G.R. No. 1505. April 22, 1904

Please log in to request a case brief.

3 Phil. 751

[ G.R. No. 1505. April 22, 1904 ]




The provincial fiscal of Ilocos Norte filed an information in the
Court of First Instance of that province charging Eulalio Diaz,
Valentin Butardo, Sergio Sadang, Sr., Sergio Sancali, Sotero Abutan,
Panfilo Paclibari, and Eugenio Raganit of the crime of forming a secret
political society entitled “Kanayonan,” in that about the end of June
or the beginning of July, 1903, the defendants held meetings at the
places called Buga, Sulcuc, and Baranio, of the town of Paoay, of that
province, with certain other persons, for the purpose of administering
an oath purporting to bind the, persons taking the same to defend their
native country against the Government of the United States of America
in these Islands, and to refuse to reveal or discover the said unlawful
combination and oath, contrary to the provisions of Act No. 292.

The information having been filed, and the case tried, the court,
upon the evidence submitted, acquitted Eugenio Raganit, but sentenced
Eulalio Diaz and Valentin Butardo each to the penalty of six years’
imprisonment at hard labor and payment of a line of f 5,000, gold;
Sergio Sadang, Sr., to three years’ imprisonment at hard labor; Sergio
Sancali, to one year’s imprisonment and the payment of a fine of $500,
gold; Sotero Abutan, to one year’s imprisonment ; and Panfilo Paclibari
to six months’ imprisonment, less twenty-one days during which he was
held as a detention prisoner; and to the payment each one of
one-seventh of the costs. From this decision Eplalio Diaz, Valentin
Butardo, Sergio Sadang, Sr., Sergio Sancali, and Sotero Abutan
appealed, the judgment beipg, therefore, a finality with respect to
Eugenio Raganit and Panfilo Paclibari, with whom we are not concerned,
therefore, in this decision. From the evidence, documentary and oral,
introduced in the trial of this case, it appears that during the months
of June and July, 1903, the defendants, Valentin Butardo, Sergio
Sadang, Sr., Canuto Butardo, Eulalio Diaz, and others, held some
meetings in the fields and forests of certain barrios of Paoay, for the
purpose of forming a secret political society, called the “Kanayonan,”
among the inhabitants of the said barrios, compelling by force and
threats such persons as refused or declined to join the society to do
so against their will; that these persons were made to kneel, and were
then blindfolded, after which they were required to take an oath to
defend the country to the last drop of blood, after which incisions
were made in their arms; that after this ceremony the accused promised
the associates that they would subsequently inform them of the purposes
and objects of the association, and to that end named a day for the
reading of certain documents, in the meantime commanding them not to
reveal to anyone what had taken place. Although some of the witnesses
testify that the organizers of the projected society stated that its
purpose was to reform evil practices and stamp
out vice, other witnesses testify that its purpose was defense against
the Americans. A small box was taken from one Rosendo Echinique,
containing documents now in the record, and which were written by
Valentin Butardo. The fact that these documents existed became known to
Augustin Agbayani, a sergeant of police, by the confession of the said
Valentin, from whom was taken the key of the box, and by which it was
opened by the commanding officer of the Constabulary at Laoag, to whom
it was delivered after it was taken from Echinique, upon the
information given by Butardo.

The document contains an exhortation to Filipinos to have courage in
their defense, to determine to triumph, and not to forget God. It ends
with acclamations for the Philippines, for the downtrodden, for the
revolution, and for independence, and demands the death of traitors.

The translation of the documents shows that the purpose of the
society is “something which is very difficult to attain without
unanimous effort to clear away the dense cloud which obscures the
vision.” One who enters the society merely for the purpose of informing
himself of its object or discovering the identity of its members is to
be cured with a strong medicine, appropriate for traitors. The society
recognizes no distinctions, and the only great man is he who truly
loves his native country and defends it, shielding the downtrodden and
opposing the oppressor.

The facts stated constitute the crime charged in the complaint,
defined and punished by section 12 .of Act No. 292. The live
defendants, Valentin Butardo, Eulalio Diaz, Sergio Sadang, Sr., Sotero
Abutan, and Sergio Sancali were present at and consented to the
administering of an oath or engagement by which a number of persons
undertook to disturb the public peace or commit some criminal offense,
and compelled the associates, by means of threats, to take the oath in
question, commanding them to act under the directions of the accused,
and not to reveal to anyone their oath and undertaking, this oath being
followed by the ceremony of incision, and these acts having been
committed in secret meetings held in fields and un-inhabited places.

The context of the document written by Valentin Butardo, and taken
from one of his associates, shows that the sworn undertaking entered
upon in the meeting in question tended to stir up the country to oppose
and overthrow the constituted Government of these Islands, and
consequently it is unquestionable that the oath and agreement was of a
political character and for a seditious purpose.

The witness Juan Navarro testifies that he reported the fact of
those meetings and of the oaths which were taken therein to a number of
inhabitants of the township of Paoay, and that he gave information
concerning the ceremony of incision to Eulalio Diaz, a member of the
municipal council, representing the district of Pias, but that the
latter, instead of in turn reporting the facts to the authorities, met
with the Butardo brothers and other persons in the barrio of Baranio,
and was present when such oaths
were administered, and induced others to join the society.

Valentin Butardo was one of the principal organizers of these
meetings and administered the oath to a number of people, upon whom,
also, incisions in the arm were made, and exhorted them not to reveal
the secret.

Sergio Sadang, Sr., Sotero Abu tan, and Sergio Sancali were
emissaries of Valentin, who endeavored to induce others to join the
society, and were present, together with Valentin Butardo, in the
barrios of Pias and Sulcuc when the oath was administered to and the
ceremony of incision performed upon several inhabitants of those

The guilt of the live appellants has been clearly established by the
testimony of the witnesses. We can not believe the statements that the
society was intended as a preparation for the election of a local
president, and that its object was to stamp out evil practices. There
is no evidence to show it was the custom in the town to attain
such an object by means of the administration of such an oath or to
perform the ceremony of incision under a promise of secrecy. Such
proceedings are those of revolutionists, and are practiced by members
of the Katipunan Societies.

The fact that the information charges the accused with the offense
of organizing a secret political society is not an obstacle to their
conviction of the offense defined and punished in section 12 of Act No.
292. The facts constituting this crime are stated in the information,
and the erroneous classification of the offense was not excepted to at
the trial or upon this appeal. Consequently, even if this might be a
defect available if duly excepted to, as it has not prejudiced any of
the essential rights of the accused, we must assume that they have
waived their right to object to it, with the view to prompt
determination of the case for their own benefit.

Therefore, for the reasons stated, we are of the opinion that the
judgment appealed must be reversed with respect to the appellants, and
that Eulalio Diaz, Valentin Butardo, Sergio Sadang, Sr., Sergio
Sancali, and Sotero Abutan be condemned to imprisonment for the term of
one year and to the payment of a fine of 2,000 insular pesos, each one,
and in case of insolvency to suffer subsidiary imprisonment at the rate
of one day for each sum of two pesos and one-half unpaid, provided,
however, that the subsidiary imprisonment shall in no case exceed a
third part of the duration of the principal penalty. The defendants are
also condemned to pay each one a seventh part of the costs of both
instances. The case will be returned to the, trial court with a
certified copy of this opinion and of the judgment, to be entered in
accordance therewith for execution.
So ordered.

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

Date created: December 18, 2018


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Apply Filters