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[ GR No. 7006, Nov 05, 1912 ]



23 Phil. 358

[ G. R. No. 7006, November 05, 1912 ]




This is an appeal by the defendant from the judgment rendered in this ca on February 9,1911,  by the Honorable Herbert D. Gale, judge, who senten him to the penalty of two years' imprisonment, to  the payment of a fine of P500, and, in case of insolvency, to the corresponding subsidiary imprisonment,  and  to pay the costs.  Defendant was also perpetually disqualified  from holding any  public office and  testifying: as a witn before any  court  in these Islands.

After the death of their father, the girl Catalina Siguenza, who was the about 12 years of age,  and the boy Santiago Siguenza, about  14  years old,  were taken  in  charge by Pascual Morandarte,  with the  knowledge of their mother, Angela Mealean, in  order that  they might serve as hou servants in payment of a certain debt which their father left unpaid at death.  On one of the first days of the month of July, 1909, the childre disappeared from Morandarte's house and, upon making an investigation to ascertain their whereabouts, he discovered that they had taken advantage of an occasion when he was absent from home and had gone away  with their brother  Eladio  Siguenza, who  was  temporarily residing at  the of  Tecla Benavente.  As, coincident with the  disappearance of the chil Morandarte missed some jewelry and money he had in  his house, he suspected that  Eladio, in  complicity with Hilario, the latter V brothe stolen the same.  He therefore filed a complaint with the justice of the of the pueblo of Buhi,  charging Eladio Siguenza with the crime of theft and, in the preliminary investigation made, presented as witnesses Victo San Antonio  and Atanasia Mapa who then stated under oath, before the justice of the peace, that they had one day seen Eladio Siguenza carryin bundle containing money; but, upon  the institution of a new  investigat they retracted all their  previous testimony  and swore that it was fals that, although they saw Eladio Siguenza on that day, he was not in fact carrying money, but rice and chickens.

Upon the foregoing facts, San Antonio and Mapa were prosecuted  for perjury and the Court of First  Instance, in view of the  proof of their sentenced  them, on January 10, 1911 (case No. 1175), to the penalty of months' imprisonment each, to disqualification from holding any public o and testifying as witnesses, and to the payment of the costs.

It having developed, during the prosecution of the aforesaid cause,  tha Pascual Morandarte induced the said Victoriano . San Antonio and Atanasi Mapa to bear false testimony in the proceedings had  against Hilario and Eladio Siguenza, according to the testimony given by Juan Carrascoso, Atanasia Mapa, Sotero Buquiron, Victoriano San Antonio, Silvina Morandar and Rosendo Alcantara, a complaint  was filed by the provincial fiscal, January  14, 1911, after a preliminary investigation  had been held as t of an accusation  made by the said Rosendo Alcantara before the justice of the peace of Buhi, charging Pascual Morandarte with the crime  of subornation of perjury, and,  this case having been instituted,  the jud aforementioned was rendered therein.

This case concerns the crime of subornation of perjury, provided for and punished by Act No. 1697, sections 3 and 4 of which read as follows: 

"Sec. 3.  Any person who, having  taken an  oath  before a competent tribunal, officer,  or  person, in any case in which a  law of the Phili Islands authorizes an oath to be administered, that he  will testify, de depose, or certify truly, or that any written  testimony,  declaration, deposition,  or certificate by him subscribed is true, willfully and con such oath states or subscribes any material matter which  he does not be to be true,  is guilty of perjury,  and shall be punished by a fine of more than two thousand pesos and by imprisonment for not more than five years;  and shall, moreover, thereafter be incapable of holding any publ office or of giving testimony in any court of the  Philippine Islands un time as  the judgment against him is reversed. 

"Sec. 4.  Any person  who causes  or  procures another person to commit perjury as defined in the preceding section is guilty of subornation of and shall be punished as in said section prescribed."

It is undeniable that, in the preliminary investigation made by  the jus the peace of the pueblo of Buhi, by virtue of the accusation presented b Pascual  Morandarte charging Eladio, Hilario and Santiago Siguenza with having stolen from him money and jewelry which he had in his house, Victoriano San Antonio and Atanasia Mapa testified as witnesses in suppo of the said accusation and in their testimony  swore that they  had seen Eladio carry  away money and jewelry in a bundle on the date the theft was alleged to have been committed; in their subsequent testimony, they retracted their former sworn statements, asserting that they had  previo testified falsely, through the inducement of  Pascual  Morandarte,  in that  their first false testimony might be presented against the accused surnamed Siguenza.

