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Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT
Manila

FIRST DIVISION

G.R. No. 90017-18 March 1, 1994

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
ELENA VERANO Y ABANES, accused-appellant.

The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.

Mariano R. de Joya, Jr. for accused-appellant.

BELLOSILLO, J.:

ELENA VERANO Y ABANES was convicted1 of the crimes of illegal recruitment in large scale2 and
estafa3 in two (2) separate informations4 filed before the Regional Trial Court of Manila and sentenced
thus

(a) In Crim. Case No. 88-61017, this court finds the accused guilty beyond reasonable
doubt of the crime of illegal recruitment in large scale as defined under par. (b) of Art.
38 in relation to Art. 39 of the New Labor Code of the Philippines; and this court hereby
sentences the said accused to suffer the penalty of life imprisonment and to pay a fine
of P100,000.00; and to pay to the offended parties, Arturo Espiel and Alfonso Abanes,
the sums of P10,000.00, and P7,150.00 respectively, plus interest thereon at the legal
rate of 12% per annum from the date of filing of the Information on February 22, 1988.
The damages due to the third offended party, Jose Daep, is taken care of in the estafa
case, Crim. Case No.
88-61018.

(b) In Crim. Case No. 88-6108, the court finds the accused guilty beyond reasonable
doubt of the crime of estafa; and this court hereby sentences the accused to suffer an
indeterminate sentence of SIX (6) YEARS of prision correccional, maximum period, as
minimum penalty, to NINE (9) YEARS of prision mayor medium period, as maximum
penalty, and to pay to Jose Daep, the sole complaining offended party in this case, the
sum of P15,000.00 as actual damages plus interest thereon at the legal rate of P12% per
annum from the date of filing of the Information on February 22, 1988.
As found by the trial court, sometime in October 1987, accused-appellant Elena Verano y Abanes
persuaded the three (3) private complainants, Jose Daep, Arturo Espiel and Alfonso Abanes to accept
overseas employment as salesmen in Bahrain. In consideration thereof, Alfonso, Arturo and Jose were
required to pay P10,000.00 each to cover the expenses for the processing of their travel papers, i.e.,
passports, visas and the cost of their plane tickets, medical examination and recruitment fees. Jose paid
the total amount of P15,000.00, while Arturo and Alfonso paid P10,000.00 and P7,150.00 respectively.
They were issued separate receipts by accused-appellant.5 To further convince them of her capacity to
send them abroad, accused-appellant even signed a contract of employment with her as employer and
Arturo as employee.6

Assured that they could depart for Bahrain on 27 December 1987, Alfonso, Jose and Arturo went to the
Ninoy Aquino International Airport and waited for accused-appellant who was supposed to meet them
there to deliver their passports, visas and plane tickets. When she failed to show up, the three (3)
recruits proceeded to her residence and there waited for her until she returned four (4) days later. By
way of explanation, they were told that their passports and visas were still being processed but were
promised they were promised they could leave for their overseas jobs on 15 January 1988.

Again, the three (3) hopefuls proceeded to the NAIA but, like before, accused-appellant failed to show
up. This time they were told that they could definitely leave on 13 February 1988. However, on the
appointed date and time, accused-appellant failed to show up for the third time. Jose, Arturo and
Alfonso then went to the Western Police District Headquarters to lodge their complaint. Accused-
appellant was arrested on the same day and charged with illegal recruitment committed in large scale,
and estafa, with Jose Daep as the lone complainant in the latter case. After trial, Elena Verano y Abanes
was found guilty in both cases.

In her brief filed by the Public Attorney's office,7 accused-appellant contends that the trial court gravely
erred when it imposed the penalty of life imprisonment for the large scale illegal recruitment for the
reason that it was too harsh in the light of her good faith in just wanting to help the private
complainants secure employment abroad.

However, in her Supplemental Brief and Reply8 filed by her counsel de parte, Atty. Mariano R. de Joya,
Jr., accused-appellant changed her position.9 Instead of pursuing her attack on the "harshness" of the
penalty imposed, she now disputes the findings of fact. Thus she argues that, contrary to the trial court's
findings, she never represented herself as having the capacity to contract workers for overseas
employment; that she merely introduced private complainants Jose, Arturo and Aldonso to a certain
Juliet Majestrado who was the one who claimed to have such capacity; and, with respect to her
conviction for estafa, she argues that although she herself issued the receipts marked Exhs. "C," "E," "E-
1," "E-2" and "H," she never profited from the money paid as it was all given to and personally received
by Juliet Majestrado.

