517 Phil. 110
The material facts may be briefly stated, as follows:
- Decision dated 19 July 2001, dismissing the appeal thereto taken by the herein petitioner from a judgment of conviction promulgated by the Regional Trial Court of Bacolod City, Branch 50, in a criminal case for estafa thru falsification of public document thereat commenced by the People against four (4) accused, including the petitioner; and
- Resolution dated 22 October 2001, denying petitioner's motion for reconsideration.
That on or about the 20th day of January, 1993 in the City of Bacolod, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the herein accused, conspiring, confederating and acting in concert, with intent to gain, defrauded the herein offended party, Anita Manlangit Vda. de Villaflor, herein represented by her mother-in-law and Attorney-in-Fact, Anastacia Tobongbanua, in the following manner, to wit: that accused Rosemarie Gelogo alias Rosemarie G. Villaflor being the occupant of a house made of concrete materials with a floor area of 40 ft. by 24 ft., with galvanized iron roofing, worth P200,000.00, owned by the deceased Ulysses Villaflor, husband of the herein offended party, did, then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously commit acts of falsification by then and there preparing and/or causing to be prepared a public document denominated as a Deed of Sale dated January 20, 1993 entered as Doc. No. 402, Page No. 81, Book No. XVII, Series of 1993 of the Notarial Register of Atty. Ramon B. Clapiz, to the effect that she is the lawful owner of the said house and affixing or causing to be affixed thereon her name and signature, Rosemarie G. Villaflor, purportedly as wife of the deceased Ulysses Villaflor, thus making untruthful statement in the narration of facts as accused well know that such was not the case for the deceased Ulysses Villaflor has a legal wife in the person of the herein offended party, by reason of which accused was able to effect the sale and eventual occupancy of the said house to the herein accused Sps. Gregg Canlas and Melba Canlas who despite of their knowledge that such house was not owned by Rosemarie Gelogo bought the same from her in the amount of P80,000.00 and, herein accused Bienvenido Gonzaludo alias "Ben", despite of his knowledge that such house was not owned by Rosemarie Gelogo, participated in the commission of the herein offense by causing his name and signature to be affixed in the said Deed of Sale as witness to the fraudulent sale entered into by the parties, to the damage and prejudice of the herein offended party in the amount of TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS (P200,000.00), Philippine Currency.Docketed as Criminal Case No. 94-16532, the Information was raffled to Branch 50 of the court.Act contrary to law.
FOR ALL THE FOREGOING, the Court finds the accused Bienvenido Gonzaludo GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt as a principal and co-conspirator of the complex Crime of Estafa Thru Falsification of a Public Document and there being no extenuating circumstances and pursuant to the provision of Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code, he is sentenced to suffer the penalty of Reclusion Temporal. Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the accused is sentenced to a prison term of Eight (8) years of Prision Mayor to Twenty (20) years of Reclusion Temporal. By way of Civil Liability, the accused is sentenced to pay the offended party the sum of P200,000.00, representing the value of the house and the sum of P20,000.00 as attorney's fees.Therefrom, petitioner went to the CA via ordinary appeal in CA-G.R. CR No. 22185.
The case with respect to the accused-Spouses Gregg and Melba Canlas is ordered dismissed as their guilt was not proved beyond reasonable doubt.
WHEREFORE, foregoing premises considered, the appeal is hereby ordered DISMISSED, having no merit in fact and in law, and the decision of the trial court AFFIRMED.With his motion for reconsideration having been denied by the CA in its resolution of October 22, 2001, petitioner is now with us via the present recourse on his submissions that the CA erred when it -
The petition is partly impressed with merit.
