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1.

Define Estafa
Estafa is a criminal offense wherein a person defrauds another by the following means:

1) By UNFAITHFULNESS or ABUSE OF CONFIDENCE;

2) By DECEIT;

3) By FRAUDULENT MEANS/

Estafa is committed by a person who defrauds another causing him to suffer damage, by means of unfaithfulness or abuse of confidence, or
of false pretense or fraudulent acts.

2. Explain Estafa through unfaithfulness or abuse of confidence.


Estafa through unfaithfulness or abuse of confidence is done by:

(a) Altering quality, quantity and substance of subject matter of contract;

(b) Misappropriating or converting goods/property of another;

(c) Taking advantage of a signature in blank

3. Explain Estafa through deceit or fraudulent acts.


Estafa through deceit or fraudulent acts executed prior to or simultaneously with the commission of the fraud is done by:

(a) Using fictitious name as means of deceit;

(b) Altering quality, fineness or weight of anything pertaining to art or business;

(c) By issuing unfunded checks or postdated checks;

(d) Availing of services of hotel, inn, restaurants etc. without paying therefor.

4. Explain Estafa through fraudulent means.


Estafa through fraudulent means is done by:

(a) Inducing another, by means of deceit, to sign any document;

(b) Resorting to some fraudulent practice to ensure success in a gambling game;

(c) Removing, concealing, or destroying, in whole or in part, any record, office files, document and other papers.

5. What are the indispensable elements of estafa?


Estafa has two indispensable basic elements:

(a) Fraud; and

(b) Resulting damage or intent to cause damage capable of pecuniary estimation.

6. What is Fraud?
Fraud, in its general sense, is deemed to comprise anything calculated to deceive, including all acts, omissions and concealment involving a
breach of legal or equitable duty, trust or confidence justly reposed, resulting in damage to another, or by which an undue and
unconscientious advantage is taken of another. It is a generic term embracing all multifarious means which human ingenuity can device,
and which are resorted to by one individual to secure an advantage over another by false suggestions or by suppression of truth and
includes all surprise, trick, cunning, dissembling and any unfair way by which another is cheated. And deceit is the false representation of a
matter of fact whether by words or conduct, by false or misleading allegations, or by concealment of that which should have been disclosed
which deceives or is intended to deceive another so he shall act upon it to his legal injury. The false pretense or fraudulent act must be
committed prior to or simultaneously with the commission of the fraud. (Alcantara v. Court of Appeals, 416 SCRA 418 (1998))
Deceit is a species of fraud. (Garcia v. People, G.R. No. 144785, 11 September 1985)

7. Is intent to defraud a necessary element of estafa?


Not really. Intent to defraud is not necessary in all types of estafa.

It is true that it is sometimes said that "deception with intent to defraud" is an essential requisite of the crime of estafa, but while this is true
as to estafas in general, it is not true of those estafas mentioned in the article under consideration, except in so far the abuse of confidence
in misappropriating the funds or property after they have come to the hands of the offender may be said to be a fraud upon the person
injured thereby. (United States v. Pascual, G.R. No. L-4265, 26 March 1908)
8. What kind of damage or intent to cause damage is required in Estafa?
Damage or prejudice may consist of:

(a) The offended party being deprived of his money or property as a result of the defraudation;

(b) Disturbance of property rights;

(c) Temporary prejudice.

(Nagrampa v. People, 435 Phil. 455)

Certainly, disturbance of property rights is equivalent to damage and is in itself sufficient to constitute injury within the meaning of Art. 315,
par. 1 (b) of the RPC. (Batulanon v. People, G.R. No. 139857, 15 September 2006)

9. What are the elements of Estafa with unfaithfulness, under Article 315, par. 1 (a) of the Revised Penal Code?
The elements of Estafa under Article 315, 1(a) of the Revised Penal Code,

(a) That the offender has an onerous obligation to deliver something of value;

(b) That he alters its substance, quantity or quality

(c) That damage or prejudice capable of pecuniary estimation is caused to the offended party or third persons;

10. What if the obligation asked is illegal?


It is still estafa even if the obligation be based is immoral or illegal.

11. What are the elements of Estafa with abuse of confidence, under Article 315, par. 1 (b) of the Revised Penal Code?
The elements of Estafa under Article 315, 1(b) of the Revised Penal Code,

(a) That money, goods or other personal property is received by the offender in trust, or on commission or for administration, or under any
other obligation involving the duty to make delivery of or to return the same;

(b) That there be misappropriation or conversion of such money or property by the offender or denial on his part of such receipt; and

(c) That such misappropriation or conversion or denial is to the prejudice of another;

(d) That there is demand by the offended party to the offender.

(Asejo v. People, 555 Phil. 106, (2007))

The second element establishes three ways in which estafa may be committed under this category:

1. Misappropriation of the thing received the act of taking something for ones own benefit;
2. Conversion of the thing received the act of using or disposing of anothers property as it was ones own;
3. Denial of the receipt of the thing received.

12. What do you mean by Misappropriation or conversion?


The words "convert" and "misappropriate" as used in the aforequoted Article 315, connote an act of using or disposing of anothers
property as if it were ones own or of devoting it to a purpose or use different from that agreed upon. To "misappropriate" a thing of value
for ones own use or benefit, not only the conversion to ones personal advantage but also every attempt to dispose of the property of
another without a right. (Sy v. People, G.R. No. 85785, 24 April 1989)

It is well-settled that the essence of estafa thru misappropriation is the appropriation or conversion of money or property received to the
prejudice of the owner (U.S. vs. Ramirez, 9 Phil. 67).

Misappropriation or conversion may be proved by the prosecution by direct evidence or by circumstantial evidence. (Lee v. People, G.R.No.
157781, 11 April 2005)

Failure to account upon demand, for funds or property held in trust, is circumstantial evidence of misappropriation. (People v. Sullano, G.R.
No. L-18209, 30 June 1966)

13. What do you mean by denial of the receipt of the thing received?
It means that a person who has possession of a thing, does not return or denies receiving the thing to the owner.

There are two kinds of possession:

a) Material Possession The actual physical possession of personal property, where the possessor cannot claim a better right to such a
property than that of its owner.

b) Juridical Possession It is present when the possession of the personal property arises from a lawful causation, contract or
agreement, express or implied, written or unwritten or by virtue of a provision of law.
When the money, goods, or any other personal property is received by the offender from the offended party (1) in trust or (2)
on commission or (3) for administration, the offender acquires both material or physical possession and juridical possession of the thing
received. (Santos v. People, 181 SCRA 487, 1990)

Juridical possession means a possession which gives the transferee a right over the thing which the transferee may set up even against the
owner.

14. Is there a difference between Theft and Estafa?


Yes. If the offender has been given Material Possession of the personal property and he misappropriates the same, he is liable for the crime
of THEFT.

However, if the offender has been given Juridical Possession and Material Possession of the personal property and he misappropriates the
same, he is liable for the crime of ESTAFA.

Theft should not be confused with estafa. According to Chief Justice Ramon C. Aquino in his book on the Revised Penal Code, "The
principal distinction between the two crimes is that in theft the thing is taken while in estafa the accused receives the property and converts
it to his own use or benefit. However, there may be theft even if the accused has possession of the property. If he was entrusted only with
the material or physical (natural) or de facto possession of the thing, his misappropriation of the same constitutes theft, but if he has the
juridical possession of the thing, his conversion of the same constitutes embezzlement or estafa."

15. What are the elements of theft as compared to Estafa?


Theft has the following elements:

(a) That there be taking of personal property;

(b) That said property belongs to another;

(c) That the taking be done with intent to gain;

(d) That the taking be done without the consent of the owner;

(e) That the taking be accomplished without the use of violence or intimidation against persons or force against things.

(U.S. v. De Vera, 43 Phil. 1000)

16. What is the nature of Demand needed as element of Estafa?


There must be a formal demand on the offender to comply with his obligation before he can be charged with estafa.

The following are the exceptions:

a) When the offenders obligation to comply is subject to a period;

b) When the accused cannot be located despite due diligence.

