G.R. No. 1751. February 23, 1905

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4 Phil. 226

[ G.R. No. 1751. February 23, 1905 ]




The appellants, together with another, Patricio Alvarez, who did not
appeal, were charged in the Court of First Instance with the crime of
robbery en cuadrilla and sentenced to imprisonment for three
years eight months and one day, as principals in the commission of said
crime of robbery en cuadrilla.

The only evidence adduced during the trial against the appellants is
their own confession made on two different occasions in regard to
having committed the robbery. The first- confession, according to the
statement of Bernabe Marquez, a corporal of the Constabulary, was made
to him while the said appellants were confined in his station. The
second was made before the justice of the peace of Mambusao, who
conducted the preliminary investigation. The latter confession is
corroborated by another witness, Esteban Tupas, who was the clerk of
the justice’s court.

The defendants acknowledged having made such confessions, but they
allege they were forced to it on account of the threats and ill
treatment which they received from Corporal Bernabe; that the said
Bernabe tied them to the pillars of the station, struck them with his
fist and with the butt of his revolver; that he struck them in the
stomach with a stone, leveled his revolver at the mouth of one of them,
and threatened to kill them if they plead not guilty or retracted the
statements made before the justice’s court; that for these reasons and
because the corporal was watching them while testifying they made the
same confession to the said court. Corporal Bernabe himself testified
as to the certainty of the facts alleged by the defendants and he
freely admitted that he threatened, abused, and whipped the defendants
in order to obtain the confession.

A confession obtained from a person in such manner is null and void
and can not be used as evidence against the defendant on trial. This is
proverbial in law. Act No. 619 of the Philippine Commission may be said
to have even gone too far when section 4 thereof establishes “that no
confession of a person charged with any crime shall be taken as
evidence against him by any court of justice unless it be first shown
to the satisfaction of the court that it was freely and voluntarily
made and not the result of violence, intimidation, threat, menace, or
of promises or offers of reward or leniency.” Section 3 of the
aforesaid act provides further that “any Constabulary officer or
noncommissioned officer of the Constabulary who countenances, allows,
or permits the whipping, maltreatment, abuse, or torture of any native
of the Philippine Islands, or of any other person for the purpose of
extorting or obtaining any confession, information, or declaration
whatsoeyer, shall be punished by imprisonment for a period not
exceeding five years or by a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars,
or both such fine and imprisonment, in the discretion of the court.”
These laws show the praiseworthy endeavor of the legislature that the
confession of any person charged with crime shall be made as
voluntarily as possible in order to be admitted as evidence.

It is unnecessary to add here that Corporal Bernabe Marquez openly
violated the provisions of section 3, above quoted, since he tortured
the defendants for the purpose of obtaining the confession. The
declaration of the said Bernabe Marquez to the effect that he found a
part of the stolen property in the possession of the defendants should
receive some consideration were it true, but it is disclosed by the
statement of the offended party, Pablo Martinez, that the property
delivered by the corporal to the justice of the peace (who afterwards
returned same to him as stolen property recovered) had not in reality
been stolen, but saved from the robbery by some women who were living
with him in the house where the said robbery took place, and that this
property was turned over to the corporal by those women.

Taking, then, the above facts into consideration, we reverse the
judgment below and acquit the appellants with the costs in both
instances de oficio. The right to file the necessary
complaint against Corporal Bernabe Marquez is reserved to the
prosecuting attorney, who shall charge him with the crime provided for
and punished by section 3 of Act No. 619, hereinbefore quoted. So

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

Date created: April 24, 2014


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