Intersections: Gender, History and Culture in the Asian Context
Issue 13, August 2006

Crime and Punishment
in Pre-Hispanic Philippine Society

Malcolm Mintz

    1. Introduction
    This paper is an attempt to reconstruct the legal system in place during the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, after the arrival of the Spanish in the Philippines, but before their influence could greatly alter Philippine society. The focus is on Bikol, a region of approximately five million people on the island of Luzon, south of the Tagalog speaking areas around Manila. The six Bikol speaking provinces are Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Albay, Sorsogon, Catanduanes and Masbate.
    Data come primarily from the seventeenth century Marcos de Lisboa Vocabulario de la Lengua Bicol compiled during his nine year residence in the region between 1602 and 1611.[1] Supplementary data come from the accounts of those who visited or were resident in the Philippines during the latter part of the sixteenth century or early part of the seventeenth century who wrote accounts of what they observed in the country.
    Father Marcos de Lisboa was born in Lisbon and joined the Franciscan order in 1582 in Malacca. He was the Definidor y Ministro of the Bikol town of Nabua in 1602, administrator of the town of Oas in 1605, and Vicario Provincial of the Province of Camarines from 1609 to 1611.[2] Lisboa remained in the Philippines until 1618 when he left for Mexico. He later returned to Madrid in 1622. The date of his death is generally given as 1628. Mention is made of an unpublished work by Lisboa in an anonymous manuscript of 1649.[3] This is presumably his dictionary which remained unpublished until 1754.
    Entries which are found only in Lisboa's Vocabulario are marked [MDL]. Entries in which the usage in Lisboa and modern usage are basically the same are marked [+MDL]. Those in which some part of the modern meaning is shared, but there is an additional component of meaning in Lisboa are also marked [+MDL:] with the additional component of meaning shown after the colon. Other abbreviations used in the dictionary entries are as follows: s/t [something], s/o [someone], o/s [oneself] and (fig-) [figurative]. Stress is shown on all modern Bikol entries, and those entries from Lisboa where stress can be determined, for example, hukóm [judge]. Where stress cannot be determined, words are shown with no stress marking; for example, batak [freeman].
    Most of entries cited in this paper have been abridged so as to focus on the aspect of meaning most relevant to the topic under discussion. Full entries can be found in the new Bikol Dictionary.[4]
    The paper begins with a brief examination of social stratification in early Philippine society. Following this is a short discussion on the promulgation of laws and the jurisdiction over which these laws applied.
    Civil disputes and criminal cases form the two main sections of the paper. Among the civil disputes are those arising from insults, adultery, deception and defaults on loans, while the section on criminal cases includes piracy, theft, assaults and murder. The final sections examine punishment and incarceration, the administration of justice, including trials and mediation, oaths, witnesses, testimony and sentences, and the miscarriage of justice.

    2. Social Stratification
    In this section we will look briefly at social stratification in early Philippine society. This is necessary as those who took responsibility for promulgating and administering laws within society were what we might call the upper classes. The application of laws also differed depending upon whether crimes were committed among those belonging to one class, or crossed class boundaries. Penalties also involved payment of particular fines which, if beyond the means of the guilty, would result in enslavement.
    The judges who presided over any dispute or served as mediators between the aggrieved parties were the high officials in the town.[5] Among the Tagalogs in Manila and the surrounding areas, the richest of the 10-12 chiefs living in a particular town or barangay was chosen to lead the group in legal deliberations.[6] Loarca comments that this was not the case in Visayan areas to the south since none of the village chiefs was willing to acknowledge the superiority of another. This primary leader was refereed to as a dáto' by Plasencia, and the result of his investigations and any sentence imposed was declared in the presence of those from his barangay.[7] The following entry is Bikol.

      ukat MA- to be called (everyone, as to attend a meeting or hearing): Si makuríng mauukat si táwo kaidtóng súgong hukóm A great many people were called by order of the magistrate [MDL]

    In Bikol, as in a number of other Philippine languages, the specific term for judge is hukóm, a term borrowed from Malay, which in turn borrowed it from Arabic. A judge was not a unique position in society, but a term used to refer to a leader or leaders in the community who held this position when mediating or passing judgement on particular crimes or infringements. The official referred to in the entry, tungód, probably refers to anyone with a specific responsibility, although Lisboa does refer to justice as one of these responsibilities.

      hukóm judge; ... [+MDL: MA-, -AN: hukomán or hukmán or MAG-, PAG--AN: paghukomán or paghukmán to judge s/o; to pass judgement on a person or on a sin; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to pass a particular sentence; to sentence s/o to a particular punishment] [MALAY hukum, from ARABIC]

      tungód MANG-, PANG--AN to be used for s/t; to be meant for s/t; ...; KA--AN: katungdán duty, obligation, role; standing, status; ... [+MDL: KA--AN: katungdán employee or official (such as of the Ministry of Justice, Headmaster of a school); also: ownership, rights; ...]

    We have a number of terms referring to leaders in a community. The most general of these is gino'ó which refers to the rich and influential in Bikol society. If a single term were chosen for a community leader, this would be dáto'. Village heads were referred to as púno' and kagdulohan based on the root dulohan [village residents] and using the prefix kag- which shows a form of possession. Bikol has the word hádi' [king], but it is difficult to see what type of reference this would have had in the community given the village-based nature of the society. Certainly kings could be referred to, but this referent was most likely not within Bikol society.[8]

      gino'ó a noble; a term used to refer to the rich and influential members of early Bikol society; MA- noble, regal, royal [+MDL: MA- referring to both those who are rich and those who have high status in a society; MA- or MAG- to have the status of a noble; to be one of the influential members in a society; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to name or regard s/o as a leader in a society; MAG- maggiró-gino'ó to pretend to hold the status of a noble; MAKA-, MA- to make s/o rich; KA--AN a council of nobles; a group of the rich and influential in society; PAGKA- nobility [MDL]

      dáto' headman, chief [+MDL: one who is rich and a leader of the community; MAKA-, MA- to declare s/o a headman or chief; to raise s/o's status to that of a headman; PAGKA- the powerful and influential members of society; KA--AN governing council of chiefs]

      púno' chief, head, headman, leader; an púno' sa banwá'an head of a village; PAKANG--ON: pinakakangpúno' to have the status and respect of a leader; (fig-) Garó ka na binuno'án nin púno' It's as if you have been killed by a headman (Said when one is sad and melancholy) [MDL]

      dulohan the inhabitants of a particular village; tribe; MAG-, PAG--AN to govern or rule over a particular municipality; KAG- ruler, the head of a village, town; KA- s/o from the same village [MDL]

      hádi' king, ruler; MAG- to reign as a king; MAG-, -AN to rule; to reign or have dominion over an area; PAGKA- reign; KA--AN realm, dominion, kingdom [+MDL: KA--AN a council of kings]

    Leaders of a community held that position as long they maintained their status and their wealth, with wealth being of particular importance. Changes which occurred as the use of land and possessions passed from parents to children could result in the impoverishment of the family and a subsequent loss of status and power. Property and the use of land tended to be distributed equally among one's legitimate children,[9] resulting in smaller holdings and a smaller share of individually held wealth. Lisboa has at least one full dictionary entry expressing a general loss of power and respect, as well as a number of examples included in other dictionary entries indicating the decline that could be experienced by a family. The final entry below shows the reverse of this process of decline, where a family's fortunes are once again restored.

      pido' abject, mean, low; MA- or MAG- to fall from a position of power or respect; to lose status; to become impoverished; MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to treat s/o with no respect; to deprecate s/o; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to treat s/o in a particular demeaning way reflecting their loss of status or wealth; also see mido' [MDL]

      após ... Naapós na bága an pagkagino'ó niyá His estate is like burnt out coals (Meaning: It has dwindled to nothing)] [MDL]

      lutos ... Nalutos an pagharóng-hárong ni kuyán, harí-hári idtóng mga kaganak The household of that person is burning less bright, not like that of his parents (Said when one's family is no longer seen as leaders of the community) [MDL]

      gugóm ... Sagkód ta na iní sa panggugóm We have reached the point where we just have a fistful (Said when one has become very poor) [MDL]

      mákot ... Nagmamákot namán an pagharóng-hárong na kuyán Their house (family) is again in ascendancy (after being down and out) [MDL]

    The commoners in Bikol society were referred to as timáwa', a term in general use in the Philippines. These were the freemen of the society, neither nobles nor slaves. Scott refers to these as originally the descendants of a dáto's commoner wives or slave concubines.[10] In Bikol timáwa' was one who was never a slave, or one who had freed him or herself from slavery. A second term, batak refers to a freed slave, and it was this meaning that must have originally distinguished it from timáwa'. With the broadening of the meaning of timáwa', however, the meanings have fallen together.

      timáwa' an ordinary resident or villager, neither a slave nor a noble; a freeman, a free slave; MA- to free a slave; to declare oneself free (a slave); to become an ordinary citizen (one who was once richer or of a higher rank) [MDL]

      batak freeman, describing a person who is no longer a slave; MAG- to free o/s or declare o/s free; MA-, -ON to set s/o free; MA-, -AN to set s/o free from a group of slaves [MDL]

    Slaves were called urípon, although within this group Bikol had another term, gintúbo', referring to slaves who were inherited from one's family or were the offspring of one's own slaves [11]

      urípon slave; ... [+MDL: MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to have slaves; to enslave s/o; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to take s/o's child or relative as a slave; MAKA-, MA- to take s/o as a slave due to indebtedness; PAGKA- slavery, bondage]

      gintúbo' a slave born in one's own house or inherited from one's family; MA- or MAG- to possess such a slave; MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to turn s/o into such a slave; (PAG-)-AN to be served by such a slave; PAGKA- slavery of this type [MDL]

    Slavery did not have to be permanent. Just as the gino'ó could lose wealth and fall from a position of status in the community, a slave could buy his or her freedom. In general they could do this by paying off their financial obligations. Such a debt, as we will see in subsequent sections, could be the only reason why a person was enslaved in the first place.

      hiluwás MAKA- to free o/s from servitude by paying off one's debts or otherwise satisfying ones obligations; MAKA-, IKA- to pay off one's debts and obtain one's freedom; MAKA-, MA--AN to settle one's debts with s/o [MDL]

      híwas free; MAGPA- to look to obtain one's freedom; to seek one's freedom (a slave or one with other obligations); Mahíwas an bu'ót ko ta' nakabáyad na akóng si útang I feel free now that I have paid my debts

    3. Laws and Jurisdiction
    Most laws were simply the reflection of traditions or the codification of very old customs. New laws were made by a council of the village chiefs responding to a perceived or newly arising need in society. To announce new laws to inhabitants in the Tagalog areas, a crier would go from village to village ringing a bell. Once such an announcement was made to the villagers, they would then become subject to the laws.[12] In Bikol, terms such as aklihog and harubáy cover similar areas of meaning.

      aklihog MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to promulgate a law; to proclaim s/t publically; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to proclaim s/t publically to a town, a community; MA-, -ON to MAG-, PAG--ON to make such a proclamation for a particular reason [MDL]

      harubáy public pronouncement, proclamation; MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to announce s/t publicly; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to announce s/t to the public; PARA- town crier [MDL]

    Laws were proclaimed in towns and it was the townspeople who were made aware of them and were expected to obey. Terms for obeying laws were the same as those for obeying individuals, or for believing or trusting in others. Terms for the breaking of laws were similar, relating both to the flaunting of rules or the disobeying of individuals.

      kúyog MAG-, -ON to obey s/o; to comply with s/t; ... kuyóg-kúyog MA--IN-: makinuyóg-kúyog obedient, mindful, heedful [+MDL: MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to obey s/o; ... MAPA-, PA--ON or MAGPA-, PAGPA--ON to entice, persuade or convince s/o; to insist s/o comply with s/t; MAPA-, IPA- or MAGPA-, IPAGPA- to persuade s/o to do s/t; to use a particular means of persuasion; kuyóg-kuyóg obedient]

      lápas ... [+MDL: MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to break a law or commandment; to flaunt a rule or regulation; MA-, -AN or MAG- PAG--AN to disobey s/o; PAG- or PAGKA- the breaking of laws]

      likbás MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to fail to comply with s/o's wishes or commands; to transgress laws; to violate an order or command; to break or fail to comply with the terms of a contract; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to disobey s/o; to break a contract with s/o [MDL]

    There were, however, large areas of the Bikol region which were outside the towns and outside the reach of the law. These were tracts of forested areas, often rising up along the slopes of mountains, not only far from the towns, but far from areas of cultivation. These were areas which were home to the Agtá' [Negritos], and home as well to those who fled the towns, often because they stood accused of criminal acts. Law enforcement did not reach into the hills or mountains. One of these areas was the mountain range between the towns of Quipayo and Naga City called Tungdól. Since fleeing to the mountains was to move into the territory of the Negritos, a figurative meaning associated with the entry Mangyán also makes this explicit. We also have a general term such as lu'ók and a figurative meaning associated with the verb lasay.