There can be no estafa without a previous demand. Demand may be made in whatever form. The law does not require a demand as a
condition precedent to the existence of the crime of embezzlement. It so happens only that failure to account, upon demand for funds or
property held in trust, is circumstantial evidence of misappropriation. The same however, be established in the case at bar. (Tubb v. People,
G.R. No. L-9811, 22 April 1957)

The word "Demand" need not be used to show that demand had, indeed, been made upon the person charged with the offense. A query as
to the whereabouts of the money is tantamount to a demand. (Barrameda v. Court of Appeals, 313 SCRA 477)

No specific type of proof is required to show that there was demand. Demand need not even be formal; it may be verbal. (Lee v. People, G.R.
No. 157781, 11 April 2005)

In a prosecution for estafa, demand is not necessary where there is evidence of misappropriation or conversion. (Sy v. People, G.R. No.
85785, 24 April 1989)

The consummation of the crime of [estafa] does not depend on the fact that a request for the return of the money is first made and refused
in order that the author of the crime should comply with the obligation to return the sum misapplied. The appropriation or conversion of
money received to the prejudice of the owner thereof [is] the sole essential [fact] which constitute the crime of [estafa], and thereupon the
author thereof incurs the penalty imposed by the [RPC]. (Salazar v. People, 439 Phil. 762)

Even if demand is not required by law, it is necessary to prove misappropriation. Failure to account, upon demand, is circumstantial
evidence of misappropriation. (Tan v. People, G.R. No. 153460, 29 January 2007)

17. What are the elements of Estafa by taking undue advantage of the signature in blank, under Article 315, par. 1(c) of the Revised Penal
Code?
The elements of Estafa by taking undue advantage of the signature in blank are:

(a) That the paper with the signature of the offended party be in blank;
(b) That the offended party should have delivered it to the offender;

(c) That above the signature of the offended party a document is written by the offender without authority to do so;

(d) That the document so written creates a liability of, or causes damage to the offended party or any third person.

18. What are the elements of Estafa by means of deceit, under Article 315, par. 2 of the Revised Penal Code?
The elements of Estafa by means of deceit are as follows:

(a) That there must be false pretenses, fraudulent act or fraudulent means;

(b) That such pretenses, fraudulent act or fraudulent means must be made or executed prior to or simultaneously with the commission of
the fraud;

(c) That the offended party must have relied on the false pretense, fraudulent act or fraudulent means, that is, he was induced to part with
his money or property because of false pretense, fraudulent act, or fraudulent means;

(d) That as a result thereof, the offended party suffered damage.

19. What are the acts which would constitute a deceitful act?
As a general rule, in order to constitute deceit, there must be a false representation as a matter of fact, a positive assertion of
falsehood. (People vs. Manahan, CA- G.R. No. 19602-R, 20 May 1958)

It might also consist in a fraudulent misrepresentation or contrivance by which one man deceives another who has no means of detecting
the fraud to the injury of another. (People vs. Babel, 10 CAR 133)

There is no deceit if the complainant was aware if the fictitious nature of the pretense.

20. What if the element of deceit was done AFTER the fraudulent act?
One of the elements of estafa is that The false pretense or fraudulent act must be committed prior to or simultaneously with the
commission of the fraud. If deceit was not present or occurred after the commission of the fraud, there is no estafa. Likewise also, if the
deceit was not the motivating factor for the offended party to get involved in a transaction with the offending party.

21. If there was no fraud on the part on the offending party, will the case for Estafa prosper?
No. Fraud is an element of Estafa. Its absence is fatal to the prosecution of the case. When the allegation of deceit has not been proven,
there is no Estafa. (Candido dela Cruz, CA 37 O.G. 1958)

22. How is Estafa by means of deceit committed:


Estafa by means of deceit are committed in the following ways:

a) Art. 315, 2 (a)


i) By using a fictitious name.

ii) By falsely pretending to possess

1. i. Power
2. ii. Influence
3. iii. Qualifications
4. iv. Property
5. v. Credit
6. vi. Agency
7. vii. Business or imaginary transactions
iii) By means of other similar deceits

b) Art. 315, 2 (b) By altering the quality, fineness or weight of anything pertaining to his business.

c) Art. 315, 2 (c) By pretending to have bribed any government employee

d) Art. 315, 2 (d)


i) That the offender post-dated a check or issued a check in payment of an obligation;

ii) That such postdating or issuing a check was done when the offender had no funds in the bank or his funds deposited therein were not
sufficient to cover the amount of the check.

e) Art 315, 2 (e)


i) By obtaining food, refreshment or accommodation at hotel, inn, restaurant, boarding house, lodging house or apartment house
without paying thereof, with intent to defraud the proprietor or manager thereof;

ii) By obtaining credit at any of the said establishments by the use of any false pretense;

iii) By abandoning or surreptitiously removing any part of his baggage from any of the said establishment after obtaining credit, food,
refreshment or accommodation therein, without paying thereof.

23. Is mere issuance of a check with no funds, a crime of estafa?


No. The issuance of the check by the offender prior or simultaneous with the transaction must be for the purpose of contracting the
obligation. Otherwise if the check is issued in payment of a pre-existing obligation, no estafa is committed.

However, if the check was issued by the debtor for the security of the creditor, but not to be encashed, no estafa is involved.

The law penalizes the issuance of a check only if it were itself the immediate consideration for the reciprocal receipt of benefits. In other
words, the check must be issued concurrently with, and in exchange for, a material gain to make it a punishable offense under Article 315,
paragraph 2(d) of the Revised Penal Code. (Castro v. Mendoza, G.R. No. 50173, 21 September 1993)

24. I issued a check to my grocer as advance payment for the groceries he would be delivering. Without my knowledge, my husband had
emptied my account. What will happen?
You will not be charged for the crime of estafa since there is already a pre-existing obligation between you and your grocer, with the check
as payment for the groceries he would be delivering to you. You did not issue the check prior or simultaneous with any act of fraud, thus it
is not the cause of the fraud.

It was the rule that the mere issuance of a check with knowledge on the part of the drawer that he had no funds to cover its amount and
without informing the payee of such circumstances, does not constitute the crime of estafa if the check was intended as payment of a pre-
existing obligation. The reason for the rule is that deceit, to constitute estafa, should be the efficient cause of the defraudation and as such
should either be prior to, or simultaneous with the act of fraud. (People v. Lilius)

In the issuance of a check as payment for a pre-existing debt, the drawer derives no material benefit in return as its consideration had long
been delivered to him before the check was issued. In short, the issuance of the check was not a means to obtain a valuable consideration
from the payee. Deceit, to constitute estafa should be the efficient cause of the defraudation. (People v. Fortuno)

Good faith is a defense in a charge of estafa by postdating or issuing a check (People v. Villapando, 56 Phil. 31)

25. I sent a notice of dishonor to my cousin, who issued me a check as payment for my catering services. I had found out that his account
had no funds. Was deceit involved?
Deceit may not be incolved as your cousin could be charged for the violation of B.P. 22, or the Bouncing Check Law.

There is prima facie evidence of deceit when the drawer fails to pay or make arrangement for payment three days after receiving notice of
dishonor.

26. Would charging a person for the crime of estafa and violation of the Bouncing Check law, put him in double jeopardy?
No. A person can be charged with two (2) distinct and separate offenses, first under Section 1 of Batas Pambansa Bilang 22 or the Bouncing
Check Law and another under Article 315, 2 (d) of the Revised Penal Code.

Deceit and damage are essential elements in Article 315 2(d) but are not required in B.P. 22. Under B.P.22, mere issuance of a check that is
dishonored gives rise to the presumption of knowledge on the part of the drawer that he issued the same without sufficient funds and hence
punishable which is not so under the Revised Penal Code. (Nierras v. Dacuycuy, G.R. No. 59568-76, January 11, 1990)

While the filing of the two sets of Information under the provisions of Batas Pambansa Bilang 22 and under the provisions of the Revised
Penal Code, as amended, on estafa, may refer to identical acts committed by petitioner, the prosecution thereof cannot be limited to one
offense, because a single criminal act may give rise to a multiplicity of offenses and where there is variance or differences between the
elements of an offense in one law and another law as in the case at bar there will be no double jeopardy because what the rule on double
jeopardy prohibits refers to identity of elements in the two (2) offenses. Otherwise stated prosecution for the same act is not prohibited.
What is forbidden is prosecution for the same offense. Hence, the mere filing of the two (2) sets of information does not itself give rise to
double jeopardy (People v. Miraflores, 115 SCRA 570).

27. What are the differences between Esatafa and B.P. 22?
Other differences between the two also include the following:

(a) Damage and deceit are essential elements in Article 315 2(d) but they are not required in B.P. 22.

