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EN BANC

G.R. No. L-2709 December 28, 1905


THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
ISIDORO ARAGON, defendant-appellant.
Buencamino and Diokno for appellant.
Office of the Solicitor-General Araneta for appellee.
JOHNSON, J.:
This was an action for the crime of giving false testimony.
The complaint filed in said cause was as follows:
The undersigned accuses sidoro Aragon of the crime of false testimony in a civil cause,
committed as follows:
That on !e"ruary #$ of the present year %&'()*, E.+. ,arner filed the following complaint:
-.nited /tates of America, 0hilippine slands. n the 1ustice of the peace court of the
city 2anila. Edwin +. ,arner, plaintiff, vs. Claro 2agcauas, defendant.
-The plaintiff appears and as a cause of action against the defendant, alleges:
-. That the plaintiff is the plain and a"solute owner of a great e3tension of land
commonly 4nown "y the name of +acienda of 0asay, situated partly in 2alate and
/ingalong, in the 1urisdiction of the city of 2anila.
-. That the defendant, as a tenant, occupied a small piece of the said hacienda
located in /ingalong, in the 1urisdiction of the city of 2anila, which measured
appro3imately &(,((( meters s5uare, and for the occupation of which as a tenant he
paid an annual rental of &$ pesos $ reales and &# cuartos.
-. That the defendant has failed to pay and is owing to the plaintiff the rents
corresponding to the years &6'', &'((, &'(&, &'(#, and &'($, at the annual rate of &$
pesos $ reales and &# cuartos, which amounts to the sum of 77 pesos # reales, or
899999, notwithstanding that the payment of same has "een repeatedly re5uested "y
the plaintiff.
-,herefore the plaintiff prays 1udgment against the defendant for the said sum of
899999, "eing the rents corresponding to the said years, for the costs of this action,
and for such other and further relief as the court may deem e5uita"le and 1ust in the
premises.
-2anila, !e"ruary #$, &'(). !or /utro and :rtigas, Euse"io :rense, attorney for the
plaintiff.-
That on the )th day of 2arch of the present year the accused was summoned as a witness to
appear "efore the 1ustice of the peace court of 2anila, and after having "een duly sworn,
testified as follows:
-;. +ave you ever heard a"out the 0asay or 0ineda estate< = A. have heard ...
5uestion of lands.
-;. >o you 4now the 0asay estate< = A. do not 4now.
-;. ,hat is it that you heard a"out the 0asay estate< = A. ,ell, can tell that with
reference to the 0asay estate that there has "een o"1ection to the survey, to the
assessment of that land, plenty of that, nothing more.
-;. ,hen was it that you say o"1ection was made to the survey and nothing more< =
A. !our years ago to-day.
-;. 0rior to that survey had you not heard any tal4 a"out the 0asay estate< = A. No,
sir.
-;. >o you 4now if the Augustinian !athers, during the years &6'? and &6'6, "rought
any action for forci"le entry and detainer against Agustin 2ontilla, and whether in
said action, "y reason of the decision ousting 2r. 2ontilla, the defendant, Claro
2agcauas, in this case was li4ewise ousted from his land as a su"lessee of 2r.
2ontilla< = A. do not remem"er, sir.
-;. >id you 4not 4now then 2r. Agustin 2ontilla as administrator of the 0asay estate<
= A. do not remem"er.
-;. ,ere you 1ustice of the peace for /ingalong< = A. Assistant.
-;. But were you acting at the time< = A. @es, sir.
-;. n the 1ustice of the peace court where you were acting was there not a suit
"rought "y 2r. 2ontilla for forci"le entry and detainer against the tenants of the
0asay estate, among them the defendant in this case, and for the lands in 5uestion< =
A. do not remem"er.
-;. Can you not assure that in your court not even a single action for forci"le entry
and detainer was "rought against 2r. 2ontilla< = A. do not remem"er, sir.
-;. >o you not remem"er that while you were 1ustice an order was received from the
1udge of the Court of !irst nstance calling upon you to forward a list of all the actions
for forci"le entry and detainer pending in your court and "rought "y >on Agustin
2ontilla against various tenants of the 0asay estate< = A. do not remem"er, sir.
-;. >o you not remem"er having received any order from the Court of !irst nstance
as to these actions for forci"le entry and detainer in regard to the 0asay estate< = A.
remem"er having received orders, "ut do not remem"er to what they referred.
