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Celino vs CA

Accused Zosimo and Ricardo, all surnamed Celino, together with 2 others went to the house of
the complainant Jose Tan Kapoe and told him that there was a hidden treasure under his lot; a certain
dwarf Apo Dapo possessed the body of Zosimo and is giving instructions as to the digging operations;
he will be given millions; and because of their fathers friendship, complainant believed in them. The
accused allegedly dug a hole in his ricemill and discovered a jar full of gold but forbade complainant
from touching the treasure because it will anger the dwarf. They asked complainant for cash as the
dwarf had instructed which they placed on the treasure. All in all, complainant gave P50,230.00 but the
accused did not give him the treasure as promised so complainant himself opened the jar and found not
treasure but only comics, newspapers, rocks and soil. Zosimo, Ricardo and Requerido, all surnamed
Celino, were charged for estafa after demands to return the money were unheeded.

Whether or not the act committed by the accused (falsely pretending to possess power)
constitutes the crime of estafa.

YES. Under the abovestated facts, there was proof beyond reasonable doubt that the act
committed by the accused constitutes the crime of estafa.

The evidence presented in this case conclusively shows that Ricardo Celino, together with his
two sons, Zosimo and Requerido, led the complainant to believe that there was a hidden treasure
underneath his lot; that a dwarf whose spirit supposedly entered the body of Zosimo directed the
digging operations; that to obtain said treasure and upon instructions of the "dwarf," it was necessary
for the complainant to give the accused money which amounted to P41,300.00 all in all and to pray in
the church for three (3) consecutive days.

Furthermore, no evidence was adduced in support of the contention that accused and the
complainants were partners in a "joint venture" transaction. The facts clearly show that petitioner
together with his sons pretended to possess power to find hidden treasure in order to fleece the
complainant of his hard-earned money. The trial court and CA correctly applied the law and
jurisprudence on the matter. Under the cases of People v. Scott and U.S. v. de los Reyes bearing similar
facts as the case at bar, the acts committed by the accused constitute a classic case of swindling under
Art. 315 2(a) of the Revised Penal Code.
114. Abejuela vs People

Petitioner Benjamin Abejuela, a businessman, had a savings deposit in Banco Filipino Tacloban
Branch of which his close friend, Glicerio Balo Jr. was an employee. One day, Balo visited Abejuela to
borrow the latters passbook because he wanted to deposit checks, purporting to be proceeds of his
fathers insurance policy, in Abejuelas account. Abejuela told Balo to deposit the proceeds in his own
account but Balo said that he was disqualified being an employee of Banco Filipino. Abejuela advised
Balo to open an account in another bank but Balo insisted depositing the checks in Abejuelas so he can
facilitate the checks immediate encashment and avail himself of privileges. Because of Balos
assurances and explanations, he entrusted his passbook to Balo. Balos practice of depositing and
withdrawing money using Abejuelas passbook continued for quite some time until the bank noticed a
discrepancy between the interest reconciliation balance and subsidiary ledger balance. After a further
examination of bank records, the bank officials concluded that Balo was able to manipulate the ledger
by posting fictitious deposit. They then confronted Balo who admitted having posted the false deposits.
Consequently, Balo and Abejuela were charged for estafa thru falsification of commercial documents.

Whether or not petitioner is guilty as an accomplice in estafa thru falsification of commercial


No. In the light of the facts and the evidence on record, the guilt of petitioner Abejuela has not
been established beyond a reasonable doubt for which reason he must be acquitted.

The prosecution miserably failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Abejuela had
knowledge of the fraudulent scheme of Balo. The most that could be attributed to Abejuela was his
negligence in lending his passbook and his utter gullibility.

Knowledge of the criminal intent of the principal in this case, (Glicerio Balo, Jr.) is essential in
order that petitioner Abejuela can be convicted as an accomplice in the crime of estafa thru falsification
of commercial document. To be convicted as an accomplice, there must be cooperation in the execution
of the offense by previous or simultaneous acts. However, the cooperation which the law punishes is the
assistance rendered knowingly or intentionally, which assistance cannot be said to exist without the
prior cognizance of the offense intended to be committed.

Koh Tieck Heng, alias Teddy Koh, alias Tomas P. Flores was charged of estafa thru falsification of
a commercial document in the following manner: after opening a savings account with SBTC under the
name Tomas P. Flores and somehow illegally obtained a PBC check issued by one F. Dycaico, accused
made or caused alterations and changes in a genuine document which changed its meaning and thereby
affixed his signature at the back of the check, which check was cleared by the PBC. On the second
instance, accused did not perform all the acts of execution which should have produced the crime of
estafa thru falsification of a commercial document by reason of some cause other than his own
spontaneous desistance, that is, by timely discovery made by officials/employees of said bank of the
forgery and falsification made on the aforesaid check before payment could be made which led then
and there to the apprehension of said accused.

Did accused committed the crime of attempted estafa in the absence of deceit and damage?


The fact that appellant was the possessor and utterer of the checks in question and having
benefited from the subsequent withdrawals, as well as having attempted to gain by trying to withdraw
an amount hereon. The use of the spurious checks is by itself fraud or deceit. The appellant made use of
and benefited from the falsified document is a strong evidence that he either himself falsified it or
caused the same to be falsified, he being criminally responsible in either case. Since Heng is the only
person who stood to be benefited by the falsification of the document that was found in his possession,
it is presumed that he is the material author of such falsification.


Accused Dick Ong opened a savings account with Home Savings Bank and Trust Company
(HSBTC) with an initial deposit of P22.14 in cash and P10,000.00 in check. Ong was allowed to withdraw
from his savings account with the Bank the sum of P5,000.00, without his check undergoing the usual
and reglementary clearance. The withdrawal slip was signed and approved by Lino Morfe, then the
Branch Manager, and accused Lucila Talabis, the Branch Cashier. Subsequently, Ong deposited eleven
checks in his savings account with the Bank and against which he made withdrawals against its amount.
Again, the withdrawal of the amount by Ong was made before said checks were cleared and the Bank
had collected their amounts and with the approval of Talabis. However, when the Bank presented the
eleven checks issued, deposited and against which Ong made withdrawals against its amounts, to their
respective drawee banks for payment, they were all dishonored for lack or insufficiency of funds.
Because of this, the Bank filed a criminal action for Estafa against Ong, and the Banks officer in charge
Villaran and Talabis.

Whether or not Ong is guilty of estafa.

NO. Ong is acquitted of the crime charged.

The elements of this kind of estafa are the following: (1) postdating or issuance of a check in
payment of an obligation contracted at the time the check was issued; (2) lack or insufficiency of funds
to cover the check; and (3) damage to the payee thereof. In this case, the fact was established that Ong
either issued or indorsed the subject checks. However, it must be remembered that the reason for the
conviction of an accused of the crime of estafa is his guilty knowledge of the fact that he had no funds in
the bank when he negotiated the spurious check. The prosecution failed to prove that Ong had
knowledge with respect to the checks he indorsed. Moreover, it has also been proven that it was the
Bank which granted him a drawn against uncollected deposit (DAUD) privilege without need of any
pretensions on his part. The privilege was not only for the subject checks, but for other past
transactions. If ever, he, indeed acted fraudulently, he could not have done so without the active
cooperation of the Banks employees. Since Talabis and Villaran were declared innocent of the crimes
charged against them, the same should be said for Ong. Thus, Ong cannot be held criminally liable
against the Bank. He can only be held civilly liable as the Bank
incurred damages.