G.R. No. 1481. February 17, 1904

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3 Phil. 339

[ G.R. No. 1481. February 17, 1904 ]




March 26, 1903, the provincial fiscal of Bulacan presented to the court of
that province an information charging Liberate Exaltacion and Buenaventura
Tanchinco with the crime of rebellion, in that they, subsequently to the 4th day
of November, 1901, willfully and illegally bound themselves to take part in a
rebellion against the Government of the United States in these Islands, swearing
allegiance to the Katipunan Society, the purpose of which was to overthrow the
said Government by force of arms, this against the statute in the case made and

In the course of the trial Don Pablo Tecson, the provincial governor of Bulacan, testified under oath that the two defendants were arrested in the
month of March, 1903, the police some days before having captured a number of
documents in the encampment of one Contreras, a so-called general of bandits,
situated at a place called Langca, of the town of Meycauayan, among which
documents appeared the papers now on pages 2 and 3 of the record, signed by the
said Exaltacion and Tanchinco, who recognized the said documents when they were
exhibited to them; that the said defendants stated to the witness that they had
signed the said documents under compulsion; that the purpose of the Katipunan
Society was to obtain the independence of the Philippines; that this statement
was made in the house of the parish priest of Meycauayan in the presence of
Exequiel Casas and Fernando Nieto. The latter, upon their examination as
witnesses, testified to the same facts, stating that the defendants told
Governor Tecson that they had sighed the said documents under fear of death at
the hands of the thieves by whom they had been captured. The witness Casas, the
municipal president of Meycauayan, testified that he held office as such in
place of the former president, Don Tomas Testa, who was kidnaped in the month of
October, 1902.

The said documents, the first of which was dated July 4 and the second July
17, 1902, were written in Tagalog, and contain an oath taken in the name of God,
and a covenant on the part of the subscribers to carry-out the superior orders
of the Katipunan, and never disobey them until their death in the defense of the
mother country. The two accused, under oath, testified to having signed the said
documents and alleged that they did so under compulsion and force while they
were held as captives by the thieves; that the defendant Tanchinco was captured
in the fields one day when he was going to work on his farm by three armed men,
unknown to him, who asked him if he was an agent or friend of President Testa,
and upon his replying in the negative they compelled him in view of his denial
to sign a document, now on page 3 of the record.

The defendant Tanchinco cited Lazaro Yusay to testify to the fact that he was
captured at a place called Kaibiga in the township of Novaliches, and that on
the day following his release, having been unable to pay the $300 which was
demanded of him, he reported to the president, Tomas Testa. The defendant
Liberato Exaltacion under oath testified that he was captured near Meycauayan by
five persons, unknown, dressed as policemen and armed with guns or revolvers;
that these men bound him and took him into the forest and there compelled him by
threats of death to sign the document now on page 2 of the record; that,
thereupon they allowed him to go upon promise to return. This defendant
testified that Antero Villano and Tomas Eivera saw him while on the road in the
hands of the thieves. Both the accused testified that as soon as they were
released they presented themselves to the president, Don Tomas Testa, in the
presence of witnesses, and subsequently went to Bonifacio Morales, a lieutenant
of volunteers, and reported to him the fact that they had been captured.

The witnesses Morales, Lazaro Yusay, Antero Villano, Dalmacio Ferrer, and
Hipolito de Leon—of whom the last two were present when Tanchinco appeared
before Senor Testa, the president of Meycauayan, and reported to him what had
happened to him—all testified to the same fact and corroborated the statements
of the accused with respect to their capture and their subsequent report to
President Testa and to the witness Morales.

The evidence for the prosecution, and especially the two documents above
referred to, signed by the accused, is not sufficient to prove the guilt of the
latter or to justify the imposition upon them of the penalty inflicted by the
judgment of the court below.

The facts, established by the evidence, that the defendants were kidnaped by
brigands who belonged to the Contreras band, and that they signed the said
documents under compulsion and while in captivity, relieve them from all
criminal liability from the crime of rebellion of which they are charged. The
conduct of the defendants in presenting themselves first to the local president
of Meycauayan and subsequently to Lieut. Bonifacio Morales, of the Bulacan
Government Volunteers, as soon as they were released by the bandits is
corroborative of their testimony, and is the best demonstration of their
innocence. This conclusion is not overcome by the trifling discrepancy between
the testimony of the witness Yusay and that of the defendant Tanchinco nor the
fact that Exaltacion was unable to determine the date when he was captured or
that on which he appeared before President Testa.

The guilt of the defendants of the crime defined and punished by Act No. 292
not having been established at the trial beyond a reasonable doubt, we are of
the opinion that the judgment below must be reversed and the defendants
acquitted with the costs de oficio. The judge below will be informed of this
decision and a copy of the judgment entered herein will be furnished him for his
information and guidance. So ordered.

Arellano, C. J., Cooper, Willard, Mapa, McDonough, and Johnson,

Date created: January 17, 2019


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