Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence


Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence > Year 1912 > November 1912 Decisions > G.R. No. 7520 November 23, 1912 - UNITED STATES v. JOSE ABAD

023 Phil 504:




PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

FIRST DIVISION

[G.R. No. 7520. November 23, 1912. ]

THE UNITED STATES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. JOSE ABAD, Defendant-Appellant.

Emiliano T. Tirona, Rohde & Wright for Appellant.

Solicitor-General Harvey for Appellee.

SYLLABUS


1. "ESTAFA" ; COMPLAINT OR INFORMATION; VALUE OF THE PROPERTY. — While it is true that the crime of estafa cannot be sustained in the absence of proof that the property converted or misappropriated by the accused had some value, and while in good practice a complaint or information charging the commission of this crime should specifically allege the monetary value of the property converted or misappropriated where that is possible. Held, That the mere omission of an allegation of the specific value of the property converted or misappropriated in the information will not render it fatally defective, if the facts alleged, when proven, disclose that the property had some value.

2. ID.; ID.; ID.; ADMISSIBILITY OF EVIDENCE TO SHOW VALUE. — Where the complaint or information charging estafa fails to allege the specific value of the property converted or misappropriated, it is error to admit evidence as to the specific value of the property, for the purpose of classifying the offense committed as an estafa of a higher degree than that charged in the complaint or information.

3. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID. — Evidence of the specific value of the property in such cases, may, nevertheless, be admissible for some other purpose, such as the identification of the property or the like; but when thus admitted, its use, as evidence, must be strictly limited to the legitimate object for which it was admitted.


D E C I S I O N


CARSON, J. :


The defendant and appellant in this case was charged with the crime of estafa upon an information which reads as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"That on or about December 10, 1910, in the municipality of Cavite, Province of Cavite, P. I., the above-named accused entered the bicycle renting establishment, named ’Ligaya," located in Plaza Soledad of said municipality, pretended that his name was Jose de los Santos and that he lived at No. 111 Calle Paseo, and rented from the proprietor of said establishment, named Leoncio Pangilinan, an Iver Johnson bicycle, No. 169787, with the private marks No. 10 and the initials L. P., agreeing to the sum of 50 centavos an hour, and to return it after one hour; but having taken away said bicycle he did not return it at the time agreed or pay the rental thereof, but he did willfully, illegally, and maliciously and against the will he did willfully, illegally, and maliciously and against the will of its owner take possession of it for himself and for the sake of gain, keeping it in his possession until January 29, 1911, when the said bicycle was found in the possession of the said accused in the town of Imus, Province of Cavite, P. I."cralaw virtua1aw library

Accepting, as we do, the findings of the trial court as to the credibility and the lack of credibility of the different witnesses for the prosecution and for the defense, the evidence of record conclusively establishes the guilt of the defendant and appellant of the crime of estafa charged in the information, and defined and penalized in section 5 of article 535 of the Penal Code, read together with section 1 of article 534.

Counsel for the appellant contends that since the information fails expressly to allege that the bicycle in question had a specific definite value, and to set forth just what that value was, a judgment of conviction upon this information should not be sustained. But while it is true that a conviction of the crime of estafa cannot be sustained in the absence of proof that the subject matter of the fraud perpetrated by the accused had some value, and while in good practice a complaint or information charging the commission of the crime of estafa should specifically allege the monetary value of the subject matter of the fraud where that is possible, we hold that the mere omission of an allegation of the specific value of the bicycle mentioned in the information did not render it fatally defective, because the facts alleged in the complaint, when proven, establish beyond any reasonable doubt that the bicycle had some value. The information alleges that the bicycle was the property of one Leoncio Pangilinan; that it was in use, at the time when the crime was committed, in his bicycle renting establishment; and that the defendant rented it from the owner and agreed to pay him 50 cents per hour for its use. We think that these allegations are sufficient, when proven, to sustain and justify a finding that the bicycle in question had some value, and that it was the personal property of the complaining witness; and it appearing that this bicycle had been converted or misappropriated by the defendant, in violation of the provisions of subsection 5 of article 535, the finding that the bicycle was personal property of some value is sufficient to sustain a conviction under the provisions of subsection 1 of article 534, which prescribes the penalty to be imposed where the value of the subject matter of the fraud is not shown to be in excess of 250 pesetas. In the case of the U.S. v. De la Cruz (12 Phil. Rep., 87), wherein defendant was convicted of the crime of robbery of a watch, the specific value of which was not set out expressly in the complaint, we said that: "Since the crime of robbery is complete when all the other requisites set out in the definition of the code concur, if the property taken has even the smallest value, we think we would be justified in holding that the watch taken had sufficient value to sustain a conviction of robbery, unless it affirmatively appeared that it was absolutely worthless, for without testimony to the contrary a watch, which the owner valued enough to carry, may fairly be presumed to have some value, however insignificant that value may be."cralaw virtua1aw library

