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12.1_Pacheco vs Hon. Court and People of the Philippines

12.1_Pacheco vs Hon. Court and People of the Philippines

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Published by Elaine Atienza

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Published by: Elaine Atienza on Nov 29, 2012
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12/04/2012

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Pacheco vs. Hon. Court of Appeals and People of the PhilippinesFacts:
Petitioner spouses are engaged in the construction business. ComplainantRomualdo Vicencio was a former Judge and his wife, Luz Vicencio, owns a pawnshopin Samar. Due to financial distress, petitioners loaned P10,000.00 from Mrs.Vicencio. Defendants required petitioners to issue an undated check as evidence of the loan which will not be presented to the bank only an evidence of indebtedness. The petitioners cleared to Vivencios that they have no funds, but stillinsisted that they issue the check, which according to her was only aformality. Thus, petitioner issued an undated RCBC check - CT 101756 forP10,000.00. However, she only received the amount of P9,000.00 as the 10%interest on the loan was already deducted. Mrs. Vicencio also required petitioner’shusband, to sign the check on the same understanding that the check is not to beencashed but only as evidence and will not be negotiated.On June 14, 1989, Petitioners loaned another P50,000.00 from the defendants.She received only P35,000.00 as the previous loan of P10,000.00 as well as the 10%interest amounting to P5,000.00 on the new loan were deducted. Petitioners paidthe previous loan and asked for the return of the first check but defendants saidthat they can’t locate it. For the new loan, she also required petitioners to issuethree (3) more checks 2 checks for P20,000.00 each and the 1 check forP10,000.00. Petitioners were against it but the defendants insisted. They issued 3undated RCBC checks numbered 101783 and 101784 in the sum of P20,000.00each and 101785 for P10,000.00.On June 20 and July 21, 1989, petitioner obtained 2 more loans- P10,000.00 andP15,000.00 respectively. Again she issued 2 more RCBC checks (No. 101768 forP10,000.00 and No. 101774 for P15,000.00). The six checks represent a totalobligation of P85,000.00. However, P10,000.00 under the first check was alreadypaid (stated above), so the remaining amount was only P75,000.00. Petitioners paidP60,000.00
leaving a balance of P15,000
which remained payable by thepetitioners.On August 3, 1992, defendants went to petitioners’ residence to persuadepetitioner to place the date “August 15, 1992” on checks nos. 101756 and 101774.Check no. 101756 was required by Mrs. Vicencio to be dated as additionalguarantee for the P15,000.00. Despite being informed about the absence of funds,the defendants still insisted.Later, petitioners received a demand letter informing them that the checkswhen presented for payment were dishonored due to “Account Closed”.Consequently, the defendants complained, two informations for estafa were filedagainst them. After entering a plea of not guilty during arraignment, petitionerswere tried and sentenced to suffer imprisonment and ordered to indemnify thecomplainant in the total amount of P25,000.00. On appeal, the Court of Appeals(CA) affirmed the decision of the court
a quo
. Hence this petition.
Issue:
Whether or not the courts erred in making the above decision
Held:
Yes. the assailed Decision is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Petitioners areACQUITTED of the charge of estafa but they are ORDERED to pay Mrs. Vicencio the
 
amount of P15,000.00 without interest. However, from the time this judgmentbecomes final and executory, the amount due shall earn legal interest of twelvepercent (12%)
 per annum
until full payment.
Ratio:
Estafa may be committed in several ways. One of these is by postdating a checkor issuing a check in payment of an obligation, who shall defraud another by any of the means mentioned... such as when the offender had no funds in the bank, or hisfunds deposited therein were not sufficient to cover the amount of the check. The essential elements in order to sustain a conviction under the aboveparagraph are: (1)that the offender postdated or issued a check in payment of anobligation contracted at the time the check was issued; (2) that such postdating orissuing a check was done when the offender had no funds in the bank, or his fundsdeposited therein were not sufficient to cover the amount of the check; (3)deceit ordamage to the payee thereof. The first and third elements are not present in this case. There cannot be deceiton the part of petitioners, because they agreed with the obligee at the time of the issuance and postdating of the checks that the same shall not be encashedor presented to the banks. Moreover, the petioners made known to thedefendants that there were no funds.In the absence of the essential element of deceit, no estafa was committed by petitioners.Moreover, as stated in Section 14 thereof, complainant, as the person inpossession of the check, has
 prima facie
authority to complete it by filling up theblanks therein. Besides, pursuant to Section 12 of the same law, a negotiableinstrument is not rendered invalid by reason only that it is antedated orpostdated. Thus, the allegation of the defendant that the date to be placed byPetitioner was necessary so as to make the check evidence of indebtedness isnothing but a ploy.Moreover, a check must be presented within a reasonable time from issue,otherwise it will be a stale check. In this case, checks were issued more than threeyears prior to their presentment.Six checks were issued but only 2 were presented. It is clear that the checkswere not intended for encashment with the bank, but were delivered as meresecurity for the payment of the loan and under an agreement that the checks wouldbe redeemed with cash as they fell due. The rule that factual findings of the trial court bind this court is not absolute butadmits of exceptions such as when the conclusion is a finding grounded onspeculation, surmise, and conjecture and when the findings of the lower court ispremised on the absence of evidence and is contradicted by the evidence onrecord. Vice-Chancellor Van Fleet once said:“Evidence to be believed must not only proceed from the mouth of a crediblewitness but must be credible in itself – such as the common experience andobservation of mankind can approve as probable under the circumstances. We haveno test of the truth of human testimony, except its conformity to our knowledge,observation and experience. Whatever is repugnant to these belongs to themiraculous, and is outside of judicial cognizance.”

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