G.R. No. 1493. February 25, 1904

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3 Phil. 373

[ G.R. No. 1493. February 25, 1904 ]




Bernardo Usis, Marcelino Mangubat, Aquilino Cantada, Luis Taganas, and Mateo
Ronquillo are charged with the offense of bandolerismo and were convicted in the
Court of First Instance of Cavite on the 28th day of August, 1903, as forming a
party of bandits defined in Act No. 518 of the Civil Commission, and were
condemned to the penalty of twenty years’ imprisonment and to pay the costs of
proceedings. The defendants have appealed to this court.

From the testimony it appears that in the month of May, 1903, in the barrio
of Iba, Silang, in the Province of Cavite, the accused were arrested by a body
of Insular police; that at the time of their arrest they were in company with
one Aguedo, and, meeting about a dozen of the Constabulary, Aguedo, who was
called the chief of the gang, fired his revolver at the Constabulary and
succeeded in making his escape; the defendants were captured and four of them were found armed with bolos and one with a Mauser bayonet.

According to the statement of witnesses on the part of the prosecution, upon
their capture the defendants stated that they were in search of a carabao which
had been lost, the property of one of their number, Mangubat, and that Aguedo
was the chief of the band.

The defendants testified in their own behalf, some of them declaring that the
lost carabao belonged to Marcelino Mangubat and others that the lost carabao was
the property of Aquilino Cantada. Their statements were contradictory, both with
respect to the places of their residence, the arms which they bore on that
occasion, the manner in which they were assembled, and other minor details,
which induced the court below, in connection with the other evidence, to believe
that they formed a band of robbers and that they were guilty under the
provisions of Act No. 518.

In order to sustain a conviction under the provisions of this Act, it must
appear that the parties charged with the offense formed a band of robbers for
the purpose of stealing carabaos or other personal property by the means of
force and violence and went out upon the highway or roamed over the country
armed with deadly weapons for this purpose.

To prove this crime it is unnecessary to adduce evidence that any member of
the band has in fact committed robbery or theft, but it is sufficient to justify
a conviction if from the circumstances it can be inferred beyond reasonable
doubt that the accused was a member of such armed band as that described in the
said act.

There is no proof in the case to show the purposes for which the band was
organized or that any robbery or theft had been committed by the band. It is not
necessary to make this proof by direct testimony. The purposes for which they
Avere organized may be inferred from circumstances showing their purposes, but
there must be something in the case from which the inference can properly be
deduced (United States vs. Francisco Decusin, 1 Off. Gaz., 730;[1]United States vs. Saturnino de la
Cruz, 1 Off. Gaz., 664.[2])

On account of the insufficiency of proof in this respect the judgment of the
Court of First Instance must be reversed and the defendants acquitted.

It is so ordered and directed and costs are adjudged de oficio.

Arellano, C. J., Mapa, and McDonough; JJ., concur.



We concur in the acquittal of the defendants because of the lack of proof of
the perpetration of the crime of brigandage.



I agree with Mr. Justice Cooper in his finding of facts and in his
conclusions in this case of the United States vs. Usis et al.

In my opinion the doctrine announced by this court in the cause of the United
States vs. Francisco Decusin has been overruled.

[1] 2 Phil. Rep., 536

[2] 2 Phil. Rep.,431


Date created: January 17, 2019


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