[G.R. No. 23792. February 17, 1926. ]
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. SEGUNDO BADILLA, ET AL., Defendants-Appellants.
Vicente Sotto, Block, Johnston & Greenbaum, A. P. Seva and Araneta & Zaragoza for Appellants.
Assistant Attorney-General Reyes for Appellee.
1. CRIMINAL. PROCEDURE; EVIDENCE; TESTIMONY OF COCONSPIRATORS. — The testimony of a coconspirator and accomplice in a criminal case is admissible in evidence, but should be received with caution.
2. ID.; ID.; COCONSPIRATORS; EXTRAJUDICIAL DECLARATIONS. — The extrajudicial declarations of a coconspirator made before the formation of the conspiracy or after the accomplishment of its object are, as a general rule, inadmissible in evidence as against the other conspirators; but it has been held that when extrajudicial confessions had been made by several persons charged with a conspiracy and there could have been no collusion with reference to the several confessions, the fact that the statements were in all material respects identical, was confirmatory of the testimony of an accomplice.
3. ID.; ID.; WITNESSES; LEADING QUESTION. — The prosecuting attorney, over the objection of counsel for the defense, read an alleged oath of a secret society to one of the witnesses for the prosecution and asked him if that was the oath of that society. Held: That this question was leading and should not have been allowed.
4. ID.; ID.; TESTIMONY OF ALIBI. — Oral evidence of alibi is so easily manufactured and usually so unreliable that it can rarely be given credence.
5 ID.; EXAMINATION OF SUSPECTS BEFORE FILING OF INFORMATION. — While the examination of the defendants and other persons by the prosecution, before the filing of the information in a criminal case, may in a sense be inquisitorial, it is often the only means of discovering the persons who may reasonably be charged with the crime so as to enable the fiscal to prepare his complaint or information, and section 1687 of the Administrative Code, authorizing such proceedings, is not unconstitutional.
6. ID.; ID.; RECORD OF STATEMENTS OF PERSONS EXAMINED; WHEN ADMISSIBLE TO IMPEACH WITNESS. — Testimony or statements of witnesses for the prosecution taken or made in such proceedings are not original or independent evidence of such a character as to give the accused an unqualified right to compel their production at the trial of the case, and are not admissible in evidence for the purpose of impeaching the witnesses who made them unless a proper basis therefor is laid upon cross-examination.
7. ID.; STATE WITNESS; EXCLUSION FROM COMPLAINT; OBJECT OF SECTION 2, ACT No. 2709; COMPETENCY OF WITNESS. — The only object of section 2 of Act No. 2709 is to prevent unnecessary or arbitrary exclusions from the complaint of persons guilty of the crime charged, and the failure to observe the provisions of said section in excluding such persons may, in certain cases, lay them open to another prosecution for the same offense, but does not affect their competency as witnesses at the trial of the case.
D E C I S I O N
In the evening of March 7, 1924, Pedro Ferrer, justice of the peace of the municipality of Sagay, Occidental Negros, was fatally wounded in the house of one Leocadia Desamparado, who stated that she had inflicted the fatal wound in defense of her honor. She was immediately arrested and two days later, while still in prison, made a confession implicating Segundo Badilla, Restituto Tupas, Julian Domingo, Quirino Araez, and Jovito Carmales in the commission of the crime. The persons mentioned were thereupon arrested and on the following day, March 10, Julian Domingo and Jovito Carmales confessed that they were participants in the crime and on the same day, the provincial fiscal filed a complaint in the court of the justice of the peace of Sagay charging Segundo Badilla, Restituto Tupas, Catalino Gonzalez, Julian Domingo, Jovito Carmales, Quirino Araez, Agaton Dy-Cayco, and Leocadia Desamparado with the crime of murder. On March 12 an amended complaint was filed including Epifanio Tupas as one of the defendants. At the preliminary investigation held on the same day, the fiscal presented a motion asking that Leocadia Desamparado and Jovito Carmales be excluded from the complaint on the ground that they were the least culpable of the accused and that their testimony was necessary to establish a case for the prosecution. This motion was granted by the acting justice of the peace. Upon the termination of the preliminary investigation, the following information was filed in the Court of First Instance:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"That on and before March 7, 1924, the defendants Epifanio Tupas, Segundo Badilla, Restituto Tupas, and Agaton Dy-Cayco in connivance with one Leocadia Desamparado, Jovito Carmales and their codefendants Catalino Gonzalez alias Mack Gonzales, Julian Domingo alias Julian Boñgol, and Quirino Araez, all said defendants being members of a local secret society known as Kusug Sang Imol, desiring to take revenge for supposed abuses and arbitrary acts of the justice of the peace Pedro Ferrer of the municipality of Sagay of this Province of Occidental Negros, in connection with his official functions, of which they believed without any ground that the defendants Epifanio Tupas and his son Restituto Tupas, specially, and Epifanio Tupas, Restituto Tupas, Segundo Badilla, Agaton Dy-Cayco and all the defendants herein had been the victims, being active members, as they are, of the aforesaid society Kusug Sang Imol, and desiring likewise the death of said justice of the peace Pedro Ferrer to eliminate him from the office by any illicit means, so that he should not continue to commit similar supposed abuses and arbitrary acts, said defendants Epifanio Tupas, his son Restituto Tupas, Segundo Badilla, and Agaton Dy-Cayco did maliciously, intentionally and criminally induce said Leocadia Desamparado, by simulating that she had to legalize her marital relations with her paramour Jose Lobaton which they had been maintaining up to that time, to invite the justice of the peace Pedro Ferrer to spend some time in her house situated in the municipality of Sagay, Province of Occidental Negros, Philippine Islands, just on the night of said March 7, 1924, which inducement was several times and on several occasions ratified persistently by the defendants Epifanio Tupas, Segundo Badilla, Restituto Tupas and Agaton Dy-Cayco, with promise of reward, immunity and assurance to furnish her an attorney who would defend her in the event that by reason of her taking part in the perpetration of the crime to which she was induced, she should be prosecuted in the courts of justice; that Leocadia Desamparado, prompted by said inducement, invited the justice of the peace Pedro Ferrer to come, as he in fact did come, on the night of the aforesaid day, March 7, 1924, to her house for the aforesaid purpose and that once there and seated on a chair with its back toward the door of the kitchen where the defendants Segundo Badilla, Restituto Tupas, Agaton Dy-Cayco, Catalino Gonzalez alias Mack Gonzalez, Julian Domingo alias Julian Bongol and Quirino Araez had previously placed themselves, obeying the instructions and orders of the defendant Epifanio Tupas given under the circumstances aforementioned for the purpose of successfully killing said justice of the peace Pedro Ferrer, and taking advantage of the fact that the latter was unaware of the treacherous plot against him and had no means of defense, the aforesaid defendants Segundo Badilla, Restituto Tupas, Agaton Dy-Cayco, Catalino Gonzalez alias Mack Gonzalez, Julian Domingo alias Julian Boñgol and Quirino Araez and one Jovito Carmales, previously provided with daggers and canes and other deadly weapons, and cooperating with one another, did willfully, unlawfully and criminally through craft, premeditation and treachery, and with abuse of superior strength, and taking the law in their own hands, assault, beat and attack said justice of the peace Pedro Ferrer, inflicting the following bruises and injuries, to wit: (1) One penetrating wound, mortal by necessity, in the epigastric region of the abdomen 1