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PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

FIRST DIVISION

[G.R. No. L-3675. September 23, 1907. ]

THE UNITED STATES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. GREGORIO AMANTE AND URBANO MINCERA, Defendants-Appellants.

Francisco de P. Rodoreda, for Appellants.

Attorney-General Araneta, for Appellee.

SYLLABUS


ROBBERY BY BAND. — In order to convict members of a band of the crime of robbery, it is necessary to show that they had formerly dedicated themselves to the commission of crimes or that they were habitual criminals.


D E C I S I O N


JOHNSON, J.:


These defendants were charged with the crime of robo en cuadrilla in the words following:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"That said accused, on or about the 5th day of February, 1906 , in the barrio of San Andres, pueblo of San Pablo, Province of La Laguna, voluntarily, illegally, and Criminally appropriated money and various other effects. the property of another, with violence and intimidation of the person and with the circumstance of operating in an uninhabited place; the accused were in company with three or more armed malefactors. All contrary to law."cralaw virtua1aw library

These defendants were finally arrested and brought before the Court of First Instance of said province, were duly arraigned upon the 9th day of October, 1906, and each pleaded "not guilty" to the crime charged in the complaint.

The case proceeded to trial, and, after hearing the evidence in said cause, the judge found the defendants guilty of the crime charged in the complaint and sentenced each of them to be imprisoned for a period of six years ten months and one day of presidio mayor, with the accessories of the law, and to return to the offended persons the things stolen, and each of them to pay one-half the costs. From this decision the defendants appealed to this court.

The attorney for the defendants in this court makes no specific assignment of error, but argues that the evidence did not show "operation by a band and in an uninhabited place," and also that the proof does not show "that the accused are malefactors, nor does it appear that they were habitually devoted to this kind of acts of highway robbery." An examination of the proof, however, discloses the fact that the band of which the defendants were members was composed of three or more armed persons and that it was in an uninhabited place.

With reference to the contention of the appellants that the evidence did not show that they were bad men and that they had habitually dedicated themselves to bandolerismo, paragraph 5 of article 503 of the Penal Code , in its relation with article 504, contains no provision that before persons can be convicted of the crime of robo en cuadrilla there shall be proof showing that they were habitual criminals.

An examination of the proof shows, beyond peradventure of doubt, that the defendants committed the crime charged in the said complaint and en un sitio despoblado [in an uninhabited place], and that they were members of a band composed of three or more armed persons; considering, therefore, the aggravating circumstances of despoblado y la de cuadrilla (in an uninhabited place and in an armed band), the defendants should be punished in the maximum degree of presidio mayor.

It is the judgment of this court, therefore, that the decision of the lower court be modified and that the defendants be sentenced to be imprisoned for a period of ten years of presidio mayor, with the accessory penalties of the law, to return to the persons offended the property stolen, and each to pay one-half the costs.

No question was raised in the lower court as to the sufficient of the complaint filed in said cause, and there fore we make no finding upon that question. So ordered.

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

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