      Tungdól mountain range located between Quipayó and Nága, home to those who have fled the towns [MDL]

      Mangyán Negrito group, more primitive than the others; (fig-) MAG- to flee to the forest or mountains [MDL]

      lu'ók MA- or MAG- to flee; to hide; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to flee to the mountains; to hide at a particular location [MDL]

      lasay ... (fig-) Liminasay namán si kuyán kainíng súgo' nin hukóm That person has run off, afraid of the sentence to be imposed by the judge [MDL]

    Life in the mountains could not have been easy. Lacking social contact with friends and family, forced into association with Negrito groups who could frequently be hostile, deprived of a regular livelihood and compelled to continue with criminal behavior in order to survive, it was not unusual for those in such a situation to return home.

      buthó' MA- or MAG- to come to town (those who have fled to the mountains); MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to come to town for s/t or for a particular reason; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to bring s/t to town [MDL]

      gawa MA- to leave; to go out (of the house, a village); to leave the mountains where one has been hiding and come to town; to appear or become visible at a particular location; ... [MDL]

      tungá ... [+MDL: MA- or MAG- to come out into the open; to appear (as s/o hiding or s/t which was beneath the water which suddenly breaks the surface); ... an ba'góng tungá referring to those who have recently come out of hiding; Dumán kamí pakatungá sa banwá'an Let's go back to town (referring to those who have been in hiding, probably in the mountains)]

    Those who did live out of town, however, could be reached. Much as the bell brought laws to the village people, an invitation could be extended to those outside of town by the playing of musical instruments.

      dápit ... [MDL: MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to call on s/o for the purpose of inviting them to the house for a meal, a drink or discussion; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to announce an invitation by passing through an area playing a musical instrument, such as the kudyapí' or subing, or striking the sticks called kalótan; to invite those who live out of town (resident there due to unacceptable social or criminal behavior); -ON: an darapíton one invited many times or by many people; ...]

    4. Civil Disputes and Criminal Cases
    Legal infractions were many and varied. They ranged from insults, considered quite serious, especially when directed against a village chief, to stealing, burglary, assault and murder. The legal system could also be called upon to settle civil disputes, such as matters involving trade, land, loans and disputed possession.

    4.1 Civil Disputes
    (i) Insults
    Speaking disrespectfully or using insults or abusive language to a village chief in the Tagalog areas brought a penalty of death against the perpetrator. The same would be true if insulting a chief's wife or daughter. This penalty could be waived upon payment of a fine in gold, with failure to pay leading to enslavement.[13]
    Insult was also taken if anyone talked or was noisy during the burial of a chief. Dust falling from the house of a timáwa' on the chief or his wife when passing through the street was also taken as a grave insult, as was passing any area where the chief's wife was bathing .[14]
    An insult directed against someone having the same social rank, such as one timáwa' insulting another, would lead to the imposition of a penalty which was decided by a judge or arbiter. The greater the insult, the higher the fine. If the perpetrator could not pay a fine in excess of five taels of gold, he became a slave to the injured party. If he was able to borrow money from a relative, friend or chief, he then served the lender as a slave until the debt was paid back.[15] A chief insulting a timáwa' received a light sentence, or none.
    From the following Bikol entry we can see that not only did an insult have to directed at a particular individual to cause offense, offense could also be taken by a relative of the one being insulted. In the same entry we can also see that a fine could be paid by a friend or relative.

      hinalod MANG-, PANG--ON to take offence at what s/o has said; MANG-, PANG--AN to become annoyed at s/o who has said s/t causing offence; MAPANG-: mapanhinalod na táwo one who takes offence at what is said; also: to involve o/s on behalf of a friend or relative when an offence is committed against them; to repay a debt for s/o who is unable to do so himself: Ta' daw ta' nanhihinalod ka; iká an linalanghadán ko? - Ta' daw ta' da'í ko man hinalod na, linalanghadán mo an sakóng áki'? Why are you taking offence; were you the one I insulted? - Why shouldn't I take offence when you have insulted my child? ; Da'í kutá na akóng ibinabáyad kundí' pinanhinalod ni amá idtóng útang ko I wouldn't have been able to pay, but my father repaid my debt [MDL]

    An insult directed at one village chief by another in Pampanga was considered a particularly serious offense which could lead to open warfare between the villages. It was important that this be settled quickly and equitably. A chief of higher rank would be chosen to mediate. If an agreement could not be reached, each of the chiefs involved in the dispute would host a feast, the one presenting the most lavish affair would be judged the most honorable, and if this was accepted by both parties, the dispute would be settled. If the injured party still did not accept this result, warfare could indeed be the result.[16]
    What were these insults that were taken so seriously and could have such serious consequences? There are a number of terms which describe general categories of insults. Insults were used to dishonor or defame someone, something which was particularly offensive if done in front of others. People could be insulted when their wealth or status was compared unfavorably to others, or offense could be taken by particular actions of a house guest. There are also a number of terms which refer to the utterance of swear words or curses. Examples of these appear below.

      langhád ... [+MDL: MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to insult, dishonor or defame s/o (with biting words, curses); MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to say s/t as an insult, an affront; PAG- an insult, affront]

      pura' MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to deride s/o; to insult s/o, embarrassing them in front of others [MDL]

      taki MA-, -ON or MANG-, PANG--ON to insult or deprecate s/o by belittling their wealth or possessions; to belittle s/o due to their lack of wealth or possessions; MA-, I- or MANG-, IPANG- to disparage s/o's wealth or possessions [MDL]

      tamay MA-, -ON or MANG-, PANG--ON to belittle, insult or deprecate s/o, comparing one's own status or wealth to their lack of it; MA-, I- or MANG-, IPANG- to disparage or belittle s/o's status or wealth [MDL]

      lápas MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to take s/t done or said by a guest living in one's house as an insult or affront (the host); (PAG-)-AN to feel insulted by the actions of a house guest (the host) [MDL]

      ráway ... [+MDL: MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to use curse words or swear words; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to swear at s/o; to curse s/o; MA-: maráway na táwo one who uses swear words]

      sapa MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to curse or swear at s/o; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to utter a particular oath [MDL]

    There were insults which applied to both men and women. Both, for example, could be called liars or fools.

      habot sky; (fig-) -ON a liar, hypocritical: Haboton ka You are a liar; MAPATAGU-, PATAGU--AN: mapataguhabot, pataguhaboton to insult or dishonor s/o by saying this word to them [MDL]

      tingdíl a woman's genitals; a woman's private parts; (fig-) Katingdílon na babáyi What a liar this woman is; also used for men when calling them liars [MDL]

      butandíng whale shark [+MDL: Butandíng nang iyán You're a whale shark (Said in anger as an insult, equivalent to: Go to hell you big fool)]

    Death could be wished on both men and women, including death arising from specific events, such as being taken by a crocodile. Certain unfortunate occurrences, such as blindness and injury, could also be wished upon them.

      túlos MA- to suddenly die; MA--AN to have s/o or s/t suddenly die on you; PAGKA- a sudden death; Natúlos ka May you suddenly die (Said as a curse) [MDL]

      lundón MAKA-, MA--AN to get stuck in the throat (food); MA- to choke on s/t caught in the throat (a person); ... Uyá an lulundón mo Here, choke on this (Said to s/o when angry) [MDL]

      ra'ro MA- or MAG- to be taken suddenly ill (due to a serious wound); also used as a curse: Nara'ro kang iyán I hope you die from that [MDL]

      tigbák ... [+MDL: ... MAG-, PAG--ON to kill or fatally wound s/o in battle; MA- to be fatally wounded; Natitigbák ka May you die (Said as a curse) ...]

      ganga MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to bite s/t hard with the teeth to see if it can be cracked or chewed (such as a betel nut mixture); to attempt to crack s/t with the teeth; ... (fig-) Ginangahan bu'áya May you be chewed up by a crocodile (Said as a curse) [MDL]

      matá eye; -ON or MA- to get hit in the eye; ... [+MDL: MA-, -AN to add eyes to an image or statue; ... Namatá ka May your eyes be smashed (Said as a curse)]

      babayó MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to pound rice in a mortar; (fig-) Pinagbabayó ka May you be pounded like rice (Said as a curse) [MDL]

    In general, however, curses against men dealt with physical injury, while curses against women were sexual in nature, involving poking, splitting or the implied opening up of the sexual organs. The first examples are curses against men.

