Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Francisco, Jr. vs. People

Facts : Francisco was an employee of Bankard, a credit company. Bankard engaged the services of Equicom to encode and post credit transactions and submit reports on those services. Francisco, being knowledgeable in computer programming, was the only one in charged in receiving reports from Equicom and converting such reports into a format compatible with Bankard’s system. 

Solidbank, another credit card company, informed Bankard of four (4) questionable transactions reflected in Francisco’s account. The amount of P663,144.56 was allegedly transferred by Francisco from Bankard to his Solidbank account. The amount of P18,430.21 was also credited to Francisco’s account. 

As a result of such fraudulent transfer, Bankard was made to pay to Solidbank the amount. In the course of transaction settlements, the amount was charged back to Bankard. Bankard then suffered damages for the time it was not able to utilize the fraudulently transferred funds. 

Francisco was convicted by the lower court for the crime of estafa 

Francisco argues that the third element of estafa is lacking – to wit: 

(3) The offended party must have relied on the false pretense, fraudulent act or fraudulent means, that is, he was induced to part with his money or property because of the false pretense, fraudulent act or fraudulent means. 

He argues that since it was Solidbank was the one who relied on his fraudulent acts and was the one who actually incurred damages, Bankard could not have been the offended party referred to in the 3rd element of Estafa therefore had no personality to file the complaint. 

Issue: Whether or not Bankard had personality to file the complaint 

Held: Yes 

1. Except in cases that cannot be prosecuted de officio, namely adultery, concubinage, seduction, abduction and acts of lasciviousness (which requires filing of the complaint by the offended party pursuant to Rule 110 Section 5) a complaint filed by the offended party is not necessary for the institution of a criminal action. The information filed by the prosecutor with the proper court is sufficient. 

2. A crime (in this case estafa) is an offense against the State, and hence is prosecuted in the name of the People of the Philippines (Rule 110 Section 2)

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