Art. 1 (1) US vs Look Chow, (2) US vs Wong Cheng
US vs. Look Chaw, G.R. No. L-5887, December 16, 1910 Republic of the Philippines
Manila EN BANC G.R. No. L-5887 December 16, 1910 THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff-appellee,
LOOK CHAW (alias LUK CHIU), defendant-appellant. Thos. D. Aitken for appellant.
Attorney-General Villamor for appellee.
ARELLANO, C. J.: The first complaint filed against the defendant, in the Court of First Instance of Cebu, stated that he "carried, kept, possessed and had in his possession and control, 96 kilogrammes of opium," and that "he had been surprised in the act of selling 1,000 pesos worth prepared opium." The defense presented a demurrer based on two grounds, the second of which was the more than one crime was charged in the complaint. The demurrer was sustained, as the court found that the complaint contained two charges, one, for the unlawful possession of opium, and the other, for the unlawful sale of opium, and, consequence of that ruling, it ordered that the fiscal should separated one charge from the other and file a complaint for each violation; this, the fiscal did, and this cause concerns only the unlawful possession of opium. It is registered as No. 375, in the Court of First Instance of Cebu, and as No. 5887 on the general docket of this court. The facts of the case are contained in the following finding of the trial court: The evidence, it says, shows that between 11 and 12 o'clock a. m. on the present month (stated as August 19, 1909), several persons, among them Messrs. Jacks and Milliron, chief of the department of the port of Cebu and internal-revenue agent of Cebu, respectively, went abroad the steamship Erroll to inspect and search its cargo, and found, first in a cabin near the saloon, one sack (Exhibit A) and afterwards in the hold, another sack
(Exhibit B). The sack referred to as Exhibit A contained 49 cans of opium, and the other, Exhibit B, the larger sack, also contained several cans of the same substance. The hold, in which the sack mentioned in Exhibit B was found, was under the defendant's control, who moreover, freely and of his own will and accord admitted that this sack, as well as the other referred to in Exhibit B and found in the cabin, belonged to him. The said defendant also stated, freely and voluntarily, that he had bought these sacks of opium, in Hongkong with the intention of selling them as contraband in Mexico or Vera Cruz, and that, as his hold had already been searched several times for opium, he ordered two other Chinamen to keep the sack. Exhibit A. It is to be taken into account that the two sacks of opium, designated as Exhibits A and B, properly constitute the corpus delicti. Moreover, another lot of four cans of opium, marked, as Exhibit C, was the subject matter of investigation at the trial, and with respect to which the chief of the department of the port of Cebu testified that they were found in the part of the ship where the firemen habitually sleep, and that they were delivered to the first officer of the ship to be returned to the said firemen after the vessel should have left the Philippines, because the firemen and crew of foreign vessels, pursuant to the instructions he had from the Manila custom-house, were permitted to retain certain amounts of opium, always provided it should not be taken shore. And, finally, another can of opium, marked "Exhibit D," is also corpus delicti and important as evidence in this cause. With regard to this the internalrevenue agent testified as follows:itc-alf FISCAL. What is it? WITNESS. It is a can opium which was bought from the defendant by a secret-service agent and taken to the office of the governor to prove that the accused had opium in his possession to sell. On motion by the defense, the court ruled that this answer might be stricken out "because it refers to a sale." But, with respect to this answer, the chief of the department of customs had already given this testimony, to wit: FISCAL. Who asked you to search the vessel? WITNESS. The internal-revenue agent came to my office and said that a party brought him a sample of opium and that the same party knew that there was more opium on board the steamer, and the agent asked that the
vessel be searched. The defense moved that this testimony be rejected, on the ground of its being hearsay evidence, and the court only ordered that the part thereof "that there was more opium, on board the vessel" be stricken out. The defense, to abbreviate proceedings, admitted that the receptacles mentioned as Exhibits A, B, and C, contained opium and were found on board the steamship Erroll, a vessel of English nationality, and that it was true that the defendant stated that these sacks of opium were his and that he had them in his possession. According to the testimony of the internal-revenue agent, the defendant stated to him, in the presence of the provincial fiscal, of a Chinese interpreter (who afterwards was not needed, because the defendant spoke English), the warden of the jail, and four guards, that the opium seized in the vessel had been bought by him in Hongkong, at three pesos for each round can and five pesos for each one of the others, for the purpose of selling it, as contraband, in Mexico and Puerto de Vera Cruz; that on the 15th the vessel arrived at Cebu, and on the same day he sold opium; that he had tried to sell opium for P16 a can; that he had a contract to sell an amount of the value of about P500; that the opium found in the room of the other two Chinamen