Sunday, March 18, 2012

People vs. Adriano (1947)

Facts: Apolinar Adriano, a Filipino citizen was convicted in the People’s Court for treason, for being a member of the Makapili Army (remember the guys with the bayongs over their heads and pointed fingers?) during the Japanese Occupation.

The only evidence the prosecution substantiated was his joining of the Makapili Army. The People’s Court found out that he participated in various acts of participation as a Member of the M. Army (joining in raids and confiscating property, etc.) But these acts were not established by 2 witnesses.

What the Court did establish though was that 2 witnesses saw Adriano in Makapili uniform and drilling under a Jap instructor; that he performed sentry duties in a Jap garrison and he retreated with the Japs in the mountains when the Americans liberated Nueva Ecija (where the Jap garrison was located). No two of the prosecution witnesses testified to a single one of the various acts.

But the witnesses all agree that they saw the accused wearing the Makapili uniform.

Issue: Whether or not a person can be convicted of treason even though the conviction was not based on the 2-witness rule as required in Art. 114 of the RPC.

Held:  In satisfying the 3rd element of the crime of treason, Adriano’s joining of the Makapili Army was an evidence of both his adherence to the enemy and of giving them aid and comfort.

It was an evidence of adherence because joining that Army means agreeing to the adverse intentions and purposes of its creation (which was to fight the Japs’ enemy = America which at that time still exercised sovereignty over the Philippines.

It constituted an overt act because he placed himself a t the enemy’s disposal to fight by their side. The enemy was strengthened by the psychological comfort in the knowledge that he had on his side nationals of the country with which it was with war with. The practical effect was no different from enlisting in the enemy’s army.

But, the crime of treason is an Anglo-American origin. All the materials and cases from that jurisprudence states that. Every act, movement, deed and word of the defendant charged to constitute treason must be supported by the testimony of 2 witnesses. It is necessary to produce 2 direct witnesses to one whole overt act. If it is possible to piece bits and pieces together of the overt act each bit must be supported by two oaths.

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