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G.R. Nos.

173654-765 August 28, 2008


PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner,
vs.
TERESITA PIG !"# RO$EO PORRAS, respondents.
% E & I S I O N
&HI&O-NA'ARIO, J.(
This is a Petition for Review under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court with petitioner People of the Philippines,
represented by the Office of the Solicitor General, prayin for the reversal of the Orders dated !" #anuary $""% and &
#une $""% of the Reional Trial Court 'RTC( of the %
th
#udicial Reion, )ranch %*, +u,anas, -loilo, dis,issin the ..$
cases of /ualified Theft filed aainst respondents Teresita Pui and Ro,eo Porras, and denyin petitioner0s 1otion for
Reconsideration, in Cri,inal Cases 2o. "53!"54 to "53!.%5.
The followin are the factual antecedents4
On 5 2ove,ber $""5, the -loilo Provincial Prosecutor0s Office filed before )ranch %* of the RTC in +u,anas, -loilo, ..$
cases of /ualified Theft aainst respondents Teresita Pui 'Pui( and Ro,eo Porras 'Porras( who were the Cashier and
)oo66eeper, respectively, of private co,plainant Rural )an6 of Pototan, -nc. The cases were doc6eted as Cri,inal Cases
2o. "53!"54 to "53!.%5.
The alleations in the -nfor,ations
.
filed before the RTC were unifor, and pro3for,a, e7cept for the a,ounts, date and
ti,e of co,,ission, to wit4
INFOR$ATION
That on or about the .
st
day of 8uust, $""$, in the 1unicipality of Pototan, Province of -loilo, Philippines, and
within the 9urisdiction of this :onorable Court, above3na,ed ;respondents<, conspirin, confederatin, and helpin
one another, with grave abuse of confidence, bein theCashier and Bookkeeper of the Rural )an6 of Pototan,
-nc., Pototan, -loilo, without the 6nowlede and=or consent of the ,anae,ent of the )an6 and with intent of ain,
did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously ta6e, steal and carry away the su, of >->T??2
T:O@S82+ P?SOS 'P.5,""".""(, Philippine Currency, to the da,ae and pre9udice of the said ban6 in the
aforesaid a,ount.
8fter perusin the -nfor,ations in these cases, the trial court did not find the e7istence of probable cause that would have
necessitated the issuance of a warrant of arrest based on the followin rounds4
'.( the ele,ent of At!)*"g +*t,out t,- .o"s-"t o/ t,- o+"-0s0 was ,issin on the round that it is the
depositors3clients, and not the )an6, which filed the co,plaint in these cases, who are the owners of the ,oney
alleedly ta6en by respondents and hence, are the real parties3in3interestB and
'$( the -nfor,ations are bereft of the phrase allein C#-1-"#-".-, gu!0#*!"s,*1 o0 2*g*3!".- 4-t+--" t,-
0-s1o"#-"ts !"# t,- o//-"#-# 1!0t5 t,!t +ou3# ,!2- .0-!t-# ! ,*g, #-g0-- o/ .o"/*#-".- 4-t+--" t,-6
+,*., t,- 0-s1o"#-"ts .ou3# ,!2- !4us-#.C
-t added that allowin the ..$ cases for /ualified Theft filed aainst the respondents to push throuh would be violative of
the riht of the respondents under Section .4'$(, 8rticle --- of the .&*5 Constitution which states that in all cri,inal
prosecutions, the accused shall en9oy the riht to be infor,ed of the nature and cause of the accusation aainst hi,.
>ollowin Section %, Rule ..$ of the Revised Rules of Cri,inal Procedure, the RTC dis,issed the cases on !" #anuary
$""% and refused to issue a warrant of arrest aainst Pui and Porras.
8 1otion for Reconsideration
$
was filed on .5 8pril $""%, by the petitioner.
On & #une $""%, an Order
!
denyin petitioner0s 1otion for Reconsideration was issued by the RTC, findin as follows4
8ccordinly, the prosecution0s 1otion for Reconsideration should be, as it hereby, +?2-?+. The Order dated
#anuary !", $""% ST82+S in all respects.
