Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence


Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence > Year 1954 > April 1954 Decisions > G.R. No. L-6063 April 26, 1954 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. LEON AQUINO

094 Phil 805:




PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

EN BANC

[G.R. No. L-6063. April 26, 1954.]

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. LEON AQUINO, Defendant-Appellant.

Dominador T. Tugade for Appellant.

Solicitor General Juan R. Liwag and Solicitor Felix V. Makasiar for Appellee.


SYLLABUS


1. CRIMINAL LAW; MALVERSATION OF PUBLIC FUNDS; NARIC FUNDS WHEN DELIVERED FOR HIS OFFICIAL CUSTODY. — Although the funds belonging to the NARIC are public funds, they become impressed with that character when they are entrusted to a public officer for his official custody.


D E C I S I O N


REYES, J.:


The accused Leon Aquino was charged in the Court of First Instance of Pangasinan with malversation of public funds for having on or about July 16, 1951, misappropriated public funds amounting to P20,944.27 entrusted to his care in his capacity as municipal treasurer and postmaster of Mabini, Pangasinan, and "ex-officio in- charge of the properties and funds of the National Rice and Corn Corporation (NARIC)." Pleading guilty to the charge, the accused was, in accordance with article 217, paragraph 4, of the Revised Penal Code and the Indeterminate Sentence Law, sentenced as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"(a) In accordance with the Indeterminate Sentence Law and article 217, paragraph 4 of the Revised Penal Code, and taking into account his plea of guilty, to suffer a penalty of Eight years and one day of ’prision mayor’ as a minimum, and twelve years and one day of ’reclusion temporal’ as a maximum;

"(b) To suffer the penalty of perpetual special disqualification;

"(c) To pay a fine of P10,472.13, without subsidiary imprisonment because of the principal penalty imposed;

"(d) To indemnify the National Rice and Corn Corporation in the amount Of P12,656.83;

"(e) To indemnify the Government of the Republic of the Philippines in the amount of P2,910.44;

"(f) To indemnify the Bureau of Posts or the Government of the Republic of the Philippines in the further amount of P5,377;

"(g) To pay the costs of this case."cralaw virtua1aw library

From this sentence the accused has appealed, and his attorney in this instance contends that the lower court should have applied paragraph 3 instead of paragraph 4 of the article mentioned. In support of this contention attention is invited to the fact disclosed in the information that P12,656.83 of the funds malversed belonged to the NARIC, and, on the theory that NARIC funds are not public funds because the NARIC is a corporation separate and distinct from the Government, counsel argues that with respect to that sum the accused cannot be held guilty of malversation of public funds. With that sum excluded, the amount of public funds malversed, so counsel contends, would only be P8,287.44 and would come under paragraph 3 of the article in question, which provides for a penalty higher than that prescribed in paragraph 4.

The contention is without merit. Even supposing that funds belonging to the NARIC are not public funds, they become impressed with that character when they are entrusted to a public officer for his official custody (People v. De la Serna, 40 Off. Gaz. [Supp. 12] 159). Thus this Court has held that Red Cross, Anti-Tuberculosis, and Boy Scouts funds delivered to an assistant cashier of a provincial treasurer for his custody acquire the attributes of public funds (People v. Velasquez, 72 Phil., 98).

We find the sentence appealed from in accordance with law. We, therefore, confirm it with costs against the Appellant.

Paras, C.J., Pablo, Bengzon, Jugo, Bautista Angelo, Labrador and Concepcion, JJ., concur.




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