her that they were turned over to the Japanese and
raped them; that her daughter Flaviana told her (the witness) that
after the Japanese had raped her the accused also raped her
(Flaviana) in an uninhabited house; that the accused did not permit
her two daughter to return home on the pretext that the Puppet
Governor was then absent and in the meanwhile they stayed in the
house of the accused Perez; that when her daughter returned to
her house ultimately, they related to her (mother) what happened;
that both daughters told her they would have preferred death
rather than to have gone to Tagbilaran; that Feliciana told her (the
mother) that the accused had raped her.
The information give by Feliciana to her mother is admitted in
evidence as a part of the res gestae regardless of the time that
had elapsed between the occurrence and the time of the
information. In the manner these two witnesses testified in court,
there could be no doubt that they were telling the absolute truth. It
is hard to conceived that these girls would assume and admit the
ignominy they have gone through if they were not true. The Court

is fully convinced that all the allegations contained in Court No. 5

have been proven by the testimonies of these two witnesses
beyond reasonable doubt.
"As regards count No. 6
Count No. 6, alleges: That the accused, together with his Filipino
companion apprehended Natividad Barcinas, Nicanora Ralameda
and Teotima Barcinas, nurses of the provincial hospital, for not
having attended a dance and reception organized by the Puppet
Governor in honor of Colonel Mini and other Japanese high
ranking officers, which was held in Tagbilaran market on June 25,
1942; that upon being brought the Puppet Governor, they were
severely reprimanded by the latter; that on July 8, 1942, against
said nurses were forced to attend another banquet and dance in
order that the Jap officers Mini and Takibayas might make a
selection which girls would suit best their fancy; that the real
purpose behind those forcible invitations was to lure them to the
residence of said Japanese Officer Mini for immoral purposes.
Natividad Barcinas, a Lieutenant of the P.A., testified at length. She
declared: That on June 29, 1942, she and companion nurses, saw
the accused coming to the hospital with a revolver and took them
on a car to the office of the Puppet Governor where they were
severely reprimanded by the latter for not attending the dance held
on June and receptions was to select from among them the best
girl that would suit the fancy of Colonel Mini for immoral purposes
that she and her companions were always afraid of the accused
Perez whenever he came to said hospital; that on one occasion,
one of the nurses on perceiving the approach of the accused, ran
up into her room, laid down on bed and simulated to be sick; that
said accused, not satisfied, went up into the room of that particular
nurse and pulled out the blanket which covered her and telling her
that it was only her pretext that she was sick.
The testimony of Lt. Natividad Barcinas is fully corroborated by
that of Nicanora Ralameda. Said testimony need not be
reproduced here.
In a carefully written brief for the appellant these findings are not
questioned, but it is contended that the deeds committed by the
accused do not constitute treason. The Solicitor General submits
the opposite view, and argues that "to maintain and preserve the
morale of the soldiers has always been, and will always be, a

fundamental concern of army authorities, for the efficiency of rests

not only on its physical attributes but also, mainly, on the morale of
its soldiers" (citing the annual report of the Chief of Staff, United
State Army, for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1933).
If furnishing women for immoral purposes to the enemies was
treason because women's company kept up their morale, so
fraternizing with them, entertaining them at parties, selling them
food and drinks, and kindred acts, would be treason. For any act of
hospitality without doubt produces the same general result. yet by
common agreement those and similar manifestation of sympathy
and attachment are not the kind of disloyalty that are punished as
In a broad sense, the law of treason does not prescribe all kinds of
social, business and political intercourse between the belligerent
occupants of the invaded country and its inhabitants. In the nature
of things, the occupation of a country by the enemy is bound to
create relations of all sorts between the invaders and the natives.
What aid and comfort constitute treason must depend upon their
nature degree and purpose. To draw a line between treasonable
and untreasonable assistance is not always easy. The scope of
adherence to the enemy is comprehensive, its requirement
indeterminate as was said Cramer vs. United States. 89 Law. ed.,
As general rule, to be treasonous the extent of the aid and comfort
given to the enemies must be to render assistance to them as
enemies and not merely as individuals and in addition, be directly
in furtherance of the enemies' hostile designs. To make a simple
distinction: To lend or give money to an enemy as a friend or out of
charity to the beneficiary so that he may buy personal necessities
is to assist him as individual and is not technically traitorous. On
the other hand, to lend or give him money to enable him to buy
arms or ammunition to use in waging war against the giver's
country enhance his strength and by same count injures the
interest of the government of the giver. That is treason. (See
United States vs. Fricke, 259 F., 673; 63 C.J., 816, 817.)
Applying these principles to the case at bar, appellant's first
assignment of error is correct. His "commandeering" of women to
satisfy the lust of Japanese officers or men or to enliven the
entertainment held in their honor was not treason even though the

women and the entertainment helped to make life more pleasant

for the enemies and boost their spirit; he was not guilty any more
than the women themselves would have been if they voluntarily
and willingly had surrendered their bodies or organized the
entertainment. Sexual and social relations with the Japanese did
not directly and materially tend to improve their war efforts or to
weaken the power of the United State. The acts herein charged
were not, by fair implication, calculated to strengthen the Japanese
Empire or its army or to cripple the defense and resistance of the
other side. Whatever favorable effect the defendant's collaboration
with the Japanese might have in their prosecution of the war was
trivial, imperceptible, and unintentional. Intent of disloyalty is a vital
ingredient in the crime of treason, which, in the absence of
admission, may be gathered from the nature and circumstances of
each particular case.
But the accused may be punished for the rape of Eriberta Ramo,
Eduarda Daohog, Eutiquia Lamay and Flaviana Bonalos as
principal by direct participation. Without his cooperation in the
manner above stated, these rapes could not have been committed.
Conviction of the accused of rapes instead of treason finds
express sanction in section 2 of Commonwealth Act No. 682,
which says:
Provided further, That where, in its opinion, the evidence is not
sufficient to support the offense (treason) charged, the People's
Court may, nevertheless, convict and sentence the accused for
any crime included in the acts alleged in the information and
established by the evidence.
All the above mentioned rapes are alleged in the information and
substantiated by the evidence.
Counsel assails the constitutionality of this of his provision as
violative of section 1, paragraph 17, Article III of the Constitution,
which guarantees to an accused the right "to be informed of the
nature and cause of the accusation against him." The contention is
not well taken. The provision in requires that the private crimes of
which an accused of treason may be convicted must be averred in
the information and sustained by evidence. In the light of this
enactment, the defendant was warned of the hazard that he might
be founded guilty of rapes if he was innocent of treason and thus
afforded an opportunity to prepare and meet them. There is no

element of surprise or anomaly involved. In facts under the general

law of criminal procedure convicted for crime different from that
designated in the complaint or information is allowed and
practiced, provided only that such crime "is included or described
in the body of the information, and afterwards justified by the proof
presented during the trial." (People vs. Perez, 45 Phil., 599.)
The defendant personally assaulted and abused two of the
offended girls but these assaults are not charged against him and
should be ruled out. The crime of coercion alleged and founded on
count No. 6. need not be noticed in view of the severity of the
penalty for the other crimes which he must suffer.
We find the defendant guilty of four separate crimes of rape and
sentence him for each of them to an indeterminate penalty of from
10 year of prision mayor to 17 year and 4 months of reclusion
temporal, with the accessories of law, to indemnify each of the
offended women in the sum of P3,000, and to pay the costs; it
being understood that the total duration of these penalties shall not
exceed forty years.

August 30, 1958

G.R. No. L-9529THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiffappellee,vs.PEDRO T. VILLANUEVA, defendant-appellant.

Office of the Solicitor General Ambrosia Padilla and Solicitor Jose P.

Alejandro for appellee.J. M. Cajucom for appellant.
, J.:
Appellant Pedro T. Villanueva was sentenced to death by the Fifth
Division of the defunct Peoples Court for the crime of treason. On
March 10, 1948, the case was elevated to us (G. R. No. L-2073) not
only by virtue of the appeal duly interposed by the accused but also
under the provisions of Section 9 of Rule 118 of the Rules of Court
which provides mandatory review by this Tribunal of all decisions or
judgments of the lower courts imposing death penalties. Meantime,
it was discovered that the transcript of stenographic notes taken
down on October 8, 1947, before the Peoples Court was missing
and unavailable, by reason of which and upon recommendation of
the Solicitor General, we promulgated a resolution on August 1,
1952, remanding the case to the Court of First Instance of Iloilo for
the retaking of the missing testimonies of the four witnesses who
testified before the Peoples Court, namely, Gregorio Gaton,
Ambrosio Tuble, Basilia Taborete, and the accused himself. Thus the
case was sent to that court.
On August 24, 1953, appellant filed a petition with the Court of First
Instance of Iloilo praying that he be allowed to withdraw his appeal
so as to avail himself of the benefits of the Executive clemency
granted to all prisoners convicted of treason, including those whose
cases were pending appeal, on condition that such appeals be first
withdrawn. Whereupon the Court of First Instance of Iloilo returned
the case to us for whatever action we may take in view of the
withdrawal requested, for, at all events, the case had to be reviewed
by us regardless of defendants appeal. The case was included in the
agenda prepared by the Clerk of Court for September 21, 1953,
only on the basis of the motion for withdrawal of appeal by
appellant, without calling the attention of the Tribunal that
defendant had previously appealed from a decision sentencing him
to death, which decision called for an automatic review and
judgment by us. Accordingly, and following the practice of this
Tribunal of acting favorably on petitions for withdrawal of appeals
where briefs had not been filed, as in the present case, said petition
for withdrawal was granted by resolution of September 21, 1953.
However, at about 3:00 oclock in the afternoon of the same date,
and after the passing of the resolution, appellant filed directly with
this Court a petition reiterating his request for withdrawal of appeal
previously made with the Court of First Instance of Iloilo, attaching
thereto two documents said to be copies of the conditional pardon
granted him and of the letter of the Legal Assistant in the office of
the President addressed to the Director of Prisons. It was only on
considering this second petition when we realized the nature of the

case and that the withdrawal of appeal granted on September 21,

1953, was a mistake and contrary to legal precedents. So, in a
resolution dated October 19, 1953, this Tribunal reconsidered its
resolution of September 21st granting withdrawal of appeal, and
again reminded the case to the Court of First Instance of Iloilo for
the retaking of the testimonies above referred to, with instructions
that a new decision be rendered based on the said testimonies and
on the standing evidence adduced before the Peoples Court. The
resolution of October 19th read as follows:
By a decision dated November 19, 1947, the Fifth Division of the
defunct Peoples Court after trial of appellant Pedro T. Villanueva on
a charge of treason on several counts, found him guilty of treason
and murder and sentenced him thus IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING CONSIDERATIONS, the Court, finding
the accused Pedro T. Villanueva guilty of the complex crime of
treason and murders as defined in Article 114 of the Revised Penal
Code, in connection with Article 48 of the same Code, sentences
him to suffer death penalty, with the accessories of the law, to
indemnify the heirs of Cosme Calacasan in the amount of P2,000, to
indemnify the heirs of Julia Cabilitasan in the amount of P2,000, to
indemnify the heirs of Sofia Tambirao in the amount of P2,000, and
to pay a fine of Twenty Thousand Pesos (P20,000) and the costs of
the proceedings.
Villanueva duly appealed to this Court. The records were sent up to
us not only by virtue of the appeal but also under the provisions of
Rule 118, Section 9, of the Rules of Court which provides for review
and judgment by this Tribunal of all cases in which the death
penalty shall have been imposed by a court of first instance,
whether the defendant shall have appealed or not.
It appearing that the stenographic notes taken of the testimony of
the witnesses who testified on October 8, 1947, could not be
located, and following the recommendation of the Solicitor General,
a resolution was promulgated on August 1, 1952, remanding the
case to the Court of First Instance of Iloilo for the retaking of the
testimony of said witnesses.
Thereafter before said court defendant-appellant Villanueva filed a
petition dated August 24, 1953, stating that about July 4, 1953, the
Chief Executive granted executive clemency to all prisoners
convicted of treason, including those whose cases were pending
appeal, on condition that such appeals be first withdrawn,
supposedly to give finality to the judgment of the lower court, and
asking that he be allowed to withdraw his appeal. Acting upon said
petition the Court of First Instance of Iloilo issued an order dated
September 10, 1953, directing the return of the case to this Court

for whatever action it may take in the premises, in view of the

petition for withdrawal of the appeal filed by appellant and because
the case had to be reviewed by the Supreme Court anyway
regardless of the appeal by the defendant.
The case was considered by us on September 21, 1953. The agenda
of this Court on that date as regards this was prepared by the Clerk
of Courts Office only on the basis of the motion for withdrawal of
appeal by the defendant. Our attention was not called to the fact
that defendant had previously appealed from a decision sentencing
him to death, which decision called for an automatic review and
judgment by us. So, following the practice of this Tribunal of acting
favorably on petitions for withdrawal of appeals where the briefs
have not yet been filed, as in the present case, said petition for
withdrawal of appeal was granted by resolution of September 21,
1953. On the same date, however, and presumably after the
passing of the resolution, appellant Villanueva filed directly with this
Court a petition reiterating the request for withdrawal of his appeal
previously made with the Court of First Instance of Iloilo, attaching
to his petition Exhibits A and B, said to be copies of the
conditional pardon and of the letter of the Legal Assistant in the
Office of the President addressed to the Director of Prisons. It was
only on considering said petition that we realized the nature of the
case and the decision appealed to this Court, the withdrawal of
which appeal had been granted by the resolution of September 21,
An accused appealing from a decision sentencing him to death may
be allowed to withdraw his appeal like any other appellant in an
ordinary criminal case before the briefs are filed, but his withdrawal
of the appeal does not remove the case from the jurisdiction of this
Court which under the law is authorized and called upon to review
the decision though unappealed. Consequently, the withdrawal of
the appeal in this case could not serve to render the decision of the
Peoples Court final. In fact, as was said by this Court thru Justice
Moreland in the case of U.S. vs. Laguna, 17 Phil. 532, speaking on
the matter of review by this Court of a decision imposing the death
penalty, the judgment of conviction entered in the trial court is not
final, and cannot be executed and is wholly without force or effect
until the case has been passed upon by the Supreme Court en
consulta; that although a judgment of conviction is entered by the
trial court, said decision has none of the attributes of a final
judgment and sentence; that until it has been reviewed by the
Supreme Court which finally passes upon it, the same is not final
and conclusive; and that this automatic review by the Supreme
Court of decisions imposing the death penalty is something which
neither the court nor the accused could waive or evade.

