Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence


Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence > Year 1909 > November 1909 Decisions > G.R. No. 5115 November 29, 1909 - UNITED STATES v. MANUEL SAMANIEGO, ET AL.

016 Phil 663:




PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

FIRST DIVISION

[G.R. No. 5115. November 29, 1909. ]

THE UNITED STATES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. MANUEL SAMANIEGO and JUANA BENEDICTO DE PEREZ, Defendants-Appellants.

Joaquin Rodriguez Serra, for Appellants.

Solicitor-General Harvey, for Appellee.

SYLLABUS


1. ADULTERY; OFFENSES INVOLVING GRIEVOUS SCANDAL OR ENORMITY. — In order to sustain a conviction under article 441 of the Penal Code, for an offense which "offends modesty or good morals by grievous scandal or enormity," it is essential that the act or acts complained of should be committed in a public place or within the public knowledge or view. (U.S. v. Catajay, 6 Phil. Rep., 398; supreme court of Spain, April 13, 1885, December 14, 1903, January 27, 1908; Viada, vol. 3, p. 130.)


D E C I S I O N


MORELAND, J. :


On the 20th day of December, 1907, the following information was presented to the Court of First Instance of the city of Manila against the defendants in this case:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"That on or about the 25th day of November, 1907, in the city of Manila, Philippine Islands, the said Manuel Samaniego did then and there willfully, unlawfully, and feloniously lie with and have sexual intercourse with the said accused, Juana Benedicto de Perez, who was then and there, as the said accused Manuel Samaniego then and there well knew, a married woman and the lawfully wedded wife of Jose Perez Siguenza; and the said accused Juana Benedicto de Perez, being then and there a married woman and the lawfully wedded wife of the said Jose Perez Siguenza, did then and there willfully, unlawfully, and feloniously lie with and have sexual intercourse with the said accused, Manuel Samaniego."cralaw virtua1aw library

The defendants were arrested under said information and were confined in Bilibid, the said Samaniego on the 21st day of December, 1907, and the said Juana Benedicto de Perez on the 26th of the same month. After the arrest of the said defendants, Juana Benedicto de Perez, at the instance of the prosecuting attorney, was examined by three physicians for the purpose of determining her mental condition. On the 27th day of December, 1907, the doctors made their report to the Court of First Instance, expressing the opinion that the said Juana Benedicto de Perez was mentally deranged. On the 7th day of January, 1908, the defendants were tried on the charge of adultery, as presented in said information, and, after the introduction of the proofs upon the part of the Government, both the prosecuting attorney and the trial court believed that the evidence was insufficient to warrant the conviction of either of the defendants, and they were both accordingly acquitted of that charge. In the judgment acquitting the defendants the court included permission to the prosecuting attorney to file against either or both of the said defendants a new information charging them with the crime defined in article 441 of the Penal Code. On the 8th day of January, 1908, pursuant to such permission, the prosecuting attorney presented against both of the defendants an information charging them with the crime mentioned in said article, as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"That on and for many weeks prior to the 27th day of November, 1907, in the city of Manila, Philippine Islands, the said Juana Benedicto de Perez was a married woman, and that said Manuel Samaniego knew that she was married and united in the bonds of matrimony with and was the legitimate consort of Jose Perez Siguenza; that during the period of time above expressed the said Manuel Samaniego and Juana Benedicto de Perez, willfully, illegally, and criminally and scandalously, without having any matrimonial tie between them, habitually appeared together in public places and frequented together places of recreation, suspicious places, vacant houses, and houses of bad repute, in the daytime as well as in the nighttime; and lewdly and indecently went to bed together in the house of the husband of the said Juana Benedicto de Perez during the late hours of the night, dressed only in their night clothes, and indecorously, indecently, and immodestly embraced each other and caressed each other in the presence of the family, children, and servants of the said husband of Juana Benedicto de Perez; all with public scandal and with scandal to the community, and with shame and humiliation to the husband and family of the said Juana Benedicto de Perez."cralaw virtua1aw library

