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Prof. Joselito Guianan Chan's The Labor Code of the Philippines, Annotated Labor Standards & Social Legislation Volume I of a 3-Volume Series 2019 Edition (3rd Revised Edition)
 

 
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UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

 
PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

   
November-2006 Jurisprudence                 

  • A.C. No. 6266 - ESTELA ANASTACIO-BRIONES vs ATTY. ALFREDO A. ZAPANTA

  • A.C. No. 7123 - MARIA DIVINA CRUZ-VILLANUEVA vs ATTY. CARLOS P. RIVERA, ET AL.

  • A.C. No. 7214 - AILEEN A. FERANCULLO vs ATTY. SANCHO M. FERANCULLO, JR.

  • A.C. No. 6266 - ESTELA ANASTACIO-BRIONES vs ATTY. ALFREDO A. ZAPANTA

  • A.C. No. 7123 - MARIA DIVINA CRUZ-VILLANUEVA vs ATTY. CARLOS P. RIVERA, ET AL.

  • A.C. No. 7214 - AILEEN A. FERANCULLO vs ATTY. SANCHO M. FERANCULLO, JR.

  • A.C. No. 6266 - ESTELA ANASTACIO-BRIONES vs ATTY. ALFREDO A. ZAPANTA

  • A.C. No. 7123 - MARIA DIVINA CRUZ-VILLANUEVA vs ATTY. CARLOS P. RIVERA, ET AL.

  • A.C. No. 7214 - AILEEN A. FERANCULLO vs ATTY. SANCHO M. FERANCULLO, JR.

  • Adm. Case No. 7252 - CBD 05-1434 - JOHNNY NG vs ATTY. BENJAMIN C. ALAR

  • A.C. No. 7280 - DAHLIA S. GACIAS vs ATTY. ALEXANDER BULAUITAN

  • A.M. No. 06-4-219-RTC - RE: REPORT ON THE JUDICIAL AUDIT AND PHYSICAL INVENTORY

  • A.M. No. 2004-15-SC - PROSECUTOR AGAPITO B. ROSALES vs ENGR. CELERINO BUENAVENTURA

  • A.M. No. 2005-26-SC - RE: LOST CHECKS ISSUED TO THE LATE RODERICK ROY P. MELLIZA, ETC.

  • A.M. No. MTJ-03-1503 - NATIONAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION vs JUDGE LUISITO T. ADAOAG

  • A.M. No. MTJ-06-1660 - Formerly A.M. No. OCA IPI 04-1519-MTJ - SPOUSES TREFIL AND LINA A. UMALE vs JUDGE NICOLAS V. FADUL, JR.

  • A.M. No. P-03-1731 - PNB MANAGEMENT AND DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION vs CARMELO CACHERO

  • A.M. No. P-03-1737 - Formerly OCA IPI No. 01-1250-P - NICOLAS PACLIBAR vs RENAN V. PAMPOSA

  • A.M. No. P-05-2092 - ATTY. PERFECTO A.S. LAGUIO, JR. vs MILA AMANTE-CASICAS

  • A.M. No. P-05-1979 - JUDGE LEONARDO P. CARREON vs ERIC ANTHONY S. ORTEGA

  • A.M. No. P-06-2109 - LIGAYA V. REYES vs MARIO PABLICO

  • A.M. No. P-06-2204 - NYDIA S. SERVINO vs MA. MAWILYNN CONCEPCION B. ADOLFO

  • A.M. No. P-06-2266 - ENCARNACION FLORES vs ROMEO S. GATCHECO, JR.

  • A.M. No. P-06-2257 - SPS. ARTHUR and LEONORA STILGROVE vs ERIBERTO R. SABAS, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. P-06-2268 - BIENVENIDO L. PUNZALAN vs RUMEL M. MACALISANG

  • A.M. No. RTJ-05-1901 - FORTUNE LIFE INSURANCE, COMPANY, INC. vs JUDGE JIMMY H. F. LUCZON, JR.

  • A.M. No. RTJ-06-2002 - ROCKLAND CONSTRUCTION CO., INC. vs JUDGE MARIANO M. SINGZON, JR.