      ánit animal skin, hide, pelt; leather ... [+MDL: ... MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to remove the skin from an animal; ... Pinaganítan ka May you be skinned (Said as an insult to men)]

      bá'ak crevice, fissure, rift; ... [+MDL: MAG-, PAG--ON to break up or divide a number of things; ... MA-, -ON to split s/t; ... (fig-) Pinagbá'ak ka May you be split in two (used as a curse)]

      duhang a large earthenware urn or spike used for trapping deer and wild boar; ... MA- to fall into such an urn or impale themselves on such a spike and be injured (game); (fig-) Naduhangang iyán May you be hurt in such a trap (Said as an insult to men) [MDL]

      taruktók referring to the occurrence of many things stuck in the ground (such as spikes, posts or stakes along a road); ... MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to drive in a large number of such spikes, posts; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to drive such stakes or posts into the ground; (fig-) used as a curse or insult: Pinagtaruktokán ka May you be impaled on many spikes; ... [MDL]

      dukdók ... [+MDL: ... MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to pound or crush s/t in a mortar; ... (fig-) used as a curse for men: Pinagdudukdók ka May you be pounded in a mortar]

      rupók MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to smash s/t to pieces or fragments; ... MAKA-, MA- to be smashed to pieces; (fig-) Narupók an payó mo May your head be smashed to pieces (Said as a curse) [MDL]

      púgot ... [+MDL: MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to cut off the head, an arm, a leg; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to cut off s/o's head, arm or leg; Pinagpugótan ka May you be beheaded (Used as a curse among men)]

      saksák ... [MDL: MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to cut s/t into small pieces; to dice taro, yam, fruit; also used as an insult for men: Pinagsaksák ka May you be cut up into little pieces ...]

      sára' ... [+MDL: MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to strain a liquid; ... also used as a curse: Pinagsára' kang iyán May you be put through a strainer]

    Examples of curses against women follow.

      bali'at MA-, -ON or MAG--, PAG--ON to lift one of two posts or boards lying side-by-side by inserting a pole in the space between the two, and levering one using the other as support; ... (fig-) Pinagbali'at ka an expression considered demeaning and insulting when said to women [MDL]

      baliskád ... [+MDL: MA-, -ON or MAG- PAG--ON to turn s/t over or turn s/t around; (fig-) Pinagbaliskád ka Said as an insult to women]

      bingat MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to pull s/t open or apart with one's hands (as a split piece of bamboo, a trap); (fig-) Pinagbingat ka Said as an insult to women [MDL]

      biská MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to open s/t in the middle with the hands; to split s/t open into two parts with the hands; (fig-) Pinagbiská ka An insult said to women [MDL]

      dughól MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to thrust upward; to skewer or pierce s/t (as s/t on the roof, such as a rat); to thrust through the interior of a length of bamboo, breaking the nodes so that it may be used to channel water (see bungbóng); ... (fig-) Pinagdughól ka Said as an insult directed at women [MDL]

      pálo ... [+MDL: MA-,I-or MAG-, IPAG- to drive in a post or stake; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to drive a post or stake into the ground; also used as a curse or insult directed toward women: Pinagpalóhan ka May you have a stake driven into you]

      ha'ot describing s/t so narrow as to prevent entry; constricted, tight; MA- or MAG- to grow narrow or constricted; (PAG-)-AN to be narrow or constricted (as a doorway); to be stuck in a tight space; ... (fig-) Pinagha'otan ka Said as a curse to women who cannot have children [MDL]

    4.1 Civil Disputes
    (ii) Adultery
    Marriage, divorce and remarriage were common in Bikol society. When a marriage failed, an agreement was generally reached between the families of the husband and wife as to the custody of the children, commonly divided by gender, and to a redistribution of all or some of the dowry paid by the man's family at the time of the marriage. Return of all of the dowry, possibly with some additional remuneration, would result if the wife was seen to be at fault, and retention of all of the dowry by the wife was the outcome if the husband was seen to be the offending party. If both marriage partners shared blame for the marriage breakdown, a portion of the dowry would be returned, and a portion retained. One of the main causes for marriage breakdown was adultery. Two entries from Lisboa are presented below.

      ta'o-ta'o MAG-, PAG--AN to accuse or suspect s/o of having an affair with one's husband or wife; MAG-, IPAG- to accuse a husband or wife of having an affair with s/o; MA-: mata'o-ta'o or MAPAG-: mapagta'o-ta'o suspicious (a husband, believing his wife is having an affair [MDL]

      takpíl MAG-, PAG--ON to accuse two people of having an affair; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to accuse a man of having an affair; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to accuse a man of having an affair with a particular woman [MDL]

    If the families could not agree on a settlement, then the case would go to arbitration (see Section 6.1). While a sentence of death might be the outcome, particularly if the affair involved the concubine of a chief, the result was most commonly a fine. If the adulterer fled without paying the fine, a period of enmity would exist between the families of the adulterer and the wife or husband until the fine was paid.[17]

    4.1 Civil Disputes
    (iii) Trade And Deception
    Deception could take many forms. It could occur in trade, or be more general, describing one's disposition when dealing with others. There are a number of examples of deception in trade. I have chosen only two. In the first example we have an attempt to deceive in the sale of gold, not only used for its monetary value, but also for its artistic value, being worked into various forms of jewelry. In the second example we have deception regarding the mixture of liquids which includes wine, referring usually to the alcoholic beverage tubá', widely drunk and highly valued in ritual and social interaction. If a particular deception could not be resolved by the parties involved, the dispute, as with other civil and criminal actions, would go to arbitration involving a council of the village chiefs. A decision by such a council could not be appealed or petitioned.[18]

      daloy high quality gold which covers poor quality gold beneath it, forming a gold bar meant to deceive; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to cover poor quality gold with that of higher quality; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to place high quality gold over that of low quality; (fig-) Daloy pa lámang an saímong bu'ót You appear to be a good person, but in your heart you are different [MDL]

      lahok referring to that which is mixed with a pure substance, such as wax, honey or wine, to increase its bulk (done in an attempt to deceive, making s/t appear more than it really is); MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to add s/t for this purpose; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to mix s/t with a foreign substance for this purpose [MDL]

    There are a number of terms expressing deceit and duplicity in early Bikol society. Terms indicating cheating, fraud and bribery reveal actions in a society that could be dealt with socially or legally, depending on the course taken by those involved.

      dáya' deceit, guile; ... [+MDL: MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to defraud or cheat s/o; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to use a particular trick or guise in cheating]

      hiphíp MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to bribe s/o; to coerce s/o; MA-, I- to offer a particular bribe [MDL]

      kagod describing s/o who indulges excessively in a particular vice; ... MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to steal s/t; MA-, -AN: kagoran or MAG-, PAG--AN: pagkagoran to be particularly unscrupulous in one's dealings with others; to cheat or rob s/o [MDL]

      kalit fraud, deceit; MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to defraud or deceive s/o; to drive s/o out of a game by raising the stakes so that they cannot win back what they have lost; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to raise the stakes in a game by a particular amount; to deceive s/o with a particular trick or strategy [MDL]

      amit MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to abscond with s/t; to obtain s/t by trickery or deceit; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to steal from s/o in this way; syn likam [MDL]

    4.1 Civil Disputes
    (iv) Defaulting On Loans
    Bikol society, as was the case throughout much of the Philippines, survived on a series of debt relationships. Someone always needed money, and there was always someone else who was willing to lend it. There are numerous entries in Lisboa which make this clear. To give some idea of how ingrained debt relationships were in the Bikol region, the following is a section of the index dealing with debt from Mintz’ new Bikol Dictionary.[19]

      DEBT útang, sambót, *bala; penalty or payment of extra interest imposed on an overdue account, ... or loan, pátong; small payment made against a ... to reduce penalties which would be imposed if no payment were made at all, *patimamanghá'; the unpaid portion of a ..., *huriban; to be in ..., abonádo; to cancel or forgive a ..., *tuklín; to change the basis of a ... allowing part payment in kind, *gakan; to collect ...s, singíl; to fall due (a ...), *sungdó'; to forfeit a ..., losing what one has put up as surety, *samit; to be free of ... or other obligations, *híwas; to free o/s from servitude by paying one's ...s or otherwise satisfying one's obligations, *hiluwás; to insist on the repayment of a ..., *hiri'; to make the final payment on a ..., *hilubós, *tápos; to pay all of one's ...s, *tubtób; to pay off a ... in small installments (refusing to pay all at once, the creditor's preferred option), *gutay-gutay; to pay off one's ... in installments, *salawad; to pay one's ...s by working in the creditor's fields, *balos, *luyó-luyó; to pay part of one's ...s, *ínot; to pay part of a ... with rice, *pároy; to pay part of a ... in kind, and not completely with money or gold, *gisi'; to pay s/t to a creditor to whom one is greatly in ... to keep him happy until one is able to pay in full, *malasmás; to reduce a ..., *gakan; to repay a ... for one who is unable to do so, *hinalod; to request settlement of ...s from the children or heirs of an estate after the death of the parents, *mulingáw; to settle a ... by taking s/t belonging to the debtor, *gu'on; to speak rudely or gruffly to one who asks for payment of a ..., *ngasal-ngasal; to work together with s/o who owes a full day's labor so that the ... can be paid by two people, each working for half a day, *bari'

    Those writing of their observations of the sixteenth century Philippines made it quite clear that debts could be the beginning of a tragic decline for the borrower. Morga writes that loans were seen as a means of making money,[20] and it was frequently the case that loans were made available at exorbitant rates of interest, with penalties doubling and tripling the original debt until the borrower had no more capital, lost his property and had to give his children up as slaves to the lender. Chirino talks of a similar situation among the Visayans.[21]
    Loarca gives some specific examples. One borrowing rice would be expected to return an equivalent amount the following year. If unable to do so, twice the borrowed amount would have to be paid back the second year, and four times that amount in the third year, with similar increases for subsequent years the rice was not repaid.
    In the case of unpaid loans contracted across village boundaries, the creditor village had the right to seize anyone from the debtor village and demand payment. In this case, the amount asked to settle the debt was double the amount lent.[22] Loan relationships appear to have been legal and binding, with recourse to the courts as they were known at the time, that is appeal to a judge and subsequent mediation (see Section 6.1 in this paper) if the debt obligation could not be met. Debts which remained unpaid or could not be paid would inevitably end with slavery for the debtor.
    The imposition of fines for theft, murder or other legal infringements could also lead to long term debt relationships. A fine, generally in gold, had to be paid immediately. If this could not be done, the convicted party would have to serve as a slave to the one who had won the case. He would also forfeit one-half the produce from all his cultivated lands, although, as a slave, all the food and clothing for his family would be provided by the successful litigant. When the original fine was finally paid, the lender could then lay a claim for additional payment based on his having supported the defaulter's family during this time. Failure to pay this additional amount could end with the enslavement of the defaulter's children in a relationship where freedom might never be achieved.[23]

    4.2 Criminal Cases
    (i) Piracy And Plunder
    Whether piracy is considered a crime or not depends on whether one is a victim or perpetrator. Certainly among the perpetrators, most of whom would have at some point in their lives also been victims, the chance to obtain wealth from outside the village and from people toward whom one had no responsibility, could be too tempting to pass up.[24] For those perpetually victimised by robbery or raids, the following entry might be particularly apt.

      sugsóg MA- describing s/t or s/o that continually causes harm or destruction in a particular area (as a wild boar entering rice fields, pirates raiding a town or robbers returning over and over again to a particular area): Masugsóg ka nang labí, alang-alang kang da'í masalagbát You continually cause terrible trouble; it's not right that you have not yet been given a taste of your own medicine (Meaning: You have not yet also been robbed or victimised); ... [MDL]

    The Bikol region, essentially a long, narrow peninsula forming the southeastern extremity of Luzon, had numerous coastal villages which were exposed not only to periodic Moslem raids from the south,[25] but to raids which originated in the region itself. While there were islands and areas with particularly bad reputations, raids could also simply be oportunistic. Whatever the reason, it is clear that such raids were not uncommon.

      kamukon referring to the inhabitants of a particular island who have turned to piracy and periodically attack the other islands of the region [MDL]

      salákay ... MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to embark for the purpose of getting s/t or bringing s/t back; to disembark for the purpose of raiding a particular area; Bubuhí'on tang da'í masalákay iyán banwá'an na iyán We can't pass up the chance to raid that town [MDL]

      ngayaw MANG-, PANG--ON or MAGPANG-, PAGPANG--ON to engage in piracy; to rob, pillage or plunder towns along the coast; MANG-, PANG--AN or MAGPANG-, PAGPANG--AN to attack or raid coastal towns; MANG-, IPANG- or MAGPANG-, IPAGPANG- to carry particular arms in raiding coastal towns [MDL]

    Raids could be carried out by just one boat, or by a number. The owner of a boat could assume financial responsibility for equipping a boat for the raid, or he could be joined by another who shared the cost of supplying the expedition in return for part of the spoils.

      mungsád a single boat that is taken out to steal or rob; MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to steal s/t (those in a single boat); MA-, -AN: mungsarán or MAG-, PAG--AN: pagmungsarán to steal from s/o or some place when going out in just one boat [MDL]

      hampíl MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to embark on the boat of another for the purpose of piracy (see ngayaw), providing one-half of the ship's stores in return for one-third of the bounty; MAG- to set off on a mission of piracy (two people having come to such an arrangement) [MDL]

    It was not only towns which could be attacked in a pirate raid, but boats traveling alone could be scrutinised by other boats passing by to see if they were carrying anything valuable which could be stolen.