We agree, however, with counsel for the appellant that the trial court erred in convicting the defendant of the misappropriation or conversion of property of the value of more than 250 and less than 6,000 pesetas. It is true that of the witnesses testified that the bicycle in question was worth some P75, and that, if this testimony could be taken into consideration for the purpose of classifying the estafa committed by the defendant with those penalized under the provisions of subsection 2 of article 534, the judgment of conviction should not be disturbed. But the information does not charge that the value of the property taken was more than 250 and less than 6,000 pesetas, and while we hold that its allegations amount to a charge that a bicycle of some value was taken, we would not be justified in declaring that these allegations amount to a charge that the bicycle had a value of more than 250 pesetas. Under the code provisions the misappropriation or conversion of property valued at less than 250 pesetas, and an entirely different and distinct penalty, and an entirely different and distinct penalty is prescribed for the two offenses. We have frequently held that in no case can a conviction be sustained for a higher offense than that charged in the information, nor for a different offense, unless it is necessarily included in the offense charged. It is manifest therefore that the conviction in this case for the higher offense must be reversed.

Counsel for the prosecution contends that the failure of the information to allege specifically that the bicycle had a value of 250 pesetas was cured by the undisputed evidence of record showing that its was in fact worth P75, or 375 pesetas. But this contention can not be maintained; in the first place, because it is in direct conflict with the general rule whereby we have uniformly declined to sustain convictions for higher offenses than those charged in the information, which has its foundation in the constitutional right of the accused to be advised at the outset of the proceedings as to the precise nature of the charge against him; and, in the second place, because timely objection was made to the introduction of the evidence as to the specific value of the bicycle, and under elementary rules of evidence, the testimony in this connection should have been excluded, at least in so far as it was offered for the purpose of establishing a higher or a different offense from that charged in the complaint.

Of course we are not to be understood as holding that in every case of this kind the admission of such evidence would necessarily be erroneous. Cases may arise wherein testimony of this character would be probably admitted for the purpose of corroborating the testimony of a particular witness or the like. But in such cases its uses as evidence must be strictly limited to the legitimate object for which it might properly be admitted, and it can never be taken into consideration for the purpose of maintaining a conviction for an offense higher than that charged in the information.

The judgment of the court below convicting and sentencing the defendant should be and is hereby reversed. The defendant and appellant is, nevertheless, adjudged guilty of the offense charged in the information, that is to say, of the crime of estafa as defined and penalized in section 5 of article 535 of the Penal Code, read together with section 1 of article 534, and there being no evidence as to the existence of aggravating or extenuating circumstances, we sentence him to the prescribed penalty in its medium degree, that is to say, to two months and one day of arresto mayor, and to pay the costs in both instances. The bicycle having been recovered by its owner, there is no need for a specific order for its restoration. So ordered.

Arellano, C.J., Torres, Mapa, Johnson, and Trent, JJ., concur.




Back to Home | Back to Main


chanrobles.com



ChanRobles Professional Review, Inc.

ChanRobles Professional Review, Inc. : www.chanroblesprofessionalreview.com
ChanRobles On-Line Bar Review

ChanRobles Internet Bar Review : www.chanroblesbar.com
ChanRobles CPA Review Online

ChanRobles CPALE Review Online : www.chanroblescpareviewonline.com
ChanRobles Special Lecture Series

ChanRobles Special Lecture Series - Memory Man : www.chanroblesbar.com/memoryman





November-1912 Jurisprudence                 

  • G.R. No. 7063 November 4, 1912 - TOMAS v. GODUCO, ET AL

    023 Phil 342

  • G.R. No. 6169 November 5, 1912 - FLORENTINO ADRIANO v. HIPOLITO DE JESUS, ET AL.

