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PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

FIRST DIVISION

[G.R. No. 5737. August 5, 1910. ]

THE UNITED STATES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. ENRIQUE LOPEZ SY QUINGCO and AMBROSIA DE JESUS, Defendants-Appellants.

Gabriel La O, for Appellants.

Attorney-General Villamor, for Appellee.

SYLLABUS


1. OPIUM LAW; SUFFICIENCY OF PROOFS; PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENSE. — The testimony of one witness for the prosecution is sufficient to sustain a conviction, provided that such testimony establishes the guilt of the accused beyond a reasonable doubt. The defendant, however, has in his favor the presumption of innocence until the contrary is proved.


D E C I S I O N


TRENT, J.:


These two accused, Enrique Lopez Sy Quingco and Ambrosia de Jesus, were charged with having violated the provisions of the Opium Law, tried, convicted, and sentenced by the Court of First Instance of the Province of Tayabas, Enrique Lopez Sy Quingco to three years’ imprisonment, and Ambrosia de Jesus to one year’s imprisonment, and each to pay one-half of the costs. From this sentence and judgment they appealed.

The Government presented only one witness, Burgess, an internal-revenue agent, who testified that he, in company with a Mr. Hoye, another internal-revenue agent, having received information that the appellants had opium in their possession, obtained a search warrant from the justice of the peace of Lucena, Province of Tayabas, and proceeded on the 6th day of July 1909, to search the house of the said appellants; that when this search was made, both of the appellants were in the house during the entire time; that on entering the house Mr. Hoye searched the bedroom and he, the witness, guarded the kitchen to prevent the appellants from disposing of the opium should they desire to do so; that while the search was being conducted the appellant, Ambrosia de Jesus, passed through the kitchen and stopped on the azotea, being followed by him, the witness; that while they were standing on the azotea the other internal-revenue agent appeared there with the other appellant, Enrique Lopez Sy Quingco; that while the four were standing there together the Chinaman said to his wife, "Ambrosia, turn over that package." Ambrosia, upon receiving this command from her husband, took from under her saya a small package of opium pills and gave it to Hoye; that when the Chinamen was asked certain question he admitted that on the 7th of June same year two other Chinamen were in his house smoking opium. The witness further testified that these pills were sent to Manila an analyzed by the Bureau of Science and found to contain opium. This is the material part of the testimony of Burgess and the only testimony presented by the prosecution.

The two appellants testifying in their own behalf, while admitting that their house we searched on the 6th of July, 1909, by Burgess and Hoye, internal-revenue agents, positively deny any knowledge of the opium pills, stating that these two internal-revenue agents found nothing whatever in their house and that the package referred to was not turned over to Hoye by the appellant Ambrosia de Jesus.

Two municipal policemen, who accompanied the two internal-revenue agents at the time this search was made, were called a witnesses for the defense. One of these policemen, Tiburcio Abril by name, testified that he and the other policeman remained downstairs during the search, and that he did not see any package or any other thing found by the two Americans. The other policeman only stated that he remained below while the search was being conducted.

While it is true that testimony of one witness is sufficient to sustain a conviction, if such testimony establishes the guilt of the accused beyond a reasonable doubt, we think that the testimony of the one witness in this case is not sufficient for this purpose.

The other internal-revenue agent was not called as a witness, and the only testimony which connects this Chinaman with the offense is that of the witness Burgess, wherein he stated that the Chinaman ordered his wife to turn over the package to Hoye. This is specifically denied by the Chinaman and his wife. The two policemen, if they heard anything about opium being found at that time, failed to state it in their testimony.

This search was made on the 6th of July, 1909, under a search warrant issued by the justice of the peace. The complaint was not filed until the 22d of September of the same year. The internal-revenue agents did not return the search warrant at the time search was made, but delayed over two months. While the witness Burgess attempts to explain this delay by stating that he sent the pills to the Bureau of Science for analysis, we think his explanation is not sufficient to justify this long delay.

The appellants have the presumption of innocence in their favor until the contrary is proven. The positive testimony of the appellants is sufficient to raise a reasonable doubt as to their guilt. This doubt must be resolved in favor of the appellants.

The judgment is, therefore, reversed, and the appellants, Enrique Lopez Quingco and Ambrosia de Jesus, are acquitted, with costs de oficio. It is so ordered.

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

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