I– xxx sustained the decision of the trial court convicting the petitioner of the crime of Estafa thru Falsification of Public Document as defined and punished under Paragraph 2(a), Article 315, Revised Penal Code EVEN IF not any of the statutory elements of the crime herein charged is present or has been proved and/or not all of the statutory elements of the offense thus charged are present or have been proved beyond reasonable doubt; II– xxx sustained the conviction of your petitioner ALTHOUGH the material allegations in the information filed below have not been proved at all beyond reasonable doubt; III– xxx sustained the conviction of herein petitioner of a crime not properly charged in the information; IV– xxx grossly misappreciated the facts and misapplied the law and jurisprudence concerning the status of the house subject of this case as to whether the same is totally a conjugal property of Ulysses and Anita or the house wholly or substantially belongs to Rosemarie Gelogo a.k.a. Rosemarie G. Villaflor.
(1) that the accused made false pretenses or fraudulent representations as to his power, influence, qualifications, property, credit, agency, business or imaginary transactions;There is no question that the first, second and fourth elements are present: there was false or fraudulent misrepresentation by Rosemarie Gelogo when she used the fictitious surname "Villaflor"; the misrepresentation or false pretense was made prior to or simultaneous with the commission of the fraud; and private complainant Anita Manlangit's right to the subject 2-storey house was lost or at the very least prejudiced when Rosemarie sold it to the Canlases.
(2) that such false pretenses or fraudulent representations were made prior to or simultaneous with the commission of the fraud;
(3) that such false pretenses or fraudulent representations constitute the very cause which induced the offended party to part with his money or property; and
(4) that as a result thereof, the offended party suffered damage (Emphasis supplied).
xxx 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 that 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.We find no cogent reason to depart from this settled principle that the deceit, which must be prior to or simultaneously committed with the act of defraudation, must be the efficient cause or primary consideration which induced the offended party to part with his money or property and rule differently in the present case.
When a complex crime has been charged in an information and the evidence fails to support the charge on one of the component offenses, can the defendant still be separately convicted of the other offense? The question has long been answered in the affirmative. In United States vs. Lahoylahoy and Madanlog (38 Phil. 330), the Court has ruled to be legally feasible the conviction of an accused on one of the offenses included in a complex crime charged, when properly established, despite the failure of evidence to hold the accused of the other charge.Article 172 of the Revised Penal Code punishes any private individual who shall commit any of the acts of falsification enumerated in Article 171 in any public or official document or letter of exchange or any other kind of commercial document. In turn, Article 171 of the same Code provides:
Art. 171. Falsification by public officer, employee or notary or ecclesiastic minister.- The penalty of prision mayor and a fine not to exceed P5,000 pesos [sic] shall be imposed upon any public officer, employee, or notary who, taking advantage of his official position, shall falsify a document by committing any of the following acts:As correctly found by the trial court, petitioner conspired with Rosemarie to falsify, that is, by making untruthful statement in the narration of facts in the deed of sale, by declaring Rosemarie to be the owner of the house subject of such sale and signing as "Rosemarie Villaflor" instead of her real name, Rosemarie Gelogo, in order to sell the same to the Canlas spouses. It is established by evidence beyond reasonable doubt that Rosemarie committed the crime of falsification of public document. Likewise, proof beyond reasonable doubt has been duly adduced to establish conspiracy between Rosemarie and petitioner who is the brother-in-law of Melba Canlas, one of the buyers of the house in this case.
The same penalty shall be imposed upon any ecclesiastical minister who shall commit any of the offenses enumerated in the preceding paragraphs of this article, with respect to any record or document of such character that its falsification may affect the civil status of persons. (Emphasis supplied)
- Counterfeiting or imitating any handwriting, signature or rubric;
- Causing it to appear that persons have participated in any act or proceeding when they did not in fact so participate;
- Attributing to persons who have participated in any act or proceeding statements other than those in fact made by them;
- Making untruthful statements in a narration of facts;
- Altering true dates;
- Making any alteration or intercalation in a genuine document which changes its meaning;
- Issuing in an authenticated form a document purporting to be a copy of an original document when no such original exists, or including in such a copy a statement contrary to, or different from, that of the genuine original; or
- Intercalating any instrument or note relative to the issuance thereof in a protocol, registry, or official book.