G.R. No. 1222. January 21, 1905

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4 Phil. 147

[ G.R. No. 1222. January 21, 1905 ]




In a complaint filed by the provincial fiscal in the Court of First
Instance of Nueva Ecija among others, Mateo Lapus, Bonifacio Bautista,
Eufino Ordoñez, Victorino Manalang, and Pedro Bautista were charged
with the crime of sedition. The complaint alleged that on the night of
June 3, 1902, a band composed of about four hundred men, among whom
were the accused, armed with guns, revolvers, talibones, bolos, and
clubs, raided the town of Cabiao; that said band went through the
streets of the town firing shots, yelling, and frightening the
inhabitants thereof; that some of said band went to the house of the
municipal president, while others raided several houses, taking captive
sixty or seventy of the inhabitants thereof, among whom were Roman Isip
Torres, Victorino Natividad, Braulio Rico, Gregorio de los Reyes,
Eugenio Manalo, Antonio Crespo, Antonia de los Reyes, Brigido Sigua,
Eustaquio Tecson, and others whose names are not known; that they
roamed about the streets of the town threatening and intimidating the
people; that when the invaders left the town they took and carried
their captives away with them; that some of them were conducted to a
place called Patatan, and others to that of Libutad on the Chico River,
where they were detained by their captors until about noon of the next
day, when they were released.

Some members of the band, among them the chief, Domingo Cunanan,
told the prisoners that the latter were often found in the justice
court, and that they were loaning money at usurious terms to their farm
laborers, and when the latter were unable to pay the loan they
compelled their children to work for them as servants; that if the
wealthy landowners continued oppressing the poor they would not stop
disturbing the towns, because the law must be equally applied to rich
and poor; that if they (the band) were then to comply with the orders
of Felipe Salvador, chief of the association called “Santa Iglesia,” to
which they belonged, all the prisoners would be killed at once. They
further stated that there were many members of the said association.
These facts are proven by the testimony of several witnesses and by
residents who had been sequestrated by said band. One of the witnesses,
Gregorio Reyes, stated that he was beaten with a club by the accused
Rufino Ordoñez because he begged the later to release his master,
Genaro Albina, who was unable to walk.

It is also proven by the testimony of witnesses that the
above-mentioned association called “Santa Iglesia,” to which the said
Felipe Salvador belongs, was organized for the purpose of performing
acts of hatred and vengeance against the authorities and the wealthy
people in the towns, as occurred to the residents of the town of
Cabiao, in which were put in practice and execution acts tending to
such political-social ends.

The facts as stated constitute the crime of sedition provided for in
paragraphs 3 and 4 of section 5 and punished by section 6 of Act No.
292 of the Civil Commission. The appellants were members of an illegal
association and had publicly and tumultuously attacked the town of
Cabiao and roamed over its streets, firing shots, yelling, and
threatening the residents with death, and thereby frightening them.
They performed acts of violence on the persons of the president and
other residents of the town, against the law and the supreme authority
and with political-social purposes. For these reasons the acts
performed by the defendants constitute sedition as defined by the
aforesaid sections of Act No. 292. The crime of sedition was
consummated, even though the object of the defendants was not realized.

The liability of the defendants as principals in the aforesaid crime
of sedition appears fully proven by the testimony of several residents
who witnessed the invasion of the town. The witnesses identified the
accused as members of the band which entered the town and committed the
acts complained of.

The municipal president of the said town, Jose Crespo, and the
justice of the peace, Francisco Crespo, affirmed the statement made by
the witnesses for the prosecution. The president said that while they
were hidden in a bamboo thicket they heard that the malefactors were
looking for him, as well as for other wealthy residents; that, as they
failed to find him in his house, they took and carried away his rain
coat, cap, belt, and clothes; that they destroyed the lock of the door
of the house and tore his boots; that they did not succeed in carrying
away the arms of the police, for which they were also looking, because
the police force had taken refuge in the parish house of the town. The
justice of the peace added that when he heard the sound of a bugle and
the shots he tried to go to the town hall, but he could not on account
of the sudden attack made by a great number of members of the “Santa
Iglesia” association; that he had been informed that they were looking
for the president, the police, and the wealthy residents of the town.

The Constabulary inspector Cayetano Canda asserted that, according
to some information obtained by him, the members of the said
association, called “Santa Iglesia” as well as “Gabinistas,” whose
chief was Felipe Salvador, purposed the extermination of the military
forces; the public officials, and the landowners. This assertion is
confirmed by the Constabulary inspector Richard Kavanaugh, who stated
that the chief of the band which attacked the town of Cabiao on the
evening of June 3 was Domingo Cunanan, and that his followers
contemplated punishing the wealthy people and the public officials-the
former for the abuses they were said to have committed and the latter
because they were not doing them justice.

The five defendants pleaded not guilty. Their exculpation, to the
effect that they did not take part in the crime of sedition, has not
been proved. The evidence adduced in the case against them is not
rebutted; they must necessarily be found guilty as principals in the
crime of sedition.

The accused who were acquitted can not be the object of this decision.

In view of the foregoing considerations it is the opinion of this
court that the judgment below should be sustained in so far as the same
applies to Mateo Lapus, Rufino Ordoñez, Bonifacio Bautista, Victorino
Manalang, and Pedro Bautista, each of whom is sentenced to four years’
imprisonment, to pay a fine of $1,500, and one-tenth of the costs. This
case to be remanded to the court of origin with a certified copy of
this decision and of the judgment which shall be rendered in compliance
herewith. So ordered.

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

Date created: April 23, 2014


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