prosecuted in another cause, was his, and that he had left it in their stateroom to avoid its being found in his room, which had already been searched many times; and that, according to the defendant, the contents of the large sack was 80 cans of opium, and of the small one, 49, and the total number, 129. It was established that the steamship Erroll was of English nationality, that it came from Hongkong, and that it was bound for Mexico, via the call ports of Manila and Cebu. The defense moved for a dismissal of the case, on the grounds that the court had no jurisdiction to try the same and the facts concerned therein did not constitute a crime. The fiscal, at the conclusion of his argument, asked that the maximum penalty of the law be imposed upon the defendant, in view of the considerable amount of opium seized. The court ruled that it did not lack jurisdiction, inasmuch as the crime had been committed within its district, on the wharf of Cebu. The court sentenced the defendant to five years' imprisonment, to pay a fine of P10,000, with additional subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, though not to exceed one third of the principal penalty, and to the payment of the costs. It further ordered the confiscation, in favor of the
Insular Government, of the exhibits presented in the case, and that, in the event of an appeal being taken or a bond given, or when the sentenced should have been served, the defendant be not released from custody, but turned over to the customs authorities for the purpose of the fulfillment of the existing laws on immigration. From this judgment, the defendant appealed to this court.lawphi1.net The appeal having been heard, together with the allegations made therein by the parties, it is found: That, although the mere possession of a thing of prohibited use in these Islands, aboard a foreign vessel in transit, in any of their ports, does not, as a general rule, constitute a crime triable by the courts of this country, on account of such vessel being considered as an extension of its own nationality, the same rule does not apply when the article, whose use is prohibited within the Philippine Islands, in the present case a can of opium, is landed from the vessel upon Philippine soil, thus committing an open violation of the laws of the land, with respect to which, as it is a violation of the penal law in force at the place of the commission of the crime, only the court established in that said place itself had competent jurisdiction, in the absence of an agreement under an international treaty. It is also found: That, even admitting that the quantity of the drug seized, the subject matter of the present case, was considerable, it does not appear that, on such account, the two penalties fixed by the law on the subject, should be imposed in the maximum degree. Therefore, reducing the imprisonment and the fine imposed to six months and P1,000, respectively, we affirm in all other respects the judgment appealed from, with the costs of this instance against the appellant. So ordered. Torres, Mapa, Johnson, Carson, Moreland and Trent, JJ., concur.
Republic of the Philippines
Manila EN BANC G.R. No. L-18924
October 19, 1922
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, plaintiff-appellant,
WONG CHENG (alias WONG CHUN), defendant-appellee. Attorney-General Villa-Real for appellant.
Eduardo Gutierrez Repide for appellee. ROMUALDEZ, J.: In this appeal the Attorney-General urges the revocation of the order of the Court of First Instance of Manila, sustaining the demurrer presented by the defendant to the information that initiated this case and in which the appellee is accused of having illegally smoked opium, aboard the merchant vessel Changsa of English nationality while said vessel was anchored in Manila Bay two and a half miles from the shores of the city. The demurrer alleged lack of jurisdiction on the part of the lower court, which so held and dismissed the case. The question that presents itself for our consideration is whether such ruling is erroneous or not; and it will or will not be erroneous according as said court has or has no jurisdiction over said offense. The point at issue is whether the courts of the Philippines have jurisdiction over crime, like the one herein involved, committed aboard merchant vessels anchored in our jurisdiction waters. 1 awph!l .net
There are two fundamental rules on this particular matter in connection with International Law; to wit, the French rule, according to which crimes committed aboard a foreign merchant vessels should not be prosecuted in the courts of the country within whose territorial jurisdiction they were committed, unless their commission affects the peace and security of the territory; and the English rule, based on the territorial principle and followed in the United States, according to
