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EN BANC G.R. No.

L-2189 November 3, 1906

THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. FRANCISC !AUTISTA, ET AL., defendants-appellants. Aguedo Velarde and Pineda and Escueta, for appellants. Office of the Solicitor-General Araneta, for appellee.

CARS N, J.: The appellants in this case was convicted in the Court of First Instance of Manila of the crime of conspirac to overthrow, put down, and destro ! force the "overnment of the #nited $tates in the %hilippine Islands and the "overnment of the %hilippine Islands, as defined and penali&ed in section ' of Act No. ()( of the %hilippine Commission. The appellant Francisco Bautista was sentenced to four ears* imprisonment, with hard la!or, and +,,--- fine, and Aniceto de "u&man and Tomas %u&on, and each of them, to three ears* imprisonment, with hard la!or, and a fine of +(,---, and all and each of the said appellants to pa their proportionate share of the costs of the trial and to under.o su!sidiar imprisonment in the event of insolvenc and failure to pa their respective fines. The evidence of record conclusivel esta!lishes that durin. the latter part of the ear /)-, a junta was or.ani&ed and a conspirac entered into ! a num!er of Filipinos, resident in the cit of 0on.1on., for the purpose of overthrowin. the "overnment of the #nited $tates in the %hilippine Islands ! force of arms and esta!lishin. in its stead a .overnment to !e 1nown as the Republica Uni ersal !e"ocratica #ilipina2 that one %rim 3ui& was reco.ni&ed as the titular head of this conspirac and one Artemio 3icarte as chief of the militar forces to the or.ani&ed in the %hilippines in the furtherance of the plans of the conspirators2 that toward the end of 4ecem!er, /)-, the said 3icarte came to Manila from 0on.1on. in hiddin. on !oard the steamship $uensang2 that after his arrival in the %hilippines he held a num!er of meetin.s in the cit of Manila and the ad5oinin. provinces whereat was perfected the a!ove-mentioned conspirac hatched in 0on.1on. that at these meetin.s new mem!ers were ta1en into the conspirac and plans made for the enlistment of an arm of revolution and the raisin. of mone ! national and private loans to carr on the campai.n2 that to this end !onds were issued and commissions as officers in the revolutionar arm were .ranted to a num!er of conspirators, empowerin. the officers thus appointed to raise troops and ta1e command thereof2 and that the conspirators did in fact ta1e the field and offered armed resistance to the constituted authorities in the %hilippines, onl failin. in their desi.n of overthrowin. the "overnment !ecause of their failure to com!at successfull with the officers of the law who were sent a.ainst them and of the failure of the people to rise en "asse in response to their propa.anda. It further appears from the evidence that the appellant Francisco Bautista, a resident of the cit of Manila, was an intimate friend of the said 3icarte2 that 3icarte wrote and notified Bautista of his comin. to Manila and that, to aid him in his 5ourne , Bautista forwarded to him secretl (-- pesos2 that after the arrival of 3icarte, Bautista was present, ta1in. part in several of the a!ove-mentioned meetin.s whereat the plans of the conspirators were discussed and perfected, and that at one of these meetin.s Bautista, in answer to a 6uestion of 3icarte, assured him that the necessar preparations had !een made and that he 7held the people in readiness.7

It further appears that the appellant, Tomas %u&on, united with the conspirators throu.h the a.enc of one 8ose 3. Mu9o&, who was proven to have !een a prime leader of the movement, in the intimate confidence of 3icarte, and ! him authori&ed to distri!ute !onds and nominate and appoint certain officials, includin. a !ri.adier-.eneral of the si.nal corps of the proposed revolutionar forces2 that at the time when the conspirac was !ein. !rou.ht to a head in the cit of Manila, %u&on held several conferences with the said Mu9o& whereat plans were made for the comin. insurrection2 that at one of these conferences Mu9o& offered %u&on a commission as !ri.adier-.eneral of the si.nal corps and undertoo1 to do his part in or.ani&in. the troops2 and that at a later conference he assured the said Mu9o& that he had thin.s in readiness, meanin. there! that he had dul or.ani&ed in accordance with the terms of his commission. %u&on at the trial declared that he had never united himself with the conspirators2 that he had accepted the appointment as !ri.adier-.eneral of the si.nal corps of the revolutionar forces with no intention of ever ta1in. an further action in the matter, and merel !ecause he did not wish to ve: his friend Mu9o& ! refusin. to do so, and that when Mu9o& offered him the appointment as !ri.adier-.eneral he did so in 7a 5o1in. tone,7 and that he, %u&on, did not 1now that 3icarte was in Manila or.ani&in. the conspirac at that time. These statements, however ;e:cept in so far as the corro!orate the testimon of Mu9o& as to the fact that he had several interviews with %u&on at which plans were entered into for the advancement of the cause of the conspirators<, can not !e accepted as true in the li.ht of a written statement si.ned ! %u&on himself at the time when he was first arrested, part of which is as follows= >. ?hat is our name and what is our a.e, residence, and occupation@ A A. M name is Tomas %u&on2 !orn in Binondo in the %rovince of Manila2 ,B ears of a.e2 married2 ! profession a teacher of primar and secondar schools, and residin. in Calle Concepcion, No. /)C, district of >uiapo. >. 4o ou 1now Artemio 3icarte@ A A. %ersonall I do not 1now him, !ut ! name, es.%&'phil.net >. 4id ou have an information that 3icarte was in these Islands and with what o!5ect he came here@ And if ou 1now it to !e true, throu.h whom did ou .et such information@ A A. In the first place I had notice of his comin. to the Islands as well as his o!5ect ! readin. the newspapers of Manila, and secondl !ecause 8. 3. Mu9o& told me the same on one occasion when I was in his house to visit him. >. 4id ou ac6uire this information throu.h an other person@ A A. No, sir2 I have no more information than that which I have mentioned. >. Are ou a part of his new revolution presided over ! 3icarte@ A A. Des, sir. >. ?hat is the emplo ment ;e"pleo< which ou have in this or.ani&ation, and who is it who invited ou to 5oin it@ A A. 8. 3. Mu9o&, who is .eneral of division of this new or.ani&ation, spo1e to me with much instance, as1in. me to accept emplo ment as !ri.adier-.eneral, chief of si.nal corps, to which I, on account of his re6uest and in view of the fact that the said Mu9o& is a friend of mine from m outh, acceded2 nevertheless I have or.ani&ed a!solutel nothin. in respect to this matter. >. 4id ou accept the emplo ment and did the .ive ou an commission for it@ A A. Des, sir2 I accepted said emplo ment and althou.h the .ave me an order to or.ani&e in m !ri.ade I did not do it, !ecause I had neither the confidence nor the will.