After the presentation of this information, it appearing that the proofs under the charge therein contained would be the same as were those under the charge in the information first herein set forth, the prosecuting attorney and the attorneys for the defendants agreed to submit and did submit the case to the court for final determination upon the proofs already taken in the trial on the charge of adultery. No witness was sworn. On the 5th day of February, 1908, the trial court rendered a decision in which he found the defendants guilty of the crime charged, condemning the defendant Samaniego to the penalty of arresto mayor in its maximum degree and ordering the defendant Juana Benedicto de Perez confined in an asylum for the insane until the further order of the court. On the same day the defendants excepted to said decision and made a motion for a new trial. On the 12th day of February said court, upon its own motion, and, so far as appears of record, without notice to or consent of the defendants or their attorneys made an order reopening said case "for the purpose only," as expressed in the order, "of receiving evidence as to the publicity or nonpublicity of the acts charged in the complaint." On the 15th day of April, following, additional evidence was taken in the case and used by the court as the basis for a further judgment in the action. This was done over the objections and exception of defendant’s attorneys. On the 18th day of April the court rendered a decision affirming the judgment rendered by him on the 5th day of February in the same case. In the same decision he denied defendants’ motion for a new trial.

The witnesses for the prosecution during the trial of the defendants on the charge made in the first information, viz, that of adultery, were Jose Perez, the husband of Juana Benedicto de Perez, three of his children, and his cochero. The husband testified that Juana, after having lived with him for more than twenty years, and having borne him more than five children, expressed the desire to separate from him on account of the physical abuse and ill treatment which she had received and was receiving at his hands. He testified further that he himself desired to terminate his marital relations with her and that he wanted a divorce; and, as a preliminary step to that end, he obtained her arrest at the hands of the police, who, at his request, conducted her in a patrol wagon publicly through the streets of the city of Manila to an asylum for the insane, where she was detained and imprisonment against her will. He declared further that the reason why he thus humiliated and disgraced her and deprived her of her liberty was his ardent desire to save her soul; that, in ordering her arrest and reclusion, he was acting under the advice and counsel of various lawyers and doctors. He further testified that, after her arrest, she many times implored him to give her back her liberty and permit her to return to her family; and that, during one of such supplications, she admitted to him that the defendant Samaniego was her friend, but, at the same time, denied that he had ever taken advantage of that friendship in any way whatever.

In attempting to prove the adultery alleged in the information, the prosecution presented as witnesses the persons above mentioned, viz, Caridad Perez, daughter of the defendant Juana; Rafael Perez, a student of medicine, 18 years of age, son of the defendant Juana; Concepcion Perez, 12 years of age, daughter of the defendant Juana; together with the cochero of the family, all of whom lived with the accused, Juana, and her husband at No. 257 Calle Nozaleda, Manila.

According to the testimony of these witnesses, the kitchen and the toilet of the house, No. 257 Nozaleda, are situated on the ground floor. Here slept the cochero in a bed called by the family a bench. This was the only bed in the lower part of the house which could possibly be used for any purpose.

On the night of the 6th of November, 1907, the accused, Juana Benedicto de Perez, accompanied by her daughters, attended a dance given by a friend. The other accused, Samaniego, was also present. Juana and her daughters returned home late at night. There were then present in the house the accused, Juana Benedicto de Perez; her three daughters, Caridad, Rosario, and Conchita, and a friend of Conchita; her son Rafael; a younger son, Manolo; and the cochero. When the mother and the daughters who had attended the dance with her were preparing for bed, Conchita discovered that there was a stranger in the lower part of the house and by her cries brought the household to the spot. She declares in her testimony that when she first saw the stranger he was near the cochero’s bed and, while she was watching the movements of the stranger, her mother went below and appeared to be talking with him; that not for a moment did she lose sight of her mother during all the occurrence.