  • G.R. No. 74269 & 92137 - SOLID HOMES, INC., ET AL. vs HON. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 127636 - E. ROMMEL REALTY AND DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, ET AL. vs STA. LUCIA REALTY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION

  • G.R. No. 126890 - UNITED PLANTERS SUGAR MILLING COMPANY, INC. vs COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 129820 - PNOC-ENERGY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION vs EMILIANO G. VENERACION, JR.

  • G.R. No. 132834 - RUPERTO LUCERO, JR., ET AL. vs CITY GOVERNMENT OF PASIG

  • G.R. No. 135817 - REYNALDO RODRIGUEZ, ET AL. vs CONCORDIA ONG LIM, ET AL.

  • G.R. NOS. 140371-72 - DY YIENG SEANGIO, ET AL. vs AMOR A. REYES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 140833 - LACEPI T. MAGNANAO vs PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

  • G.R. No. 141480 - CARLOS B. DE GUZMAN vs TOYOTA CUBAO, INC.

  • G.R. No. 142351 - ST. MARTIN FUNERAL HOMES vs NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 143219 - ASIAN TERMINALS, INC. vs RENATO P. VILLANUEVA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 143382 - SECURITY BANK and TRUST COMPANY vs MAR TIERRA CORPORATION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 144062 - THE BASES CONVERSION AND DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY, ET AL. vs ELPIDIO UY

  • G.R. No. 146707 - ERNESTO DUMLAO, JR., ET AL. vs RODOLFO PONFERRADA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 148090 - STRONGHOLD INSURANCE COMPANY, INC. vs NEMESIO S. FELIX, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 148490 - 7K CORPORATION vs NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. NOS. 148500-01 - TIMES TRANSPORTATION CO. INC. vs NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. NOS. 148839-40 - NAGKAHIUSANG MAMUMUO SA PICOP RESOURCES, INC. - SOUTHERN PHILIPPINES FEDERATION OF LABOR (NAMAPRI - SPFL), ET AL. vs COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 148971 - ALBERTO GARONG vs PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

  • G.R. No. 149633 - EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR GABRIEL S. CASAL, ET AL. v. COMMISSION ON AUDIT

  • G.R. No. 149748 - JANG LIM, ET AL vs COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 149753 - Miguel Cosme, Jr. v. People of the Philippines

  • G.R. NO. 149764 - PHILIPPINE OVERSEAS TELECOMMUNICATIONS CORPORATION vs ENRIQUE GUTIERREZ, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 150253 - DAVAO LIGHT AND POWER CORPORATION, INC. vs ANTONIO G. DIAZ, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 150402 - EPARWA SECURITY AND JANITORIAL SERVICES, INC. vs LICEO DE CAGAYAN UNIVERSITY

  • G.R. No. 152258 - ROGELIO P. ANTALAN vs ANIANO DESIERTO

  • G.R. No. 152984 - WILLIAM G. KWONG vs ATTY. RAMON GARGANTOS, ET AL.

  • G.R. NO. 154006 - STAR PAPER CORPORATION vs CARLITO ESPIRI TU, ET AL.

  • G.R. NO. 154565 - REMEDIOS RAMOS vs TESSIE PABAS

  • G.R. No. 154685 - METROPOLITAN BANK and TRUST COMPANY, ET AL. vs COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 155645 - PHILIPPINE LONG DISTANCE TELEPHONE COMPANY, INC. vs MAYFLOR T. YLAGAN

  • G.R. No. 155574 - TIMOTEO A. GARCIA vs SANDIGANBAYAN

  • G.R. No. 156294 - MELVA THERESA ALVIAR GONZALES vs RIZAL COMMERCIAL BANKING CORPORATION

  • G. R. No. 156888 - PEDRO R. SANTIAGO vs SUBIC BAY METROPOLITAN AUTHORITY

  • G.R. No. 156903 - SPOUSES CARLOS and TERESITA RUSTIA vs EMERITA RIVERA

  • G.R. No. 157107 - ALPINE LENDING INVESTORS, ET AL. vs ESTRELLA CORPUZ

  • G.R. No. 157117 - COASTAL SUBIC BAY TERMINAL, INC. vs DEPARTMENT OF LABOR and EMPLOYMENT, ET AL.