(b) A drawer of a dishonored check may be convicted under B.P. 22 even if he had issued the same for a pre-existing obligation, while
under Article 315 2(d) of the Revised Penal Code, such circumstance negates criminal liability;

(c) Specific and different penalties are imposed in each of the two offenses;
(d) Estafa is essential a crime against property, while violation of B.P. 22 is principally a crime against public interest as it does injury to the
entire banking system;

(e) Violations of Article 315 are mala in se, while those of B.P. 22 are mala prohibita.
(Nierras v. Dacuycuy, G.R. No. 59568-76, January 11, 1990)

28. What are the other ways that estafa can be done?
Estafa can be done in the following ways also:

a) By inducing another to sign any document

The elements are:

i) That the offender induced the offended party to sign a document;

ii) That deceit be employed to make him sign the document;

iii) That the offended party personally signed the document;

iv) That prejudice be caused.

b) By resorting to some fraudulent practice to insure success in gambling

c) By removing, concealing or destroying document

The elements are:

a) That there be court record, office files, documents or any other papers;

b) That the offender removed, concealed or destroyed any of them;

c) That the offender had intent to defraud another.

29. Where can the crime of estafa be prosecuted?


The courts in the place where the crime of estafa was committed has jurisdiction over it. It means that the place where any of the elements
of estafa had occurred is where it may be prosecuted, regardless if it is in several places at once.

The crime of estafa is a continuing or transitory offense which may be prosecuted at the place where any of the essential elements of the
crime took place. One of the essential elements of estafa is damage or prejudice to the offended party. (Buaya v. Polo, G.R. No. L-75079, 26
January 1989)

The theory is that a person charged with a transitory offense may be tried in any jurisdiction where the offense is in part committed. In
transitory or continuing offenses in which some acts material and essential to the crime and requisite to its consummation occur in one
province and some in another, the court of either province has jurisdiction to try the case, it being understood that the first court taking
cognizance of the case will exclude the others. (Tuzon v. Cruz, G.R. No. L-27410, 28 August 1975)

Republic of the Philippines


Supreme Court
Manila

FIRST DIVISION

LYZAH SY FRANCO, G.R. No. 171328


Petitioner,

- versus -

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,


Respondent.
x- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - x

STEVE BESARIO, G.R. No. 171335


Petitioner,

Present:

CORONA, C. J., Chairperson,


- versus - VELASCO, JR.,
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO,
DEL CASTILLO, and
PEREZ, JJ.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Promulgated:


Respondent. February 16, 2011
x--------------------------------------------------------x

DECISION

DEL CASTILLO, J.:

In the prosecution for the crime of estafa committed under Article 315, paragraph 2(a) of the Revised Penal Code, there must be evidence of false

representation or false pretense on the part of the accused to prove reasonable doubt. In this case, the employees act of soliciting a client despite previous

knowledge of several complaints against his or her employer for failure to deliver the motor vehicle that was the subject of the agreement, is tantamount to

misrepresentation.

Factual Antecedents

These petitions for review on certiorari impugn the Decision[1] of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR No. 27414 which affirmed with modifications the

Decision[2] of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 52, in Criminal Case No. 99-173688, convicting petitioners Lyzah Sy Franco (Franco) and Steve Besario

(Besario) of the crime of Estafa. The Information filed against petitioners and their co-accused, Antonio Rule, Jr. (Rule) and George Torres (Torres), contained

the following accusatory allegations:

That on or about the first week of June 1998, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused, conspiring and confederating
together and helping one another, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously defraud MA. LOURDES G. ANTONIO, in the
following manner, to wit: the said accused by means of false manifestations and fraudulent representations which they made to said Ma.
Lourdes G. Antonio, to the effect that they are employees of FINAL ACCESS MARKETING, a business entity engaged in the sale and
financing of used or repossessed cars, and as such could process and facilitate the sale of a Mazda car 323 bearing plate number PVB-
999 worth P130,000.00 provided they be given the amount of P80,000.00 as down payment and by means of other deceits of similar
import, induced and succeeded in inducing the said Ma. Lourdes G. Antonio to give and deliver as in fact she gave and delivered to herein
accused the said amount of P80,000.00, and accused knowing fully well that their manifestations and representations were false and
untrue and were made only to obtain the said amount of P80,000.00 which amount once in their possession, did then and there willfully,
unlawfully and feloniously misapply, misappropriate and convert the said amount of P80,000.00 to their own personal use and benefit, to
the damage and prejudice of said MA. LOURDES G. ANTONIO in the aforesaid amount of P80,000.00 in its equivalent amount to the
Philippine Currency.

Contrary to law.[3]

During arraignment, petitioners entered separate pleas of not guilty. Rule and Torres failed to appear and, to date, remain at large. After the

termination of the pre-trial conference, trial ensued.

The Version of the Prosecution

Ma. Lourdes G. Antonio (Lourdes) testified that petitioners swindled her. She claimed that Franco was a friend of her niece and that she has known her for

almost a year. In the first week of June 1998, Franco came to her house and offered to assist her in purchasing a used car. Franco introduced herself as

Assistant Administrative Coordinator of Final Access Marketing which was engaged in the sale and financing of second-hand and repossessed

vehicles. Franco gave her calling card after their conversation.


Lourdes was interested in the offer of Franco since she and her husband were actually looking for a used car for their taxicab operation. She therefore contacted

Franco to take up her offer.

On June 26, 1998, Franco and Lourdes went to a showroom on Houston Street, San Juan, Metro Manila, where Lourdes immediately chose a blue Mazda 323

car with Plate No. PVB No. 999 from those that were on display.

At around 7 oclock in the evening of July 2, 1998, Franco went to the house of Lourdes and presented a sales proposal. She was with Besario and Rule, whom

she introduced as her superiors. Rule then made a presentation on the Mazda 323 car informing Lourdes that she can buy it for P130,000.00 with a

downpayment of P80,000.00 and the balance to be paid in 12 equal monthly installments. Rule also told Lourdes that the car would be delivered within three

days from receipt of her money.

Lourdes agreed to pay the downpayment the following day. Before the petitioners departed, Rule ordered Franco to sign the sales proposal as sales

executive. Lourdes also signed the document. Rule then issued a receipt dated July 3, 1998 and instructed Franco and Besario to give it to Lourdes after

receiving her downpayment upon their return on the next day.

The following day, July 3, 1998, Franco and Besario returned to the house of Lourdes to collect the downpayment of P80,000.00. Besario received and counted

the money and handed it to Franco. After counting the money, Franco returned the same to Besario, who put it inside the bag he was carrying. They gave

to Lourdes the receipt dated July 3, 1998 that was signed by Rule. At the same time, they assured her that the car would be delivered in three days.

The car, however, was not delivered as promised. Lourdes called up Final Access Marketings office and was able to talk to the owner/manager,

Torres, who assured her that her downpayment would be refunded or that they would look for a replacement.

Meanwhile, Lourdes and her husband returned to the showroom on Houston Street, San Juan, where they saw the Mazda car already clean. The security

guard told them it was ready for release in the afternoon.

When the car was still undelivered, Lourdes sought the aid of Hoy Gising, a television show that broadcasts grievances of people against fraudulent

schemes. During a visit to the shows office, Lourdes learned that 12 other persons were victimized by the group of petitioners.

Lourdes also met with Atty. Renz Jaime, legal counsel of Final Access Marketing, who assured her that Final Access Marketing would return her money by

August. When he reneged on his promise, formal demand was made on him to settle the obligation of said business enterprise.

Erlinda Acosta (Erlinda) was one of the alleged victims of petitioners whom Lourdes met while airing her complaint in the television program Hoy

Gising. Erlinda testified that she was referred to Besario when she was looking for a second-hand vehicle. She went to the office of Final Access Marketing

in Timog Avenue, Quezon City, and was shown by Besario several pictures of vehicles from which she chose a Mitsubishi Pajero.

On April 7, 1998, Erlinda and her son met Besario, Rule and their other companions in a restaurant. They brought the vehicle Erlinda wanted to purchase and

her son drove it for a road test. Thereafter, she agreed to buy the vehicle for P600,000.00. She signed a Vehicle Sales Proposal and handed to Rule a

downpayment of US$3,000.00.

On April 20, 1998, Erlinda delivered to Besario and Rule a managers check in the amount of P245,000.00 as payment for the entire balance. She was then

assured that the vehicle will be delivered a week later. However, Besario and Rule reneged on their promise. Erlinda went to the office of Final Access Marketing

and complained to Franco but to no avail. Her motor vehicle was never delivered. Thus, she went to Hoy Gising.