Petitioner went directly to this Court via Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45, raisin the sole leal issue of4
D:?T:?R OR 2OT T:? ..$ -2>OR18T-O2S >OR /@8E->-?+ T:?>T S@>>-C-?2TEF 8EE?G? T:?
?E?1?2T O> T8G-2G D-T:O@T T:? CO2S?2T O> T:? OD2?R, 82+ T:? /@8E->F-2G C-RC@1ST82C?
O> GR8H? 8)@S? O> CO2>-+?2C?.
Petitioner prays that 9ud,ent be rendered annullin and settin aside the Orders dated !" #anuary $""% and & #une
$""% issued by the trial court, and that it be directed to proceed with Cri,inal Cases 2o. "53!"54 to "53!.%5.
Petitioner e7plains that under 8rticle .&*" of the 2ew Civil Code, Cfi7ed, savins, and current deposits of ,oney in ban6s
and si,ilar institutions shall be overned by the provisions concernin si,ple loans.C Corollary thereto, 8rticle .&5! of the
sa,e Code provides that Ca person who receives a loan of ,oney or any other funible thin acIuires the ownership
thereof, and is bound to pay to the creditor an eIual a,ount of the sa,e 6ind and Iuality.C Thus, it posits that the
depositors who place their ,oney with the ban6 are considered creditors of the ban6. The ban6 acIuires ownership of the
,oney deposited by its clients, ,a6in the ,oney ta6en by respondents as belonin to the ban6.
Petitioner also insists that the -nfor,ations sufficiently allee all the ele,ents of the cri,e of Iualified theft, citin that a
perusal of the -nfor,ations will show that they specifically allee that the respondents were the Cashier and )oo66eeper
of the Rural )an6 of Pototan, -nc., respectively, and that they too6 various a,ounts of ,oney with rave abuse of
confidence, and without the 6nowlede and consent of the ban6, to the da,ae and pre9udice of the ban6.
Parenthetically, respondents raise procedural issues. They challene the petition on the round that a Petition for Review
on Certiorari via Rule 45 is the wron ,ode of appeal because a findin of probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of
arrest presupposes evaluation of facts and circu,stances, which is not proper under said Rule.
Respondents further clai, that the +epart,ent of #ustice '+O#(, throuh the Secretary of #ustice, is the principal party to
file a Petition for Review on Certiorari, considerin that the incident was indorsed by the +O#.
De find ,erit in the petition.
The dis,issal by the RTC of the cri,inal cases was alleedly due to insufficiency of the -nfor,ations and, therefore,
because of this defect, there is no basis for the e7istence of probable cause which will 9ustify the issuance of the warrant
of arrest. Petitioner assails the dis,issal contendin that the -nfor,ations for /ualified Theft sufficiently state facts which
constitute 'a( the Iualifyin circu,stance of grave abuse of confidence; and (b) the element of taking, with intent to gain
and without the consent of the owner, which is the )an6.
-n deter,inin the e7istence of probable cause to issue a warrant of arrest, the RTC 9ude found the alleations in the
-nfor,ation inadeIuate. :e ruled that the -nfor,ation failed to state facts constitutin the Iualifyin circu,stance of grave
abuse of confidence and the ele,ent of taking without the consent of the owner, since the owner of the ,oney is not the
)an6, but the depositors therein. :e also cites People v. Koc Song,
4
in which this Court held4
There ,ust be alleation in the infor,ation and proof of a relation, by reason of dependence, uardianship or
viilance, between the respondents and the offended party that has created a hih deree of confidence between
the,, which the respondents abused.
t this point, it needs stressing that the !"C #udge based his conclusion that there was no probable cause simpl$ on the
insufficienc$ of the allegations in the %nformations concerning the facts constitutive of the elements of the offense charged.
"his, therefore, makes the issue of sufficienc$ of the allegations in the %nformations the focal point of discussion.
/ualified Theft, as defined and punished under 8rticle !." of the Revised Penal Code, is co,,itted as follows, vi&4
8RT. !.". 'ualified "heft. J The cri,e of theft shall be punished by the penalties ne7t hiher by two derees than
those respectively specified in the ne7t precedin article, if co,,itted by a do,estic servant, or with grave abuse
of confidence, or if the property stolen is ,otor vehicle, ,ail ,atter or lare cattle or consists of coconuts ta6en
fro, the pre,ises of a plantation, fish ta6en fro, a fishpond or fishery or if property is ta6en on the occasion of
fire, earthIua6e, typhoon, volcanic eruption, or any other cala,ity, vehicular accident or civil disturbance.
'?,phasis supplied.(
Theft, as defined in 8rticle !"* of the Revised Penal Code, reIuires the physical ta6in of another0s property without
violence or inti,idation aainst persons or force upon thins. The ele,ents of the cri,e under this 8rticle are4
.. -ntent to ainB
$. @nlawful ta6inB
!. Personal property belonin to anotherB
4. 8bsence of violence or inti,idation aainst persons or force upon thins.
To fall under the cri,e of /ualified Theft, the followin ele,ents ,ust concur4
.. Ta6in of personal propertyB
$. That the said property belons to anotherB
!. That the said ta6in be done with intent to ainB
4. That it be done without the owner0s consentB
5. That it be acco,plished without the use of violence or inti,idation aainst persons, nor of force upon thinsB
%. "hat it be done with grave abuse of confidence.
On the sufficiency of the -nfor,ation, Section %, Rule .." of the Rules of Court reIuires, inter alia, that the infor,ation
,ust state the acts or o,issions co,plained of as constitutive of the offense.
On the ,anner of how the -nfor,ation should be worded, Section &, Rule .." of the Rules of Court, is enlihtenin4
Section &. Cause of the accusation. The acts or o,issions co,plained of as constitutin the offense and the
Iualifyin and aravatin circu,stances ,ust be stated in ordinary and concise lanuae and not necessarily in
the lanuae used in the statute but in ter,s sufficient to enable a person of co,,on understandin to 6now
what offense is bein chared as well as its Iualifyin and aravatin circu,stances and for the court to
pronounce 9ud,ent.
-t is evident that the -nfor,ation need not use the e7act lanuae of the statute in allein the acts or o,issions
co,plained of as constitutin the offense. The test is whether it enables a person of co,,on understandin to 6now the
chare aainst hi,, and the court to render 9ud,ent properly.
5
The portion of the -nfor,ation relevant to this discussion reads4
8<bove3na,ed ;respondents<, conspirin, confederatin, and helpin one another, with grave abuse of confidence, being the Cashier and Bookkeeper of the Rural )an6 of Pototan, -nc.,
Pototan, -loilo, without the 6nowlede and=or consent of the ,anae,ent of the )an6 7 7 7.
-t is beyond doubt that tellers, Cashiers, )oo66eepers and other e,ployees of a )an6 who co,e into possession of the
,onies deposited therein en9oy the confidence reposed in the, by their e,ployer. )an6s, on the other hand, where
,onies are deposited, are considered the owners thereof. This is very clear not only fro, the e7press provisions of the
law, but fro, established 9urisprudence. The relationship between ban6s and depositors has been held to be that of
creditor and debtor. 8rticles .&5! and .&*" of the 2ew Civil Code, as appropriately pointed out by petitioner, provide as
follows4
8rticle .&5!. 8 person who receives a loan of ,oney or any other funible thin acIuires the ownership thereof,
and is bound to pay to the creditor an eIual a,ount of the sa,e 6ind and Iuality.
8rticle .&*". >i7ed, savins, and current deposits of ,oney in ban6s and si,ilar institutions shall be overned by
the provisions concernin loan.