>. If ou didn*t have faith in the said authori&ation nor the will to carr out what was intrusted to ou, wh did ou accept emplo ment as .eneral of the !ri.ade@ A A. I accepted it on account of friendship and not to ve: a friend, !ut I never have the intention of fulfillin. the o!li.ations. %u&on, when on the stand in his own !ehalf, did not den that he made this statement, !ut he attempted to e:plain it awa ! sa in. that when he made it he was so e:ited that he did not 1now 5ust what he was sa in.. 0e does not alle.e that improper means were ta1en to procure the confession, and it was proven at the trial that it was freel and voluntaril made and not the result of violence, intimidation, threat, menace, or promise of reward or lenienc . The accused appears to !e an intelli.ent man and was for ei.hteen ears a schoolteacher and later a tele.raph operator under the $panish "overnment, and durin. the insurrection he held a commission as an officer in the si.nal corps of the revolutionar arm . 0is confession is clear and intelli.i!le and in no wa supports his pretense that he was so e:cited as not to 1now what he was sa in. when he made it, and its truth and accurac in so far it inculpates him is sustained ! other evidence of record in this case. It is contended that the acceptance or possession of an appointment as an officer of the militar forces of the conspirac should not !e considered as evidence a.ainst him in the li.ht of the decisions of this court in the cases of the #nited $tates s. Antonio de los 3e es / ;( Eff. "a&., ,F'<, #nited $tates s. $ilverio Nu9e& et al.( ;, Eff. "a&., '-G<, the #nited $tates s. Euse!io de la $erna et al. , ;, Eff. "a&., C(G<, and #nited $tates s. Bernardo Manalo et al. ' ;' Eff. "a&., CB-<. But the case at !ar is to !e distin.uished from these and li1e cases ! the fact that the record clearl disclose that the accused actuall and voluntaril accepted the apppointment in 6uestion and in doin. so assumed all the o!li.ations implied ! such acceptance, and that the char.e in this case is that of conspirac , and the fact that the accused accepted the appointment is ta1en into consideration merel as evidence of his criminal relations with the conspirators. In the first of these cases A the #nited $tates s. 4e los 3e es A the accused was char.ed with treason, and the court found that the mere acceptance of a commission ! the defendant, nothin. else !ein. done either ! himself or ! his companions, was not an 7overt act7 of treason within the meanin. of the law, !ut the court further e:pressl held that A That state of affairs disclosed !od of evidence, . . . the pla in. of the .ame of .overnment li1e children, the secretaries, colonels, and captains, the pictures of fla.s and seals and commission, all on proper, for the purpose of dupin. and misleadin. the i.norant and the visionar . . . should not !e di.nified ! the name of treason. In the second case A the #nited $tates s. Nu9e& et al. -- wherein the accused were char.ed with !ri.anda.e, the court held that, aside from the possession of commissions in an insur.ent !and, there was no evidence to show that it the had committed the crime and, 7moreover, that it appeared that the had never united with an part of !ri.ands and never had !een in an wa connected with such parties unless the ph sical possession of these appointments proved such relation,7 and that it appeared that each one of the defendants 7were separatel approached at different times ! armed men while wor1in. in the field and were virtuall compelled to accept the commissions.7 In the case of the #nited $tates s. de la $erna et al. it was contended that de la $erna had confessed that 7he was one of the mem!ers of the pulajanes, with a commission as colonel,7 !ut the court was of opinion that the evidence did not sustain a findin. that such confession had in fact !een made, hence the doctrine laid down in that decision, 7that the mere possession of such an appointment, when it is not shown that the possessor e:ecuted some e:ternal act ! the virtue of the same, does not constitute sufficient proof of the .uilt of the defendant,7 applies onl the case of Enri6ue Camonas, a.ainst whom the onl evidence of record was 7the fact that a so-called appointment of ser.eant was found at his house.7

