G.R. No. 198904, December 11, 2013
DELIA INES RINGOR, Petitioner, v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.
R E S O L U T I O N
That on or about the 24th day of March, 2003, in the municipality of Sinait, province of Ilocos Sur, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above–named accused, being then employed as Sales Clerk belonging to Peoples Consumer[,] Inc., with intent to gain and with abuse of confidence, did then and there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously by means of deceit defraud one Annelyn I. Ingan in the following manner, to wit: The said accused was assigned as Sales Clerk/Agent for the purpose of collecting sales for goods delivered to different customers one LA Currimao Inc. as in fact did collect sales in the total amount of SIXTY–SIX THOUSAND EIGHT HUNDRED SIXTY PESOS and NINETY CENTAVOS ([P]66,860.90) with the obligation to turn over the same to owner/complainant but said accused once in possession of said amount, with abuse of confidence, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously misappropriate, misapply and convert the same for her own personal use and benefit and despite repeated demands made upon her by the owner to turn the amount of [P]66,860.90 said accused had deliberately refused and still refuses to deliver the same up to the present, to the damage and prejudice of the offended party in the amount of [P]66,860.90, Philippine currency.4ChanRoblesVirtualawlibraryUpon arraignment on October 21, 2004, the petitioner entered a plea of not guilty to the offense charged. On November 4, 2004, the pre–trial conference was deemed terminated. Trial on the merits ensued thereafter.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the guilt of accused DELIA RINGOR having been proven beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Estafa, defined and penalized under paragraph 1(b) of Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code, the Court hereby sentences her to suffer an indeterminate penalty of 4 years and 2 months of prision correccional as minimum to 10 years, 8 months and 21 days of prision mayor as maximum.The RTC opined that the petitioner received the merchandise to be delivered to LACS in trust for PCS, with the corresponding duty to remit to PCS the amount to be paid by LACS. The RTC held that the failure of the petitioner to account for the amount paid by LACS is evidence of misappropriation, which indubitably prejudiced PCS.
Accused is hereby ordered to indemnify the Peoples Consumer Store the sum of [P]66,860.90 as actual damages.
WHEREFORE, the trial court’s Decision dated September 8, 2009 is AFFIRMED, subject to the MODIFICATION that accused appellant Delia Ringor is convicted of qualified theft and sentenced to suffer an indeterminate penalty of ten (10) years and one (1) day of prision mayor, as minimum, to twenty (20) years of reclusion temporal, as maximum. The award of actual damages to private complainant in the amount of P66,860.90 is AFFIRMED.chanroblesvirtualawlibraryThe CA opined that the petitioner only had physical possession of the merchandise that were to be delivered to LACS and not juridical possession. Thus, even if there was proof of misappropriation, the CA held that the petitioner could not be convicted of the felony of estafa under paragraph 1(b), Article 315 of the RPC. Be that as it may, the CA averred that the petitioner is nevertheless liable for qualified theft under Article 310 in relation to Article 308 of the RPC, pointing out that the Information that was filed against her sufficiently alleged all the elements of the said felony.
SO ORDERED. 7ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
Article 308. Who are liable for theft.—Theft is committed by any person who, with intent to gain but without violence, against, or intimidation of neither persons nor force upon things, shall take personal property of another without the latter’s consent.On the other hand, Article 310 of the RPC reads:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Theft is likewise committed by:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
- Any person who, having found lost property, shall fail to deliver the same to the local authorities or to its owner;
- Any person who, after having maliciously damaged the property of another, shall remove or make use of the fruits or objects of the damage caused by him; and
- Any person who shall enter an enclosed estate or a field where trespass is forbidden or which belongs to another and without the consent of its owner, shall hunt or fish upon the same or shall gather fruits, cereals, or other forest or farm products.
Article 310. Qualified Theft.—The crime of theft shall be punished by the penalties next higher by two degrees than those respectively specified in the next preceding article, if committed by a domestic servant, or with grave abuse of confidence, or if the property stolen is motor vehicle, mail matter or large cattle or consists of coconuts taken from the premises of a plantation, fish taken from a fishpond or fishery or if property is taken on the occasion of fire, earthquake, typhoon, volcanic eruption, or any other calamity, vehicular accident or civil disturbance. (Emphasis ours)chanroblesvirtualawlibraryIn précis, the elements of qualified theft punishable under Article 310 in relation to Article 308 of the RPC are as follows: (1) there was a taking of personal property; (2) the said property belongs to another; (3) the taking was done without the consent of the owner; (4) the taking was done with intent to gain; (5) the taking was accomplished without violence or intimidation against person, or force upon things; and (6) the taking was done under any of the circumstances enumerated in Article 310 of the RPC, i.e., with grave abuse of confidence.9
Further, Ingan testified that:
Q: What about her failure to remit the value of the goods she delivered? Why do you know of this fact? A: I was at home when she came and she did not remit any amount, ma’am. Q: And so[,] what happened when she informed you ……. Who was with you when she came to your house? A: My sister, ma’am. Q: And so[,] what happened upon having been informed, what did Delia Ringor do? A: She informed us that she lost the money, ma’am. Q: Did she inform you why she lost the money? A: At first she claimed that she was a victim of a hold–up but when we were about to go and look for it she claimed again that she lost it in a mini bus, ma’am. Q: When was that information given to you by Delia Ringor, Mr. Witness? A: After she reported telling us that she lost the money, ma’am. Q: So that will [be] how many days after the delivery was made by the accused? A: About seven (7) days after the delivery, ma’am. x x x10
The foregoing testimonies clearly prove that the petitioner received the amount paid by LACS for the merchandise delivered to it and that she failed to remit the same to PCS.
