[G.R. No. L-12880. October 25, 1917. ]
THE UNITED STATES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. BENITO LAO CHUECO, Defendant-Appellant.
Emilio Pineda for Appellant.
Acting Attorney-General Paredes for Appellee.
1. ALIENS; FULL, FREE, AND FAIR HEARING. — When a defendant, in deportation proceedings under Act No. 702, is forced to trial on the day the complaint is presented against him without an opportunity to call his witnesses and when he himself is too ill to declare as a witness, he is not given that opportunity to a full, free, and fair hearing contemplated by the law and a new trial will be ordered,
2. ID.; BAIL. — Chinese aliens, during the pendency of proceedings for deportation under Act No. 702, are entitled to bail during the pendency of such proceedings. (U. S. v. Go-Siaco, 12 Phil. Rep., 490.) Chinese aliens under the Chinese exclusion law, seeking admission into the territory of the United States, are not entitled to bail during the pendency of the proceeding. (Collector of Customs v. Harvey and Co Puy, 34 Phil. Rep., 503; Tan Puy v. Collector of Customs, 36 Phil. Rep., 586.)
D E C I S I O N
The important question presented by this appeal is whether or not the defendant had been given a fair and full hearing in the court below.
The purpose of the action was to deport the defendant from the Philippine Islands under Act No. 702, upon the theory that he was a Chinese laborer and had not registered in accordance with the provisions of said law.
The first complaint against the defendant was signed by an officer of the Philippine Constabulary and was presented in the court of the justice of the peace of the municipality of Surigao on the 28th day of February, 1917. While the records fails to show that the defendant had been arrested it does show that he appeared in said court on the 27th day of February, the day before the complaint was presented, and gave a bond for his liberty in the sum of P600. On the 16th day of March, 1917, the defendant appeared in said court and renounced his right to a preliminary examination; and on the same day the justice of the peace found that there were reasonable grounds for believing that the defendant was guilty of the offense charged in the complaint and ordered him to be held for trial in the Court of First Instance. The record further shows that a notice was issued to the bondsmen of the defendant to present him in the Court of First Instance for trial upon the 14th day of April, 1917. The record further shows, without any explanation whatever, that on the 25th day of April, 1917, the prosecuting attorney of the Province of Surigao asked that a warrant of arrest be issued for the arrest of the defendant. On the 27th day of April, 1917, a new complaint was presented against the defendant in the Court of First Instance, and on the same day he was duly arraigned and plead not guilty. Immediately after the arraignment the cause was set down for trial. Thereupon the defendant, through his attorney, asked that the trial of said case be postponed upon the ground, first, that he was sick, and second, because his witnesses were not present and that he had been unable to obtain them because of his sickness. Said motion for a continuance of the trial was immediately denied by the court and the court ordered the trial to proceed. Two witnesses only were presented by the prosecution. At the close of the presentation of the proof by the prosecution the defendant renewed his motion for a continuance of the hearing, basing his motion again upon the fact that he was sick and had been unable to bring into court his witnesses. Said motion for a transfer of the hearing was again denied. The defendant then notified the court that he was unable, by reason of his sickness, to declare as a witness in his defense. Thereupon the court immediately entered an order deporting the defendant from the Philippine Islands. Immediately thereafter the defendant gave notice of his intention to appeal to the Supreme Court and requested his liberty during the pendency of the appeal under bond, which motion was denied by the court.
The appellant in this court makes the following assignments of error:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"1. The court erred in compelling the accused to try his case in spite of the fact that it was impossible for him to do so on account of illness.
"2. The court erred in refusing to postpone the trial of the cause, as the accused had applied for, that is, in not granting him a reasonable time within which he could gather his witnesses and evidence and prepare for his defense.
"3. The court erred in ordering the deportation of the accused without giving him an opportunity to defend himself."cralaw virtua1aw library
Said assignments of error present but one question, to wit; Did the defendant have a fair trial in the court below, and was he permitted to properly defend himself against the charges contained in the complaint?
The Honorable Quintin Paredes, in answering the brief of the appellant, admits that the defendant did not have a fair trial in the court below and was not given an opportunity to present his witnesses, and recommends that the record be remanded to the trial court for a new trial. The Attorney-General further observes that the evidence adduced during the trial of the cause was objectionable upon the ground of hearsay and was purely speculative in character.
An examination of the record shows the following facts with reference to the opportunity which the defendant had to defend himself:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
First. That the first complaint was not presented by a person who was authorized, under the law, to present a complaint. (U. S. vs Lee Chiao, 23 Phil. Rep., 543; U. S. v. De los Santos, 33 Phil. Rep., 397; U. S. v. Li Choy, 34 Phil. Rep., 910.)
Second. That the defendant was arraigned and forced to trial on the very day when the complaint was presented in the Court of First Instance, being then and there himself unable to declare as a witness by reason of sickness, and without having had an opportunity to bring his witnesses into court.
The lower court, in refusing to give the defendant an opportunity to have his witnesses brought to court by proper process and in forcing him to trial when he was too ill to declare as a witness, clearly denied the defendant a full, fair and adequate opportunity to defend himself. (U. S. v. Turla, R. G. No. 12633; Loo Sing v. Collector of Gustoms, 27 Phil. Rep., 491.)
While it is not important for the decision of this case we deem it proper at this time, in view of the fact that the lower court denied the defendant his liberty under bond, to call attention to the fact that in proceedings for the deportation of Chinese aliens under and by virtue of the provisions of Act No. 702 the defendant is entitled to his liberty under bond. (U. S. v. Go-Siaco, 12 Phil. Rep., 490.)
A different rule, however, applies to Chinese aliens who are seeking admission into the territory of the United States. Under the Chinese Exclusion Law, Chinese immigrants who are seeking admission into the territory of the United States and are denied that right and thereafter appeal to the court are not entitled to bail during the pendency of such appeal. (Collector of Customs v. Harvey and Co Puy, 34 Phil. Rep., 503; Tan Puy v. Insular Collector of Customs, 36 Phil. Rep., 586.)
We agree with the Attorney-General that the cause should be remanded to the court whence it came for a new trial. And without any finding as to costs, it is so ordered.
Arellano, C.J., Araullo, Street, and Malcolm, JJ., concur.