  • G.R. NOS. 157236-45 - ROMEO D. LONZANIDA vs SANDIGANBAYAN

  • G.R. No. 157906 - JOAQUINITA P. CAPILI vs SPS. DOMINADOR CARDAÑA and ROSALITA CARDAÑA,

  • G.R. No. 158676 - BPI-FAMILY SAVINGS BANK, INC. vs SPS. ZENAIDA DOMINGO & ABUNDIO S. DOMINGO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 158707 - COMMUNITY RURAL BANK OF SAN ISIDRO (N.E.), INC. vs YSAGANI V. PAEZ

  • G.R. NOS. 157294-95 - JOSEPH VICTOR G. EJERCITO vs SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 158960 - LORNA FRANCES FILIPINO vs F. WALTER R. MACABUHAY

  • G.R. No. 159373 - JOSE R. MORENO, JR. vs PRIVATE MANAGEMENT OFFICE

  • G.R. No. 159991 - CARMELINO F. PANSACOLA vs COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE

  • G.R. No. 159734 and G.R. NO. 159745 - ROSARIO V. ASTUDILLO vs PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

  • G.R. No. 160347 - ARCADIO and MARIA LUISA CARANDANG vs HEIRS OF QUIRINO A. DE GUZMAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 160618 - DENNIS D. SY vs METROPOLITAN BANK & TRUST COMPANY

  • G.R. No. 160805 - SPOUSES ADIEL DE LA CENA and CARIDAD AREVALO DE LA CENA vs SPOUSES JOSE BRIONES and HERMINIA LLEDO BRIONES

  • G.R. No. 161086 - CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION vs COURT OF APPEALS

  • G.R. No. 161136 - WILFREDO VAGILIDAD, ET AL. vs GABINO VAGILIDAD, JR., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 161115 - DOLE PHILIPPINES, INC. vs MEDEL ESTEVA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 162037 - Heirs of Enrique Diaz v. Elinor A. Virata

  • G.R. No. 162243, G.R. No. 164516 & G.R. No. 171875 - HEHERSON ALVAREZ vs PICOP RESOURCES, INC.

  • G.R. No. 162308 - G & M PHILIPPINES, INC. vs ROMIL V. CUAMBOT

  • G.R. No. 162331 - LEPANTO CONSOLIDATED MINING CO. vs WMC RESOURCES INT L. PTY. LTD., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 162366 - FEDERICA M. SERRANO, ET AL. vs SPOUSES ANSELMO GUTIERREZ AND CARMELITA GUTIERREZ

  • G.R. No. 163735 - GREEN ASIA CONSTRUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, ET AL. vs COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 163712 - METROPOLITAN BANK AND TRUST COMPANY, ET AL. vs JOSE B. TAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 163763 - MALAYAN REALTY, INC. vs UY HAN YONG

  • G.R. No. 164300 - SPOUSES BENJAMIN AND AGRIFINA SIM vs M.B. FINANCE CORPORATION

  • G.R. No. 164321 - SKECHERS, U.S.A., INC. vs INTER PACIFIC INDUSTRIAL TRADING CORP., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 164545 - LORBE REBUCAN y BALTAZAR vs PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

  • G.R. No. 165038 - HEIRS OF EMILIO R. DOMINGO AND FELICIDAD CORNEJO, ET AL. vs THE HEIRS OF CLARITA D. MARTIN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 164858 - HENRY P. LANOT vs COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS

  • G.R. No. 165724 - ZAMORA REALTY and DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, ET AL. vs OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE PHILIPPINES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 165879 - MARIA B. CHING vs JOSEPH C. GOYANKO, JR., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 166403 - BENZON O. ALDEMITA vs HEIRS OF MELQUIADES SILVA

