Elements and Penalty of Estafa by Means of Deceit

Article 315, par. 2(a) of the Revised Penal Code penalizes fraud or deceit when committed as follows:

x x x x

2.     by means of any of the following false pretenses or fraudulent acts executed prior to or simultaneously with the commission of fraud:

(a)          by using fictitious name, or actions, falsely pretending to possess power, influence, qualification, property, credit, agency, business or imaginary transactions, or by means of other similar deceits.

“The elements of the crime of estafa under the foregoing  provision are: (1) there must be a false pretense, fraudulent acts or fraudulent means; (2) such false pretense, fraudulent act or fraudulent means must be made or executed prior to or simultaneously with the commission of the fraud; (3) the offended party must have relied on the false pretense, fraudulent act or fraudulent means and was thus induced to part with his money or property; and (4) as a result thereof, the offended party suffered damage.”[13]

Petitioners presented themselves toLourdesas persons possessing the authority and capacity to engage in the financing of used vehicles in behalf of Final Access Marketing.  This was a clear misrepresentation considering their previous knowledge not only of Erlinda’s complaint but also of several others as regards the failure of Final Access Marketing to deliver the motor vehicles bought. Lourdesrelied on their misrepresentations and parted with her money. Almost a week passed by, but petitioners and Rule did not deliver the said motor vehicle.  They also did not fulfill their subsequent promise to provide a replacement or to refund her payment.  WhenLourdesvisited the office of Final Access Marketing to demand the return of her money, it was already closed.  She could not locate any of them except for Franco who denied any wrongdoing.  Consequently, she suffered damage.

If indeed they were innocent as they claimed to be, Erlinda’s complaint to petitioners and the 12 other similar complaints with “Hoy Gising” regarding undelivered vehicles should have dissuaded petitioners from further soliciting customers.  The fact that they continued to offer for sale a second-hand car to Lourdes is indicative of deceit and their complicity in the conspiracy to commit estafa.  The manner in which petitioners transacted business with Erlinda and Lourdes as well as their awareness of 12 other similar complaints with “Hoy Gising” were sufficient to establish the existence of a modus operandi.

Franco’s attempt to escape culpability by feigning ignorance of the previously failed transactions on the delivery of vehicles by Final Access Marketing cannot be countenanced.  As gleaned from the testimony of Erlinda, Franco was already with Final Access Marketing at the time these transactions occurred.  She was therefore familiar with the company’s procedure and policy on the sales of second-hand vehicles.  She even accompaniedLourdesto showrooms and introduced her to Besario and Rule.

As an employee of Final Access Marketing, Franco was expected to be familiar with its daily activities.  It would be unworthy of belief that she did not know of the complaints for the unexplained failure of Final Access Marketing to deliver vehicles to its customers.  Human nature and experience would compel her to make queries on her own to discover the reasons for the non-delivery of the vehicles.  Her continued insistence in solicitingLourdesas a client by introducing herself as an Assistant Administrative Coordinator of Final Access Marketing with the ability to provide financing for a vehicle of her choice is therefore indicative of fraudulent misrepresentation.

The petitioners also contend that they are not criminally liable since the transaction withLourdeswas a contract of sale.  This contention does not deserve serious consideration.  While the fact that they entered into a contract withLourdescannot be denied, the transaction transpired due to their deceit.  It was their misrepresentation that inducedLourdesto sign the Sales Proposal agreement and part with her money.

In denying any criminal wrongdoing, petitioners blame their co-accused, Torres, whom they claim to be the owner of Final Access Marketing.  The shifting of blame is common among conspirators in their attempt to escape liability.  It is a desperate strategy to compensate for their weak defense.  We are not readily influenced by such a proposition since its “obvious motive is to distort the truth and frustrate the ends of justice.”[14]

The Penalty

Having committed the crime of estafa, the petitioners must suffer the proper penalties provided by law.  The law imposes the penalty of prision correccional in its maximum period to prision mayor in its minimum period if the amount is over P12,000.00 but does not exceed P22,000.00.  If the amount swindled exceeds P22,000.00, the penalty shall be imposed in its maximum period, adding one year for each additional P10,000.00, but the total penalty which may be imposed shall not exceed 20 years.[15]  To determine the minimum of the indeterminate penalty, prision correccional in its maximum period to prision mayor in its minimum period shall be reduced by one degree, that is, to prision correccional in its minimum and medium periods.  The minimum period of the indeterminate penalty shall be taken from the full range of the penalty of prision correccional in its minimum and medium periods, which is six (6) months and one (1) day to four (4) years and two (2) months.  With the amount of the fraud at P80,000.00, there is P58,000.00 in excess of P22,000.00.  Five years must therefore be added to the maximum period of the prescribed penalty ranging from six (6) years, eight (8) months and twenty-one (21) days to eight (8) years. Thus, the maximum term of the penalty would range from eleven (11) years, eight (8) months and twenty-one (21) days to thirteen (13) years.  This is in accord with our ruling in People v. Temparada,[16] viz:

The prescribed penalty for estafa under Article 315, par. 2(d) of the RPC, when the amount defrauded exceeds P22,000.00, is prision correccional maximum to prision mayor minimum.  The minimum term is taken from the penalty next lower or anywhere within prision correccional minimum and medium (i.e. from 6 months and 1 day to 4 years and 2 months).  Consequently, the RTC correctly fixed the minimum term for the five estafa cases at 4 years and 2 months of prision correccional since this is within the range of prision correccional minimum and medium.

On the other hand, the maximum term is taken from the prescribed penalty of prision correccional maximum to prision mayor minimum in its maximum period, adding 1 year of imprisonment for every P10,000.00 in excess of P22,000.00, provided that the total penalty shall not exceed 20 years.  However, the maximum period of the prescribed penalty of prision correccional maximum to prision mayor minimum is not prision mayor minimum as apparently assumed by the RTC.  To compute the maximum period of the prescribed penalty, prision correccional maximum to prision mayor minimum should be divided into three equal portions of time each of which portion shall be deemed to form one period in accordance with Article 65 of the RPC.  Following this procedure, the maximum period of prision correccional maximum to prision mayor minimum is from 6 years, 8 months and 21 days to 8 years.  The incremental penalty, when proper, shall thus be added to anywhere from 6 years, 8 months and 21 days to 8 years, at the discretion of the court.

In computing the incremental penalty, the amount defrauded shall be subtracted by P22,000.00, and the difference shall be divided by P10,000.00. Any fraction of a year shall be discarded as was done starting with the case of People v. Pabalan in consonance with the settled rule that penal laws shall be construed liberally in favor of the accused. x x x.

WHEREFORE, the petitions for review on certiorari are DENIED.  The Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No.  27414 which affirmed with modification the Decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 52, in Criminal Case No. 99-173688 convicting petitioners Lyzah Sy Franco and Steve Besario of the crime of estafa is AFFIRMED with further modification that the indeterminate prison term imposed on each of the petitioners is four (4) years and two (2) months of prision correccional as minimum to thirteen (13) years of reclusion temporal as maximum.


About Erineus

Born on December 28, 1965, Surallah, South Cotabato, Southern Mindanao, Philippines.
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16 Responses to Elements and Penalty of Estafa by Means of Deceit

  1. china says:

    hi good evening. i would like to ask . i issue a check for loan. however it bounce bec of insufficient balance. i talked to my creditor on how to settle it. i asked them if i can pay it through cash . however they dont want to . they asked my atm. but my new employee still did not yet release my atm .. i am willing to pay them this 30th .we have an agreement that i can pay it this 3oth but they need to charged me ;late payment of 1k for the check that was bounce. but then they just text today saying that they will file a case against me this monday estaffa. i dont know what to do . theyre not replying anymore. but we have an agreement.

  2. Jerwin says:

    I would.like to ask if,pursuing someone to sign document can be a estafa case?

  3. anneleise says:

    Hi I just wanna ask if i can file a fraud or estafa case against my cousin. She asks me to borrow money from the bank using my name and promised me to pay the monthly installment. I even gave her money for her to pay the months installment but later to found out that she didn’t pay a single cent. Now the bank is issuing demand letter for me to pay the loan amount. My cousin talked to me and promised me -AGAIN that she will pay the monthly installment, she gave twice but then now she changed her number or sometimes off her phone so i cannot contact her. The loan is under my name tho.

    • bryan says:

      yes you can pursue an estafa case against your cousin. since she made an act of lurring you to use your good name for her own intention, and knowing that she does not intend to pay the bank a single cent. It caused damage to you. I am a law office owner and i’ve encountered a lot of these cases.