Juanito Antonio corroborated the testimony of his wife, Lourdes. He was present when petitioners Franco and Besario, together with Rule, went to their house

in the evening of July 2, 1998 with a written proposal for the sale of a vehicle. After his wife signed the document, she gave a downpayment of P80,000.00. When
the car was not delivered on the date agreed upon, he and his wife went to the office of Final Access Marketing. Upon their inquiries, the security guard on

duty said that the car they purchased already had a gate pass and would be delivered in the afternoon. However, the said vehicle was never delivered to them.

The Version of the Petitioners

Franco denied involvement in the alleged conspiracy to commit estafa against Lourdes. She alleged that it was Torres, the owner of Final Access

Marketing, who was the swindler.And like Lourdes, she was a victim in this case.

Franco claimed that petitioner Besario hired her as a clerk-typist. She was promoted to the position of Assistant Administrative Coordinator and

was authorized to solicit clients for Final Access Marketing.

Franco learned from her sister that Lourdes wanted to purchase a second-hand car. She went to see Lourdes and presented to the latter a list of

repossessed vehicles. She gave her calling card to Lourdes before they parted. Later on, Lourdes called and visited the office of Final Access Marketing, where

Franco introduced Lourdes to Besario and Rule.

Franco accompanied Lourdes to showrooms where the latter chose a blue Mazda car with Plate No. PVB 999. Rule agreed to sell the car

to Lourdes for P130,000.00. Thus, on the evening of July 2, 1998, she, Besario and Rule went to the house of Lourdes with a Vehicle Sales Proposal. Franco

signed the document without reading and understanding the same upon the insistence of Rule. Rule then signed an official receipt and instructed Franco and

Besario to return the next day to give the same to Lourdes after collecting her downpayment. Lourdeswas also assured that the car would be delivered within

three days from receipt of the downpayment.

On July 3, 1998, at around 10 a.m., Franco and Besario came back to collect the downpayment. Lourdes gave her cash payment to Besario, who

counted it. He gave said cash to Franco, who counted it again. When the money was handed back to Besario, he put it inside a black bag. Thereafter, Franco

and Besario went to a restaurant to pick-up Rule. They rode a taxi and proceeded to the house of Torres, but it was only Besario and Rule who went

inside. Franco went home without receiving a single centavo for her transportation fare.

When the car was not delivered, Lourdes called Franco who in turn reminded her boss to expedite its release. However, the continued failure to

receive the vehicle compelled Lourdes to report the incident to Hoy Gising. It was only during this period that Franco learned of similar complaints from other

customers. Thereafter, Lourdes called her intermittently asking for a reimbursement. However, the latter could not do anything since her employers no longer

reported to the office. Rule and Torres left Manila and went to Cebu. She was not aware of their whereabouts at the time of her testimony.

On the other hand, Besario failed to attend several hearings. The notice to appear and to present evidence sent to him was returned unserved since

he moved to another address without informing the trial court. Thus, upon motion of the prosecution, he was declared to have waived his right to present

evidence. The case was consequently submitted for decision.

The Ruling of the Regional Trial Court

On October 23, 2001, the trial court rendered its Decision finding petitioners guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of estafa under Article 315, par. 1(b)

of the Revised Penal Code.The dispositive portion reads as follows:

ACCORDINGLY, above premises all considered, the Court finding accused Lyzah Sy Franco and Steve Besario GUILTY,
beyond reasonable doubt, of the crime charged in the Information, the Court hereby sentences said two accused to each suffer the
indeterminate penalty of imprisonment ranging from seventeen (17) years of reclusion temporal as MAXIMUM to eight (8) years and one
(1) day of prisonmayor as MINIMUM and to suffer all the accessory penalties as provided by law.
Accused Franco and Besario, jointly and severally are likewise ordered to pay private complainant Ma. Lourdes Antonio the
sum of P80,000.00 as actual damages.
SO ORDERED.[4]
The Ruling of the Court of Appeals

On July 26, 2005, the CA promulgated its Decision that affirmed with

modification the decision of the trial court. It convicted the petitioners for the crime of estafa under Article 315, par. 2(a) of the Revised Penal Code and modified

the penalty. The dispositive portion of its Decision reads as follows:

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing premises, the Decision dated October 23, 2001 rendered by the trial court is hereby
AFFIRMED, with modification to the effect that the penalty imposed upon each of the appellants is hereby MODIFIED to an indeterminate
sentence of Four (4) years, Two (2) months, and One (1) day of prision correccional as minimum to Thirteen (13) years of reclusion
temporal as maximum.

Accused Franco and Besario are likewise ordered to pay, jointly and severally, private complainant, Ma. Lourdes Antonio, the
sum of P80,000.00 as actual damages.
SO ORDERED.[5]

Hence, petitioners filed separate petitions for review on certiorari assailing the Decision of the CA. Franco contends that the Court of Appeals

decided the case on a mistaken inference and [misappreciation] of facts bordering on speculations, surmises or conjectures.[6]

On the other hand, Besario ascribes the following error to the CA:

PUBLIC RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED REVERSIBLE ERROR BY DISREGARDING THE LAW, JURISPRUDENCE
AND EVIDENCE WHEN IT RULED THAT PETITIONER BESARIO IS GUILTY OF THE CRIME OF ESTAFA AS CHARGED IN THE
INFORMATION.[7]

In its Consolidated Comment, the Solicitor General opposes the petitions by arguing that petitioners raise[d] questions of fact which are inappropriate in a

petition for review on certiorari. x x x.[8] The Solicitor General also believes the prosecutions evidence was sufficient to convict petitioners of estafa under

Article 315, par. 2(a) of the Revised Penal Code and that petitioners defenses failed to overturn the evidence showing their guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

Our Ruling

The petitions are not meritorious.

Exception to the Finality and Conclusiveness of Factual Findings of the Court of Appeals

[A]s a rule, our jurisdiction in cases brought to us from the Court of Appeals is limited to the review and revision of errors of law allegedly committed by the

appellate court, as findings of fact are deemed conclusive and we are not duty-bound to analyze and weigh all over again the evidence already considered in

the proceedings below.[9] While this rule is not without exception, there are no exceptional circumstances in these cases that warrant a departure from the

findings of facts of the trial court, as affirmed by the CA. Even after considering the merits, the petitions deserve outright denial.

The conviction of Franco and Besario for conspiring to commit estafa against Lourdes must therefore stand. The prosecution satisfactorily

established their participation in the scheme to defraud Lourdes, their acts were not isolated from but related to a plot to deceive her. The prosecution likewise

proved beyond reasonable doubt that the well-planned swindling scheme of Franco and Besario resulted to estafa.

Conspiracy must be Shown as Clearly as the Commission of the Offense[10]

There is conspiracy when two or more persons agree to commit a felony

and decide to commit it.[11] Conspiracy must be proven on the same quantum of evidence as the felony subject of the agreement of the parties. [It] may be

proved by direct or circumstantial evidence consisting of acts, words, or conduct of the alleged conspirators [prior to], during and after the commission of the

felony to achieve a common design or purpose.[12]


Several circumstances in this case conclusively show Francos role in defrauding Lourdes. She was the one who personally approached Lourdes and actively

made representations on behalf of Final Access Marketing despite previous knowledge of the companys failure to deliver the vehicle sold to Erlinda. She

offered to help Lourdes purchase a second-hand car by presenting herself as an Assistant Administrative Coordinator of said company. She also

assisted Lourdes in selecting a car she wanted to buy. Six days later, Franco arrived with Besario and Rule in the house of Lourdes after regular business

hours. Franco made the necessary introductions and they commenced with a presentation that persuaded Lourdes to part with her money. They

showed Lourdes a prepared Sales Proposal Agreement that Franco signed as a sales executive.

Franco, together with Besario, returned the next day to collect the downpayment of Lourdes. After counting the money and putting it inside a bag,

they assured Lourdes that the car would be delivered within three days. When they failed to fulfill their promise and their unlawful scheme was unraveled, she

did not do anything to placate Lourdes.

