< All Topics

A. Crimes against national security and laws of nations

CHAPTER 1: CRIMES AGAINST NATIONAL SECURITY

SECTION 1 – TREASON AND ESPIONAGE

1. Treason

a. CONCEPT

Art. 114. Treason – Any Filipino citizen who levies war against the Philippines or adheres to her enemies, giving them aid or comfort within the Philippines or elsewhere, shall be punished by reclusion perpetua to death and shall pay a fine not to exceed Four million pesos (₱4,000,000).

No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two (2) witnesses at least to the same overt act or on confession of the accused in open court.

Likewise, an alien, residing in the Philippines, who commits act of treason as defined in paragraph 1 of this article shall be punished by reclusion temporal to death and shall pay a fine not to exceed Four million pesos (₱4,000,000).  (Act No. 3815, Revised Penal Code)

BREAKDOWN:

1st Mode

1) There is war;

2) The offender owes allegiance to the Government of the Philippines (for resident aliens: temporary allegiance); and,

3) He levied war against the Philippine Government.

2nd Mode

1) There is war;

2) The offender owes allegiance to the Government of the Philippines (for resident aliens: temporary allegiance); and,

3) He adheres to their enemies, giving them aid or comfort within the country or elsehwere.

1) A war crime

Treason is a war crime. It is not an all-time offense. It cannot be committed in peace time. While there is peace, there are no traitors. Treason may be incubated when peace reigns. Treasonable acts may actually be perpetrated during peace, but there are no traitors until war has started. . (J. Perfecto, Concurring Opinion in Laurel v. Misa, supra.)

2) Allegiance; Resident alien’s temporary allegiance

An alien while domiciled in a country owes it a temporary allegiance, which is continuous during his residence. (J. Perfecto, Concurring Opinion in Laurel v. Misa, En Banc, G.R. No. L-409, 30 January 1947, citing Carlisle vs. United States, 83 U.S. [16 Wall.], 147, 154; 21 Law ed., 426)

3) The 2 modes of committing treason

MODES:

1) Levying war against the Philippine Government; or,

2) Adhering to the enemies, giving them aid or comfort within the country or elsewhere.

a) Levying war

The acts of violence committed by an armed body of men with the purpose of overthrowing the Government is levying ware against the Government and is thus treason, whether it was done by ten men or ten thousand. (United States v. Lagnason, En Banc, G.R. No. 1582, 28 March 1904, citing United States v. Hanway, 2 Wall., jr., 139; 26 Fed. Cases, 105)

cf. REBELLION: Treason via levying war is for the intent of helping an external foreign enemy. Otherwise, it is rebellion.

Case Law

1) While the evidence does not show that appellant-accused had himself laid hands on either Valdez or De la Rosa, there is no denying the fact that he was present when they were maltreated, that he took active part in the investigation, and that it was he who had Valdez and De la Rosa apprehended and detained under guard in the house of Juan Fausto. These facts were established by the combined declaration of Valdez and De la Rosa, who testified to the same overt acts which took place before they were separated for further investigation. In addition there is also proof of appellant’s adherence to the enemy, for he had been seen armed and dressed in Japanese military uniform and to be among those who surrounded and guarded the guerrillas when the latter surrendered in mass in 1943. (People v. Bernardino, G.R. No. L-3607, 27 August 1953)

b) Adhering to the enemies, giving aid or comfort

Enemy – means a foreign enemy and does not include a rebel. United States v. Lagnason, supra.)

Case Law

1) The mere fact of having joined a Makapili organization is evidence of both adherence to the enemy and giving him aid and comfort. Unless forced upon one against his will, membership in the Makapili organization imports treasonable intent, considering the purposes for which the organization was created, which, according to the evidence, were “to accomplish the fulfillment of the obligations assumed by the Philippines in the Pact of Alliance with the Empire of Japan;” “to shed blood and sacrifice the lives of our people in order to eradicate Anglo-Saxon influence in East Asia;” “to collaborate unreservedly and unstintedly with the Imperial Japanese Army and Navy in the Philippines;” and “to fight the common enemies.”

