G.R. No. 1902. March 14, 1905

Please log in to request a case brief.

4 Phil. 276

[ G.R. No. 1902. March 14, 1905 ]




In a complaint dated October 2, 1903, Ludovico Isais, Tranquilino
Caguiat, Basilio Tolentino, Romualdo Lopez, and Alejandro Yutoc were
charged by the provincial fiscal of Tarlac with the crime of frustrated
murder. The complaint stated that the defendants did willfully, with
treachery and premeditation, put into the food and water of nine
soldiers of the Constabulary named Benito Sabado, Teodoro Luquias,
Hermenegildo Pagaduan, Juan Ignacio, Mariano Obcena, Fermin Ramos,
Jacinto Lopez, Domingo Partido, and Pedro Clemente, a sufficient
quantity of poison to cause their death; that a few minutes after the
soldiers had partaken of said food and while they were at the barracks
in the barrio of San Miguel, Pinatabunan, town of Concepcion, Province
of Tarlac, they all fell seriously ill, one after another, as a result
of the food and drink of which they had partaken and which had been
served to them by the defendants; that these nine individuals recovered
only through the efforts of the physicians Prudencio Hernandez and Hugo
Van Shuster and through the assistance rendered by Sergeant Jose Casado
and Private Agapito Suarez; that the defendants performed all the acts
sufficient to produce the death of the Constabulary soldiers aforenamed
but that death did not result, independent of the will of the
defendants; that all these acts were committed contrary to law.

The case was tried in pursuance of the aforesaid complaint and the
court below sentenced Ludovico Isais to fourteen years and eight months
of cadena temporal, with the accessories, and Tranquilino
Caguiat and Basilio Tolentino each to thirteen years of the same
penalty, with the accessories, and to pay the costs; the defendants
Romualdo Lopez and Alejandro Yutoc were acquitted, with the costs de oficio.

It is a fact fully proven in this case that between 6 and 7 o’clock
on the evening’of July 2, 1903, when Sergeant Jose Casado of the
Constabulary, with ten soldiers who were patrolling the barrio, arrived
at the barracks in the barrio of San Miguel, Concepcion, the defendant
Ludovico Isais, lieutenant of the barrio, at the request of the first
sergeant, offered, together with the other defendants Caguiat and
Tolentino, some food to them; that a few minutes later the meal was
served to the nine soldiers who remained in the barracks. Sergeant
Casado and Agapito Suarez went to eat at the house of an inhabitant of
the barrio; that the meal had been prepared by Mariano Arceo by order
of the lieutenant and was brought over from the house of the former by
Tranquilino Caguiat; that the water had been brought over in a vessel
and delivered by Basilio Tolentino to Lieutenant Isais at the steps of
the barracks. That seven minutes after the Constabulary soldiers
partook of the meal they fell sick, one after the other, the tongues of
some of them becoming swollen, and the majority of the soldiers became
unconscious; that upon the return of Sergeant Casado and Private
Agapito Suarez to the barracks they found their companions in the
condition above stated. That they also found Lieutenant Isais, who was
the lieutenant of the barrio, lying on a bamboo bench in the street
outside of the barracks; that around the barracks there were a great
number of people, about seventy or eighty, and that they were all armed
with bolos and clubs; that the sergeant then, in a threatening manner,
ordered them away from the barracks, that the sergeant immediately
asked the lieutenant of the barrio for two carts, and half an hour
later the carts came and the sergeant placed the nine sick soldiers in
the carts and took them, together with the lieutenant of the barrio, to
the town and gave an account of the occurrence to the municipal
president and to the president of the board of health; that the latter
immediately gave them some medicine which caused them to vomit, with
the exception of two of the soldiers, who were unable to take the
medicine for the reason that their laws were set; that all of the
soldiers were then taken to the hospital of the capital of the
province, where they recovered after a few days.

It appears from the evidence adduced in the case and according to
the statement of the president of the board of health that the
Constabulary were poisoned and that the amount of poison which had been
administered to them was sufficient to cause their death; that death
would certainly have ensued had it not been for the medical assistance
rendered to the soldiers, as the soldiers were ill and had lost
consciousness; that some of them were suffering from delirium and the
mouths and throats of all of them were parched, the eyes red, the
beating of the heart was weak, and the circulation of the blood was
very poor, and they only recovered after they had vomited. The
provincial physician, Don Andres Catanhal, states that he is acquainted
with the plant called tarampunay; that this plant was
poisonous and the symptoms of poisoning from this plant were
inflammation of the intestines, delirium—sometimes very marked—eyes
red, dilated pupils, disorder of the muscles, drowsiness, loss of
consciousness, and finally death. It also appears that the defendant
Isais was acquainted with Felipe Salvador, the chief of the association
known as “Santa Iglesia,” and that some time previous to the date of
this occurrence he had been to Bugnot, where said chief and his band
were encamped, and there he received instructions to poison the
Constabulary soldiers. The poisoning which now has our attention was
reported to Felipe Salvador by means of an inhabitant of the barrio. It
also appears that a great many of the inhabitants of the barrio were
affiliated with this association.

