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Eduardo G. Ricarze vs. CA and People of the Philippines, Caltex PH, Inc.

and PCI Bank

Facts:
Eduardo Ricarze was a collector-messenger of City Service Corporation, a domestic corporation
engaged in messengerial services. He was assigned particularly to Caltex Philippines, Inc. main office in
Makati City. His task was to collect checks payable to Caltex and deliver them to the cashier. He also
delivered invoices to Caltex customers.]Caltex, through Banking Department Manager Ramon Romano,
filed a criminal complaint against Ricarze for estafa through falsification of commercial documents.

Romano's allegations: While his department was conducting a daily electronic report from PCIB
Makati Branch, one of its depository banks, it was discovered that unknown to the department,
a company check in the amount of P5.7M payable to Dante Gutierrez had been cleared to through
PCIB. An investigation also revealed that two other checks were missing and that in one of the
checks, his signature as well as another signatory, Victor Goquinco, was forged. Another check in the
amount of P1.7M was also cleared through the same bank and the signatures appearing thereon were
also forgeries.

Gutierrez, the name appearing on the checks was a regular customer of Caltex. He disowned
such savings account as well as his signatures on the dorsal portions thereof. He also denied
having withdrawn from such savings account.

Further investigation revealed that said account has actually been opened by petitioner Ricarze. The
forged checks were deposited and endorsed by him under Gutierrez's name. He was positively
identified by the bank teller, Winnie dela Cruz.PCIB credited the amount of P581,229 to Caltex. However
the City Prosecutor of Makati was not informed of this development. After the requisite preliminary
investigation, two (2) Informations for estafa through falsification of commercial documents were filed
against Ricarze.

When petitioner Ricarze was arraigned, he pleaded not guilty to both charges. Pre-trial ensued and the
cases were jointly tried. Prosecution presented its witnesses after which Siguion Reyna, Montecillio and
Ongsiako Law offices (SRMO) as private prosecutor filed a Formal Offer of Evidence.

Contention of Ricarze:
Petitioner opposed the pleading contending that private complainant was represented by ACCRA
and Balgos and Perez Law Offices during trial and it was only after the prosecution rested its case that
SRMO entered its appearance for PCIB. Since ACCRA and Balgos and Perez Law Offices had
not withdrawn their appearance, SRMO had no personality to appear as private prosecutor. Under the
Informations, the complainant was Caltex and not PCIB, hence the formal offer of evidence by SRMO
should be stricken from the records.That unless the informations were amended to change the
complainant to PCIB, his right as accused would be prejudiced, as he had already
been arraigned under the original informations. Amendments to the informations would place him
in double jeopardy.

Counter-Argument of PCIB:
It had been subrogated to the rights and interests of Caltex when it recredited the amount to Caltex to the
extent of teh indemnity. Consequently, it is entitled to any civil indemnity which the trial court would
adjudge against the accused.

Sec. 2, Rule 110 also provides: the erroneous designation of the name of the offended party is a mere
formal defect which can be cured by inserting the offended party in the information. PCIB cited Sayson v.
People.

Ruling of RTC:
Granted motion of private prosecutor for substitution of PCIB as complainant for Caltex.Denied
petitioner's motion to expunge the formal offer of evidence by SRMO. Petitioner filed motion for
reconsideration but was denied by RTC.CA affirmed RTC. That PCIB was subrogated to thr rights of
Caltex when it restored the amount of checks to Caltex and that the designation of the name of the
offended party is not absolutely indispensible for as long as the criminal act complained of can be
properly identified.

Issues:
1) W/N Substitution by PCIB in place of Caltex was valid
2) W/N such substitution was prejudicial to the rights of petitioner and a violation of Sec. 14, Rule 110
which prohibits substantial amendment of the informations.

Ruling of SC:

1) Yes the substitution was valid. Petitioner's knowledge, consent or acquiescence of said substition is
NOT necessary because the instant case is one of LEGAL subrogation which takes place by operation of
law and without need of the debtor's knowledge, as opposed to conventional subrogation which takes
place by agreement of the parties.

2) No, the substitution does not violate sec. 14 of Rule 110. The substitution of Caltex by PCIB as private
complainant is not a substantial amendment. It did not alter the basis of the charge in both informations,
nor the evidence against him. Hence, it did it result to the prejudice of petitioner.

Petition Denied. CA decision affirmed. The case


remanded to RTC for further proceeding.