G.R. No. 1487. April 06, 1905

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4 Phil. 382

[ G.R. No. 1487. April 06, 1905 ]




The defendants in this case are charged with the commission, in the
city of Manila, of the crime of brigandage, defined and punished in Act
No. 518 of the Philippine Commission. The evidence is sufficient to
convict them of the offense in said act mentioned.

It is claimed by the defendants’ counsel in this court that this
crime can not be committed within the limits of a city. By this act the
legislators intended, if possible, to put a stop to the formation of
bands of armed men organized for the purpose of robbery. The purpose
was to protect life and property, and life and property in cities was
entitled to such protection as much as life and property in the rural
districts. The place where such a band was to carry on its operations
was not an essential element in the evil sought to be corrected. While
the legislators may perhaps have had more in mind bands of armed men
wandering over the sparsely settled portions of the country, they have
used no words which exclude the application of the law to cities.

The words “highway” and “country” found in Act No. 518 (which was in
force at the time of the commission of the offense in question), relied
upon by the defendants, do not support their contention.

Streets in cities are covered by the word “highway” as well as roads
outside of cities. The word “country” has in English two meanings. It
is used in this act not to indicate rural as distinguished from urban
districts, but in the geographical sense in which it is frequently
employed- as, for example, in the phrase “the countries of the world.”
It is not in this law well translated into Spanish by the word campo.

If Manila is to be excluded, no test is furnished by which we could
decide whether or not other and smaller cities and villages should be
excluded, and we should be driven to the conclusion that any
considerable number of houses collected together would furnish a place
in which the law could not operate. Such could not have been the
intention of the legislature.

That such a band may exist in Manila is proved in this case. The
defendants came to the house of Vaughn four or five times, trying to
induce him to join them. Upon the night on which they were arrested
they had planned to rob two different houses and had agreed that they
would kill anyone who opposed them.

We can not agree with the suggestion of the Attorney-General that
because one of the defendants carried only a small knife the party was
not armed with deadly weapons. The evidence is that this, with other
weapons carried by them, was to be used in attack and defense. We have
had too many cases before us in which mortal wounds have been inflicted
by what is called in the evidence a cortaplumas to hold that such an instrument “is not a deadly weapon.

The court below sentenced the defendants to life imprisonment. We
reduce this sentence to imprisonment for twenty years for each
defendant. With this modification the judgment of the court below is
affirmed, with the costs of this instance against the defendants.

Torres, J., concurs.
Mapa and Carson. JJ., concur in the result only.
Arellano, C.J., does not concur in the opinion that the facts in the case constitute the crime of brigandage

Date created: April 24, 2014


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