Furthermore, when the case was remanded to the lower court for
the purpose of retaking the testimony of those witnesses who
testified on October 8, 1947, the case was virtually remanded for
new trial. Of course, the evidence and the testimony received
during the trial before the Peoples Court which is still intact and
available shall stand and the new trial will be confined to the
testimony of the same witnesses who testified on October 8, 1947,
the stenographic notes or transcript of which cannot now be found.
Under these circumstances, it is necessary for the trial court to
render a new decision because the new trial is being held before a
new Judge and there is no assurance that the witnesses testifying,
altho the very same ones who were on the witness stand on
October 8, 1947, would testify to the same facts and in the same
manner that they did at the former trial, altho they are supposed to
do so. (See Demetria Obien de Almario vs. Fidel Ibaez, et al, 46 O.
G. No. 1, p. 390). Going over the record of the case, we find that it
would not be too difficult for the trial judge to see to it that the said
witnesses as far as possible confine themselves to the same points
on which they testified on October 8, 1947, because the testimonies
of said witnesses including the defendant are referred to and
described in the decision of the Peoples Court on pages 87, 123,
and 124 to 129, and that there are only four witnesses including the
accused himself.
Examining Exhibits A and B submitted by appellant in relation to
his petition for the withdrawal of his appeal, we find that although
his name appears in the list of prisoners convicted by the Peoples
Court and supposed to be pardoned conditionally, the pardon itself
refers to the remission of the unexpired portions of the prison
sentence terms and the fines of the prisoners listed below who were
convicted by the defunct Peoples Court of treason and committed to
the new Bilibid Prison to serve their sentence. It is highly doubtful
that the pardon could have contemplated and included appellant
herein because his sentence of death does not merely involve a
prison term which expires in time. Besides, a death sentence is not
exactly served but rather executed. Moreover, Exhibit B says that
those prisoners whose cases are still pending on appeal shall be
released only after their appeal has been withdrawn. The
implication is that the withdrawal of the appeal rendered the
decision of the Peoples Court final, resulting in conviction, this to
bring it into harmony with Art. VII, Sec. 10(6) of the Constitution
which requires conviction as a condition precedent to the exercise of
Executive clemency. As we have already stated, despite defendants
withdrawal of his appeal from the decision imposing the death
sentence, there is no definite conviction or sentence until and after
this Tribunal has reviewed the case and rendered its own decision
affirming, modifying or reversing that of the lower court, unless of
course in the new decision of the trial court based on the new trial a

sentence other than death is imposed, in which case there would be

no automatic review by us.
Let the record of this case be again remanded to the Court of First
Instance of Iloilo for new trial and thereafter, for a new decision.
At the new trial, only the testimonies of witnesses for the defense,
Ambrosio Tuble and Basilio Taborete, were introduced. Appellant
also presented documentary evidence relative to the conditional
pardon allegedly granted him. The Court of First Instance of Iloilo
found nothing in the newly adduced evidence to disturb the decision
of the Peoples Court, and, reproducing said decision, rendered
judgment on October 11, 1955, sentencing appellant to capital
punishment. The case was again elevated to us for automatic
review and judgment and given the present docket number.
In the amended information filed before the Peoples Court,
appellant was accused of treason on ten counts, but the prosecution
adduced evidence only on seven of them, namely, Counts 1, 2, 6, 7,
8, 9 and 10. The lower court found that Counts 1 and 2 were not
proven, and convicted the accused on Counts 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10.
The prosecution established that during the Japanese occupation,
appellant, who is a Filipino citizen, and owing allegiance to the
United States of America and the Commonwealth of the Philippines,
gave the enemy aid and comfort by rendering service with the
Japanese Imperial Army as secret agent, informer and spy, of its
Detective Force in the province of Iloilo, and that in the performance
of such service, he participated actively and directly in the punitive
expeditions periodically made by the Japanese forces in the guerillainfested areas of the province of Iloilo, and committed robberies,
arson and mass-murders, specifically as follows:
Count No. 6. Anent this Count, the amended information recites:
6. That on or about June 10, 1943, at the barrios of Baroc and
Atabayan, municipality of Tigbauan, Iloilo, Philippines, and within
the jurisdiction of this Court, the above-named accused, Pedro T.
Villanueva, with intent to adhere as he did adhere to the enemy,
and with treasonable intent to give as he did give said enemy aid
and comfort, in his capacity as agent, informer and spy of the
Detective Force, Imperial Japanese Army, and in company with
other Filipino spies and several Japanese soldiers, did then and
there, willfully, unlawfully, feloniously and treasonably arrest Vicente
Garrido, Juan Tatlonghari, Clodovio Trieco, Melchor Trieco, Cosme
Tobias, Leoncio Tumamudtamud, Quirino Toranto, Napoleon Luceno,
Modesto Torremoro and Dionisio Belandrez on the charge that they
were guerrilla soldiers and/or sympathizers and did investigate,
maltreat and torture them; that subsequently the persons abovementioned were taken away and were not seen or heard of since

then; that on the occasion of the aforementioned patrol, the abovenamed accused and his companions, with intent of gain and without
consent of the owners thereof, did then and there, willfully,
unlawfully and feloniously loot the house of Jose T. Belandrez,
taking therefrom genuine Philippine currency in the amount of
P300; emergency notes in the amount of P1,200; jewelry value at
P500; clothing valued at P200; and other personal effects; and from
the house of Toribia Taleon, jewelry, watches, clothing and other
personal effects with a total value of P160 more or less.
Jose T. Belandrez, Salvador Toranto, Toribia Taleon and Maria
Mendoza, corroborating one another, testified that at dawn of June
10, 1943, appellant, accompanied by some Filipinos and Japanese
soldiers, went to the house of Jose T. Belandrez situated at
Tigbauan, Iloilo, and took therefrom P1,200 in cash, jewelry worth
P300, and clothing valued at P200; that they also arrested Dionisio
Belandrez, Modesto Torremoro and Napoleon Luceno, members of
the Bolo Battalion, an auxiliary unit of the guerrillas; that since that
fateful day, the said three members of the Bolo Battalion never
Count No. 7. The amended information respecting this Count, reads
as follows:
7. That on or about the 9th and 10th day of August, 1943, in the
municipality of Tigbauan, Iloilo, Philippines, and within the
jurisdiction of this Court, the above-named accused, Pedro T.
Villanueva, with intent to adhere as he did adhere to the enemy,
and with treasonable intent to give, as he did give said enemy, aid
and comfort, in his capacity as agent, informer and spy of the
Detective Force, Imperial Japanese Army, and in company with
other Filipino spies and Japanese soldiers, did then and there
wilfully, unlawfully, feloniously and treasonably arrest and
apprehend several persons suspected of guerrilla activities, among
whom were Federico Tinamisan, Eustaquio Doga, Roque Tiologo,
Salvador Tedor, Tomas Trompeta, Agapito Trompeta, Andres Tayo,
Victorio Tuante, Manuel Teano, Matias Tirante, Rufo Tolate,
Celedonio Tupino, Alfredo Trompeta, Hilarion Toga and several
others, who were gathered in the Chapel at barrio Napnapan, where
the persons aforesaid were investigated, maltreated and tortured,
as a consequence of which Salvador Tedor died of the beating and
torture inflicted upon him by the herein accused and his
companions; that the following morning about thirty-seven persons
were taken to the yard of Valentina Amandorons house, where
Jesus Astrologo, Carlos Palma, Filipino co-spies of the accused, and
the Japanese killed by beheading Andres Tai, Victorio Tuante, Roque
Tiologo, Manuel Teano, Matias Tirania, Pufo Tulato, Agapito
Trompeta, Tomas Trompeta, Celedonio Tupino, Simeon Ledesma,

Hermenegildo Taleon, Marcelo Turid, Magdaleno Turid, Enrique Turid,

Jose Tamon, Cornelio Taghap, Eustaquio Doga, Eugenio (LNU),
Francisco (LNU) Lucio (LNU), Juan (LNU), Casimiro (LNU), Gorteo
(LNU), and several others whose names are unknown, while Alfredo
Trompeta and Hilarion Toga were struck and wounded on their
necks but miraculously escaped death.
Six witnesses testified on this Count, namely, Severa Gua, Natividad
Duga, Alfredo Trompeta, Hilario Taghap and Valentina Amandoron
who, corroborating one another, stated that on August 9 or 10,
1943, which was a Monday, at about six oclock in the evening,
while Eustaquio Duga and his family were at their home in
Tigbauan, Iloilo, he saw Japanese soldiers and some Filipinos
approaching their house; that Eustaquio Duga notified his wife and
they immediately started to flee; that unfortunately, they were
overtaken by the Japanese soldiers, and Eustaquio Duga was
arrested by herein appellant who was in company with said
Japanese soldiers; that Eustaquio Duga was taken to the nearby
barrio of Napnapan; that sometime later, Severa Gua found the
dead body of Eustaquio Duga, with his head almost severed, among
other corpses in the yard of the house of Valentina Amandoron.
On the same day, while Alfredo Trompeta and his companion Roque
Teologo were walking in a barrio road in Napnapan, Tigbauan, Iloilo,
they were arrested by Japanese soldiers who were with the
appellant; that Trompeta and Teologo were taken to the barrio of
Ermita, of the same municipality, where they were investigated
together with about thirty persons who were suspected as
guerrillas; thence they were brought to the house of Valentina
Amandoron where appellant and his companions killed in cold blood
Trompetas companions as well as these persons who were brought
there earlier. Among the twenty-five persons killed on that occasion,
were Andres Tayo, Tomas Trompeta, Rufo Tolato, Roque Teologo,
Jose Taucon and Matias Tiranea.
Count No. 8. The information equally recites:
8. That on or about August 12, 1943, in the municipality of Leon,
Iloilo, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Court, the
above-named accused, Pedro T. Villanueva, with intent to adhere as
he did adhere to the enemy, and with treasonable intent to give as
he did give said enemy aid and comfort, in his capacity as agent,
informer and spy of the Detective Force, Imperial Japanese Army;
and in company with other Filipino spies and Japanese soldiers, did
then and there wilfully, unlawfully, feloniously and treasonably
arrest Cosme Calacasan, Nazario Calimutan, Alberto Caborique,
Nazario Calacasan, Marcos Sobrevega, Jose Canillas, Aurelio
Calacasan, Graciano (LNU), Juan (LNU), and three others, names
unknown, on the charge that the persons aforesaid were guerrilla

soldiers or guerrilla sympathizers; that thereafter these persons

were taken to barrio Taal, municipality of San Miguel, where the
accused and his companions set fire to and burned several houses
in the aforesaid barrio; and later to barrio Baguingin, municipality of
Leon, where the above-named accused and his companions
investigated, maltreated and tortured them; that the above-named
accused further adhering to the enemy did then and there, wilfully,
unlawfully, feloniously and treasonably, and with evident
premeditation and treachery, bayonetted to death Cosme
Calacasan, while tied to a tree with hands tied behind his back;
while Nazario Calimutan was bayonetted and killed in the same
manner by Jesus Astrologo, Filipino co-spy of the herein accused;
while Graciano (LNU) and Juan (LNU) and two others (names
unknown) were bayonetted to death by the Filipino and Japanese
companions of the accused; that after the killing of the aforesaid
persons, the above-named accused and his companions did gather
the corpses of their victims in the house of Juan Caya and
thereafter did set fire to and burn that house the dead bodies
Aurelio Calacasan and Jose Canillas, corroborating each other,
testified that at about eight oclock in the morning of August 12,
1943, while Aurelio Calacasan, Cosme Calacasan, Anazario
Calimutan, Alberto Caborique, Nazario Calacasan, Marcos
Sobrevieja and Jose Canillas and several others were in the barrio
of Anonang, Leon, Iloilo, they were arrested by Japanese soldiers
and taken to the barrio of Taal, of the same municipality, where
they saw appellant and his companions. After setting afire the
houses in said barrio, appellant and his companions brought the
prisoners to barrio Agboy, of the same municipality, where they
were investigated regarding their guerilla activities or connections;
that during the investigations, appellant stabbed to death Cosme
Calacasan who was a member of the Bolo Battalion, an auxiliary
unit of the guerrillas; that after several prisoners were killed, their
corpses were gathered and placed in a house which was set on fire.
Count No. 9. Concerning this Count, the amended information
9. That on or about August 12, 1943, in the municipality of Leon,
Iloilo, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Court, the
above-named accused, Pedro T. Villanueva, with intent to adhere as
he did adhere to the enemy and with treasonable intent to give as
he did give said enemy aid and comfort, in his capacity as agent,
informer, spy of the Detective Force, Imperial Japanese Army, and
in company with other Filipino spies and Japanese soldiers, did then
and there, wilfully, unlawfully, feloniously and treasonably conduct
and carry out a raid against and mass arrest of persons suspected

