by Midnightblue

US v. LOOK CHAW, GR No. 5887, 1910-12-16

Facts:

The evidence,  it  says,  shows that between 11  and  12 o'clock a.  m. on the  18th of the present month (stated as August 19, 1909), several  persons, among  them  Messrs. Jacks and Milliron, chief of the... department of the port of Cebu  and  internal revuene agent of Cebu, respectively, went aboard the steamship Erroll to inspect and search its cargo, and found, first in a cabin near the saloon, one sack (Exhibit A) and afterwards in the  hold, another... sack  (Exhibit B). The sack referred  to as Exhibit A contained 49 cans of opium, and the other, Exhibit B, the larger sack, also contained several cans  of the same substance.   The hold, in which the sack mentioned in  Exhibit  B was found,... was under the defendant's control, who,  moreover,  freely and of his own will and accord admitted that this sack, as well as the other referred to in Exhibit B  and  found  in the cabin, belonged to  him.  The said defendant also ... stated,  freely and voluntarily, that he had bought these sacks of opium in Hongkong with the intention of selling them as contraband in Mexico or Vera Cruz, and that,  as his hold had already been searched several times for  opium, he ordered two other Chinamen... to keep the sack.  Exhibit A

Issues:

The defense moved for  a dismissal of the case, on the grounds that the court had no jurisdiction to try the same and the facts concerned therein did not constitute a crime.

Ruling:

That, although the mere possession of a thing  of prohibited use in these Islands, aboard a foreign vessel... in transit, in any of their ports, does not, as a general rule, constitute a crime triable by the courts of this country,  on account of  such vessel being considered as an extension of  its  own  nationality, the same rule does not apply when the... article, whose use is prohibited within the Philippine Islands, in the present case a can of opium, is landed from the vessel upon Philippine soil, thus committing an open violation of the  laws of the land, with respect to which, as  it is a violation of the penal law... in force at the place of the commission of the crime, only  the court established in the said place itself has competent jurisdiction, in  the  absence of an agreement  under an  international treaty.

Principles: