G.R. No. 1503. March 14, 1905

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4 Phil. 271

[ G.R. No. 1503. March 14, 1905 ]




The complaint in this case charges the defendants with the crime of
insurrection. Out of the twenty-five defendants, five of them, to wit,
Alejo Eduria, Francisco Eduria, Bruno Labnutin, Vicente Abales, and
Francisco Nagor, were acquitted in the court below. The other twenty
were found guilty of the said crime and sentenced to two years less one
day of imprisonment, with the exception of Isidoro Nalagum, who was
sentenced to one year’s imprisonment, and Alejo Ravidas and Narciso
Melliza, who were sentenced to five and three years’ imprisonment,
respectively. All of the twenty defendants appealed. The appeal was
granted. Numeriano Aniar, Andres Factura, Florencio Opog, Vicente
.Maambong, Urbano Karros, Isidoro Nalagum, Natalio (alias Julio)
Raiz, and Leonardo Nalagum withdrew from the appeal. In the course of
the appeal proceedings Inocencio Pagaling, Macario Beemen, Fermin
Paday, Valentin Leona, Catalino Opog, Iginicio Opog, Romualdo Tactacon,
Jose Macaubos, Victoriano Ello, and Dionisio Jamero escaped from the
provincial jail in Cagayan de Misamis, where they were confined, as
appears from a part of the record in the case. The sentence of the
Court of First Instance with regard to the eight first named was made
final as to them by reason of their withdrawal from the appeal. It has
also become final as regards the other eight on account of their
escape. Such escape implies withdrawal within the meaning of the
principles governing the prevailing criminal procedure. The appeal is,
therefore, only continued in this instance as regards Alejo Ravidas and
Narciso Melliza.

The counsel for the Government in this case prays for the acquittal
of both defendants, as “it is not proven,” he says with respect to
Alejo Ravidas, “that he permitted or encouraged insurrection or engaged
in the same by abetting them directly or indirectly.” The only fact
disclosed by the evidence adduced in the case is that Alejo Ravidas
knew that there were insurgents in a place called Manila, jurisdiction
of the town of Agusan, of which he was municipal president, and his
duty as such president required him to report this fact to the senior
officer of the province, but he did not do so, nor did he take any
steps toward pursuing or denouncing the insurgents or to protect the
people from their probable depredations. However reproachful the
silence of the defendant may be, it does not in itself constitute the
crime of insurrection. Act No. 292 defines and specifies the acts which
shall be punished as insurrection, but among those acts the silence of
the defendant is not enumerated. This silence is not an act; it is,
rather, an omission. We quite agree with these suggestions of the
counsel for the Government, since nothing more than the aforesaid facts
has been proven against Alejo Ravidas. These facts are not sufficient
to hold him liable for the crime of insurrection.

The same can be said with reference to Narciso Melliza, as there is
no evidence showing that he had promoted, encouraged, or aided any
insurrection or that he in any way participated in the same. From the
fact that he sold rice in great or small quantities to persons who
afterwards appeared to be insurgents, and had the rice so sold even
been taken to the insurgents’ camp, which is the only fact which can be
considered proven with respect to the defendant Melliza, it is not in
itself conducive to criminal liability. It is not shown that he sold
the rice to the insurgents knowing that they were such and with the
deliberate purpose of aiding the insurrection.

In view of the foregoing considerations, we reverse the judgment
below with regard to Alejo Ravidas and Narciso Melliza, both of whom we
acquit with costs de oficio. The former’s release shall be ordered immediately, as he is the only one confined in prison. Narciso Melliza is out on bail.

We decide further that the appeal entered by Dionisio Jamero,
Inocencio Pagaling, Macario Beemen, Fermin Paday, Valentin Leona,
Catalino Opog, Ignacio Opog, Romualdo Tactacon, Jose Macaubos, and
Victoriano Ello be dismissed. The judgment of the court below as
regards these latter-named defendants is affirmed and made final, with
the corresponding costs in this instance upon each one of them. So

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

Date created: April 24, 2014


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