  • G.R. NOS. 166143-47 and G.R. NO. 166891 - ABDUSAKUR M. TAN, ET AL. vs COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 166496 - JOSEFA BAUTISTA FERRER vs SPS. MANUEL M. FERRER, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 166501 - ERNESTO B. FRANCISCO, JR. vs HON. BAYANI F. FERNANDO

  • G.R. No. 166649 - ROBERT B. CABUYOC vs INTER-ORIENT NAVIGATION SHIPMANAGEMENT, INC., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 166833 - FELIXBERTO CUBERO, ET AL. vs LAGUNA WEST MULTI-PURPOSE COOPERATIVE, INC., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 166837 - LIGAYA S. ORBETA vs RUBEN P. ORBETA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 167680 - SAMUEL PARILLA, ET AL. vs DR. PROSPERO PILAR

  • G.R. No. 167723 - CLUB FILIPINO, INC. vs ROMEO ARAULLO

  • G.R. No. 167743 - HILARIO P. SORIANO vs OMBUDSMAN SIMEON V. MARCELO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 167844 - OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN vs COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 168035 - MELANIE M. MESINA, ET AL. vs GLORIA C. GARCIA

  • G.R. No. 168718 - OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN vs FARIDA T. LUCERO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 168694 - THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs SAIDAMIN MACABALANG y MALAMAMA

  • G.R. No. 169193 - SPOUSES ILUMINADA CAPITLE and CIRILO CAPITLE vs FORTUNATA ELBAMBUENA, ET AL.

  • G.R. NOS. 169295-96 - REMINGTON INDUSTRIAL SALES CORPORATION vs ERLINDA CASTANEDA

  • G.R. No. 169341 - City of Cebu v. Vicente B. Del Rosario

  • G.R. No. 169578 - TERESITA DIO vs ST. FERDINAND MEMORIAL PARK, INC., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 169698 - LUPO ATIENZA vs YOLANDA DE CASTRO

  • G.R. No. 169891 - PHILIPPINE NATIONAL RAILWAYS vs ETHEL BRUNTY, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 170220 - JOSEFINA S. LUBRICA, ET AL. vs LAND BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES

  • G.R. No. 170522 - CELSO LOPEZ OCATE vs COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 170829 - Perla G. Patricio v. Marcelino G. Dario III, et al.

  • G.R. No. 171102 - ATP TECHNOLOGIES INTERNATIONAL, INC. vs MICRON PRECISION PHILS., INC.

  • G.R. No. 170840 - THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs GREGORIO CARPIO @ "GORIO"

  • G.R. No. 171144 - SANTOS L. NACAYTUNA vs PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

  • G.R. NOS. 171322-24 - MARIANITO S. VICTORIANO vs PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

  • G.R. No. 172274 - ROMEO D. CABARLO vs PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

  • G. R. No. 171447 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs FEDERICO ARNAIZ y ARMONIO

  • G.R. No. 173290 - ZENAIDA M. LIMBONA vs JUDGE RALPH S. LEE, ET AL.

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    G.R. No. 172274 - ROMEO D. CABARLO  vs  PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

      G.R. No. 172274 - ROMEO D. CABARLO vs PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    EN BANC

    [G.R. NO. 172274 : November 16, 2006]

    ROMEO D. CABARLO, Petitioner, v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.

    D E C I S I O N

    YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:

    This Petition for Review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court assails the April 28, 2005 Decision1 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 24719, affirming the Decision dated July 26, 2000 of the Regional Trial Court of Isulan, Sultan Kudarat, Branch 19, in Criminal Case No. 2488 finding petitioner guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Malversation of Public Funds under paragraphs 1(4) and 2, Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code. Also assailed is the March 23, 2006 Resolution2 denying petitioner's motion for reconsideration.

    The antecedent facts are as follows:

    The Commission on Audit (COA) conducted a comprehensive audit of the accounts of petitioner Romeo D. Cabarlo, then Deputy Provincial and Municipal Treasurer of Isulan, Sultan Kudarat. After reconciliation of the accounting and cash records, the audit team discovered a shortage of P3,201,200.00 in the General Fund and P1,106,000.00 in the Cash Fund. The audit also revealed that P800,000.00 from the Special Education Fund (SEF) was transferred to the General Fund without approval of the local school board.