Appellant's argument is obviously without merit in the light of the well-settled doctrine that findings of
fact made by the trial court are final and conclusive and cannot be reviewed on appeal. 10 Except for a
few recognized instances, 11 which do not apply in the case at bench, such findings are bindings and will
not be reviewed by us for this Court is not a trier of facts. The issues raised by appellant are purely and
undisputably factual, as she herself admits. 12Considering that none of the exceptions apply, as
aforesaid, we would not be justified in reversing the judgment of conviction. Hence, the appeal must
fail.
WHEREFORE, the Decision of the court a quo convicting accused-appellant ELENA VERANO Y ABANES of
the crimes of illegal recruitment committed in large scale (Crim. Case No. 88-61017) and estafa (Crim.
Case No. 88-61018) is AFFIRMED in toto. Costs against accused-appellant.

SO ORDERED.

Cruz, Davide, Jr., Quiason and Kapunan, JJ., concur.

#Footnotes

1 Decision penned by Judge Sabino R. de Leon, Jr., Regional Trial Court, Br. 28, Manila; Rollo, pp. 26-36.

2 Art. 38. Illegal Recruitment. (a) Any recruitment activities, including the prohibited practices
enumerated under Article 34 of this Code, to be undertaken by non-licensees or non-holders of authority
shall be deemed illegal and punishable under Article 39 of this Code. The Ministry of Labor and Employment
or any law enforcement officer may initiate complaints under this Article.

(b) Illegal recruitment when committed by a syndicate or in large scale shall be considered an offense
involving economic sabotage and shall be penalized in accordance with Article 39 hereof.

Illegal recruitment is deemed committed by a syndicate if carried out by a group of three (3) or more
persons conspiring and/or confederating with one another in carrying out any unlawful or illegal
transaction, enterprise or scheme defined under the first paragraph hereof. Illegal recruitment is deemed
committed in large scale if committed against three (3) or more persons individually or as a
group . . . .

Art. 39. Penalties. (a) The penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of One Hundred Thousand Pesos
(P100,000) shall be imposed if illegal recruitment constitutes economic sabotage . . . .

3 By using fictitious name, or falsely pretending to possess power, influence, qualification, property, credit,
agency, business or imaginary transactions, or by means of other similar deceits (Art. 315, par. [a], Revised
Penal Code).

4 Docketed a Crim. Cases Nos. 88-61017 and 88-61018, respectively.

5 Exhs. "C," "E," "E-1," E-2" and "H."

6 Exh. "G."

7 Rollo, p. 46.

8 Id., pp. 78-87.

9 Supplemental Brief and Reply, p. 1; Rollo, p. 78.

10 Surban vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 98457, 1 March 1993, 219 SCRA 309, 312; Donato vs. Court of
Appeals, G.R. No. 102603, 18 January 1993, 217 SCRA 196, 203; Paulmitan vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No.
61584, 25 November 1992, 215 SCRA 866, 875; People vs. Bechayda, G.R. No. 72001, 7 August 1992, 212
SCRA 336, 348; People vs. Pajares, G.R. No. 96444, 23 June 1992, 210 SCRA 237, 244; People vs. Diga, G.R.
No. 94546, 24 April 1992, 208 SCRA 306, 315; De Ocsio vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 44237, 28 February
1989, 170 SCRA 729, 732; People vs. Raquinio, No. L-16488, 12 August 1966, 17 SCRA 914, 917-918.
11 (1) When the conclusion is a finding grounded entirely on speculations; (2) when the inference made is
manifestly mistaken, absurd or impossible; (3) where there is grave abuse of discretion; (4) when the
judgment is based on a misapprehension of facts; and, (5) when the court, in making its findings, went
beyond the issues of the case and the same are contrary to the admissions of both appellant and appellee
(People vs. Rivera, G.R. No. 86491, 11 December 1992, 216 SCRA 363, 374).

