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Who is an accountable public officer?

An accountable public officer is one who has actual control of public funds or property by reason of the
duties of his office. The name or relative importance of the office or employment is not the controlling
factor. The nature of the duties of the public officer or employee, the fact that as part of his duties he
received public money for which he is bound to account and failed to account for it, is the factor which
determines whether or not malversation is committed by the accused public officer or employee.

A mere clerk in the provincial or municipal government may be held guilty of malversation if he or she is
entrusted with public funds and misappropriates the same (Barriga v. Sandiganbayan, G.R. Nos. 161784-
86 April 26, 2005).

There is no double jeopardy attached since there was a variance between the elements of direct bribery and
the violation of Section 3(b), RA 3019. Clearly, the violation of Sec. 3(b) of RA 3019 is neither identical
nor necessarily inclusive of direct bribery. While they have common elements, not all the essential elements
of one offense are included among or form part of those enumerated in the other. Whereas the mere request
or demand of a gift, present, share, percentage or benefit is enough to constitute a violation of Sec. 3(b) of
RA 3019, acceptance of a promise or offer or receipt of a gift or present is required in direct bribery.
(Merencillo v. People, 521 SCRA 31, April 13, 2007)

The essential ingredient of indirect bribery as defined in Article 211 of the Revised Penal
Code is that the public officer concerned must have accepted the gift material consideration.
There must be a clear intention on the part of the public officer to take the gift so offered and
consider the same as his own property from then on, such as putting away the gift for
safekeeping or pocketing the same. Mere physical receipt unaccompanied by any other sign,
circumstance or act to show such acceptance is not sufficient to lead the court to conclude that
the crime of indirect bribery has been committed. To hold otherwise will encourage
unscrupulous individuals to frame up public officers by simply putting within their physical
custody some gift, money or other property. (Tad-y vs. People, G.R. No. 148862, August 11, 2005


The elements of estafa by means of deceit are the following: (a) that there must be a false pretense,
fraudulent act or fraudulent means; (b) that such false pretense, fraudulent act or fraudulent means must be
made or executed prior to or simultaneously with the commission of the fraud; (c) That the offended party
must have relied on the false pretense, fraudulent act, or fraudulent means, that is, he was induced to part
with his money or property because of the false pretense, fraudulent act, or fraudulent means; and (d)That
as a result thereof, the offended party suffered damage.

Under Section 1 of PD No. 1689, the elements of syndicated estafa are: (a) estafa or other forms of
swindling as defined in Artilce 315 and 316 of the Revised Penal Code is committed; (b) the estafa or
swindling is committed by a syndicate of five or more persons; and (c) defraudation results in the
misappropriation of moneys contributed by stockholders, or members of rural banks,
cooperatives, samahang nayon[s], or farmers associations or of funds solicited by corporations/associations
from the general public. (Galvez vs. CA, G.R. No. 187919, April 25, 2012)

Moreover, we note that simple estafa and syndicated estafa are not two entirely different crimes.
Simple estafa is a crime necessarily included in syndicated estafa. An offense is necessarily included in
another offense when the essential ingredients of the former constitute or form a part of those constituting
the latter. (People v. Hao, G.R. No. 183345 September 17, 2014)

BP 22 vis-à-vis ESTAFA
Even though the check was issued in The check should be issued concurrently
payment of pre- existing obligation, liability
and reciprocally in payment of the exchange
is incurred. consideration, not for a pre-existing
Damage or deceit is immaterial to criminal Damage to the offended and deceit of
liability offender are essential elements.
Crime against public interest Crime against property
Only the drawer is liable and if drawer was a Not only the drawer but even indorsee may
juridical entity, the officer thereof who incur liability if he was aware at the time of
signed the check shall be liable. The the indorsement of the insufficiency of
indorser is not liable funds
Drawer is given five banking days from Drawer is given only three calendar days
notice of dishonor to make good the cash after notice of dishonor to make good the
value of the check to avoid criminal liability cash value to avoid liability
It is malum prohibitum It is malum in se


Chua’s declaration under oath for naturalization that he is of good moral character and residing at Sampaloc,
Manila are false. This information is material to his petition for naturalization. He committed perjury for
this willful and deliberate assertion of falsehood which is contained in a verified petition made for a legal
purpose (Chua v. People, G.R. No. 142011, March 14, 2003).