as guerrilla soldiers and sympathizers, as a consequence of which,

about eighty persons, male and female, both young and old were
arrested and gathered in a schoolhouse and chapel in the barrio of
Buenavista, and thereat investigated, maltreated and tortured by
the herein accused and his companions; that subsequently about
thirty persons including women and children were taken to the
house of Aquilino Sales, where about fourteen persons were
bayonetted and killed by Japanese soldiers, namely, Julia
Cabilitasan, Mercedes Calopez, Andrea Cahipo, Eustaquia Cabilinga,
Isabel Canag, Rosalia Calopez, Luz Caldito, Estelita Camorahan,
Roman Cabilinga, Tomas Canag, Luis Cabalfin, Juan Cabalfin,
Macario Cabilitasan and Aurelio Caldito; while Paulina Cantara,
Alejandro Calsona and Bienvenido Cabankalan received and
sustained bayonet wounds but survived and were able to escape
after the house of aforesaid Aquilino Sales was set on fire and
burned by said patrol of Filipino spies and Japanese soldiers.
Aquilina Cabilitasan, Bienvenido Cabankalan, Alejandro Calsena and
Perpetua Canag, who testified for the prosecution, corroborating
one another, stated that at about eight oclock in the morning of
August 12, 1943, several residents of barrio, Buenavista, Leon,
Iloilo, were arrested by the appellant, who was armed with revolver
and bayonet, and his companions consisting of Filipinos and
Japanese soldiers; that said barrio residents were brought to the
barrio schoolhouse where they were investigated. During the
investigation, Julia Cabilitasan was singled out by the appellant who
tied her hands behind her back and brought her under a doldol
(kapok) tree, near a chapel, where she was stripped of all her
clothings until she was naked. Appellant investigated her regarding
the whereabouts of her husband who was a USAFFE soldier.
Appellant, after severely beating Julia Cabilitasan, brought her to
the house of Aquilino Sales where there were other Filipino
prisoners. Shortly thereafter, appellant and his companions started
the massacre of the prisoners. Appellant stabbed Julia Cabilitasan
three times with a bayonet. In that massacre, fourteen persons
including women and children were killed. Among those killed were
Julia Cabilitasan, Macario Cabilitasan, Roman Cabelenga, Andrea
Cahipos and Julia Calpit. Later, said house was set on fire.
Count No. 10. Lastly, the amended information regarding this
Count, recites:
10. That on or about March 18, 1944, in the municipalities of
Guimbal and Tubugan, Iloilo, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction
of this Court, the above-named accused, Pedro T. Villanueva, with
intent to adhere as he did adhere to the enemy, and with
treasonable intent to give as he did give said enemy aid and
comfort, in his capacity as agent, informer and spy of the Detective

Force, Imperial Japanese Army, and in company with other Filipino

spies, Bureau of Constabulary and Japanese soldiers, did then and
there wilfully, unlawfully, feloniously and treasonably arrest Rosalio
Tambirao, Joaquin Escorido, Carolina Escorido, Romero Escorido,
Edgardo Escorido, Editha Escorido, Sofia Tambiras, Raul Tabanda,
Nestor Tabanda, Elena Gierza, Natividad Gersalino, Jovita Gersalino,
Ernesto Tambirao, Ruly Tambirao, Jesusa Jimenez, Eustaquio
Tortugalete, Paz Tabora, Basilisa Taborete, Gloria Escorido, Ciriaco
Gierza and several others with unknown names on the charge that
the persons aforesaid were either guerrilla soldiers, sympathizers
and supporters; that the aforesaid persons were then taken to the
house of Jacinto Toborete, where the herein accused, did then and
their investigate, maltreat, or otherwise torture Basilisa Taborete,
Gloria Escorido and Eustaquia Tortugalete in an effort to make them
confess as to their connection with the guerrilla movement and the
whereabouts of the guerrilla soldiers; that subsequently the herein
accused further adhering to the enemy did deliver to a Japanese
executioner Juan Gelario, Felipe Tanato, David Garnica, Juana
Tabacoran, Jesusa Jimenez and Luz Tabiana, who were all executed
and kill one after another; that the killing of Juana Tabacoran,
Jesusa Jimenez and Luz Tabiana took place shortly after they were
abused and raped by the Japanese and BC soldiers in the house of
Jacinto Taborete; that while this was going on, Jovita Gersalino and
Lourdes Tabanda were taken to another house by the herein
accused, Filemon Palacios, Jr., Vicente Tolosa and a Japanese
soldier, where they were abused and raped; that subsequently the
persons gathered were asked who of them were relatives of
Tranquilino Geonanga for they would be released and when an old
woman answered that they were all relatives of Tranquilino
Geonanga, the Japanese soldiers at once started to inflict and
deliver bayonet thrusts on the persons gathered and as a
consequence of which about thirty of them were killed and several
were wounded: that subsequently, the herein accused and his
companions proceeded to barrio Buluagan, where one Saturnino
(LNU) was arrested, investigated, maltreated and tortured by the
herein accused and later killed by the Japanese.
Gloria Escorido, Basilisa Gierza and Ciriaco Gierza, testifying in
support of this Count, and corroborating one another, stated that at
about seven oclock in the morning of March 16, 1944, while the
appellant and several Japanese soldiers were on a punitive
expedition in the barrio of Miadan, Guimbal, Iloilo, they arrested the
barrio residents who fled to the Dalihi creek in Tubongan, Iloilo; that
the barrio residents, who were about fifty persons, were brought to
the barrio of Laguna, Tubongan, Iloilo, were they were investigated
and maltreated; that during the investigation, appellant tied the
feet of Gloria Escorido, hanged her with her head downward and
beat her with the branch of an aguho tree; that appellant likewise

brought to the house of Jacinto Batorete three females, namely, Luz

Tabiana, Jesusa Jimenez and Juana Tabiana where the said girls
were abused by the appellant and his companions; that appellant
also bayoneted to death Sofia Tambirao for the simple reason that
she was the cousin of Tranquilino Geonanga, an officer of the
guerrillas; that appellant and his companions massacred on that
occasion around thirty persons, among whom were Jovita Gersalino,
Carolina Escorido, Romero Escorido, Sofia Tambirao, and Edgardo
We have, therefore, that appellant not only participated actively in
the punitive raids made by the Japanese soldiers and in arresting
and killing Filipino Guerrillas, but personally manhandled Gloria
Escorido, a girl barely 16 years of age at the time (Count 10), and
killed in cold blood Cosme Calacasan by bayoneting him three times
(Count 8), Julia Cabilitasan by likewise bayoneting her three times,
with the added ignominy of stripping her stark naked moments
before killing her (Count 9), and Sofia Tambirao (Count 10.) These
specific overt acts of appellant as testified to by eyewitnesses who
have survived the harrowing massacres, speak eloquently that his
adherence to the enemy in giving it aid and comfort, was
accompanied by cruelty and ruthlessness, in wanton disregard of
the feelings and decency of his fellow citizens.
The foregoing facts were not impugned by any evidence for
appellant, his defense in the lower court merely consisting of (1) his
denial of the overt acts imputed upon him, and (2) that if he ever
served in the detective force of the Japanese Army since January
1st, 1944, it was because he was made to accept the position under
duress, and that his acceptance of such position was for the good of
the people, he having saved many Filipino lives from Japanese
We have carefully analyzed the evidence on record because of the
seriousness of the charges against appellant, and we find that the
evidence for the prosecution is overwhelming, such that appellants
counsel de officio instead of filing a brief, made a manifestation
dated November 29, 1955, stating that after a thorough study of
the records of the case, he finds nothing therein sufficient to disturb
the decisions of the Peoples Court and of the Court of First Instance
of Iloilo imposing capital punishment on the accused. Said counsel
further stated that The accuseds only evidence which directly
attacked the governments proofs was his denial of what several
witnesses testified to. This manifestation was considered by this
Tribunal as appellants brief, in its resolution of December 6, 1955.
Certainly mere denial by appellant cannot prevail upon the positive
assertion of the witnesses for the government establishing
incriminating facts, for it is a well settled rule of evidence that as

between positive and negative testimony, the former deserves more

weight and credit.
Anent the defense of duress allegedly exerted by the Japanese upon
appellant for which he had to serve in the detective force of the
Japanese Army, we agree with the Solicitor General that except the
lone and self-serving testimony of the appellant that he was coerced
to cooperate with and serve the Japanese soldiers, there is not an
iota of proof that he was in fact compelled or coerced by the
Japanese. Much less is there any evidence showing that the alleged
compulsion or coercion was grave and imminent.
Duress, force, fear or intimidation to be available as a defense,
must be present, imminent and impending, and of such a nature as
to induce a well-grounded apprehension of death or serious bodily
harm if the act is not done. A threat of future injury is not enough.
(16 C.J. 91).
To be available as a defense, the fear must be well-founded, an
immediate and actual danger of death or great bodily harm must be
present and the compulsion must be of such a character as to leave
no opportunity to accused for escape or self-defense in equal
combat. It would be a most dangerous rule if a defendant could
shield himself from prosecution for crime by merely setting up a
fear from or because of a threat of a third person. (Whartons
Criminal Law, Vol. 1, Sec. 384).
Fear as an excuse for crime has never been received by the law. No
man, from fear or circumstances to himself has the right to make
himself a party to committing mischief upon mankind (Lord Denman
in Reg. vs. Tyler, 8 Car. and P. (Eng.) 616, vs. Duddely, L. R. 14, Q.
B. Div. (Eng.) 273).
When the case was remanded to the Court of First Instance of Iloilo
for the retaking of lost testimonies, appellant attempted to give the
case a new twist by filing a motion to quash on the ground that the
pardon extended him has already extinguished his criminal liability
and that his conviction by the Peoples Court had placed him in
jeopardy. This motion was denied, but during the trial appellant was
allowed to present documentary evidence relative to the clemency
extended him, consisting of Exhibit 1 which is a certified copy of his
conditional pardon; Exhibit 2, a certified copy of the letter of the
Legal Assistant of the President dated June 30, 1953, addressed to
the Director of Prisons; Exhibit 3 the motion to withdraw appeal
filed before the Court of First Instance of Iloilo; and Exhibit 4, the
Tribunals resolution of September 21, 1953, granting said
withdrawal. In addition, appellant presented an Exhibit 5 the
decision of the Peoples Court in the case of People vs. Jesus
Astrologo, dated December 11, 1947, sentencing him to death;

Exhibit 6 the conditional pardon extended to said accused dated

June 27, 1953; and Exhibit 7 the letter of the Legal Assistant of the
Office of the President to the Director of Prisons, to show that said
Jesus Astrologo who is now enjoying his freedom by reason of the
pardon extended, has been allowed by this Tribunal to withdraw his
appeal pending review of his death sentence.
Regarding the alleged pardon granted to appellant, we reiterate our
ruling in our resolution of October 19, 1953, hereinbefore quoted.
As to appellants contention respecting the applicability of the
Astrologo case, we find it untenable, for the Astrologo case (88 Phil.
423) was elevated to us for review on March 4, 1948; he filed his
brief on October 21, 1949, and we rendered judgment on March 30,
1951, commuting the sentence to life imprisonment for lack of
sufficient vote. The pardon granted him on June 27, 1953, or more
than two years after the final judgment, was therefore in order, and
cannot be invoked by herein appellant as a precedent.
As to the payment of indemnity in the amount of P2,000 to the
respective heirs of each of the victims of appellant, the SolicitorGeneral recommends that this amount imposed by the lower court
be increased to P6,000. We find this recommendation to be correct,
as it is in consonance with the repeated decisions of this Tribunal on
the matter; hence the decision of the lower court should be
amended accordingly. Furthermore, although the facts of the case
verily justify the imposition of death penalty, yet, for lack of
sufficient votes said penalty should be, as it is hereby commuted to
reclusion perpetua, in accordance with law.
Wherefore, and with the modifications above indicated, the decision
appealed from is hereby affirmed, with costs.

May 31, 1949

G.R. No. L-1298THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiffappellee,vs.PEDRO SANTOS BALINGIT, accused-appellant.
Antonio Barredo for appellant.Office of the First Assistant Solicitor
General Roberto A. Gianzon and Solicitor Martiniano P. Vivo for
Reyes (Jose), J.:
Pedro Santos Balingit was accused of treason on six counts. Count
No. 1 was, after trial, declared not proved, while counts Nos. 4, 5,
and 6 were previously withdrawn for lack of evidence. The
remaining two counts (Nos. 2 and 3) read as follows:
2. That on or December 8, 1944, in the City of Manila, the above
named accused, Pedro Santos Balingit, for the purpose of giving and
with intent to give aid and/or comfort to the enemy, and with abuse
of confidence and of his public position, did then and there wilfully,
unlawfully and feloniously point out to the Japanese Military Police
Lorenzo Sandoval and Serafin Sandoval and their father, Felipe
Sandoval, Urgel Simplicio, Mateo Cruz, and Alfredo Arangel as
guerrillas, as a result of which they were all apprehended and taken
by the Japanese Military Police, and since then, Serafin Sandoval
and Lorenzo Sandoval have never been seen alive again, while
Felipe Sandoval tortured and retained for about twelve days; Mateo
Cruz tortured and detained for about twelve days; and Alfredo
Arangel tortured detained for about twelve days.
3. That on or about December 16, 1942, in the City of Manila, for
the purpose of giving and with intent to give aid and/or comfort to
the enemy, the above named accused, Pedro Santos Balingit, did
then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously, with abuse of his
public position, form part of a squad under Inspector Charles
Strebel of the Intelligence Unit, Secret Service Division,
Metropolitan, Constabulary, which arrested and apprehended
Leoncio Gonzales, Tomas Lapus, Eugenio Acosta, Luis San Agustin,
Pedro Soriano, Leoncio Crespo and Realino Bartido, all members of
the Metropolitan Constabulary, on suspicion of being guerillas, and
did bring and accompany them to Fort Santiago where they were
investigated, maltreated, tortured and detained for a period of
about one week.
The accused is a Filipino citizen. Before the war he was a member of
the warrant unit of the secret service division of the Manila Police
Department. Early in 1942 he joined the secret service division of
the Metropolitan Constabulary and was assigned to the intelligence
unit under Charles Strebel and later under Teofilo Alcantara. This

