G.R. No. L-10551, 3 March 1917


Defendant represented Marcela Juanesa in the justice of the peace court of Iloilo in proceeding for theft prosecuted by the plaintiff Ignacio Arroyo. The defendant requested the plaintiff to agree to dismiss the said criminal proceeding, that his client Marcela Juaneza would recognize the plaintiff’s ownership in the land situated on Calle San Juan, suburb of Molo, municipality of Iloilo, Province of Iloil and the defendant furthermore agreed that the plaintiff should obtain a Torrens title to the said land during the next term of the court for the trial of cadastral cases, and that the defendant’s client, Marcela Juaneza, would not oppose the application for registration to be filed by the said applicant; provided that the plaintiff would ask the prosecuting attorney to dismiss the said proceedings filed against Marcela Juaneza and Alejandro Castro for the crime of thecause.

Plaintiff on his part complied with the agreement and requested the prosecuting attorney to dismiss the above-mentioned criminal cause; that the latter petitioned the court and the court did dismiss the said cause. Plaintiff delivered to the defendant for the signature of the said Marcela Juaneza a written agreement stating that the defendant’s said client recognized the plaintiff’s ownership in the described land and that she would not oppose the plaintiff’s application for registration; and that up to the present time, the defendant has not returned to the plaintiff the said written agreement, notwithstanding the plaintiff’s many demands.


Whether or not the consideration of the contract is illegal?


The trial judge dismissed this complaint on the ground of the illegality of the consideration of the alleged contract. An agreement by the owner of stolen goods to stifle the prosecution of the person charged with the theft, for a pecuniary or other valuable consideration, is manifestly contrary to public policy and the due administration of justice. In the interest of the public it is of the utmost importance that criminals should be prosecuted and that all criminal proceedings should be instituted and maintained in the form and manner prescribed by law; and to permit an offender to escape the penalties prescribed by law by the purchase of immunity from private individuals would result in a manifest perversion of justice.

  * Case digest by Liezel O. Lagare, LLB-1, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2017-2018