    When required to explain the shortages, petitioner sought assistance from the Provincial Treasurer of Sultan Kudarat who, after an examination of petitioner's Cash Book, found no shortage therein.

    Subsequently, the Office of the Ombudsman issued a resolution finding prima facie evidence of malversation of public funds, for which petitioner was charged before the trial court. For violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 3019 (1960)3 for the anomalous transfer and disbursement of the SEF, petitioner, together with the Municipal Mayor and Provincial Auditor, was charged before the Sandiganbayan. The Information for malversation of public funds reads:

    That on or about 24 July 1995, and for sometime prior and subsequent thereto, in the Municipality of Isulan, Sultan Kudarat, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the accused Romeo D. Cabarlo, a low ranking public officer, he being then the Municipal Treasurer of Isulan, Sultan Kudarat, and as such is accountable for all the funds collected and received by him by virtue of his position, while in the performance of his official functions, and committing the offense in relation to his office, did then and there, willfully, unlawfully, feloniously and with grave abuse of confidence, take away, misappropriate and embezzle from the said funds the sum of Four Million Three Hundred Seven Thousand Two Hundred Pesos (P4,307,200.00), convert and appropriate the same to his own personal use and benefit, to the damage and prejudice of the government in the said sum of P4,307,200.00.

    CONTRARY TO LAW.4

    After trial, petitioner was convicted as follows:

    WHEREFORE, upon all the foregoing consideration, the Court finds the accused, Municipal Treasurer Romeo D. Cabarlo of Isulan, Sultan Kudarat, guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of MALVERSATION OF PUBLIC FUNDS, as defined and penalized under paragraph 1, sub-paragraph (4) and paragraph 2 of Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code.

    Accordingly, with the application of the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the Court hereby sentences the accused, Romeo D. Cabarlo, to suffer the indeterminate penalty of imprisonment, ranging from TWELVE (12) YEARS, FIVE (5) MONTHS AND ELEVEN (11) DAYS of reclusion temporal, as minimum, to EIGHTEEN (18) YEARS, EIGHT (8) MONTHS AND ONE (1) DAY, of reclusion temporal, as maximum; to suffer perpetual special disqualification; to pay a fine of FOUR MILLION THREE HUNDRED SEVEN THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED PESOS (P4,307,200.00); to indemnify the government in the amount of FOUR MILLION THREE HUNDRED SEVEN THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED PESOS (P4,307,200.00); and to pay the costs.

    IT IS SO ORDERED.5

    Petitioner filed an appeal with the Court of Appeals but on April 28, 2005, the appellate court issued the assailed Decision affirming the trial court. It also denied petitioner's motion for reconsideration in its March 23, 2006 Resolution, hence, this petition, raising the following errors:

    I. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN RULING THAT PETITIONER HAS APPROPRIATED, TAKEN OR MISAPPROPRIATED THE SUM OF P4,307,200.00 FROM THE FUNDS COLLECTED AND RECEIVED BY HIM WHILE IN THE PERFORMANCE OF HIS OFFICIAL FUNCTIONS.

    II. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN DENYING THE MOTION FOR NEW TRIAL OF THE ACCUSED TO ALLOW HIM TO SUBMIT DOCUMENTS AND VOUCHERS WHICH PROVE LIQUIDATION OF CASH ADVANCES AND RECONCILIATION OF THE FINDINGS OF THE STATE AUDITORS.6

    Petitioner argues that he is not guilty of malversation because he could prove the alleged shortage through supporting vouchers or paid-up cash items showing that the amount covering the shortage had been spent for public purposes. He also claims that the non-presentation of the vouchers during trial was caused by excusable neglect thus, his motion for new trial based on newly discovered evidence should have been allowed.

