Thursday, March 8, 2012

People v Padan G.R. No. L-7295 June 28, 1957

J. Montemayor

The accused exhibited immoral scenes and acts in one of the Manila nightclubs. Moreover, the manager and ticket collector were also part of the accused for hiring the women to perform sexual intercourse in the presence of many spectators.
They were charged with a violation of the RPC Article 201 in the trial court. All pleaded not guilty. One of the accused however, changed her mind and pleaded guilty. All were convicted. The evidence of the lewd show was confiscated.
The accused filed an appeal in the Supreme Court. 2 of the appellants, manager Fajardo and ticket collector Yabut, failed to file their briefs within the period prescribed by law and their appeal was dismissed by resolution of this Court of November 25, 1955, and the decision as to them became final and executory on January 7, 1956.
The defendant who pleaded guilty, Marina Padan, in her appeal did not question her conviction; she merely urged the reduction of the penalty by eliminating the prison sentence. The Supereme Court did not consider this because the trial court judge reduced the fine from 600 to 200.

Issue: Were the acts obscene and thereby punishable by Art 201 of the RPC?

Held: Yes.

This is the first time that the courts in this jurisdiction, have been called upon to take cognizance of an offense against morals and decency of this kind. We have had occasion to consider offenses like the exhibition of still moving pictures of women in the nude, which we have condemned for obscenity and as offensive to morals. In those cases, one might yet claim that there was involved the element of art; that connoisseurs of the same, and painters and sculptors might find inspiration in the showing of pictures in the nude, or the human body exhibited in sheer nakedness.
But an actual exhibition of the sexual act, preceded by acts of lasciviousness, can have no redeeming feature. In it, there is no room for art. One can see nothing in it but clear and unmitigated obscenity, indecency, and an offense to public morals, inspiring and causing as it does, nothing but lust and lewdness, and exerting a corrupting influence specially on the youth of the land. We repeat that because of all this, the penalty imposed by the trial court on Marina, despite her plea of guilty, is neither excessive nor unreasonable.
On the appeal of Fajardo, he claimed that he was an innocent bystander but that because of his popularity in the neighborhood, he was requested by the spectators to select the man and the woman to engage or indulge in the actual act of coitus before the spectators. After making the selection, he did not even care to witness the act but left the scene and returned to it only when he heard a commotion produced by the raid conducted by the police.
The evidence on his active participation and that he was the manager and one in charge of the show is however ample, even conclusive. In 1953, the place used for ping-pong was used for an exhibition of human "fighting fish", the actual act of coitus or copulation. Tickets were sold at P3 each, and the show was supposed to begin at 8:00 o'clock in the evening.
The Manila Police Department must have gotten wind of the affair; it bought tickets and provided several of its members who later attended the show, but in plain clothes, and after the show conducted a raid and made arrests. At the trial, said policemen testified as to what actually took place inside the building. About two civilians who attended the affair gave testimony as to what they saw.
The customers not provided with tickets actually paid P3 at the entrance to defendant Ernesto Reyes. He also collected tickets. In all, there were about ninety paying customers, while about sixteen were allowed to enter free, presumably friends of the management. Jose Fajardo y Garcia was clearly the manager of the show. He was at the door to see to it that the customers either were provided with tickets or paid P3.00 entrance fee. He even asked them from whom they had bought the tickets. He ordered that an army steel bed be placed at the center of the floor, covered with an army blanket and provided with a pillow. Once the spectators, about 106 in number, were crowded inside that small building, the show started.
Besides, as found by the trial court and as shown by some of the tickets collected from the spectators, submitted as exhibits, said tickets while bearing on one side superimposed with rubber stamped name "Pepe Fajardo," which defendant Fajardo admits to be his name.
Considering all the above circumstances, we agree with the trial court that Jose Fajardo is the most guilty of the four, for he was the one who conducted the show and presumably derived the most profit or gain from the same.

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