CONSTITUTIONAL LAW 2: SEC 19 – 1ST
P3,500.00 (Exh. "F"). He was the one who acknowledged receipt of thesupplies mentioned in the voucher and who received the amount of P3,500.00 in payment thereof. He even certified to the necessity andlegality of the expense.When audited, petitioner was able to show the delivery of forms valuedat only P600.00. The burden was on petitioner to explain satisfactorilythe discrepancy between the voucher and the receipt of the delivery.Re : Shortage of P3,260.00Out of the amount of P4,100.00 disbursed under the voucher marked asExhibit "G", petitioner admits having been able to support payment of only P850.00; hence the amount of P3,260.00 was disallowed.Re :Shortage of P3,276.21As to the shortage in the amount of P3,276.21 representing theunaccounted collections of petitioner for the month of April and May1986, petitioner claims that the said amount was never turned over tohim. If this was true, he should not have signed the documents markedExhibits "H" to "M", "A-1", "Y-7", "5-1", "K-1", "L-1" and "M-1", allacknowledging receipt of the cash collections of the various collectors.In all the foregoing cases of shortage, petitioner admits having preparedand collected the amounts stated in the vouchers (Exhs. "E", "F", "G")and having signed the collectors' daily statement of collection, whichevidence his receipt of the amounts stated therein (Exhs. "H" to "M").With such admissions, how can petitioner now attribute the shortage of his accountable funds to his predecessor?It is also difficult to comprehend how an earlier audit of petitioner'saccountability or an audit made upon assumption of office of theMunicipal Treasurer could possible explain the shortages unearthed bythe government auditor and assist him in his defense. The elements of malversation of public funds or property punishableunder Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code are :a) That the offender is a public officer;.b) That he had the custody or control of funds or property by reason of the duties of his office;.c) That those funds or property were public funds or property for whichhe was accountable;.d) That he appropriated, took, misappropriated or consented or, throughabandonment or negligence permitted another person to take them. (IIReyes, The Revised Penal Code, p. 391 [1981 ed.]) The prosecution has established (a) that appellant received in hispossession public funds; (b) that he could not account for them and didnot have them in his possession when audited; and (c) that he could notgive a satisfactory explanation or reasonable excuse for thedisappearance of said funds. (Cabello v. Sandiganbayan, 197 SCRA 94) The prosecution is not required to present direct evidence of themisappropriation, which may be impossible to do. (Villanueva v.Sandiganbayan, 200 SCRA 722 ). The failure of a public officer to have duly forthcoming any public fundsor property with which he is chargeable, upon demand by any dulyauthorized officer, is a
evidence that he has put such fundsor property to personal use. (Art. 217, last paragraph, Revised PenalCode as amended by R.A. 1060).Petitioner questions as oppressive and unconstitutional the penaltyimposed on him — that of eleven years and one day of
, asminimum, to sixteen years, five months and eleven days of
, as maximum.He argues that considering the value of the peso in 1932 when theRevised Penal Code was enacted and the value of peso today, thepenalty for malversation of P21,000.00 should only be an imprisonmentof one or two years. (
, pp. 10-11)Assuming
that inflation has in effect made more severe thepenalty for malversing P21,000.00, the remedy cannot come from thisCourt but from the Congress. The Court can intervene and strike down apenalty as cruel, degrading or inhuman only when it has become soflagrantly oppressive and so wholly disproportionate to the nature of theoffense as to shock the moral senses. (People v. Dionisio, 22 SCRA 1299; People v. Estoista, 93 Phil. 647 ; U.S. v. Borromeo, 23 Phil.279 ) Considering that malversation of public funds by a publicofficer is a betrayal of the public trust, We are not prepared to say thatthe penalty imposed on petitioner is so disproportionate to the crimecommitted as to shock the moral sense.WHEREFORE, the petition for review is DISMISSED and the decisionappealed from is AFFIRMED
, with costs against petitioner.SO ORDERED.
