Sunday, March 18, 2012

People vs. Perez (1949)

Facts: Seven counts of treason were filed against Susano Perez aka Kid Perez, the accused, for recruiting, apprehending, and commandeering women (Eriberta Ramo, Eduarda Daohog, Eutiquia Lamay, and Flaviana Bonalos) against their will to satisfy the immoral purpose and sexual desire of Colonel Mini, and other Japanese of Officers.

Only counts 1,2,4,5,6 were substantiated. In the 4th and 5th counts, the accused personally assaulted and abused two of the offended girls.

Susano Perez was convicted of treason and sentenced to death by electrocution by the People’s Court.

Issue: Whether or not the acts of the accused constitute a crime of treason 

Held
: NO. There is a dilemma in trying to draw a line between treasonable and untreasonable assistance, since the scope of adherence to the enemy is comprehensive, and its requirement indeterminate, but as a general rule acts providing aid and comfort to the enemies are considered treasonable when the aid and comfort rendered are directed to them as enemies not as mere individuals. To lend or give money to an enemy as a friend so that he may buy personal necessities is not technically traitorous, but to lend or give money to an enemy to enable him to buy arms or ammunition to use against the government of the giver is treason.

The act of the accused of providing the enemies with women and entertainment, boosting their (the enemies’) morale and making their lives more pleasant, is not treason. Sexual and social relations with the Japanese did not directly and materially tend to improve their war efforts or weaken the power of the government. Any favourable effect toward the Japanese that the accused might have made was trivial, imperceptible and unintentional. Intent of disloyalty is a vital ingredient in the crime of treason, which in the absence of admission may be gathered from the nature and circumstances of each case. In this particular case, it was not evident that the intent of the accused in providing the enemies with women was to help them overthrow the government.

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