      úbay MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to follow a boat along a riverbank or seashore in order to board it or to see what cargo is being carried [MDL]

    Boats used for piracy were camouflaged before going on a raiding expedition, and were welcomed back with great fanfare if their mission turned out to be successful.

      hagbóng referring to leaves or fronds used to camouflage the boats of pirates; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to camouflage pirate boats with such leaves; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to use leaves or fronds for such a purpose [MDL]

      sibag MA- to sound a conch shell (hamugyóng) or trumpet together with ringing bells as a sign of joy at the good luck of those who have returned from pirating; ... [MDL]

    Not only material possessions would be taken on such raids, but villagers could also be taken and held captive until such time as they were ransomed or an exchange could be arranged for those previously taken hostage. If a village chief was captured among the Visayans, all his kin contributed various amounts to the ransom depending on the degree of kinship. If sufficient ransom could not be raised, the village chief remained captive.[26] The following entries are Bikol.

      daphág MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN ... to attack s/o (a person in order to get s/t or to take s/o prisoner) [MDL]

      sabo a person captured by highwaymen or pirates [MDL]

      tubós ... [+MDL: MA-, -ON to recover one's bond or what one has left for surety; to ransom s/o; MA-, -AN to recover one's bond from s/o; to ransom s/o from s/o else; MA-, I- to make a particular payment to recover one's bond or surety; to pay a particular ransom; MAG- to exchange captives, prisoners; MAG-, IPAG- to exchange one captive for another; MAG-, PAG--AN to ransom one captive with the exchange of another]

    Other acts of inter-village aggression involved the burning of one village or its crops by another. If this act was carried out by a chief, he would be required to pay to cover the damage in full. If the act was carried out by a timáwa' then he was killed and his goods seized to cover the damage, his wife and children being sold into slavery if the amount of his property was not enough.[27]

    4.2 Criminal Cases
    (ii) Theft
    Robbery may not have been rife, but it existed and was referred to any number of times by Lisboa in his Vocabulario. There are many references to both petty thieving and thefts that were more serious.

      dalikmatan a nimble thief; one who can steal s/t from right in front of your eyes without being noticed; kadalikmatan na táwo sa panha'bón a person adept at stealing [MDL]

      imít-imít MA- petty thief, kleptomaniac: Abong imít-imít ni kuyán What a little thief that person is; also see simít-simít [MDL]

      salimbagat eagle (typ-); (fig-) si salimbagat na táwo sa panha'bón a cunning thief [MDL]

      samok MA-: masamok na táwo a petty thief; MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to take s/t on the sly; to take s/t when no one is looking, and if caught, say you were only joking; ... Abong samok mo doy What a little thief you are [MDL]

      simít ... [+MDL: MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to take s/t with the fingers; ... MANG-, PANG--ON to take a number of things with the hand; to gather together a number of things of little value with the hand; ... MAKAPANG-, MAPANG--ON to steal food; to steal things of little value; simít-simít MA- a thief: Si masimít-simít na táwo si kuyán What a thief that person is]

      ganíb ... [MDL: a hunting dog; MA- or MAG- to develop into a hunting dog; ... (fig-) Si ganíb na táwo si kuyán sa panha'bón That person is a great thief ... ]

      pakot terrible (a robber, a worker): Pakot sa panha'bón What a terrible robber (one who steals a lot or often); ... MA- or MAG- to become terrible [MDL]

    The general word for stealing is ha'bón, but there are other words which relate to more specific forms of stealing, such as the taking of a boat, stealing chickens and pigs, making off with something on the sly, taking something just because it is exposed and available, or laying claim to something that is not yours.

      ha'bón MAG- to steal; ... MANG- to thieve; to go around stealing; PAG- stealing, theft, larceny; PARA- burglar, crook, robber, thief [+MDL: MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to steal s/t; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to steal s/t from s/o]

      bugkót MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to steal a boat; to make off with a boat [MDL]

      libon MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON ... to steal chickens, pigs; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN ... to steal s/o's pigs, chickens; PARA- robber of pigs, chickens [MDL]

      sisiríb MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to make off with s/t on the sly; to steal s/t; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to steal s/t from s/o [MDL]

      rapay MAPA-, PA--AN to take or grab whatever is in reach, being unable to get what one is really after (as when one in unable to steal a valuable item and settles for s/t else); MAKA-, MA--AN to go after one thing and end up with another [MDL]

      hináko' MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to claim s/t that rightfully belongs to another; ...; MA- or MAPAG-: mapaghinákong táwo describing s/o who makes false claims ... [MDL]

      raway MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to take s/t without due process or good cause; ... Rinaway mo lámang idtóng urípon ko You tried to take away my slave without just cause [MDL]

    Specific entries also deal with taking something from a thief who had previously stolen it, inciting someone to steal, knowing that person needs very little encouragement to carry out such an act, or stealing something yourself knowing someone else will he blamed.

      tungos MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to steal s/t which has previously been stolen; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to steal s/t in this way from the original thief; MA- to be stolen a second time (an item) [MDL]

      saginunong MAPA-, PA--AN or MAGPA-, PAGPA--AN to incite, stir up or inflame the emotions of one who is already angry with s/o else by saying s/t bad about that person; to encourage s/o to persist in some wrongdoing that they have already begun by saying that they won't be caught; MAPA-, IPA- or MAGPA-, IPAGPA- to say s/t to incite s/o; to take s/t on the sly after being encouraged to do so [MDL]

      rarasi' MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON / MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to steal or damage s/t knowing there is a good chance s/o else will get the blame; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to have the blame fall on another for s/t you have stolen or damaged [MDL]

    There are also two interesting entries which have come into modern Bikol meaning rape, but are defined in Lisboa as the taking of something which has previously been refused or the overpowering of someone in a robbery.

      lúgos MAG-, -AN to rape s/o; MAKA-, MA-AN to get raped; PARA- rapist [MDL: MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to take s/t which has previously been requested but refused]

      lúpig MAG-, -ON to rape or molest s/o; PAG- rape [MDL: MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to take s/t by force; to steal s/t; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to overpower s/o; to rob s/o; PAG- robbery]

    Thieves, if caught and tried by a single judge or a tribunal, were dealt with depending on the seriousness or value of the theft. For petty thefts, those valued at less than four taels of gold, the thief had to return the gold and pay a fine.

      ulí' ... [MDL: MA-, I- to return s/t to its proper owner (s/t lent, stolen); MA-, -AN to return to the owner s/t lost or stolen; to return to one's spouse (after a period of separation); ...]
      duhit penalty, fine; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to give s/t in payment for a fine or penalty (such as gold or silver); MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to clear an infraction or infringement by payment of a penalty or fine; MAKI-, PAKI--AN to impose a penalty or fine on s/o for some infraction; MAKI-, PAKI--ON to request a particular payment as a fine or penalty [MDL]

      sílot ... [+MDL: MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to make s/o bear a particular punishment for a sin or wrongdoing; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to impose a particular fine or punishment; MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to undergo a particular punishment for a sin or crime]

      suksók MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to submit o/s to punishment after doing s/t wrong; to accept punishment for doing s/t wrong [MDL]

    A fine which could not be paid could result in enslavement, although for minor fines it was possible that a less severe type of punishment would be imposed, such as whipping or confinement to the stocks (see Section 5). Serious thefts, defined as more than four but less than 16 taels of gold, were treated more severely. The thief was still given the opportunity to return the stolen goods and pay a fine, although the greater the amount, the less likely it was that a timáwa' could afford to pay and the greater likelihood of enslavement rather than whipping or confinement.
    For a theft in excess of 16 taels of gold, the penalty was death, often commuted to enslavement not only of the perpetrator, but of his children as well as those of his household since they were assumed to have knowledge of the theft even if not being directly involved.

      busong (PAG-)-ON to suffer a stiff penalty (even death) for one's crimes, sins or excesses; Sawa' ka di' bubusonga kainíng pagkatampalásan mo May you be severely punished for your wickedness or May you be punished by God for your sins [MDL]

    A chief accused of theft would rarely end up as a slave since he could afford to pay the fine. In the case of a theft committed by a slave, either restitution was made by the master, or the slave was delivered by the owner to the aggrieved party to be soundly lashed.
    There were also differences in sentences depending upon the number of times an offence was committed. For a first offense among the Tagalogs the penalty was usually just a fine. For a second, slavery, and for a third, death or enslavement of the thief, his children and household.[28]
    Death penalties, while often imposed, were not frequently carried out. The same was true for exile and long periods of incarceration.[29] Communities would be chronically short of labor, one of the reasons for slave-raiding, and individuals would also need help in running their household or working their fields. The opportunity for someone to work as a slave was a far more viable option than execution, incarceration or exile which not only reduced available manpower, but deprived individuals and the community of such labor. Additionally, land tenure was communal in nature. One's wealth was not determined by how much land was owned, but by how many people could be mobilised to work such land.[30] The chance to add to the workforce would have been a powerful incentive against a sentence of death.
    How does one catch a thief? They could be caught in the act, or potential targets could be warned so as prevent the theft from happening.

      balantí' MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to return to ambush s/o or to catch s/o in an act of robbery; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to return to a place for a second time in order to keep guard or watch what is happening [MDL]

      sulod MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to gather at or rush to a place where s/o is calling or where there is a commotion (such as to catch a thief) [MDL]

      tukyáw MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to yell or shout at a robber or other trouble-maker; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to yell a warning to others about the presence of a robber [MDL]

      ngará'-ngára' MANG-, PANG--AN or MAGPANG-, PAGPANG--AN to shout to warn s/o of approaching danger (such as when one sees a robber enter a neighbor's house at night); ... [MDL]

    Each town had an official who served as an officer of the peace who could be called upon to take a suspected culprit prisoner.

      bilánggo' officer of the peace, constable, sheriff; MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to imprison or incarcerate s/o; to take s/o prisoner; an binibilánggo' prisoner, convict; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to put s/o in prison; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to use s/t for the purpose of incarceration (such as stocks); -AN: bilanggó'an prison [MDL]

    The general word for capture is dakóp, although more specific entries show that it was common to handcuff or shackle a prisoner, calling for assistance where this was needed (see Section 5 for specific forms of incarceration).

      dakóp ... [+MDL: MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to seize or grasp s/t; to capture s/o; MA-, -AN: dakpán or MAG-, PAG--AN: pagdakpán to seize s/t from s/o; to capture s/o from a particular place or remove him from a particular family; MAKA-, MA- to be able to capture s/o; to catch another man with your wife; MAKA-, MA--AN to catch one's wife with another man]

      balod MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to manacle, tie or handcuff the hands behind the back; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to use s/t for tying or manacling the hands [MDL]

      gápos MAG-, -ON to manacle or shackle s/o; to tie s/o's hands or feet; ... [+MDL: MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to tie s/o's hands or feet; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to tie s/o by the hands or feet]

      dagon MAG- to help one another in subduing or manacling s/o who presents a great deal of resistence (two people or many); MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to come to the aid of s/o who is trying to subdue or manacle another; MINA-: minadagon to come to s/o's aid in such circumstances [MDL]

