February 2011 Philippine Supreme Court Decisions on Criminal Law and Procedure

Here are selected February 2011 rulings of the Supreme Court of the Philippines on criminal law and procedure:

CRIMINAL LAW

Revised Penal Code

Estafa; elements. The elements of the crime of estafa under Article 315, par. 2(a) of the Revised Penal Code 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. Lyzah Sy Franco v. People of the Philippines/ Steve Besario v. People of the Philippines, G.R. Nos. 171328 and 171335, February 16, 2011.

Estafa; elements. All the elements of the crime of estafa under Article 315, par. 2(a) are present in this case. Petitioners presented themselves to Lourdes as persons possessing the authority and capacity to engage in the financing of used vehicles on 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. Lyzah Sy Franco v. People of the Philippines/ Steve Besario v. People of the Philippines, G.R. Nos. 171328 and 171335, February 16, 2011.

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May 2010 Philippine Supreme Court Decisions on Criminal Law and Procedure

Here are selected May 2010 rulings of the Supreme Court of the Philippines on criminal law and procedure

Anti-Graft; causing undue injury. The elements of the offense of causing undue injury under R.A. 3019, Sec. 3(e) are as follows: (1) that the accused are public officers or private persons charged in conspiracy with them; (2) that said public officers commit the prohibited acts during the performance of their official duties or in relation to their public positions; (3) that they caused undue injury to any party, whether the Government or a private party; (4) that such injury is caused by giving unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference to such parties; and (5) that the public officers have acted with manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence. In this case, only the first element was proven. The other elements were not. Thus, the presumption of regularity in the performance of one’s function remains unrebutted and enjoyed by petitioners. Anuncio C. Bustillo, et al. vs. People of the Philippines, G.R. No. 160718, May 12, 2010

Arrest; estoppel. An accused is estopped from assailing the legality of his arrest if he fails to raise this issue or to move for the quashal of the information against him on this ground, which should be made before arraignment. In this case, the irregularity of the accused’s arrest was raised only in his appeal before the Court of Appeals. This is not allowed considering that he was already properly arraigned and even actively participated in the proceedings. He is therefore deemed to have waived this alleged defect when he submitted himself to the jurisdiction of the court. People of the Philippines vs. Joseph Amper y Repaso, G.R. No. 172708, May 5, 2010.

Arrest; posting of bail. The erstwhile ruling of this Court was that posting of bail constitutes a waiver of any irregularity in the issuance of a warrant of arrest has already been superseded by Section 26, Rule 114 of the Revised Rule of Criminal Procedure.  The principle that the accused is precluded from questioning the legality of the arrest after arraignment is true only if he voluntarily enters his plea and participates during trial without previously invoking his objections thereto. Section 26, Rule 114 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure is a new one, intended to modify previous rulings of this Court that an application for bail or the admission to bail by the accused shall be considered as a waiver of his right to assail the warrant issued for his arrest on the legalities or irregularities thereon. The new rule has reverted to the ruling of this Court in People v. Red. The new rule is curative in nature because, precisely, it was designed to supply defects and curb evils in procedural rules. Thus, petitioners’ posting of bail bond should not be deemed as a waiver of their right to assail their arrest. Teodoro C. Borlongan, Jr. et al. vs. Magdaleno M. Peña, et al., G.R. No. 143591, May 5, 2010.

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May 2009 Philippine Supreme Court Decisions on Criminal Law and Legal/Judicial Ethics

Here are selected May 2009 decisions of the Supreme Court on criminal law and legal/judicial ethics.

Criminal Law

Dangerous Drugs Act; sale of illegal drugs. In order to successfully prosecute an accused for illegal sale of drugs, the prosecution must be able to prove the following elements: (1) identities of the buyer and seller, the object, and the consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment therefor. What is material to the prosecution for illegal sale of dangerous drugs is the proof that the transaction or sale or had actually taken place, coupled with the presentation in court of evidence of corpus delicti.

Otherwise stated, in illegal possession of dangerous drugs, the elements are: (1) the accused is in possession of an item or object which is identified to be a prohibited drug; (2) such possession is not authorized by law; and (3) the accused freely and consciously possessed the said drug. Similarly, in this case, the evidence of the corpus delicti must be established beyond doubt.

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