unit operated directly under the supervision of the Japanese military

police and was then also called the Radical Unit because it was
charged with the arrest and investigation of guerillas and guerilla
activities, but the Strebel and Alcantara were killed by the guerillas,
but the accused continued working with the Radical Unit and was
seen not infrequently with agents of the Japanese military police.
With reference to count No. 2, the evidence for the prosecution
shows that the accused was a cousin of the brothers Lorenzo
Sandoval and Serafin Sandoval, a lieutenant and prospective
member, respectively, of the guerilla forces. As a close relative, he
frequented the Sandoval home at No. 131 M. H. del Pilar Street in
Manila and was able to learn from Lorenzo Sandoval that the latter
was in the resistance movement and was leaving for the mountains
on December 10, 1944. Before that date came, however, that is, in
the evening of December 8, 1944, Japanese soldiers, accompanied
by the accused, raided the house of the Sandovals. The accused had
his eyes covered with a piece of cloth. After rounding up all the
males in the house, namely, Simplicion Urgel, Alejandro Guiao,
Sofronio Parinas, Alfredo Arangel, Mateo Cruz, Florencio Tolda and
Felipe Sandoval, the Japanese proceeded to the their hands, and
once the hands of Felipe Sandoval had been tied, the accused
pointed him out to the Japanese as the father of Lorenzo Sandoval.
The Japanese then began asking Felipe where his son Lorenzo was,
whereupon Felipes wife, Basilia Carlos, fearing that her husband
might be tortured, entreated him to reveal the whereabouts of their
son. Having obtained the desired information, the Japanese, in
company with accused, took Felipe Sandoval with them and
proceeded to the house of Perpetua Marigondon on A. Flores Street
in Manila where the Sandoval brothers were then hiding. Breaking
into the house, they seized Serafin Sandoval and Lorenzo for his
gun and guerilla papers, and as he would not make any admission,
he was tortured. Thereafter, Perpetua Marigondon, her brother, the
Sandoval brothers and Felipe Sandoval were loaded on a truck and,
together with the men who had been left tied at the Sandoval
home, were taken to the house of Dr. Baldomero Roxas on
Cortabitarte Street where they were confined. They were, however,
later released with the exception of Lorenzo Sandoval and Serafin
Sandoval, who were never seen alive again.
The above facts were established by the combined testimony of
Basilia Carlos, Corazon Teruel, Felipe Sandoval and Perpetua
Marigondon and substantially corroborated by the testimony of the
accused himself. The latter admitted having accompanied the
Japanese soldiers in making the raid and arrest in the abovementioned houses but denied that he had his eyes covered. He
declared that, on the night in question, the Japanese soldiers woke
him up in his house and made him accompany them to the

Sandoval home, presumably on the supposition that he knew where

the Sandoval were because he was then investigating a shooting
incident in which Lorenzo Sandoval was implicated.
As to count No. 3, the evidence for the prosecution shows that in
the afternoon of December 16, 1942, the policemen Tomas Lapus,
Leoncio Gonzales, Leoncio Crespo, Realino Bartido, Luis San
Agustin, Eugenio Acosta and Pedro B. Soriano were in the detention
cell on the fourth floor of the City Hall, having been previously
arrested by the Radical Unit for their guerilla activities. Going
there at about 4 p.m. on that day, the accused ordered them out of
their cells, lined them up and tied them in pairs. While trying the
hands of Leocio Gonzales, the latter begged him to loosen the
string, only to receive the reply: You sons of a b . ., you are
guerillas anyway; you deserve to die. Thereafter, they were loaded
on a truck and taken to Fort Santiago by the accused, a Japanese
named Cato and a police escort. In Fort Santiago they were tortured
and investigated about their guerilla activities but they were
released several days afterward.
The above facts were established by the testimony of Leocio
Gonzales, Leoncio Crespo, Eugenio Acosta and Pedro B. Soriano.
The accused admitted having been the one who tied the hands of
the prisoners, but alleged that he had been ordered to do so by
Charles Strebel, who was then present, and that it was also Strebel
who uttered the offensive words attributed to him by the witnesses
for the prosecution. He also denied having been the one who
delivered the prisoners to Fort Santiago.
Upon the above evidence, the peoples Court, with one member
dissenting, found the accused guilty of treason and sentenced him
to reclusion perpetua with the accessory penalties prescribed by the
law and to pay a fine of P10,000.00 and the costs. From this
sentence the accused appealed to this Court.
There is not much dispute as to the facts. The accused admitted
having accompanied the Japanese in the arrest of the Sandoval
brothers, who were identified with the resistance movement, and
although he claimed it was not true that he had his eyes covered at
the time, the important fact is that, of his own accord, he informed
the Japanese that Felipe Sandoval was the father of Lorenzo, which
information enabled them to get to the hiding place of the
Sandovals. Connecting this with the other facts that, shortly before
that incident, he was able, because of his relationship to Lorenzo
sandoval, to obtain the information that the latter was about to take
to the mountains to join the guerrillas, it is hard to believe that the
accused had an innocent part in the timely arrest of the Sandoval
brothers. His testimony as to how the Japanese came to know that
he had information about Lorenzo Sandoval is vague and

The incident in the City Hall where, while tying the hands of the
detained policemen, he insulted them for being guerrillas, is very
clearly proven and is an eloquent proof of the accuseds adherence
to the enemy.
The argument is made that the accused was, at the most, merely
obeying superior orders in the suppression of guerrillas activities,
which in the opinion of his counsel, are outlawed by the rules of
war. But the evidence is clear that he identified himself with the
enemys cause by acting as a spy and causing the arrest of even his
close relatives to prevent them from taking part in the resistance
movement, and while guerrillas warfare may be unlawful from the
standpoint of the conqueror, it cannot be so regarded by those who,
by natural right, are trying to drive him out of their invaded
We find no merit in the appeal. We therefore affirm the judgment
below, with costs against the appellant.

June 30, 1947

G.R. No. L-477THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiffappellee,vs.APOLINARIO ADRIANO, defendant-appellant.
Remedios P. Nufable for appellant.Assistant Solicitor General
Kapunan, Jr., and Solicitor Lacson for appellee.
, J.:
This is an appeal from a judgment of conviction for treason by the
Peoples Court sentencing the accused to life imprisonment, P10,000
fine, and the costs.
The information charged:
That between January and April, 1945 or thereabout, during the
occupation of the Philippines by the Japanese Imperial Forces, in the
Province of Nueva Ecija and in the mountains in the Island of Luzon,
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Court, the abovenamed accused, Apolinario Adriano, who is not a foreigner, but a
Filipino citizen owing allegiance to the United States and the
Commonwealth of the Philippines, in violation of said allegiance, did
then and there willfully, criminally and treasonably adhere to the
Military Forces of Japan in the Philippines, against which the
Philippines and the United States were then at war, giving the said
enemy aid and comfort in the manner as follows:
That as a member of the Makapili, a military organization
established and designed to assist and aid militarily the Japanese
Imperial forces in the Philippines in the said enemys war efforts and
operations against the United States and the Philippines, the herein
accused bore arm and joined and assisted the Japanese Military
Forces and the Makapili Army in armed conflicts and engagements
against the United States armed forces and the Guerrillas of the
Philippine Commonwealth in the Municipalities of San Leonardo and
Gapan, Province of Nueva Ecija, and in the mountains of Luzon,
Philippines, sometime between January and April, 1945. Contrary to
The prosecution did not introduce any evidence to substantiate any
of the facts alleged except that of defendants having joined the
Makapili organization. What the Peoples Court found is that the
accused participated with Japanese soldiers in certain raids and in
confiscation of personal property. The court below, however, said
these acts had not been established by the testimony of two
witnesses, and so regarded them merely as evidence of adherence
to the enemy. But the court did find established under the two-

witness rule, so we infer, that the accused and other Makapilis had
their headquarters in the enemy garrison at Gapan, Nueva Ecija;
that the accused was in Makapili military uniform; that he was
armed with rifle; and that he drilled with other Makapilis under a
Japanese instructor; . . . that during the same period, the accused
in Makapili military uniform and with a rifle, performed duties as
sentry at the Japanese garrison and Makapili headquarters in
Gapan, Nueva Ecija; that upon the liberation of Gapan, Nueva
Ecija, by the American forces, the accused and other Makapilis
retreated to the mountains with the enemy; and that the accused,
rifle in hand, later surrendered to the Americans.
Even the findings of the court recited above in quotations are not
borne out by the proof of two witnesses. No two of the prosecution
witnesses testified to a single one of the various acts of treason
imputed by them to the appellant. Those who gave evidence that
the accused took part in raids and seizure of personal property, and
performed sentry duties and military drills, referred to acts allegedly
committed on different dates without any two witnesses coinciding
in any one specified deed. There is only one item on which the
witnesses agree: it is that the defendant was a Makapili and was
seen by them in Makapili uniform carrying arms. Yet, again, on this
point it cannot be said that one witness is corroborated by another
if corroboration means that two witnesses have seen the accused
doing at least one particular thing, it a routine military chore, or just
walking or eating.
We take it that the mere fact of having joined a Makapili
organization is evidence of both adherence to the enemy and giving
him aid and comfort. Unless forced upon one against his will,
membership in the Makapili organization imports treasonable intent,
considering the purposes for which the organization was created,
which, according to the evidence, were to accomplish the
fulfillment of the obligations assumed by the Philippines in the Pact
of Alliance with the Empire of Japan; to shed blood and sacrifice
the lives of our people in order to eradicate Anglo-Saxon influence
in East Asia; to collaborate unreservedly and unstintedly with the
Imperial Japanese Army and Navy in the Philippines; and to fight
the common enemies. Adherence, unlike overt acts, need not be
proved by the oaths of two witnesses. Criminal intent and
knowledge may be gather from the testimony of one witness, or
from the nature of the act itself, or from the circumstances
surrounding the act. (Cramer vs. U.S. 65 Sup. Ct., 918.)
At the same time, being a Makapili is in itself constitutive of an
overt act. It is not necessary, except for the purpose of increasing
the punishment, that the defendant actually went to battle or
committed nefarious acts against his country or countrymen. The

crime of treason was committed if he placed himself at the enemys

call to fight side by side with him when the opportune time came
even though an opportunity never presented itself. Such
membership by its very nature gave the enemy aid and comfort.
The enemy derived psychological comfort in the knowledge that he
had on his side nationals of the country with which his was at war. It
furnished the enemy aid in that his cause was advanced, his forces
augmented, and his courage was enhanced by the knowledge that
he could count on men such as the accused and his kind who were
ready to strike at their own people. The principal effect of it was no
difference from that of enlisting in the invaders army.
But membership as a Makapili, as an overt act, must be established
by the deposition of two witnesses. Does the evidence in the
present case meet this statutory test? Is two-witness requirement
fulfilled by the testimony of one witness who saw the appellant in
Makapili uniform bearing a gun one day, another witness another
day, and so forth?
The Philippine law on treason is of Anglo-American origin and so we
have to look for guidance from American sources on its meaning
and scope. Judicial interpretation has been placed on the twowitness principle by American courts, and authoritative text writers
have commented on it. We cull from American materials the
following excerpts which appear to carry the stamp of authority.
Whartons Criminal Evidence, Vol. 3, section 1396, p. 2282, says:
In England the original Statute of Edward, although requiring both
witnesses to be to the same overt act, was held to mean that there
might be one witness to an overt act and another witness to
another overt act of the same species of treason; and, in one case it
has been intimated that the same construction might apply in this
country. But, as Mr. Wigmore so succinctly observes: The
opportunity of detecting the falsity of the testimony, by
sequestering the two witnesses and exposing their variance in
details, is wholly destroyed by permitting them to speak to different
acts. The rule as adopted in this country by all the constitutional
provisions, both state and Federal, properly requires that two
witnesses shall testify to the same overt act. This also is now the
rule in England.
More to the point is this statement from VII Wigmore on Evidence,
3d ed., section 2038, p. 271:
Each of the witnesses must testify to the whole of the overt act; or,
if it is separable, there must be two witnesses to each part of the
overt act.
Learned Hand, J., in United States vs. Robinson (D.C.S.D., N.Y., 259

Fed., 685), expressed the same idea: It is necessary to produce

two direct witnesses to the whole overt act. It may be possible to
piece bits together of the overt act; but, if so, each bit must have
the support of two oaths; . . .. (Copied as footnote in Wigmore on
Evidence, ante.) And in the recent case of Cramer vs. United States
(65 Sup. Ct., 918), decide during the recent World War, the Federal
Supreme Court lays down this doctrine: The very minimum
function that an overt act must perform in a treason prosecution is
that it shows sufficient action by the accused, in its setting, to
sustain a finding that the accused actually gave aid and comfort to
the enemy. Every act, movement, deed, and word of the defendant
charged to constitute treason must be supported by the testimony
of two witnesses.
In the light of these decisions and opinions we have to set aside the
judgment of the trial court. To the possible objection that the
reasoning by which we have reached this conclusion savors of
sophism, we have only to say that the authors of the constitutional
provision of which our treason law is a copy purposely made
conviction for treason difficult, the rule severely restrictive. This
provision is so exacting and so uncompromising in regard to the
amount of evidence that where two or more witnesses give oaths to
an overt act and only one of them is believed by the court or jury,
the defendant, it has been said and held, is entitled to discharge,
regardless of any moral conviction of the culprits guilt as gauged
and tested by the ordinary and natural methods, with which we are
familiar, of finding the truth. Natural inferences, however strong or
conclusive, flowing from other testimony of a most trustworthy
witness or from other sources are unavailing as a substitute for the
needed corroboration in the form of direct testimony of another
eyewitness to the same overt act.
The United States Supreme Court saw the obstacles placed in the
path of the prosecution by a literal interpretation of the rule of two
witnesses but said that the founders of the American government
fully realized the difficulties and went ahead not merely in spite but
because of the objections. (Cramer vs. United States, ante.) More,
the rule, it is said, attracted the members of the Constitutional
Convention as one of the few doctrines of Evidence entitled to be
guaranteed against legislative change. (Wigmore on Evidence,
ante, section 2039, p. 272, citing Madisons Journal of the Federal
Convention, Scotts ed., II, 564, 566.) Mr. Justice Jackson, who
delivered the majority opinion in the celebrated Cramer case, said:
It is not difficult to find grounds upon which to quarrel with this
Constitutional provision. Perhaps the farmers placed rather more
reliance on direct testimony than modern researchers in psychology
warrant. Or it may be considered that such a quantitative measure
of proof, such a mechanical calibration of evidence is a crude device

at best or that its protection of innocence is too fortuitous to

warrant so unselective an obstacle to conviction. Certainly the
treason rule, whether wisely or not, is severely restrictive. It must
be remembered, however, that the Constitutional Convention was
warned by James Wilson that Treason may sometimes be practiced
in such a manner, as to render proof extremely difficult as in a
traitorous correspondence with an enemy. The provision was
adopted not merely in spite of the difficulties it put in the way of
prosecution but because of them. And it was not by whim or by
accident, but because one of the most venerated of that venerated
group considered that prosecutions for treason were generally
Such is the clear meaning of the two-witness provision of the
American Constitution. By extension, the lawmakers who introduced
that provision into the Philippine statute books must be understood
to have intended that the law should operate with the same
inflexibility and rigidity as the American forefathers meant.
The judgment is reversed and the appellant acquitted with costs
charged de oficio.