12 Supplemental Brief and Reply, p. 2; Rollo, p. 79.


FIRST DIVISION

[G.R. No. 132376. April 11, 2002]

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. SAMINA ANGELES y CALMA, accused-appellant.

DECISION
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:

Accused-appellant Samina Angeles y Calma was charged with four (4) counts of estafa and one (1)
count of illegal recruitment in the following informations:[1]

Criminal Case No. 94-140585 (Estafa)

That on or about September 8, 1994 in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused did then and
there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously defraud MARIA TOLOSA DE SARDEA Y TABLADA in the
following manner to wit: the said accused, by means of false manifestations and fraudulent
representations which she made to said Maria Tolosa de Sardea y Tablada to the effect that she had the
power and capacity to recruit and employ her as domestic helper in Paris, France, and could facilitate
the processing of the pertinent papers if given the necessary amount to meet the requirements thereof,
and by means of other similar deceits, induced and succeeded in inducing said Maria Tolosa de Sardea y
Tablada to give and deliver, as in fact she gave and delivered to said accused the amount of P107,000.00
on the strength of said manifestations and representations, accused well knowing that the same were
false and fraudulent and were made solely, to obtain, as in fact she did obtain the amount of
P107,000.00 which amount once in her possession, with intent to defraud, willfully, unlawfully and
feloniously misappropriated, misapplied and converted the same to her own personal use and benefit to
the damage and prejudice of said Maria Tolosa de Sardea y Tablada in the aforesaid sum of P107,000.00
Philippine Currency.

Criminal Case No. 94-140486 (Estafa)

That on or about September 8, 1994 in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused did then and
there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously defraud MARCELIANO T. TOLOSA in the following manner, to
wit: the said accused, by means of false manifestations and fraudulent representations which she made
to said MARCELIANO T. TOLOSA to the effect that she had the power and capacity to recruit and employ
him as contract worker in Paris, France and could facilitate the processing of the pertinent papers if
given the necessary amount to meet the requirements thereof, and by means of other similar deceits,
induced and succeeded in inducing said Marceliano T. Tolosa accused well knowing that the same were
false and fraudulent and were made solely, to obtain, as in fact she did obtain the amount of
P190,000.00 which amount once in their possession, with intent to defraud, willfully, unlawfully and
feloniously misappropriated, misapplied and converted the same to her own personal use and benefit,
to the damage and prejudice of said Marceliano T. Tolosa in the aforesaid sum of P190,000.00,
Philippine Currency.
Criminal Case No. 94-140487 (Estafa)

That on or about September 9, 1994 in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused did then and
there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously defraud PRECILA P. OLPINDO in the following manner to
wit: the said accused, by means of false manifestations and fraudulent representations which she made
to said Precila P. Olpindo to the effect that she had the power and capacity to recruit and employ her as
contract worker in Canada and could facilitate the processing of the pertinent papers if given the
necessary amount to meet the requirements thereof, and by means of other similar deceits, induced
and succeeded in inducing said Precila P. Olpindo to give and deliver, as in fact she delivered to said
accused the amount of $2,550.00 on the strength of said manifestations and representations, said
Precila P. Olpindo accused well knowing that the same were false and fraudulent and were made solely,
to obtain, as in fact she did obtain the amount of $2,550.00 which amount once in her possession, with
intent to defraud, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously misappropriated, misapplied and converted the
same to her own personal use and benefit, to the damage and prejudice of said Precila P. Olpindo in the
aforesaid sum of $2,550.00 or its equivalent in Philippine Currency of P61,200.00.

Criminal Case No. 94-140488 (Estafa)

That on or about the first week of September 1994 in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused,
did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously defraud VILMA S. BRINA in the following manner
to wit: the said accused, by means of false manifestations and fraudulent representations which she
made to said Vilma S. Brina to the effect that she had the power and capacity to recruit and employ her
as contract worker in Canada and could facilitate the processing of the pertinent papers if given the
necessary amount to meet the requirements thereof, and by means of other similar deceits, induced
and succeeded in inducing said Vilma S. Brina to give and deliver, as in fact she gave and delivered to
said accused the amount of $2,550.00 on the strength of said manifestations and representations,
accused well knowing that the same were false and fraudulent and were made solely, to obtain, as in
fact she did obtain the amount of $2,550.00 which amount once in her possession, with intent to
defraud, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously misappropriated, misapplied and converted the same to
her own personal use and benefit, to the damage and prejudice of said Vilma S. Brina in the aforesaid
sum of $2,550.00 or its equivalent in Philippine Currency of P61,200.00.

