G.R. No. 1308. November 11, 1905

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5 Phil. 257

[ G.R. No. 1308. November 11, 1905 ]




The trial of the case was commenced February 24, 1903, upon a
complaint filed March 21, 1902, wherein the provincial fiscal charged
the defendant, Pedro Giron, with the crime of robbery in a band, in
that the accused on a certain afternoon in the month of May or June,
1899, together with fourteen or fifteen men armed with rifles, himself
being armed with a revolver, went to the house of one Vicente Guisano
Santos, in the barrio of Pandi, municipality of Bigaa, and by means of
violence and intimidation took possession of a bay horse belonging to
one Antonio Constantino and in charge of Santos, valued at 400 pesos,
Mexican currency, in violation of the statute in such cases made and

The court, after hearing the evidence, convicted the defendant of
the offense charged and sentenced him to imprisonment for fourteen
years eight months and one day, to pay the costs, and to return the
horse to its owner or to pay him the value thereof, and, in case of
insolvency, to suffer subsidiary imprisonment. From this judgment the
defendant appealed.

It appears from the record that the horse in question was delivered
by Constantino to Guisano Santos for safekeeping ; that the latter in
turn delivered it to his nephew, Eustaquio Sarmiento, to be cared for,
and that while in Sarmiento’s possession it was stolen from him. Santos
testified that when the defendant asked him for the horse he refused to
turn it over, stating that it did not belong to him, but the accused
nevertheless took it, remarking at the same time that he would have
taken the horse whether the owner were present or not. One of the
companions of the accused took the horse away and it was never returned
to its owner. Juan Verino corroborated the testimony of Guisano Santos,
adding that he was present when the accused ordered his men to take the
horse away, while he, the accused, approached Santos’ house.

The acts committed by the accused constitute the crime of robbery in
a band as denned in articles 502, 503 (par. 5)., 504, and 505 of the
Penal Code. It was proved that the accused, accompanied by some
fourteen armed men, went to the place where Guisano Santos kept the
horse and ordered one of his men to take the horse away, by means of
intimidation and notwithstanding the opposition of the person who had
charge of the horse. The accused, who was in command of the party,
further stated that he would take the horse even though the owner,
Antonio Constantino, were present.

The defendant pleaded not guilty and under oath stated that he, as
captain of the “Sixth Company, Bulacan Battalion,” of the insurgent
army, had taken the horse in question by order of his general, Gregorio
del Pilar, who in turn delivered it to one of his officers to be used
in military operations, adding that Sarmiento delivered the horse to
him voluntarily, that he did not know who the owner was, and that he
had made no such statements to Guisano Santos as the latter claimed.

We agree with the Solicitor-General that the accused is entitled to
the benefits of the amnesty proclamation of July 4, 1902, as contended
by the defense in the court below.

The accused, at the time the crime was committed, was a captain in
the revolutionary army. He took the horse by means of intimidation and
against the will of its custodian, pursuant, however, to orders from
his superior, to whom he subsequently delivered it, the horse being
thereafter devoted to military operations.

The crime of “robbery in a band” committed in this case was
therefore of a political nature and was committed by the accused
pursuant to his superior’s orders and with the object of furthering the
ends of the Filipino insurrection.

The offense is therefore covered by the amnesty proclamation. This case is analogous to that of the United States vs. Catalino Vergara, No. 1016.[1]

The judgment of the lower court is hereby set aside and the
defendant held to be entitled to the benefits of the amnesty
proclamation of July 4,1902. The case is accordingly dismissed with
costs de oficio. Upon taking the oath prescribed in the proclamation he will be set at liberty if he is still a prisoner. So ordered.

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

[1] 1 Phil. Rep., 638.

Date created: April 28, 2014


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