by Tristan

PEOPLE v. ROMANA SILVESTRE, GR No. 35748, 1931-12-14

Facts:

Romana Silvestre, wife of Domingo Joaquin by her second marriage, cohabited with her codefendant Martin Atienza

On May 16,  1930,... Domingo Joaquin, filed with the justice of the peace for that municipality, a sworn complaint for adultery... the two defendants begged... the municipal president  of Paombong... to speak to the complainant... urging  him to withdraw the complaint

Domingo Joaquin acceded to it... and... the justice of the peace of  Paombong dismissed the adultery case commenced against the accused

About November 20, 1930, the accused Romana Silvestre met her son by her former marriage,  Nicolas de la Cruz, in the barrio of Santo Nino, and under pretext of asking him for some nipa  leaves

On the night of November 25,  1930, while Nicolas de la Cruz and his wife, Antonia de  la Cruz, were... gathered together

Martin Atienza told said couple to take their furniture out of the house because he was going to set fire to  it.

Upon being asked... why he  wanted to set fire to the house, he... answered that that was the  only way he could be revenged upon the people of Masocol who, he said, had instigated the charge of adultery against him and his codefendant

Alarmed at  what Martin Atienza had said, the couple left the  house at once to communicate with the barrio lieutenant,  Buenaventura Ania,... as to what they had just heard Martin  Atienza  say; but they had hardly gone a hundred arms' length when they heard cries of "Fire!  Fire!" Turning back they saw their home in flames

The  fire destroyed ... about  forty-eight houses.

Tomas Santiago... and Tomas Gonzalez,... saw Martin Atienza... going away from the house where the fire started, and Romana Silvestre leaving it.

With respect to the accused-appellant Romana Silvestre, the only evidence  of record against her  are:... that Romana Silvestre listened to  her co-defendant's threat without raising a protest, and did not give the  alarm when the latter... set  fire to the house.  Upon the strength of these  facts, the court below found her guilty of arson as accomplice.

Issues:

which previous or simultaneous acts complicate Romana Silvestre in the crime of arson  committed by her co-defendant Martin  Atienza?

Ruling:

Article 14 of  the Penal  Code,  considered  in connection with article 13,  defines an  accomplice to be one who does not take a direct part in the commission of the act, who does not force or induce other to commit it, nor cooperates in the... commission of the act by another act without which it would not have been accomplished, yet cooperates in the execution of the act by previous or  simultaneous actions

In the case of the accused-appellant Romana Silvestre, there is no evidence of moral or... material cooperation, and none of an agreement to commit the crime in question. Her mere presence and silence while they are simultaneous acts, do not constitute cooperation,  for it does not appear that they  encouraged or  nerved Martin Atienza to commit the... crime of arson; and as for her failure to give the alarm, that being a subsequent act it does not make her liable as an accomplice.

Mere passive presence at the scene of another's crime, mere  silence and  failure to give the alarm, without evidence of agreement  or conspiracy, do... not constitute the cooperation required by  article 14 of the Penal  Code for complicity  in  the commission of the crime witnessed passively, or with regard to which one has kept silent;

Principles:

Mere passive presence at the scene of another's crime, mere  silence and  failure to give the alarm, without evidence of agreement  or conspiracy, do... not constitute the cooperation required by  article 14 of the Penal  Code for complicity  in  the commission of the crime witnessed passively, or with regard to which one has kept silent