PEOPLE VS DACUYCUY
Involved in this special civil action is the unique situation, to use aneuphemistic phrase, of an alternative penal sanction of imprisonmentimposed by law but without a specification as to the term or durationthereof.As a consequence of such legislative
or oversight, the petitionat bar seeks to set aside the decision of the then Court of First Instanceof Leyte, Branch IV, dated September 8,1976,
penned by hereinrespondent judge and granting the petition for
and prohibitionwith preliminary injunction filed by herein private respondents anddocketed therein as Civil Case No. 5428, as well as his resolution of October 19, 1976
denying the motions for reconsideration filed by theparties therein. Subject of said decision were the issues on jurisdictionover violations of Republic Act No. 4670, otherwise known as the MagnaCarta for Public School Teachers, and the constitutionality of Section 32thereof.In a complaint filed by the Chief of Police of Hindang, Leyte on April 4,1975, herein private respondents Celestino S. Matondo, Segundino A.Caval and Cirilo M. Zanoria, public school officials of Leyte, werecharged before the Municipal Court of Hindang, Leyte in Criminal CaseNo. 555 thereof for violation of Republic Act No. 4670. The case was setfor arraignment and trial on May 29, 1975. At the arraignment, theherein private respondents, as the accused therein, pleaded not guilty tothe charge. Immediately thereafter, they orally moved to quash thecomplaint for lack of jurisdiction over the offense allegedly due to thecorrectional nature of the penalty of imprisonment prescribed for theoffense. The motion to quash was subsequently reduced to writing on June 13, 1975.
On August 21, 1975, the municipal court denied themotion to quash for lack of merit.
On September 2, 1975, privaterespondents filed a motion for the reconsideration of the aforesaiddenial order on the same ground of lack of jurisdiction, but with thefurther allegation that the facts charged do not constitute an offenseconsidering that Section 32 of Republic Act No. 4670 is null and void forbeing unconstitutional. In an undated order received by the counsel forprivate respondents on October 20,1975, the motion for reconsiderationwas denied.
On October 26, 1975, private respondents filed a petitions
forcertiorari and prohibition with preliminary injunction before the formerCourt of First Instance of Leyte, Branch VIII, where it was docketed asCivil Case No. B-622, to restrain the Municipal Judge, Provincial Fiscaland Chief of Police of Hindang, Leyte from proceeding with the trial of said Criminal Case No. 555 upon the ground that the former MunicipalCourt of Hindang had no jurisdiction over the offense charged.Subsequently, an amended petition
alleged the additional ground thatthe facts charged do not constitute an offense since the penal provision,which is Section 32 of said law, is unconstitutional for the followingreasons: (1) It imposes a cruel and unusual punishment, the term of imprisonment being unfixed and may run to
; and (2)It also constitutes an undue delegation of legislative power, the durationof the penalty of imprisonment being solely left to the discretion of thecourt as if the latter were the legislative department of the Government.On March 30, 1976, having been advised that the petition of hereinprivate respondents was related to Criminal Case No. 1978 for violationof Presidential Decree No. 442 previously transferred from Branch VIII toBranch IV of the erstwhile Court of First Instance of Leyte, JudgeFortunate B. Cuna of the former branch transferred the said petition tothe latter branch for further proceedings and where it was subsequentlydocketed therein as Civil Case No. 5428.
On March 15, 1976, thepetitioner herein filed an opposition to the admission of the saidamended petitions
but respondent judge denied the same in hisresolution of April 20, 1976.
On August 2, 1976, herein petitionerfiled a supplementary memorandum in answer to the amendedpetition.
On September 8, 1976, respondent judge rendered the aforecitedchallenged decision holding in substance that Republic Act No. 4670 isvalid and constitutional but cases for its violation fall outside of the jurisdiction of municipal and city courts, and remanding the case to theformer Municipal Court of Hindang, Leyte only for preliminaryinvestigation.As earlier stated, on September 25, 1976, petitioner filed a motion forreconsideration.
Likewise, private respondents filed a motion forreconsideration of the lower court's decision but the same was limitedonly to the portion thereof which sustains the validity of Section 32 of Republic Act No. 4670.
Respondent judge denied both motions forreconsideration in a resolution dated October 19, 1976.
The instant petition to review the decision of respondent judge posesthe following questions of law: (1) Whether the municipal and city courtshave jurisdiction over violations of Republic Act No. 4670; and (2)Whether Section 32 of said Republic Act No. 4670 is constitutional.We shall resolve said queries in inverse order, since prior determinationof the constitutionality of the assailed provision of the law involved isnecessary for the adjudication of the jurisdictional issue raised in thispetition.1. The disputed section of Republic Act No. 4670 provides: