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the penalties for that would constitute judicial legislation

LITO CORPUZ vs PEOPLE and that such duty does not belong to the court but to the
G.R. No. 180016 legislature.
DATED: April 29, 2014
Other Justices has their own opinion as to the punishment, some
PONENTE: PERALTA, J. concurs with the ponente, others invoked the art 5 of the RPC that
in cases of excessive penalties the court shall render the proper
FACTS: An information was filed against Lito Corpuz for the decision and shall report to the chief executive the reasons that
crime of estafa, wherein said Danilo Tangcoy is engaged in the such said act should be made subject of legislation and without
business of lending money to casino players. suspending the sentence.

May 2, 1991 petitioner Lito Corpuz approached him and Justice Carpio in his dissenting opinion said that the first
offered to sell his jewelry pieces in a commission basis in paragraph of article 315 should be held unconstitutional as it is
which Danilo Tangcoy agreed. against article 19(1) of the Constitution and that according to the
universal declaration of human rights "torture, cruel, degrading and
He then gave Lito Corpuz several jewelries that has an inhuman punishment should be ban", the Philippines was one of the
aggregate value of P98, 000 as evidence by a receipt. Both approving State/community during the UDHR and although is a
agreed that within sixty days Lito Corpuz shall remit the non-binding instrument, such UDHR forms part of the Philippine law
proceeds of the sale or if unsold shall return the same. Lito for it is a generally accepted principle of international law.
Corpuz then promised to pay the value of the said items.
RULING: WHEREFORE, the Petition for Review on Certiorari dated
On the information filed by Danilo Tangcoy it was said that November 5, 2007 of petitioner Lito Corpuz is hereby DENIED.
Consequently, the Decision dated March 22, 2007 and Resolution dated
Lito corpuz with an intent to defraud said Tangcoy September 5, 2007 of the Court of Appeals, which affirmed with
misappropriated, misapply and convert such jewelries into modification the Decision dated July 30, 2004 of the Regional Trial Court,
his personal used. Branch 46, San Fernando City, finding petitioner guilty beyond reasonable
doubt of the crime of Estafa under Article 315, paragraph (1), sub-
Herein, Lito Corpuz filed a not guilty plea but the paragraph (b) of the Revised Penal Code, are hereby AFFIRMED with
Regional Trial Court ruled in favor of Tangcoy and MODIFICATION that the penalty imposed is the indeterminate penalty of
sentenced Corpuz guilty of the crime of estafa and to imprisonment ranging from THREE (3) YEARS, TWO (2) MONTHS and
ELEVEN DAYS of prision correccional, as minimum, to FIFTEEN (15) YEARS
suffer the penalty of imprisonment under the
of reclusion temporal as maximum.
indeterminate sentence law of 4yrs and 2mons to
14yrs and 8 months.
Pursuant to Article 5 of the Revised Penal Code, let a Copy of this Decision
be furnished the President of the Republic of the Philippines, through the
Lito Corpuz appealed to the Court of Appeals where it Department of Justice.
denied the appeal and ruled the same, Corpuz then
appealed to the Supreme Court by way of Certiorari. Also, let a copy of this Decision be furnished the President of the Senate
and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
ISSUE: Whether or not the RTC and CA erred in their ruling and that the
punishment was harsh.
HELD: The Supreme Court ruled that indeed the petitioner Lito
Corpuz was guilty of the crime of estafa.

The decision about the punishment the Supreme Court stated EXTRA COPY WORDPRESS COPY
that there seems to be a perceived injustice brought by the
range of penalties, but the high court said that they modify
EXTENDED ISSUES: ISSUES and RULING What is the form of demand required in estafa with abuse of
Can the court admit as evidence a photocopy of document without
violating the best evidence rule (only original documents, as a Note first that the elements of estafa with abuse of confidence are as
general rule, is admissible as evidence)? follows:

Yes. The established doctrine is that when a party failed to interpose a

timely objection to evidence at the time they were offered in evidence, (a) that money, goods or other personal property is received by the offender in
such objection shall be considered as waived. trust, or on commission, or for administration, or under any other obligation
involving the duty to make delivery of, or to return the same;

Here, Corpuz never objected to the admissibility of the said evidence at the (b) that there be misappropriation or conversion of such money or property by
time it was identified, marked and testified upon in court by Tangcoy. the offender or denial on his part of such receipt;
Corpuz also failed to raise an objection in his Comment to the
prosecutions formal offer of evidence and even admitted having signed (c) that such misappropriation or conversion or denial is to the prejudice of
another; and
the said receipt.
(d) that there is a demand made by the offended party on the offender.
Is the date of occurrence of time material in estafa cases with
abuse of confidence? No specific type of proof is required to show that there was demand.
Demand need not even be formal; it may be verbal. The specific word
No. It is true that the gravamen of the crime of estafa with abuse of demand need not even be used to show that it has indeed been made
confidence under Article 315, paragraph 1, subparagraph (b) of the RPC is upon the person charged, since even a mere query as to the whereabouts
the appropriation or conversion of money or property received to the of the money [in this case, property], would be tantamount to a demand.
prejudice of the owner and that the time of occurrence is not a material
ingredient of the crime. Hence, the exclusion of the period and the wrong In Tubb v. People, where the complainant merely verbally inquired about
date of the occurrence of the crime, as reflected in the Information, do not the money entrusted to the accused, the query was tantamount to a
make the latter fatally defective. demand.

Further, the following satisfies the sufficiency of information: May a sole witness be considered credible?

1. The designation of the offense by the statute;

Yes. Note first that settled is the rule that in assessing the credibility of
2. The acts or omissions complained of as constituting the offense;
3. The name of the offended party; and witnesses, SC gives great respect to the evaluation of the trial court for it
4. The approximate time of the commission of the offense, and the place wherein had the unique opportunity to observe the demeanor of witnesses and
the offense was committed. their deportment on the witness stand, an opportunity denied the appellate
courts, which merely rely on the records of the case.
The 4th element is satisfied. Even though the information indicates that
the time of offense was committed on or about the 5th of July 1991, such The assessment by the trial court is even conclusive and binding if not
is not fatal to the prosecutions cause considering that Section 11 of the tainted with arbitrariness or oversight of some fact or circumstance of
same Rule requires a statement of the precise time only when the same is weight and influence, especially when such finding is affirmed by the CA.
a material ingredient of the offense. Truth is established not by the number of witnesses, but by the quality of
their testimonies, for in determining the value and credibility of evidence,
the witnesses are to be weighed not numbered.