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JIMENEZ v AVERIA Ponente: J.

Dizon March 29, 1968 RATIO DECIDENDI: Proceedings on a criminal case for estafa may proceed without first resolving the prejudicial question, it not being determinative of the guilt or innocence of the accused. QUICK FACTS: Jimenez paid Tang and Olanday P20,000 plus P240 agents fee for a fishing boat. They agreed to return the money should they fail to purchase the said boat. They misappropriated the money and were charged with estafa. The accused filed a civil case against Jimenez contesting the validity of the receipt allegedly signed by them, and later they filed a motion to suspend proceedings on the ground that the issue involved was a prejudicial question. Court decided that the determination of the issue raised in the civil case is not necessary for the proceedings in the criminal case for estafa to proceed. FACTS: Name of Accused: Ofelia Tang and Estefania de la Cruz Olanday Name of victim (if any): Manuel Jimenez

Ofelia Tang and Estefania Olanday received P20,000 from Jimenez with which to purchase for him a fishing boat known as Basnig. They agreed to return the money in case they should fail to buy the fishing boat. The two misappropriated the amount to the damage and prejudice of Jimenez. They were charged with estafa by the CFI of Cavite. Procedural: o Before arraignment, the accused filed a case against Jimenez in the CFI of Quezon contesting the validity of a receipt signed by them on Oct. 26, 1962 wherein they acknowledged having received P20,000 from him, with which to purchase for him a fishing boat and its accessories, and the further sum of P240 as agents commission, along with the obligation to return the amount if they fail to buy the boat. They allege that they had never received any amount from him and that the signatures on the receipt were secured by means of fraud, deceit and intimidation employed by him. o Several days later, they filed a motion to suspend proceedings on the ground that the determination of the issue involved was a prejudicial question. Respondent judge granted the motion. o Hence, this petition for certiorari, for the issuance of a writ of mandamus praying for this Court to order the CFI Cavite to proceed with the case and to order CFI Quezon to dismiss the civil case.

ISSUE: WON the determination of the issue raised in the civil case mentioned is a prejudicial question, in the sense that it must first be resolved before the proceedings in the criminal case for estafa may proceed - NO DECISION: Offended party (Jimenez) won. Court ordered respondent CFI Cavite to proceed without undue delay the trial of the Criminal case. HELD: The alleged prejudicial question is not determinative of the guilt or innocence of the parties charged with estafa, because even on the assumption that the execution of the receipt whose annulment they sought in the civil case was vitiated by fraud, duress or intimidation, their guilt could still be established by other evidence showing, to the degree required by law, that they had actually received from the complainant the sum of P20,000 with which to buy for him a fishing boat, and that, instead of doing so, they misappropriated the money and refused or otherwise failed to return it to him upon demand. If the Court sanctioned the theory advanced by the accused and adopted by the respondent judge, estafa cases would no longer be prosecuted speedily as the accused

would just resort to blocking the proceedings through the filing of an independent civil action against the complainant, raising therein the issue that he had not received from the latter the amount alleged to have been misappropriated. A claim to this effect is properly a matter of defense to be interposed by the party charged in the criminal proceeding.