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PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

EN BANC

[G.R. No. 10319. February 26, 1915. ]

THE UNITED STATES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. CRISPINA GANZON, Defendant-Appellant.

Alfredo Chicote for Appellant.

Attorney-General Avanceña for Appellee.

SYLLABUS


1. "INJURIAS GRAVES" ; WHEN INSULTING LANGUAGE DOES NOT CONSTITUTE. — The use of insulting language in the course of a wordy brawl is a misdemeanor, and does not constitute the crime of injurias graves (grave insults) when there is reason to believe that the offensive language was not intended to be taken in its literal sense. and that neither of the parties so understood it.


D E C I S I O N


CARSON, J.:


This is an appeal from a judgment of the Court of First Instance of Bataan, convicting the defendant and appellant of the crime of injurias graves (grave insults), and sentencing her to six months and one day of destierro, whereby she is denied the right to approach within a radius of twenty-five kilometers [from] the municipal building of the town of Abucay, and further to pay a fine of 225 pesetas and the costs of the trial.

After a careful review of all the evidence of record we think it is clear that the defendant, a woman who kept a tienda in her native town, had a bitter altercation with the complaining witness of this case, a woman named Maximina Mina; that in the course of this quarrel offensive and scurrilous epithets were hurled by each of the parties against the other in the heat of passion and without taking thought of the highly offensive character of the language used. We are satisfied that this offensive language was not intended to be taken in its literal sense, and that neither of the parties so understood it. They seem simply to have searched their memories for insulting and offensive expressions by which they could relieve their feelings of rage and animosity. Doubtless if some of the language used were deliberately applied by one woman with reference to another, it would constitute the grave insults (injurias graves) mentioned in the statute, but we think that used as this language was, without any reference to its real meaning and under all the circumstances, it should be treated rather as language constituting the misdemeanor defined and penalized in article 589 of the Penal Code.

The conduct of which this defendant was shown to be guilty amounted, to our mind, to a mere misdemeanor, and the charges against her should properly have been brought in the court of the justice of the peace.

We conclude therefore that the judgment convicting her of the crime of injurias graves should be reversed, and in lieu thereof we find her guilty of the misdemeanor defined in article 589, subsection 1, and sentence her to pay a fine of 25 pesetas, with the costs of both instances de oficio except that defendant will be required to pay the costs of a juicio verbal, that is to say, the legal costs taxed in all cases of conviction upon a prosecution for misdemeanor in the courts of the justices of the peace. So ordered.

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

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