Q: When the accused failed to report back for duty and failed to remit the amount, what did you do? A: I informed her, sir. Q: When you said you informed her, what form of information? A: I called her mother because she disappeared and she fixed a date at the police station for us to talk over the matter, sir. Q: And were you able to talk the same with the office of the police? A: Yes, sir. Q: What transpired during your talk at the police? A: She told me: “That is no longer existing, I just go to jail,” sir. x x x11
Delia Ringor (DELIA for brevity), is a 43–year old sales lady and a resident of Barangay Duyayat, Sinait, Ilocos Sur. She denied the allegation imputed against her and maintained that since 1989, she had been working as a sales lady of Peoples Consumer Store. As such, she would go out to collect orders from customers in different towns of Ilocos. She would list the orders and give the same to Alma Agbayani, who in turn, submits it to Annelyn for approval. Delia would then deliver the goods to the customers and collect the payments thereon on her next delivery.14 (Emphasis ours)chanroblesvirtualawlibraryGrave abuse of confidence, as an element of the felony of qualified theft, must be the result of the relation by reason of dependence, guardianship, or vigilance, between the appellant and the offended party that might create a high degree of confidence between them which the appellant abused.15 The element of grave abuse of confidence is present in this case. Verily, the petitioner, as sales clerk/agent of PCS, is duty–bound to remit to Ingan the payments which she collected from the customers of PCS. She would not have been able to take the money paid by LACS if it were not for her position in PCS. In failing to remit to Ingan the money paid by LACS, the petitioner indubitably gravely abused the confidence reposed on her by PCS.
Article 309. Penalties.—Any person guilty of theft shall be punished by:Thus, the penalty for qualified theft is reclusion temporal in its medium and maximum periods. Considering, however, that the petitioner stole P66,860.90 from PCS, the imposable penalty on the petitioner should be the maximum period of reclusion temporal medium and maximum and an incremental penalty of one year for every P10,000.00 in excess of P22,000.00, but the same shall not exceed 20 years.
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 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 this Code, the penalty shall be termed prision mayor or reclusion temporal, as the case may be.
x x x x (Emphasis ours)chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
1Rollo, pp. 9–28.
2 Penned by Associate Justice Fernanda Lampas Peralta, with Associate Justices Priscilla J. Baltazar–Padilla and Agnes Reyes–Carpio, concurring; id. at 68–94.
3 Id. at 101.
4 Id. at 44.
5 Id. at 44–49.
6 Id. at 49.
7 Id. at 93–94.
8 Id. at 95–99.
9See Matrido v. People, G.R. No. 179061, July 13, 2009, 592 SCRA 534, 541, citing People v. Bago, 386 Phil. 310, 334–335 (2000).
10Rollo, pp. 85–86.
11 Id. at 88.
12People v. Bustinera, G.R. No. 148233, June 8, 2004, 431 SCRA 284, 296.
13Rollo, pp. 30–43.
14 Id. at 35.
15See People v. Tanchanco, G.R. No. 177761, April 18, 2012, 670 SCRA 130, 144; Astudillo v. People, 538 Phil. 786, 811–812 (2006).
16Seguritan v. People, G.R. No. 172896, April 19, 2010, 618 SCRA 406.
17 Considering that the amount stolen by the petitioner exceeded P22,000.00, the penalty to be imposed on her should be taken from the maximum period of the penalty of reclusion temporal medium and maximum, i.e., eighteen (18) years, two (2) months and twenty–one (21) days to (20) twenty years, plus an additional four (4) years as incremental penalty for the excess P40,000.00 in excess of the P22,000.00 threshold amount under Article 309 of the RPC. However, considering that the penalty to be imposed on the petitioner, together with the incremental penalty, would already exceed twenty (20) years, the maximum term of the indeterminate penalty to be imposed on the petitioner should be set to twenty (20) years.