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[G.R. No. 10396. July 29, 1915. ]

THE UNITED STATES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. TERESA CONCEPCION, Defendant-Appellant.

M. Jesus Cuenco for Appellant.

Attorney-General Avanceña for Appellee.


1. OPIUM; ILLEGAL POSSESSION OF OPIUM; ANIMUS POSSIDENDI. — The house of R, the husband of the defendant, was searched for opium. During the search R told the defendant to take from the bed a can alleged to contain opium, and throw it away. She went to the bed, found the can, and at that moment was discovered by the policeman. She denied prior knowledge of the existence of the can. This fact was supported by the declaration of her husband. There was no proof that she used opium in any form. Held: That the proof was not sufficient to support the charges of the complaint.

2. WITNESSES; COMPETENCY; HUSBAND OR WIFE. — A husband cannot be examined for or against his wife, without her consent; nor a wife for or against her husband, without his consent; nor can either, during the marriage, or afterwards, be, without the consent of the other, examined as to any communication made by one to the other during the marriage, but this exception does not apply to a civil action or proceeding by one against the other, or to a criminal action or proceeding for a crime committed by one against the other. (Par. 3, sec. 383, Act No. 190; sec. 58, General Orders No. 58.) At the common law the rule was that the husband and wife could not testify for or against the other, in any criminal proceedings, except in the prosecution of one for criminal injury to the other. The rule is based upon considerations of public policy, growing out of the marital relation. To allow one to testify for or against the other would be to subject him or her to great temptation to commit perjury and to endanger the harmony and confidence of the marital relation.

3. ID.; ID.; ID.; DECLARATION MADE IN ANOTHER CASE. — R declared in a criminal action against himself. Later, in a criminal action against C, said declaration was presented as proof and accepted, over the objection of C. No proof was offered to show that R was not still alive. Said declarations are not only not admissible by virtue of the provisions of section 383 of Act No. 190 and section 58 of General Orders No. 58, but also by virtue of the provisions of paragraph 2 of section 5 of the Act of Congress of July 1, 1902. C, the defendant, was not given an opportunity "to meet the witness face to face." The acceptance of the testimony of her husband, R, given in another case, was in absolute violation of her rights, and in direct contravention of the law.



The defendant was charged with a violation of the Opium Law. The complaint alleged that she had in her possession and under her control a quantity of opium. She was arrested, arraigned, pleaded not guilty, tried, found guilty, and sentenced to pay a fine of P300 and costs.

From that sentence she appealed to this court. In this court she alleges that the lower court committed several errors, both of law and of fact. Upon the question of fact, she alleges that the lower court committed an error in deciding that the evidence adduced during the trial of the cause was sufficient to show that she was guilty of the crime charged beyond a reasonable doubt.

Upon that question the Attorney-General, in a carefully prepared brief in which he analyzes the proof, reaches the conclusion that the facts are insufficient to show that she is guilty of the crime charged.

It appears from the evidence that on the night of the 2d of December, 1913, several policemen went to the house of the defendant, where she was living with her husband, Felix Ricablanca. Upon arriving there, they obtained permission to enter and immediately proceeded to make a search of the premises for opium. While there is some dispute concerning the fact, we believe the proof shows that the defendant, during the time the policemen were searching the house, went to a bed located in the house, after being so ordered by her husband, and took from beneath a pillow a small can of opium, said to contain about 7
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