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PEOPLE VS.

SILVESTRE AND ATIENZA 56 Philippine Reports 353 (1931) Defendant and Appellants: Romana Silvestre and Martin Atienza Plaintiff and Appellee: People of the Philippine Islands Ponente: J. Villa-real FACTS: It was on the month of March, 1930 in the barrio of Masocol in Paombong, Bulacan, when Romana Silvestre, with husband Domingo Joaquin by her second marriage, cohabited with her co-defendant, Martin Atienza. Domingo Joaquin, as her husband, filed a complaint of adultery against the two with the justice of peace in the said municipality, by which the complaint is supported by the affidavits of Gerardo Cabigao and Castor de la Cruz. On the same date, the justice of peace issued a warrant and arrested Romana Silvestre and Martin Atienza. Not long after, on the 20th day of the month, the two were released on bail paying P 6,000.00 each for the personal bond. The two defendants begged and asked for the help of Francisco Suerte Felipe, the municipal president of Paombong, to speak to the complainant to urge him to withdraw the said complaint, promising that they will discontinue cohabitation and will leave the said barrio. Domingo Joaquin, upon receiving the petition, agreed and filed for a motion of dismissal of his complaint. Doing what the accused had promised, Romana Silvestre and Martin Atienza left the barrio Masocol and went to Santo Nio in the same municipality. November 20 on the same year, Romana Silvestre upon meeting her son by her first marriage, Nicolas de la Cruz, followed him home in the barrio of Masocol and remained there. The accused, Martin Atienza, followed Romana Silvestre and lived in the house of Nicolas de la Cruz. In a gathering attended by Nicolas de la Cruz, his wife Antonia de la Cruz, and the two defendants, Martin Atienza told Nicolas to take their furniture out of the house because he will set up a fire to it. He claimed that it is the only way he could take revenge from the people of Masocol, to which he was instigated the charge of adultery with Romana Silvestre. Since Martin Atienza was armed with a pistol that time, no one was able to say anything or forbid him, not even Romana Silvestre who was about a meter away from him. The couple, upon hearing what Martin Atienza had said, ran away to communicate the intention of the accused to Buenaventura Ania, the barrio lieutenant. Not long after, they heard the cries of the people, Fire! Fire, and saw their house burning. However, Tomas Santiago, Tomas Gonzales and Felipe Clemente saw Martin Atienza and Romana Silvestre going away from the house where the fire started. The said fire had assumed considerable proportions and had destroyed about forty-eight houses. ISSUES:
1. Whether Romana Silvestre was properly convicted of presidio mayor by the lower court

of Bulacan, for being an accomplice of the accused, Martin Atienza, by mere presence at the commission of the crime 2. Whether Martin Atienza was criminally liable for the crime of arson and be penalized of cadena temporal DECISION:
1. No. The case of Romana Silvestre poses no evidence of moral or material cooperation

with the accused and none of an agreement to commit the crime in question. Her mere passive presence, silence and failure to give the alarm does not constitute the cooperation and therefore does not make her qualify to be an accomplice, as stated and required by Article 14 of the Penal Code. 2. Yes. According to article 550, paragraph 2 of the Penal Code, any person who shall set fire to any inhabited house or any building in which people are accustomed to meet together, without knowing whether or not such building or house was occupied at the time, which will cost damages, commits the crime of arson and will be penalized cadena temporal.

Hence, SC affirmed that Martin Atienza is guilty of the crime of arson, and acquitted Romana Silvestre for being an accomplice, with one-half of the costs de oficio.