-n a lon line of cases involvin /ualified Theft, this Court has fir,ly established the nature of possession by the )an6 of
the ,oney deposits therein, and the duties bein perfor,ed by its e,ployees who have custody of the ,oney or have
co,e into possession of it. The Court has consistently considered the alleations in the -nfor,ation that such e,ployees
acted with rave abuse of confidence, to the da,ae and pre9udice of the )an6, without particularly referrin to it as
owner of the ,oney deposits, as sufficient to ,a6e out a case of /ualified Theft. >or a raphic illustration, we cite !o(ue
v. People,
%
where the accused teller was convicted for /ualified Theft based on this -nfor,ation4
That on or about the .%th day of 2ove,ber, .&*&, in the ,unicipality of >loridablanca, province of Pa,pana,
Philippines and within the 9urisdiction of his :onorable Court, the above3na,ed accused 8S@2C-O2 G8E82G
RO/@?, bein then e,ployed as teller of the )asa 8ir )ase Savins and Eoan 8ssociation -nc. ')8)SE8( with
office address at )asa 8ir )ase, >loridablanca, Pa,pana, and as such was authoriKed and reposed with the
responsibility to receive and collect capital contributions fro, its ,e,ber=contributors of said corporation, and
havin collected and received in her capacity as teller of the )8)SE8 the su, of T?2 T:O@S82+ P?SOS
'P.",""".""(, said accused, with intent of ain, with grave abuse of confidence and without the knowledge
and consent of said corporation, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously ta6e, steal and carry
away the a,ount of P.","""."", Philippine currency, by ,a6in it appear that a certain depositor by the na,e of
8ntonio SalaKar withdrew fro, his Savins 8ccount 2o. .!5&, when in truth and in fact said 8ntonio SalaKar did
not withdr;a<w the said a,ount ofP.","""."" to the da,ae and pre9udice of )8)SE8 in the total a,ount
of P.","""."", Philippine currency.
-n convictin the therein appellant, the Court held that4
;S<ince the teller occupies a position of confidence, and the ban6 places ,oney in the teller0s possession due to
the confidence reposed on the teller, the felony of Iualified theft would be co,,itted.
5
8lso in People v. Sison,
*
the )ranch Operations Officer was convicted of the cri,e of /ualified Theft based on the
-nfor,ation as herein cited4
That in or about and durin the period co,pressed between #anuary $4, .&&$ and >ebruary .!, .&&$, both dates
inclusive, in the City of 1anila, Philippines, the said accused did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously,
with intent of ain and without the 6nowlede and consent of the owner thereof, ta6e, steal and carry away the
followin, to wit4
Cash ,oney a,ountin to P%,""","""."" in different deno,inations belonin to the P:-E-PP-2? CO11?RC-8E
-2T?R28T-O28E )82G 'PC-)an6 for brevity(, Euneta )ranch, 1anila represented by its )ranch 1anaer,
:?E?2 @. >8RG8S, to the da,ae and pre9udice of the said owner in the aforesaid a,ount of P%,""","""."",
Philippine Currency.
That in the co,,ission of the said offense, herein accused acted with rave abuse of confidence and
unfaithfulness, he bein the )ranch *peration *fficer of the said co,plainant and as such he had free access to
the place where the said a,ount of ,oney was 6ept.
The 9ud,ent of conviction elaborated thus4
The cri,e perpetuated by appellant aainst his e,ployer, the Philippine Co,,ercial and -ndustrial )an6 'PC-)(,
is /ualified Theft. 8ppellant could not have co,,itted the cri,e had he not been holdin the position of Euneta
)ranch Operation Officer which ave hi, not only sole access to the ban6 vault 777. The ,anae,ent of the
PC-) reposed its trust and confidence in the appellant as its Euneta )ranch Operation Officer, and it was this trust
and confidence which he e7ploited to enrich hi,self to the da,ae and pre9udice of PC-) 7 7 7.
&
>ro, another end, People v. Locson,
."
in addition to People v. Sison, described the nature of possession by the )an6.
The ,oney in this case was in the possession of the defendant as receivin teller of the ban6, and the possession of the
defendant was the possession of the )an6. The Court held therein that when the defendant, with rave abuse of
confidence, re,oved the ,oney and appropriated it to his own use without the consent of the )an6, there was ta6in as
conte,plated in the cri,e of /ualified Theft.
..
