G.R. No. 1564. April 05, 1904

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3 Phil. 612

[ G.R. No. 1564. April 05, 1904 ]




The defendants, Pedro de la Pata, Leocadio Reyes, and Melquiades
Santiago, are charged with the crime of robbery, committed as follows:

The defendants, while employed as servants in the dwelling house of
one Iluminado Cosio, unlawfully and feloniously opened a wooden chest
which was locked and contained valuable papers, jewelry, and other
documents, with the intent of gain, without the consent of the owner,
and took the following personal property belonging to Iluminado Cosio,
to wit, $400, United States currency, in bills of $20 and $10; 400
pesos, Mexican currency, in bills of $50 and $25; two gold diamond
rings, one of the value of 550 pesos, Mexican currency, and the other
of the value of 250 pesos, Mexican currency.

The defendant Melquiades Santiago was not arrested.

The defendants Pedro de la Pata and Leocadio Reyes were found
guilty by the Court of First Instance and sentenced to imprisonment at
hard labor for the period of three years.

The case has been appealed to this court and the question submitted
for determination is, Was the proof sufficient to connect the
defendants with the commission of the crime?

The proof shows that the defendant Pedro de la Pata was the cochero,
Leocadio Reyes was the cook, and Melquiades Santiago was the servant of
Iluminado Cosio; that on the 29th day of April, 1902, Iluminado Cosio,
upon .awakening in the morning, found that these servants had left his
service and he discovered that the lock of the chest containing the
articles referred to had been broken open and thearticles taken from it.

A few days after the occurrence the defendant Pedro de la Pata
returned to his master and was taken back into his service. The only
excuse he gave for his sudden departure was that he was invited by the
other defendants to leave with them. The defendant Leocadio Reyes was
arrested about five months after the occurrence and gave no excuse for
his sudden departure. Up to the date of the trial Melquiades Santiago
had not been apprehended and arrested.

It was shown that Melquiades Santiago slept in the room of his
master and had an opportunity perhaps superior to that of the other
servants, who slept below, to commit the robbery and it is most
probable that the offense was committed by him. The circumstance of
their all leaving was very suspicious, but this circumstance alone we
think is hardly sufficient to fix upon the defendants the commission of
the crime.

It may be possible that the defendants Pedro de la Pata and Leocadio
Reyes had a knowledge of the taking of the property and may have
participated in its division, but the doubt arises as to whether they
were accessories after the fact or were engaged in the commission of
the offense as principals. There is a reasonable doubt in the case as
to the guilt of the defendants, which will require their acquittal.

The judgment of the lower court is reversed and the defendants are acquitted of the charge, with the costs de oficio.

Arellano, C. J., Torres, Mapa, McDonough, and Johnson, JJ., concur.

Date created: January 25, 2019


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