    Where a thief was unknown, it was always possible to resort to magic, charms or divination. A suspected thief who suddenly dies vindicates the person holding such suspicions and leaves little chance for the suspect to defend him or herself.

      hinaw a charm created by the balyán capable of identifying a thief; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to divine s/t by using such a charm; MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to suspect s/o of thievery by such divination [MDL]

      pato' a root or charm which causes s/o who steals from you to fall ill or die; AN one possessing such a root or charm [MDL]

      galínaw MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG-ON to see s/t beneath the surface of the water; ... (fig-) Nagagalínaw ko iníng saímong bu'ót; lulong ka gayód ngápit. It is clear to me that you are not to be trusted ; Nagagalínaw ko si kuyán; índa kundí iyóng himina'bón I can see through that person; it's more than likely that he's the thief [MDL]

    Villages, generally small and possessing individuals known to one another, could always resort to gossip. After all, the next best thing to catching and proving someone a thief would be to have that person tried and convicted by gossip and innuendo. There are numerous entries in Lisboa dealing with the general process of gossip and vilification. Three of these are presented below as examples.

      bakwít innuendoes or rumors implying dishonesty or unacceptable behavior; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to spread such rumors or innuendoes about s/o; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to utter such rumors, innuendoes [MDL]

      palis false or unfounded rumors; also a gossip known for spreading such false rumors; MAGKA-, PAGKA--AN to spread false rumors to s/o; Kapalis mong magbabaréta' You spread unfounded rumors [MDL]

      hatod-hatod MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to spread rumors about people, causing discord; MA-, -AN: hatod-hatoran or MAG-, PAG--AN: paghatod-hatoran to tell a rumor to s/o; to cause discord among people by spreading rumors or gossip; MA- rumor monger, a gossip [MDL]

    The entries which follow have specific statements about someone suspected of being a thief, or about denying such speculation. There would be little else one could do to halt such conjecture.

      tuntón MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to seal the seams of a boat; ... (fig-) Iká sanáng tinutuntonán nin úlay kan mga táwo ta' subót iká an kagha'bón You're the one people are talking about because they believe you're the thief ... [MDL]

      tungi' MA- or MAG- to become uneasy and touchy due to being overfull (an animal); ... (fig-) Pinatungi' giráray nin pagkakán iníng urípon na iní, nanhaha'bón pa nang gayód This slave is always fed more than he needs, and still it seems he goes around stealing [MDL]

      aya' pa although, even though: Aya' pang lulóng an áki' ko, da'í siyá manha'bón Even though my child might not be very smart, he is not a thief ; Aya' pang dukhá', da'í akó manha'bón Even though I might be poor, I'm not a thief ; ... [MDL]

    A thief, apprehended or not, would normally be known in a community, especially one who has committed numerous acts of theft. The death of someone such as this would not be mourned, but welcomed, as the figurative meaning of the following entry shows.

      hídaw ... [+MDL: MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON or MAKA-, MA- to miss s/t or s/o who has gone, or s/o who has died; ... (fig-) Garó na hinihídaw na maninibá' si kuyán na nada'í It is as if that person is missed by crocodiles on the prowl (Said when a criminal or dangerous element in society dies)]

    4.2 Criminal Cases
    (iii) Assaults and Murder
    Larger towns in the Bikol region at the time of arrival of the Spanish would have had 300 to 400 families. A town such as Naga, later chosen as the administrative center of the region by the Spanish and renamed Nueva Cáceres, would probably have had an even larger population.[31] Larger towns would be located along the coast or a major river. Each town comprised smaller units called barangay which would spread out from the center abutting the surrounding rice fields or forest. There were smaller towns as well comprising only a few families and these could be quite isolated.
    Transportation between major towns was by sea, following along the coast, or by river. River transportation to lowland towns was frequently the only form of transportation during the rainy season when a major river such as the Bikol could spread across swampy lowlands outward to 15 kilometers from its main channel.[32]
    Towns were also connected by land via trails which varied in width depending upon how heavily they were traveled. Most land travel was by foot, although water buffalo pulling sleds would traverse trails for shorter distances.
    We have already seen that travel by sea could be interfered with by pirates (see Section 4.2 (i)). It was also possible for boats to be interfered with when traveling alone along a river. Travel overland via trails presented particular dangers. These trails passed though isolated areas that could be heavily wooded. Considering the often testy relationships between towns, and the presence of criminal elements who had left the towns to take shelter in the mountains and forest, even daytime travel could be dangerous. There are a number of entries which deal with attacks and ambushes.

      da'an MAPA-, PA--AN or MAGPA-, PAGPA--AN to wait in hiding for s/o; to ambush or waylay s/o; MAPA-, IPA- or MAGPA-, IPAGPA- to ambush s/o with a particular weapon [MDL]

      hípa' ... [+MDL: MA-, -ON or MAG- PAG--ON to wait in ambush for s/o; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to wait with a particular weapon (to be used to cause injury or death); PARA- waylayer, ambusher, highwayman]

      libon MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to attack and kill s/o along a deserted stretch of road; ... MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to carry out an attack along a particular stretch of road; ... PARA- highwayman [MDL]

      salagbát MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to waylay s/o at a place they normally frequent in order to rob or hurt them; to seize or grab s/o where they can normally be found in order to rob or hurt them [MDL]

    Families who lived in houses at the edge of towns or those backing onto forested areas were also susceptible to attack. It was the same with houses in small towns which were isolated from larger population centers. What we might now call home invasions were carried out by the same type of people who would wait in ambush to rob or kill those caught unexpectedly on the roads. The entry umag refers to naked robbers. In general such robbers went about naked with oiled bodies to make them more difficult to catch if an attempt was made to apprehend them.[33] Lisboa, however, makes no mention of robbers oiling their bodies.

      maghát roving robbers or highwaymen who sneak into houses at night and kill the inhabitants; (PAG-)-ON to be killed by such robbers; (PAG-)-AN to be entered by such robbers (a house); to have members of one's family killed by such robbers [MDL]

      umag describing those who go about naked, like robbers or highwaymen; (fig-) Garó na giráray umag iníng áki' This child always seems to walk around naked, like a highwayman [MDL]

      salákat ... [MDL: MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to enter s/o's house to pick a quarrel, steal or for other criminal purposes; MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to pick a quarrel with s/o; to go to steal s/t from s/o's house; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG-- to carry arms in such a robbery attempt]

      bighó' MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to stab, wound or poke s/o with a lance or spear from beneath the house [MDL]

      iyaw-iyaw MAPA- or MAGPA- to shout in surprise (as when sensing there is a robber about at night, or when coming across s/t lost or misplaced); MAPA-, IPA- or MAGPA-, IPAGPA- to shout out s/t in surprise; MAPA-, PA--AN or MAGPA-, PAGPA--AN to shout a warning to s/o [MDL]

    For the Tagalogs, Loarca describes a particularly harsh penalty for offenders entering the house of a village chief at night. The offender was first tortured in an attempt to find out if another chief had sent him. If he admitted that this was the case, he was enslaved and the person who sent him condemned to death. Release from enslavement could be obtained by payment of a fine.[34] The following entry is Bikol.

      lúbag ... [+MDL: MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to torture the guilty into confessing their crimes; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to inflict a particular torture on s/o]

    There were also murders in the Bikol region. The general word for killing is gadán, although other more specific words could also be used, such as budhí' for the killing of someone from another town.

      gadán corpse, the deceased; gadán na dead; MAG-, -ON to kill or slay s/o; to assassinate, execute or murder s/o; ... MA- to die, pass away, perish; to succumb; MA--AN to be bereaved; to have a death in the family; KA--AN death, demise; PAGKA- the death of, the killing of [+MDL: MA-, -ON to kill s/o; MAG-, PAG--ON to kill an animal; ...]

      táwo MAKA-, MA- to end s/o's life; to kill s/o; MAKA-, IKA- to kill s/o with s/t [MDL]

      budhí' MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to kill s/o from another town [MDL]

      bu'ók ... MANG- to be an outlaw; to be wanted by the law; to become infamous due to indiscriminate killing; MANG-, PANG--AN to kill indiscriminately [MDL]

    One convicted of murder among the Tagalogs was condemned to death, although this sentence could be commuted if the killer agreed to become the slave of the dead man's father, children or nearest relative. If more than one person was involved in the killing, the others paid the dead man's relatives the price of a slave. If they could not afford to do this, they too became slaves. If a village chief was killed while in another town, all the residents of the town became slaves with those most culpable in the killing being put to death.[35] Grave crimes, such as murder, could be punished in other ways as well. The killer could have all his slaves taken, or in more extreme circumstances, he could be killed along with his sons, brothers, parents, relatives and slaves.[36]
    If one chief was killed by another in Pampanga, the murdered chief's friends and relatives would go to war against the offending town. If the chief committing the murder was himself killed, hostilities would end and the matter would be considered settled. If this did not happen, as many of the chief's followers as possible would be killed.
    To end hostilities, chiefs of the other villages would attempt to reconcile the two sides, usually asking that a large sum of money, between 70-100 taels of gold depending on the prominence of the chief, be paid as a fine. Half of this would go to the murdered man's relatives, and half to the chiefs who brokered the reconciliation to be shared with the freemen (timáwa') of the murdered man's village.
    If this agreement was rejected by the murdered man's children, then war would continue, although in this case the chiefs brokering the failed agreement would take the side of the murderer and continue to fight on their side until an agreement was forced upon the murdered chief's family.[37]
    Revenge was a significant factor motivating relatives when a death occurred through violence. Those seeking revenge wore a band around their neck which they did not remove until a previously determined number of people were killed. These would not only include the murderer and his relatives, but also any number of innocent people. Only when these lives were taken would mourning come to an end.[38] Two entries in Lisboa which deal with revenge are presented below.

      balós ... [+MDL: ... MAG- to take vengeance or retribution out on one another (two people or many); MAG-, PAG--ON to take vengeance out on s/o (many people); MAG-, PAG--AN to give s/o a number of things as retribution; MAG-, IPAG- to give a number of things as retribution]

      tukol an eye for an eye; MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to respond in kind (good deeds for good and bad deeds for bad); Tinukol kong pagratakan si tinanóm nindá I destroyed their crops since they did the same to mine; Kada'í matukol ni kuyán kan maraháy na bu'ót ko saíya That person hasn't responded in kind to the good will I have shown him [MDL]

    If a chief or his child was killed by a freeman, the freeman would be killed along with his wife and children and all their property seized. If the opposite was the case and a freeman was killed by a chief, a fine of 10-20 taels of gold would be paid to the dead man's children. If one freeman killed another, and was unable to pay a set fine to the bereaved family, the children of the murdered man would kill him, or failing that, all of the chiefs of the village would join together to kill the murderer. This was done by hanging him from a tree or house post and stabbing him with a lance.[39]
    While the above example is not specifically mentioned as occurring in Bikol, it is possible that an entry such as the following indicates that the perpetrators of certain crimes were made an example of to discourage others from criminal activity.