The cochero testified that the stranger was Samaniego and that he came first to the cochero’s bed and talked with him a while, but afterwards the cochero went to sleep, and later, on hearing the cries of Conchita, he saw Samaniego trying to conceal himself in the kitchen and also observed that the accused, Juana Benedicto de Perez, was going up and down the stairs.

The married daughter, Caridad, who, it appears, was not at the dance, testified that, when Conchita informed the family that a stranger was in the lower part of the house, she awoke her brother Rafael, who accompanied her below, where they found the defendant Samaniego, dressed only in his drawers; that she gave him a blow in the face and ordered him immediately to quit the house; that he asked her pardon and requested permission to put on his clothes; that permission to do so was refused and she and her brother ejected him from the house by force and later the cochero handed him his clothes over the wall.

Caridad also testified that Samaniego was once at the house and talked with her mother through the window from the street, and on that occasion her mother delivered to him a pawn ticket; that once when she and her mother were in a carromata on the streets the defendant approached them and spoke to her mother. The testimony of Rafael shows that one morning, as he was returning from the hospital in Quiapo, he saw the defendant Samaniego on foot near the carromata of his mother in the Botanical Garden talking to her.

Luisa Avesilla testified that the accused, Juana Benedicto de Perez, paid the board of Samaniego for three months in a restaurant where she was cashier, and that on one occasion Juana ate with Samaniego in the restaurant. On that occasion she was accompanied by her grandson.

The cochero testified that he frequently had as passengers in the carromata the two defendants; that on one occasion he had waited for them while they went to a house in Calle Cervantes, and on another occasion they had gone into a house on Calle Malacañang, the witness supposing that the house was unoccupied because the accused, Juana, had told him that she was looking for a house to rent; that the witness at no time observed anything improper in the conduct or deportment of the two defendants. There is no proof whatever that these places were places of bad repute or that any of them were unoccupied.

Upon the proofs above stated, which are all of the proofs adduced in the trial on the charge of adultery and are the same proofs upon which the defendants were acquitted of that charge, the prosecuting attorney recommended that the defendants be convicted of the crime defined in article 441 of the Penal Code, of which they stood charge, and the court thereupon convicted them thereof.

The acts complained of lack many of the elements essential to bring them within the purview of the article of the Penal Code invoked by the prosecution. Every act that was in anywise public fails entirely of those qualities which offend modesty and good morals by "grievous scandal or enormity." The occurrence at the residence on the night of the 6th of November did not have that publicity which is required by the article of the Penal Code referred to. (U.S. v. Catajay, 6 Phil. Rep., 398; supreme court of Spain, April 13, 1885, December 14, 1903, and January 27, 1908; Viada, vol. 3, p. 130.)

The evidence introduced on the reopening adds nothing to the case already made by the prosecution. The case was reopened for a particular purpose and the evidence to be introduced, if any, was restricted to a particular condition, viz, the "publicity or nonpublicity of the acts charged in the complaint." On the reopening, evidence was presented by the prosecution in relation to the alleged occurrence between the defendants in Plaza Palacio. Concerning this incident testimony had already been given on the trial by the witness Rafael Perez. Testimony was also given on the reopening by the same witness as to an occurrence between the defendants one morning in the Botanical Garden. In relation to this same event he had already given his testimony on the trial. His evidence as to these two events given on the reopening of the case is wholly inconsistent with, if not absolutely contradictory of, his testimony in relation to the same events given on the trial. Such testimony can have no weight.

The other testimony given on the reopening by this witness and the testimony of the witness Amadeo Pacheco can have no bearing or weight in the decision of this case because such testimony relates to acts and relations between the defendants which are not "charged in the complaint" and concerning which no evidence whatever had been offered on the trial.

In the judgment of this court the evidence fails to show the defendants guilty of the crime charged.

The judgment of conviction of the trial court is, therefore, reversed, the defendants acquitted and their discharge from custody ordered.

Arellano, C.J., Torres, Johnson and Carson, JJ., concur.




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