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PNB v.

Tria
TOPIC: CRIMINAL LAW; Qualified Theft (Art. 310 in relation to
Article 308-309, RPC)
Facts: PNB-MWSS Branch filed a complaint for qualified theft
against Tria, its bank manager, before the Prosecutors Office. PNB
contended that Tria connived with a fictitious payee named Atty.
Reyes in encashing a managers check issued by Tria himself. PNB
narrated that Tria, as bank manager, instructed his employees to
process and evaluate a request letter from Atty. Reyes instructing
the deduction of 5 Million Pesos from the MWSS account and its
withdrawal, without consent from the account holder and PNB.
Tria also accompanied Atty. Reyes in PNB-QC where said
managers check was encashed, despite the availability of fund in
PNB-MWSS, and successfully encashed the check.
In his defense, Tria averred that the elements of qualified theft
there are lacking in this case because there was no taking of
personal property, there was no intent to gain on his part, the
personal property does not belong to PNB even if it is the
depository bank, there was no grave abuse of discretion on his
part and his alleged identification of payee Atty. Reyes is not the
operative act that triggered the payment of the managers check.
Instead, Tria put the blame on PNB-QC for not verifying.
Issue: Based on the surrounding facts, whether there is probable
cause to file Information for Qualified theft against Tria
Held: YES. Probable cause, for purposes of filing a criminal
information, are such facts as are sufficient to engender a wellfounded belief that a crime has been committed and that the
accused is probably guilty thereof. It is the existence of such facts
and circumstances as would excite the belief in a reasonable
mind, acting on the facts within the knowledge of the prosecutor,
that the person charged was guilty of the crime for which he is to

be prosecuted. A finding of probable cause needs only to rest on


evidence showing that more likely than not a crime has been
committed and that it was committed by the accused.
Under Art. 310 of the RPC in relation to Art. 308 and 309 of the
same Code, theft is committed by any person who with intent to
gain without violence against or intimidation of persons nor force
upon things, shall take the personal property of another without
the latters consent. If committed with grave abuse of confidence,
the crime of theft becomes qualified.
In this case, all the elements are present. It must be noted that
the managers check was drawn by Tria himself upon the bank
PNB. The pretense made in PNB-MWSS that led to the issuance of
the managers check cannot be imputed on anyone other than
Tria. His role as branch manager who had the responsibility over
the functions of the employees of PNB cannot be overlooked. Tria
is duty bound to verify from the bank clients any supposed
authority given. He is required to exercise the highest degree of
care, but this degree of diligence was wanting in Trias failure to
determine the veracity of the request for withdrawal.