[ G.R. No. 11922, September 08, 1916 ]
THE UNITED STATES, PLAINTIFF AND APPELLEE, VS. LI CHOY, DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.
D E C I S I O N
The complaint was presented in the Court of First Instance of the Province of Misamis on the 18th of April, 1916. Upon the complaint the defendant was duly arrested and arraigned. At the time of arraignment he presented a motion asking that the complaint presented in the action be quashed on the ground that the warrant of arrest in said action was issued upon an insufficient complaint, to wit, that the chief of police of Talisayan, who filed said complaint, was not a person authorized by law under the Act of Congress of April 29, 1902, or Act No. 702 of the Philippine Commission, or any other Act of the Philippine Legislature, to file a complaint for a violation of the aforesaid Act of Congress or Act No. 702 of the Philippine Commission.
Said motion, after being considered by the lower court, was denied, to which ruling the defendant duly excepted. Later the cause was brought on for trial at the close of which the Honorable C. D. Johnston, judge, found that the defendant is "a Chinese laborer and was in 1904 a Chinese laborer, who, under the provisions of Act No. 702 must be deported from the Philippine Islands, for failure to have the certificate required by said Act" and for that reason ordered him deported from the Philippine Islands by the proper customs authorities, with costs against the defendant.
From that order of deportation the defendant appealed to this court and made several assignments of error.
The first assignment of error is that the lower court erred in overruling the motion to quash the complaint and warrant of arrest, on the ground that a municipal policeman is not a person authorized by law to file a complaint for a violation of Act No. 702.
That question has heretofore been presented to this court and decided in accordance with the contention of the appellant. (U. S. vs. Lee Chiao, 23 Phil. Rep., 543; U. S. vs. De los Santos, 33 Phil. Rep., 397.) The complaint and order of arrest should have been quashed for the reasons given in said cases United States vs. Lee Chiao and United States vs. De los Santos, supra.
The second assignment of error is that the lower court erred in holding that the defendant was subject to deportation.
"The Attorney-General in his brief presented in this court moved that this court proceed to render a judgment in favor of the appellant, the second, third, and fourth assignments of error appearing to be correct."
The appellant asserts that he was a merchant during the period within which Chinese laborers in the Philippine Islands were required to register in accordance with the provisions of Act No. 702, and that being a merchant during that period he was not required to register, and that inasmuch as he was not required to register then, he can not be deported now for not having a Chinese laborer's certificate. The question then is whether or not the appellant was a merchant during the period when Chinese laborers were required to register. An examination of the record by the Attorney-General convinced him that the appellant was a merchant during that period. The appellant insists that he was a merchant at that time. We have carefully examined the record and without restating the evidence we are convinced that he was a merchant during that period and have reached the conclusion that the proof shows by a large preponderance that he was a merchant during the very period when laborers were required to register under the provisions of Act No. 702. Therefore, being a merchant during the period when Chinese laborers were required to register, it was not necessary for him to register, neither was it necessary for him to register even if after the expiration of the period of registration he became a laborer. The fact that he changed his status from that of a merchant to a laborer subsequent to the period of registration does not subject him to deportation. If he was a merchant at the time the law required laborers to be registered, he is not required to have the laborer's certificate required by Act No. 702 even though he subsequently became a laborer. (U. S. vs. Yu Wa, 28 Phil. Rep., 1; U. S. vs. Sia Lam Han, 29 Phil. Rep., 159; U. S. vs. Sing Lee, 71 Fed. Rep., 680.) A Chinaman within the Philippine Islands who was a merchant during the period when Chinese laborers were required to register under Act No. 702, is not liable to be deported simply because he subsequently becomes a laborer. (In re Chin Ark Wing, 115 Fed. Rep., 412; U. S. vs. Louie Juen, 128 Fed. Rep., 522; U. S. vs. Leo Won Tong, 132 Fed. Rep., 190; In re Yew Bing Hi, 128 Fed. Rep., 319; U. S. vs. Tan Chuy Hof 31 Phil. Rep., 383; U. S. vs. So Hao Ka, 31 Phil. Rep., 649.)
In view of all of the foregoing, we deem it unnecessary to discuss the other assignments of error. After a careful examination of the record, we are of the opinion and so hold that the judgment of the lower court should be and is hereby revoked and the defendant discharged from the custody of the law. And without any finding as to costs, it is so ordered.
Torres, Moreland, Trent, and Araullo, JJ., concur.