G.R. No. 181658, August 07, 2013 - LEE PUE LIONG A.K.A. PAUL LEE, Petitioner, v. CHUA PUE CHIN LEE, Respondent.
G.R. No. 181658, August 07, 2013
LEE PUE LIONG A.K.A. PAUL LEE, Petitioner, v. CHUA PUE CHIN LEE, Respondent.
VILLARAMA, JR., J.:
1. I am a stockholder, Board Member, and duly elected treasurer of Centillion Holdings, Inc. (CHI), which corporation is duly organized and existing under Philippine laws.On June 7, 2000, respondent executed a Supplemental Affidavit16 to clarify that she was accusing petitioner of perjury allegedly committed on the following occasions: (1) by declaring in the VERIFICATION the veracity of the contents in his petition filed with the RTC of Manila concerning his claim that TCT No. 232238 was in his possession but was lost; (2) by declaring under oath in his affidavit of loss that said TCT was lost; and (3) by testifying under oath that the said TCT was inadvertently lost from his files.
2. As duly elected treasurer of CHI, I was tasked with the custody and safekeeping of all vital financial documents including bank accounts, securities, and land titles.
3. Among the land titles in my custody was the Owner’s Duplicate copy of Transfer Certificate of Title No. 232238 registered in the name of CHI.
4. On June 14, 1999, Lee Pue Liong, a.k.a. Paul Lee, filed a VERIFIED PETITION for the issuance of a new owner’s duplicate copy of the aforementioned certificate claiming under oath that said duplicate copy was in his custody but was lost.
x x x x
5. Paul Lee likewise executed an affidavit of loss stating the same fact of loss, which affidavit he used and presented as exhibit “D”.
x x x x
6. On August 18, 1999, Paul Lee testified under oath that TCT No. 232238 was inadvertently lost and misplaced from his files.
x x x x
7. Paul Lee made a willful and deliberate assertion of falsehood in his verified petition, affidavit and testimony, as he perfectly knew that I was in possession of the owner’s duplicate copy of TCT No. 232238.
8. I and my brother Nixon Lee opposed the petition of Paul Lee and even produced in open court the owner’s duplicate copy of TCT No. 232238.
Such fact was contained in the Order of Branch 4, RTC, Manila, dated November 12, 1999, x x x.
9. I and Paul Lee are involved in an intra-corporate dispute, which dispute is now pending with the SEC.
10. Paul Lee needed to have a new owner’s duplicate of the aforementioned TCT so that he could mortgage the property covered thereby with the Planters Development Bank, even without my knowledge and consent as well as the consent and knowledge of my brother Nixon Lee who is likewise a shareholder, board member and officer of CHI.
11. If not for the timely discovery of the petition of Paul Lee, with his perjurious misrepresentation, a new owner’s duplicate could have been issued.
x x x x15 (Italics supplied.)
[W]hile criminal actions, as a rule, are prosecuted under the direction and control of the public prosecutor, however, an offended party may intervene in the proceeding, personally or by attorney, especially in cases of offenses which cannot be prosecuted except at the instance of the offended party. The only exception to this rule is when the offended party waives his right to [file the] civil action or expressly reserves his right to institute it after the termination of the case, in which case he loses his right to intervene upon the theory that he is deemed to have lost his interest in its prosecution. And, in any event, whenever an offended party intervenes in the prosecution of a criminal action, his intervention must always be subject to the direction and control of the public prosecutor. (Lim Tek Goan vs. Yatco, 94 Phil. 197).The MeTC also denied petitioner’s motion for reconsideration.27cralaw virtualaw library
Apparently, the law makes no distinction between cases that are public in nature and those that can only be prosecuted at the instance of the offended party. In either case, the law gives to the offended party the right to intervene, personally or by counsel, and he is deprived of such right only when he waives the civil action or reserves his right to institute one. Such is not the situation in this case. The case at bar involves a public crime and the private prosecution has asserted its right to intervene in the proceedings, subject to the direction and control of the public prosecutor.26cralaw virtualaw library
Petitioner claims that the crime of perjury, a crime against public interest, does not offend any private party but is a crime which only offends the public interest in the fair and orderly administration of laws. He opines that perjury is a felony where no civil liability arises on the part of the offender because there are no damages to be compensated and that there is no private person injured by the crime.
WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED A GRAVE ERROR WHEN IT UPHELD THE RESOLUTION OF THE METROPOLITAN TRIAL COURT THAT THERE IS A PRIVATE OFFENDED PARTY IN THE CRIME OF PERJURY, A CRIME AGAINST PUBLIC INTEREST; AND
WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED WHEN IT UPHELD THE RESOLUTIONS OF THE LOWER COURT WHICH IN TURN UPHELD THE RIGHT OF RESPONDENT, AN ALLEGED STOCKHOLDER OF CHI, TO INTERVENE IN THE CRIMINAL CASE FOR PERJURY AS PRIVATE COMPLAINANT ON BEHALF OF THE CORPORATION WITHOUT ITS AUTHORITY.36cralaw virtualaw library
SECTION 1. Institution of criminal and civil actions.—(a) When a criminal action is instituted, the civil action for the recovery of civil liability arising from the offense charged shall be deemed instituted with the criminal action unless the offended party waives the civil action, reserves the right to institute it separately or institutes the civil action prior to the criminal action.For the recovery of civil liability in the criminal action, the appearance of a private prosecutor is allowed under Section 16 of Rule 110:
x x x x (Emphasis supplied)
SEC. 16. Intervention of the offended party in criminal action.—Where the civil action for recovery of civil liability is instituted in the criminal action pursuant to Rule 111, the offended party may intervene by counsel in the prosecution of the offense. (Emphasis supplied.)Section 12, Rule 110 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, as amended, defines an offended party as “the person against whom or against whose property the offense was committed.” In Garcia v. Court of Appeals,44 this Court rejected petitioner’s theory that it is only the State which is the offended party in public offenses like bigamy. We explained that from the language of Section 12, Rule 10 of the Rules of Court, it is reasonable to assume that the offended party in the commission of a crime, public or private, is the party to whom the offender is civilly liable, and therefore the private individual to whom the offender is civilly liable is the offended party.
Under Section 16, Rule 110 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, the offended party may also be a private individual whose person, right, house, liberty or property was actually or directly injured by the same punishable act or omission of the accused, or that corporate entity which is damaged or injured by the delictual acts complained of. Such party must be one who has a legal right; a substantial interest in the subject matter of the action as will entitle him to recourse under the substantive law, to recourse if the evidence is sufficient or that he has the legal right to the demand and the accused will be protected by the satisfaction of his civil liabilities. Such interest must not be a mere expectancy, subordinate or inconsequential. The interest of the party must be personal; and not one based on a desire to vindicate the constitutional right of some third and unrelated party.46 (Emphasis supplied.)In this case, the statement of petitioner regarding his custody of TCT No. 232238 covering CHI’s property and its loss through inadvertence, if found to be perjured is, without doubt, injurious to respondent’s personal credibility and reputation insofar as her faithful performance of the duties and responsibilities of a Board Member and Treasurer of CHI. The potential injury to the corporation itself is likewise undeniable as the court-ordered issuance of a new owner’s duplicate of TCT No. 232238 was only averted by respondent’s timely discovery of the case filed by petitioner in the RTC.
Petitioner cites the case of Tan, Jr. v. Gallardo, holding that where from the nature of the offense or where the law defining and punishing the offense charged does not provide for an indemnity, the offended party may not intervene in the prosecution of the offense.In the light of the foregoing, we hold that the CA did not err in holding that the MeTC committed no grave abuse of discretion when it denied petitioner’s motion to exclude Atty. Macam as private prosecutor in Crim. Case Nos. 352270-71 CR.
Petitioner’s contention lacks merit. Generally, the basis of civil liability arising from crime is the fundamental postulate that every man criminally liable is also civilly liable. When a person commits a crime he offends two entities namely (1) the society in which he lives in or the political entity called the State whose law he has violated; and (2) the individual member of the society whose person, right, honor, chastity or property has been actually or directly injured or damaged by the same punishable act or omission. An act or omission is felonious because it is punishable by law, it gives rise to civil liability not so much because it is a crime but because it caused damage to another. Additionally, what gives rise to the civil liability is really the obligation and the moral duty of everyone to repair or make whole the damage caused to another by reason of his own act or omission, whether done intentionally or negligently. The indemnity which a person is sentenced to pay forms an integral part of the penalty imposed by law for the commission of the crime. The civil action involves the civil liability arising from the offense charged which includes restitution, reparation of the damage caused, and indemnification for consequential damages.
Under the Rules, where the civil action for recovery of civil liability is instituted in the criminal action pursuant to Rule 111, the offended party may intervene by counsel in the prosecution of the offense. Rule 111(a) of the Rules of Criminal Procedure provides that, “[w]hen a criminal action is instituted, the civil action arising from the offense charged shall be deemed instituted with the criminal action unless the offended party waives the civil action, reserves the right to institute it separately, or institutes the civil action prior to the criminal action.”
Private respondent did not waive the civil action, nor did she reserve the right to institute it separately, nor institute the civil action for damages arising from the offense charged. Thus, we find that the private prosecutors can intervene in the trial of the criminal action.
Petitioner avers, however, that respondent’s testimony in the inferior court did not establish nor prove any damages personally sustained by her as a result of petitioner’s alleged acts of falsification. Petitioner adds that since no personal damages were proven therein, then the participation of her counsel as private prosecutors, who were supposed to pursue the civil aspect of a criminal case, is not necessary and is without basis.
When the civil action is instituted with the criminal action, evidence should be taken of the damages claimed and the court should determine who are the persons entitled to such indemnity. The civil liability arising from the crime may be determined in the criminal proceedings if the offended party does not waive to have it adjudged or does not reserve the right to institute a separate civil action against the defendant. Accordingly, if there is no waiver or reservation of civil liability, evidence should be allowed to establish the extent of injuries suffered.
In the case before us, there was neither a waiver nor a reservation made; nor did the offended party institute a separate civil action. It follows that evidence should be allowed in the criminal proceedings to establish the civil liability arising from the offense committed, and the private offended party has the right to intervene through the private prosecutors.50 (Emphasis supplied; citations omitted.)
* Designated additional member per Special Order No. 1497 dated July 31, 2013.
1Rollo, pp. 10-47.
2 Id. at 159-173. Penned by Associate Justice Regalado E. Maambong with Associate Justices Conrado M. Vasquez, Jr. and Celia C. Librea-Leagogo concurring.
3 Id. at 190-191.
4 Id. at 68-72. Penned by Judge Ruben Reynaldo G. Roxas.
5 Id. at 97-101.
6 Id. at 135-145.
7 Id. at 13-14, 73-86. Criminal Case No. 55503 for Violation of Section 1 in relation to Section 5 of RA 8294; Criminal Case No. 55504 for Violation of Section 1 par. 2 of RA 8294 (Illegal Possession of Firearms); Criminal Case No. 55505 for Direct Assault; Criminal Case No. 971-V-99 for Violation of Section 3 of PD 1866, as amended by RA 8294 (Illegal Possession of Explosives), and Criminal Case No. 972-V-99 for Violation of Section 3 of PD 1866, as amended by RA 8294.
8 CA rollo, p. 252.nadcralawlibrary
9 Id. at 247-251.redcralaw
10 Id. at 253-254.
11 Id. at 257.
12 Id. at 259-260.
13 Records, Vol. I, pp. 23-24.
14Rollo, pp. 87-88.
16 Id. at 89.
17 Id. at 90-92.
18 Id. at 93-96.
19 Article 183 of the Revised Penal Code provides:cralawlibrary
Art. 183. False testimony in other cases and perjury in solemn affirmation. – The penalty of arresto mayor in its maximum period to prision correccional in its minimum period shall be imposed upon any person who, knowingly making untruthful statements and not being included in the provisions of the next preceding articles, shall testify under oath, or make an affidavit, upon any material matter before a competent person authorized to administer an oath in cases in which the law so requires.
Any person who, in case of a solemn affirmation made in lieu of an oath, shall commit any of the falsehoods mentioned in this and the three preceding articles of this section, shall suffer the respective penalties provided therein.
20 TSN, April 23, 2003, pp. 1-39; records, Vol. I, pp. 234-272.
21 TSN, May 7, 2003, pp. 1-10; id. at 275-284.
22 Records, Vol. I, p. 273.
23 Supra note 5.
24 Records, Vol. I, pp. 305-317.red cralawlibrary
25 Supra note 4, at 68-71.
26 Id. at 70.
27 Supra note 4, at 72 and note 6.
28 Id. at 49-67.
29 Supra note 2.
30 Id. at 167, 169, citing Rodriguez v. Gadiane, 527 Phil. 691 (2006).
31 94 Phil. 197 (1953).
32 Volume II, Seventh Revised Edition, p. 236.
33 Supra note 2, at 168.
34 Id. at 174-187.
35 Supra note 3.
36 Supra note 1, at 18.cralaw
37 Article 105, REVISED PENAL CODE.
38 Article 106, id.
39 Article 107, id.
40 Petitioner’s Memorandum dated June 10, 2009, rollo, pp. 371-406.
41 Respondent’s Memorandum dated June 5, 2009, id. at 328-342.
42 Article 100, Revised Penal Code.
43Banal v. Judge Tadeo, Jr., 240 Phil. 326, 331 (1987).
44 334 Phil. 621, 631-632 (1997).
45 487 Phil. 384 (2004).
46 Id. at 407-408.
47 Supra note 31, at 201. See also Manuel Pamaran, Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure Annotated, 2010 Edition, p. 150.
48 Id. at 200; id. at 149-150, 153.
49 485 Phil. 644 (2004).
50 Id. at 658-660.