Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence

Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence > Year 1949 > October 1949 Decisions > G.R. No. L-743 October 11, 1949 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. POLICARPIO DUMAPIT

084 Phil 698:



[G.R. No. L-743. October 11, 1949.]

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. POLICARPIO DUMAPIT, Defendant-Appellant.

Ildefonso de Guzman-Mendiola and Jose V. Lesaca for Appellant.

Assistant Solicitor General Carmelino G. Alvendia and Solicitor Guillermo E. Torres for Appellee.


1. CRIMINAL LAW; TREASON; EVIDENCE, INSUFFICIENT ARREST EFFECTED AS A RESULT OF COMMON CRIME. — Aside from the fact that the appellant denied having had any hand in the arrest of supposed victims in which the accused had participated as alleged and for which he was charged, the circumstance remains that said arrest was effected as a result of the common crime of arson. That the matter had no treasonous significance is shown by the further fact that those arrested were confined for almost the whole period of their detention in the provincial jail and not in the Japanese garrison.



This is an appeal from a judgment of the People’s Court finding the appellant, Policarpio Dumapit, guilty of treason and imposing upon him the penalty of reclusion perpetua, a fine of ten thousand pesos, and the costs.

The information charged six counts, but the People’s Court based appellant’s conviction only on counts IV and VI. Under count IV, the appellant is alleged to have caused, with the aid of a group of Constabulary soldiers, the arrest in barrio Balingahili, municipality of Botolan, province of Zambales, in March, 1943, of eight guerrillas who were thereafter investigated and tortured by the Constabulary and the Japanese and finally confined in the provincial jail for about three months. Under count VI, the appellant is accused of having issued on April 14, 1943, an order to Andres Atanasio, then Chief of the Non-Christian Tribes of the East Zambales Mountains in Macasan, Botolan, Zambales, enjoining Andres Atanasio and his men to capture, dead or alive, all Americans roaming in the forests of Zambales, and to report the result of his mission to Onofre Dienzo, Superintendent of the Non-Christian Tribes of Zambales.

Upon a careful review of the evidence, we are convinced that a reversal of the appealed judgment is in order. As to count IV, we note that only three of the alleged victims testified for the prosecution. They were Federico Decag, Emilio Trapse and Catalino Dumangas. These, however, especially the last two, admitted that they were investigated for, and suspected of, having burned the house of Pedro Daco. (Pages 115, 131, 132 and 133, t. s. n.) Aside from the fact that the appellant denied having had any hand in the arrest in question, the circumstance remains that said arrest was effected as a result of the common crime of arson. That the matter had no treasonous significance is shown by the further fact that those arrested were confined for almost the whole period of their detention in the provincial jail, and not in the Japanese garrison. If the Japanese in some way intervened, it was undoubtedly because they had their own eyes and ears even in civil offices and they merely wanted to be sure that any disorder was not directed against their authority and safety. But said intervention, without more, cannot be attributed to the voluntary invitation or denunciation on the part of the appellant or the Constabulary. Appellant’s alleged authorship of the arrest is inconsistent, moreover, with the affidavit of Federico Decag (Exhibit 1) to the effect that the appellant helped in having him and his companions released.

Neither is the charge in count VI tenable. The lone witness for the prosecution on this score is Andres Atanasio who had conspicuously supplied what is sufficient to exculpate the appellant; for it is noteworthy that this witness categorically testified that, as the appellant was handing over the written order for the capture of all Americans, the appellant told him to disregard the same. (P. 36, t. s. n.) The appellant admits having written the order, but corroborates witness Andres Atanasio in the latter’s exculpatory testimony.

The immediate background of the appellant is further refutation of the likelihood that he had any treasonable intent. The appellant was before the outbreak of the last war a corporal of the Manila Harbor Police and, upon order of his chief Alejo Valdes, was even the one who was entrusted with the task of taking the personal properties of the family of President Quezon to the motorship Edil. If the appellant had undergone police training and become a member of the Constabulary during the Japanese occupation, it was at the behest of the then mayor of Botolan (Juan M. Corom) and provincial governor (Dantes), and with the knowledge and acquiescence of the guerrilla unit to which the appellant belonged. Indeed, the appellant was known to the underground men as "Ave Maria."cralaw virtua1aw library

The appealed judgment is therefore reversed and the appellant acquitted, with costs de oficio. So ordered.