-;. >onAt you remem"er that in the 1ustice of the peace court while you were acting
1udge, there was pending an action for forci"le entry and detainer against Claro
2agcauas, 2anuel /anta1uana, !elipe Billanueva, 0edro 0ascual, Escolastico Berge,
Claro Billanueva, Anastasio Camos, Agustin Bonifacio, Arcadio Billanueva, Bernardino
sidro, 2a3imo de los /antos, /evero >ineral, !lorentino Da"riel, 0edro Nagom"oy,
Eeocadio Billareal, Eeonardo Tailer, Catalino :. /antiago, >emetrio Espiritu, 0. Tomaso,
N. Bergel, +. de los Ceyes, Fose Carlos, +onorio /antiago, Cufino de Fesus, Bictorino
>elignac, Aniceto :rdoGeH, Clemente sidro, Claro Naracos, Eulogio Alcantara,
/imeon A. 0rotasio, Apolonio C. /antos, Dregorio C. 0atricio, Ale1andro >ionisio,
Aniceto /evero, 0ascual Billanueva, gnacio 0ernate, Engracio !lores, Crispino
Ampagan, Eino Bergel, 2acario /ergis, >imas >ison, 2odesto 0rotasio, /evero
BiHcara, sidro BiHcara, 0etrona BiHcara, and Bonifacio BiHcara, "y Agustin F. 2ontilla<
= A. No, do not remem"er.
-;. None of those mentioned in my 5uestion< = A. do not recollect now anyone.
-;. >id you not 4now !ather Benito "aGeH, administrator of the +acienda of 0asay< =
a. NoI neither.
-;. !ather 2artin Arconada, who was administrator of the estate = did you 4now him
personally as administrator of that estate< = A. do not remem"er whether he has
"een administrator or not.
-;. @ou do not remem"er whether any orders were pu"lished in /ingalong "y means
of the pu"lic crier, within 0asay, notifying the decision rendered in the suit in favor of
2r. 2ontilla against the Augustinian !riars, and warning all the tenants of the 0asay
estate to pay thereafter 2r. 2ontilla as a lessee of that estate< = A. f you tal4 a"out
pu"lic crier do not remem"er, sir. Truly there have "een notices "y means of pu"lic
criers, "ecause there in that month the revolution "ro4e out.-
All these statements are a"solutely false, and are essential to the case at issue wherein they
were made, "ecause really and truly the accused had heard a"out the 0asay estate prior to
the four last years, and he well 4new that at that time there were "rought in the 1ustice of the
peace court at 0ineda when he was filing that office many actions for forci"le entry and
detainer, instituted "y Agustin F. 2ontilla against tenants of the estate, he having received an
order from the Court of !irst nstance as4ing for a list of said actions, with a statement of the
actions for forci"le entry and detainer and the answers filed "y the defendants, and the
accused himself signed three lists which he forwarded to the Court of !irst nstanceI "ecause
the accused himself received an order from the Court of !irst nstance en1oining him to notify
all the tenants of the 0asay estate of the decision rendered in favor of >on Agustin F. 2ontilla,
in the suit "rought "y him against the Augustinian !riars, and the accused himself having
rendered an order wherein the proper action was ta4en for the compliance with such order
of the Court of !irst nstance, and the accused himself having ta4en part in various other
proceedings had for the purpose of complying with such orders from the Court of !irst
nstanceI "ecause the accused 4new that >on Agustin 2ontilla was the administrator of the
0asay estate, was su"stituted "y reason of the suit "y him "rought against the Augustinian
!riars "y the curate of the pue"lo, !ather Benito "aGeH, and he, the accused, li4ewise 4new
that !ather 2artin Arconada, the procurator of the convent of the Augustinian !athers, did
intervene in the management of the 0asay estate, and "ecause, he, the accused, li4ewise
4new that in the years &6'? and &6'6 there was "rought "y the Augustinian !riars against 2r.
2ontilla an action for forci"le entry and detainer of the 0asay estate, the result of which was
that said 2r. 2ontilla, together with many other tenants of the 0asay estate, were oustedI all
contrary to the form of the statute in such cases made and provided.
This complaint was duly signed and sworn to.
At the close of the trial in the inferior court the defendant was found guilty of the crime charged in
the said complaint and was sentenced to "e imprisoned for a period of three months of arresto
mayor, with the accessories of article J& of the 0enal Code and to pay a fine of &,?(( pesetas or to
suffer, in case of insolvency, the corresponding su"sidiary imprisonment, which should not e3ceed
one-third part of the period of imprisonment imposed, and to pay the costs.