Criminal Case No. 94-140489 (Illegal Recruitment)

The undersigned accuses SAMINA ANGELES y CALMA of violation of Art. 38 (a) Pres. Decree No. 1412
amending certain provisions of Book 1, Pres. Decree No. 442 otherwise known as the New Labor Code of
the Philippines in relation to Article 13 (b) and (c) of said Code, as further amended in a large scale, as
follows:

That sometime during the month of September 1994 in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused,
representing herself to have the capacity to contract, enlist and transport Filipino workers for
employment abroad, did then and there willfully and unlawfully for a fee, recruit and promise
employment/job placement abroad to the following persons:
1. Marceliano T. Tolosa
2. Precila P. Olpindo
3. Vilma S. Brina
4. Maria Tolosa de Sardea y Tablada

Without first having secured the required license or authority from the Department of Labor and
Employment.

The five (5) cases were consolidated and tried jointly by the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch
50.
Maria Tolosa Sardea was working in Saudi Arabia when she received a call from her sister, Priscilla
Agoncillo, who was in Paris, France. Priscilla advised Maria to return to the Philippines and await the
arrival of her friend, accused-appellant Samina Angeles, who will assist in processing her travel and
employment documents to Paris, France. Heeding her sisters advice, Maria immediately returned to the
Philippines.
Marceliano Tolosa who at that time was in the Philippines likewise received instructions from his
sister Priscilla to meet accused-appellant who will also assist in the processing of his documents for Paris,
France.
Maria and Marceliano eventually met accused-appellant in September 1994 at Expert Travel Agency
on Mabini Street, Manila. During their meeting, accused-appellant asked if they had the money required
for the processing of their documents. On September 8, 1994, Maria gave P107,000.00 to accused-
appellant at Expert Travel Agency. Subsequently, she gave another P46,000.00 and US$1,500.00 as
additional payments to accused-appellant.
Marceliano, on the other hand, initially gave P100,000.00 to accused-appellant but on September 28,
1994, he gave an additional P46,000.00 and US$1,500.00 to accused-appellant at the United Coconut
Planters Bank in Makati.
Analyn Olpindo met accused-appellant in Belgium. At that time, Analyn was working in Canada but
she went to Belgium to visit her in-laws. After meeting accused-appellant, Analyn Olpindo called up her
sister, Precila Olpindo, in the Philippines and told her to meet accused-appellant upon the latters arrival
in the Philippines because accused-appellant can help process her documents for employment in Canada.
Precila Olpindo eventually met accused-appellant at the Expert Travel Agency on September 7,
1994. Accused-appellant asked for the amount of $4,500.00, but Precila was only able to give $2,500.00.
No evidence was adduced in relation to the complaint of Vilma Brina since she did not testify in court.
Accused-appellant told Precila Olpindo and Vilma Brina that it was easier to complete the processing
of their papers if they start from Jakarta, Indonesia rather than from Manila. Thus, on September 23, 1994,
Precila Olpindo, Vilma Brina and accused-appellant flew to Jakarta, Indonesia.However, accused-appellant
returned to the Philippines after two days, leaving behind Precila and Vilma. They waited for accused-
appellant in Jakarta but the latter never returned. Precila and Vilma eventually came home to the
Philippines on November 25, 1994.
When she arrived in the Philippines, Precila tried to get in touch with accused-appellant at the Expert
Travel Agency, but she could not reach her. Meanwhile, Maria and Marceliano Tolosa also began looking
for accused-appellant after she disappeared with their money.
Elisa Campanianos of the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency presented a certification to the
effect that accused-appellant was not duly licensed to recruit workers here and abroad.
In her defense, accused-appellant averred that, contrary to the prosecutions allegations, she never
represented to the complainants that she can provide them with work abroad. She insisted that she was
a marketing consultant and an international trade fair organizer. In June 1994, she went to Paris, France
to organize a trade fair. There she met Priscilla Agoncillo, a domestic helper, and they became
friends. Priscilla asked her to assist her siblings, Maria and Marceliano, particularly in the processing of
their travel documents for France. Accused-appellant told Priscilla that she can only help in the processing
of travel documents and nothing more. It was Priscilla who promised employment to Maria and
Marceliano. She received money from complainants not in the form of placement fees but for the cost of
tickets, hotel accommodations and other travel requirements.
According to accused-appellant, she met Analyn Olpindo in Belgium while she was organizing a trade
fair. They also became friends and it was Analyn who asked her to help Precila. Just like in the case of
Maria and Marceliano, accused-appellant explained that her assistance shall only entail the processing of
Precilas travel documents to Canada.
After trial on the merits, the trial court found accused-appellant guilty of illegal recruitment and four
(4) counts of estafa and correspondingly sentenced her as follows:

