[G.R. Nos. L-6025-26. July 18, 1956.]
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff–Appellee, vs. AMADO V. HERNANDEZ, ET AL., Defendants–Appellants.
Amado V. Hernandez, et. al., were accused of the crime of rebellion with multiple murder, arsons and robberies. The prosecution maintained that Hernandez is charged with rebellion complexed with murders, arsons and robberies, for which the capital punishment may be imposed. The defense contends, among other things, that rebellion can not be complexed with murder, arson, or robbery. The lower court sentenced Hernandez merely to life imprisonment. A petition for bail was filed by Amado Hernandez on 28 December 1953, which was denied by a resolution of the Supreme Court dated 2 February 1954. A similar petition for bail was filed by Hernandez on 26 June 1954 and renewed on 22 December 1955.
Whether or not equal protection was observed in the administration of justice?
Inasmuch as the acts specified in Article 135 of the Revised Penal Code constitute one single crime, it follows necessarily that said acts offer no occasion for the application of Article 48, which requires therefor the commission of, at least, two crimes. Hence, the Supreme court has never in the past convicted any person of the “complex crime of rebellion with murder”. What is more, it appears that in every one of the cases of rebellion published in the Philippine Reports (US vs. Lagnason, 3 Phil. 472; US vs. Baldello, 3 Phil. 509, US vs. Ayala, 6 Phil. 151; League vs. People, 73 Phil. 155), the defendants therein were convicted of simple rebellion, although they had killed several persons, sometimes peace officers.
The law punishing rebellion (Article 135, Revised Penal Code) specifically mentions the act of engaging in war and committing serious violence among its essential elements, thus clearly indicating that everything done in the prosecution of said war, as a means necessary therefor, is embraced therein.
National, as well as international, laws and jurisprudence overwhelmingly favor the proposition that common crimes, perpetrated in furtherance of a political offense, are divested of their character as “common” offenses and assume the political complexion of the main crime of which they are mere ingredients, and, consequently, cannot be punished separately from the principal offense, or complexed with the same, to justify the imposition of a graver penalty. The policy of our statutes on rebellion is to consider all acts committed in furtherance thereof as constituting only one crime, punishable with one single penalty.
Further, the settled policy of our laws on rebellion, since the beginning of the century, has been one of decided leniency, in comparison with the laws enforce during the Spanish regime. Although the Government has, for the past 5 or 6 years, adopted a more vigorous course of action in the apprehension of violators of said law and in their prosecution the established policy of the State, as regards the punishment of the culprits has remained unchanged since 1932.
Furthermore, to deny bail it is not enough that the evidence of guilt is strong; it must also appear that in case of conviction the defendant’s criminal liability would probably call for capital punishment.
Thus, in conclusion, under the allegations of the amended information against Hernandez, the murders, arsons and robberies described therein are mere ingredients of the crime of rebellion allegedly committed by said defendants, as means “necessary” for the perpetration of said offense of rebellion; that the crime charged in the amended information is, therefore, simple rebellion, not the complex crime of rebellion with multiple murder, arsons and robberies; that the maximum penalty imposable under such charge cannot exceed 12 years of prision mayor and a fine of P20,000; and that, in conformity with the policy of the Supreme Court in dealing with accused persons amenable to a similar punishment, said defendant may be allowed bail.
The ingredients of a crime form part and parcel thereof, and, hence, are absorbed by the same and cannot be punished either separately there from. Indeed, if one act constitutes two or more offenses, there can be no reason to inflict a punishment graver than that prescribed for each one of said offenses put together.
The reason for this benevolent spirit of Article 48 is readily discernible. When two or more crimes are the result of a single act, the offender is deemed less perverse than when he commits said crimes thru separate and distinct acts. Instead of sentencing him for each crime independently from the other, he must suffer the maximum of the penalty for the more serious one, on the assumption that it is less grave than the sum total of the separate penalties for each offense.