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Apr 17, 2008

(RPC) Art. 114. Treason. — Any person who, owing allegiance to (the United States or) the Government of the Philippine Islands, not being a foreigner, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid or comfort within the Philippine Islands or elsewhere, shall be punished by reclusion temporal to death and shall pay a fine not to exceed P20,000 pesos.

No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses at least to the same overt act or on confession of the accused in open court.

Likewise, an alien, residing in the Philippine Islands, who commits acts of treason as defined in paragraph 1 of this Article shall be punished by prision mayor to death and shall pay a fine not to exceed P20,000 pesos. (As amended by E.O. No. 44, May 31, 1945).



1. Filipino citizen or resident alien
2. State of war
3. (a) levies war against the Government (b) adheres to the enemy, giving aid and comfort


TREASON - a breach of allegiance to a government committed by a person who owes allegiance to it

ALLEGIANCE - the obligation of fidelity and obedience which individuals owe to a sovereign in return for their protection; permanent or temporary

"LEVIES WAR" - actual assembling of men (not just enlistment) for the purpose of executing a treasonable design by force; with the intent to overthrow the government, not just a person in government; deliver the country to the enemy; must be done in collaboration with a foreign enemy

ADHERENCE TO THE ENEMY” – intent to betray; intellectually or emotionally favors the enemy

AID OR COMFORT” – an act which tends to strengthen the enemy in the conduct of war; e.g. furnishing the enemy with arms, troops, supplies, information, or means of transportation; being a Makapili (psychological support)


- the offender is either a Filipino citizen (commit crime in the Phils. or elsewhere; prove by prison records or two witnesses) or a resident alien (commit crime in the Phils.)
- Anglo-American origin
- a war crime but formal declaration of a state of war is not required; actual hostilities
- both adherence and aid or comfort must go hand-in-hand, otherwise it won’t amount to treason

Q: Does acceptance of public office and discharge of official duties under the enemy constitute treason?
A: Not necessarily. The act of acceptance is not treasonous per se. But if the position is highly responsible and also policy-determining, then it becomes treasonous. Mere governmental work during the Japanese regime is not an act of treason, so being a member of the police force during the occupation is not treasonous. However, if as a member, the person directly participates in killing guerillas or pointing out suspected members, then it is treason.

Q: Is there a complex crime of treason with murder, physical injuries, etc.?
A: In People vs. Prieto, it was held that murder and physical injuries were inherent in the crime of treason characterized by the giving of aid and comfort to the enemy. When the crimes are merely alleged not as specific crimes committed but as elements of treason, then they are merged in the crime of treason. But this rule would not preclude the punishment of murder or other common crimes, if the prosecution should elect to prosecute the culprit specifically for these crimes, instead of relying on them as an element of treason.


- cannot be proved by circumstantial evidence or by the extra-judicial confession of the accused; only by testimony of at least 2 witnesses to the same overt act and confession of the accused in open court (must be a confession of guilt, not stating defense of uncontrollable fear, etc.)

TWO-WITNESS RULE” – the same act, the same place, same moment of time; if the court believes only one of the witnesses, defendant should be acquitted

EXCEPTION: When proving adherence. It requires only one witness, from the nature of the act itself, and the circumstances surrounding the act. This is because “adherence” is essentially a disloyal state of mind, which is hard to prove.

AGGRAVATING CIRCUMSTANCES IN TREASON: Cruelty and ignominy, such as rape, wanton robbery, and brutality with which the killing or physical injuries are carried out

- to determine penalty, what is considered is the gravity or seriousness of the acts of treason

DEFENSE: duress (coercion) and lawful obedience to a de facto Government


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