December 2, 1948
G.R. No. L-1622THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiffappellee,vs.JUAN LANSANAS, defendant-appellant.
Manuel A. Concordia for appellant.First Assistant Solicitor General
Roberto A. Gianzon and Solicitor Antonio A. Torres for appellee.
Paras (Edgardo), J.:
This is an appeal from a judgment of the Peoples Court (Second
Division), finding the appellant guilty of treason and sentencing him
to reclusion perpetua and its accessory penalties and to pay a fine
of ten thousand pesos, plus the costs. Appellants conviction was
based only on counts V and VI of the information. The first charged
the appellant with having enlisted, joined and served in the
organization commonly known as Makapili. The second accused the
appellant of having led and accompanied a patrol of Japanese
soldiers and Makapilis to a raid in barrio Parian, municipality of
Calamba, Province of Laguna, resulting in the arrest of all the male
inhabitants of the barrio and their confinement in the Japanese
garrison in Calamba for three days and two nights without food, in
retaliation for the killing of one of appellants companions. .
We will concede, following appellants argument, that count V was
not established in accordance with the two-witness rule, since only
one witness (Marcial Flores) was specific in testifying that he knew
the appellant to be a Makapili because he used to persuade people,
in meetings held by him with others in different barrios, to join the
Makapili organization. This is, however, sufficient to prove
appellants adherence to the enemy, considering the purposes for
which the organization was created, namely, to accomplish the
fulfillment of the obligations assumed by the Philippines in the Pact
of Alliance with the Empire of Japan; to shed blood and sacrifice
the lives of our people in order to eradicate Anglo-Saxon influence
in East Asia; to collaborate unreservedly and unstintedly with the
Imperial Japanese Army and Navy in the Philippines; and to fight
the common enemies. (People vs. Adriano, L-477, June 30, 1947,
44 O.G. 4300.) 1
The appellant, with such proof adherence, has to be found guilty of
treason under count VI, because at least two witnesses (Marcial
Flores and Tereso Villar) had testified that the appellant played an
active role in bringing about the mass arrest and confinement of the
people of barrio Parian, a punitive measure that took place in
December, 1944, in reprisal for the killing of a Makapili. The fact
that said witnesses were not uniform on the points whether or not

there were Japanese soldiers in the raiding party, or whether or not

the person arrested and confined included not only the males but
some women and children, is not sufficient to entirely discredit their
testimony, as the deficiency refers merely to minor details. Neither
may the negative testimony of Elpidio Elasigue, an alleged victim of
the raid, to the effect that he did not see the appellant among the
raiders prevail over the positive testimony of Marcial Flores and
Tereso Villar who, moreover, were not shown to have had any
improper motive in testifying against the appellant. For obvious
reasons, also, appellants mere denials and the exculpatory
testimony of his wife deserve little or no weight. At any rate, the
latter has even strengthened the theory of the prosecution as to
appellants Makapili membership, when she admitted that the
appellant was a Sakdal before the war.
Counsel for the appellant contends that, assuming the truth of
count VI, no treason was committed because the raid against the
people of barrio Parian was motivated by the slaying of a Makapili,
and not by a desire to betray ones country. This contention,
however, ignores the fact that the appellant had shown his
adherence to the enemy by his Makapili membership and that, by
retaliating for the violent death of a fellow member, he had
defended the Makapili organization and had thereby committed a
positive act in the furtherance of its aims and purposes.
Lack of instruction or education cannot be considered a mitigating
circumstance in favor of the appellant, because love of country
should be a natural feeling of every citizen however unlettered or
cultured he may be.
The appealed judgment is therefore affirmed, with costs against the
appellant. So ordered.


G.R. No. L-2189

November 3, 1906

THE UNITED STATES, Plaintiff-Appellee , vs. FRANCISCO

BAUTISTA, ET AL., Defendants-Appellants.


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The appellants in this case was convicted in the Court of First

Instance of Manila of the crime of conspiracy to overthrow, put
down, and destroy by force the Government of the United States in
the Philippine Islands and the Government of the Philippine Islands,
as defined and penalized in section 4 of Act No. 292 of the
Philippine Commission.

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The appellant Francisco Bautista was sentenced to four years'

imprisonment, with hard labor, and $3,000 fine, and Aniceto de
Guzman and Tomas Puzon, and each of them, to three years'
imprisonment, with hard labor, and a fine of $2,000, and all and
each of the said appellants to pay their proportionate share of the
costs of the trial and to undergo subsidiary imprisonment in the
event of insolvency and failure to pay their respective fines.

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The evidence of record conclusively establishes that during the

latter part of the year 1903 a junta was organized and a conspiracy
entered into by a number of Filipinos, resident in the city of
Hongkong, for the purpose of overthrowing the Government of the
United States in the Philippine Islands by force of arms and
establishing in its stead a government to be known as the Republica
Universal Democratica Filipina; that one Prim Ruiz was recognized
as the titular head of this conspiracy and one Artemio Ricarte as
chief of the military forces to the organized in the Philippines in the
furtherance of the plans of the conspirators; that toward the end of
December, 1903 the said Ricarte came to Manila from Hongkong in
hidding on board the steamship Yuensang; that after his arrival in
the Philippines he held a number of meetings in the city of Manila
and the adjoining provinces whereat was perfected the abovementioned conspiracy hatched in Hongkong that at these meetings
new members were taken into the conspiracy and plans made for
the enlistment of an army of revolution and the raising of money by
national and private loans to carry on the campaign; that to this

end bonds were issued and commissions as officers in the

revolutionary army were granted to a number of conspirators,
empowering the officers thus appointed to raise troops and take
command thereof; and that the conspirators did in fact take the
field and offered armed resistance to the constituted authorities in
the Philippines, only failing in their design of overthrowing the
Government because of their failure to combat successfully with the
officers of the law who were sent against them and of the failure of
the people to rise en masse in response to their propaganda.
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It further appears from the evidence that the appellant Francisco

Bautista, a resident of the city of Manila, was an intimate friend of
the said Ricarte; that Ricarte wrote and notified Bautista of his
coming to Manila and that, to aid him in his journey, Bautista
forwarded to him secretly 200 pesos; that after the arrival of
Ricarte, Bautista was present, taking part in several of the abovementioned meetings whereat the plans of the conspirators were
discussed and perfected, and that at one of these meetings
Bautista, in answer to a question of Ricarte, assured him that the
necessary preparations had been made and that he "held the people
in readiness."
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It further appears that the appellant, Tomas Puzon, united with the
conspirators through the agency of one Jose R. Muoz, who was
proven to have been a prime leader of the movement, in the
intimate confidence of Ricarte, and by him authorized to distribute
bonds and nominate and appoint certain officials, including a
brigadier-general of the signal corps of the proposed revolutionary
forces; that at the time when the conspiracy was being brought to a
head in the city of Manila, Puzon held several conferences with the
said Muoz whereat plans were made for the coming insurrection;
that at one of these conferences Muoz offered Puzon a commission
as brigadier-general of the signal corps and undertook to do his part
in organizing the troops; and that at a later conference he assured
the said Muoz that he had things in readiness, meaning thereby
that he had duly organized in accordance with the terms of his

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Puzon at the trial declared that he had never united himself with the
conspirators; that he had accepted the appointment as brigadiergeneral of the signal corps of the revolutionary forces with no
intention of ever taking any further action in the matter, and merely
because he did not wish to vex his friend Muoz by refusing to do
so, and that when Muoz offered him the appointment as brigadiergeneral he did so in "a joking tone," and that he, Puzon, did not
know that Ricarte was in Manila organizing the conspiracy at that

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These statements, however (except in so far as they corroborate

the testimony of Muoz as to the fact that he had several interviews
with Puzon at which plans were entered into for the advancement of
the cause of the conspirators), can not be accepted as true in the
light of a written statement signed by Puzon himself at the time
when he was first arrested, part of which is as follows:
Q. What is your name and what is your age, residence, and
occupation? - A. My name is Tomas Puzon; born in Binondo in the
Province of Manila; 37 years of age; married; by profession a
teacher of primary and secondary schools, and residing in Calle
Concepcion, No. 195, district of Quiapo.

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Q. Do you know Artemio Ricarte? - A. Personally I do not know him,

but by name, yes.
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Q. Did you have any information that Ricarte was in these Islands
and with what object he came here? And if you know it to be true,
through whom did you get such information? - A. In the first place I
had notice of his coming to the Islands as well as his object by
reading the newspapers of Manila, and secondly because J. R.
Muoz told me the same on one occasion when I was in his house
to visit him.

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Q. Did you acquire this information through any other person? - A.

No, sir; I have no more information than that which I have

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Q. Are you a part of his new revolution presided over by Ricarte? A. Yes, sir.

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Q. What is the employment (empleo) which you have in this

organization, and who is it who invited you to join it? - A. J. R.
Muoz, who is general of division of this new organization, spoke to
me with much instance, asking me to accept employment as
brigadier-general, chief of signal corps, to which I, on account of his
request and in view of the fact that the said Muoz is a friend of
mine from my youth, acceded; nevertheless I have organized
absolutely nothing in respect to this matter.
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Q. Did you accept the employment and did they give you any
commission for it? - A. Yes, sir; I accepted said employment and
although they gave me an order to organize in my brigade I did not
do it, because I had neither the confidence nor the will.

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Q. If you didn't have faith in the said authorization nor the will to
carry out what was intrusted to you, why did you accept
employment as general of the brigade? - A. I accepted it on account
of friendship and not to vex a friend, but I never have the intention

of fulfilling the obligations.

Puzon, when on the stand in his own behalf, did not deny that he
made this statement, but he attempted to explain it away by saying
that when he made it he was so exited that he did not know just
what he was saying. He does not allege that improper means were
taken to procure the confession, and it was proven at the trial that
it was freely and voluntarily made and not the result of violence,
intimidation, threat, menace, or promise of reward or leniency. The
accused appears to be an intelligent man and was for eighteen
years a school-teacher and later a telegraph operator under the
Spanish Government, and during the insurrection he held a
commission as an officer in the signal corps of the revolutionary
army. His confession is clear and intelligible and in no way supports
his pretense that he was so excited as not to know what he was
saying when he made it, and its truth and accuracy in so far it
inculpates him is sustained by other evidence of record in this
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It is contended that the acceptance or possession of an appointment

as an officer of the military forces of the conspiracy should not be
considered as evidence against him in the light of the decisions of
this court in the cases of the United States vs. Antonio de los Reyes
(2 Off. Gaz., 364), United States vs. Silverio Nuez et al. 2 (3 Off.
Gaz., 408), the United States vs. Eusebio de la Serna et al. 3 (3 Off.
Gaz., 528), and United States vs. Bernardo Manalo et al. 4 (4 Off.
Gaz., 570). But the case at bar is to be distinguished from these
and like cases by the fact that the record clearly disclose that the
accused actually and voluntarily accepted the apppointment in
question and in doing so assumed all the obligations implied by
such acceptance, and that the charge in this case is that of
conspiracy, and the fact that the accused accepted the appointment
is taken into consideration merely as evidence of his criminal
relations with the conspirators. In the first of these cases - the
United States vs. De los Reyes - the accused was charged with
treason, and the court found that the mere acceptance of a
commission by the defendant, nothing else being done either by
himself or by his companions, was not an "overt act" of treason
within the meaning of the law, but the court further expressly held
that That state of affairs disclosed body of evidence, . . . the playing of
the game of government like children, the secretaries, colonels, and
captains, the pictures of flags and seals and commission, all on
proper, for the purpose of duping and misleading the ignorant and
the visionary . . . should not be dignified by the name of treason.
In the second case - the United States vs. Nuez et al. -- wherein

the accused were charged with brigandage, the court held that,
aside from the possession of commissions in an insurgent band,
there was no evidence to show that it they had committed the crime
and, "moreover, that it appeared that they had never united with
any party of brigands and never had been in any way connected
with such parties unless the physical possession of these
appointments proved such relation," and that it appeared that each
one of the defendants "were separately approached at different
times by armed men while working in the field and were virtually
compelled to accept the commissions."
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In the case of the United States vs. de la Serna et al. it was