    On the other hand, respondent People of the Philippines, through the Office of the Solicitor General, asserts that the Provincial Treasurer's internal audit is incomplete because it was based only on petitioner's cash book, whereas the COA not only considered petitioner's books but also reconciled the same with the accounting and related records of the municipal accountant, including the schedule of collections and disbursements. Respondent claims that petitioner failed to overcome the presumption that he misappropriated the subject funds despite opportunities to rebut the same and that petitioner was not entitled to a new trial because the vouchers sought to be presented were not newly discovered evidence.

    The petition lacks merit.

    Conviction of malversation of public funds or property under Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code requires proof that (a) the offender is a public officer; (b) he has the custody or control of funds or property by reason of the duties of his office; (c) the funds or property involved are public funds or property for which he is accountable; and (d) he has appropriated, taken or misappropriated, or has consented to, or through abandonment or negligence permitted, the taking by another person of such funds or property.7

    Petitioner, as Deputy Provincial and Municipal Treasurer of Isulan, Sultan Kudarat, is a public officer tasked with the custody of funds and property. His duties include giving advise to local government and national officials regarding disposition of local government funds, and on such other matters relative to public finance; taking custody of and exercising proper management of the funds of the local government unit concerned; and taking charge of the disbursement of all local government funds and such other funds the custody of which may be entrusted to him by law or other competent authority.8 The funds involved in the instant case are public funds, to wit, General Fund, Cash Fund and Special Education Fund, for which petitioner is accountable. Thus, what remains to be resolved is whether petitioner has appropriated, taken or misappropriated, or has consented to, or through abandonment or negligence permitted, the taking by another person of such funds or property.

    Pursuant to Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code, the failure of the petitioner to have duly forthcoming such public funds or property upon demand, is prima facie evidence that he has put such missing funds to personal use. Being an accountable officer, petitioner may be convicted of malversation even in the absence of direct proof of misappropriation so long as there is evidence of shortage in his accounts which he is unable to explain.9

    In the instant case, it is undisputed that there was a shortage in the funds amounting to P4,307,200.00. Petitioner who has custody over the funds failed to produce the amount upon demand by the State Auditor or to satisfactorily explain the shortage. Thus, he is presumed to have appropriated such missing funds to personal uses.

    Petitioner failed to rebut the presumption that the missing funds were put to his personal uses. On the contrary and as correctly observed by the Court of Appeals, petitioner admitted his accountability for the missing funds by signing the Report of Cash Examination (General Form No. 74 [A]) certifying the shortage amounting to P4,307,200.00.10 Petitioner presented no proof that the missing funds were spent for public purposes. He relied only on the findings of the Office of the Provincial Treasurer's Office that there is no such shortage. However, as correctly pointed out by the respondent, such reliance is misplaced because "it is the COA which has the power, authority and duty to examine, audit and settle all accounts pertaining to the revenue and receipts of, and expenditures or uses of funds and property, owned or held in trust by, or pertaining to, the Government or any of its subdivisions, agencies or instrumentalities" as ordained by the Constitution. "While it is the Office of the Provincial Treasurer which has direct control over petitioner, the COA is not deprived of its power and authority to examine and audit accounts which petitioner holds in trust for the Municipality of Isulan, Sultan Kudarat."11

    Thus, we agree with the ruling of the Court of Appeals to wit:

    In effect, accused-appellant admitted both his accountability and liability. Indeed, from the time of the audit team's demand up to the conclusion of the trial in the court a quo, he was unable to present any document or proof to explain the alleged shortages. To the mind of the Court, accused-appellant's failure to satisfactorily explain why he incurred shortages proved that, indeed, he misappropriated or appropriated for his own use funds for which he was legally accountable.