      tawog MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to hang s/t up high for all to see (generally the hand, foot or torso of a criminal or others accused of evil or wrongdoing); MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to expose s/t at a place where all can see it; (fig-) Nagtatawog ka na dihán sa pantáw You are exposed to the view of everyone there on the porch [MDL]

    5. Punishment and Incarceration
    Clearly, the death penalty was available and used as the ultimate punishment for crimes such as robbery and murder. This sentence could be carried out in a number of ways, such as by stabbing, hanging and possibly beheading, although hanging was probably the most common.

      bítay ... PAG- a hanging; -AN: bibitáyan gallows [+MDL: MA- or MAG- to hang; to be hanging; MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to hang s/o or s/t; ...]

      dagyó' MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to stamp on s/t with the feet, driving it into the ground or into another material (as a spike into wood); to stamp down on s/o who is being hanged, making sure the hanging is successful [MDL]

      alang-alang ... Alang-alang na da'í bitáyon an parabúno' It is unreasonable not to hang a murderer; ... [MDL]

      tungol MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to cut off the head; MA-, -AN: tunglán or MAG-, PAG--AN: pagtunglán to behead s/o; to cut off s/o's head [MDL]

    The death penalty was frequently commuted to enslavement or the imposition of a fine, except in the case of witchcraft where the witch or sorcerer was killed.[40] There were other forms of punishment available that could be imposed in addition to or in place of a fine. One of the most common was the lash. There are numerous entries and countless references to people being whipped as punishment. Just three of these are presented below.

      bádas MAG-, -ON to whip s/o; to flog or lash s/o; PANG-: pamádas or pambádas a whip

      turo'-turo' MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to treat everyone the same; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to give everyone the same treatment (even with regard to the number of lashes given in punishment) [MDL]

      timamlós MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to take revenge on s/o who has been the cause of your punishment or pain (as when a prisoner is whipped, and when released, whips those who accused him); ...) [MDL]

    There are a few references to prison, although if there were such buildings or parts of buildings dedicated to such an end, these would have been in the larger towns. References in the entries relating to gaining one's freedom refer equally to freeing oneself from shackles or the stocks, as well as being freed from prison.

      bilánggo' ... MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to imprison or incarcerate s/o; to take s/o prisoner; ... MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to put s/o in prison; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to use s/t for the purpose of incarceration (such as stocks); -AN: bilanggó'an prison [MDL]

      hayaw MAKA- to walk or roam free (one previously incarcerated); MAPA- to set s/o free (one who had previously been incarcerated or restrained in some way); ... [MDL]

      lagayaw free to move about; free to go anywhere one wishes; MAKA-to be free to move about, travel or go anywhere (not being confined or locked up); ... [MDL]

      taltál MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to release or set s/o free from prison or from their shackles; ... [MDL]

      tanan MA- or MAG- to escape from confinement (prisoners, animals, birds); ... [MDL]

    Incarceration was more likely carried out by chaining prisoners, or placing them for a period of time in a pillory or stocks. Prisoners could be handcuffed, their feet fettered, a collar placed around their neck, or they could be trussed up on a length of bamboo.

      talikala' a chain of gold, iron or other metals; MAG- ... to be in chains (as a prisoner); MAG-, PAG--AN to put a prisoner in chains; ... [MDL]

      palataw a hobble, a restraint attached to the feet with a chain to keep fugitives from absconding; ...; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to hobble or shackle a fugitive in this way; ... [MDL]

      súno' ... [+MDL: ... MA-, -AN ... to use the same shackles, manacles or chains for two people's hands or feet; ...; MAG- to share the same manacles; ...]

      talang rattan collar placed around the neck of a dog or cat, a prisoner or robber, or worn when mourning; MAG- to wear a rattan collar; ... [MDL]

      tukog a length of bamboo, stretching from the neck to the hands, to which one is tied; to truss s/o up in this way; MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to tie one's hands and neck in this way; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to use a length of bamboo for this purpose [MDL]

    The pillory or stocks was a common form of punishment. It served not only to keep prisoners confined, but also exposed them to the gaze of the community they had wronged. It is easy to imagine that they could be jeered and ridiculed, as well as subjected to a certain amount of physical abuse, although there are no entries in Lisboa which specifically mention this. It was, however, also possible for those confined to be shielded from the public by a wooden wall or screen as the entry for ariring shows. In the entry for pá'ot we see that confinement in the stocks could be the punishment for nonpayment of one's debts. Such a default need not only end up with the defaulter being enslaved.

      sipit pillory, stocks (typ-) [MDL]

      pandóg pillory, stocks; ... [+MDL: MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to place one in a pillory or stocks; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to use a pillory or stocks for punishment]

      ariring a wooden wall or screen extending from beneath the knees and completely covering one who has been placed in the stocks; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to place such a wall or screen around s/o; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to build such a wall or screen [MDL]

      pá'ot MAG- to be kept in a pillory, stocks: Pa'anó akó makapagbáyad saímo kainíng nagpá'ot na akó digdí sa pandóg? How am I going to be able to pay you if I'm stuck here in a pillory? [MDL]

      purúpot ... [MDL: ... (fig-) Nagpurúpot na sa pandóg si kuyán That person is firmly locked in the stocks]

      sulbód MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to insert s/t into an opening where it is an exact or tight fit (such as the foot into the stocks for punishment; [MDL]

      tuwáng ... [+MDL: MAG- ... to be on either side of a pillory or stocks (prisoners); MAG-, PAG--ON to place prisoners on either side of a pillory or stocks; ... KA-... a companion prisoner in a pillory or stocks]

      tunong a wedge used to lock or tighten a pillory or stocks (sipit, pandóg); MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to lock a prisoner into a pillory or stocks; ... [MDL]

    The last two entries in this section show the effects on those when confined to the stocks or chained for too long a time.

      pi'aw knock-kneed; MA-to walk or stand in this manner; to hobble (as one kept too long in the stocks when first trying to walk) [MDL]

      lulukón MA- to have one's feet go numb and have trouble walking; to have one's feet fall asleep (from being confined or placed in irons, or after being ill for a long time) [MDL]

    6. Administration of Justice
    6.1 Trials
    A freeman or timáwa' could hold particular suspicions about the actions of a particular member of the community.

      na'o-na'o MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to suspect s/o; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to suspect s/o of s/t [MDL]

      tu'óm-tu'óm ... [+MDL: MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to suspect s/o; ... MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to have particular suspicions; ... MA- suspicious; ...]

    If these suspicions were strong enough, the freeman could approach the village chief with a complaint.
    The complainant would accuse the one suspected by name and a charge would be brought against that person who would be summoned to appear before the judge.

      sahót ... [MDL: MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to blame or accuse s/o; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to blame or accuse s/o of s/t]

      mulong MANG-, IPANG- or MAGPANG-, IPAGPANG- to accuse s/o of wrongdoing before a judge or other high official of the town so that they can be punished; to bring a charge against s/o; MANG-, PANG--AN or MAGPANG-, PAGPANG--AN to bring an accusation before a particular judge [MDL]

      apód ... [MDL: MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to call s/o by name; MAG-, PAG--ON to name s/o in a legal suit or dispute]

    If the village chief was unable to settle the matter brought before him, the matter would move to arbitration. Each village had individuals known to be fair and impartial, and it is these individuals who would be called upon to try to mediate the dispute.[41] Some of the entries dealing with mediation in Lisboa are neutral, such as hátol. Other entries have implications of taking the side of one of the litigants. Pintakási is fairly weak in this respect, while suróg leaves no question that one of the parties will be favored, as does the figurative entry for gapil. With an entry such as suli' we have a statement of initial neutrality leading to favoritism of one of the parties as mediation progresses.

      hátol advice, counsel, guidance; ... [MDL: MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to bring people together to settle their differences (an arbitrator or mediator); MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to come to some agreement on one's differences; MAPA-, or MAGPA- to approach s/o to act as an arbitrator or mediator]

      pintakási mediator, defender; MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to plead for s/o; to defend s/o; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to mediate on behalf of s/o; to intercede on behalf of s/o; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to make a particular case; to put forth a particular plea; MAPA-, PA--ON to request that s/o intercede on your behalf; to request help from a mediator; ... ] [MDL]

      suróg ... [+MDL: MA-, -ON to aid s/o in a struggle; to take s/o's side in a legal case; to favor s/o in a fight; MAG-, PAG--ON to favor one person over another; MAG-, PAG--AN to fight over s/t where one is favored or aided over another; MAG-, IPAG- to choose one as a favorite to aid in a fight against another; MANG-, PANG--ON to aid or defend s/o who has done no wrong; ...]

      gapil MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to lean against the raised side of a boat in order to level it out; ...; (fig-) to join or take sides with s/o: Gapil an bu'ót niyá ki kuyán She is on that person's side [MDL]

      suli' MAPA-, PA--AN to do what is right, fitting or proper for s/o (such as defending one who deserves to be defended, accusing one who is guilty or helping one who deserves your help); MAPA-, IPA- to cast blame on one who is guilty; MAKA-, MA--AN to blame one who is innocent; MAKA-, IKA-to mete out punishment to one who is innocent; ... [MDL]

    If a compromise could not be reached through mediation, represented by entries such as úlay, the matter would be returned to the village chief. He would ask each of the individuals in the dispute to take an oath whereby they promised to abide by his judgement. This was taken prior to the calling of witnesses.

      úlay : urúlay agreement, compromise; ... MAGKA- to reach an agreement, compromise; ... [+MDL: MAG-, PAG--AN to come to an agreement about s/t; KA--AN an agreement; PARA- counselor (one who tries to get others to agree)]

    There were various oaths which could be sworn, ranging from a simple oath of allegiance to those calling for some dire consequence or death if the oath were to be broken. Oaths could also be taken on one's mother.

      sambá MAG- to take a mutual oath; to swear allegiance to one another; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to take an oath on or about s/t; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to swear s/t [MDL]

      típan ... [MDL: a vow or pledge; MA-, I- to make a vow or promise to do s/t; to pledge s/t; to take an oath MA-, -AN to make a vow or promise to s/o; to form a covenant with s/o; ...]

      sumpá' oath; ... [+MDL: MA-, I- to take a particular oath, such as that one will die (see gadán, matáy ), that one will be split asunder (see si'sí' ); MA-, -AN to swear to do s/t or take an oath about s/t; ...]

      gadán corpse, the deceased; ... [+MDL: MA-, -ON to kill s/o; ...; MA-: magadán may I die, on my life; an oath taken where one utters these words; MAMA-, MAMA--AN or MAGMA-, PAGMA--AN to take such an oath]

      matáy may I die; an oath taken whereby s/o swears to take their own life if not telling the truth; MA- or MAG- to take such an oath by repeating this word [MDL]

      si'sí' ... [+MDL: sisí' MA- or MAG- to rip or split; MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to rip or split s/t; ... -UM-: simisí' uttered as an oath, indicating that one should be split apart if not telling the truth; -IMIN-: Siminisí' ka used as curse when annoyed, indicating that one should be split asunder]

      iná' mother; ... [+MDL: si iná' my mother; ... MASA- or MAGSA- to swear by your mother; MASA-, SA--AN or MAGSA-, PAGSA--AN to swear s/t is true by your mother; to take an oath on your mother; ...]

      sulít an oath: Susulít pa May I be returned to the womb of my mother ; MA- or MAG- to take such an oath; to be sworn in [MDL]

    Plasencia also describes similar oaths among the Tagalogs.[42] The oaths he cites are:

      May the rays of the sun split me in two; May I be carried away by crocodiles; May I be ripped apart by a wild animal; May my wife no longer accept my advances and May my life be diminished like a burning candle.