2) Commandeering of women to satisfy the lust of Japanese officers or men or to enliven the entertainment held in their honor was not treason even though the women and the entertainment helped to make life more pleasant for the enemies and boost their spirit; he was not guilty any more than the women themselves would have been if they voluntarily and willingly had surrendered their bodies or organized the entertainment. Sexual and social relations with the Japanese did not directly and materially tend to improve their war efforts or to weaken the power of the United State. The acts herein charged were not, by fair implication, calculated to strengthen the Japanese Empire or its army or to cripple the defense and resistance of the other side. Whatever favorable effect the defendant’s collaboration with the Japanese might have in their prosecution of the war 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 particular case. (People v. Perez, En Banc, G.R. No. L-856, 18 April 1949)

b. TWO-WITNESS RULE

GENERAL RULE: No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses at least to the same overt act or on confession of the accused in open court. (Paragraph 2, Article 114, Revised Penal Code)

EXCEPTION: Adherence, unlike overt acts, need not be proved by the oaths of two witnesses. Criminal intent and knowledge may be gathered from the testimony of one witness, or from the nature of the act itself, or from the circumstances surrounding the act. (People v. Adriano, En Banc, G.R. No. L-477, 30 June 1947)

c. CONTINUING CRIME

The crime of treason may be committed by executing, either a single, or several intentional overt acts, different or similar but distinct, and for that reason it may be called or considered a continuous offense. A person who commits treason is not criminally responsible for as many crimes of treason as overt acts he has intentionally committed to aid the enemy. All overt acts he has done or might have done for that purpose constitute but a single offense. (Guinto v. Veluz, En Banc, G.R. No. L-980, 21 December 1946)

d. NO COMPLEX CRIME FOR TREASON

In the nature of things, the giving of aid and comfort can only be accomplished by some kind of action. Its very nature partakes of a deed or physical activity as opposed to a mental operation. This deed or physical activity may be, and often is, in itself a criminal offense under another penal statute or provision. Even so, when the deed is charged as an element of treason it becomes identified with the latter crime and can not be the subject of a separate punishment, or used in combination with treason to increase the penalty as article 48 of the Revised Penal Code provides. (People v. Prieto, En Banc, G.R. No. L-399, 29 January 1948)

2. Conspiracy to commit treason

a. CONCEPT

Art. 115. Conspiracy and proposal to commit treason; Penalty – The conspiracy or proposal to commit the crime of treason shall be punished respectively, by prisión mayor and a fine not exceeding Two million pesos (₱2,000,000), and prisión correccional and a fire not exceeding One million pesos (₱1,000,000). (Act No. 3815, Revised Penal Code)

BREAKDOWN:

1) There is war; and,

2) The offender conspired to commit the crime of treason

3. Proposal to commit treason

a. CONCEPT

The proposal to commit the crime of treason shall be punished. (See Article 115, Act No. 3815, Revised Penal Code)

BREAKDOWN:

1) There is war; and,

2) The offender proposed to commit the crime of treason. (Article 115, Ibid.)

4. Misprision of treason

a. CONCEPT

Article 116. Misprision of treason. – Every person owing allegiance to (the United States) the Government of the Philippine Islands, without being a foreigner, and having knowledge of any conspiracy against them, conceals or does not disclose and make known the same, as soon as possible to the governor or fiscal of the province, or the mayor or fiscal of the city in which he resides, as the case may be, shall be punished as an accessory to the crime of treason. (Act No. 3815, Revised Penal Code)

BREAKDOWN:

1) The offender owes allegiance to the Government of the Philippine Islands, without being a foreigner, and,

2) He has knowledge of any conspiracy against them;

3) He conceals or does not disclose and make known the same, as soon as possible to the governor or fiscal of the province, or the mayor or fiscal of the city in which he resides.

5. Espionage

a. CONCEPT

Article 117. Espionage. – The penalty of prision correccional shall be inflicted upon any person who:

1. Without authority therefor, enters a warship, fort, or naval or military establishment or reservation to obtain any information, plans, photographs, or other data of a confidential nature relative to the defense of the Philippine Archipelago; or

2. Being in possession, by reason of the public office he holds, of the articles, data, or information referred to in the preceding paragraph, discloses their contents to a representative of a foreign nation.

The penalty next higher in degree shall be imposed if the offender be a public officer or employee.  (Act No. 3815, Revised Penal Code)

BREAKDOWN:

1st Mode

1) The offender has no authority to enter a warship, fort, or naval or military establishment or reservation; and,

2) He entered to obtain any information, plans, photographs, or other data of a confidential nature relative to the defense of the Philippine Archipelago. (Article 117, Revised Penal Code)

2nd Mode

1) The offender is in in possession, by reason of the public office he holds, of the articles, data, or information referred to in the preceding paragraph; and,

2) He discloses their contents to a representative of a foreign nation. (Ibid.)