    Accused-appellant's insistence that the cash examination of the Office of the Provincial Treasurer showing that he did not incur any shortage is misplaced. In the first place, the internal audit conducted by the Office of the Provincial Treasurer was based only on his Cash Book whereas, the audit done by COA was based on his Cash Book and the Ledger Book of the Municipal Accountant to determine, if not to reconcile whether there was a balance in both books. In the second place, the internal audit covered a different period from that of the audit conducted by COA. Lastly, said internal audit was not binding as it is only the Commission on Audit which has the power, authority and duty to examine, audit, and settle all accounts pertaining to the revenue and receipts of, and expenditures or uses of funds and property, owned or held in trust by, or pertaining to, the Government, or any of its subdivisions, agencies or instrumentalities, pursuant to Section 2(1), Article IX(D) of the 1987 Constitution.12

    The trial court and the Court of Appeals correctly denied petitioner's motion for new trial on the ground of newly discovered evidence. Under the Rules of Court, the requisites for newly discovered evidence are: (a) the evidence was discovered after trial; (b) such evidence could not have been discovered and produced at the trial with reasonable diligence; and (c) that it is material, not merely cumulative, corroborative or impeaching, and is of such weight that, if admitted, will probably change the judgment.13

    It should be emphasized that the applicant for new trial has the burden of showing that the new evidence he seeks to present has complied with the requisites to justify the holding of a new trial. The threshold question in resolving a motion for new trial based on newly discovered evidence is whether the proferred evidence is in fact a newly discovered evidence which could not have been discovered by due diligence. The question of whether evidence is newly discovered has two aspects: a temporal one, i.e., when was the evidence discovered, and a predictive one, i.e., when should or could it have been discovered.14

    In the instant case, petitioner failed to prove that the evidence consisting of vouchers and paid-up cash items were discovered after trial or could not have been discovered and produced at the trial with reasonable diligence. The proferred evidence were already existing during the trial or even before it started although it was purportedly in "the custody of other local government offices for processing."15 In fact, there is no way that petitioner could not have known of the existence of the vouchers and/or paid-up cash items considering that his office is in-charge of their preparation. Section 470 of the Local Government Code of 1991 categorically provides that the treasurer is in charge of the disbursement of all local government funds and such other funds the custody of which may be entrusted to him by law or other competent authority. It is also contrary to human experience to have overlooked an evidence which was decisively claimed to have such significance that might probably change the judgment.16

    Moreover, petitioner had the opportunity to present the vouchers and/or paid-up cash items before and during trial.ςηαñrοblεš νιr υαl lαω lιbrαrÿ

    Records show that when the State Auditor demanded an explanation on December 13, 1995 regarding the missing funds, petitioner requested for time "to dig up the records." Thus, from December 15, 1995 up to July 26, 2000 when the trial court rendered judgment, petitioner had more or less four years and seven months "to dig up the records." However, instead of presenting the vouchers, petitioner relied on the findings of the internal audit conducted by the Provincial Treasurer's Office, which proved unreliable as the same was based solely on the entries in the cash book of petitioner.

    We cannot lend credence to petitioner's allegation that the COA auditors ignored the vouchers when the same were presented to them. The auditors are presumed to have regularly performed their duties.17 Petitioner presented no evidence to dispute the same. Granting that the vouchers and/or paid-up cash items were disregarded by the auditors, petitioner could have presented them during trial but he failed to do so. Even on the assumption that the audit team hid the documents during the trial of the case, petitioner could still require their presentation because under Section 1, Rule 115 of the Rules of Court, he is entitled to have compulsory process issued to secure the attendance of witnesses and production of other evidence in his behalf, but he opted not to avail of this remedy.

    Petitioner's claim that he did not present the vouchers and/or paid-up cash items before the trial court because he was threatened not to divulge the names of the payees/recipients thereof is also bereft of any basis. On the other hand, assuming that there were indeed threats to which petitioner succumbed, this only suggests that irregularities attended the disbursements of the public funds which were being covered up.

    The trial court, as affirmed by the Court of Appeals, correctly held that:

    A perusal of the motion for new trial does not show, however, that the aforementioned cash items and paid vouchers were only discovered and brought to the attention and knowledge of the accused after trial. On the contrary, the said pieces of evidence were already known to the accused even before the filing of this case against him, as the same were even testified on by his witnesses, Vicente Miguel and Nenita Colago, and by the accused himself, but they only failed to produce and present them in Court during the trial of this case, as allegedly "these vouchers and cash items were purposely hidden apparently with outside intervention so that it could not be easily retrieved or recalled for which reason, accused failed to produce and hand the same to his former counsel." It is therefore, clear that the said pieces of evidence are not newly discovered by the accused, as the latter had in fact intervened in the preparation of the said cash items and paid vouchers.