contended that de la Serna had confessed that "he was one of the
members of the pulajanes, with a commission as colonel," but the
court was of opinion that the evidence did not sustain a finding that
such confession had in fact been made, hence the doctrine laid
down in that decision, "that the mere possession of such an
appointment, when it is not shown that the possessor executed
some external act by the virtue of the same, does not constitute
sufficient proof of the guilt of the defendant," applies only the case
of Enrique Camonas, against whom the only evidence of record was
"the fact that a so-called appointment of sergeant was found at his
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In the case of the United States vs. Bernardo Manalo et al. there
was testimony that four appointments of officials in a revolutionary
army were found in a trunk in the house of one Valentin Colorado,
and the court in said case reaffirmed the doctrine that "the mere
possession of the documents of this kind is not sufficient to convict,"
and held, furthermore, that there was "evidence in the case that at
the time these papers were received by the appellant, Valentin
Colorado, he went to one of the assistant councilmen of the barrio
in which lived, a witness for the Government, showed him the
envelope, and stated to him he had received these papers; that he
didn't know what they were and requested this councilman to open
them. The coucilman did not wish to do that but took the envelope
and sent it to the councilman Jose Millora. We are satisfied that this
envelope contained the appointments in question and that the
appellant did not act under the appointment but immediately
reported the receipt of them to the authorities."
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It is quite conceivable that a group of conspirators might appoint a

person in no wise connected with them to some high office in the
conspiracy, in the hope that such person would afterwards accept
the commission and thus unite himself with them, and it is even
possible that such an appointment might be forwarded in the mail
or otherwise, and thus come into the possession of the person thus
nominated, and that such appointment might be found in his

possession, and, notwithstanding all this, the person in whose

possession the appointment was found might be entirely innocent of
all intention to join the conspiracy, never having authorized the
conspirators to use his name in this manner nor to send such a
commission to him. Indeed, cases are not unknown in the annals of
criminal prosecutions wherein it has been proven that such
appointments have been concealed in the baggage or among the
papers of the accused persons, so that when later discovered by the
officers of the law they might be used as evidence against the
accused. But where a genuine conspiracy is shown to have existed
as in this case, and it is proven that the accused voluntarily
accepted an appointment as an officer in that conspiracy, we think
that this fact may properly be taken into consideration as evidence
of his relations with the conspirators.

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Counsel for appellants contend that the constitutional provision

requiring the testimony of at least two witnesses to the same overt
act, or confession in open court, to support a conviction for the
crime of treason should be applied in this case, but this court has
always held, in conformance with the decisions of the Federal courts
of the United States, that the crime of conspiring to commit treason
is a separate and distinct offense from the crime of treason, and
that this constitutional provision is not applicable in such cases. (In
re Bollman, 4 Cranch, 74; U. S. vs. Mitchell, 2 Dall., 348.)
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The evidence of record does not sustain the conviction of Aniceto de

Guzman. The finding of his guilt rest substantially upon his
acceptance of a number of bonds from one of the conspirators, such
bonds having been prepared by the conspirators for the purpose of
raising funds for carrying out the plans of the conspiracy, but it does
not affirmatively appear that he knew anything of the existence of
the conspiracy or that, when he received the bonds wrapped in a
bundle, he knew what the contents of the bundle was, nor that ever,
on any occasion, assumed any obligation with respect to these
bonds. He, himself, states that when he opened the bundle and
discovered the nature of the contents he destroyed them with fire,
and that he never had any dealings with the conspirators in relation
to the conspiracy or the object for which it was organized.
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We are of opinion, therefore, that the judgment and sentence

before us, in so far as it affects the said Aniceto de Guzman, should
be reversed, with his proportionate share of the costs of both
instances de oficio, and that the said Anecito de Guzman should be
acquitted of the crime with which he is charged and set a liberty
forthwith, and that the judgment and sentence of the trial court, in
so far as it applies to Francisco Bautista and Tomas Puzon, should
be, and is hereby, affirmed, except so far as it imposes subsidiary
imprisonment in the event of insolvency and failure to pay their

respective fines, and, there being no authority in law of such

provision, so much of the sentence as undertakes to impose
subsidiary imprisonment is hereby reversed.

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After ten days let judgment be entered in accordance herewith,

when the record will be returned to the trial court for execution. So
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G.R. No. 118075 September 5, 1997

CATANTAN y TAYONG, accused-appellant.

were charged with violation of PD No. 532 otherwise known as the
Anti-Piracy and Highway Robbery Law of 1974 for having on 27
June 1993, while armed with a firearm and a bladed weapon,
acting in conspiracy with one another, by means of violence and
intimidation, wilfully and feloniously attacked, assaulted and
inflicted physical injuries on Eugene Pilapil and Juan Pilapil Jr. who
were then fishing in the seawaters of Tabogon, Cebu, and seized
their fishing boat, to their damage and prejudice. 1
The Regional Trial Court of Cebu, after trial, found both accused
Emiliano Catantan y Tayong and Jose Macven Ursal alias "Bimbo"
guilty of the crime charged and sentenced them to reclusion
perpetua. 2 Of the duo only Emiliano Catantan appealed.
In his appeal, accused Catantan contends that the trial court erred
in convicting him of piracy as the facts proved only constitute grave
coercion defined in Art. 286 of the Revised Penal Code and not
piracy under PD No. 532.
The evidence for the prosecution is that at 3:00 o'clock in the
morning of 27 June 1993, the Pilapil brothers Eugene, 21, and
Juan Jr., 18, were fishing in the sea some 3 kilometers away from
the shores of Tabogon, Cebu. Suddenly, another boat caught up
with them. One of them, later identified as the accused Emiliano
Catantan, bearded the pump boat of the Pilapils and leveled his
gun at Eugene. With his gun, Catantan struck Eugene on the left
cheekbone and ordered him and Juan Jr. to "dapa." 3 Then
Catantan told Ursal to follow him to the pumpboat of the Pilapils.
There they hogtied Eugene, forced him to lie down at the bottom of
the boat, covered him with a tarpaulin up to his neck, stepped on
him and ordered Juan Jr. to ferry them to Daan Tabogon. They left

behind the other pumpboat which the accused had earlier used
together with its passengers one of whom was visibly tied.
Noting that they were already far out into the sea, Eugene
reminded Catantan that they were now off-course but Catantan
told Eugene to keep quiet or he would be killed. Later, the engine
conked out and Juan Jr. was directed to row the boat. Eugene
asked to be set free so he could help but was not allowed; he was
threatened with bodily harm instead.
Meanwhile Juan Jr. managed to fix the engine, but as they went
farther out into the open sea the engine stalled again. This time
Eugene was allowed to assist his brother. Eugene's hands were
set free but his legs were tied to the outrigger. At the point of a tres
cantos 4 held by Ursal, Eugene helped row the boat.
As they passed the shoreline of Nipa, they saw another boat.
Catantan asked whose boat that was and the Pilapils told him that
it was operated by a certain Juanito and that its engine was new.
Upon learning this, Catantan ordered the Pilapil brothers to
approach the boat cautioning them however not to move or say
On the pretext that they were buying fish Catantan boarded the
"new" pumpboat. Once aboard he ordered the operator Juanito to
take them to Mungaz, another town of Cebu. When Juanito tried to
beg-off by saying that he would still pull up his net and harvest his
catch, Catantan drew his revolver and said, "You choose between
the two, or I will kill you." 5 Juanito, obviously terrified, immediately
obeyed and Ursal hopped in from the other pumpboat and joined
But, as Ursal was transferring to the "new" pumpboat, its outrigger
caught the front part of the pumpboat of the Pilapils so he kicked
hard its prow; it broke. The jolt threw Eugene into the sea and he
landed on the water headlong. Juan Jr. then untied his brother's
legs and the two swam together clinging to their boat. Fortunately
another pumpboat passed by and towed them safely ashore.
Section 2, par. (d), of PD No. 532, defines piracy as "any attack
upon or seizure of any vessel, or the taking away of the whole or
part thereof or its cargo, equipment, or the personal belongings of
the complement or passengers, irrespective of the value thereof,
by means of violence against or intimidation of persons or force

upon things, committed by any person, including a passenger or

member of the complement of said vessel, in Philippine waters,
shall be considered as piracy. The offenders shall be considered
as pirates and punished as hereinafter provided." And a vessel is
construed in Sec. 2, par. (b), of the same decree as "any vessel or
watercraft used for transport of passengers and cargo from one
place to another through Philippine waters. It shall include all kinds
and types of vessels or boats used in fishing (emphasis supplied).
On the other hand, grave coercion as defined in Art. 286 of the
Revised Penal Code is committed by "any person who, without
authority of law, shall, by means of violence, prevent another from
doing something not prohibited by law, or compel him to do
something against his will, whether it be right or wrong."
Accused-appellant argues that in order that piracy may be
committed it is essential that there be an attack on or seizure of a
vessel. He claims that he and his companion did not attack or
seize the fishing boat of the Pilapil brothers by using force or
intimidation but merely boarded the boat, and it was only when
they were already on board that they used force to compel the
Pilapils to take them to some other place. Appellant also insists
that he and Ursal had no intention of permanently taking
possession or depriving complainants of their boat. As a matter of
fact, when they saw another pumpboat they ordered the brothers
right away to approach that boat so they could leave the Pilapils
behind in their boat. Accordingly, appellant claims, he simply
committed grave coercion and not piracy.
We do not agree. Under the definition of piracy in PD No. 532 as
well as grave coercion as penalized in Art. 286 of the Revised
Penal Code, this case falls squarely within the purview of piracy.
While it may be true that Eugene and Juan Jr. were compelled to
go elsewhere other than their place of destination, such
compulsion was obviously part of the act of seizing their boat. The
testimony of Eugene, one of the victims, shows that the appellant
actually seized the vessel through force and intimidation. The
direct testimony of Eugene is significant and enlightening
Q: Now, while you and your younger brother were fishing at the
seawaters of Tabogon at that time, was there anything unusual that
A: Yes.

Q: Will you please tell the Court what that was?

A: While we were fishing at Tabogon another pumpboat arrived
and the passengers of that pumpboat boarded our pumpboat.
Q: Now, that pumpboat which you said approached you, how many
were riding in that pumpboat?
A: Four.
Q: When you said the passengers of that pumpboat boarded your
pumpboat, how did they do that?
A: They approached somewhat suddenly and came aboard the
pumpboat (emphasis supplied).
Q: How many suddenly came aboard your pumpboat?
A: Only one.
Q: What did that person do when he came aboard your pumpboat?
A: When he boarded our pumpboat he aimed his revolver at us
(emphasis supplied).
Q: By the way, when he aimed his revolver to you, did he say
anything to you?
xxx xxx xxx
A: He said, "dapa," which means lie down (emphasis supplied).
Q: To whom did he aim that revolver?
A: He aimed the revolver on me.
Q: What else did he do?
A: Then he ordered his companion to come aboard the pumpboat.
Q: What did he do with his revolver?

A: He struck my face with the revolver, hitting the lower portion of

my left eye.
Q: Now, after you were struck with the revolver, what did these
persons do?
A: We were ordered to take them to a certain place.
Q: To what place did he order you to go?
A: To Daan Tabogon. 6

To sustain the defense and convert this case of piracy into one of
grave coercion would be to ignore the fact that a fishing vessel
cruising in Philippine waters was seized by the accused by means
of violence against or intimidation of persons. As Eugene Pilapil
testified, the accused suddenly approached them and boarded
their pumpboat and Catantan aimed his revolver at them as he
ordered complaining witness Eugene Pilapil to "dapa" or lie down
with face downwards, and then struck his face with a revolver,
hitting the lower portion of his left eye, after which, Catantan told
his victims at gun point to take them to Daan Tabogon.
The incident happened at 3:00 o'clock in the morning. The sudden
appearance of another pumpboat with four passengers, all
strangers to them, easily intimidated the Pilapil brothers that they
were impelled to submit in complete surrender to the marauders.
The moment Catantan jumped into the other pumpboat he had full
control of his victims. The sight of a drawn revolver in his hand
drove them to submission. Hence the issuance of PD No. 532
designed to avert situations like the case at bar and discourage
and prevent piracy in Philippine waters. Thus we cite the
succeeding "whereas" clauses of the decree
Whereas, reports from law-enforcement agencies reveal that
lawless elements are still committing acts of depredations upon the
persons and properties of innocent and defenseless inhabitants
who travel from one place to another, thereby disturbing the peace,
order and tranquility of the nation and stunting the economic and
social progress of the people;
Whereas, such acts of depredations constitute either piracy or
highway robbery/brigandage which are among the highest forms of
lawlessness condemned by the penal statutes of all countries; and,

Whereas, it is imperative that said lawless elements be

discouraged from perpetrating such acts of depredations by
imposing heavy penalty on the offenders, with the end in view of
eliminating all obstacle to the economic, social, educational and
community progress of the people.
The Pilapil brothers are mere fisherfolk whose only means of
livelihood is fishing in sea waters. They brave the natural elements
and contend with the unknown forces of the sea to bring home a
bountiful harvest. It is on these small fishermen that the
townspeople depend for the daily bread. To impede their livelihood
would be to deprive them of their very subsistence, and the likes of
the accused within the purview of PD No. 532 are the obstacle to
the "economic, social, educational and community progress of the
people." Had it not been for the chance passing of another
pumpboat, the fate of the Pilapil brothers, left alone helpless in a
floundering, meandering outrigger with a broken prow and a
conked-out engine in open sea, could not be ascertained.
While appellant insists that he and Ursal had no intention of
depriving the Pilapils permanently of their boat, proof of which they
left behind the brothers with their boat, the truth is, Catantan and
Ursal abandoned the Pilapils only because their pumpboat broke
down and it was necessary to transfer to another pumpboat that
would take them back to their lair. Unfortunately for the pirates
their "new" pumpboat ran out of gas so they were apprehended by
the police soon after the Pilapils reported the matter to the local
The fact that the revolver used by the appellant to seize the boat
was not produced in evidence cannot exculpate him from the
crime. The fact remains, and we state it again, that Catantan and
his co-accused Ursal seized through force and intimidation the
pumpboat of the Pilapils while the latter were fishing in Philippine
WHEREFORE, finding no reversible error in the decision appealed
from, the conviction of accused-appellant EMILIANO CATANTAN y
TAYONG for the crime of piracy penalized under PD No. 532 and
sentencing him accordingly to reclusion perpetua, is AFFIRMED.
Costs against accused-appellant.