WHEREFORE, in view of the aforementioned premises the accused SAMINA ANGELES is hereby declared:

In Criminal Case No. 94-140489 for the crime of Illegal Recruitment, GUILTY (Art. 38 Labor Code) and is
hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of One Hundred Thousand Pesos
(P100,000.00).

In Criminal Case No. 94-140485 for the crime of Estafa the accused is hereby declared GUILTY and is
hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of from twelve (12) years and one (1) day to twenty (20) years. In
addition the accused is ordered to reimburse the amount of One hundred seven thousand pesos
(P107,000.00) to complainant Maria Tolosa de Sardea. With costs.

In Criminal Case No. 94-140486 for the crime of Estafa the accused is hereby declared GUILTY and is
hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of from twelve (12) years and one (1) day to twenty (20) years. In
addition the accused is ordered to reimburse the amount of One hundred ninety thousand pesos
(P190,000.00) to complainant Marceliano T. Tolosa. With costs.

In Criminal Case No. 94-140487 for the crime of Estafa the accused is hereby declared GUILTY and is
hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of from twelve (12) years and one (1) day to twenty (20) years. In
addition the accused is ordered to reimburse the amount of Two thousand five hundred fifty dollars
(US$2,550.00) or its equivalent in Philippine currency of Sixty one thousand two hundred pesos
(P61,200.00), to complainant Precila P. Olpindo. With Costs.

In Criminal Case No. 94-140488 for the crime of Estafa the accused is hereby declared GUILTY and is
hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of from twelve (12) years and one (1) day to twenty (20) years. In
addition the accused is ordered to reimburse the amount of Two thousand five hundred fifty dollars
(US$2,550.00) or its equivalent in Philippine Currency of Sixty one thousand two hundred pesos
(P61,200.00) to complainant Vilma S. Brina. With costs.[2]
Accused-appellant is now before us on appeal, arguing that the prosecution failed to prove her guilt
for estafa and illegal recruitment by proof beyond reasonable doubt.
Accused-appellant points out that not one of the complainants testified on what kind of jobs were
promised to them, how much they would receive as salaries, the length of their employment and even
the names of their employers, which are basic subjects a prospective employee would first determine.
In sum, accused-appellant posits that the prosecution did not present a single evidence to prove that
she promised or offered any of the complainants jobs abroad. Illegal recruitment is committed when two
(2) elements concur: 1) that the offender has no valid license or authority required by law to enable one
to lawfully engage in recruitment and placement of workers; and 2) that the offender undertakes either
any activity within the meaning of recruitment and placement defined under Article 13(b), or any
prohibited practices enumerated under Article 34.[3]
Article 13(b), of the Labor Code provides, thus:

(b) Recruitment and placement refers to any act of canvassing, enlisting, contracting, transporting,
utilizing, hiring or procuring workers, and includes referrals, contract services, promising or advertising
for employment locally or abroad, whether for profit or not: Provided, that any person or entity which,
in any manner, offers or promises for a fee employment to two or more persons shall be deemed
engaged in recruitment and placement.

