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G.R. No. 163437 - ERNESTO PIDELI v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

G.R. No. 163437 - ERNESTO PIDELI v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

THIRD DIVISION

[G.R. NO. 163437 : February 13, 2008]

ERNESTO PIDELI, Petitioner, v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.

D E C I S I O N

REYES, R.T., J.:

ON appeal via Petition for Review on Certiorariunder Rule 45 is the Decision1 of the Court of Appeals (CA), affirming that2 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Baguio City, convicting petitioner Ernesto Pideli of theft in the amount of P49,500.00 belonging to his brother's business partner. The appeal zeroes in on the questions of ownership, unlawful taking and intent to gain. In short, is it estafa or theft?

The Facts

Sometime in March 1997, Placido Cancio (Placido) and Wilson Pideli (Wilson) entered into a verbal partnership agreement to subcontract a rip-rapping and spillway project at Tongcalong, Tinongdan Dalupirip Road, Itogon, Benguet. Placido and Wilson agreed to undertake the project in favor of ACL Construction (ACL), the contractor awarded the development project by the Department of Public Works and Highways.3

Petitioner Ernesto Pideli (petitioner), brother to Wilson and neighbor and friend to Placido, offered the duo the use of his credit line with the Mt. Trail Farm Supply and Hardware (MTFSH) in La Trinidad, Benguet. Petitioner was an employee of the Provincial Planning and Development Office of Benguet, likewise based in La Trinidad. With the said arrangement, Wilson and Placido, with the assistance of petitioner, were able to secure an assortment of construction materials for the rip-rap and spillway contract.4

On November 17, 1997, after the completion of the project, ACL summoned all its subcontractors to a meeting. Placido, Wilson and petitioner were in attendance. At the meeting, ACL management informed Placido and Wilson that the final payment for the work that they have done would be withheld. It was learned that they failed to settle their accountabilities with the MTFSH.5

Placido, Wilson and petitioner made representations with the accountable ACL personnel, a certain Boy Candido, to facilitate the release of their payment. They assured Boy that the matter of the unpaid obligations to MTFSH has been resolved. Boy acceded to the request and proceeded to release the final payment due to Placido and Wilson, amounting to P222,732.00.6

Consequently, Placido, Wilson and petitioner computed their expenses and arrived at a net income of P130,000.00. Placido, as partner, claimed one-half (1/2) or P65,000.00 of the net amount as his share in the project. Petitioner, however, advised the two to first settle their accountabilities for the construction materials taken from the hardware store. Placido and Wilson did as told and entrusted the full amount to petitioner, with express instructions to pay MTFSH and deliver the remaining balance to them.7

The following day, or on November 18, 1997, Placido attempted but failed to contact petitioner. He had hoped to obtain his share of the partnership income. Placido got hold of petitioner the next morning. Unexpectedly, petitioner informed Placido that nothing was left of the proceeds after paying off the supplier.8 Despite repeated demands, petitioner refused to give Placido his share in the net income of the contract.9

Alarmed over the sudden turn of events, Placido lodged a complaint for theft against petitioner Ernesto Pideli. Eventually, an Information bearing the following allegations was instituted against petitioner:

The undersigned accuses ERNESTO PIDELE (sic) of the crime of THEFT, committed as follows:

That on or about the 17th day of November, 1977, in the City of Baguio, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, with intent of gain (sic) and without the knowledge and consent of the owner thereof, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously take, steal and carry away, cash money in the amount of P65,000.00, belonging to PLACIDO CANSIO (sic) y TALUKTOK, to the damage and prejudice of the owner thereof in the aforementioned amount of SIXTY-FIVE THOUSAND PESOS (P65,000.00), Philippine Currency.

CONTRARY TO LAW.10

Upon arraignment, petitioner pleaded "not guilty" to the charge. Then, trial on the merits ensued.

The evidence for the People portraying the foregoing facts was supplied by private complainant Placido, the lone prosecution witness.

Petitioner's defense founded on denial is summarized by the trial court as follows:

Ernesto Pideli, 43 years old, married, government employee and a resident of Km. 4, La Trinidad, Benguet. He is a government employee at the Provincial Planning and Development Office, Capitol, La Trinidad, Benguet. He was first employed at the Provincial Engineer's Office on April 11, 1978. Sometime in 1980, he was appointed as Project Development Officer of the Provincial Planning and Development Office and continuously up to the present.