Had it not  been for  that retraction by the witnesses San Antonio and Mapa,  perhaps the  crime imputed to the accused would  have been deemed true and been  proved; wherefore  it is  unquestionable that the false testimony of the said two witnesses presented by the accuser, was conducive to proving important and essential facts which, duly proved, would  have determined the  conviction and  sentencing  of the  accused for  the  crime of  theft, for  these witnesses stated that the latter, Siguenza, was seen, on the occasion in  question,  carrying a bundle containing money and jewelry.

When the two said witnesses retracted their former declarations,  alleg that what  they had stated therein was false, they added that they  had knowingly violated  their oath, being induced so to do by the said Morandarte.  It is, therefore, unquestionable that the defendant incurr responsibility and was guilty of the crime of subornation of perjury, i as being  well aware  that the two witnesses,  Atanasia Mapa and Victorino San  Antonio, knew nothing of the act  charged against the Siguenza brothers and  did not see one of the latter,  Eladio, carrying bundle containing money and jewelry; nevertheless he induced, procured influenced the said witnesses to testify to an act imagined by him, whi they did to accommodate him, although afterwards, impelled by the dictates of  conscience, they retracted their  former false declaration told the  truth before the judge who  for this purpose had put them und oath.  It  is evident, therefore, that the defendant is guilty  of the subornation of perjury and,  consequently, has  incurred  the penalty specified in section 3 of the Act aforecited.

The defendant denied the charge and pleaded not guilty; but, notwithstanding his exculpatory allegations, the record furnishes concl proof of his guilt as the proved perpetrator,  beyond all doubt,  of  t crime of subornation of perjury under prosecution, for the  contents of judgment, certified to this  court and rendered by  the judge of the Co of First Instance jn the case prosecuted against the perjured witnesses Atanasia Mapa an$ Victoriano San Antonio, constitute due  proof of the criminal act and the responsibility of the accused.

Even though it be established, as was done by the trial court in its judgment, that, in accordance with the sense and spirit of the law, the witnesses Atanasia Mapa  and Victoriano San Antonio, convicted of the crime of perjury, are incompetent, and are disqualified from testifying case, nevertheless  the act of subornation of perjury and the guilt of defendant, Pascual Morandarte, the sole person responsible therefor, ha been proven by the testimony of the justice of the peace,  Juan Carrascoso, before whom the said two witnesses, convicted as perjurers, made their respective false declarations and,  before the same justice, retracted them during the preliminary investigation conducted  with ref to  a crime of theft in which the defendant, Morandarte, was the complainant.

The said act of subornation of perjury, committed by Morandarte, is als proved by the  testimony of the witness Sotero Buquiron, who was  prese and heard the defendant induce and  oblige the witness, Atanasia Mapa, to testify in the said investigation in accordance with the instruction her.  Silvina Morandarte, a sister of the  defendant and wife of the ot perjured witness, Victoriano San Antonio  and  Roseritio Alcantara, wit contradiction,  between themselves, testified to the certainty of the defendant's  having  suborned the said San Antonio to  commit perjury, and that  in so  doing Morandarte gave  the latter specific instruction regard to what was to be his testimony in that investigation, and a pap containing a memorandum of the  same.  Therefore, even taking no account of the testimony of the said perjured witnesses, because of the disqualification, the defendant's  guilt is well proved, because it is unquestionably shown that he did commit the crime charged by inducing those two witnesses to testify in corroborate of the facts alleged  in accusation, although they afterwards retracted their testimony and told truth, wherefore, an action for perjury having been instituted against they were sentenced in accordance with the law.

With respect to  the error  assigned to the trial judge, for not having stricken out of the record the testimony of the witness, the justice of peace Juan Carrascoso, inasmuch as the best proof, as averred by the defense, relative to the  statements made by the  witnesses  Mapa  and San Antonio, who subsequently retracted the same, is the written memorandum made by the said justice of the peace and containing a brief statement of their  testimony, it suffices to say that, in accordance w provisions of section 13 of Act  No. 1627, which is amendatory of  Act 194, it is not necessary for the testimony of a witness in a preliminar investigation to be set down in writing; when it is essential that the testimony  given by a  witness  before  a justice of the peace appear o record in a cause, the latter must state under oath  all  that the witn testified,  as he did do in the present case, it is not necessary  that memorandum made by him of such  testimony be exhibited and attached to the record, yas this is  not required by law.

For the foregoing  reasons,  whereby the  errors assigned to the  judgm appealed from have been  refuted, and holding that the latter is in accordance with the law and the merits of the case, it is our opinion t the same should be and  it is hereby affirmed, with the costs of this instance against the appellant.  So ordered.

Arellano, C. J., Mapa, Johnson, Carson,  and Trent, JJ.,concur.