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EDUARDO G.

RICARZE, Petitioner,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS, PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, CALTEX PHILIPPINES,
INC., PHILIPPINE COMMERCIAL AND INDUSTRIAL BANK
(PCIBANK), Respondents.
GR NO. 160451 9 February 2007
CALLEJO, SR., J.:
Facts
Petitioner Eduardo Ricarze was a collector-messenger for City Service Corporation.
Caltex, through Ramon Romano filed a criminal complaint against Ricarze for estafa
through falsification of documents. Romano alleged that while conducting a daily
electronic report from Philippine Commercial & Industrial Bank (PCIB), 1) unknown
to the department, a check in the amount of P 5, 790, 570. 25 was cleared payable
to Dante Gutierrez; 2) two other checks were missing; 3) another check had
signatories with forged signatures; and 4) another check in the amount of P 1, 790,
757.25, with forged signatures, was cleared payable to Gutierrez.
Gutierrez disowned the savings account where the checks were deposited and
denied withdrawing the amount payable to him.
An investigation was conducted and it was found out that Ricarze opened the
savings account.
PCIB credited P 581, 229 to Caltex without informing the City Prosecutor who
consequently filed two information for estafa through falsification of documents.
Ricarze was arraigned and he pleaded not guilty. Pre-trial ensued and the cases
were jointly tried. Siguion Reyna, Montecillo and Ongsiako Law Offices (SRMO) filed
a Formal Offer of Evidence. Ricarze opposed the pleading, contending that the
complainant was previously represented by a different counsel and that SRMO only
entered its appearance representing PCIB after the prosecution rested its case.
Furthermore, he argues that the private complainant is Caltex and not PCIB, so the
Formal Offer of Evidence should be stricken off the records.
It was then explained that PCIB is subrogated to the rights and interests of Caltex.
Therefore, through Section 2 of Rule 110, the insertion of PCIB as a party to the
information was granted by the RTC, substituting for Caltex as the complainant for
this case. RTC also denied Ricarzes Motion to have the Formal Offer of Evidence
Expunged from the Record and Motion for Reconsideration.
Ricarze brought the case to the Court of Appeals alleging violation of Section 114 of
Rule 110 and questioning the personality of SRMO in the case. The CA denied
Ricarzes appeal. Hence, this Petition.
Issues
1. Whether or not the amendment substituting Caltex is valid?
2. Whether or not charges against Ricarze should be dismissed because PCIB
was not named in the information?
Held
1. Yes, the amendment is valid. While Ricarze argues that the substitution at the
late stage of trial is prejudicial to his defense under Section 14 of Rule 110,
the court held that the substitution made was not substantial as it did not
alter the basis of the charge nor did it result to any prejudice. The court also
presented a test to determine whether the amendment is prejudicial to the
accused or not: whether the defense of the accused under the information as
it originally stood would be available if the amendment is made?
2. No, the charges against Ricarze may not be dismissed simply because PCIB
was not named in the information. While Sections 6, 12, and 11 of Rule 110
features the requisites for a sufficient complaint, in US vs. Kepner, it was held
that if the offense is described with certainty, the erroneous allegation as to
the person of the injured becomes immaterial.
The Petition is DENIED
The assailed decision and resolution of the CA is AFFIRMED
The case is REMANDED to RTC of Makati City, Branch 63 for further proceedings