[G.R. No. L-3900. November 21, 1907. ]
THE UNITED STATES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. CANUTO BUTARDO, ET AL., Defendants-Appellants.
Lucas Gonzalez, for Appellants.
Attorney-General Araneta, for Appellee.
1. CONSPIRACY; ADMISSIBILITY OF EVIDENCE; COMPETENCY. — The testimony of confederates or accomplices is competent and admissible, but should be received with great caution and is always subject to grave suspicion. (U. S. v. Ocampo, 5 Phil. Rep., 339.)
D E C I S I O N
The evidence of record establishes the guilt of the appellants Canuto Butardo, Valentin Butardo, Fernando Pascua, and Gelasio Fernandez beyond a reasonable doubt, and we find no error in the proceedings prejudicial to the rights of the accused.
Counsel for the appellants lays great stress upon the fact that the principal witness against the accused was a self-confessed accomplice, and argues at length against the admission of the testimony of accomplices or confederates in criminal cases.
Jointly with the appellants, the witness was charged with the commission of the offense for which they were convicted, but the complaint was dismissed as to him, under the provisions of section 34, General Orders, No. 58, in order that he might be called as a witness for the prosecution.
This court has frequently held that the testimony of accomplices or confederates even when uncorroborated is admissible and competent, under the provisions of section 55 of General Orders, No. 58, although it is always subject to grave suspicion, coming, as it does, from a polluted source, and should be received with great caution and closely and doubtingly examined. (U. S. v. Ocampo, 5 Phil. Rep., 339.)
In the case at bar the testimony of the accomplice was fully corroborated by the extrajudicial confessions of the accused and by the discovery in the possession of the conspirators of a number of important documents touching the conspiracy, which constituted damaging evidence against the accused. The judgment and sentence of the trial court should be, and is hereby, affirmed, with a proportionate share of the costs in this instance against the appellants. So ordered.
Arellano, C.J., Torres, Johnson, Willard, and Tracey, JJ., concur.