We cannot lend credence to Francos assertion that she only knew of her employers fraudulent scheme after Lourdes reported the same

to Hoy Gising. For sure, before their former clients reported their anomalous transactions to Hoy Gising, they first lodged their complaints with the company

itself. Hence, we are at a loss why Franco, as the companys Assistant Administrative Coordinator would feign ignorance of the same. We also could not

understand why after discovering her employers fraudulent transactions, and after said employers absconded, Franco continued to report to their office. She

did not even bother to inform Lourdes that her employers had already absconded. Finally, since she made representations to Lourdes that the car would be

delivered in three days time, the least that Franco could have done was to investigate the matter and explain to Lourdes the companys failure to deliver the

car. After all, Franco was a friend of Lourdes niece.

Besario, for his part, actively conspired with Franco by inducing Lourdes to part with her money. He also went to the house of Lourdes and induced

the latter to make a downpayment on the car she wanted to purchase and sign the Sales Proposal Agreement. He and Franco collected the money

from Lourdes and promised her that the car would be delivered three days later even if he had knowledge from the previous transaction with Erlinda that the

delivery would never happen. Thereafter, he could not be reached or found when the car was still undelivered and their devious plot was exposed.

Evidently, petitioners actions were in relation to the attainment of a common objective. They had vital roles in the nefarious scheme to sell a vehicle

that they knew would never be delivered, but for which they obtained a substantial sum of money from Lourdes.

Having established the existence of a conspiracy between Franco and Besario, the prosecution proceeded to present evidence to prove that the

acts of the petitioners constituted estafa.

Estafa by Means of Deceit

Article 315, par. 2(a) of the Revised Penal Code penalizes fraud or deceit when committed as follows:
xxxx

2. by means of any of the following false pretenses or fraudulent acts executed prior to or simultaneously with the commission
of fraud:

(a) by using fictitious name, or actions, falsely pretending to possess power, influence, qualification,
property, credit, agency, business or imaginary transactions, or by means of other similar deceits.

The elements of the crime of estafa under the foregoing provision are: (1) there must be a false pretense, fraudulent acts or fraudulent means; (2)

such false pretense, fraudulent act or fraudulent means must be made or executed prior to or simultaneously with the commission of the fraud; (3) the offended

party must have relied on the false pretense, fraudulent act or fraudulent means and was thus induced to part with his money or property; and (4) as a result

thereof, the offended party suffered damage.[13]


Petitioners presented themselves to Lourdes as persons possessing the authority and capacity to engage in the financing of used vehicles in behalf

of Final Access Marketing. This was a clear misrepresentation considering their previous knowledge not only of Erlindas complaint but also of several others

as regards the failure of Final Access Marketing to deliver the motor vehicles bought. Lourdes relied on their misrepresentations and parted with her

money. Almost a week passed by, but petitioners and Rule did not deliver the said motor vehicle. They also did not fulfill their subsequent promise to provide

a replacement or to refund her payment. When Lourdes visited the office of Final Access Marketing to demand the return of her money, it was already

closed. She could not locate any of them except for Franco who denied any wrongdoing. Consequently, she suffered damage.

If indeed they were innocent as they claimed to be, Erlindas complaint to petitioners and the 12 other similar complaints with Hoy Gising regarding

undelivered vehicles should have dissuaded petitioners from further soliciting customers. The fact that they continued to offer for sale a second-hand car

to Lourdes is indicative of deceit and their complicity in the conspiracy to commit estafa. The manner in which petitioners transacted business with Erlinda

and Lourdes as well as their awareness of 12 other similar complaints with Hoy Gising were sufficient to establish the existence of a modus operandi.

Francos attempt to escape culpability by feigning ignorance of the previously failed transactions on the delivery of vehicles by Final Access

Marketing cannot be countenanced. As gleaned from the testimony of Erlinda, Franco was already with Final Access Marketing at the time these transactions

occurred. She was therefore familiar with the companys procedure and policy on the sales of second-hand vehicles. She even accompanied Lourdes to

showrooms and introduced her to Besario and Rule.

As an employee of Final Access Marketing, Franco was expected to be familiar with its daily activities. It would be unworthy of belief that she did

not know of the complaints for the unexplained failure of Final Access Marketing to deliver vehicles to its customers. Human nature and experience would

compel her to make queries on her own to discover the reasons for the non-delivery of the vehicles. Her continued insistence in soliciting Lourdes as a client

by introducing herself as an Assistant Administrative Coordinator of Final Access Marketing with the ability to provide financing for a vehicle of her choice is

therefore indicative of fraudulent misrepresentation.

The petitioners also contend that they are not criminally liable since the transaction with Lourdes was a contract of sale. This contention does not

deserve serious consideration. While the fact that they entered into a contract with Lourdes cannot be denied, the transaction transpired due to their deceit. It

was their misrepresentation that induced Lourdes to sign the Sales Proposal agreement and part with her money.

In denying any criminal wrongdoing, petitioners blame their co-accused, Torres, whom they claim to be the owner of Final Access Marketing. The

shifting of blame is common among conspirators in their attempt to escape liability. It is a desperate strategy to compensate for their weak defense. We are

not readily influenced by such a proposition since its obvious motive is to distort the truth and frustrate the ends of justice.[14]

The Penalty

Having committed the crime of estafa, the petitioners must suffer the proper penalties provided by law. The law imposes the penalty of prision

correccional in its maximum period to prision mayor in its minimum period if the amount is over P12,000.00 but does not exceed P22,000.00. If the amount

swindled exceeds P22,000.00, the penalty shall be imposed in its maximum period, adding one year for each additional P10,000.00, but the total penalty which

may be imposed shall not exceed 20 years.[15] To determine the minimum of the indeterminate penalty, prision correccional in its maximum period to prision

mayor in its minimum period shall be reduced by one degree, that is, to prision correccional in its minimum and medium periods. The minimum period of the

indeterminate penalty shall be taken from the full range of the penalty of prision correccional in its minimum and medium periods, which is six (6) months and

one (1) day to four (4) years and two (2) months. With the amount of the fraud at P80,000.00, there is P58,000.00 in excess of P22,000.00. Five years must

therefore be added to the maximum period of the prescribed penalty ranging from six (6) years, eight (8) months and twenty-one (21) days to eight (8) years.

Thus, the maximum term of the penalty would range from eleven (11) years, eight (8) months and twenty-one (21) days to thirteen (13) years. This is in accord

with our ruling in People v. Temparada,[16] viz:


The prescribed penalty for estafa under Article 315, par. 2(d) of the RPC, when the amount defrauded exceeds P22,000.00,
is prision correccional maximum to prision mayor minimum. The minimum term is taken from the penalty next lower or anywhere
within prision correccional minimum and medium (i.e. from 6 months and 1 day to 4 years and 2 months). Consequently, the RTC correctly
fixed the minimum term for the five estafa cases at 4 years and 2 months of prision correccional since this is within the range
of prision correccional minimum and medium.

On the other hand, the maximum term is taken from the prescribed penalty of prision correccional maximum to prision
mayor minimum in its maximum period, adding 1 year of imprisonment for every P10,000.00 in excess of P22,000.00, provided that the
total penalty shall not exceed 20 years. However, the maximum period of the prescribed penalty of prision correccional maximum
to prision mayor minimum is not prision mayor minimum as apparently assumed by the RTC. To compute the maximum period of the
prescribed penalty, prision correccional maximum to prision mayor minimum should be divided into three equal portions of time each of
which portion shall be deemed to form one period in accordance with Article 65 of the RPC. Following this procedure, the maximum
period of prision correccional maximum to prision mayor minimum is from 6 years, 8 months and 21 days to 8 years. The incremental
penalty, when proper, shall thus be added to anywhere from 6 years, 8 months and 21 days to 8 years, at the discretion of the court.

In computing the incremental penalty, the amount defrauded shall be subtracted by P22,000.00, and the difference shall be
divided by P10,000.00. Any fraction of a year shall be discarded as was done starting with the case of People v. Pabalan in consonance
with the settled rule that penal laws shall be construed liberally in favor of the accused. x x x.

WHEREFORE, the petitions for review on certiorari are DENIED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 27414 which affirmed with

modification the Decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 52, in Criminal Case No. 99-173688 convicting petitioners Lyzah Sy Franco and Steve Besario of

the crime of estafa is AFFIRMED with further modification that the indeterminate prison term imposed on each of the petitioners is four (4) years and two (2)

months of prision correccional as minimum to thirteen (13) years of reclusion temporal as maximum.

SO ORDERED.

