G.R. No. 1437. February 13, 1904

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3 Phil. 327

[ G.R. No. 1437. February 13, 1904 ]




The evidence shows that the defendant, Agaton Ambata, was at the time
mentioned in the complaint a member with the rank of major of the band led by
Montalon, and that this band was such a band as is described in section 1 of Act
No. 518. The judgment as to him must therefore be confirmed.

We do not think that the acts committed by the remaining four defendants
other than Anacleto Crusat and Teodorico Pisigan made them members of this band.
There was no evidence in the case that they left the pueblos in which they lived
or actually joined or remained with the band in its camp or elsewhere. There is
evidence that they collected money within their pueblos for Montalon to be
delivered to the defendant Agaton Ambata for his chief. But this did not make
them, in our opinion, members of the band within the meaning of sections 1 and 2
of said Act. Section 4 relates to the procuring of supplies of food and other
articles named for the purposes of the band, and indicates that the persons
committing such acts are not thereby made members of the band, but are to be
considered as persons outside of it who assist it by these means. These
defendants must be convicted, if at all, under said section 4. The complaint
charges Crusat and Pisigan with a violation of section 4 only.

The evidence shows that the four defendants and Crusat collected nothing but
money, and that the defendant Pisigan paid to them nothing but money. They did
not collect nor did Pisigan give them food, clothing, arms, or ammunition. The
difficult question in the case is this: Is the furnishing of money an offense
under said section 4 ? That section is as follows:

” Every person knowingly aiding or abetting such a band of brigands as that
described in section one by giving them information of the movement of the
police or Constabulary, or by securing stolen property from them, or by
procuring supplies of food, clothing, arms, or ammunition and furnishing the
same to them, shall, upon conviction, be punished by imprisonment for not less
than ten years and not more than twenty years.”

The section does not make it an offense to aid or abet brigands. The aiding
or abetting must be done in specific ways, and unless it is done in one of the
ways mentioned therein it is no offense. It is not made an offense td secure
supplies of any kind, but to secure supplies of four different and defined
articles. It must be conceded that neither the word “food” nor “clothing” nor
“arms” nor “ammunition” can be so extended in their meanings as to cover money.
The Spanish official translation of the Act furnishes some doubt on this point.
But we are bound by the English version. If the Act had either said more or had
said less there would be no difficulty. If it had been made an offense to aid or
abet the band without specifying how, the furnishing of money would in the
opinion of the writer have been an offense. So if it had said the furnishing of
supplies without saying what kind of supplies. So if it had said furnishing Of
supplies of food, clothing, arms, ammunition, or other articles.

It is true that furnishing money would aid the band as much as, if not more,
than the furnishing of food, and it is difficult to see why it was not included
in the law. Nevertheless the legislature saw fit to specify definitely the
articles the furnishing of which was an offense, and they did not mention money
by name nor did they use any other word which would include it nor any general
phrase which might cover it. Were one asked to point out the word, phrase, or
sentence in the section which meant money, it would be impossible to do it. It
is not enough to say that the legislature when considering the law must have
intended to make the furnishing of money an offense. It is necessary that they
use words which in some way express that intent.

The judgment as to Agaton Ambata is confirmed with one-seventh of the costs
of both instances. The other defendants are acquitted with the costs de
without prejudice to the presentation of other complaints against
those of them who by reason of the acts proved in this case may be guilty of
offenses punished by the Penal Code.

Cooper, McDonough, and Johnson, JJ., concur.

Date created: January 17, 2019


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