    For the situation in Pampanga, Plasencia describes the calling of witnesses as follows. Each of the litigants would be asked to call on witnesses who could testify on their behalf. If each was able to call the same number of witnesses, then the judge would ask them to split any amount claimed in the suit. The assumption was that a witness agreeing take one side or the other would give testimony supporting the chosen side.
    If the number of witnesses was unequal, the one with the greater number of witnesses would be seen as having won the suit. In this case the defendant would either be released from the claim, or would be asked to pay the full amount. Witnesses were paid, and since they were paid only if their testimony was given on the winning side, this must have led to some degree of favoritism and dishonesty. Any initial payment given to a witness on the losing side had to be returned. Payment to witnesses was also based on their rank or social status. In the case where a claimant won a large amount of money, witnesses would also share in this settlement.[43]
    While there is no record of the same or similar situation occurring in Bikol, Lisboa has a number of entries dealing with witnesses. Entries referred to the simple giving of testimony, such as saksí, taksí and tandá'. Other entries referred to the disagreement of witnesses who gave contradictory evidence (saluhot, tumandá', ma'má') or those who deliberately told a lie, thereby perjuring themselves (tugód-tugód, tu'óm-tu'óm, tu'óm). As mentioned previously, oaths were taken by the litigants swearing to abide by the judge's decision. There are no entries in Lisboa indicating that witnesses were also sworn to tell the truth, although this was probably the case. Guido de Lavezaris states that those called to give testimony could be made slaves if the testimony they gave could not later be proved correct.[44]

      saksí a witness; MAG-, -ON to witness s/t; MAG-, -AN to be a witness for s/o [MDL: MA- or MAG- to testify; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to testify on behalf of s/o; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to give a particular testimony; to swear on the truth of a particular testimony; MAPA-, PA--ON to call s/o as a witness]

      taksí MA- or MAG- to testify; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to testify on behalf of s/o; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to give a particular testimony; to swear that a particular testimony is true; MAPA-, PA--ON to call s/o as a witness [MDL]

      tandá' ... MAPA-, PA--ON to have s/o take responsibility for s/o; to have s/o testify to s/t or bear witness to s/t; MAPA-, PA--AN to have s/o testify; MAPA-, IPA-to take an oath; to swear to s/t [MDL]

      saluhot MA-, -AN to give testimony different from that given by another; MA-, -ON to disagree with what has previously been said; to speak against s/t; MA-, I- to present contradictory evidence; MAG- to hold contradictory positions or opinions (two people); MAG-, PAG--ON to present two differing points of view, conflicting evidence or opinions; MAG-, PAG--AN to present such contradictory evidence to s/o; MAG-, IPAG- to present support for ones testimony or point of view; MAGKA-, PAGKA--AN to hold differing points of view (unaware of the opposing opinion); magkasaraluhot to all be of differing opinions (many different people) [MDL]

      tumandá' MAKI-, PAKI--ON to testify or give evidence contrary to that given by another; to counter another's statement or claim; MAKI-, PAKI--AN to give particular evidence; to testify to s/t, making a counter claim [MDL]

      ma'má' ... MAPA-, PA--ON to place one thing on another; ... (fig-) Harí mú'na pama'má' ta an pagtarám ni kuyán Let's not rush into affirming what that person has said ... [MDL]

      tugód-túgod MAG-, -AN to slander, libel or slur s/o; MAG-, I- to say s/t libelous [+MDL: false testimony, perjury; MA-libeler, slanderer; MA- or MAG- to perjure o/s; MA-, -AN: tugód-tugóran or MAG-, PAG--AN: pagtugód-tugóran to give false testimony against s/o; to say s/t untrue about s/o; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to give false testimony; to knowingly say s/t which is untrue]

      tu'óm-tu'óm ... [+MDL: MA-, -or MAG-, PAG--AN ... to bear false witness against s/o; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- ... to give false testimony; MA- ... one who bears false testimony]

      tu'óm ... [+MDL: MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to imagine s/t; to do s/t from memory; to make s/t up; to say s/t which is groundless; to give false testimony; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to bear false witness against s/o; ... PAG- memorisation; false testimony]

    Witness could presumably be questioned by the judge. Hapót is the general entry for questioning. The stronger entry is tuksó which is the asking of probing questions, coming into modern Bikol as 'to interrogate' or 'cross-examine'.

      hapót question; inquiry, query; ... [+MDL: MA-, -or MAG-, PAG--ON to ask s/o a question; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to ask a question; hapót-hápot MAG-, PAG--ON to repeatedly ask s/o s/t]

      tuksó MAG-, -ON to cross-examine s/o; to interrogate s/o; MAG-, I-to ask particular questions in an interrogation; PAG- cross-examination; interrogation; PARA-interrogator, cross-examiner; ... [MDL: MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to sound s/o out (to see what they know, think or feel); to question s/o in an attempt to find s/t out about them; to find s/t out about s/o by asking probing questions; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to ask s/o s/t; to put probing questions to s/o; ... MA- matuksóng táwo one who asks probing questions]

    Once witnesses were called and all testimony heard, the judge would deliberate the matter and pass judgement. If the defeated party refused to abide by the judgement, the judge would move against him or her to force compliance (also see Section 3). It is possible that an entry in Lisboa such as dangan was an attempt to discover the outcome of a case and what a possible sentence might be so that the losing party could take proper measures to protect him or herself.

      dangan MAPA-, PA--ON or MAGPA-, PAGPA--ON / MAPA-, PA--AN or MAGPA-, PAGPA--AN to spend a short time in a particular place; (fig-) to speak first to s/o to find out information before speaking to the main person one has to deal with: Padangan mú'na kitá ki kuyán ta' ngáning makasáyod kitá kon anó an túgon nin hukóm Let's speak to someone first so we know what sentence the judge has passed [MDL]

    Once a case was settled, those who had placed a wager on its outcome could also come to a settlement.

      taron MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to wager or bet on s/o involved in a case or dispute; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to place a particular wager or bet on the outcome of a dispute or case [MDL]

    There were costs involved in prosecuting a case. At least one village chief was involved sitting as judge, although frequently there could be multiple village chiefs who were called upon. There were mediators, and there were witnesses. None of these people expected to contribute their services for free. We have seen how witnesses were paid. A judge was paid in a similar way. Any fine which was imposed on the convicted party would be divided equally between the successful litigant and the judge.[45] Where there were other chiefs and mediators involved, we can assume that the half which would have gone to a single judge, would be further divided among the other participants in the mediation or trial. If a case were lost, there would be no fine and no payment. It is possible that an entry in Lisboa such as the following which refers to court costs might be paid in such circumstances.

      salap court costs or duties; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to offer s/t in payment for such costs; MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to pay such costs; to pay such costs to s/o [MDL]

    6.2 Trial by Ordeal
    Plasencia describes for Pampanga what might be called trial by ordeal.[46] When there is a theft, suspects are first given a chance to return any stolen merchandise and walk away without punishment. The suspects are asked to produce a package of cloth, leaves or other material which is tied so that any contents it may hold cannot be seen. The packages are then untied, and if the stolen item is found within the case proceeds no further. If, however, the item is not found, the suspects are asked to undergo particular tests.
    In one test, suspects are asked to go to the deepest part of river holding a staff. They are then asked to hold their breath and go under the water. The first one to surface is taken to be the thief since the lack of breath is seen as a sign of a guilty conscience. Plasencia writes that there were numerous cases where innocent people drowned, afraid to surface and be accused of a crime they did not commit.
    A further test involves the placing of a stone in a container of boiling water. The suspects are asked to place a hand in the boiling water to remove the stone. The one refusing to do so is considered guilty and is asked to return the stolen item, or pay for its replacement.
    In one further trial, each suspect is given a candle of the same size and weight. These candles are lit. The person holding the candle which is first to go out is considered the guilty party.

    6.3 Miscarriage of Justice
    The outcome of a trial did not necessarily have to be just. There could also be confusion where more than one person was implicated in a crime. A criminal could easily have an accomplice, and in this case it was in the interest of both to conceal a wrongdoing.

      hunungan MA-, -ON to make s/o an accessory to your crime; to ask s/o to conceal a crime or wrongdoing; MAG- to conspire to keep a crime secret (two people); MAG-, PAG--ON to hush s/t up; to conceal a crime [MDL]

    In many cases the accused would try to deflect blame from him or herself, unjustly blaming another for the crime.

      narumbabá' MANG-, PANG--ON to blame s/o else (the person who is at fault); MANG-, IPANG- to blame s/o else for a particular wrongdoing [MDL]

      raway MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON ... to frame s/o; to try to implicate s/o in wrong-doing without just cause; ... [MDL]

    It was also possible to be implicated in another person's affairs quite inadvertently.

      rapot MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG-ON to implicate s/o; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to involve or draw s/o into another person's affairs; ... Irinarapot akó ki kuyán na hampakón I was implicated with that person and was whipped; ... [MDL]

      daráhig ... [+MDL: MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to involve or implicate another in your crime, or in your business affairs, without their knowledge; MA- to be punished due to being implicated in s/o else's crime; ...] 

      hangyób MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to singe or sear s/t by passing it through a flame; ... (fig-) Nahangyób kitá kainíng panha'bón ni kuyán We have been inadvertently implicated in that person's crime [MDL]

    The following entries may apply to those unjustly convicted of a crime and fined or punished. The last entry is interesting, indicating that someone unjustly accused of a crime, has then resorted to committing the offense he was accused of.

      alang-alang unfair, unjust, unreasonable, iniquitous: Alang-alang na hampakón an da'íng kasa'lán It is unjust to whip s/o who has done nothing wrong ... [MDL]

      líwag MA- iniquitous, unjust; malicious, vicious; ... MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to treat s/o wrongly or unjustly; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to carry out a particular iniquity or malicious action; ... KA--AN iniquity, maliciousness, viciousness [MDL]

      murangos MANGHING-, PANGHING--AN to take out anger on one who is blameless; to blame s/o unjustly [MDL]

      rabáy MA-, -AN or MAG-, PAG--AN to blame or punish everyone for the misdeeds of a few; MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to blame and punish the innocent along with the guilty; MA--AN to be blamed or punished in this way (the guilty and innocent); IKA- to be blamed or punished (the innocent); ... [MDL]

      lugod-lugod MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON / MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to give s/o a name which suits their looks, status or actions; ... also: to do s/t one has been falsely blamed for or accused of: Malugod-lugod na akóng manha'bón ta' pinagtugód-tugorán akóng nanhaha'bón I've become a thief because I have been falsely accused of stealing [MDL]

    One who was either justly or unjustly punished for a crime could take revenge on those responsible when released from confinement, as the following entry shows.

      timamlós MA-, -ON or MAG-, PAG--ON to take revenge on s/o who has been the cause of your punishment or pain (as when a prisoner is whipped, and when released, whips those who accused him); MA-, I- or MAG-, IPAG- to use s/t to carry out your revenge (such as a lash or whip) [MDL]

