G.R. No. 1501. April 16, 1904

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3 Phil. 712

[ G.R. No. 1501. April 16, 1904 ]




August 25, 1903, the provincial fiscal of Ilocos Norte filed a
complaint in the Court of First Instance of that province, charging
Canuto Butardo with the crime of having administered and consented to
the administration of an oath in support of an agreement by which a
number of persons obligated themselves to defend their native land
against the Government of the United States of America in these
Islands, and to refrain from revealing the agreement, in that the
accused, about the end of June or the beginning of July, 1903, together
with certain others, called a meeting of a number of inhabitants of the
town of Paoay, in the forests of Buga, Sulcue, Pias, and Baranio, and
administered an oath to them by which they assumed the obligation to
defend their native country against the Government of these Islands,
and to refrain from revealing to any person whatsoever this agreement,
contrary to the provisions of Act No. 292 passed by the Civil

The information having, been filed, and the case called for trial,
the judge upon the evidence introduced sentenced the defendant to six
years’ imprisonment at hard labor, to pay a fine of $5,000, gold, and
the costs of the prosecution, from which judgment the defendant

A number of witnesses were examined in the course of the trial, from
the record of which it appears that about the end of June or the
beginning of July, 1903, the defendant Butardo, accompanied by Valentin
Butardo, and Eulalio Diaz, captured Pablo Pacoy, Juan Navarro, and
Mateo Cacpal, who were taken into the interior of a forest, where they
were blindfolded and the accused ordered them, under threats of death,
to obey him; that after having compelled them to kneel he made them
repeat the following oath: “I promise and swear to defend my native
country with the last drop of my blood;” that thereupon he made an
incision with a knife in the right arm of each one of them, charging
them not to reveal to anyone what had occurred, telling them that he
would subsequently inform them of the object and purpose of the
meeting; that for this purpose he told them to go on a certain day to
the barrio of Baranio, and told them that he would read the document to
them; that the witnesses had seen a number of other persons take a
similar oath and go through the same ceremony of incision; that
according to other witnesses, Candido Pobre, Simplicio Clemente, Luis
Dadula, Telesforo Sarangal, and Eulalio Diaz, the accused, Canuto
Butardo, endeavored to form a society of union and fraternity among the
inhabitants of that town, making them take the same oath and go through
the ceremony of incision; that the purpose of this was, according to
the witness Diaz, to form a party for the election of the president,
although other witnesses stated that it was not customary to go through
this ceremony of bloodletting with the electors, and the witness
Simplicio Clemente said that the society which the accused intended^ to
organize was a. secret society of a political character.

Agustin Agbayani, a sergeant of police, testified that when the
existence of this secret society was discovered he made an attempt to
find the documents pertaining to it; that he was informed by Valentin
Butardo that the documents were in the possession of Rosendo Echinique,
in whose possession the witness found a box containing the documents
now in the records. This document, according to the statements of
Valentin Butardo, was written by the accused, who surrendered to the
witness when he was going to the barrio of Pias in June, 190#, to make
incisions (sic). The witness affirmed that the accused had administered
oaths to a number of persons, and had made incisions upon them as a
guaranty of their undertaking with respect to the election of the

The document contains an exhortation to Filipinos to have courage to
defend themselves, to determine to triumph, and not to forget God. It
terminates with acclamations for the Philippines, for the downtrodden,
for the revolution, and for independence, and demands the death of

The facts proven in this case constitute the offense defined and
punished by section 12 of Act No. 292, passed November 4, 1901. The
defendant, Canuto Butardo, for the purpose of disturbing the public
peace, or committing some criminal offense, compelled a number of
inhabitants of the town where he resided, by threats, to take an oath
to act in accordance with his purposes, and not to reveal to anyone
their undertaking. Incisions were made in the arms of the associates,
this, as well as the fact that secret meetings were held in fields,
forests, and uninhabited places, being a proceeding adopted by the

The contents of the document found in the possession of one of the
members of the party formed by the accused, Canuto Butardo, and others,
by means of incisions, and the administration of the oath above
referred to, shows that this oath was required for the purpose of
disturbing the country, opposing and overthrowing the constituted
Government of these Islands. Consequently it is unquestionable that the
accused, who is the author of the document in question, is subject to
the penalty prescribed by the law.

In view of the evidence in the case, we can not believe the
statements of Butardo, that it was his purpose to form a lawful society
for the election of the president and the extirpation of evil
practices; that the document in question was written by him in 1897;
that he fled from the municipal prison for the purpose of looking for
his companions, who were in concealment, and that it was the custom to
make these incisions on the electors so that they should not commit
treason. We can not believe this, because the document in question was
made use of, not only by the accused, but by others, when the oath was
administered and the ceremony of incision performed in the barrios of
the town of Paoay, Ilocos Norte.

There is no evidence that it was a custom to administer an oath and
perform the ceremony of incision under the veil of secrecy as a
preliminary to the municipal elections of that town. Such proceedings
are of a revolutionary character, and are practiced by members of the
Katipunan societies. Consequently, notwithstanding the allegations of
the accused, and his plea of not guilty to the charge, the case must be
decided in accordance with the facts charged in the complaint, and the
accused convicted, but not of the crime of conspiracy, of which he was
convicted by the trial court.

For the reasons stated, it is our opinion that the judgment appealed
must be reversed and the accused condemned to suffer imprisonment for
the period of one year, and to pay a fine of 2,000 insular pesos, with
subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, at the rate of 2£ pesos
per day, the period of the subsidiary imprisonment not to exceed the
third part of the principal penalty, and to pay the costs of both
instances. The case will be remanded to the trial court with a
certified copy of this decision, and of the judgment to be entered in
accordance therewith. So ordered.

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

Date created: December 05, 2018


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