G.R. No. 1787. February 21, 1905

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4 Phil. 224

[ G.R. No. 1787. February 21, 1905 ]




In a complaint dated July 31, 1903, Matias Lopena, Casimiro Barroso (alias
Jorge Lopena), Dionisio Puente, and Placido Lopena were charged by
Paula Villa with the crime of robbery. The complaint stated that the
defendants, on or about July 26, 1903, in the city of Manila, did
willfully and unlawfully, armed with bolos, scale the house in which
the complainant lived and take the sum of 210 pesos, a pair of earrings
set in pearls, valued at 18 pesos, local currency, belonging to her,
without her consent and to her prejudice; all contrary to the law. The
case having come on for trial, the defendants pleaded not guilty, but
before entering upon the proofs, and at the request of the assistant
prosecuting attorney, the case was dismissed as regards Placido Lopena
in order to use him as a witness. After the evidence was completed in
the case, the court below sentenced Matias Lopena, Casimiro Barroso (alias Jorge Lopena), and Ignacio or Dionisio Puente to two years four months and one day of prision correccional, having found them guilty of the crime of robbery.

From this sentence the defendants appealed. While from the complaint
and the testimony given by the injured party, Paula Villa, we might
consider the fact of the robbery proven, yet since her father and her
cousin, who lived in the same house, did not testify, and there is no
other evidence corroborating her testimony, we can not assert for that
reason that there is in the record any evidence which might
satisfactory establish the guilt of the defendants beyond a reasonable
doubt. Paula Villa herself states in her testimony that when the
robbers entered her house through the window the one who came in first
grabbed her by the hands, thus awaking her; that her father and her
servant, Placido Lopena, were still asleep; that when her father awoke
the servant was still in bed, motionless, no doubt on account ot fear.
However, in the complaint she charged her servant as one of the
robbers. This charge, as will be seen, was contradicted by her in her
sworn statements.

The injured party states that she knew who the robbers were and the
place where they lived, bcause her servant, Placido Lopena, who is a
relative to certain of the defendants, told her and pointed out the
place where Matias Lopena and Casimiro Barroso lived; that Placido
Lopena took her and the policeman, on the sixth day after the
occurrence, to the house of Matias Lopena and Casimiro Barroso in order
to arrest them,

Placido Lopena, however, while he corroborates the fact that the
robbery was committed by three unknown persons, denies having told
anything regarding the defendants or having indicated their residences;
that when defendants were arrested Paula Villa told him beforehand to
follow her and the policeman as a witness; that when he told her he was
afraid something might happen to him, she answered not to be
frightened, that she would look to it; that he remained in the street
while the policeman apprehended the defendant; he denies having
indicated to them the house and denies having stated that the one who
caught Paula by the neck on the night of the robbery was one of the

The defendants pleaded not guilty; two of them, Casimiro Barroso and
Matias Lopena, each put one witness on the stand to testify in their
behalf that when they came from work they had dinner and went to sleep.
These two assert that they did not leave their house on the night of
the robbery, and the other defandant, Ignacio Puente, states that he
was away in the town of Muntinlupa on the night and morning of the
occurrence; that when he returned to Singalong and heard that the
police were looking for him he then hastened to the Paco station, in
order to learn why they wanted him.

The facts in this case do not produce on the mind a clear conviction
of the defendants’ guilt; the defendants further have the presumption
of innocence in their favor until the contrary is proven, and so by
virtue of the reasons above stated we are of the opinion that the
judgment below should be reversed and the defendants, Matias Lopena,
Casimiro Barroso (alias Jorge Lopena), and Dionisio or Ignacio Puente, acquitted, with the costs de oficio,
this case to be remanded to the court below with a certified copy of
this decision and of the judgment which shall be rendered in accordance
herewith. So ordered.

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

Date created: April 24, 2014


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