In the case of the #nited $tates s. Bernardo Manalo et al. there was testimon that four appointments of officials in a revolutionar arm were found in a trun1 in the house of one Halentin Colorado, and the court in said case reaffirmed the doctrine that 7the mere possession of the documents of this 1ind is not sufficient to convict,7 and held, furthermore, that there was 7evidence in the case that at the time these papers were received ! the appellant, Halentin Colorado, he went to one of the assistant councilmen of the !arrio in which lived, a witness for the "overnment, showed him the envelope, and stated to him he had received these papers2 that he didn*t 1now what the were and re6uested this councilman to open them. The coucilman did not wish to do that !ut too1 the envelope and sent it to the councilman 8ose Millora. ?e are satisfied that this envelope contained the appointments in 6uestion and that the appellant did not act under the appointment !ut immediatel reported the receipt of them to the authorities.7 It is 6uite conceiva!le that a .roup of conspirators mi.ht appoint a person in no wise connected with them to some hi.h office in the conspirac , in the hope that such person would afterwards accept the commission and thus unite himself with them, and it is even possi!le that such an appointment mi.ht !e forwarded in the mail or otherwise, and thus come into the possession of the person thus nominated, and that such appointment mi.ht !e found in his possession, and, notwithstandin. all this, the person in whose possession the appointment was found mi.ht !e entirel innocent of all intention to 5oin the conspirac , never havin. authori&ed the conspirators to use his name in this manner nor to send such a commission to him. Indeed, cases are not un1nown in the annals of criminal prosecutions wherein it has !een proven that such appointments have !een concealed in the !a..a.e or amon. the papers of the accused persons, so that when later discovered ! the officers of the law the mi.ht !e used as evidence a.ainst the accused. But where a .enuine conspirac is shown to have e:isted as in this case, and it is proven that the accused voluntaril accepted an appointment as an officer in that conspirac , we thin1 that this fact ma properl !e ta1en into consideration as evidence of his relations with the conspirators. Counsel for appellants contend that the constitutional provision re6uirin. the testimon of at least two witnesses to the same overt act, or confession in open court, to support a conviction for the crime of treason should !e applied in this case, !ut this court has alwa s held, in conformance with the decisions of the Federal courts of the #nited $tates, that the crime of conspirin. to commit treason is a separate and distinct offense from the crime of treason, and that this constitutional provision is not applica!le in such cases. ;(n re Bollman, ' Cranch, B'2 #. $. s. Mitchell, ( 4all., ,'G.< The evidence of record does not sustain the conviction of Aniceto de "u&man. The findin. of his .uilt rest su!stantiall upon his acceptance of a num!er of !onds from one of the conspirators, such !onds havin. !een prepared ! the conspirators for the purpose of raisin. funds for carr in. out the plans of the conspirac , !ut it does not affirmativel appear that he 1new an thin. of the e:istence of the conspirac or that, when he received the !onds wrapped in a !undle, he 1new what the contents of the !undle was, nor that ever, on an occasion, assumed an o!li.ation with respect to these !onds. 0e, himself, states that when he opened the !undle and discovered the nature of the contents he destro ed them with fire, and that he never had an dealin.s with the conspirators in relation to the conspirac or the o!5ect for which it was or.ani&ed. ?e are of opinion, therefore, that the 5ud.ment and sentence !efore us, in so far as it affects the said Aniceto de "u&man, should !e reversed, with his proportionate share of the costs of !oth instances de oficio, and that the said Anecito de "u&man should !e ac6uitted of the crime with which he is char.ed and set a li!ert forthwith, and that the 5ud.ment and sentence of the trial court, in so far as it applies to Francisco Bautista and Tomas %u&on, should !e, and is here! , affirmed, e:cept so far as it imposes su!sidiar imprisonment in the event of insolvenc and failure to pa their respective fines, and, there !ein. no authorit

in law of such provision, so much of the sentence as underta1es to impose su!sidiar imprisonment is here! reversed. After ten da s let 5ud.ment !e entered in accordance herewith, when the record will !e returned to the trial court for e:ecution. $o ordered. Arellano, ).*., +orres, *ohnson and +race,, **., concur. -apa, and .illard, **., concur as to the penalt, i"posed upon /autista and dissent as to that i"posed upon Pu0on.

Foo"#o"e$ / , %hil. 3ep., ,'). ( ' %hil. 3ep., ''/. , ' %hil. 3ep., ''G. ' %a.e ,F', supra.