[G.R. No. 10299. August 3, 1915. ]
THE UNITE STATES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. ONG YEC SO, Defendant-Appellant.
Lucas Paredes for Appellant.
Acting Attorney-General Zaragoza for Appellee.
1. OPIUM LAW; FORMER CONVICTIONS; PENALTY. — While the penalties prescribed in case of recidivism under section 2 of Act No. 2381 (new Opium Law) can only be imposed in those cases wherein there has been a previous conviction under this statute, it is proper and just to take into consideration former convictions for violations of the old Opium Law as a ground for the imposition of the penalties prescribed in section 2 of Act No. 2381 in a somewhat more severe form than that which should be applied to a first offender.
D E C I S I O N
There can be no reasonable doubt of the guilt of the accused of the offense of which he was convicted in the court below, unless it be held that the witnesses for the prosecution willfully and maliciously testified falsely against him. We find nothing in the record which would justify us in arriving at such a conclusion.
The penalty imposed by the trial judge does not appear to be excessive, taking into consideration all the circumstances disclosed by the record. The trial judge properly took into consideration the evidence as to a former conviction, not for the purpose of imposing the penalty authorized by the statute in cases of recidivism, but as a ground for the imposition of a somewhat more severe penalty than the minimum prescribed by law.
Section 2 of Act No. 2381, which defines and penalizes the unlawful use and possession of opium, provides that "the violation of any provision hereof shall be punished by a fine of not less than three hundred nor more than ten thousand pesos and imprisonment not less than three months nor more than five years, and in case of recidivism incident to the commission of a second or subsequent offense under the provisions of this section, the delinquent may be deported if not a citizen of the United States or of the Philippine Islands."cralaw virtua1aw library
From the express terms of the statute it is clear that the penalty prescribed in case of recidivism can be imposed only in those cases wherein there has been a previous conviction under this statute, and that a former conviction under the old law is not sufficient for that purpose.
We are of opinion, however, that in the exercise of the wide discretion in the imposition of penalties conferred upon the courts under this statute, it is proper and just to take into consideration former convictions for violations of the old Opium Law as the ground for the imposition of the prescribed penalties in a somewhat more severe form than that which should be applied to a first offender.
The judgment convicting and sentencing the appellant should therefore be affirmed, with the costs of this instance against the Appellant. So ordered.
Arellano, C.J., Torres, Johnson, Trent and Araullo, JJ., concur.