The fact of the understanding between Salvador and the Santa Iglesia
has been established by Emeterio Payopa, who had been taken prisoner by
said band. According to the witness for the defense, Fausto Cordero, it
was known by many on the day of the occurrence that the Constabulary
soldiers had been poisoned with tarampunay by the lieutenant
of the barrio with the object of securing the guns of the victims; that
the lieutenant of the barrio had told him so; that the defendants
Caguiat and Tolentino had also told him before that about the
poisoning. The last witness, Basilio Tolentino, stated that he was the
one who brought the water in a vessel and that when he arrived at the
steps of the barracks Ludovico Isais took the vessel from him, and that
when the latter was in the act of returning him the vessel he told him
to throw away the rest of the water which it contained and that he did
so; that Isais did not tell him the reason why he should throw the
water away.

It is, then, undeniable that on the evening of July 2,1903, an
attempt to commit murder by poisoning was committed on the nine
Constabulary soldiers; the guilty party made a beginning in the
execution of the crime by direct overt acts in order to carry out same,
and if he did not succeed in his purpose it was because of the timely
aid rendered the victims and not because of his voluntary desistance.
Had it not been for the measures taken by Sergeant Casado and the
prompt medical attendance rendered, some, if not all, of the soldiers
would have perished, according to the opinion of the physicians who
attended them. These doctors affirm that the quantity of poison which
the soldiers took was sufficient to cause their death. The liability of
the lieutenant of the barrio, Ludovico Isais, becomes evident from the
fact that he was affiliated with the band of Felipe Salvador and
communicated with said chief; he had been to the camp of this band and
received instructions regarding the perpetration of this crime; he was
the one who put the poison in the water and the one who told Eusebio
Tolentino to throw away the rest of the poisoned water, giving an
account afterwards of this poisoning to the chief, Salvador. The
failure to analyze the vomit of the soldiers said to have been poisoned
does not constitute any defect in the evidence of the prosecution since
in this case such analysis is rendered unnecessary because of the
statements of the physicians who attended the soldiers. They
corroborate each other in every detail. The nine policemen who took the
water served to them by Isais arrived in the barracks in as good and
healthy condition as Sergeant Casado and Private Suarez. The latter
two, for the reason that they ate in a different place, did not fall
sick, but the other nine, a few minutes after they had drunk of the
water, began to feel sick and suffer from the terrible effects of the
poison, and those who took a larger quantity of the water felt the
effects more than the others.

All of these facts, sufficiently proven in the case, produce on the
mind a clear conviction that the nine soldiers were poisoned.
Tranquilino Caguiat was the only one who carried the meal after it was
prepared from the house of Mariano Arceo, and it does not appear that
the former poisoned it. It does not appear that the soldiers were
poisoned by the said meal, but by the water which they drank.
Therefore, as the participation of the defendant Caguiat has not been
sufficiently proven, he must be acquitted from the charges made against
him. The case should also be dismissed as regards Basilio Tolentino,
the one who brought the water, because he died in prison in this city.

In the commission of the crime which is now being prosecuted there
is no aggravating or extenuating circumstance to be considered and,
therefore, for this reason, the penalty prescribed by law should be
imposed in its medium degree.

Therefore, by reason of the foregoing, we are of the opinion that
the judgment below should be affirmed as regards the penalty imposed on
Ludovico Isais of fourteen years and eight months of cadena temporal,
with the accessories provided for in article 56 of the Penal Code, and
the payment of one-third of the costs. The judgment should be reversed
as regards the rest. Tranquilino Caguiat is hereby acquitted and the
case is dismissed as regards Basilio Tolentino, with the remaining
costs de oficio.

This case to be returned to the court below together with a
certified copy of this decision and of the judgment to be rendered in
accordance herewith. So ordered.

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

Date created: April 24, 2014


Leave a Reply

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

Apply Filters