Moran, C.J., Ozaeta, Feria, Bengzon, Padilla, Montemayor and Torres, JJ., concur.

Separate Opinions

TUASON, J., dissenting:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

I am of the firm conviction that the appellant is guilty and that the judgment of the lower court should be affirmed. The findings of the court below deserve our respect not only because the trial judges were in the best of position to gauge the relative credibility of the witnesses but because, independent of all that, the said findings are supported by an overwhelming preponderance of evidence.

The lower court found the defendant guilty of counts No. 4 and No. 6 upon a careful and thorough analysis of the proofs. It

"Cargo No. 4.

"‘4. That in or about March, 1943, or thereabouts, the accused Policarpio Dumapit, with intent to give aid and comfort to the enemy, traitorously led a group of Bureau of Constabulary soldiers to barrio Ballinggahilli, municipality of Botolan, Province of Zambales, and then and there, acting in band and with the help of armed men, caused the arrest of one Federico Decag and seven others charging them with being guerrillas, as a result of which they were all taken to the Japanese military garrison in Iba, Zambales, where they were tortured and maltreated and afterwards confined for about three months.’

"Se halla bien establecido por los testigos de la acusacion Federico Decag. Emilio Trapse y Catalino Dumangas que en una noche del mes de Marzo de 1943 se quemo la casa de Pedro Daco en el barrio de Balangahilli, municipio de Botolan, provincia de Zambales; que el dia siguiente el acusado, en compañia de algunos policias y soldados constabularios, arresto a Pedro Dumangas, Federico Decag, Alberto Diego, Isaias Decag, Catalino Dumangas, Emilio Trapse, Domingo Baluyot y Primitivo Ferrer; que estos fueron llevados a la casa del acusado Policarpo Dumapit en el municipio de Botolan donde fueron castigados sobre el incendio de la casa de Daco y preguntados si eran guerrilleros; que fueron llevados al Cuartel de la Constabularia en Iba, donde fueron maniatados, y despues conducidos al cuartel de los Japoneses donde otra vez fueron investigados, y, de resultas de dicha investigacion enviados a la carcel, donde estuvieron confinados tres meses. El motivo del arresto de estos individuos fue la sospecha de que, siendo guerrilleros, quemaron por venganza la casa de Pedro Daco quien era considerado pro-japones y Presidente de la Neighborhood Association.

"La defensa del acusado consiste en que el no fue quien arresto a Pedro Dumangas y compañeros sino que fueron los soldados del Cabo Datuga, y que la causa del arresto no era porque dichos individuos eran sospechosos de pertenecer a las guerrillas, sino porque eran los autores del incendio de la casa de Pedro Daco.

"Pedro Dumangas, uno de los arrestados, declarando como testigo de la defensa, dijo que el acusado no estaban entre los que le arrestaron: que el no fue llevado a la casa de dicho acusado, y que fue en el Cuartel de la Constabularia de Iba donde le investigaron por primera vez. Pero por otra parte dice tambien este testigo que el fue arrestado antes que los demas. y el vio a estos por primera vez aquel dia en el Cuartel de la Constabularia en Iba. Este testimonio no desvirtua el de los testigos de la acusacion que, unanimes y de una manera categorica, manifestaron que el acusado estaba entre los policias y constabularios que practicaron el arresto.

"Nos comfirma en esta conviccion el hecho de que al tiempo de esta suceso el acusado era miembro de la Constabularia y Supervisor de las fuerzas de la policia en la provincia de Zambales, y como tal era el leader de aquel grupo de policias y constabularios que verifico el arresto.

"Para robustecer su defensa, el acusado declaro que el advirtio a Pedro Dumangas que no dijera en la investigacion que el era guerrillero y que el trabajo por la libertad de este y de sus compañeros, testimonio que fue confirmado por dicho testigo Dumangas.

"Pero esta Corte se resiste a creer este testimonio; porque entre todos los arrestados solamente a Pedro Dumangas es a quien hizo tal advertencia el acusado; y segundo, porque si el acusado real y verdaderamente hubiera trabajado por la libertad de Dumangas y sus compañeros, no hubiesen estos confinados en la carcel de Iba por un periodo de tres meses.

