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PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

EN BANC

[G.R. No. 14258. August 2, 1919. ]

THE UNITED STATES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. EUGENIO BAGUIO, Defendant-Appellant.

S. C. Pamatmat for the Appellant.

Attorney-General Paredes for the appellee.

SYLLABUS


1. GAMBLING; LOTTERY, DEFINED. — While Section 1 of Act No. 1757 defines what constitutes gambling, said saw gives no specific definition for lottery. The Supreme Court of the United States in the case of Horner v. United States (147 U.S., 449), defined lottery to be, "A distribution of prizes by lot or chance, a game of hazard in which small sums of money are ventured for the chance of obtaining a larger value, either in money or in other articles. They are not, in the legal acceptation of the term, mala in se but may properly be made mala prohibita. They are a species of gambling and wrong in their influence."cralaw virtua1aw library

2. ID.; ID. — The term "lottery" embraces all schemes for the distribution of prizes by chance, such as policy-playing, gift-exhibitions, prize-concerts, raffles at fairs, etc., and includes various forms of gambling. A lottery scheme lacks the elements of a legitimate business enterprise, and the lower court committed no error in holding in the present case that the defendant was guilty of the crime of gambling, within the meaning of the statute.


D E C I S I O N


JOHNSON, J.:


On the 24th day of January, 1917, the prosecuting attorney of the Province of Laguna presented a complaint in the Court of First Instance of said province in which the defendant was charged with a violation of the Gambling Law (Act No. 1757). The complaint alleged:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"That in and beginning from the month of November, 1913, up to the month of May, 1914, in the municipality of Paete, Province of Laguna, P. I., the accused Eugenio Baguio, wilfully, unlawfully and maliciously was conducting operating and taking part, and did so conduct, operate and take part, in the prohibited game of chance called ’loteria,’ (lottery), organizing, managing and directing for that purpose a society or an association commonly known as ’Turnuhan’ and denominated Samahan Abuluyan ng Salapi, the purpose of which apparently was for the mutual aid and help of its members or associates, but in reality said object was the exploitation and operation of the aforesaid game of chance known as ’Loteria,’ said society or association was being conducted and operated within the aforementioned dates in the following manner: Persons desiring to become members of or to take part in the society, could do so by subscribing one or more shares thereof (acciones), each share being represented with a number, and for every number or share each member had subscribed the latter was to give P1 every Sunday to the accused as the director or manager of the society, who used to issue to said members a memorandum book (libreta) for every said share in which were entered the sums thus given every Sunday, thereby the subscribing members were entitled to win a premium of P500 which the accused used to pay and which was obtained by drawing lots conducted every Sunday under the supervision and management of the accused and effected by means of balls which were enclosed in two different receptacles called ’tambiolos,’ one of which contained a number of balls equal to the number of members, said balls were numbered corresponding to the numbers or shares belonging to each member, and the other ’tambiolo’ contained the same number of balls as those found in the first but these balls were not numbered with the exception of one ball on which was written the word ’suerte’ (luck), and from the first ’tambiolo’ a ball was drawn and from the second another ball and so on successively, until a ball bearing a number is drawn which coincided with that bearing the word ’suerte’ and then the drawing of lots ceased, and the owner of the number written on the ball last drawn was the winner of the premium, the value of which the accused used to pay to the lucky member, thereby the latter was obliged to refund the value of said premium to the society or ’Turnuhan’ by means of the Payments of the aforementioned weekly installments of one peso and the accused used to receive two centavos for every peso of the amount of each premium as a recompense for his work as director and manager of the society or ’Turnuhan.’

"Acts committed in violation of Act No. 1757."cralaw virtua1aw library

Upon said complaint, the defendant was duly arrested, arraigned, plead not guilty, tried, found guilty of the crime charged, and sentenced by the Honorable Manuel Camus to pay a fine of P100 and in case of insolvency to suffer subsidiary imprisonment in accordance with the provisions of the law, and to pay the costs. From that sentence the defendant appealed.

After hearing the evidence adduced during the trial of the cause, the lower court found that the same showed the following facts to be true beyond a reasonable doubt:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"First. In the particular ’Turnuhan’ society in question, there are 500 ’libretas’ which correspond to shares.

"Second. Each holder of a ’libreta’ or member of the ’Turnuhan’ is obliged to pay the accused as the director or manager P1 weekly.

"Third. Each and every one, therefore, of the holders of ’libretas’ is obliged to pay P500 throughout the whole existence of the ’Turnuhan’ society.

"Fourth. In return for this, each and every one of the ’libreta’ holders is entitled to receive the sum, commonly known as premium, of P500 at any one week within the 500 weeks.

"Fifth. The time when each libreta holder is to receive his P500 is determined by chance.