  4. iris bato says:

    Good day po ask ko lang po paano kung yung perang tinanggap skin ng taong idenemanda ko ay itinanggi ang natanggap na pera sa kanyang reply affidavit sa fiscal,, ngunit sa mediation ay kanyang inamin ito since hindi kami nagkasundo matapos sa mediation , pwaede ko po bang gamiting ebidensya ang kanyang pag-amin at patunay na talagang tinanggap niya ang pera skin. paano po ?Please tulungan po ninyo ako salamat po at pagpalain nawa kayo ng Panginoon

  5. Vicenta says:

    Hello, good evening. Tanong ko lang po. May group na nag offer na mag invest kami ng pera and in return may malaki siyang kita after a week. pagkatapos ng ilang lingo. they declare na bankrupt na ang business. they promised us refund but until now, no refund. Ito yung sinasabi nilang online paluwagan.

  6. Vicenta says:

    Ang tanong ko po, ano ang pwede kaso na i file para sa kanila?

  7. Farra says:

    Gudpm po..ung wala nman po pinirmahan o usapan na mag uutang ..kc sya po bigay lng ng bigay pera tinangap ko nman kc sbi nya tutulong po sya sken..din ako nman tinangap ko kc mbait po sya..tpos hbang tumatagal prang ng e spiya sya sken.. Cmpre ng bibigay sya sken ng pera pra mkasiguradu dn sya ..pro wla nmn po ako msamang ginagawa.. Sya prang demanding din sayo..mtanda po sya prang my gusto skin..im 21 yrs old..consider po b un kc bina bantaan nya ako stapa ..d nya raw ako titigilan..mdami po sya cnasabi n msama sken..tinigilan ko n nga po..tpos sya nman d nya raw ako titigilan..ng oofer p sya skin ng negosyo dko npo tinanggap kc parang iba na ehh..ayaw nya mwalan contact skin..tpos anu2 banta nya skin..anu po b mbuti dun?help po..pls…

  8. jeannelyn says:

    magknu gagstusin pag mgfile ng stafa case?

  9. Dgreen888 says:

    Good day.

    Would like to ask if the case would prosper if the amount is only 2,000?

  10. krishna dev says:

    hi, good morning. i just want to ask, because my friend is having a estafa case back in the philippines and she is now working in UAE. now she wants to go back in the her home country but she is afraid that someone in philippine airport can holdher up and arrest her. actually she want to go back to philippines to clear her issues with the case. please advise us what to do.

    • 28degree says:

      hi! do you have an answer? i’m having the same issue…

    • My Best Advise, tell your friend to go back in the PH to clear her / his name.. Yes, She / He might be arrested but It doesn’t mean that she will be imprisoned since we need to follow the SOP. She / He will be threatened accordingly. She / he will be entitled for the Due process.
      That’s the best thing She/ he could do.

  11. mhae says:

    gud day po. ask ko sna kung may specific amount na kelangan pra magsampa ng estafa ang isang tao.

  12. chloie perez says:

    hi,good afternoon I just want to ask,because our salary in the payslip is not the same with the amount downloaded in our banks account..can we file any complain to our finance incharge of this? please advice…

  13. Egorj says:

    Gud am po, ask ko lng po yung dating company ko po kinasuhan ako ng estafa, eto po yung nangyari po last year 2014. Field salea supervisor po ako sa isang company dto sa cagayan noong oct 2014 ng mawala yung ahente ko ako po yung humalili sa kanya trabaho bilang collector at ahente mayroon po po akong nasingil na di ko pinasok muna sa office nmni dalawang resibo po yun n nagkakahalaga 96 thousand po n wla nmn po ako balak n nakawin sa compania po. Inipit ipit ko lng po kc that tym rin po nagpapagawa din ako ng hws nmn mga 13days ko n hawak yung pera sa akin nungvtym n ireremit ko n po sa office nagkaroon po ng problem n. Nanakawan po ako nakuha po yung pera at ibang check at yung iba nmn po naibalik ko sa office po. Nireport ko po yung ngyari sa OPERATION MANAGER namin ang ngyari sabi nya po kumuha daw po ako ng police report. Kumuha po ako ng police report pag katopos nung nag punta n po ako ng office para sa incendent reports after po ask ko yung OPERATION MANAGER regarding sa starus ko sbi niya antayin ko yung call nila kailan ako papasok po. Nag antay po ako pero wala silang twag ng nalaman ko pinadadalahan na nila ako ng demand letter pinababayaran nila sa akin yung nawala po. Ngayon po kinasuhan nila ako ng estafa po. Nakasaad dun po ng ginamit sariling pang interest at gawagawa ko lng daw yung nanakawan ako para mapagtakpan ko yung nanakwa n pera po. Paki tulungan nyo po ako yung magandang gawin po.

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