MARIANO C. DEL CASTILLO


Associate Justice
WE CONCUR:

RENATO C. CORONA
Chief Justice
Chairperson

PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR. TERESITA J. LEONARDO-DE CASTRO


Associate Justice Associate Justice

JOSE PORTUGAL PEREZ


Associate Justice

CERTIFIC ATION

Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, it is hereby certified that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before
the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Courts Division.

RENATO C. C
658 Phil. 600

DEL CASTILLO, J.:

In the prosecution for the crime of estafa committed under Article 315, paragraph 2(a) of the Revised Penal Code, there must be evidence of
false representation or false pretense on the part of the accused to prove reasonable doubt. In this case, the employee's act of soliciting a
client despite previous knowledge of several complaints against his or her employer for failure to deliver the motor vehicle that was the
subject of the agreement, is tantamount to misrepresentation.

Factual Antecedents

These petitions for review on certiorari impugn the Decision[1] of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR No. 27414 which affirmed with
modifications the Decision[2] of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 52, in Criminal Case No. 99-173688, convicting petitioners Lyzah
Sy Franco (Franco) and Steve Besario (Besario) of the crime of Estafa. The Information filed against petitioners and their co-accused,
Antonio Rule, Jr. (Rule) and George Torres (Torres), contained the following accusatory allegations:

That on or about the first week of June 1998, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused, conspiring and confederating together and
helping one another, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously defraud MA. LOURDES G. ANTONIO, in the following manner, to
wit: the said accused by means of false manifestations and fraudulent representations which they made to said Ma. Lourdes G. Antonio, to
the effect that they are employees of FINAL ACCESS MARKETING, a business entity engaged in the sale and financing of used or
repossessed cars, and as such could process and facilitate the sale of a Mazda car 323 bearing plate number PVB-999 worth P130,000.00
provided they be given the amount of P80,000.00 as down payment and by means of other deceits of similar import, induced and succeeded
in inducing the said Ma. Lourdes G. Antonio to give and deliver as in fact she gave and delivered to herein accused the said amount of
P80,000.00, and accused knowing fully well that their manifestations and representations were false and untrue and were made only to
obtain the said amount of P80,000.00 which amount once in their possession, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously
misapply, misappropriate and convert the said amount of P80,000.00 to their own personal use and benefit, to the damage and prejudice of
said MA. LOURDES G. ANTONIO in the aforesaid amount of P80,000.00 in its equivalent amount to the Philippine Currency.

Contrary to law.[3]

During arraignment, petitioners entered separate pleas of "not guilty." Rule and Torres failed to appear and, to date, remain at large. After
the termination of the pre-trial conference, trial ensued.

The Version of the Prosecution

Ma. Lourdes G. Antonio (Lourdes) testified that petitioners swindled her. She claimed that Franco was a friend of her niece and that she has
known her for almost a year. In the first week of June 1998, Franco came to her house and offered to assist her in purchasing a used
car. Franco introduced herself as Assistant Administrative Coordinator of Final Access Marketing which was engaged in the sale and
financing of second-hand and repossessed vehicles. Franco gave her calling card after their conversation.

Lourdes was interested in the offer of Franco since she and her husband were actually looking for a used car for their taxicab
operation. She therefore contacted Franco to take up her offer.

On June 26, 1998, Franco and Lourdes went to a showroom on Houston Street, San Juan, Metro Manila, where Lourdes immediately chose a
blue Mazda 323 car with Plate No. PVB No. 999 from those that were on display.

At around 7 o'clock in the evening of July 2, 1998, Franco went to the house of Lourdes and presented a sales proposal. She was with
Besario and Rule, whom she introduced as her superiors. Rule then made a presentation on the Mazda 323 car informing Lourdes that she
can buy it for P130,000.00 with a downpayment of P80,000.00 and the balance to be paid in 12 equal monthly installments. Rule also told
Lourdes that the car would be delivered within three days from receipt of her money.

Lourdes agreed to pay the downpayment the following day. Before the petitioners departed, Rule ordered Franco to sign the sales proposal
as sales executive. Lourdes also signed the document. Rule then issued a receipt dated July 3, 1998 and instructed Franco and Besario to
give it to Lourdes after receiving her downpayment upon their return on the next day.

The following day, July 3, 1998, Franco and Besario returned to the house of Lourdes to collect the downpayment of P80,000.00. Besario
received and counted the money and handed it to Franco. After counting the money, Franco returned the same to Besario, who put it inside
the bag he was carrying. They gave to Lourdes the receipt dated July 3, 1998 that was signed by Rule. At the same time, they assured her
that the car would be delivered in three days.

The car, however, was not delivered as promised. Lourdes called up Final Access Marketing's office and was able to talk to the
owner/manager, Torres, who assured her that her downpayment would be refunded or that they would look for a replacement.

Meanwhile, Lourdes and her husband returned to the showroom on Houston Street, San Juan, where they saw the Mazda car already
clean. The security guard told them it was ready for release in the afternoon.

When the car was still undelivered, Lourdes sought the aid of "Hoy Gising," a television show that broadcasts grievances of people against
fraudulent schemes. During a visit to the show's office, Lourdes learned that 12 other persons were victimized by the group of petitioners.

Lourdes also met with Atty. Renz Jaime, legal counsel of Final Access Marketing, who assured her that Final Access Marketing would return
her money by August. When he reneged on his promise, formal demand was made on him to settle the obligation of said business
enterprise.

Erlinda Acosta (Erlinda) was one of the alleged victims of petitioners whom Lourdes met while airing her complaint in the television program
"Hoy Gising." Erlinda testified that she was referred to Besario when she was looking for a second-hand vehicle. She went to the office of
Final Access Marketing in Timog Avenue, Quezon City, and was shown by Besario several pictures of vehicles from which she chose a
Mitsubishi Pajero.
On April 7, 1998, Erlinda and her son met Besario, Rule and their other companions in a restaurant. They brought the vehicle Erlinda wanted
to purchase and her son drove it for a road test. Thereafter, she agreed to buy the vehicle for P600,000.00. She signed a Vehicle Sales
Proposal and handed to Rule a downpayment of US$3,000.00.

On April 20, 1998, Erlinda delivered to Besario and Rule a manager's check in the amount of P245,000.00 as payment for the entire
balance. She was then assured that the vehicle will be delivered a week later. However, Besario and Rule reneged on their promise. Erlinda
went to the office of Final Access Marketing and complained to Franco but to no avail. Her motor vehicle was never delivered. Thus, she
went to "Hoy Gising."

Juanito Antonio corroborated the testimony of his wife, Lourdes. He was present when petitioners Franco and Besario, together with Rule,
went to their house in the evening of July 2, 1998 with a written proposal for the sale of a vehicle. After his wife signed the document, she
gave a downpayment of P80,000.00. When the car was not delivered on the date agreed upon, he and his wife went to the office of Final
Access Marketing. Upon their inquiries, the security guard on duty said that the car they purchased already had a gate pass and would be
delivered in the afternoon. However, the said vehicle was never delivered to them.

The Version of the Petitioners

Franco denied involvement in the alleged conspiracy to commit estafa against Lourdes. She alleged that it was Torres, the owner of Final
Access Marketing, who was the swindler. And like Lourdes, she was a victim in this case.

Franco claimed that petitioner Besario hired her as a clerk-typist. She was promoted to the position of Assistant Administrative Coordinator
and was authorized to solicit clients for Final Access Marketing.

Franco learned from her sister that Lourdes wanted to purchase a second-hand car. She went to see Lourdes and presented to the latter a
list of repossessed vehicles. She gave her calling card to Lourdes before they parted. Later on, Lourdes called and visited the office of
Final Access Marketing, where Franco introduced Lourdes to Besario and Rule.

Franco accompanied Lourdes to showrooms where the latter chose a blue Mazda car with Plate No. PVB 999. Rule agreed to sell the car to
Lourdes for P130,000.00. Thus, on the evening of July 2, 1998, she, Besario and Rule went to the house of Lourdes with a Vehicle Sales
Proposal. Franco signed the document without reading and understanding the same upon the insistence of Rule. Rule then signed an
official receipt and instructed Franco and Besario to return the next day to give the same to Lourdes after collecting her
downpayment. Lourdes was also assured that the car would be delivered within three days from receipt of the downpayment.