May a private individual be held liable for malversation of public funds?

Yes. A public officer who is not in charge of public funds or property by virtue of her official position, or
even a private individual, may be liable for malversation or illegal use of public funds or property if such
public officer or private individual conspires with an accountable public officer to commit
malversation or illegal use of public funds or property (Barriga v. Sandiganbayan, G.R. Nos. 161784-86
April 26, 2005).

Demand is Not an Element of Malversation but A Requisite of Application of Presumption

While demand is not an element of the crime of malversation, it is a requisite for the application of the
presumption of malversation. The presumption being referred is that referred to under Article 217 of the
RPC as amended by R.A. 1060 “The failure of a public officer to have duty forthcoming any public funds
or property with which he is chargeable, upon demand by any duly authorized officer, shall be prima facie
evidence that he has put such missing funds or property to personal use”. Without this presumption, the
accused may still be proven guilty based on direct evidence of malversation. There is no proof that
Pescadera misappropriated the GSIS contributions for his personal use. The prosecution merely relied on
the presumption of malversation which was disproved because there was no demand on him by the
Provincial Auditor or by the Special Audit Team to account for the GSIS contributions. Thus, he is acquitted
(Estino v. People, G.R. Nos. 163957-58, April 7, 2009, J. VELASCO Jr.).


In robbery with homicide, the original criminal design of the malefactor is to commit robbery, with homicide
perpetrated on the occasion or by reason of the robbery. The intent to commit robbery must precede the
taking of human life. The homicide may take place before, during or after the robbery. Absence of proof
of an attempt to stop the killing of one of the victims, plus the finding of conspiracy, make accused-
appellants liable as principals for the crime of Robbery with Homicide (People v. Diu, G.R. No. 201449,
April 3, 2013).



Violation of Anti-Sexual Harassment Act can be committed even by means of words alone while in the
crime Acts of Lasciviousness, there is a need for an act of making physical contact with the body of another
person for the purpose of obtaining sexual gratification other than, or without intention of, sexual
intercourse. The contact may be by the body of the accused such as the lips, hands, foot or by means of any
object or instrument. Therefore, a person charged with Acts of Lasciviousness can still be punished under
Anti-Sexual Harassment Act (Sec. 3(a) R.A. 7877 & Art. 336 RPC).

If the intention is to rape the victim, accused cannot be convicted of the complex crime of forcible abduction
with rape. Forcible abduction is absorbed in the crime of rape if the real objective of the accused is to
rape the victim (People v. Cayanan, G.R. No. 200080, September 18, 2013).

The Court convicted the accused therein for only one count of rape despite the three successful penetrations
because there is no indication in the records from which it can be inferred that the accused decided to commit
those separate and distinct acts of sexual assault other than his lustful desire to change positions inside
the room where the crime was committed. (People vs. Aaron, G.R. NOS. 136300-02. September 24, 2002)

If there are 3 penetrations occurred one after the other at an interval of five (5) minutes wherein the accused
would rest after satiating his lust upon his victim and, after he has regained his strength, he would
again rape the victim Hence, it can be clearly inferred from the foregoing that when the he decided to
commit those separate and distinct acts of sexual assault upon the victim, he was not motivated by a
single impulse but rather by several criminal intent. Hence, his conviction for three (3) counts of rape is
indubitable. (Lucena vs. PeopleG.R. No. 190632, February 26, 2014)


Rape through sexual assault under paragraph 2 Art 266-A under the RPC is punishable by prision mayor.
However, if the victim is under 12 years of age, the offense that should be charged is rape through sexual
assault in relation to Sec. 5 (b) of R.A. No. 7610, wherein the imposable penalty is reclusion temporal in
its medium period. This is because having sexual intercourse with a child under 12 years of age is child
abuse, and is punished by a special law. It is a progression from the RPC to provide greater protection
for children (Ricalde v. People, G.R. No. 193660, January 21, 2015).