"Referente a la causa del arresto, aun suponiendo que este se debio al incendio de la casa de Pedro Daco, como nos hace creer la defensa, es evidente que los que llevaron a cabo dicho arresto estaban en la creencia de que el incendio fue tramado y perpetrado por guerrilleros, impulsados por el deseo de vengarse contra el propietario de la casa que, poseyendo sentimientos japonofilos y siendo Presidente de la Neighborhood Association, una organizacion civica creada por la administracion militar japonesa, era inflexible y duro en el cumplimiento de los deberes de sus miembros con respecto a las patrullas contra los guerrilleros y celoso de su autoridad para gue no llegaran a estos, y en particular a su jefe, el Capitan Ralph McGuire, los alimentos que necesitaban. Esto lo declara el mismo Pedro Dumangas, testigo de la defensa, quien tambien añade que en la investigacion a que el fue sometido en el Cuartel de la Constabularia en Iba le preguntaron si el era guerrillero."cralaw virtua1aw library

"Cargo No. 6.

"‘6. That on or about April 14, 1943, the accused Policarpio Dumapit, for the purpose and with the intent of giving aid and comfort to the enemy, issued an order addressed to Andres Atanacio, then Chief of the Non-Christian Tribes of the East Zambales Mountains at Marazo, Botolan, Zambales, enjoining said Andres Atanacio and all men under the latter’s command to capture, dead or alive, all Americans who were then reported roaming in the forests of the Zambales mountains, and, to insure compliance with said order, the accused Policarpio Dumapit instructed agent Andres Atanacio to report of his achievements in connection with the said order, to the accused through Atanacio’s superior, Onofre Dienzo, Superintendent of the Non-Christian Tribes of Zambales.’

"El acusado corroborando la declaracion del testigo del Gobierno Andres Atanacio, admitio que el Exhibit A fue real y verdaderamente escrito y firmado por el dirigido al mencionado Andres Atanacio, quien, dicho sea de paso, era antes de la guerra empleado en la Oficina de Tribus No Cristianas y una gran influencia entre los montañeses de Zambales, ordenando la captura de ’cualquier americano, muerto o vivo, que encontraran en las montañas’ (to capture, dead or alive, upon sight).

"El acusado explico que esta carta fue escrita por el bajo orden terminante de Major Murata, Comandante de la guarnicion japonesa en Zambales, a sugestion de Onofre Dienzo; que el no tuvo otro medio mas que cumplir dicha orden y que el dio instrucciones a Andres Atanacio que no hiciera caso de ella, testimonio que fue corroborado por este en repreguntas hechas por el Abogado de la defensa.

"Andres Atanacio es un detenido en la carcel de Munting Lupa y acusado del delito de traicion; el instinto comun de conservacion y defensa entre los detenidos y acusados del mismo delito y el compañerismo que engendra la vida de prision, asi como la amistad antigua entre el acusado Dumapit y este testigo siendo ambos de Botolan, es la explicacion de la ultima parte del testimonio de este testigo que ha cogido de sorpresa al acusado especial, a quien dicho testigo no hizo mencion del referido hecho antes de sentarse en el banquillo de los testigos.

"Por otro ledo, es dificil creer que Onofre Dienzo hiciera tal sugestion al Comandante Murata, toda vez que Dienzo mismo hubiera podido dar dicha orden a Atanacio sin necesidad de valerse del acusado, teniendo en cuenta que el trabajaba con los japoneses y prestaba a estos una abierta y decidida cooperacion en la rendicion y exterminacion de las guerrillas.

"Ahora examinemos la defensa general interpuesta por el acusado de que el pertenecio a las guerrillas y ayudo a las mismas, suministrandolas comida y armas y dandolas informaciones secretas de los movimientos de las tropas japoneses en Zambales, y por tanto mal podia el acusado haber cometido el delito de traicion. La defensa pretende, por el testimonio de Antonio Decano y otros, que el acusado desde 1942 fue guerrillero y que uno de los servicios mas importantes y utiles que el presto a les guerrillas fue la informacion suministrada por el acusado al testigo Decano por conducto del Alcalde Corum de la expedicion llevada a cabo por los japoneses hacia el Oeste de la provincia el mes de Septiembre de 1942, que culmino en la refriega de Pastak y que resulto fatal a los japoneses.

