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PART III

THE DUTIES AND RIGHTS OF THE PHILIPPINE CITIZEN

CHAPTER XV

THE CITIZEN AND THE LAW

Knowledge of the Law.-When the people of the Philippines lived in small villages and led a very simple life, custom was the only law; every one knew by what standard his acts would be judged by his fellows. As civilization advances and states grow larger, laws multiply fast and it is now much more difficult than formerly to know what the laws forbid and what they permit. The knowledge of the law and the defence of those who have broken the laws becomes the work of specially trained men, called "lawyers."

One maxim of the law is that "ignorance of the law excuses no one." This means that every person is treated by the courts as if he knew the law, even tho he is ignorant of it. It is therefore a part of the citizen's duty and is for his best interest to know sɔmething about the law. Many men have gone to prison in the Philippines, because they did not know the meaning and power of the law. Many others have

been deprived of their rights because they did not know what these rights were and that the courts were open to them for the enforcement of their rights. In the last few years many new laws have been made. It will be impossible in this book to learn much about these laws, but we may learn something of the way in which justice is administered and what the courts

are.

Public and Private Law.-There are two great divisions of the law; public law and private law. Public law relates to offences against the state, and private law to offences committed by one individual against another. Of course, in one sense, all law is public law, because all law is made and enforced by the state. Moreover since the state is composed of individuals, any injury done to an individual is also an injury to the state; for the state prospers only by the prosperity of the individuals who compose it. It is clear, however, that the laws that relate to the organization of the government and the protection of the state are of a different class from the laws which govern the relations between private persons. The man who plans an insurrection violates the public law; his act affects all the members of the state as a whole; but the man who allows his cattle to eat his neighbor's rice does a private injury, and his offence is subject to private law.

Another way of dividing the law is into criminal and civil law. Civil law applies chiefly to questions of property rights, such as titles to land, family relations, such as

etc., or to

that of parent

and child,

husband and wife, while criminal law

deals with

crimes against the state.

Felonies and Misdemeanors.-There are various degrees of crime. A felony is a very serious crime, such as murder, burglary, etc., which is punishable by death, or imprisonment in the provincial or insular prisons. Misdemeanors are the lesser violations of the law, such as the infraction of municipal ordinances, offences against the sanitary regulations, etc. Misdemeanors are punishable by small fines, or short imprisonment in the local jail.

Codes.-A collection of laws classified according to subject matter is called a "code." In the Philippines there are five special codes of law, besides the Municipal Code. They are the Criminal Code, the Civil Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Code of Civil Procedure, and the Code of Commerce. Criminal Code is also called the Penal Code.

The

The Criminal Code defines the acts which are crimes and states the punishment for the same. The Civil Code defines the civil rights of men with reference. to personal and property rights. The codes of procedure are collections of laws which state the methods by which criminal and civil cases shall be brought into the courts and tried.

Criminal Procedure. The method of catching, trying, and punishing criminals is called criminal procedure. It is very important that the method of criminal procedure be carefully determined and faithfully practised, for otherwise great wrongs may be done to innocent people.

Arrest of Criminals.-Any one who finds a person in the act of committing a crime may arrest him and take him before a judge. If, however, it should be proved later that the accused person was not commit

ting a crime the person who arrested him would himself be liable to arrest. It is, therefore, better not to arrest a person, unless you are certain he is committing a crime, and that he will escape justice unless you arrest him. It is best when possible to call a policeman, if you suppose a crime has been committed. It is the duty of every citizen to assist in putting down crime. Peace and order cannot be effectively maintained in any country by the police alone, unless the police are so numerous that they are a burden on the state. The reason a country like the United States is so free from bandits is not because the policemen are numerous, or the soldiers many, for they are far fewer in proportion to the population than in the Philippines, but because so many of the citizens try to prevent crime and to expose criminals. If you have knowledge of a crime it is your duty as a good citizen to give information of the crime and the criminal to the police or the judge. While the law does not compel you to do this, your duty as a patriotic and law abiding citizen is to make all reasonable effort to assist in the suppression of crime.

A police officer may arrest a person whom he merely suspects of crime. He must, however, have good reasons in his own mind for believing that the person is committing or has committed a crime, and hist power should be exercised with great care. Usually when a crime has been committed a judge issues a warrant of arrest, that is a written authority directing the police to arrest a person or persons named in the warrant. No policeman has the right to enter a private house, unless he is convinced that a crime is. being committed there. To enter a private house,

even to arrest a man, the policeman must have a special order called a "search warrant." It should be remembered, however, that a policeman must always be obeyed. It is a very serious crime to resist an officer of the law, even when you think he is acting beyond his power. You may complain later to the judge, but at the time it is best to obey the policeman without resistance.

A private citizen who has been injured by another may secure a warrant for his arrest. To do this he must first make a statement under oath before a judge, stating facts which seem to show the guilt of the person. Then the judge, if the facts seem to show the probable guilt of the person, will order his arrest to be made.

It is the duty of the fiscals to secure warrants for the arrest of persons whom they believe from evidence to be guilty of crime. They should not wait for complaints from private citizens. If they suspect crimes are being committed they should try to discover the criminals and cause their arrest.

A Criminal Trial.-After a person has been arrested it is necessary to find out as soon as possible whether he is innocent or guilty. This process is called the trial. The first step is to bring the prisoner before the proper court. If it is impossible to do this at once. the prisoner must be committed to jail and held for trial. If he wishes his liberty temporarily he may obtain it, except when he is charged with the gravest of crimes, by giving bail. Bail is security given by the promise of money or other property by friends of the prisoner, as a guarantee that he will appear before the court at the time set for trial. If the ac

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