[G.R. No. 111709. August 30, 2001]

This is one of the older cases which unfortunately has remained in
docket of the Court for sometime. It was reassigned, together with
other similar cases, to undersigned ponente in pursuance of A.M.
No. 00-9-03-SC dated February 27, 2001.
In the evening of March 2, 1991, M/T Tabangao, a cargo vessel
owned by the PNOC Shipping and Transport Corporation, loaded
with 2,000 barrels of kerosene, 2,600 barrels of regular gasoline,
and 40,000 barrels of diesel oil, with a total value of
P40,426,793,87. was sailing off the coast of Mindoro near Silonay
The vessel, manned by 21 crew members, including Captain
Edilberto Libo-on, Second Mate Christian Torralba, and Operator
Isaias Ervas, was suddenly boarded, with the use of an aluminum
ladder, by seven fully armed pirates led by Emilio Changco, older
brother of accused-appellant Cecilio Changco. The pirates, including
accused-appellants Tulin, Loyola, and Infante, Jr. were armed with
M-16 rifles, .45 and .38 caliber handguns, and bolos. They detained
the crew and took complete control of the vessel. Thereafter,
accused-appellant Loyola ordered three crew members to paint
over, using black paint, the name "M/T Tabangao" on the front and
rear portions of the vessel, as well as the PNOC logo on the chimney
of the vessel. The vessel was then painted with the name "Galilee,"
with registry at San Lorenzo, Honduras. The crew was forced to sail
to Singapore, all the while sending misleading radio messages to
PNOC that the ship was undergoing repairs.
PNOC, after losing radio contact with the vessel, reported the
disappearance of the vessel to the Philippine Coast Guard and
secured the assistance of the Philippine Air Force and the Philippine
Navy. However, search and rescue operations yielded negative
results. On March 9, 1991, the ship arrived in the vicinity of
Singapore and cruised around the area presumably to await another
vessel which, however, failed to arrive. The pirates were thus forced
to return to the Philippines on March 14, 1991, arriving at
Calatagan, Batangas on March 20, 1991 where it remained at sea.

On March 28, 1991, the "M/T Tabangao" again sailed to and

anchored about 10 to 18 nautical miles from Singapore's shoreline
where another vessel called "Navi Pride" anchored beside it. Emilio
Changco ordered the crew of "M/T Tabangao" to transfer the
vessel's cargo to the hold of "Navi Pride". Accused-appellant Cheong
San Hiong supervised the crew of "Navi Pride" in receiving the
cargo. The transfer, after an interruption, with both vessels leaving
the area, was completed on March 30,1991.
On March 30, 1991, "M/T Tabangao" returned to the same area and
completed the transfer of cargo to "Navi Pride."
On April 8, 1991, "M/T Tabangao" arrived at Calatagan, Batangas,
but the vessel remained at sea. On April 10, 1991, the members of
the crew were released in three batches with the stern warning not
to report the incident to government authorities for a period of two
days or until April 12, 1991, otherwise they would be killed. The
first batch was fetched from the shoreline by a newly painted
passenger jeep driven by accused-appellant Cecilio Changco,
brother of Emilio Changco, who brought them to Imus, Cavite and
gave P20,000.00 to Captain Libo-on for fare of the crew in
proceeding to their respective homes. The second batch was fetched
by accused-appellant Changco at midnight of April 10, 1991 and
were brought to different places in Metro Manila.
On April 12, 1991, the Chief Engineer, accompanied by the
members of the crew, called the PNOC Shipping and Transport
Corporation office to report the incident. The crew members were
brought to the Coast Guard Office for investigation. The incident
was also reported to the National Bureau of Investigation where the
officers and members of the crew executed sworn statements
regarding the incident.
A series of arrests was thereafter effected as follows:
a. On May 19, 1991, the NBI received verified information that the
pirates were present at U.K. Beach, Balibago, Calatagan, Batangas.
After three days of surveillance, accused-appellant Tulin was
arrested and brought to the NBI headquarters in Manila.
b. Accused-appellants Infante, Jr. and Loyola were arrested by
chance at Aguinaldo Hi-way by NBI agents as the latter were
pursuing the mastermind, who managed to evade arrest.
c. On May 20, 1991, accused-appellants Hiong and Changco were
arrested at the lobby of Alpha Hotel in Batangas City.
On October 24 1991, an Information charging qualified piracy or
violation of Presidential Decree No. 532 (piracy in Philippine Waters)

was filed against accused-appellants, as follows:

The undersigned State Prosecutor accuses ROGER P. TULIN,
and CHEONG SAN HIONG, and nine (9) other JOHN DOES of
qualified piracy (Violation of P.D. No. 532), committed as follows:
That on or about and during the period from March 2 to April 10,
1991, both dates inclusive, and for sometime prior and subsequent
thereto, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said
accused, then manning a motor launch and armed with high
powered guns, conspiring and confederating together and mutually
helping one another, did then and there, wilfully, unlawfully and
feloniously fire upon, board and seize while in the Philippine waters
M/T PNOC TABANGCO loaded with petroleum products, together
with the complement and crew members, employing violence
against or intimidation of persons or force upon things, then direct
the vessel to proceed to Singapore where the cargoes were
unloaded and thereafter returned to the Philippines on April 10,
1991, in violation of the aforesaid law.
(pp. 11920, Rollo.)
This was docketed as Criminal Case No. 91-94896 before Branch 49
of the Regional Trial Court of the National Capital Judicial Region
stationed in Manila. Upon arraignment, accused-appellants pleaded
not guilty to the charge. Trial thereupon ensued.
Accused-appellants Tulin, Infante, Jr., and Loyola, notwithstanding
some inconsistencies in their testimony as to where they were on
March 1, 1991, maintained the defense of denial, and disputed the
charge, as well as the transfer of any cargo from "M/T Tabangao" to
the "Navi Pride." All of them claimed having their own respective
sources of livelihood. Their story is to the effect that on March 2,
1991, while they were conversing by the beach, a red speedboat
with Captain Edilberto Liboon and Second Mate Christian Torralba on
board, approached the seashore. Captain Liboon inquired from the
three if they wanted to work in a vessel. They were told that the
work was light and that each worker was to be paid P3,000.00 a
month with additional compensation if they worked beyond that
period. They agreed even though they had no sea-going experience.
On board, they cooked, cleaned the vessel, prepared coffee, and ran
errands for the officers. They denied having gone to Singapore,
claiming that the vessel only went to Batangas. Upon arrival thereat
in the morning of March 21, 1991, they were paid P1,000.00 each

as salary for nineteen days of work, and were told that the balance
would be remitted to their addresses. There was neither receipt nor
contracts of employment signed by the parties.
Accused-appellant Changco categorically denied the charge,
averring that he was at home sleeping on April 10, 1991. He
testified that he is the younger brother of Emilio Changco, Jr.
Accused-appellant Cheong San Hiong, also known as Ramzan Ali,
adduced evidence that he studied in Sydney, Australia, obtaining
the "Certificate" as Chief Officer, and later completed the course as
a "Master" of a vessel, working as such for two years on board a
vessel. He was employed at Navi Marine Services, Pte., Ltd. as Port
Captain. The company was engaged in the business of trading
petroleum, including shipoil, bunker lube oil, and petroleum to
domestic and international markets. It owned four vessels, one of
which was "Navi Pride."
On March 2, 1991, the day before "M/T Tabangao" was seized by
Emilio Changco and his cohorts, Hiong's name was listed in the
company's letter to the Mercantile Section of the Maritime
Department of the Singapore government as the radio telephone
operator on board the vessel "Ching Ma."
The company was then dealing for the first time with Paul Gan, a
Singaporean broker, who offered to sell to the former bunker oil for
the amount of 300,000.00 Singapore dollars. After the company
paid over one-half of the aforesaid amount to Paul Gan, the latter,
together with Joseph Ng, Operations Superintendent of the firm,
proceeded to the high seas on board "Navi Pride" but failed to locate
the contact vessel.
The transaction with Paul Gan finally pushed through on March 27,
1991. Hiong, upon his return on board the vessel "Ching Ma," was
assigned to supervise a ship-to-ship transfer of diesel oil off the port
of Singapore, the contact vessel to be designated by Paul Gan.
Hiong was ordered to ascertain the quantity and quality of the oil
and was given the amount of 300,000.00 Singapore Dollars for the
purchase. Hiong, together with Paul Gan, and the surveyor William
Yao, on board "Navi Pride" sailed toward a vessel called "M/T
Galilee". Hiong was told that "M/T Galilee" would be making the
transfer. Although no inspection of "Navi Pride" was made by the
port authorities before departure, Navi Marine Services, Pte., Ltd.
was able to procure a port clearance upon submission of General
Declaration and crew list. Hiong, Paul Gan, and the brokers were
not in the crew list submitted and did not pass through the
immigration. The General Declaration falsely reflected that the
vessel carried 11,900 tons.

On March 28, 1991, "Navi Pride" reached the location of "M/T

Galilee". The brokers then told the Captain of the vessel to ship-side
with "M/T Galilee" and then transfer of the oil transpired. Hiong and
the surveyor William Yao met the Captain of "M/T Galilee," called
"Captain Bobby" (who later turned out to be Emilio Changco). Hiong
claimed that he did not ask for the full name of Changco nor did he
ask for the latter's personal card.
Upon completion of the transfer, Hiong took the soundings of the
tanks in the "Navi Pride" and took samples of the cargo. The
surveyor prepared the survey report which "Captain Bobby" signed
under the name "Roberto Castillo." Hiong then handed the payment
to Paul Gan and William Yao. Upon arrival at Singapore in the
morning of March 29, 1991, Hiong reported the quantity and quality
of the cargo to the company.
Thereafter, Hiong was again asked to supervise another transfer of
oil purchased by the firm " from "M/T Galilee" to "Navi Pride." The
same procedure as in the first transfer was observed. This time,
Hiong was told that that there were food and drinks, including beer,
purchased by the company for the crew of "M/T Galilee. The
transfer took ten hours and was completed on March 30, 1991. Paul
Gan was paid in full for the transfer.
On April 29 or 30, 1991, Emilio Changco intimated to Hiong that he
had four vessels and wanted to offer its cargo to cargo operators.
Hiong was asked to act as a broker or ship agent for the sale of the
cargo in Singapore. Hiong went to the Philippines to discuss the
matter with Emilio Changco, who laid out the details of the new
transfer, this time with "M/T Polaris" as contact vessel. Hiong was
told that the vessel was scheduled to arrive at the port of Batangas
that weekend. After being billeted at Alpha Hotel in Batangas City,
where Hiong checked in under the name "SONNY CSH." A person by
the name of "KEVIN OCAMPO," who later turned out to be Emilio
Changco himself, also checked in at Alpha Hotel. From accusedappellant Cecilio Changco, Hiong found out that the vessel was not
arriving. Hiong was thereafter arrested by NBI agents.
After trial, a 95-page decision was rendered convicting accusedappellants of the crime charged. The dispositive portion of said
decision reads:
WHEREFORE, in the light of the foregoing considerations, judgment
is hereby rendered by this Court finding the accused Roger Tulin,
Virgilio Loyola, Andres Infante, Jr. and Cecilio Changco guilty
beyond reasonable doubt, as principals, of the crime of piracy in
Philippine Waters defined in Section 2(d) of Presidential Decree No.
532 and the accused Cheong San Hiong, as accomplice, to said

crime. Under Section 3(a) of the said law, the penalty for the
principals of said crime is mandatory death. However, considering
that, under the 1987 Constitution, the Court cannot impose the
death penalty, the accused Roger Tulin, Virgilio Loyola, Andres
Infante, ]r., and Cecilio Changco are hereby each meted the penalty
of RECLUSION PERPETUA, with all the accessory penalties of the
law. The accused Cheong San Hiong is hereby meted the penalty of
RECLUSION PERPETUA, pursuant to Article 52 of the Revised Penal
Code in relation to Section 5 of PD 532. The accused Roger Tulin,
Virgilio Loyola, Andres Infante, Jr. and Cecilio Changco are hereby
ordered to return to the PNOC Shipping and Transport Corporation
the "M/T Tabangao" or if the accused can no longer return the
same, the said accused are hereby ordered to remit, jointly and
severally, to said corporation the value thereof in the amount of
P11,240,000.00 Philippine Currency, with interests thereon, at the
rate of 6% per annum from March 2, 1991 until the said amount is
paid in full. All the accused including Cheong San Hiong are hereby
ordered to return to the Caltex Philippines, Inc. the cargo of the
"M/T Tabangao", or if the accused can no longer return the said
cargo to said corporation, all the accused are hereby condemned to
pay, jointly and severally, to the Caltex Refinery, Inc., the value of
said cargo in the amount of P40,426,793.87, Philippine Currency
plus interests until said amount is paid in full. After the accused
Cheong San Hiong has served his sentence, he shall be deported to
All the accused shall be credited for the full period of their detention
at the National Bureau of Investigation and the City Jail of Manila
during the pendency of this case provided that they agreed in
writing to abide by and comply strictly with the rules and
regulations of the City Jail of Manila and the National Bureau of
Investigation. With costs against all the accused.

G.R. No. L-57292 February 18, 1986

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs.
ANDAW JAMAHALI, accused-appellants.