Wilson Pideli is his brother. In 1997, his brother Wilson had a construction project along Tinongdan, Itogon, Benguet. His brother asked him if he knows of a hardware which can extend him credit for construction materials. He approached the manager of Mt. Trail Farm Supply and Hardware, Mrs. Editha Paayas, who then said that they could extend credit to his brother. As of 1997, his brother owed the hardware the amount of P279,000.00 for the construction materials supplied by the hardware, namely: reinforcement bars, cement, tire wires and other construction materials. This amount was paid to the hardware by installment. The first installment was paid in June 1997 when the main contractor paid his brother. His brother gave him P179,000.00 at his residence and he was the one who paid the hardware which issued him a receipt (Exhibit 1-C). After the project was completed, his brother gave him P100,000.00 on November 18, 1997 while he, his brother and Placido Cancio were at the Rose Bowl Restaurant. He went to the hardware but the manager was not there. One of the staff then informed him that the manager will still have to compute the interest of their loan credit and so he deposited P75,000.00 which was covered by a receipt (Exhibit 1-B). Their account was finally computed in December 1997 and so he paid their balance of P25,000.00. All in all, he paid the hardware the amount of P279,000.00.

When his brother tendered to him the P100,000.00 at the Rose Bowl Restaurant, Placido Cancio was also there discussing the expenses. The money which his brother got from the main contractor, Boy Cupido, the partner of the late Engineer Lestino, was being held by his brother and not Placido Cancio.

The total cost of the materials taken by his brother from the Mt. Trail Farm Supply is P279,000.00. On June 10, 1997, he paid the initial payment of P179,000.00 covered by Exhibit 1-C issued by the sales boy Cris. The second partial payment was made on November 18, 1997 in the amount of P75,000.00 covered by Exhibit 1-B issued by Mrs. Editha Paayas. The last time that he paid was on December 18, 1997 in the amount of P25,000.00. This was not yet the full payment because according to Mrs. Paayas she still has to compute for the interest. (TSN, May 2, 2000, pp. 19-20). Aside from the amount of P279,000.00 representing the materials taken by his brother, he still has an outstanding account with Mt. Trail Farm Supply charged in his name. This is the reason why in the receipt it was noted as part payment (TSN, May 2, 2000, p. 21).

On cross-examination, Ernesto Pideli said that he was never a partner of his brother. It was only in 1997 that his brother sought his assistance to look for a hardware where he can buy construction materials on credit. All materials ordered by Wilson for the project were placed in his account because it was easier for the hardware to contact him at their office which is nearer. After the project in Itogon, Wilson stopped his construction project. He denies having taken the P65,000.00. He does not also know where the amount went (TSN, May 2, 2000, p. 18).

On redirect, he said that when he tendered the first payment of P179,000.00, a statement of account was prepared by the salesboy of Mt. Trail Farm Supply and Hardware (Exhibit 1-D). He was furnished a copy of the statement of account. After the first and second payment, other materials were obtained by his brother, this is the reason why they still have a balance of P20,000.00 to be settled within the hardware.11 (Underscoring supplied)cralawlibrary

RTC and CA Dispositions

On March 13, 2001, the RTC handed down a judgment of conviction, disposing in this wise:

WHEREFORE, the guilt of the accused having been proven beyond reasonable doubt, judgment is hereby rendered CONVICTING the accused of the crime of theft and hereby sentences him after applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, to suffer imprisonment from 4 years of prision correccional medium as minimum, to 12 years of prision mayor maximum as maximum (applying Art. 309(1) of the Revised Penal Code) and to reimburse the private complainant the amount of P49,500.00 plus interest thereon at the rate of 6% per annum from date of filing of the complaint up to the time it is actually paid.

Costs against the accused.

SO ORDERED.12

In convicting petitioner of theft, the trial court ratiocinated:

x x x Upon evaluation of the testimonies of the witnesses, the court finds the lone testimony of the private complainant more credible than the testimony of the defense witnesses. The testimony of the private complainant is positive and credible, sufficient to sustain a conviction even in the absence of corroboration. The testimony of defense witness Wilson Pideli was glaringly inconsistent and contradictory on material points. At the initial stages of his (Wilson Pideli) testimony on direct examination, he categorically stated that it was he and his laborers who implemented the project (rip rap project along Dalupirip Road, Itogon, Benguet) awarded to him by ACL Construction. The private complainant had no participation in the project (TSN, October 18, 1999, pp. 9-10). Later, in his narration of what actually transpired between him, his brother Ernesto Pideli and private complainant at the Rose Bowl Restaurant on November 17, 1997, he said that after computing their expenses, he entrusted to the private complainant the following amounts: 1. P15,000.00 to be given by the private complainant to the laborers who excavated for the project; 2. P500.00 to be given by the private complainant to Mr. Apse as payment for the cement test; 3. P10,500.00 because he (private complainant) was pestering him (TSN, October 18, 1999, pp. 14-16). The question is, if the private complainant had no real participation in the project subject of this case, why would Wilson Pideli be entrusting such amounts to the former. If really private complainant has no involvement whatsoever in the project, why was he present at the: 1. Mido Restaurant where Josephine Bentres was disbursing final payments to the subcontractors of the project, and 2. At the Rose Bowl Restaurant when the Pideli brothers were computing the expenses incurred in the project and also presenting his list of expenses (Exhibit B, Exhibit 2). Later, in his testimony on direct, Wilson Pideli said that when he started the project, private complainant asked him to join him and he (Wilson Pideli) agreed provided the private complainant share in the expenses. Private complainant did not, however, share in the expenses nor did he provide any equipment (TSN, October 18, 1999; p. 13) yet he entrusted the aforementioned amounts to Cancio. On cross-examination, Wilson Pideli admitted that he gave private complainant P10,500.00 despite the fact that he did not share in the expenses for the implementation of the project (TSN, November 22, 1999, pp. 5-6). Such act is abnormal and contrary to human behavior and experience. The only plausible and logical conclusion is, private complainant and Wilson Pideli were partners in a joint venture. Just as private complainant did, in fact, stated, he was the one who provided the laborers and some equipments used in the project. Thus, it is only logical that the money for the payment of the wages and the cement test were entrusted to him because it was his responsibility/obligation to pay them and not because they were his neighbors as the defense would like this court to believe. The reason propounded by Wilson Pideli to explain his actuations is too flimsy for this court to believe. Furthermore, Wilson Pideli admitted on cross that while the case was filed by private complainant against his brother Ernesto Pideli, he submitted an affidavit with the Office of the City Prosecutor of Baguio City. In Paragraph 1 of the said affidavit which was read into the records of the case, he (Wilson Pideli) alleged that "Placido Cancio was his companion in the project at Dalupirip Road, Itogon, Benguet which he subcontracted for ACL Construction." When asked by the Public Prosecutor what he meant by his statement, Wilson Pideli categorically admitted that Placido Cancio (the private complainant) is his partner in the endeavor along Dalupirip Road, Itogon, Benguet (TSN, November 22, 1999, p. 8). The testimony of Wilson Pideli, instead of being corroborative, in effect, weakened the cause of the defense. The rule is that witnesses are to be weighed, not numbered. It has not been uncommon to reach a conclusion of guilt on the basis of the testimony of a single witness (People v. Gondora, 265 SCRA 408). Truth is established not by the number of witnesses but by the quality of their testimonies (People v. Ferrer, 255 SCRA 190).

It is unfortunate that the evidence on record does not disclose the agreement between the private complainant and Wilson Pideli with regards to the sharing of the capital (expenses) and profits on the project. Article 1790 of the Civil Code, however, provides: "Unless there is stipulation to the contrary, the partners shall contribute equal shares to the capital of the partnership." Paragraph 1 of Article 1797 of the same code further provides: "The losses and profits shall be distributed in conformity with the agreement. If only the share of each partner in the profits has been agreed upon, the share of each in the losses shall be in the same proportion." Thus, it is safe for the court to conclude that as a partner in the joint venture, Placido Cancio is entitled to 1/2 share in the net proceeds, i.e. P130,000.00 + 2 = P65,000.00.

The accused insists that private complainant and his brother were not partners in the subcontract project. According to him, he merely acted as guarantor of his brother so the latter can withdraw construction materials on credit from the Mt. Trail Farm Supply and Hardware. As the guarantor, he was also the one who paid his brother's credit when his brother was able to collect payment. Thus, denying the charges filed against him. Denial, if unsubstantiated by clear and convincing evidence, is a negative and self-serving evidence which deserves no weight in law and cannot be given greater evidentiary value over the testimony of credible witnesses who testify on affirmative matters (People v. Paragua, 257 SCRA 118). Affirmative testimony is stronger than a negative one. As between positive and categorical testimony which has a ring of truth, on one hand, and a bare denial, on the other hand, the former is generally held to prevail (People v. Tuvilla, 259 SCRA).