To prove illegal recruitment, it must be shown that the accused-appellant gave complainants the
distinct impression that he had the power or ability to send complainants abroad for work such that the
latter were convinced to part with their money in order to be employed.[4] To be engaged in the practice
of recruitment and placement, it is plain that there must at least be a promise or offer of an employment
from the person posing as a recruiter whether locally or abroad.
In the case at bar, accused-appellant alleges that she never promised nor offered any job to the
complainants.
We agree.
A perusal of the records reveals that not one of the complainants testified that accused-appellant
lured them to part with their hard-earned money with promises of jobs abroad. On the contrary, they
were all consistent in saying that their relatives abroad were the ones who contacted them and urged
them to meet accused-appellant who would assist them in processing their travel documents. Accused-
appellant did not have to make promises of employment abroad as these were already done by
complainants relatives. Thus, in the cross-examination of Maria Tolosa de Cardena:
Atty. Dinglasan:
Q: And you would likewise agree that Priscilla informed you that she can find an employment for you
once you entered Paris, is that correct?
A: Yes, because according to her that is what Samina Angeles said to her.
Q: But during that time you would agree that you do not know personally or met in person Samina
Angeles?
A: Not yet sir.
Q: In fact, even when you arrived in the Philippines, and actually met in person Samina Angeles, you
did not know who is Samina Angeles and what her business was then that time?
A: I recognized because my sister sent me a picture of Samina Angeles.
Q: So, it is clear that when you met Samina Angeles sometime on September 8, 1994, you were already
decided to go to Paris because you were then relying on the instruction from the advice of
Priscilla?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And that was the reason why you even terminated your employment contract in Saudi?
A: Yes, sir.[5]
Precila Olpindo, on cross-examination, admitted thus:
Q: You would like to confirm that before you and Samina met in the Philippines sometime in
September of 1995, you were already decided to leave for Canada as per advice of your sister?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And you likewise agree madam witness that even before you met the accused sometime in
September of 1995, you were already directed and informed by your sister Ana as to how much
and she will pay the accused Samina for the facilitation of your travel in going to Canada, is that
correct?
A: Yes, sir.[6]
In the cross-examination of Marceliano Tolosa, thus:
Q: Now, would you agree that your sister is working in Paris?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And for how many years working in Paris?
A: Almost 5 years.
Q: And how much was she earning or receiving in Paris, France?
A: P20,000.00 or more, sir.
Q: And it was for this reason she advised your sister then in Saudi Arabia and you to also go to Paris
because she will be receiving more in Paris, correct?
A: She said when we follow to her office, sir.
Q: So what your sister told you if youre also interested to go to Paris you can avail of the help of Samina
Angeles, so you can also leave for Paris and join her, is that correct?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And that was the reason why your sister wrote you a letter and gave instruction to go to accused
sometime on September, 1994, is that correct?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: Now you would agree with me Mr. Witness prior to that date September 8, 1994 you dont know
personally the person of Samina Angeles and do not know anything about the nature of her
business or personal circumstances, is that correct?
A: Yes, sir.[7]
Plainly, there is no testimony that accused-appellant offered complainants jobs abroad. Hence,
accused-appellant Samina Angeles cannot be lawfully convicted of illegal recruitment.
Anent the four charges of estafa, Samina Angeles argues that the element of deceit consisting in the
false statement or fraudulent representation of the accused made prior to or simultaneously with the
delivery of the sums of money is lacking in the instant case. She claims that she never deceived
complainants into believing that she had the authority and capability to send them abroad for
employment.
We are not persuaded.
Under Article 315, paragraph 2(a) of the Revised Penal Code, the elements of estafa are: (1) the
accused has defrauded another by abuse of confidence or by means of deceit and (2) damage or prejudice
capable of pecuniary estimation is caused to the offended party or third person. Clearly, these elements
are present in this case.[8]
Although Samina Angeles did not deceive complainants into believing that she could find
employment for them abroad, nonetheless, she made them believe that she was processing their travel
documents for France and Canada. They parted with their money believing that Samina Angeles would
use it to pay for their plane tickets, hotel accommodations and other travel requirements. Upon receiving
various amounts from complainants, Samina Angeles used it for other purposes and then conveniently
disappeared.
Complainants trusted Samina Angeles because she was referred to them by their own relatives. She
abused their confidence when she led them to believe that she can process their travel documents abroad,
thus inducing them to part with their money. When they demanded from Samina their travel documents,
she failed to produce them. Likewise, she failed to return the amounts entrusted to her.
Clearly, Samina Angeles defrauded complainants by falsely pretending to possess the power and
capacity to process their travel documents.
Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code imposes the penalty of prision correccional in its maximum
period to prision mayor in its minimum period, if the amount of the fraud is over P12,000.00 but does not
exceed P22,000.00; if the amount exceeds P22,000.00, the penalty provided shall be imposed in its
maximum period, adding one year for each additional P10,000.00. However, the total penalty which may
be imposed shall not exceed twenty years.[9]
In People v. Ordono,[10] it was held:

Under the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the maximum term of the penalty shall be that which, in view
of the attending circumstances, could be properly imposed under the Revised Penal Code, and the
minimum shall be within the range of the penalty next lower to that prescribed for the offense. The
penalty next lower should be based on the penalty prescribed by the Code for the offense, without first
considering any modifying circumstance attendant to the commission of the crime. The determination
of the minimum penalty is left by law to the sound discretion of the court and it can be anywhere within
the range of the penalty next lower without any reference to the periods into which it might be
subdivided. The modifying circumstances are considered only in the imposition of the maximum term of
the indeterminate sentence.

Thus, in Criminal Case No. 94-140485, Maria Tolosa testified that she gave P107,000.00, P46,000.00
and US$1,500.00 to Samina Angeles. The Information, however, alleged that Maria gave only
P107,000.00. Samina Angeles could therefore be held accountable for only that amount.
In Criminal Case No. 94-140486, Marceliano testified that he gave P100,000.00, P46,000.00 and
US$1,500.00 to Samina Angeles. The Information however alleged that Marceliano gave only a total of
P190,000.00; hence that is the only amount that Samina Angeles could be held accountable for.
In Criminal Case No. 94-140487, Precila testified that she gave US$2,550.00 to Samina Angeles. The
Information alleged that the equivalent amount thereof in Philippine Currency is P61,200.00. Samina
Angeles is therefore criminally liable for P61,200.00.
Complainant Vilma Brina did not appear in court to testify. Thus, the damage in the amount of
$2,550.00 alleged in Criminal Case No. 94-140488 was not proved.
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the appealed Decision is MODIFIED as follows:

(1) In Criminal Case No. 94-140485, accused-appellant Samina Angeles is found GUILTY beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime of Estafa and sentenced to suffer a prison term of four (4) years and two
(2) months of prision correccional, as minimum, to sixteen (16) years of reclusion temporal, as maximum,
and is ORDERED to indemnify Maria Sardea the amount of P107,000.00.

(2) In Criminal Case No. 94-140486, accused-appellant Samina Angeles is found GUILTY beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime of Estafa and sentenced to suffer a prison term of four (4) years and two
(2) months of prision correccional, as minimum, to twenty (20) years of reclusion temporal, as maximum,
and is ORDERED to indemnify Marceliano Tolosa the amount of P190,000.00.

(3) In Criminal Case No. 94-140487, accused-appellant Samina Angeles is found GUILTY beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime of Estafa and sentenced to suffer a prision term of four (4) years and two
(2) months of prision correccional, as minimum, to eleven (11) years of prision mayor, as maximum, and
is ORDERED to indemnify Precila Olpindo the amount of P61,200.00.

(4) In Criminal Case No. 94-140488 for Estafa, accused-appellant Samina Angeles is ACQUITTED for
failure of the prosecution to prove her guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

(5) In Criminal Case No. 94-140489 for Illegal Recruitment, accused-appellant Samina Angeles is
ACQUITTED for failure of the prosecution to prove her guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

SO ORDERED.
Davide, Jr., C.J., (Chairman), Puno, Kapunan, and Austria-Martinez, JJ., concur.

[1] Records, pp. 24-30.


[2] Penned by Judge Urbano C. Victorio Sr.
[3] People v. Saley, 291 SCRA 715 [1998].
[4] People v. Ong, 322 SCRA 38 [2000].
[5] TSN, June 25, 1995, pp. 21-22.
[6] TSN, July 27, 1995, p. 3.
[7] TSN, September 5, 1995, pp. 20-21.
[8] People v. Mercado, 304 SCRA 504 [1999].
[9] People v. Ordono, 335 SCRA 331 [2000].
[10] Ibid., citing People v. Gabres, 267 SCRA 581 [1997].