PD 532 (Highway Robbery) vis-à-vis Brigandage under Art. 306


Crime must be committed. Mere formation of band is punishable.

One malefactor will suffice. At least 4 armed malefactors.
Indiscriminately committed against persons. Committed against predetermined victims.
The offender is a brigand who roams in public The commission of robbery is only incidental and the
highways and carries out his robbery in public offender is not a brigand.

Theory of absorption

Firstly, the doctrine of absorption of crimes is peculiar to criminal law and generally applies to crimes
punished by the same statute. Secondly, the doctrine applies only if the trial court has jurisdiction over both
offenses. (People vs. Abaya, G.R. No. 164007 August 10, 2006)


The fact that accused-appellant as assistant cashier of Metrobank had custody of the aforesaid checks and
had access not only in the preparation but also in the release of Metrobank cashier’s checks (and took the
amount indicated therein) suffices to designate the crime as qualified theft as he gravely abused the
confidence reposed in him by the bank as assistant cashier (People v. Salonga, (2001) as cited in PNB v.
Tria, G.R. No. 193250 April 25, 2012, J. VELASCO JR.).


The crime of fencing only applies to proceeds of theft or robbery. It does not apply to other crimes of gain
like estafa. The crime committed by a person who took a share of the proceeds of a crime other than robbery
or theft would make him only an accessory (Notes and Cases in Special Penal Laws, Boado, 2015. p. 418).

Lack of Knowledge of the Previous Marriage May be a Defense

In bigamy, both the first and second spouses may be the offended parties depending on the circumstances,
as when the second spouse married the accused without being aware of his previous marriage. Only if the
second spouse had knowledge of the previous undissolved marriage of the accused could she be
included in the information as a co-accused. Hence, it is a defense on the part of the second spouse in a
prosecution for Bigamy that he or she does not know that the other spouse has a prior subsisting marriage
(People vs. Nepomuceno, G.R. No. L-40624 June 27, 1975).

Void Second Marriage is not a Defense

Santiago’s affirmative defense in this criminal case of bigamy, is that her marriage with Santos was void
for having been secured without a marriage license. But as elucidated earlier, they themselves perpetrated
a false Certificate of Marriage by misrepresenting that they were exempted from the license requirement
based on their fabricated claim that they had already cohabited as husband and wife for at least five years
prior their marriage. Santiago married Santos while knowing fully well that they had not yet complied with
the five-year cohabitation requirement under the Family Code. Consequently, it will be the height of
absurdity for this Court to allow Santiago to use her illegal act to escape criminal conviction for bigamy
(Santiago v. People, G.R. No. 200233, July 15, 2015).

NOTE: Do not confuse this ruling with the exception held in Morigo v. People, G.R. No. 145226, February
6, 2004, where the SC considered the declaration of nullity of the first marriage on the ground of lack of
marriage ceremony previous or subsequent to the celebration of the second marriage, as a valid defense. It
was held that the mere act of signing a marriage contract bears no semblance to a valid marriage and thus,
needs no judicial declaration of nullity. Hence, bigamy is not committed. IN CONTRAST with Santiago v.
People, the accused raised the defense that the second marriage was void for having been celebrated
without a valid marriage license. The SC did not consider this as a valid defense because the accused are
estopped from raising lack of marriage license; they themselves misrepresented that they were exempted
from the license requirement based on their fabricated claim that they had already cohabited as husband and
wife for at least five years prior their marriage.


R.A. 10655 (March 13, 2015) decriminalized the crime of premature marriage. Article 1 of the said law
provides that “without prejudice to the provisions of the Family Code on paternity and filiation, Article 351
of Act No. 3815, otherwise known as the Revised Penal Code, punishing the crime of premature marriage
committed by a woman, is hereby repealed”.


For a libel charge to prosper, the words imputed must be defamatory. Malice is necessarily rendered
immaterial. To determine whether a statement is defamatory, the words used are to be construed in their
entirety and should be taken in their plain, natural and ordinary meaning as they would naturally be
understood by persons reading them, unless it appears that they were used and understood in another sense.
A charge is sufficient if the words are calculated to induce the hearers to suppose and understand that the
person or persons against whom they were uttered were guilty of certain offenses or are sufficient to
impeach the honesty, virtue or reputation or to hold the person or persons up to public ridicule. Here, the
phrase "CADIZ FOREVER, BADING AND SAGAY NEVER" is not defamatory because it does not tend
to induce suspicion on Salvador’s character, integrity and reputation as mayor of Cadiz City. (Lopez v.
People, G.R. No. 172203, 14 February 2011).

Libel Oral Defamation Slander by Deed

Is a public and malicious Any act, omission, condition or It is a crime against honor which is
imputation even if true of a crime, circumstances against a person committed by performing any act
vice or defect, real or imaginary or done orally in public tending to which casts dishonor, discredit or
any act or omission, condition, cause dishonor, discredit, contempt to another person.
status, or circumstance tending to contempt or ridicule.
cause dishonor, discredit, or
contempt of a natural or a juridical
person, or blacken the memory of
one who is dead.



Appeal Does Not Automatically Foreclose Application for Probation

No application for probation shall be entertained or granted if the defendant has perfected the appeal from
the judgment of conviction: Provided, That when a judgment of conviction imposing a non-probationable
penalty is appealed or reviewed, and such judgment is modified through the imposition of a probationable
penalty, the defendant shall be allowed to apply for probation based on the modified decision before such
decision becomes final. This notwithstanding, the accused shall lose the benefit of probation should he seek
a review of the modified decision which already imposes a probationable penalty. (R.A. 10707 Section 1,
amending Section 4 of PD No. 968, Approved November 26, 2015)




There is no complex crime of arson with multiple homicide. (People vs Malngan, G. R. No.
170470, September, 26, 2006). Accordingly, in cases where both burning and death occur, it is
necessary to ascertain the main objective of the malefactor:

a. if the main objective is the burning of the building or edifice, but death results by reason or
on the occasion of arson, the crime is simply arson, and the resulting homicide is absorbed;

b. if the main objective is to kill a particular person who may be in a building or edifice, when
fire is resorted to as the means to accomplish such goal the crime committed is murder
only; lastly,

c. if the objective is, likewise, to kill a particular person, and in fact the offender has already
done so, but fire is resorted to as a means to cover up the killing, then there are two
separate and distinct crimes committed homicide/murder and arson.


The crucial ingredient distinguishing hazing from crimes against persons is the infliction by a person
of physical or psychological suffering on another, with the latter’s consent, and in furtherance of his
admission or entry into an organization (People v. Bayabos, G.R. Nos. 171222 & 174786, February
18, 2015).

The failure by school authorities to take any action to prevent the offenses as provided by the law
exposes them to criminal liability as accomplices in the criminal acts. Thus, the institution and its
officers cannot stand idly by in the face of patently criminal acts committed within their sphere of
responsibility. They bear the commensurate duty to ensure that the crimes covered by the Anti-Hazing
Law are not committed (People v. Bayabos, G.R. Nos. 171222 & 174786, February 18, 2015).


Women May Also Be Held Liable

Section 3(a) of the law defines “violence against women and their children” as any act or series of acts
committed by any person against a woman who, among others, the person has or had a sexual or dating
relationship. Clearly, the use of the gender-neutral word "person" who has or had a sexual or dating
relationship with the woman encompasses even lesbian relationships (Garcia vs. Drilon, G.R. No. 179267,
June 25, 2013).

Principle of Conspiracy Also Applies

While the law provides that the offender be related or connected to the victim by marriage, former
marriage, or a sexual or dating relationship, it does not preclude the application of the principle of
conspiracy under the Revised Penal Code. This is because Section 47 of R.A. No. 9262 expressly provides
that the Revised Penal Code shall be supplementary to the said law. The parents-in-law of Sharica Mari L.
Go-Tan, the victim, were held to be the proper respondents in the case filed by the latter upon the allegation
that they and their son (Go-Tan's husband) had community of design and purpose in tormenting her by
giving her insufficient financial support; harassing and pressuring her to be ejected from the family home;
and in repeatedly abusing her verbally, emotionally, mentally and physically (Go-Tan v. Tan, G.R. No.
168852, September 30, 2008).