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FREEDOM FROM SUBSEQUENT PUNISHMENT: PEOPLE v PEREZ, 45 PHIL 599

Isaac Perez, municipal secretary of Pilar, Sorsogon, and Fortunato Lodovice, citizen of that
municipality, became engaged in a discussion regarding the administration of Governor-General
Wood. Thereafter, Perez repeatedly shouted that as Filipinos, they should use a bolo to cut off
Wood’s head for killing their independence.
“The Filipinos, like myself, must use bolos for cutting off Wood's head for having
recommended a bad thing for the Filipinos, for he has killed our independence.”

The CFI of Sorsogon convicted Perez for violation of Art 256 of the RPC for contempt of ministers of
the crown or other persons in authority. Hence this appeal.

Accdg to the witnesses for the Gov’t, they understood that what Perez did was to invited Filipinos to
cut off Wood’s head using their bolos and throw it into the sea.

In his defense, Perez testified that the discussion was held in a peaceful manner and that what he
wished to say was to remove and substitute the Governor- General by another person.

ISSUE: WON accused violated Art 256 of RPC or Sec 8 of Act 292?

RULING: the court agrees w/ the trial judge that it has been proved beyond reasonable doubt that the
accused made use of insulting words. The court also cited 2 cases (US v Helbig and Ppl v Perfecto)
wherein they take it as a settled doctrine that until otherwise decided by higher authority, so much of
Art 256 of the RPC as does not relate to ministers of the crown or to writings under the Libel Law,
exists and must be enforced. In accordance with this, the court stated that herein accused violated
the Treason and Sedition Law and not Art 256 of the RPC. The court thinks that the words of the
accused did not raised disturbance in the community.

The provisions in Act 292 must not be interpreted so as to abridge the freedom of speech and the
right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the Gov’t for redress of grievances. Criticism,
no matter how severe, on the Executive, the Legislature, and the Judiciary, is within the range of
liberty of speech, unless the intention and effect be seditious w/c in this case the constitutional
guaranties of freedom of speech and press and of assembly and petition must yield to punitive
measures designed to maintain the prestige of constituted authority, the supremacy of the
constitution and the laws, and the existence of the State.

The Governor-General is an executive official appointed by the President of the United States by and
with the advice and consent of the Senate of the United States, and holds his office at the pleasure of
the President. The Organic Act vests supreme executive power in the Governor-General to be
exercised in accordance with the law. The Governor-General is the representative of executive civil
authority in the Philippines and of the sovereign power. A seditious attack on the Governor-General
is an attack on the rights of the Filipino people and on American sovereignty.

In the words of the law, Perez has uttered seditious words. He has made a statement and done an
act which tended to instigate others to cabal or meet together for unlawful purposes. He has made
a statement and done an act which suggested and incited rebellious conspiracies. He has made a
statement and done an act which tended to stir up the people against the lawful authorities. He has
made a statement and done an act which tended to disturb the peace of the community and the
safety or order of the Government. All of these various tendencies can be ascribed to the action of
Perez and may be characterized as penalized by section 8 of Act No. 292 as amended.

The designation of the crime by the fiscal is not conclusive. The crime of which the defendant
stands charged is that described by the facts stated in the information. In accordance with our
settled rule, an accused may be found guilty and convicted of a graver offense than that designated
in the information, if such graver offense is included or described in the body of the information,
and is afterwards justified by the proof presented during the trial.

The result is to agree with the trial Judge in his findings of the fact, and on these facts to convict the
accused of a violation of section 8 of Act No. 292 as amended. Thus, herein accused shall suffer
2mos and 1day of imprisonment and pay the costs.
Article 256 of the PC Section 8 of Act 292
Any person who, by word, deed,or writing, shall Every person who shall utter seditious words or
defame, abuse, or insult any Minister of the speeches, write, publish, or circulate scurrilous
Crown or other person in authority, while libels against the Government of the United
engaged in the performance of official duties, or States or the Insular Government of the
by reason of such performance, provided that the Philippine Islands, or which tend to disturb or
offensive minister or person, or the offensive obstruct any lawful officer in executing his office,
writing be not addressed to him, shall suffer the or which tend to instigate others to cabal or meet
penalty of arresto mayor. together for unlawful purposes, or which suggest
or incite rebellious conspiracies or riots, or which
tend to stir up the people against the lawful
authorities, or to disturb the peace of the
community, the safety and order of the
Government, or who shall knowingly conceal
such evil practices, shall be punished by a fine
not exceeding two thousand dollars or by
imprisonment not exceeding two years, or both,
in the discretion of the court.