Conspicuously, in all of the foreoin cases, where the -nfor,ations ,erely alleed the positions of the respondentsB that
the cri,e was co,,itted with rave abuse of confidence, with intent to ain and without the 6nowlede and consent of
the )an6, without necessarily statin the phrase bein assiduously insisted upon by respondents, Cof a relation by
reason of dependence, guardianship or vigilance, between the respondents and the offended party that has
created a high degree of confidence between them, which respondents abused,C
.$
and without e,ployin the word
CownerC in lieu of the C)an6C were considered to have satisfied the test of sufficiency of alleations.
8s reards the respondents who were e,ployed as Cashier and )oo66eeper of the )an6 in this case, there is even no
reason to Iuibble on the alleation in the -nfor,ations that they acted with rave abuse of confidence. -n fact, the
-nfor,ation which alleed rave abuse of confidence by accused herein is even ,ore precise, as this is e7actly the
reIuire,ent of the law in Iualifyin the cri,e of Theft.
-n su,,ary, the )an6 acIuires ownership of the ,oney deposited by its clientsB and the e,ployees of the )an6, who are
entrusted with the possession of ,oney of the )an6 due to the confidence reposed in the,, occupy positions of
confidence. The -nfor,ations, therefore, sufficiently allee all the essential ele,ents constitutin the cri,e of /ualified
Theft.
On the theory of the defense that the +O# is the principal party who ,ay file the instant petition, the rulin in +obilia
Products, %nc. v. ,a-ime .me&awa
.!
is instructive. The Court thus enunciated4
-n a cri,inal case in which the offended party is the State, the interest of the private co,plainant or the offended
party is li,ited to the civil liability arisin therefro,. :ence, if a cri,inal case is dis,issed by the trial court or if
there is an acIuittal, a reconsideration of the order of dis,issal or acIuittal ,ay be underta6en, whenever leally
feasible, insofar as the cri,inal aspect thereof is concerned and ,ay be ,ade only by the public prosecutorB or in
the case of an appeal, by the State only, throuh the OSG. 7 7 7.
On the alleed wron ,ode of appeal by petitioner, suffice it to state that the rule is well3settled that in appeals by
certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, only errors of law ,ay be raised,
.4
and herein petitioner certainly raised a
Iuestion of law.
8s an aside, even if we o beyond the alleations of the -nfor,ations in these cases, a closer loo6 at the records of the
preli,inary investiation conducted will show that, indeed, probable cause e7ists for the indict,ent of herein respondents.
Pursuant to Section %, Rule ..$ of the Rules of Court, the 9ude shall issue a warrant of arrest only upon a findin of
probable cause after personally evaluatin the resolution of the prosecutor and its supportin evidence. Soliven v.
akasiar,
.5
as reiterated in !llado v. "riokno,
.%
e7plained that probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest is
the e7istence of such facts and circu,stances that would lead a reasonably discreet and prudent person to believe that
an offense has been co,,itted by the person souht to be arrested.
.5
The records reasonably indicate that the
respondents ,ay have, indeed, co,,itted the offense chared.
)efore closin, let it be stated that while it is truly i,perative upon the fiscal or the 9ude, as the case ,ay be, to relieve
the respondents fro, the pain of oin throuh a trial once it is ascertained that no probable cause e7ists to for, a
sufficient belief as to the uilt of the respondents, conversely, it is also eIually i,perative upon the 9ude to proceed with
the case upon a showin that there is a prima faciecase aainst the respondents.
7HEREFORE, pre,ises considered, the Petition for Review on Certiorari is hereby GRANTE%. The Orders dated !"
#anuary $""% and & #une $""% of the RTC dis,issin Cri,inal Cases 2o. "53!"54 to "53!.%5 are RE8ERSE% and SET
ASI%E. Eet the correspondin Darrants of 8rrest issue aainst herein respondents T?R?S-T8 P@-G and RO1?O
PORR8S. The RTC #ude of )ranch %*, in +u,anas, -loilo, is directed to proceed with the trial of Cri,inal Cases 2o.
"53!"54 to "53!.%5, inclusive, with reasonable dispatch. 2o pronounce,ent as to costs.
SO OR%ERE%.