"Sixth. For the purpose of determining who is to receive the P500, ’sorteos’ [casting lots] are held every Sunday. On this day the number of each libreta holder — 1 to 500 — is placed in a ’tambiola’ and in another one 499 blank checks and one marked with the word ’suerte’ are also placed. Then a number is drawn from the first ’tambiola’ simultaneously with the check from the second one, and the number that is drawn at the time the check marked ’suerte’ is drawn is entitled to the prize or premium.

"Seventh. The number representing a libreta holder which has already obtained a prize of P500 is no longer included and counted with the others in subsequent ’sorteos though the libreta holder continues paying weekly due of P1 until he has completed paying at the end of 500 weeks the agreed P500.

"Eighth. The accused gets his remuneration by either receiving the three first prizes or a percentage on the prizes."cralaw virtua1aw library

After a careful examination of the evidence, we are persuaded that the above findings of fact are clearly supported thereby. The only question presented by the appellant is whether or not, under such facts, the appellant is guilty of a violation of Act No. 1757.

"Gambling," as defined by Section 1 of Act No. 1757, consists: (a) in the playing of any game for money or any representative of value or valuable consideration or thing, the result of which game depends wholly or chiefly upon chance or hazard; or (b) in the use of any mechanical invention or contrivance to determine by chance the loser or winner of money or of any representative of value or of any valuable consideration or thing. Section 7 of said act prohibits absolutely "the playing at and the conducting of any game of monte, jueteng, or any form of lottery or policy or any banking or percentage game, or the use of any mechanical invention or contrivance to determine by chance the winner or loser of money or of any representative of value or of any valuable consideration or thing . . ." Section 7 further provides that "any person taking any part therein or owning or operating any such mechanical invention or contrivance shall be punished as provided in Section 3 of said act."cralaw virtua1aw library

The lower court held that the defendant was guilty of conducting a lottery in violation of the law. The Attorney- General, Honorable Quintin Paredes, in a very carefully prepared brief, with the citation of many authorities, reaches the conclusion that the lower court was right and that his decision should be sustained.

If the defendant and appellant is guilty of conducting a lottery, he is guilty of a violation of the law and should be punished in accordance with the terms thereof. The law gives us no definition of a lottery. Act No. 1757 is not a new law in criminology. Similar laws exist in nearly every state of the Union, as well as in nearly every civilized nation. Resort may, therefore, be had to the decisions of the courts where similar laws had been enforced and interpreted. The Supreme Court of the United States in the case of Horner v. United States (147 U.S., 449), in the course of a very interesting opinion, defined a lottery as "a distribution of prizes by lot or chance; a game of hazard in which small sums of money are ventured for the chance of obtaining a larger value, either in money or in other articles." In the course of the opinion, the court said, "They are not in the legal acceptation of the term mala in se but may properly be made mala prohibita. They are a species of gambling and wrong in their influence."cralaw virtua1aw library

In law the term lottery embraces all schemes for the distribution of prizes by chance, such as policy-playing, gift-exhibitions, prize-concerts, raffles at fairs, etc., and includes various forms of gambling. (Horner v. U.S., 147 U.S., 449; Public Clearing House v. Coyne, 194 U.S., 497, 515.)

In the case of Public Clearing House v. Coyne (194 U.S., 497), the facts were every analogous to the facts before us. In that case, the plan contemplated that each person who became a member or cooperator should pay a certain enrollment fee and agree to pay a certain sum per month thereafter. At the end of a fixed period, the members were to receive a certain portion of the funds so raised. The success of the plan obviously depended upon constantly and rapidly increasing the number of subscribers or cooperators. There was sure to be loss to every one interested in the enterprise as soon as the number of new members ceased to increase. The Supreme Court of the United States held that the scheme was a lottery and said: "The scheme lacks the elements of a legitimate business enterprise, and we think there was no error in holding it to be a lottery within the meaning of the statute."cralaw virtua1aw library

It was held in the case of Equitable Loan Co. v. Waring (117 Ga., 599) that three elements enter into a lottery scheme: (a) A consideration; (b) a chance; and (c) a prize or some advantage or any inequality in amount or value which is in the nature of a prize.

We think that these elements clearly appear from the facts above stated. (U.S. v. Filart and Singson, 30 Phil. Rep., 80; 17 R.C.L., p. 1223.)

We are fully persuaded that the acts of the defendant constituted a violation of Section 7 of Act No. 1757, and he should, therefore, be punished in accordance with the provisions of the law. Considering the character of the crime and its extent and bad influence upon the people of the community, we are of the opinion that the sentence of the lower court should be increased, and that the defendant should be sentenced to pay a fine of P500 and the costs. With that modification of the sentence of the lower court, the same is hereby confirmed. It is, therefore, hereby ordered and decreed that the defendant and appellant be sentenced to pay a fine of P500, and in case of insolvency to suffer subsidiary imprisonment in accordance with the provisions of the law, and to pay the costs. So ordered.

Arellano, C.J., Torres, Araullo, Street, Avanceña and Moir, JJ., concur.

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