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[ GR No. 6881, Oct 12, 1911 ]



20 Phil. 337

[ G. R. No. 6881, October 12, 1911 ]




This is an appeal from  the sentence imposed upon  the two defendants by the Hon. Simplicio del Rosario.

On the evening of July 2, 1910,  Rosario Aquino, an  unmarried girl about 15 years of age, was carried away from Fort McKinley by  Valentin Nunez  and  taken, according  to her, to the house of Manuel Javier and Raymunda de la Cruz, where he succeeded in lying with her.   He then left her on the pretext that he would go to the office of the president or the justice of the peace so that they  might be  married,  but  as he did not return for more than an hour, the girl left the house, because she had learned from some unknown parties that women who remained therein became bad.  She  boarded a street car to return to this city, but the car was stopped by four municipal policemen, who told her that their sergeant wanted to talk with her. But instead of  taking her to the town hall they conducted her to the house of the defendants, where, upon her arrival, Brigido Francisco, one of the four policemen, talked with the occupants of the house, and immediately  the woman Raymunda de la  Cruz invited the girl to come inside the house  and took her into one of the rooms.  Said house-holders picked  up  the petate or mat on which they had been  lying  and carried  it  into the kitchen,  then spread another  mat in the room, and  the  policeman Francisco entered and succeeded  in lying with the girl twice in spite of her resistance.   On the afternoon of the next day Rosario Aquino left said house  and went to another, where she was later  found by her guardian, Patricio Espiritu, who reported the matter to the authorities.

Accordingly,  an information was presented in the  Court of First Instance of Rizal by the provincial fiscal charging the said Manuel  Javier  and Raymunda de la Cruz  with corruption of minors.  The case came  to trial and the court rendered  judgment therein on December 26,  1910, sentencing the  defendants to two years of prision correctional, with the accessories, each to pay half of the  costs. From this judgment they appealed.

Article 444 of the Penal Code prescribes: 

"Whosoever shall habitually, or, taking advantage of his authority or of another's trust, promote or facilitate the prostitution or corruption of minors to satisfy the lusts of another, shall be punished with the penalty of prision correccional in its minimum and medium degrees, and temporary absolute disqualification if he were  an authority."

From  the foregoing article it appears that the practice or repetition of the acts of promoting or facilitating prostitution is the first and most general condition required by the penal law to establish the commission  of the  crime provided for and penalized in said article.

So, the execution of a single act of facilitating the prostitution  of a  minor,  by placing her at another's disposal for immoral purposes, does not legally constitute the said crime, unless it was done with abuse of authority or  abuse of trust  on the part of the person who promotes or  facilitates  the commission of  such immoral act, in which two cases the execution of a  single act is alone sufficient to make its perpetrator liable under  said article.

It is impossible to determine exactly, from the conflicting and  at times contradiptory statements  of the offended party, Rosario Aquino, whether the  house to which  she was conducted  by Valentin Nunez on that  night of the second of July and which she later left, is the same as that to which she  was again  conducted by Brigido Francisco, who slept with her therein; in order to establish  the guilt of the defendants as corruptors  it is indispensable that complete proof appear in  the case, not only  of the presence and stay of said girl  in the defendants' house for immoral purposes but also of similar acts repeated in  said  house in such  a manner that  it may be affirmed that the alleged perpetrators made a practice of such repulsive crime.  The case affords no evidence  that such conduct  was habitual with the defendants, for an immoral act committed in their house  and with their consent by  a third person  does  not constitute habit or repetition of such acts on their part.

Neither does the case reveal that there was, on the part of said defendants, any abuse of authority, or any abuse of trust  that the girl or her guardian  might have reposed in them,  for it does not appear that the offended  girl and the defendants had been previously acquainted.  Had there been abuse  of trust, one  single act  executed to facilitate the prostitution  or corruption of said minor would have been sufficient to establish the existence of the crime and the guilt of the defendants, according to the principle laid down  by the  supreme court of Spain in connection with article 459  of the Penal  Code of  that country, which is identical with  444 of the Code in force in these Islands, in  its  judgment of May 8, 1888.

For these reasons, and as the facts in the case at bar do not constitute a crime,  we believe that the judgment should be reversed and Manuel Javier and Raymunda  de la Cruz acquitted, with the costs in both instances de oficio. So ordered.

Mapa, Johnson, Carson, and Moreland, JJ., concur.