    023 Phil 350

  • G.R. No. 7006 November 5, 1912 - UNITED STATES v. PASCUAL MORANDARTE

    023 Phil 358

  • G.R. No. 7050 November 5, 1912 - NACARIA CASTILLO, ET AL. v. URBANO CASTILLO, ET AL

    023 Phil 364

  • G.R. No. 7321 November 5, 1912 - UNITED STATES v. PATRICIO CAMPO

    023 Phil 368

  • G.R. No. 7539 November 5, 1912 - UNITED STATES v. CIRIACO PUNSALAN

    023 Phil 375

  • G.R. No. 7892 November 5, 1912 - UNITED STATES v. SO FO

    023 Phil 379

  • G.R. No. 7159 November 8, 1912 - UNITED STATES v. MARCELINO RIVERA, ET AL.

    023 Phil 383

  • G.R. No. 7929 November 8, 1912 - UNITED STATES v. GENOVEVA APEGO

    023 Phil 391

  • G.R. No. 8179 November 8, 1912 - THEODORE E. ATKINSON v. M. L. STEWART, ET AL.

    023 Phil 405

  • G.R. No. 7424 November 12, 1912 - UNITED STATES v. POW SING, ET AL.

    023 Phil 421

  • G.R. No. 7428 November 12, 1912 - UNITED STATES v. LIM SING, ET AL

    023 Phil 424

  • G.R. No. 7567 November 12, 1912 - UNITED STATES v. SEGUNDO BARIAS

    023 Phil 434

  • G.R. No. 7768 November 14, 1912 - MANUEL SARITA, ET AL. v. ANDRES CANDIA

    023 Phil 443

  • G.R. No. 4656 November 18, 1912 - RICARDO PARDELL Y CRUZ, ET AL v. GASPAR DE BARTOLOME Y ESCRIBANO, ET AL

    023 Phil 450

  • G.R. No. 7735 November 18, 1912 - UNITED STATES v. LUISA POTESTAS

    023 Phil 466

  • G.R. No. 7529 November 19, 1912 - UNITED STATES v. VALERIANO MOLINA

    023 Phil 471

  • G.R. No. 8098 November 19, 1912 - UNITED STATES v. FULGENCIO GERNALE

    023 Phil 474

  • G.R. No. 8138 November 19, 1912 - UNITED STATES v. JUAN MORADA

    023 Phil 477

  • G.R. No. 6769 November 20, 1912 - SANTIAGO VANO UY TAT TONG v. INSULAR COLLECTOR OF CUSTOMS

    023 Phil 480

  • G.R. No. 7705 November 21, 1912 - ELIAS ORO v. LEOCADIO PAJARILLO

    023 Phil 484

  • G.R. No. 7819 November 21, 1912 - UNITED STATES v. PO CHENGCO

    023 Phil 487

  • G.R. No. 7480 November 22, 1912 - MIGUEL VELASCO Y CUARTERONI v. LAO TAM

    023 Phil 495

  • G.R. No. 7520 November 23, 1912 - UNITED STATES v. JOSE ABAD

    023 Phil 504

  • G.R. No. 7841 November 23, 1912 - LIM QUIM v. INSULAR COLLECTOR OF CUSTOMS

    023 Phil 509

  • G.R. No. 7897 November 23, 1912 - UNITED STATES v. FULGENCIO CONTRERAS, ET AL.

    023 Phil 513

  • G.R. No. 5675 November 26, 1912 - JOSE CARLOS CHUNG MUY CO’S ADMINISTRATOR v. LIM QUIOC, ET AL

    023 Phil 518

  • G.R. No. 6693 November 26, 1912 - ROBERT G. SHIELDS v. JOSE MCMICKING

    023 Phil 526

  • G.R. No. 7718 November 27, 1912 - UNITED STATES v. LEE CHIAO

    023 Phil 543

  • G.R. No. 7627 November 30, 1912 - CITY OF MANILA v. MANILA ELECTRIC RAILROAD AND LIGHT CO.

    023 Phil 547