!rom this sentence the defendant appealed to this court.
t is admitted that the defendant gave the testimony set out in the complaint, during the trial of a civil
case in the court of a 1ustice of the peace of the city of 2anila, "etween Edwin +. ,arner, plaintiff,
and Claro 2agcauas, defendant, an action "rought "y the plaintiff to recover of the defendant the
annual rent for a certain tract of land for the years &6'', &'((, &'(&, &'(#, and &'($. The defendant
was summoned as a witness to appear "efore said 1ustice of the peace, to give testimony upon the
trial of this cause.
t is difficult to ascertain from an e3amination of the alleged false testimony set out in the said
complaint 1ust how the 5uestions and answers in said false testimony have any "earing whatever
upon the issue that was "eing tried "efore said 1ustice of the peace. Admitting, however, that they
must have had some reference to some 5uestion presented "efore the court, we proceed to an
e3amination of the 5uestion whether such testimony was false.
Chapter B of Title B of the 0enal Code provides the punishment for false testimony in "oth criminal
and civil cases, "ut this chapter ma4es no attempt to define false testimony or in any way to indicate
of what false testimony consists.
Escriche in his valua"le dictionary %p. '7#* defines false testimony to "e: -Ea impostura o acusacion
contra un inocente y la deposicion 5ue hace un testigo contra la verdad.-
-!also testimonio- under /panish law corresponds to -false swearing- under English law. !alse
swearing, under the English law, is committed "y a person who swears falsely "efore any person
authoriHed to administer an oath upon a matter of pu"lic concern, under such circumstances that the
false swearing would have amounted to per1ury if committed in a 1udicial proceeding.
Bishop in his wor4 on criminal law %Bol. #, p. ?66* says:
!alse swearing is the name given in the statutes of some of the /tates to false declarations on
oath which, while not within any common law or statutory designation of per1ury, are, "y such
statutes, rendered otherwise indicta"le.
Article $#& of the 0enal Code provides that =
!alse testimony given in a civil cause shall "e punished with a penalty of arresto mayor in its
ma3imum degree to presidio correccional in its medium degree and a fine of from J#? to
J,#?( pesetas.
f the amount of the claim should not e3ceed J#? pesetas, the penalties shall "e those
of arresto mayor and a fine of from $#? to $,#?( pesetas.
This testimony was given in a civil cause and it was the duty of the Dovernment to prove that it was
false. Not only was it the duty of the Dovernment to show that the testimony was false "ut that it was
given 4nowing that it was false and with malicious intent. Biada, in his valua"le Commentaries on
the 0enal Code %vol. #, p. ))', )th ed.*, says:
Comete el delito de falso testimonio todo el 5ue falta maliciosamente a la verdad en sus
declaraciones, sea negandola, sea diciendo lo contrario a ella.
>uring the e3amination of the defendant as a witness in the cause in which it is alleged he gave
false testimony he was as4ed certain 5uestions with reference to the e3istence of certain facts. +is
answers invaria"ly were that he did not remem"er, or that he had no recollection concerning those
facts. +is answers invaria"ly were that he did not remem"er, or that he had no recollection
concerning those facts. The prosecuting attorney proved the e3istence of the facts with reference to
which the defendant was 5uestioned, "ut failed to prove that the statements of the defendant with
reference to those facts were false. The mere fact that the defendant had had to do in the year &6'J
with certain facts and relations was not sufficient to prove that he stated a falsehood when he stated
in >ecem"er, &'(), that he had -no recollection with reference to such facts or relations.- The
evidence adduced during the trial fails, in our 1udgment, to show that the defendant testified falsely
or gave false testimony as was charged in the complaint.
n order that a defendant may "e convicted under article $#& of the 0enal Code for giving false
testimony, the following facts must "e shown:
!irst. The testimony must "e given in a civil cause.
/econd. The testimony must relate to the issues presented in said cause.
Third. The testimony must "e false.
!ourth. The false testimony must "e given "y the defendant 4nowing the same to "e false.
!ifth. /uch testimony must "e malicious and given with an intent to affect the issues presented in
said cause.
The evidence adduced during the trial of this case is not sufficient to show that the defendant
committed the crime charged in the complaint. The 1udgment of the inferior court is therefore
reversed and the said cause is here"y ordered to "e dismissed.
Arellano, C.J., apa, Carson, and !illard, JJ., concur.