This is an automatic review of the decision of the defunct Court of
First Instance of Basilan, Judge Jainal D. Rasul as ponente,
imposing the death penalty.
In Criminal Case No. 318 of the aforesaid court, JULAIDE SIYOH,
were accused of qualified piracy with triple murder and frustrated
murder said to have been committed according to the information
as follows:
That on or about the 14th day of July, 1979, and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, viz., at Mataja Is., Municipality
of Lantawan, Province of Basilan, Philippines, the above named
accused, being strangers and without lawful authority, armed with
firearms and taking advantage of their superior strength,
conspiring and confederating together, aiding and assisting one
with the other, with intent to gain and by the use of violence or
intimidation against persons and force upon things, did then and
there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, fire their guns into the air
and stop the pumpboat wherein Rodolfo de Castro, Danilo Hiolen,
Anastacio de Guzman and Antonio de Guzman were riding,
traveling at that time from the island of Baluk-Baluk towards Pilas,
boarded the said pumpboat and take, steal and carry away all their
cash money, wrist watches, stereo sets, merchandise and other
personal belongings amounting to the total amount of P 18,342.00,
Philippine Currency; that the said accused, on the occasion of the
crime herein above-described, taking advantage that the said
victims were at their mercy, did then and there willfully, unlawfully
and feloniously, with intent to kill, ordered them to jump into the
water, whereupon, the said accused, fired their guns at them which
caused the death of Rodolfo de Castro, Danilo Hiolen, Anastacio
de Guzman and wounding one Antonio de Guzman; thus the
accused have performed all the acts of execution which would

have produced the crime of Qualified Piracy with Quadruple

Murder, but which, nevertheless, did not produce it by reasons of
causes in dependent of their will, that is, said Antonio de Guzman
was able to swim to the shore and hid himself, and due to the
timely medical assistance rendered to said victim, Antonio de
Guzman which prevented his death. (Expediente, pp. 1-2.)
An order of arrest was issued against all of the accused but only
Julaide Siyoh and Omar-kayam Kiram were apprehended. (Id, p.
After trial, the court a quo rendered a decision with the following
dispositive portion.
WHEREFORE, in view of the fore going considerations, this Court
finds the accused Omar-kayam Kiram and Julaide Siyoh guilty
beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Qualified Piracy with
Triple Murder and Frustrated Murder as defined and penalized
under the provision of Presidential Decree No. 532, and hereby
sentences each one of them to suffer the supreme penalty of
DEATH. However, considering the provision of Section 106 of the
Code of Mindanao and Sulu, the illiteracy or ignorance or extreme
poverty of the accused who are members of the cultural minorities,
under a regime of so called compassionate society, a commutation
to life imprisonment is recommended. (Id, p. 130.)
In their appeal, Siyoh and Kiram make only one assignment of
DOUBT. (Brief, p. 8.)
The People's version of the facts is as follows:
Alberto Aurea was a businessman engaged in selling dry goods at
the Larmitan Public Market, in the province of Basilan (pp. 2-3,
tsn). On July 7, 1979 and on July 10, 1979, Antonio de Guzman,
Danilo Hiolen, Rodolfo de Castro and Anastacio de Guzman
received goods from his store consisting of mosquito nets,
blankets, wrist watch sets and stereophono with total value of
P15,000 more or less (pp. 4-6, tsn). The goods were received
under an agreement that they would be sold by the above-named

persons and thereafter they would pay the value of said goods to
Aurea and keep part of the profits for themselves. However these
people neither paid the value of the goods to Aurea nor returned
the goods to him (pp. 6-7, tsn). On July 15, 1979, Aurea was
informed by Antonio de Guzman that his group was held up near
Baluk- Baluk Island and that his companions were hacked (p. 8,
tsn). On July 16, 1979, the bodies of Rodolfo de Castro, Danilo
Hiolen and Anastacio de Guzman were brought by the PC
seaborne patrol to Isabela, Basilan (pp. 17-18, 29, tsn). Only
Antonio de Guzman survived the incident that caused the death of
his companions.
It appears that on July 10, 1979, Antonio de Guzman together with
his friends who were also travelling merchants like him, were on
their way to Pilas Island, Province of Basilan, to sell the goods they
received from Alberto Aurea. The goods they brought with them
had a total value of P18,000.00 (pp- 36-37, tsn). They left for Pilas
Island at 2:00 p.m. of July 10, 1979 on a pumpboat. They took
their dinner and slept that night in the house of Omar-kayam Kiram
at Pilas Island (pp. 37-38, tsn).
The following day, July 11, 1979, de Guzman's group, together with
Kiram and Julaide Siyoh, started selling their goods, They were
able to sell goods worth P 3,500.00. On July 12, 1979, the group,
again accompanied by Kiram and Siyoh, went to sell their goods at
another place, Sangbay, where they sold goods worth P 12,000.00
(pp. 40-42, tsn). They returned to Pilas Island at 5:00 o'clock in the
afternoon and again slept at Kiram's house. However that night
Kiram did not sleep in his house, and upon inquiry the following
day when Antonio de Guzman saw him, Kiram told the former that
he slept at the house of Siyoh.
On that day, July 13, 1979, the group of Antonio de Guzman went
to Baluk-Baluk, a place suggested by Kiram. They were able to sell
goods worth P3,000.00 (pp. 43-46, tsn). They returned to Pilas
Island for the night but Kiram did not sleep with them (p. 47, tsn).
The following day, July 14, 1979, the group again went to BalukBaluk accompanied by Kiram and Siyoh (pp. 48, 50 t.s.n), They
used the pumpboat of Kiram. Kiram and Siyoh were at that time
armed with 'barongs'. They arrived at Baluk-Baluk at about 10:00
o'clock in the morning and upon arrival at the place Kiram and
Siyoh going ahead of the group went to a house about 15 meters

away from the place where the group was selling its goods (pp. 5053, tsn). Kiram and Siyoh were seen by the group talking with two
persons whose faces the group saw but could not recognize (pp.
53-54, tsn). After selling their goods, the members of the group,
together with Kiram and Siyoh, prepared to return to Pilas Island.
They rode on a pumpboat where Siyoh positioned himself at the
front while Kiram operated the engine. On the way to Pilas Island,
Antonio de Guzman saw another pumpboat painted red and green
about 200 meters away from their pumpboat (pp. 55, tsn). Shortly
after" Kiram turned off the engine of their pumpboat. Thereafter
two shots were fired from the other pumpboat as it moved towards
them (pp. 57-58, tsn). There were two persons on the other
pumpboat who were armed with armantes. De Guzman
recognized them to be the same persons he saw Kiram conversing
with in a house at Baluk-Baluk Island. When the boat came close
to them, Kiram threw a rope to the other pumpboat which towed de
Guzman's pumpboat towards Mataja Island. On the way to Mataja
Island, Antonio de Guzman and his companions were divested of
their money and their goods by Kiram (pp. 59-61, tsn). Thereafter
Kiram and his companions ordered the group of de Guzman to
undress. Taking fancy on the pants of Antonio de Guzman, Kiram
put it on. With everybody undressed, Kiram said 'It was good to kill
all of you'. After that remark, Siyoh hacked Danilo Hiolen while
Kiram hacked Rodolfo de Castro. Antonio de Guzman jumped into
the water. As he was swimming away from the pumpboat, the two
companions of Kiram fired at him, injuring his back (pp. 62-65,
tsn). But he was able to reach a mangrove where he stayed till
nightfall. When he left the mangrove, he saw the dead bodies of
Anastacio de Guzman, Danilo Hiolen and Rodolfo de Castro. He
was picked up by a fishing boat and brought to the Philippine Army
station at Maluso where he received first aid treatment. Later he
was brought to the J.S. Alano Memorial Hospital at Isabela,
Basilan province (pp. 66-68, tsn).
On July 15, 1979, while waiting for the dead bodies of his
companions at the wharf, de Guzman saw Siyoh and Kiram. He
pointed them out to the PC and the two were arrested before they
could run. When arrested, Kiram was wearing the pants he took
from de Guzman and de Guzman had to ask Pat. Bayabas at the
Provincial Jail to get back his pants from Kiram (pp. 69-72, tsn).
Antonio de Guzman was physically examined at the J.S. Alano
Memorial Hospital at Isabela, Basilan and findings showed:

'gunshot wound, scapular area, bilateral, tangenital' (Exh. C,

prosecution). (pp. 134-136, tsn). Dr. Jaime M. Junio, Provincial
Health Officer of Basilan, examined the dead bodies of Rodolfo de
Castro and Danilo Hiolen and issued the corresponding death
certificates (Exhs. D and E, prosecution). (pp. 137-138; 140-141,
tsn). (Brief, pp. 5-11.)
As can be seen from the lone assignment of error, the issue is the
credibility of witnesses. Who should be believed Antonio de
Guzman who was the lone prosecution eye-witness or Siyoh and
Kiram the accused-appellants who claims that they were also the
victims of the crime? The trial court which had the opportunity of
observing the demeanor of the witnesses and how they testified
assigned credibility to the former and an examination of the record
does not reveal any fact or circumstance of weight and influence
which was overlooked or the significance of which was
misinterpreted as would justify a reversal of the trial court's
determination. Additionally, the following claims of the appellants
are not convincing:
1. That if they were the culprits they could have easily robbed their
victims at the Kiram house or on any of the occasions when they
were travelling together. Suffice it to say that robbing the victims at
Kiram's house would make Kiram and his family immediately
suspect and robbing the victims before they had sold all their
goods would be premature. However, robbing and killing the
victims while at sea and after they had sold all their goods was
both timely and provided safety from prying eyes.
2. That the accused immediately reported the incident to the PC.
The record does not support this assertion. For as the prosecution
stated: "It is of important consequence to mention that the witness
presented by the defense are all from Pilas Island and friends of
the accused. They claimed to be members of retrieving team for
the dead bodies but no PC soldiers were ever presented to attest
this fact. The defense may counter why the prosecution also failed
to present the Maluso Police Daily Event book? This matter has
been brought by Antonio not to the attention of the PC or Police
but to an army detachment. The Army is known to have no docket
book, so why take the pain in locating the army soldiers with whom
the report was made? (Memorandum, p. 7.) And Judge Rasul also
makes this observation: "..., this Court is puzzled, assuming the
version of the defense to be true, why the lone survivor Antonio de

Guzman as having been allegedly helped by the accused testified

against them. Indeed, no evidence was presented and nothing can
be inferred from the evidence of the defense so far presented
showing reason why the lone survivor should pervert the truth or
fabricate or manufacture such heinous crime as qualified piracy
with triple murders and frustrated murder? The point which makes
us doubt the version of the defense is the role taken by the PC to
whom the report was allegedly made by the accused immediately
after the commission of the offense. Instead of helping the
accused, the PC law enforcement agency in Isabela, perhaps not
crediting the report of the accused or believing in the version of the
report made by the lone survivor Antonio de Guzman, acted
consistently with the latter's report and placed the accused under
detention for investigation." (Expediente, pp. 127-128.)
3. That the affidavits of Dolores de Guzman, wife of the deceased
Anastacio de Guzman, and Primitiva de Castro, wife of the
deceased Rodolfo de Castro, state that Antonio de Guzman
informed them shortly after the incident that their husbands were
killed by the companions of Siyoh and Kiram. The thrust of the
appellants' claim, therefore, is that Namli Indanan and Andaw
Jamahali were the killers and not the former. But this claim is
baseless in the face of the proven conspiracy among the accused
for as Judge Rasul has stated:
It is believed that conspiracy as alleged in the information is
sufficiently proved in this case. In fact the following facts appear to
have been established to show clearly conspiracy: A) On July 14,
1979, while peddling, the survivor-witness Tony de Guzman
noticed that near the window of a dilapidated house, both accused
were talking to two (2) armed strange-looking men at Baluk-Baluk
Island; B) When the pumpboat was chased and overtaken, the
survivor-witness Tony de Guzman recognized their captors to be
the same two (2) armed strangers to whom the two accused talked
in Baluk- Baluk Island near the dilapidated house; C) The two
accused, without order from the two armed strangers transferred
the unsold goods to the captors' banca; D) That Tony de Guzman
and companion peddlers were divested of their jewelries and cash
and undressed while the two accused remained unharmed or not
molested. These concerted actions on their part prove conspiracy
and make them equally liable for the same crime (People vs.
Pedro, 16 SCRA 57; People vs. lndic 10 SCRA 130). The
convergence of the will of the conspirators in the scheming and

execution of the crime amply justifies the imputation of all of them

the act of any of them (People vs. Peralta, 25 SCRA, 759). (Id., pp.
4. That there is no evidence Anastacio de Guzman was killed
together with Rodolfo de Castro and Danilo Hiolen because his
remains were never recovered. There is no reason to suppose that
Anastacio de Guzman is still alive or that he died in a manner
different from his companions. The incident took place on July 14,
1979 and when the trial court decided the case on June 8, 1981
Anastacio de Guzman was still missing. But the number of persons
killed on the occasion of piracy is not material. P.D. No. 532
considers qualified piracy, i.e. rape, murder or homicide is
committed as a result or on the occasion of piracy, as a special
complex crime punishable by death regardless of the number of
5. That the death certificates are vague as to the nature of the
injuries sustained by the victims; were they hacked wounds or
gunshot wounds? The cause of death stated for Rodolfo de Castro
and Danilo Hiolen is: "Hemorrhage due to hacked wounds,
possible gunshot wounds." (Exhs. D and E.) The cause is
consistent with the testimony of Antonio de Guzman that the
victims were hacked; that the appellants were armed with
"barongs" while Indanan and Jamahali were armed with armalites.
WHEREFORE, finding the decision under review to be in accord
with both the facts and the law, it is affirmed with the following
modifications: (a) for lack of necessary votes the penalty imposed
shall be reclusion perpetua; and (b) each of the appellants shall
pay in solidum to the heirs of each of the deceased indemnity in
the amount of P30,000.00. No special pronouncement as to costs.