On July 3, 1998, at around 10 a.m., Franco and Besario came back to collect the downpayment. Lourdes gave her cash payment to Besario,
who counted it. He gave said cash to Franco, who counted it again. When the money was handed back to Besario, he put it inside a black
bag. Thereafter, Franco and Besario went to a restaurant to pick-up Rule. They rode a taxi and proceeded to the house of Torres, but it was
only Besario and Rule who went inside. Franco went home without receiving a single centavo for her transportation fare.

When the car was not delivered, Lourdes called Franco who in turn reminded her boss to expedite its release. However, the continued
failure to receive the vehicle compelled Lourdes to report the incident to "Hoy Gising." It was only during this period that Franco learned of
similar complaints from other customers. Thereafter, Lourdes called her intermittently asking for a reimbursement. However, the latter
could not do anything since her employers no longer reported to the office. Rule and Torres left Manila and went to Cebu. She was not
aware of their whereabouts at the time of her testimony.

On the other hand, Besario failed to attend several hearings. The notice to appear and to present evidence sent to him was returned
unserved since he moved to another address without informing the trial court. Thus, upon motion of the prosecution, he was declared to
have waived his right to present evidence. The case was consequently submitted for decision.

The Ruling of the Regional Trial Court

On October 23, 2001, the trial court rendered its Decision finding petitioners guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of estafa under
Article 315, par. 1(b) of the Revised Penal Code. The dispositive portion reads as follows:

ACCORDINGLY, above premises all considered, the Court finding accused Lyzah Sy Franco and Steve Besario GUILTY, beyond reasonable
doubt, of the crime charged in the Information, the Court hereby sentences said two accused to each suffer the indeterminate penalty of
imprisonment ranging from seventeen (17) years of reclusion temporal as MAXIMUM to eight (8) years and one (1) day of prison mayor as
MINIMUM and to suffer all the accessory penalties as provided by law.

Accused Franco and Besario, jointly and severally are likewise ordered to pay private complainant Ma. Lourdes Antonio the sum of
P80,000.00 as actual damages.

SO ORDERED.[4]

The Ruling of the Court of Appeals

On July 26, 2005, the CA promulgated its Decision that affirmed with

modification the decision of the trial court. It convicted the petitioners for the crime of estafa under Article 315, par. 2(a) of the Revised
Penal Code and modified the penalty. The dispositive portion of its Decision reads as follows:

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing premises, the Decision dated October 23, 2001 rendered by the trial court is hereby AFFIRMED, with
modification to the effect that the penalty imposed upon each of the appellants is hereby MODIFIED to an indeterminate sentence of Four (4)
years, Two (2) months, and One (1) day of prision correccional as minimum to Thirteen (13) years of reclusion temporal as maximum.

Accused Franco and Besario are likewise ordered to pay, jointly and severally, private complainant, Ma. Lourdes Antonio, the sum of
P80,000.00 as actual damages.

SO ORDERED.[5]

Hence, petitioners filed separate petitions for review on certiorari assailing the Decision of the CA. Franco contends that "the Court of
Appeals decided the case on a mistaken inference and [misappreciation] of facts bordering on speculations, surmises or conjectures."[6]

On the other hand, Besario ascribes the following error to the CA:

PUBLIC RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED REVERSIBLE ERROR BY DISREGARDING THE LAW, JURISPRUDENCE AND
EVIDENCE WHEN IT RULED THAT PETITIONER BESARIO IS GUILTY OF THE CRIME OF ESTAFA AS CHARGED IN THE INFORMATION. [7]

In its Consolidated Comment, the Solicitor General opposes the petitions by arguing that "petitioners raise[d] questions of fact which are
inappropriate in a petition for review on certiorari. x x x."[8] The Solicitor General also believes the prosecution's evidence was sufficient to
convict petitioners of estafa under Article 315, par. 2(a) of the Revised Penal Code and that petitioners' defenses failed to overturn the
evidence showing their guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

Our Ruling

The petitions are not meritorious.

Exception to the Finality and Conclusiveness


of Factual Findings of the Court of Appeals

"[A]s a rule, our jurisdiction in cases brought to us from the Court of Appeals is limited to the review and revision of errors of law allegedly
committed by the appellate court, as findings of fact are deemed conclusive and we are not duty-bound to analyze and weigh all over again
the evidence already considered in the proceedings below."[9] While this rule is not without exception, there are no exceptional
circumstances in these cases that warrant a departure from the findings of facts of the trial court, as affirmed by the CA. Even after
considering the merits, the petitions deserve outright denial.

The conviction of Franco and Besario for conspiring to commit estafa against Lourdes must therefore stand. The prosecution satisfactorily
established their participation in the scheme to defraud Lourdes, their acts were not isolated from but related to a plot to deceive her. The
prosecution likewise proved beyond reasonable doubt that the well-planned swindling scheme of Franco and Besario resulted to estafa.

Conspiracy must be Shown as Clearly


as the Commission of the Offense[10]

There is conspiracy when two or more persons agree to commit a felony

and decide to commit it.[11] "Conspiracy must be proven on the same quantum of evidence as the felony subject of the agreement of the
parties. [It] may be proved by direct or circumstantial evidence consisting of acts, words, or conduct of the alleged conspirators [prior to],
during and after the commission of the felony to achieve a common design or purpose."[12]

Several circumstances in this case conclusively show Franco's role in defrauding Lourdes. She was the one who personally approached
Lourdes and actively made representations on behalf of Final Access Marketing despite previous knowledge of the company's failure to
deliver the vehicle sold to Erlinda. She offered to help Lourdes purchase a second-hand car by presenting herself as an Assistant
Administrative Coordinator of said company. She also assisted Lourdes in selecting a car she wanted to buy. Six days later, Franco arrived
with Besario and Rule in the house of Lourdes after regular business hours. Franco made the necessary introductions and they
commenced with a presentation that persuaded Lourdes to part with her money. They showed Lourdes a prepared Sales Proposal
Agreement that Franco signed as a sales executive.

Franco, together with Besario, returned the next day to collect the downpayment of Lourdes. After counting the money and putting it inside
a bag, they assured Lourdes that the car would be delivered within three days. When they failed to fulfill their promise and their unlawful
scheme was unraveled, she did not do anything to placate Lourdes.

We cannot lend credence to Franco's assertion that she only knew of her employer's fraudulent scheme after Lourdes reported the same to
"Hoy Gising." For sure, before their former clients reported their anomalous transactions to "Hoy Gising," they first lodged their complaints
with the company itself. Hence, we are at a loss why Franco, as the company's Assistant Administrative Coordinator would feign ignorance
of the same. We also could not understand why after "discovering" her employer's fraudulent transactions, and after said employers
absconded, Franco continued to report to their office. She did not even bother to inform Lourdes that her employers had already
absconded. Finally, since she made representations to Lourdes that the car would be delivered in three days time, the least that Franco
could have done was to investigate the matter and explain to Lourdes the company's failure to deliver the car. After all, Franco was a friend
of Lourdes' niece.

Besario, for his part, actively conspired with Franco by inducing Lourdes to part with her money. He also went to the house of Lourdes and
induced the latter to make a downpayment on the car she wanted to purchase and sign the Sales Proposal Agreement. He and Franco
collected the money from Lourdes and promised her that the car would be delivered three days later even if he had knowledge from the
previous transaction with Erlinda that the delivery would never happen. Thereafter, he could not be reached or found when the car was still
undelivered and their devious plot was exposed.

Evidently, petitioners' actions were in relation to the attainment of a common objective. They had vital roles in the nefarious scheme to sell
a vehicle that they knew would never be delivered, but for which they obtained a substantial sum of money from Lourdes.

Having established the existence of a conspiracy between Franco and Besario, the prosecution proceeded to present evidence to prove that
the acts of the petitioners constituted estafa.
Estafa by Means of Deceit

Article 315, par. 2(a) of the Revised Penal Code penalizes fraud or deceit when committed as follows:

xxxx

2. by means of any of the following false pretenses or fraudulent acts executed prior to or simultaneously with the commission of fraud:

(a) by using fictitious name, or actions, falsely pretending to possess power, influence, qualification, property, credit, agency, business or
imaginary transactions, or by means of other similar deceits.