"Y para reforzar su declaracion, Deceno presento una serie de notas o cartas, especialmente el Exhibit 3, que se supone haber sido escrito por el acusado con el pseudonimo de ’Ave Maria’. Este testigo, sin embargo, dice que mientras recuerda a quien corresponde el pseudonimo de ’Ave Maria’, ignora quien usaba el nombre de ’Jack’, que aparece al pie de varias notas escritas casi al mismo tiempo que el Exhibit 3. Esta y otras incongruencias encontramos en la declaracion de este testigo, y observamos en su manera de declarar cierta incertidumbre e inseguridad, que no podemos dar credito a su testimonio. Entre los testigos de la defensa, ademas de Antonio Decano, se debe hacer mencion tambien de Juan Corum y Gerardo Dumlao, a cuyas declaraciones la defensa parece conceder una gran importancia.

"El primero relata la inteligencia que tenia con el acusado para la proteccion del pueblo y de sus habitantes cuando al tiempo de la tan ponderada refriega de Pastak el huyo a las montañas, y el segundo se refiere a la ayuda que le presto el acusado, advirtiendole que era buscado por los japoneses y suministrandole despues balas de revolver, ropa y comida. Mientras el testimonio del primero se halla mancillado con el tinte de la parcialidad habiendo sido el que recomendo al acusado para estudiar en la Constabulary Training School, notamos en la declaracion del segundo contradicciones sobre hechos importantes, pues mientras el dice que en los meses de Agosto y Septiembre de 1943, el vio cinco veces al acusado en el sitio de Maguisguis, barrio de Pongbato, municipio de Botolan, el acusado declara que en aquellos meses estaba prosiguiendo sus estudios en la Academia de Oficiales de Manila, y mientras dicho testigo relata que el vio al acusado en el monte de Mabubuyan, barrio de Pongbato, el mes de Octubre de 1944, el acusado Dumapit dijo que el se hallaba en dichos mes y año estacionado en Alaminos, Pangasinan, como Junior Officer de la Septima Compañia de la Constabularia.

"Aparte de las muchas contradicciones en que han incurrido los testigos de la defensa que declararon sobre este punto, observamos que todos, o casi todos ellos, eran guerrilleros que se rindieron y despues ocuparon puestos mas o menos importantes bajo el gobierno japones. Es evidente que estos ex-guerrilleros, una vez al servicio de los japoneses, tenian mas o menos contacto y sostenian con el acusado relaciones oficiales mas o menos cordiales, que tenian que engendrar una fuerte camaraderia y cierta afinidad de ideas. Si el acusado no se hubiera identificado realmente con el enemigo prestandole importantes y meritorios servicios, dignos de mejor causa, hubiese aprovechado la brillante oportunidad que se le presento en las postrimerias de 1944 cuando los oficiales y soldados de la Constabularia, destacados en Pangasinan, desertaron de las filas y se remontaron para preparar el terreno y ayudar a las fuerzas libertadoras que dentro de poco iban a desembarcar en Lingeyan.

"El acusado contiende que a fines de 1944, volvio a su pueblo y organizo una unidad guerrillera, tanto es asi que fue detenido cuatro dias por los japoneses por estas actividades, pero de su declaracion (n.t. p. 5.) se deduce que el, en vez de dedicarse a actividades guerrilleras, simplemente se quedo en su pueblo de Botolan cuando

"Q. What did you do in Botolan? — A. I simply stayed there.

"En vez de unirse a sus compañeros y seguir el ejemplo de estos prefirio retirarse a su pueblo y es porque no solamente no poseia aquella fuerza interior que le compele al hombre a hacer sacrificios por su patria, zino porque habia cambiado el ideario de su vida, quebrantando su lealtad a America y a su pais.

"En la primera sentencia que este Tribunal dicto hemos dicho que la defensa comun que los acusados suelen alegar de haber sido guerrilleros y de haber ayudado a las guerrillas, debe ser recibida con cautela, y aqui tenemos un caso en que las pruebas de la defensa no han conseguido convencer al Tribunal.

