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U.S. v.

AH SING
[36 Phil. 978 (1917)]
Cf. French vs. English rule
Facts:
The defendant is a subject of China emlo!ed as a fi"eman ona
steamshi. The steamshi is a fo"ei#n steame" $hich a""i%ed
theo"t of Cebu on &"il '() 1917) afte" a %o!a#e di"ect f"om the o"t
of *ai#on. The defendant bou#ht 8 cans of oium in *ai#on)
b"ou#htthem on boa"d the steamshi and had them in his ossession
du"in#the t"i f"om *ai#on to Cebu. +hen the steame" ancho"ed in the
o"tof Cebu) the autho"ities on ma,in# the sea"ch found the
cans of oium hidden in the ashes belo$ the boile" of the steame"-s
en#ine.The defendant confessed that he $as the o$ne" of the
oium andthat he had u"chased it in *ai#on. .e did not confess)
ho$e%e") asto his u"ose in bu!in# the oium. .e did not sa!
that it $as hisintention to imo"t the "ohibited d"u#.
Issue:
+/0 the c"ime of ille#al imo"tation of oium into thePhiliine
1slands has been "o%en2
Held:
3es. 1t is the onus of the #o%e"nment to "o%e that the %esself"om
$hich the d"u# discha"#ed came into Philiine $ate"s
f"om afo"ei#n count"! $ith the d"u# on boa"d. 1n this case) it is to be
notedthat 45 of &ct 0o. '381 be#ins) 6&n! e"son $ho shall
unla$full!imo"t o" b"in# an! "ohibited d"u# into
the Philiine 1slands78 1mo"t and b"in# should be const"ued
as s!non!mous te"ms. Theme"e act of #oin# into a o"t)
$ithout b"ea,in# bul,) is "ima faciee%idence of imo"tation. The
imo"tation is not the ma,in# ent"! of #oods at the customhouse)
but me"el! the b"in#in# them into theo"t ) and
t he i mo"t at i on i s coml et e bef o"e
t he ent "! t o t hecustomhouse. 9o"eo%e") ossession fo" e"so
nal use is unli,el!) jud#in# f"om the si:e of the amount b"ou#ht.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-13005 October 10, 1917
THE UNITED STTES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
H SING, defendant-appellant.
Antonio Sanz for appellant.
Acting Attorney-General Paredes for appellee.

MLCOLM, J.:
This is an appeal from a ud!ment of the Court of "irst #nstance of Cebu findin! the
defendant !uilt$ of a violation of section % of Act No. &'() *the +pium ,a-., and sentencin!
him to t-o $ears imprisonment, to pa$ a fine of P'// or to suffer subsidiar$ imprisonment in
case of insolvenc$, and to pa$ the costs.
The follo-in! facts are full$ proven0 The defendant is a subect of China emplo$ed as
a fireman on the steamship Shun Chang. The Shun Chang is a forei!n steamer -hich
arrived at the port of Cebu on April &1, )2)3, after a vo$a!e direct from the port of 4ai!on.
The defendant bou!ht ei!ht cans of opium in 4ai!on, brou!ht them on board the
steamship Shun Chang, and had them in his possession durin! the trip from 4ai!on to Cebu.
5hen the steamer anchored in the port of Cebu on April &1, )2)3, the authorities on ma6in!
a search found the ei!ht cans of opium above mentioned hidden in the ashes belo- the
boiler of the steamer7s en!ine. The defendant confessed that he -as the o-ner of this
opium, and that he had purchased it in 4ai!on. 8e did not confess, ho-ever, as to his
purpose in bu$in! the opium. 8e did not sa$ that it -as his intention to import the prohibited
dru! into the Philippine #slands. No other evidence direct or indirect, to sho- that the
intention of the accused -as to import ille!all$ this opium into the Philippine #slands, -as
introduced.
8as the crime of ille!al importation of opium into the Philippine #slands been proven9
T-o decisions of this Court are cited in the ud!ment of the trial court, but -ith the
intimation that there e:ists inconsistentl$ bet-een the doctrines laid do-n in the t-o cases.
8o-ever, neither decision is directl$ a precedent on the facts before us.
#n the case of ;nited 4tates vs. ,oo6 Cha- *<)2)/=, )( Phil., 13'., in the opinion
handed do-n b$ the Chief >ustice, it is found ?
