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1/21/2017 G.R.No.L­1451 TodayisSaturday,January21,2017

G.R.No.L­1451

TodayisSaturday,January21,2017

1/21/2017 G.R.No.L­1451 TodayisSaturday,January21,2017
1/21/2017 G.R.No.L­1451 TodayisSaturday,January21,2017

G.R.No.L­1451

RepublicofthePhilippines

SUPREMECOURT

Manila

March6,1906

ENBANC

THEUNITEDSTATES,plaintiff­appellee,

vs.

AURELIOTOLENTINO,defendant­appellant.

RafaelPalmaandGibbsandKincaidforappellant.

OfficeoftheSolicitor­GeneralAranetaforappellee.

CARSON,J.:

AurelioTolentino,theappellantinthiscase,wasconvicteduponaninformationcharginghimwiththecrimeof "utteringseditiouswordsandwritings,publishingandcirculatingscurrilouslibelsagainsttheGovernmentofthe United States and the Insular Government of the Philippine Islands, committed as follows: That said Aurelio Tolentino,onor aboutthe14thdayofMay,1903,inthecityofManila,PhilippineIslands,didunlawfullyutter seditiouswordsandspeechesanddidwrite,publish,andcirculatescurrilouslibelsagainsttheGovernmentofthe UnitedStatesandtheInsularGovernmentofthePhilippineIslands,whichtendtoobstructthelawfulofficersof theUnitedStatesandtheInsularGovernmentofthePhilippineIslandsintheexecutionoftheiroffices,andwhich tendtoinstigateotherstocabalandmeettogetherforunlawfulpurposes,andwhichsuggestandinciterebellious conspiraciesandriots,andwhichtendtostirupthepeopleagainstthelawfulauthoritiesandtodisturbthepeace ofthecommunityandthesafetyandorderoftheGovernmentoftheUnitedStatesandtheInsularGovernmentof thePhilippineIslands,whichsaidseditiouswordsandspeechesarefalseandinflammatory,andtendtoinciteand movethepeopletohatredanddislikeofthegovernmentestablishedbylawwithinthePhilippineIslands,andtend toincite,move,andpersuadegreatnumbersofthepeopleofsaidPhilippineIslandstoinsurrection,riots,tumults, andbreachesofthepublicpeace;whichsaidfalse,seditious,andinflammatorywordsandscurrilouslibelsarein Tagalog language in a theatricalworkwritten bysaid Aurelio Tolentino,and which waspresented byhim and

othersonthesaid14thdayofMay,1903,atthe"TeatroLibertad,"inthecityofManila,PhilippineIslands,entitled

'Kahapon Ñgayon at Bukas' (Yesterday, To­day, and To­morrow). An exact translation of the said drama is included in the information, and various parts thereof are specially assigned, which, in the opinion of the prosecution,weremoreespeciallyinviolationofthestatuteinsuchcasesmadeandprovided.

It was proven at the trial beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused did in fact write the drama and the announcementthereof,substantiallyassetoutintheinformation,anddid,withothermembersofatheatrical company,ofwhichhewasdirector,utterandpublishthesamesubstantiallyinmannerandformascharged,and asweunderstandit,theonlyquestionfordecisioniswhether,inwriting,publishing,andutteringthedrama,the

accusedwasinfactguiltyofaviolationofsection8ofActNo.292ofthePhilippineCommission,uponwhichthe

informationwasbased.

Thissectionisasfollows:

Every person who shall utter seditious words or speeches, write, publish, or circulate scurrilous libels againsttheGovernmentoftheUnitedStatesortheInsularGovernmentofthePhilippineIslands,orwhich tendtodisturborobstructanylawfulofficerinexecutinghisoffice,orwhichtendtoinstigateotherstocabal ormeettogetherforunlawfulpurposes,orwhichsuggestorinciterebelliousconspiraciesorriots,orwhich tendtostirupthepeopleagainstthelawfulauthoritiesortodisturbthepeaceofthecommunity,thesafety andorderoftheGovernment,orwhoshallknowinglyconcealsuchevilpractices,shallbepunishedbya fine not exceeding two thousand dollars or by imprisonment not exceeding two years, or both, in the discretionofthecourt.

Counseldiscussedatsomelengththequestionwhetherthedramaoranypartofitwasofa"scurrilous"naturein thelegalacceptationoftheword,butforthepurposesofthisdecisionwedonotdeemitnecessarytomakea findingonthispoint.InthecaseoftheUnitedStatesvs.FredL.DorrandEdwardF.O'Brien, 1 decidedMay19,

1903,thiscourtsaid:

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G.R.No.L­1451

Thecomplaintappearstobeframeduponthetheorythatawriting,inordertobepunishableasalibel underthissection,mustbeofascurrilousnatureanddirectedagainsttheGovernmentoftheUnitedStates ortheInsularGovernmentofthePhilippineIslands,andmust,inaddition,tendtosomeoneoftheresults enumeratedinthesection,thearticleinquestionbeingdescribedinthecomplaintas"ascurrilouslibel againsttheGovernmentoftheUnitedStatesandtheInsularGovernmentofthePhilippineIslands,which tends to obstruct the lawful officers of the United States and the Insular Government of the Philippine Islandsintheexecutionoftheiroffices,andwhichtendstoinstigateotherstocabalandmeettogetherfor unlawfulpurposes,andwhichsuggestsandincitesrebelliousconspiracies,andwhichtendstostirupthe peopleagainstthelawfulauthorities,andwhichdisturbsthesafetyandorder oftheGovernmentofthe United States and the Insular Government of the Philippine Islands." But it is a "a well­settled rule in consideringindictmentsthatwhereanoffensemaybecommittedinanyofseveraldifferentmodes,andthe offense,inanyparticularinstance,isallegedtohavebeencommittedintwoormoremodesspecified,itis sufficienttoprovetheoffensecommittedinanyoneofthem,providethatitbesuchastoconstitutethe

substantiveoffense."(Com.vs.Kneeland,20Pick.Mass.206,215),andthedefendantsmay,therefore,be

convictedifanyoneofthesubstantivechargesintowhichthecomplaintmaybeseparatedhasbeenmade

out.

Severalalliedoffensesormodesofcommittingthesameoffensearedefineinthatsection,viz:(1)The

utteringofseditiouswordsorspeeches;(2)thewriting,publishing,orcirculatingofscurrilouslibelsagainst

theGovernmentoftheUnitedStatesortheInsularGovernmentofthePhilippineIslands;(3)thewriting,

publishing,orcirculatingoflibelswhichtendtodisturborobstructanylawfulofficerinexecutinghisoffice;

(4)orwhichtendtoinstigateotherstocabalormeettogetherforunlawfulpurposes;(5)orwhichsuggest

orinciterebelliousconspiraciesorriots;(6)orwhichtendtostirupthepeopleagainstthelawfulauthorities

ortodisturbthepeaceofthecommunity,thesafetyandorderoftheGovernment;(7)knowinglyconcealing

suchevilpractices.

Inaccordancewiththeprincipleslaiddownintheprecedingparagraphthejudgmentofconvictioninthiscase mustbesustained,ifitappearsfromtheevidenceintherecordthattheaccusedwasguiltyaschargedofany one of those offenses. We are all agreed that the publication and presentation of the drama directly and necessarilytendtoinstigateotherstocabalandmeettogetherforunlawfulpurposes,andtosuggestandincite rebelliousconspiraciesandriotsandtostirupthepeopleagainstthelawfulauthoritiesandtodisturbthepeaceof thecommunityandthesafetyandorderoftheGovernment.

Themanifest,unmistakabletendencyoftheplay,inviewofthetime,place,andmannerofitspresentation,was

toinculcateaspiritofhatredandenmityagainsttheAmericanpeopleandtheGovernmentoftheUnitedStatesin

thePhilippines,andwearesatisfiedthattheprincipalobjectandintentofitsauthorwastoincitethepeopleofthe

PhilippineIslandstoopenandarmedresistancetotheconstitutedauthorities,andtoinducethemtoconspire

togetherforthesecretorganizationofarmedforces,tobeusedwhentheopportunitypresenteditself,forthe

purposeofoverthrowingthepresentGovernmentandsettingupanotherinitsstead.

Counselfortheappellantinsiststhattheintentoftheaccusedtocommitthecrimewithwhichheischargeddoes

notappearfromtheevidenceofrecord,andthatthedramais,initself,apurelyliteraryandartisticproduction

whereinthelegendaryhistoryoftheseIslandsandtheirfuture,asimaginedbytheauthor,arepresentedmerely

fortheinstructionandentertainmentofthepublic.

Thiscontentioncannotbemaintained.ThepublicpresentationofthedramatookplaceinthemonthofMay,

1903,lessthantwoyearsaftertheestablishmentoftheCivilGovernment.Thesmoulderingembersofawide­

spreadanddangerousinsurrectionwerenotyetentirelyextinguished,andhereandtherethroughouttheIslands occasionaloutbreaksstillrequiredtheuseofthearmedforcesoftheGovernmentfortheirsuppression.Ajuntain the city of Hongkong, composed of persons whose announced purpose and object in organizing was the overthrowofthepresentGovernment,wasactivelyengagedintheendeavortokeepthepeopleoftheseIslands from peaceably accepting the authority of that Government, and this junta, acting with confederates in the Philippines,wasstillabletokeepaliveacertainspiritofunrestanduncertaintywhichithopedtofanintoopen revoltandrebellionatthefirstfavorableopportunity.

The manner and form in which the drama waspresented atsuch a time and under such conditions,renders absurdthepretensethatitwasmerelyorevenprincipallyaliteraryorartisticproduction,andtheclumsydevices, theallegoricalfigures,theapparentremoteness,pastandfuture,oftheeventsportrayed,couldnotandinfact werenotintendedtoleavetheaudienceindoubtastoitspresentandimmediateapplication,norshouldthey blindthiscourttothetruepurposeandintentoftheauthoranddirectoroftheplay.

Itisfurthercontendedthateventhoughtheaccusedwereinfactguiltyascharged,thecourterredinimposingan excessiveandunjustpenalty,andinfixingtheamountofthefineindollarsinsteadofPhilippinecurrency.Asto thelatterobjectionitissufficienttosaythattheuseoftheword"dollars"wasinstrictconformancewiththewords ofthestatute,andthattheequivalentofthatwordinPhilippinecurrencyisfixedbylaw.Thepenaltywaswithin the limits prescribed by law, and we are not prepared to hold that the trial court erred in the exercise of its discretioninimposingit.