Finding the testimony of the private complainant to be more credible than that of the accused and his witnesses, the court rules that the presumption of innocence guaranteed by law in favor of the accused has been overturned and must be convicted of the crime charged.

Article 309(1) of the Revised Penal Code provides: Any person guilty of theft shall be punished by:

"The penalty of prision mayor in its minimum and medium periods, if the value of the thing stolen is more than P12,000.00, but does not exceed P22,000.00; but if the value of the thing stolen exceeds the latter amount, the penalty shall be the maximum period of the one prescribed in this paragraph, and one year for each additional ten thousand pesos, but the total of the penalty which may be imposed shall not exceed twenty years. In such cases, and in connection with the accessory penalties which may be imposed and for the purpose of the other provisions of the code the penalty shall be termed prision mayor or reclusion temporal, as the case may be." x x x

The penalty imposed upon those guilty of theft depends on the amount stolen. Accused carted away P65,000.00 representing private complainant's share in the next proceeds of the project. Accused's brother, Wilson Pideli, however, gave the private complainant and this was admitted by the latter the amount of P10,500.00 when the latter kept on pestering him at the Rose Bowl Restaurant and P5,000.00 at the initial (first) payment. Thus, the amount of P10,500.00 and P5,000.00 should be deducted from his net share of P65,000.00 leaving a balance of P49,500.00 which is now the basis for the construction of the penalty.13 (Underscoring supplied)cralawlibrary

Petitioner appealed to the CA. In a decision promulgated on April 30, 2003, the CA affirmed14 the trial court disposition.

Petitioner moved to reconsider the adverse judgment. The motion was, however, denied with finality through a Resolution dated March 9, 2004.15

Issues

In this petition, petitioner imputes to the CA triple errors, viz.:

I.

THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE FINDING THAT THE PROPERTY ALLEGEDLY STOLEN WAS OWNED BY THE PRIVATE COMPLAINANT;

II.

THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN AFFIRMING THAT THERE WAS AN UNLAWFUL TAKING OF PERSONAL PROPERTY;

III.

THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN AFFIRMING THAT THE ALLEGED TAKING BY THE PETITIONER WAS ATTENDED WITH INTENT TO GAIN.16 (Underscoring supplied)cralawlibrary

Our Ruling

Prefatorily, the thrust of a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 is the resolution only of questions of law.17 Any peripheral factual question addressed to this Court is beyond the ambit of this mode of review.18 Indeed, well-entrenched is the general rule that the jurisdiction of this Court in cases brought before it from the CA is limited to reviewing or revising errors of law.19

The petition at bench raises not only questions of law but also of facts. We are asked to recalibrate the evidence adduced by the parties and to reevaluate the credibility of witnesses. On this ground alone, the petition is dismissible.

We, however, deem it proper to delve into the merits of the present petition considering that an appeal in a criminal case throws the whole case wide open for review.20

Article 308 of the Revised Penal Code provides for the concept of the crime of theft, viz.:

ART. 308. Who are liable for theft. - Theft is committed by any person who, with intent to gain but without violence against or intimidation of persons nor force upon things, shall take personal property of another without the latter's consent. x x x

Accordingly, the elements of theft are as follows:

1. That there be taking of personal property;

2. That said property belongs to another;

3. That the taking be done with intent to gain;

4. That the taking be done without the consent of the owner; andcralawlibrary

5. That the taking be accomplished without the use of violence against or intimidation of persons or force upon things.21

There is, here, a confluence of the elements of theft. Petitioner received the final payment due the partners Placido and Wilson under the pretext of paying off their obligation with the MTFSH. Under the terms of their agreement, petitioner was to account for the remaining balance of the said funds and give each of the partners their respective shares. He, however, failed to give private complainant Placido what was due him under the construction contract.

In an effort to exculpate himself, petitioner posits that he cannot be held liable for theft of the unaccounted funds. The monies subject matter of the complaint pertain to the partnership. As an agent of partner Wilson, intent to gain cannot be imputed against petitioner.

The CA correctly debunked petitioner's postulation in the following tenor:

We likewise find no merit in appellant's contention that the money did not belong to the private complainant as the latter was only claiming for his share of P65,000.00; that it was owned by the partnership and was for payment of materials obtained from the supplier. Complainant's share in the amount of P65,000.00 manifestly belonged to and was owned by the private complainant.