"The elements of the crime of estafa under the foregoing provision are: (1) there must be a false pretense, fraudulent acts or fraudulent
means; (2) such false pretense, fraudulent act or fraudulent means must be made or executed prior to or simultaneously with the
commission of the fraud; (3) the offended party must have relied on the false pretense, fraudulent act or fraudulent means and was thus
induced to part with his money or property; and (4) as a result thereof, the offended party suffered damage." [13]

Petitioners presented themselves to Lourdes as persons possessing the authority and capacity to engage in the financing of used vehicles
in behalf of Final Access Marketing. This was a clear misrepresentation considering their previous knowledge not only of Erlinda's
complaint but also of several others as regards the failure of Final Access Marketing to deliver the motor vehicles bought. Lourdes relied on
their misrepresentations and parted with her money. Almost a week passed by, but petitioners and Rule did not deliver the said motor
vehicle. They also did not fulfill their subsequent promise to provide a replacement or to refund her payment. When Lourdes visited the
office of Final Access Marketing to demand the return of her money, it was already closed. She could not locate any of them except for
Franco who denied any wrongdoing. Consequently, she suffered damage.

If indeed they were innocent as they claimed to be, Erlinda's complaint to petitioners and the 12 other similar complaints with "Hoy Gising"
regarding undelivered vehicles should have dissuaded petitioners from further soliciting customers. The fact that they continued to offer
for sale a second-hand car to Lourdes is indicative of deceit and their complicity in the conspiracy to commit estafa. The manner in which
petitioners transacted business with Erlinda and Lourdes as well as their awareness of 12 other similar complaints with "Hoy Gising" were
sufficient to establish the existence of a modus operandi.

Franco's attempt to escape culpability by feigning ignorance of the previously failed transactions on the delivery of vehicles by Final Access
Marketing cannot be countenanced. As gleaned from the testimony of Erlinda, Franco was already with Final Access Marketing at the time
these transactions occurred. She was therefore familiar with the company's procedure and policy on the sales of second-hand
vehicles. She even accompanied Lourdes to showrooms and introduced her to Besario and Rule.

As an employee of Final Access Marketing, Franco was expected to be familiar with its daily activities. It would be unworthy of belief that
she did not know of the complaints for the unexplained failure of Final Access Marketing to deliver vehicles to its customers. Human nature
and experience would compel her to make queries on her own to discover the reasons for the non-delivery of the vehicles. Her continued
insistence in soliciting Lourdes as a client by introducing herself as an Assistant Administrative Coordinator of Final Access Marketing with
the ability to provide financing for a vehicle of her choice is therefore indicative of fraudulent misrepresentation.

The petitioners also contend that they are not criminally liable since the transaction with Lourdes was a contract of sale. This contention
does not deserve serious consideration. While the fact that they entered into a contract with Lourdes cannot be denied, the transaction
transpired due to their deceit. It was their misrepresentation that induced Lourdes to sign the Sales Proposal agreement and part with her
money.

In denying any criminal wrongdoing, petitioners blame their co-accused, Torres, whom they claim to be the owner of Final Access
Marketing. The shifting of blame is common among conspirators in their attempt to escape liability. It is a desperate strategy to
compensate for their weak defense. We are not readily influenced by such a proposition since its "obvious motive is to distort the truth and
frustrate the ends of justice."[14]

The Penalty

Having committed the crime of estafa, the petitioners must suffer the proper penalties provided by law. The law imposes the penalty
of prision correccional in its maximum period to prision mayor in its minimum period if the amount is over P12,000.00 but does not exceed
P22,000.00. If the amount swindled exceeds P22,000.00, the penalty shall be imposed in its maximum period, adding one year for each
additional P10,000.00, but the total penalty which may be imposed shall not exceed 20 years. [15] To determine the minimum of the
indeterminate penalty, prision correccional in its maximum period to prision mayor in its minimum period shall be reduced by one degree,
that is, to prision correccional in its minimum and medium periods. The minimum period of the indeterminate penalty shall be taken from
the full range of the penalty of prision correccional in its minimum and medium periods, which is six (6) months and one (1) day to four (4)
years and two (2) months. With the amount of the fraud at P80,000.00, there is P58,000.00 in excess of P22,000.00. Five years must
therefore be added to the maximum period of the prescribed penalty ranging from six (6) years, eight (8) months and twenty-one (21) days to
eight (8) years. Thus, the maximum term of the penalty would range from eleven (11) years, eight (8) months and twenty-one (21) days to
thirteen (13) years. This is in accord with our ruling in People v. Temparada,[16] viz:

The prescribed penalty for estafa under Article 315, par. 2(d) of the RPC, when the amount defrauded exceeds P22,000.00, is prision
correccional maximum to prision mayor minimum. The minimum term is taken from the penalty next lower or anywhere within prision
correccional minimum and medium (i.e. from 6 months and 1 day to 4 years and 2 months). Consequently, the RTC correctly fixed the
minimum term for the five estafa cases at 4 years and 2 months of prision correccional since this is within the range
of prisioncorreccional minimum and medium.

On the other hand, the maximum term is taken from the prescribed penalty of prision correccional maximum to prision mayor minimum in
its maximum period, adding 1 year of imprisonment for every P10,000.00 in excess of P22,000.00, provided that the total penalty shall not
exceed 20 years. However, the maximum period of the prescribed penalty of prision correccional maximum to prision mayor minimum is
not prision mayor minimum as apparently assumed by the RTC. To compute the maximum period of the prescribed
penalty, prision correccional maximum to prision mayor minimum should be divided into three equal portions of time each of which portion
shall be deemed to form one period in accordance with Article 65 of the RPC. Following this procedure, the maximum period
of prision correccional maximum to prision mayor minimum is from 6 years, 8 months and 21 days to 8 years. The incremental penalty,
when proper, shall thus be added to anywhere from 6 years, 8 months and 21 days to 8 years, at the discretion of the court.

In computing the incremental penalty, the amount defrauded shall be subtracted by P22,000.00, and the difference shall be divided by
P10,000.00. Any fraction of a year shall be discarded as was done starting with the case of People v. Pabalan in consonance with the settled
rule that penal laws shall be construed liberally in favor of the accused. x x x.

WHEREFORE, the petitions for review on certiorari are DENIED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 27414 which
affirmed with modification the Decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 52, in Criminal Case No. 99-173688 convicting petitioners Lyzah
Sy Franco and Steve Besario of the crime of estafa is AFFIRMED with further modification that the indeterminate prison term imposed on
each of the petitioners is four (4) years and two (2) months of prision correccional as minimum to thirteen (13) years of reclusion
temporal as maximum.

SO ORDERED.

Corona, C.J., (Chairperson), Velasco, Jr., Leonardo-De Castro, and Perez, JJ., concur.
Friday, October 31, 2014

PEOPLE vs GARCIA DIGEST


PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ROBERTO T. GARCIA
529 SCRA 519 (2007), SECOND DIVISION (Carpio Morales, J.)

When a person has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense, a private parson may, without warrant, arrest a
person.

FACTS: Roberto T. Garcia and Melissa B. Cruz were caught in a buy-bust operation of possessing dangerous drug specifically Methylamphetamine
Hydrochloride (shabu). They were subsequently charged before the Regional Trial Court for violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act. The
RTC rendered judgment finding Garcia and Cruz guilty of the offense charged.

On appeal, Garcia faulted the trial court in not finding that he was illegally arrested. He insisted that none of the circumstances justifying a warrantless
arrest under Section 5 of Rule 113 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure was present. The Court of Appeals affirmed the lower courts decision.

ISSUE: Whether or not the accused was illegally arrested because a warrant of arrest was not presented by the law enforcers

HELD: Here, the Supreme Court said that the accused was wrong in saying that a warrant of arrest should have been presented before the law enforcers
arrested him.

The Court said Garcia was caught in flagrante delicto - in the act of selling a sachet containing substances which turned out to be positive for shabu to
poseur-buyer PO2 Barrameda. And as soon as he was arrested, he was frisked by the arresting officers in the course of which a sachet also containing
substances which too turned out to be positive for shabu was found in his pocket.

Section 5(a) of Rule 113 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure provides that a peace officer or a private person may, without a warrant, arrest a
person when, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense. Having committed
the crime of selling shabu in the presence of the buy-bust operation team, and having been found to be in possession of another sachet of shabu
immediately thereafter, Garcias arrest without warrant is, unquestionably, justified.For a successful prosecution of a charge for illegal sale of a prohibited
drug, the following elements must concur: (1) the identity of the buyer and the seller, the object of the sale, and

the consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment therefor. What is material is proof that the transaction or sale actually took place,
coupled with the presentation in court of the object evidence. Such requirements are present in this case.