What is Treason ?

ART 114

1. Offender is a Filipino citizen or an alien resident
2. There’s a war in and Philippines is involved; and
3. Offender either –
a. Levies war against the government; or
b. Adheres to enemies, giving aid or comfort

1. Filipino – permanent allegiance; can commit treason anywhere
2. Alien Residing – temporary allegiance; commit treason only while residing in Philippines


Treason committed in a foreign country may be prosecuted in the Philippines. (Art.2, RPC)

Treason by an alien must be committed in the Philippines. (EO 44).

Treason – breach of allegiance to the government by a person who owes allegiance to it.

Allegiance – obligation of fidelity and obedience which individuals owe to the government under which they live or to their sovereign, in return for protection they receive.

Treason is a war crime - punished by state as a measure of self-protection.

Committed in times of war (not peace) when
- there is actual hostilities
- no need for a declaration of war.

Mere acceptance of public office and discharge of official duties under the enemy do not constitute per se the felony of treason. But when the position is policy-determining, the acceptance of public office and the discharge of official duties constitute treason.

1. Levying war against government - requires:
a. Actual assembling of men
b. Purpose of executing a treasonable design, by force
2. Adheres to enemies – following must concur together:
a. Actual adherence
b. Give aid or comfort


Levying war - must be with intent to overthrow the government as such, not merely to repeal a particular statute or to resist a particular officer.

Requirements of levying war
1. Actual assembling of men;
2. To execute a treasonable design by force;
3. Intent is to deliver the country in whole or in part to the enemy; and
4. Collaboration with foreign enemy or some foreign sovereign

Not necessary that those attempting to overthrow the government by force of arms should have the apparent power to succeed in their design, in whole or in part.

Adherence – intellectually or emotionally favors the enemy and harbors sympathies or convictions disloyal to his country’s policy or interest.

Aid or Comfort – act w/c strengthens or tends to strengthen the enemy of the government in the conduct of war against the government, or an act w/c weakens or tends to weaken the power of the government or the country to resist or to attack the enemies of the gov’t or country

1. Treason
a. Testimony of at least 2 witnesses to the same overt act
b. Judicial confession of accused
2. Adherence
a. One witness
b. Nature of act itself
c. Circumstances surrounding act


To convict: testimonies must relate to the same overt act – not two similar acts.

If act is separable – each witness can testify to parts of it; but the act, as a whole, must be identifiable as an overt act.

Confession must be in open court.

Reason for 2-witness rule
special nature of the crime requires that the accused be afforded a special protection not required in other cases so as to avoid a miscarriage of justice. Extreme seriousness of the crime, for which death is one of the penalties provided by law, and the fact that the crime is committed in abnormal times, when small differences may in mortal enmity wipe out all scruples in sacrificing the truth.

General Notes:

Inherent circumstances - they do not aggravate the crime.
- Evident premeditation are needed to see this picture.
- superior strength
- treachery

Treason is a continuing crime. Even after the war, offender can still be prosecuted.

No treason through negligence since it must be intentional.

No complex crime of treason with murder – murder is the overt act of aid or comfort and is therefore inseparable from treason itself.

- Duress or uncontrollable fear
- Obedience to de facto government

- Suspended allegiance
- Joining the enemy army thus becoming a citizen of the enemy