Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence


Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence > Year 1908 > November 1908 Decisions > G.R. No. 4779 November 20, 1908 - UNITED STATES v. VICTORIA VEDRA

012 Phil 96:




PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

EN BANC

[G.R. No. 4779. November 20, 1908. ]

THE UNITED STATES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. VICTORIA VEDRA, Defendant-Appellant.

Mariano Escueta, for Appellant.

Attorney-General Araneta, for Appellee.

SYLLABUS


1. INFANTICIDE; SUFFICIENCY OF PROOF. — Defendant, an unmarried woman, gave birth to a child and a short time thereafter carried the infant a distance of 150 meters from the house and buried it. The body was disinterred and found to be that of a child born in perfect condition of health, but with an abrasion on both sides of the nose, apparently caused by heavy external pressure: Held, That the facts proven with respect to the acts of the accused and the condition of the body are sufficient to sustain a conviction for infanticide.


D E C I S I O N


MAPA, J. :


This prosecution was instituted for the crime of infanticide, and the record shows that the accused, an unmarried woman, gave birth to a living child in the early morning of November 16, 1907; that a nephew of the accused, who lived in the same house, awakened by the cries of the newly-born child, got up in order to strike a light because the room was in darkness, that the accused, noticing this, hastily left the house, taking the infant with her, and as her nephew asked where she was going, she said she was going to the toilet; that after an hour she returned alone, no longer carrying the infant; that the nephew reported the affair to the lieutenant of the barrio where it occurred, at daybreak the same day, and the latter at once made an investigation; that at first, the accused denied that she had been confined, but finally confessed, stating that she had buried the child and pointed out the place of burial and the body was there found; and, that upon examination of the body by the municipal inspector of health and by the provincial physician, it was found to be that of a newly-born child, fully developed and of a good constitution, and showing abrasion on both sides of the nose which might have been caused by pressure exerted by another person, and might have produced the death of the child by suffocation.

The defense alleges that the above facts do not prove that the death of the infant was caused by the accused; it might very well, it is alleged, have been the result of some unforeseen accident. No proof has been offered, however, that an accident of any sort had occurred which might have produced the death of the child. Inasmuch as it was born alive and in a healthy condition, it is not to be presumed, without some just reason therefor, that it died a natural death within the extremely short time that elapsed between its birth and its burial. The latter took place immediately after without further interval of time than that which was strictly necessary to carry the child a distance of about 150 meters from the house of the defendant to the site where the infant was buried. On the contrary, all of the acts related above, performed by the accused immediately after her confinement, reveal in a clear and unquestionable manner her decided intent to kill the newly born child in order to conceal her dishonor; and the signs of violence found on the body demonstrate that she actually effected her purpose. The aforesaid signs, together with the above mentioned conduct of the accused, constitute conclusive proof of her guilt as the author of the crime of infanticide herein prosecuted.

In view of the foregoing facts, the judgment appealed from is confirmed, and the accused is hereby sentenced to the penalty of two years, four months and one day of prision correccional, with the corresponding accessory penalties and costs, provided, that she shall be credited with one-half of the period of the prision preventiva that she may have suffered, with the costs of this instance against her. So ordered.

Arellano, C.J., Torres, Carson, Willard and Tracey, JJ., concur.




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