That, althou!h the mere possession of a thin! of prohibited use in these
#slands, aboard a foreign vessel in transit, in an$ 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 on nationality, the same rule
does no appl$ -hen the article, -hose use is prohibited -ithin the Philippine #slands,
in the present case a can of opium, is landed from the vessel upon Philippine soil,
thus committin! an open violation of the la-s of the land, -ith respect to -hich, as it
is a violation of the penal la- in force at the place of the commission of the crime,
onl$ the court established in the said place itself has competent urisdiction, in the
absence of an a!reement under an international treat$.!aphil .net
A mar6ed difference bet-een the facts in the ,oo6 Cha- case and the facts in the
present instance is readil$ observable. #n the ,oo6 Cha- case, the char!e case the ille!al
possession and sale of opium ? in the present case the char!e as ille!al importation of
opium@ in the ,oo6 Cha- case the forei!n vessel -as in transit ? in the present case the
forei!n vessel -as not in transit@ in the ,oo6 Cha- case the opium -as landed from the
vessel upon Philippine soil ? in the present case of ;nited 4tates vs. >ose *<)2)A=, '% Phil.,
(%/., the main point, and the one on -hich resolution turned, -as that in a prosecution
based on the ille!al importation of opium or other prohibited dru!, the Bovernment must
prove, or offer evidence sufficient to raise a presumption, that the vessel from -hich the dru!
is dischar!ed came into Philippine -aters from a foreign country -ith the dru! on board. #n
the >ose case, the defendants -ere acCuitted because it -as not proved that the opium -as
imported from a forei!n countr$@ in the present case there is no Cuestion but -hat the opium
came from 4ai!on to Cebu. 8o-ever, in the opinion in the >ose case, -e find the follo-in!
-hich ma$ be obiter dicta, but -hich at least is interestin! as sho-in! the vie- of the -riter
of the opinion0
The importation -as complete, to sa$ the least, -hen the ship carr$in! it
anchored in 4ubic Ba$. #t -as not necessar$ that the opium dischar!ed or that it be
ta6en from the ship. #t -as sufficient that the opium -as brou!ht into the -aters of
the Philippine #slands on a boat destined for a Philippine port and -hich
subseCuentl$ anchored in a port of the Philippine #slands -ith intent to dischar!e its
car!o.
Resolvin! -hatever doubt -as e:ist as to the authorit$ of the vie-s ust Cuoted, -e
return to an e:amination of the applicable provisions of the la-. #t is to be noted that section
% of Act No. &'() be!ins, DAn$ person -ho shall unla-full$ import or brin! an$ prohibited
dru! into the Philippine #slands.D D#mportD and Dbrin!D are s$non$mous terms. The "ederal
Courts of the ;nited 4tates have held that the mere act of !oin! into a port, -ithout brea6in!
bul6, is prima facie evidence of importation. *The "ary <;. 4.=, )A "ed. Cas., 2'&, 2''.. And
a!ain, the importation is not the ma6in! entr$ of !oods at the custom house, but merel$ the
brin!in! them into port@ and the importation is complete before entr$ of the Custom 8ouse.
*;. 4. vs. ,$man <;. 4.=, &A, "ed. Cas., )/&%, )/&(@ Perots vs. ;. 4., )2 "ed. Cas., &1(.. As
applied to the +pium ,a-, -e e:pressl$ hold that an$ person unla-full$ imports or brin!s
an$ prohibited dru! into the Philippine #slands, -hen the prohibited dru! is found under this
person7s control on a vessel -hich has come direct from a forei!n countr$ and is -ithin the
urisdictional limits of the Philippine #slands. #n such case, a person is !uilt$ of ille!al
importation of the dru! unless contrar$ circumstances e:ist or the defense proves other-ise.
Applied to the facts herein, it -ould be absurb to thin6 that the accused -as merel$ carr$in!
opium bac6 and forth bet-een 4ai!on and Cebu for the mere pleasure of so doin!. #t -ould
li6e-ise be impossible to conceive that the accused needed so lar!e an amount of opium for
his personal use. No better e:planation bein! possible, the lo!ical deduction is that the
defendant intended this opium to be brou!ht into the Philippine #slands. 5e accordin!l$ find
that there -as ille!al importation of opium from a forei!n countr$ into the Philippine #slands.
To anticipate an$ possible misunderstandin!, let it be said that these statements do not
relate to forei!n vessels in transit, a situation not present.
The defendant and appellant, havin! been proved !uilt$ be$ond a reasonable doubt
as char!ed and the sentence of the trial court bein! -ithin the limits provided b$ la-, it
results that the ud!ment must be affirmed -ith the costs of this instance a!ainst the
appellant. 4o ordered.
Arellano, C.#., #ohnson, Carson, Araullo and Street, ##., concur