    7. Conclusion
    The Spanish, arriving in the Philippines in the mid-sixteenth century, found indigenous systems of law in place that functioned adequately in the towns and villages they very quickly came to occupy and control. These laws were based on traditional beliefs and customs and were enforced by a recognised ruling elite who retained their status and control by maintaining a comparatively high level of wealth. New laws, when they were needed, were encoded by these elite groups and then announced to their respective communities. Those citizens who chose not to abide by a set of community laws, or who had broken them and feared the consequences, could leave, their option being residence outside of established villages, usually in the mountains. There they had little contact with their families, were forced into association with the Negritos who could be antagonistic, and often had little option but to continue or resort to criminal activity to derive some sort of income.
    Those involved in disputes did not necessarily need recourse to the legal system to settle their differences. The law, however, was there and available if attempts at personal negotiation failed. Accusations could be made to a village chief acting as a judge and a case could be brought against an individual. If a judge could not settle the matter, it went to mediation and subsequently to what we may call a trial. Oaths were taken by the litigants that they would abide the judge’s decision, witnesses called, testimony heard, a decision reached and a sentence subsequently brought down.
    Cases coming before a village judge ranged from the civil to the criminal. Matters such as insults, adultery, deception and defaults on loans were some of the civil cases heard. Thefts, assaults, ambushes, and murder were some of the criminal cases.
    Punishment varied depending on the severity of the crime and the person against whom it was perpetrated. Death was a common sentence, although it may not have been commonly carried out. It was frequently commuted to a fine which the guilty party had to pay within a set period of time. Failure to pay would result in enslavement. The guilty could also be incarcerated. This usually meant being chained or placed in a pillory or stocks, although discrete rooms or buildings could have served as prisons in the larger towns.
    The Spanish did not greatly alter this indigenous system of justice, although the system was to change as the society around it changed. The royal audiencia was established in the Philippines in 1583. This served as an overriding legal body, somewhat like a supreme court, but having administrative as well as legal functions. It took the decision to follow the traditional customs in place in the Philippines with regard to matters of slavery, inheritance, marriage, and other civil matters. This was codified in 1599 by Juan de Plasencia when the customary law of the Tagalogs was defined as the common law throughout the Philippines. Spanish law applied in all criminal cases and civil disputes not covered by customary law.[47]
    The Spanish retained this system of justice throughout their occupation of the Philippines, allowing the native population a substantial degree of autonomy in running their affairs. Even by the mid-nineteenth century, each township in a province still had what was called a gobernadorcillo [a petty governor] who was an elected magistrate for the town. He had a number of alguaciles [assistants] in charge of the administration of justice. Each town was also divided into a number of barangay lead by a cabeza de barangay [a village headman or chief] replacing the earlier dáto' and in charge of the 40 to 50 families resident there. To maintain law and order the gobernadorcillo also appointed officials called bilánggo for each barangay .[48] The gobernadorcillo, as a magistrate, tried civil cases involving small sums of money with appeals going to the alguaciles . For criminal cases and civil suits involving large sums of money, the gobernadorcillo acted as a court of first instance with appeals going to the audiencia .[49]
    When the Spanish outlawed slavery in 1591, this meant that the Spanish in the Philippines could not legally hold slaves. There were, however, inconsistencies in this policy. Negritos and Moslems, for example, who did not recognise Spanish authority, could be kept as slaves.[50] This policy at first had little effect on slavery as practiced by the native population. By the end of the seventeenth century, however, the Spanish legislated against the practice of inherited slavery. Children born to slaves (gintúbo') were now free. With regard to debt slavery, the Spanish were less successful in eliminating this practice. It can be argued that the existence of sharecropping in the present-day Philippines is really a system that evolved from this earlier practice.[51]
    Change also occurred with regard to the system of debts and loans. Usury was against a Christian ideal and frowned upon by the missionaries as against the teachings of the church.[52] While the greatest excesses of this system were mitigated, the practice continued and was still very much a part of individual and business activity to the end of the Spanish period in the Philippines.
    A native system of justice not only survived under the Spanish, but was actually encouraged by them. It was, however, a system that was to change. From being the only system of justice, it became subsumed under a larger system of which it was only a part, just as the towns where the system functioned changed from being unique administrative units to become political units subsumed under a larger system in which they were parts of provinces and, in turn, part of a nation.


    [1] Marcos de Lisboa (1754), Vocabulario de la lengua Bicol, Pueblo de Sampaloc: Convento de Nuestra Señora de Loreto; reprinted in 1865, Manila: Establecimiento Tipografico del Colegio de Santo Tomas.

    [2] Eusebio Gomez Platero (1880), Catálogo Biográfico de los Religiosos Franciscanos de la Provincia de San Gregorio Magno de Filipinas, Manila: Imprenta del Real Colegio de Santo Tomas, p. 53 as cited in Jose CallejaReyes (1968), ‘Ibalón: An Ancient Bikol Epic,’ in Philippine Studies, vol. 16, no. 2, pp. 31847, p. 323.

    [3] Entrada de la Seraphica Religión de Nuestro Padre San Francisco de las Islas Philipinas (1895), an anonymous manuscript of 1649 held at the Biblioteca Nacional, Madrid, MSS No. 505, p. 51.

    [4] Malcolm W. Mintz, (2005), Vol I: English-Bikol Index; Vol. II: Bikol-English Dictionary, Australia: Indonesian/Malay Texts, incorporates the 17th century Marcos de Lisboa Vocabulario de la lengua Bicol.

    [5] Miguel de Loarca (1582), Relación de las Islas Filipinas, in in Emma Helen Blair and James Alexander Robertson (1903-1909), The Philippine Islands, 1493-1898, 55 vols. Cleveland: AH Clark; CD-ROM version, Bank of the Philippine Islands (henceforth B&R), vol. 5, chapter 8, p. 141 and Andres de San Nicholas (1664), Historia general de las religiosos descalzos del orden de San Agustin, chapter VI, in B&R, vol. 21, pp. 140-41.

    [6] Loarca, Relacion, Chapter 11 in B&R, vol. 5, p. 175.

    [7] Juan de Plasencia (1589), Customs of the Tagalogs, in B&R, vol. 7, p. 179.

    [8] Also see Pedro Chirino, S.J. (1969), Relación de las Islas Filipinas (1604), Manila: Historical Conservation Society, Chapter 9 for a description of the situation in the Visayas.

    [9] Antonio de Morga (1971), Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas (1609), Cambridge: The Hakluyt Society - Cambridge University Press, p. 275.

    [10] William Henry Scott (1994), Barangay , Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press, p. 131.

    [11] See Plasencia, Customs of the Tagalogs, in B&R, vol. 7, pp. 175-77 and Guido de Lavezaris (1572), in B&R: vol. 3, pp. 286-88 for a description of slavery among the Tagalogs, and Loarca, Relación, Chapter 9 in B&R, vol. 5, p. 143 for a description of slavery among the Visayans.

    [12] Loarca, Relación, Chapter 11 in B&R, vol. 5, pp. 175, 177.

    [13] Loarca, Relación, Chapter 11 in B&R, vol. 5, pp. 181-83.

    [14] Francisco Colin (1663), Native Races and their Customs, in B&R, vol. 40, pp. 93-94.

    [15] Loarca, Relación, Chapter 11 in B&R, vol. 5, pp. 181-83; also Morga Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas (1609), p. 277).

    [16] Plasencia, Customs of the Pampangas in their lawsuits, in B&R, vol. 16, pp. 326-27; also in Juan de San Antonio (1738), Chronicas de las Apostolica Provincia de S. Gregorio de Religiosos Descalzos, Sampaloc: Convento de Nuestra Señora de Loreto, Section 479, p. 162.

    [17] Loarca, Relación, Chapter 11 in B&R, vol. 5, p. 187.

    [18] See San Nicolas, Historia general, in B&R, vol. 21, p. 141 for a general statement on the workings of such a council in Zambales.

    [19] Mintz, Bikol Dictionary, vol. 1, p. 154.

    [20] Morga, Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas (1609), p. 276.

    [21] Chirino, Relación de las Islas Filipinas (1604), Chapter 46.

    [22] Loarca, Relación, Chapter 10 in B&R, vol. 5, p. 161.

    [23] Plasencia, Customs of the Tagalogs, in B&R, vol. 7, p. 180.

    [24] Lavezaris, in B&R, vol 3, p. 287.

    [25] Francisco Mallari, S.J. (1986), ‘Muslim Raids in Bicol: 15801792,’ Philippine Studies, vol 34, pp. 25786.

    [26] Loarca, Relación, Chapter 9 in B&R, vol. 5, p. 151.

    [27] Plasencia, Customs of the Pampangas in their lawsuits, in B&R, vol. 16, p. 325.

    [28] Loarca, Relación, Chapter 11 in B&R, vol. 5, p. 179 and Plasencia in B&R, vol. 16, pp. 325, 326.

    [29] Scott, Barangay, p. 139.

    [30] John Leddy Phelan (1959), The Hispanization of the Philippines: Spanish Aims and Filipino Responses, 1565-1700, Filipiniana Reprint Series, 1985. Manila: Cacho Hermanos, p. 117.

    [31] ‘Conquest of the Island of Luzón, Manila, April 20, 1572,’ in B&R, vol. 3, p. 171.

    [32] Scott, Barangay, p. 181.

    [33] Scott, Barangay, p. 139.

    [34] Loarca, Relación, Chapter 11 in B&R, vol. 5, p. 185.

    [35] Loarca, Relación, Chapter 11 in B&R, vol. 5, p. 185.

    [36] Lavezaris, in B&R, vol. 3, p. 287.

    [37] Plasencia, Customs of the Pampangas in their lawsuits, in B&R, vol. 16, pp. 323-25.

    [38] Colin, Native Races and their Customs, in B&R, vol. 40, p. 82.

    [39] Plasencia, Customs of the Pampangas in their lawsuits, in B&R, vol. 16, pp. 323-25.

    [40] Plasencia, Customs of the Tagalogs, in B&R, vol. 7, p. 179.

    [41] Plasencia, Customs of the Tagalogs, in B&R, vol. 7, p. 179.

    [42] Plasencia in San Antonio, Chronicas de las Apostolica Provincia de S. Gregorio de Religiosos Descalzos, p. 157.

    [43] Plasencia, Customs of the Pampangas in their lawsuits, in B&R, vol. 16, pp. 322-323; also see Section 4.2 (iii).

    [44] Lavezaris, in B&R, vol. 3, p. 287.

    [45] Plasencia, Customs of the Pampangas in their lawsuits, in B&R, vol. 16, p. 325.

    [46] Plasencia in San Antonio, Chronicas de las Apostolica Provincia de S. Gregorio de Religiosos Descalzos, pp. 162-64.

    [47] B&R, vol. 11, p. 31 and Phelan, The Hispanization of the Philippines: Spanish Aims and Filipino Responses, 1565-1700, p. 129.

    [48] Sinibaldo de Mas (1842), Informe sobre el estado de las Islas Filipinas, in B&R, vol. 17, pp. 322-28.

    [49] Phelan, The Hispanization of the Philippines: Spanish Aims and Filipino Responses, 1565-1700, p. 129; also see Greg Bankoff (1996), Crime, Society and the State in the Nineteenth Century Philippines, Quezon City, Philippines: Ateneo de Manila University Press, chapter 4 for a full discussion of crime in the 19th century.

    [50] (Phelan 1959: 94)

    [51] Phelan, The Hispanization of the Philippines: Spanish Aims and Filipino Responses, 1565-1700, pp. 114-16.

    [52] Plasencia, Customs of the Tagalogs, in B&R, vol. 7, p. 180.


This paper was originally published in Intersections: Gender, History and Culture in the Asian Context, with the assistance of Murdoch University.

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