    x x x

    Finally, the Supreme Court held that where a new trial is applied for, it is essential for the accused to show, inter alia, that the evidence he intends to present were discovered only after the trial. Put otherwise, if they were already existing and available for his scrutiny during the trial of the case, they cannot be considered newly discovered, and therefore, a motion for new trial upon that ground cannot be sustained x x x. In this connection, it must be pointed out, according to the Supreme Court, that forgotten evidence - as contra-distinguished from newly discovered evidence - or evidence already known or should have been known to the accused or his counsel during the trial, does not justify a new trial. x x x.

    Moreover, the total amount reflected on the said cash items and paid voucher x x x would not in any way alter the result of this case, and, therefore, would not materially improved (sic) the accused's position, as the total amount thereof is only P872,907.46, while the total shortage of the accused in his cash and accounts amounted to P4,307,200.00.18

    In fine, the vouchers and/or paid-up cash items which petitioner sought to introduce in his motion for new trial are not newly discovered evidence. It is an attempt to raise once again a defense which was already weighed by the trial court and the Court of Appeals. A contrary ruling may open the floodgates to an endless review of decisions, where losing litigants, in delaying the disposition of cases, invoke evidence already presented, whether through a motion for reconsideration or for a new trial, in guise of newly discovered evidence.19

    Under Article 217, paragraph 4 of the Revised Penal Code, the penalty of reclusion temporal in its maximum period to reclusion perpetua shall be imposed if the amount involved exceeds P22,000.00, in addition to fine equal to the funds malversed. Considering that neither aggravating nor mitigating circumstance attended the crime charged, the maximum imposable penalty shall be within the range of the medium period of reclusion temporal maximum to reclusion perpetua, or eighteen (18) years, eight (8) months and one (1) day to twenty (20) years. Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the minimum penalty, which is one degree lower from the maximum imposable penalty, shall be within the range of prision mayor maximum to reclusion temporal medium, or ten (10) years and one (1) day to seventeen (17) years and four (4) months. Thus, the trial court correctly imposed the penalty of twelve (12) years, five (5) months and eleven (11) days, as minimum, to eighteen (18) years, eight (8) months and one (1) day, as maximum on petitioner, plus P4,307,200.00 fine and indemnity in like amount.20

    WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The April 28, 2005 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 24719, affirming the Decision dated July 26, 2000 of the Regional Trial Court of Isulan, Sultan Kudarat, Branch 19, in Criminal Case No. 2488 finding petitioner guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Malversation of Public Funds under paragraphs 1(4) and 2, Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code, and the Resolution dated March 23, 2006 denying petitioner's motion for reconsideration, are AFFIRMED.

    SO ORDERED.

    Endnotes:


    1 Rollo, pp. 21-37. Penned by Associate Justice Rodrigo F. Lim, Jr. and concurred in by Associate Justices Arturo G. Tayag and Normandie B. Pizzaro.

    2 Id. at 38-39.

    3 Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

    4 Rollo, p. 29.

    5 Id. at 22.

    6 Id. at 7.

    7 People v. Hipol, 454 Phil. 679, 689 (2003).

    8 See Republic Act No. 7160 (1992), Sec. 470.

    9 People v. Hipol, supra at 690.

    10 Rollo, p. 33.

    11 Id. at 60.

    12 Id. at 33-34.

    13 Amarillo v. Sandiganbayan, 444 Phil. 487, 497 (2003).

    14 Dinglasan, Jr. v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 145420, September 19, 2006, SC E-Library.

    15 Rollo, p. 10.

    16 Dinglasan, Jr. v. Court of Appeals, supra.

    17 RULES OF COURT, Rule 131, Sec. 3(m).

    18 Rollo, pp. 35-36.

    19 Dinglasan, Jr. v. Court of Appeals, supra note 14.

    20 People v. Hipol, supra note 7 at 691-692.

    G.R. No. 172274 - ROMEO D. CABARLO  vs  PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES


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