Appellant's argument that since the money belonged to the partnership, hence, cannot be the object of the crime of theft as between the partners, and that appellant as their agent acted in good faith and without intent to gain, holds no water. Parenthetically, this argument is inconsistent with the assertion of the defense witnesses that complainant had no participation at all in the project, and, hence, had no right to a share in its payment. In any case, appellant was not complainant's partner but his brother. As for his alleged acting in good faith and without intent of gain, it is jurisprudentially settled that intent is a mental state, the existence of which is made manifest by overt acts of the person. The intent to gain is presumed from the taking of property appertaining to another.

Appellant presented a receipt dated November 18, 1997 allegedly evidencing his payment of P75,000.000 to Mt. Trail Farm Supply and Hardware store. Granting arguendo that appellant paid P75,000.00 to the Mt. Trail Farm Supply and Hardware (which the trial court did not grant credence), the same still does not exculpate him from liability. The net income earned and disbursed to the partnership of private complainant and Wilson Pideli was P130,000.00 and a balance of P55,000.00 still remained despite the alleged payment, which should be divided into two (2) or P27,000.00 for each of them. However, not a single centavo of this amount was received by private complainant.

When appellant received the disbursement, he had only physical custody of private complainant's money, which was supposed to be applied to a particular purpose, i.e. settle the account with the supplier. Appellant's failure to do so or to return the money to the private complainant renders him guilty of the crime of theft. This is in line with the rulings of the Supreme Court in the case of United States v. De Vera, 43 Phil. 1000 (1929) that the delivery of money to another for a particular purpose is a parting with its physical custody only, and the failure of the accused to apply the money to its specific purpose and converting it to his own use gives rise to the crime of theft. The basic principles enunciated in the De Vera case was reiterated in the recent case of People v. Tan, 323 SCRA 30, an Anti-Carnapping case, where the High Court ruled that the unlawful taking or deprivation may occur after the transfer of physical possession and, in such a case, "the article (is considered as being) taken away, not received, although at the beginning the article was, in fact, given and received." We agree with the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) that appellant had but the material/physical or de facto possession of the money and his act of depriving private complainant not only of the possession but also the dominion (apoderamiento) of his share of the money such that he (the appellant) could dispose of the money at will constitutes the element of "taking" in the crime of theft.22 (Underscoring supplied)cralawlibrary

Although there is misappropriation of funds here, petitioner was correctly found guilty of theft. As early as U.S. v. De Vera,23 the Court has consistently ruled that not all misappropriation is estafa. Chief Justice Ramon C. Aquino, in his commentary on the Revised Penal Code, succinctly opined:

The principal distinction between the two crimes is that in theft the thing is taken while in estafa the accused receives the property and converts it to his own use or benefit. However, there may be theft even if the accused has possession of the property. If he was entrusted only with the material or physical (natural) or de facto possession of the thing, his misappropriation of the same constitutes theft, but if he has the juridical possession of the thing, his conversion of the same constitutes embezzlement or estafa.24

In De Vera, the accused, Nieves de Vera, received from Pepe, an Igorot, a bar of gold weighing 559.7 grams for the purpose of having a silversmith examine the same, and bank notes amounting to P200.00 to have them exchanged for silver coins. Accused appropriated the bar of gold and bank notes. The Court ruled that the crime committed was theft and not estafa since the delivery of the personal property did not have the effect of transferring the juridical possession, thus such possession remained in the owner; and the act of disposal with gainful intent and lack of owner's consent constituted the crime of theft.

In People v. Trinidad,25 defendant received a finger ring from the offended party for the purpose of pledging it as security for a loan of P5.00 for the benefit of said offended party. Instead of pledging the ring, the defendant immediately carried it to one of her neighbors to whom she sold it for P30.00 and appropriated the money to her own use. The Court, citing De Vera, similarly convicted defendant of theft.

In People v. Locson,26 this Court considered deposits received by a teller in behalf of a bank as being only in the material possession of the teller. This interpretation applies with equal force to money received by a bank teller at the beginning of a business day for the purpose of servicing withdrawals. Such is only material possession. Juridical possession remains with the bank. In line with the reasoning of the Court in the above-cited cases, beginning with People v. De Vera, if the teller appropriates the money for personal gain then the felony committed is theft and not estafa. Further, since the teller occupies a position of confidence, and the bank places money in the teller's possession due to the confidence reposed on the teller, the felony of qualified theft would be committed.

