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[G.R. No. 141496.October 3, 2001]

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. LUCIO TENG

THIRD DIVISION

Gentlemen:

Quoted hereunder, for your information, is a resolution of this Court dated OCT 3 2001.

G.R. No. 141496(People of the Philippines vs. Lucio Teng)

The instant case was "certified" to this Court by the Court of Appeals in its Decision dated January 30, 1998 in CA-G.R. CR No. 17196, "People of the Philippines, Appellee, vs. Lucio Teng, Appellant."

It appears that on November 6, 1992, appellant Lucio Teng was charged in Criminal Case No. Q-92-38304 for violation of Batas Pambansa Bilang 22, and in Criminal Case No. Q-92-38305 for estafa, before the Regional Trial Court, Branch 104, Quezon City. The cases stemmed from appellant's issuance to Daniel Pe of Metrobank check No. 793666 dated November 20, 1991 for P35,000.00.

On August 2, 1994, the trial court rendered a decision1 Rendered by the late Judge Maximiano C. Asunsion, Rollo p. 132. convicting Teng of the crimes charged, thus:

"WHEREFORE, for Crim. Case No. 92-38304, judgment is hereby rendered finding accused Lucio Teng guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Violation of B.P. Blg. 22 as charged in the information, where said accused is hereby sentenced to suffer the imprisonment of ONE YEAR, and a FINE of P200,000.00

"Likewise, for Crim. Case No. 92-38305. Judgment is hereby rendered finding accused Lucio Teng guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of ESTAFA as charged in the information, where said accused is hereby sentenced to suffer the imprisonment of EIGHT (8) YEARS & ONE (1) DAY to TWELVE (12) YEARS of Prision Mayor in its maximum period, without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, and to pay the costs.

"In both cases, the said accused is hereby ordered to pay the complainant the amount of P35,000.00 as the amount indicated in the check in question.

"SO ORDERED."

Upon appeal, the Court of Appeals2 First Division, Chaired by Justice Arturo B. Buena, now with this Court, with Justice Buenaventura J. Guerrero and Justice Portia Aliņo-Hormachuelos, as members.

affirmed the RTC decision with modification, and "certified" the estafa case to this Court, thus:

"WHEREFORE, the appealed decision is MODIFIED to read:

(a) In Criminal Case No. Q-92-383-04, the conviction of appellant Lucio Teng for violation of B.P. 22 is AFFIRMED but the penalty should be imprisonment of One (1) year and a fine of Thrity-Five Thousand (P35,000.00) Pesos; and

(b) In Criminal Case No. Q-92-383-05, We certify this case to the Honorable Supreme Court for final determination and appropriate action (People vs. Demeciilo, 186 SCRA 161,164).

"SO ORDERED." (Emphasis supplied)

This Court, upon receipt of the records of the case, issued a Resolution dated March 1, 2000 requiring the parties to file supplemental briefs. Considering that the case was "certified" by the Court of Appeals to this Court, we directed the trial court to order the bondsman/surety of appellant to surrender him and cause his transfer to the Bureau of Corrections, Muntinlupa, Metro Manila, through the Philippine National Police.

Upon being informed by trial court that the bond posted by the appellant was cancelled because his bondsman (Asia Traders Insurance Corporation) failed to comply with the order to surrender him, this Court Issued a Resolution dated August 14, 2000 ordering his arrest and commitment due to the forfeiture of the bailbond.

Thus, on August 21, 2000, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) arrested appellant. Thereafter, he was committed to the Bureau of Corrections, where he is presently detained.

Eventually, appellant filed with this Court a motion for bail pursuant to Section 5, Rule 114 of the 2000 Rules of Criminal Procedure, as amended.

Upon examination of the records, we found that the appellate court did not properly certify the instant case to this Court by failing to render judgment. Section 13, Rule 124 of the 2000 Rules of Criminal Procedure, as amended, provides:

"Sec. 13. Quorum of the court; certification or appeal of cases to Supreme Court. -

xxxx

Whenever the Court of Appeals finds that the penalty of death, reclusion perpetua, or life imprisonment should be imposed in a case, the court, after discussion of the evidence and the law involved, shall render judgment imposing the penalty of death, reclusion perpetua, or life imprisonment as the circumstances warrant. However, it shall refrain from entering the judgment and forthwith certify the case and elevate the entire record thereof to the Supreme Court for review. (13a)" (Emphasis Supplied)

Under the above provisions, it is essential that before a criminal case can be certified to this Court for review, the Court of Appeals must first render judgment finding the appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime charged and imposing upon him the penalty of either death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment as the circumstances warrant. However, the appellate court must refrain from entering the judgment. Only then can it certify the case to this Court.

The ratio dicidendi and the dispositive portion of the Court of Appeals Decision failed to comply with the above requirements. An examination of the ratio dicidendi shows merely a discussion of appellant's liability for estafa, thus:

"In Criminal Case No. Q-92-383-05, since appellant Lucia Teng is guilty of estafa under Article 315, paragraph 2 (d) of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by PD. 818 and the imposable penalty is Eighteen (18) Years Four (4) Months and One (1) Day to Twenty (20) Years of Reclusion Perpetua, as the amount involved is Thirty-Five Thousand (P35, 000.00) Pesos, We must comply with the mandate of Section 13, Rules 124, 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure x x x."

While the Court of Appeals found appellant guilty of estafa, it did not impose any penalty therefor. Moreover, the dispositive portion of the Decision, which actually constitutes the judgment of that court, does not contain (a) an express finding that appellant is guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of estafa and (b) the corresponding penalty. Thus, the instant case is improperly certified to this Court.

There being no judgment rendered by the Court of Appeals in regards appellant's estafa case, this Court is without jurisdiction review the Court of Appeals Decision.

WHEREFORE, let the records of this case be REMANDED to the Court of Appeals IMMEDIATELY, with the directive to observe Section 13, Rule 124 of the 2000 Rules of Criminal Procedure, as amended, by rendering judgment in the appeal of Lucio Teng from the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 104, in Criminal Case No. Q-92-38305 for estafa.

The Court of Appeals is likewise required to resolve appellant's motion for bail WITH DISPATCH.

SO ORDERED.

Very truly yours,

(Sgd.) JULIETA Y. CARREON
Clerk of Court


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