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[ GR No. 1260, Dec 31, 1903 ]



3 Phil. 128

[ G.R. No. 1260, December 31, 1903 ]




The appellant, David, has been convicted of the crime of assassination  and  sentenced to  life imprisonment.  The court below held that he was not entitled to the benefits of the  amnesty  of July 4, 1902.   In this we think  that there was error.

The evidence  in  the  case as to the  circumstances  connected  with  the  commission of the offense is  very conflicting.  Mamerto Anteojo, a defendant who was acquitted in the  court below,  testified  twice during the  trial.  His two statements were inconsistent with each  other, but it is probable that his second one is more nearly the truth than  the statement of any other of the persons who claim to have been eyewitnesses.  He said that when he and one Cofu were returning from the  forests they  met French. He was looking for another  American who  had been arrested by the revolutionists  and taken to the commander of those forces,  Daniel T.  Sisson.  They immediately seized French and were taking him to the same chief,  when, on passing by the house of Eusebio Cenarro, they saw there Francisco Villabrille and other revolutionists.  Villabrille gave French something to eat and soon departed, leaving him in the charge of David and directing the latter to take the prisoner to Sisson.  At nightfall they started, and on the  way  David killed French with a  bolo.  The offense was committed in Surigao some time  in 1900.  No  complaint was presented until February, 1903. 

  1.   The  appellant at the time in question was participating  against the  United  States in  the  insurrection.  The witnesses all agree that he and his companions were revolutionary soldiers.  The appellant wore the uniform of a revolutionist. 
  3. It sufficiently appears that the crime was political in its character.   The only reason for seizing French was that he was an American belonging to the country against which they were then  fighting. The fact that they were taking him to the leader of the revolutionary forces shows almost conclusively that the detention was for causes connected with the insurrection.  While a political prisoner and on his way to headquarters he was killed.  There can be no doubt that the killing was due to the same cause as the arrest, namely, that he was an American and an enemy.
  5. We think also that the evidence is sufficient to show that the appellant committed the act pursuant to orders of his superiors.   Mamerto testified that David  told him in the very act that he was ordered by Villabrille to kill the  deceased.  This testimony is  something more than hearsay.   It is a declaration made in the act itself and is a part of it,  Mamerto also testified that when Villabrille charged David with the custody of the prisoner he  said something more to him  which the witness could not hear. The  fact that French was not killed by his captors when they first seized  him but only after the conference with Villabrille is also entitled to weight.
  The first declaration of the appellant appears in the record as  follows:

"The defendants having been examined in the  presence of their defender, Don  Daniel Toribio Sisson, Francisco David, 29 years of age, resident of Maynit, stated: 'That he knows nothing of the crime of which he is  accused and of which he received notice when in Maynit; that he had orders from his superiors not to kill any Americans, but to seize them and take them to their presence.' "

The statement as to the killing of prisoners  was entirely irrelevant to the rest of the statement,  and in view of the fact that it was given  before his counsel, Avho was the superior officer mentioned in the testimony,  we think  it is not entitled to weight.

The rank which  Villabrille had  in  the revolutionary army does not appear.  But that it was superior  to that of David is evident.  They reported to him  the capture. He assumed control of  French while they were together and gave orders as to his disposition when he departed.

The appellant is entitled to the benefit of the amnesty above  mentioned, and, on filing in this court  the oath required by the proclamation, an order will be  entered dismissing the case.

Arellano, C. J., Torres, Cooper, Mapa, and McDonough, JJ., concur.




Amnesty should not be granted to the defendant in the above  cause for  the reason that the proof does not show that he is included among the class  of  persons named or mentioned in the proclamation of amnesty of July 4,1902, of the President of  the  United States.  Neither does the proof  show that the crime with which he is charged is included among those mentioned, in the same proclamation.