In People v. Isaac,27 this Court convicted a jeepney driver of theft and not estafa when he did not return the jeepney to its owner since the motor vehicle was in the juridical possession of its owner, although physically held by the driver. The Court reasoned that the accused was not a lessee or hirer of the jeepney because the Public Service Law and its regulations prohibit a motor vehicle operator from entering into any kind of contract with any person if by the terms thereof it allows the use and operation of all or any of his equipment under a fixed rental basis. The contract with the accused being under the "boundary system," legally, the accused was not a lessee but only an employee of the owner. Thus, the accused's possession of the vehicle was only an extension of the owner's.

The doctrine was reiterated in the recent case of Roque v. People.28

Now, on the penalty. Article 309 of the Revised Penal Code penalizes theft in the following tenor:

Art. 309. Penalties. - Any person guilty of theft shall be punished by:

1. The penalty of prision mayor in its minimum and medium periods, if the value of the thing stolen is more than 12,000 pesos but does not exceed 22,000 pesos; but if the value of the thing stolen exceed the latter amount, the penalty shall be the maximum period of the one prescribed in this paragraph, and one year for each additional ten thousand pesos, but the total of the penalty which may be imposed shall not exceed twenty years.29 (Underscoring supplied)cralawlibrary

The record bears out that private complainant originally claimed P65,000.00 as his share in the partnership. However, he admitted receiving the total amount of P15,500.00, on two separate occasions, from Wilson Pideli. Verily, only P49,500.00 is due private complainant.

Hence, the imposable penalty is the maximum period of prision mayor minimum and medium prescribed in the abovequoted first paragraph of Article 309. That period ranges from six (6) years and one (1) day to ten (10) years, plus one (1) year for every additional ten thousand pesos in excess of P22,000.00, which in this case is two (2) years for the excess amount of P27,500.00.

Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the maximum term could be twelve (12) years while the minimum term would fall under the next lower penalty of prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods (2 years, 4 months and 1 day to 6 years), to be imposed in any of its periods.

Both the trial court and the CA sentenced petitioner to an indeterminate penalty of four (4) years of prision correccional medium, as minimum term, to twelve (12) years of prision mayor maximum, as maximum term. We sustain it. Petitioner's civil liability is likewise maintained.

WHEREFORE, the appealed Decision is AFFIRMED in full.

SO ORDERED.

Endnotes:


1 Rollo, pp. 8-16 & 62-70. Penned by Associate Justice Portia Aliño-Hormachuelos, with Associate Justices Edgardo Cruz and Noel Tijam, concurring.

2 Id. at 81-94. Penned by Presiding Judge Clarence J. Villanueva.

3 TSN, July 13, 1999, p. 23.

4 Rollo, pp. 65, 93.

5 TSN, February 23, 1999, pp. 6-7.

6 Id. at 8.

7 Id. at 11-12.

8 Id. at 12-15.

9 TSN, April 6, 1999, p. 7.

10 Rollo, pp. 115-118.

11 Id. at 88-89.

12 Id. at 94.

13 Id. at 90-94.

14 Id. at 16.

15 Id. at 24-25.

16 Id. at 43.

17 Rules of Civil Procedure (1997), Rule 45, Sec. 1 provides:

Section 1. Filing of petition with Supreme Court. - A party desiring to appeal by certiorari from a judgment or final order or resolution of the Court of Appeals, the Sandiganbayan, the Regional Trial Court or other courts whenever authorized by law, may file with the Supreme Court a verified Petition for Review on certiorari. The petition shall raise only questions of law which must be distinctly set forth.

18 United Field Sea Watchman and Checkers Agency v. Requillo, G.R. No. 143527, December 6, 2006, 510 SCRA 165; YHT Realty Corporation v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 126780, February 17, 2005, 451 SCRA 638.

19 United Field Sea Watchman and Checkers Agency v. Requillo, supra.

20 People v. Alzona, G.R. No. 132029, July 30, 2004, 435 SCRA 461, 47.

21 Reyes, L.B., The Revised Penal Code, 1993 ed., Book II, p. 613; Rebucan v. People, G.R. No. 164545, November 20, 2006, 507 SCRA 332.

22 Rollo, pp. 14-15.

23 43 Phil. 1000 (1921).

24 Aquino, R.C., Vol. III, 1988 ed., p. 194.

25 50 Phil. 65 (1927).

26 57 Phil. 325 (1932).

27 96 Phil. 931 (1955).

28 Roque v. People, G.R. No. 138954, November 25, 2004, 444 SCRA 98.

29 People v. Gungon, G.R. No. 119574, March 19, 1998, 287 SCRA 618.

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