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[ GR No. 6968, Aug 27, 1912 ]

US +

DECISION

23 Phil. 67

[ G.R. No. 6968, August 27, 1912 ]

THE UNITED STATES, PLAINTIFF AND APPELLEE, VS, BASILIO CASTRO ET AL., DEFENDANTS AND APPELLANTS.

D E C I S I O N

CARSON, J.:

Basilio Castro and Ramon Matic, alias Roman de la Cruz, were charged with the crime of robbery as set forth in the following information: 

"That at  and between  10 p. m. of March 12, 1911, and 3  a. m. of March 13,  1911, on board the launch Bolinao, which  at the aforesaid  time and place was anchored between the slaughterhouse and the lighthouse, and within two and one-half miles  from the  shore of Manila Bay, Philippine Islands, and the jurisdiction of this court, the said Basilio Castro and Ramon Matic, alias Roman de la Cruz, conspiring between themselves and helping each other, together with one Arsenio Salvaci6n, who has formerly been prosecuted and convicted, did, by  employing force upon things, to wit, by breaking open with an oar, against its owner's will and with intent  of  gain, a trunk  locked with a key, steal and carry away the following articles, which were contained  in said trunk, to wit; one Chinese trunk containing the sum of P112; one hempen suit of clothes, valued at P4; two straw hats, valued at P3.50; one  gold stickpin with a setting of one imitation pearl and six Bera diamonds, P5; two white neckties, Pl; two boxes face-powder, one Camia and the  other Lexora, P3.40;  one bottle  of hair tonic, P0.70; one  bottle of Florida water, Pl; one cedula, in its owner's name, F2; all worth  P132.60 Philippine currency, and  belonging to one Policarpio Caudal; the said acts being committed to the latter's damage and detriment in the said sum of  P132.60, equivalent to 663 pesetas.
   
"That in the commission of this crime, there is to be considered the aggravating circumstance of a previous conviction as regards the accused Basilio Ca$tro, and that of nocturnity with respect to both of the accused. 

"In violation of law."

The trial court dismissed the case as to Ramon Matic with one-half of the cost in that instance de ofieio; but convicted the appellant Basilio Castro of the crime of robbery with which he was charged, and in view of the fact that the crime was committed at night, and that the record disclosed that the defendant had already been convicted of the  crime of robbery on several different occasions, imposed the penalty of four years and two months of presidio correctional, together with the accessory penalties prescribed by law.
 
It appears from the record that on the night of the 12th day of March 1911, between the hours of  10 and 3, a robbery was committed on board the launch Bolinao, anchored between the matadero and the lighthouse, about two miles and a  half from the shore line of the Bay of Manila; that  the robbers carried off the various articles mentioned in the complaint, valued at P132.60, in a locked trunk; that this  trunk and its contents were the property of one Policarpio Caudal, patron of the launch; that some days after the commission of the crime, part of the stolen property  was found by a police officer in the house of the sister of the appellant, who informed the police officer that her brother Basilio was  the owner of this property and that she had  received part of it from  his querida  (paramour); that some of the stolen  property was found in the possession of the wife of the accused, and some in the possession of one  Arsenio Salvacidn, who has heretofore been accused and convicted of the same crime.

One witness, Maximo Guillermo, swore that he  saw the stickpin with false pearls and diamonds, which was a part of the stolen property, in the shirt of this appellant on one occasion.   This pin was one of the stolen articles which were discovered  in  the  house of the  sister of the appellant  by the secret  service agent Albert E. Axt.  A police officer, Fausto Duque, testified that this defendant made a voluntary confession to him while under arrest, in the course of which he admitted that in company with Ramon Matic he went out to the launch  Bolinao; that he himself went aboard and stole the trunk in question, which he turned over to Ramon Matic, who was waiting in a boat, while Arsenio Salvation was in the lighthouse keeping watch; and that later, after breaking open the trunk they three  divided the contents among themselves  and threw the empty trunk in the sea. It was further established by the testimony of the clerk of the municipal court of the city of Manila that this appellant had been sentenced for theft on the 14th day of May, 1909, and on the 2nd and 11th of  October  of the same year.
   
The accused, testifying in his own behalf, denied that he had confessed to the police officer Duque, and disclaimed all knowledge of the robbery. The trial judge evidently believed the testimony  of the witnesses for  the prosecution, and  we are of opinion that if this testimony be accepted as true, there can be no  reasonable doubt as to the guilt of the appellant. Without considering whether any value should be given  to the fact  that part of the stolen property was found in the possession of the wife of the accused and part in the possession of his sister, there can be no question that the testimony of Maximo Guillermo as to  the fact that he saw the stickpin in question in the shirt  of the appellant was competent and admissible; and that this testimony, unexplained, furnishes strong  and convincing evidence as to the guilt of the accused.  We are of opinion that his confession made to the policeman Duque, taken together with the evidence as to  his possession of the stolen pin, establishes his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
 
Some question is raised as to the  truth of the testimony of Duque touching the admissions and confessions of the appellant, and as to the admissibility of his testimony in this regard.   It affirmatively appears from the record, however, that the statements were made voluntarily  and without the exercise  of undue influence.   No sufficient reason is suggested in the record which would justify us in believing that the policeman swore falsely in this regard.  Much has been made by the appellant of the fact that the police officer to whom  these admissions were made testified that another police officer, Albert E. Axt, was present at the time the confessions were made, and that Axt, when testifying, declared that this  accused had denied all knowledge of the crime when arrested  by him.  It is contended that the testimony of these witnesses is in conflict, but we think that the alleged contradictions  are more apparent than real, and that the testimony of these witnesses does not disclose an irreconcilable conflict. It would appear that the policeman Axt, when he testified as to the denial of the accused, was referring to the  occasions when he made the arrest and the search of the houses of the accused, while the policeman Duque, when he testified as to admissions made by the accused, was referring to conversations had on another occasion.
 
We are of opinion that the judgment of conviction  and the  sentence imposed by the trial court should be affirmed, with the costs  of this instance against the appellant.   So ordered.
 
Arellano, C, J., Mapa and Johnson, JJ.,  concur.
Trent, J., dissents.


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