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Chapter 8: Crime and its Punishment

Criminal Law:
A distinction was made in pre-conquest society between conduct which
was harmful to the community itself as opposed to the interest of a
particular person or household
o Distinction is clear when it comes to serious offenses but blurs
with respect to other wrongs
o Principal Features:
Secular rather than religious in orientation
Principal prohibitions were concerned with values of
personal security and property
Distinctions of penalty based on rank
Sanctions in the form of fines
Self-help as penalty
Prevailed in the form of vengeance where they took
matters into their own hands

Religion was not a factor
o Violation of religious taboo not a crime
o Obvious in the subject of custom law
Security of the person
o Universal prohibition of murder and homicide
Special protection of the principalia
o Strict rules to maintain the status of the Datu (his family, home,
rights, and interests)
Protection of property from theft
o Different punishments accdg. to amount of loss
Safeguards for personal reputation and honor
o Insults and statements to damage ones reputations (especially
to members of the principalia met with serious penalties)
Crimes were punished by request of aggrieved parties

Special privileges depending on ones social position
Virtual sanctity of the person and interests of members of the ruling
elite and reduced liability for wrongs committed by them
Double standard
o If the chief was killed, all kinsmen would hunt for the murderer
and his relatives
o Both sides would wage a war until mediators came to settle the
issue in gold (appraised by old men and paid accdg. to custom
to the Chief and to the wife, children, and relatives of the
o Death was never imposed except when the murderer and victim
were common men or if the accused could not pay the gold to
satisfy the murder
o Harsh penalty if crime was done to the Chief
o Moderate penalty if crime was done to a commoner
System of criminal justice was humane and reasonable
Death was imposed for crimes universally acknowledged as heinous
Fine: depended on the nature of the offense, gravity of the wrong, and
the rank of the wrong-doer and the offended party
Servitude could be offered as alternate penalty (one becomes a slave)

He who killed another must himself suffer death

Privileged position
o Due to their superiority over the rest of the households
o Physical power and force of arms
Virtually all offenses committed against their persons, their honor,
and their wives were by reason of their rank, serious and usually
subject to capital punishment
o Penalty of fine for those who had wealth
o Equal rank settled accdg. to justice and their laws
o Unable to pay, war waged
o If the person sent to kill the chief was caught, he/she will be
captured to ascertain whether anyone sent him/her
If yes, enslaved
Person who sent the killer will be sentenced to death and
will be released if payment of gold is made

The plunder, capture, and killing of strangers is mandatory in cases

where the Chief met his death through treachery or violence
o Rationale: Spirit cannot rest until avenged
All must mourn
So everyone will know, Timaguas will go through the village and make
announcements of the mourning
If anyone transgresses, they will pay
o If one is a slave, the master will pay
No one shall quarrel with any other during time of mourning and
especially at time of burial
Spears carried point downward and daggers in the belt with hilt
No gala or colored dress shall be worn during that time
No singing when returning to the village, strict silence is maintained
Enclosure is made around the house and if anyone passes by and
transgresses this, he shall be punished

Private property was recognized
Penalty depended on rank of the offender and the value of the property
Chief: fine regardless of the value
Commoner: death if value was substantial, fine, servitude
Every case: property had to be returned
o 1st theft: fine in money
o 2nd theft: servitude
o Subsequent offense: death
o Great value: relatives were sometimes punished

Honor and reputation
Insult and disparagement = instant retaliation
Precipitate violence and disorder, penalized heavily
Timagua - chief: fine, slave
Great chief: wife and children were made slaves
Chief stole from a timagua: light, nothing
Timagua stole from a timagua: fine according to nature of insult as
decided by the judge
o Judge was the oldest and most intelligent
o Fine would be divided between then the judge and the other
Great robbery = he and all relatives will be fined
o If unable to pay, they will be made slaves
o If one lives in the same household as the thief, he/she will also
be imposed a penalty
o Rationale: They knew of the crime committed
o Burden of proof on the relative to prove that he/she does not live
in the same household

Adultery: private wrong as opposed to a public offense
o If the man caught the wife with someone, he was privileged to
kill either or both of them without liability
o Death if wronged husband was chief or if adultery was done with
a concubine of the chief
o Fine
Pampangos: Arson
South: Incest