SECTION 2 – PROVOKING WAR AND DISLOYALTY IN CASE OF WAR

6. Inciting to war or giving motives for reprisals

a. CONCEPT

Article 118. Inciting to war or giving motives for reprisals. – The penalty of reclusion temporal shall be imposed upon any public officer or employee, and that of prision mayor upon any private individual, who, by unlawful or unauthorized acts provokes or gives occasion for a war involving or liable to involve the Philippine Islands or exposes Filipino citizens to reprisals on their persons or property. (Act No. 3815, Revised Penal Code)

BREAKDOWN:

1) The offender provokes or gives occasion for a war involving or liable to involve the Philippine Islands or exposes Filipino citizens to reprisals on their persons or property; and,

2) Such are committed via unlawful or unauthorized acts.

7. Violation of neutrality

a. CONCEPT

Article 119. Violation of neutrality. – The penalty of prision correccional shall be inflicted upon anyone who, on the occasion of a war in which the Government is not involved, violates any regulation issued by competent authority for the purpose of enforcing neutrality. (Act No. 3815, Revised Penal Code)

BREAKDOWN:

1) There is war in which the Government is not involved; and,

2) The offender violates any regulation issued by competent authority for the purpose of enforcing neutrality.

8. Correspondence with hostile country

a. CONCEPT

Article 120. Correspondence with hostile country. – Any person who in time of war, shall have correspondence with an enemy country or territory occupied by enemy troops shall be punished:

1. By prision correccional, if the correspondence has been prohibited by the Government;

2. By prision mayor, if such correspondence be carried on in ciphers or conventional signs; and

3. By reclusion temporal, if notice or information be given thereby which might be useful to the enemy. If the offender intended to aid the enemy by giving such notice or information, he shall suffer the penalty of reclusion temporal to death. (Act No. 3815, Revised Penal Code)

BREAKDOWN:

1) It is in the time of war; and,

2) The offender corresponded with an enemy country or territory occupied by enemy troops.

9. Flight to enemy country

a. CONCEPT

Article 121. Flight to enemy country. – The penalty of arresto mayor shall be inflicted upon any person who, owing allegiance to the Government, attempts to flee or go to an enemy country when prohibited by competent authority. (Act No. 3815, Revised Penal Code)

BREAKDOWN:

1) The offender owes allegiance to the Government;

2) He attempted to flee or go to an enemy country; and,

3) Such act was prohibited by competent authority.

SECTION 3 – PIRACY AND MUTINY ON THE HIGH SEAS OR IN PHILIPPINE WATERS

10. Piracy

a. CONCEPT

Article 122. Piracy in general and mutiny on the high seas. – The penalty of reclusion temporal shall be inflicted upon any person who, on the high seas, shall attack or seize a vessel or, not being a member of its complement nor a passenger, shall seize the whole or part of the cargo of said vessel, its equipment, or personal belongings of its complement or passengers. (Act No. 3815, Revised Penal Code)

BREAKDOWN:

1st Mode

1) The offender is a member of ship’s complement or a passenger; and,

2) The offender attacks or seizes the vessel on the high seas,

2nd Mode

1) The offender is not a member of its complement nor a passenger; and,

2) The offender seizes the whole or part of the cargo of said vessel, its equipment, or personal belongings of its complement or passengers on the high seas.

b. QUALIFIED PIRACY

QUALIFYING CIRCUMSTANCES:

1) Whenever they have seized a vessel by boarding or firing upon the same;

2. Whenever the pirates have abandoned their victims without means of saving themselves; or,

3. Whenever the crime is accompanied by murder, homicide, physical injuries or rape. (Article 123, Revised Penal Code)

PENALTY: Reclusion temporal to death

11. Mutiny

a. CONCEPT

Mutiny on the high seas shall be punished. (Paragraph 2, Article 117, Act No. 3815, Revised Penal Code)

BREAKDOWN:

1) The offender is a member of ship’s complement or a passenger; and,

2) The offender commits mutiny.

Next B. Crimes against the fundamental law of the State
Table of Contents