which, crimes perpetrated under such circumstances are in general triable in the courts of the country within territory they were committed. Of this two rules, it is the last one that obtains in this jurisdiction, because at present the theories and jurisprudence prevailing in the United States on this matter are authority in the Philippines which is now a territory of the United States. In the cases of The Schooner Exchange vs. M'Faddon and Others (7 Cranch [U. S.], 116), Chief Justice Marshall said: . . . When merchant vessels enter for the purposes of trade, it would be obviously inconvenient and dangerous to society, and would subject the laws to continual infraction, and the government to degradation, if such individuals or merchants did not owe temporary and local allegiance, and were not amenable to the jurisdiction of the country. . . . In United States vs. Bull (15 Phil., 7), this court held: . . . No court of the Philippine Islands had jurisdiction over an offense or crime committed on the high seas or within the territorial waters of any other country, but when she came within three miles of a line drawn from the headlands, which embrace the entrance to Manila Bay, she was within territorial waters, and a new set of principles became applicable. (Wheaton, International Law [Dana ed.], p. 255, note 105; Bonfils, Le Droit Int., secs. 490 et seq.; Latour, La Mer Ter., ch. 1.) The ship and her crew were then subject to the jurisdiction of the territorial sovereign subject to such limitations as have been conceded by that sovereignty through the proper political agency. . . . It is true that in certain cases the comity of nations is observed, as in Mali and Wildenhus vs. Keeper of the Common Jail (120 U.., 1), wherein it was said that: . . . The principle which governs the whole matter is this: Disorder which disturb only the peace of the ship or those on board are to be dealt with exclusively by the sovereignty of the home of the ship, but those which disturb the public peace may be suppressed, and, if need be, the offenders punished by the proper authorities of the local jurisdiction. It may not be easy at all times to determine which of the two jurisdictions a particular act of disorder belongs. Much will
undoubtedly depend on the attending circumstances of the particular case, but all must concede that felonious homicide is a subject for the local jurisdiction, and that if the proper authorities are proceeding with the case in the regular way the consul has no right to interfere to prevent it. Hence in United States vs. Look Chaw (18 Phil., 573), this court held that: Although the mere possession of an article of prohibited use in the Philippine Islands, aboard a foreign vessel in transit in any local port, does not, as a general rule, constitute a crime triable by the courts of the Islands, such vessels being considered as an extension of its own nationality, the same rule does not apply when the article, the use of which is prohibited in the Islands, is landed from the vessels upon Philippine soil; in such a case an open violation of the laws of the land is committed with respect to which, as it is a violation of the penal law in force at the place of the commission of the crime, no court other than that established in the said place has jurisdiction of the offense, in the absence of an agreement under an international treaty. As to whether the United States has ever consented by treaty or otherwise to renouncing such jurisdiction or a part thereof, we find nothing to this effect so far as England is concerned, to which nation the ship where the crime in question was committed belongs. Besides, in his work "Treaties, Conventions, etc.," volume 1, page 625, Malloy says the following: There shall be between the territories of the United States of America, and all the territories of His Britanic Majesty in Europe, a reciprocal liberty of commerce. The inhabitants of the two countries, respectively, shall have liberty freely and securely to come with their ships and cargoes to all such places, ports and rivers, in the territories aforesaid, to which other foreigners are permitted to come, to enter into the same, and to remain and reside in any parts of the said territories, respectively; also to hire and occupy houses and warehouses for the purposes of their commerce; and, generally, the merchants and traders of each nation respectively shall enjoy the most complete protection and security for their commerce, but subject
always to the laws and statutes of the two countries, respectively. (Art. 1, Commerce and Navigation Convention.) We have seen that the mere possession of opium aboard a foreign vessel in transit was held by this court not triable by or courts, because it being the primary object of our Opium Law to protect the inhabitants of the Philippines against the disastrous effects entailed by the use of this drug, its mere possession in such a ship, without being used in our territory, does not being about in the said territory those effects that our statute contemplates avoiding. Hence such a mere possession is not considered a disturbance of the public order. But to smoke opium within our territorial limits, even though aboard a foreign merchant ship, is certainly a breach of the public order here established, because it causes such drug to produce its pernicious effects within our territory. It seriously contravenes the purpose that our Legislature has in mind in enacting the aforesaid repressive statute. Moreover, as the Attorney-General aptly observes: . . . The idea of a person smoking opium securely on board a foreign vessel at anchor in the port of Manila in open defiance of the local authorities, who are impotent to lay hands on him, is simply subversive of public order. It requires no unusual stretch of the imagination to conceive that a foreign ship may come into the port of Manila and allow or solicit Chinese residents to smoke opium on board. The order appealed from is revoked and the cause ordered remanded to the court of origin for further proceedings in accordance with law, without special findings as to costs. So ordered. Araullo, C.J., Street, Malcolm, Avanceña, Villamor, Ostrand and Johns, JJ., concur.