"Respecto a la intencion (intent) del acusado de cometer el delito de traicion, esta se infiere muy claramente de los mismos actos externos (overt acts) y de otros hechos establecidos en el curso de la vista."cralaw virtua1aw library

That the accused’s collaboration with the Japanese was a token one designed to fool the enemy does not square with the nature, intensity and persistency of his activities and their consequences on the victims of his betrayal and on the cause of his country. He was directly instrumental and the moving spirit in the killing of two Americans and the surrender of guerrillas. A close reading of the record should convince any one beyond doubt that it was the other way around; if he burnt candles for both sides, his true longing was for the devil. He feigned connection and sympathy with the guerrillas as a means of protection to himself if and when the day of judgment arrived. Though the defendant was acquitted of the following acts thanks to the severity of the requirement for conviction in treason cases, they are nevertheless conclusive proofs of the charge that he gave aid and comfort to the enemy with sincerity, with no mental reservation.

Jose Otero, property owner, and Philippine citizen of Spanish descent, testified that on April 3, 1943, the accused, Onofre Dienzo, Andres Pascua, Elpidio Gantang, and several other spies for the Japanese came to his cattle ranch in Botolan, followed a few hours later by between 40 and 50 Constabulary soldiers; that Dumapit and his companions dispatched letters to the Dulandulan brothers, Negritos or Negrito mestizos who were guerrillas under the command of Captain Ralph McGuire, urging them to surrender; that the Dulandulan brothers were later prevailed upon to lay down their arms and side with the Japanese; that Dumapit and his companions held meetings with people in Botolan for the purpose of killing Captain McGuire; that on those occasions, Policarpio Dumapit publicly offered a P300 reward for the head of Captain McGuire who was, as a matter of fact, afterward beheaded and his head was brought to town for exhibition; that Dumapit also offered a reward of P100 for the head of any other American.

This testimony is corroborated by Marcos Dioyan and Juan Famulacano. The latter stated in addition to Otero’s testimony, that Dumapit and Dienzo agreed to approach Gregorio Magno and Victorio Dulandulan "so that the guards who were on the way leading to the place where Capt. McGuire was would be removed to facilitate his capture."cralaw virtua1aw library

Victorio Dulandulan testified that he was a guerrilla and one of the bodyguards of Captain McGuire; that McGuire was killed by Dienzo, Dumapit’s confederate and coworker for the Japs.

Graciano Dullon testified that he was a municipal policeman in Botolan in January, 1943. One day in that month, Wenceslao Dumlao came to the police station asking for a police detail during the town fiesta of Poongbato, and he and other policemen proceeded to that barrio in the afternoon of January 23. As they were eating in Poongbato, someone came to tell Dumlao that there was an American south of the town. They followed the informer to the place indicated and there saw an American. Dumlao talked with the American and offered him ricecake. At midnight, he and his police companions, Dumlao, several children and the American started to go to town but rested in San Juan on the way. At 5 o’clock in the morning, one truck arrived loaded with Japanese accompanied by Policarpio Dumapit. The Japanese surrounded the house where the American was while Policarpio Dumapit approached it and ordered the American to come down. The American did as he was ordered and surrendered his revolver to Dumapit. After the American handed his revolver he was taken to the truck and they all left. This American’s name was Mann and he was afterward killed by the Japanese.

Arcadio Darosin testified that in January, 1943, he was awakened from his sleep in his house by his wife who told him that somebody was downstairs looking for him. He opened the windows and saw Wenceslao Dumlao, who told him that he wanted to send the witness to some place. Dumlao ordered him to go to town to see Policarpio Dumapit. He hesitated but was told to "get moving" or else . . . Dumlao told him to tell Dumapit that Dumlao was coming with an American. He went to see Dumapit at about 3 o’clock in the morning and transmitted to Dumapit Dumlao’s message. Thereupon Dumapit left but later came back and told him to come along. They went to the municipal building. Later one truck came and he and Dumapit drove to the Japanese garrison. There, Japanese soldiers, about 10 in number, boarded the truck after which they all went to San Juan. When the truck arrived in that town it drew up in front of the witness’ house and the Japanese got off. The witness stayed home while the Japanese, Dumapit, and Dumlao, who met them when they alighted from the truck, marched toward east, although he could not tell the exact place of their destination.

Considered with Graciano Dullon’s testimony, the destination was the house where the American was located.

The veracity of these witnesses is unassailable. With the possible exception of Otero, they testified with measured restraint.

The record is full of other revelations of defendant’s perfidy, deeds inconsistent with his pretended loyalty to his country. The above should suffice for illustration and to disprove the claim that defendant’s letter to Andres Atanacio was written by order of a Japanese officer, a claim in itself and on its face ridiculous.


I concur in this dissent.

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