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Constitutional Law Case Digest

People vs. Perfecto

Facts: Perfecto was convicted by the municipal trial court as editor of La Nacion for publishing libelous statement pursuant to Article 256 of Spanish Penal Code.

Issue: whether article 256 of the Spanish Penal Code, punishing "Any person who, by . . . writing, shall defame, abuse, or insult any Minister of the Crown or other person in authority . . .," is still in force.

Ruling: 1. Effect of the Philippine Libel Law, Act No. 277, on article 256 of the Spanish Penal Code
Indeed, in the early case of Pardo de Tavera vs. Garcia Valdez ([1902], 1. Phil., 468), the Supreme Court spoke of the Libel Law as "reforming the preexisting Spanish law on the subject of calumnia and injuria." panish Penal Code.
Recently, specific attention was given to the effect of the Libel Law on the provisions of the Penal Code, dealing with calumny and insults, and it was found that those provisions of the Penal Code on the subject of calumny and insults in which the elements of writing an publicity entered, were abrogated by the Libel Law. (People vs. Castro [1922], p. 842, ante.) The Libel Law must have had the same result on other provisions of the Penal Code, as for instance article 256. 2. Effect of the change from Spanish to Amercian sevoreignty over the Philippine son article 256 of the Spanish Penal Code

It is a general principle of the public law that on acquisition of territory the previous political relations of the ceded region are totally abrogated. "Political" is here used to denominate the laws regulating the relations sustained by the inhabitants to the sovereign.

Thus, upon a cession of political jurisdiction and legislative power — and the latter is involved in the former — to the United States, the laws of the country in support of an established religion or abridging the freedom of the press, or authorizing cruel and unusual punishments, and he like, would at once cease to be of

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