The relationship between the preamble and the accusatory portion of the Information

Petitioner was thus charged with Violation of Section 9(e), R.A. No. 8484 for “possessing a counterfeit access device or access device fraudulently applied for.” The accusatory portion of the Information reads:

That on or about the 13th day of August 2004, or prior thereto, in the City of Las Piñas, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring and confederating with certain Rochelle Bagaporo a.k.a. Juliet Villar/Tess and a certain Ronald Gobenciong a.k.a. Carlo and all of them mutually helping and aiding each other, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously defraud complainant HENRY YU by applying a credit card, an access device defined under R.A. 8484, from METROBANK CARD CORPORATION, using the name of complainant Henry C. Yu and his personal documents fraudulently obtained from him, and which credit card in the name of Henry Yu was successfully issued and delivered to said accused using a fictitious identity and addresses of Henry Yu, to the damage and prejudice of the real Henry Yu.

CONTRARY TO LAW.[5]

….

Petitioner was charged with Violation of R.A. No. 8484, specifically Section 9(e), which reads as follows:

Section 9. Prohibited Acts. – The following acts shall constitute access device fraud and are hereby declared to be unlawful:

x x x x

(e)   possessing one or more counterfeit access devices or access devices fraudulently applied for.

Petitioner assails the validity of the Information and claims that he was not informed of the accusation against him. He explains that though he was charged with “possession of an access device fraudulently applied for,” the act of “possession,” which is the gravamen of the offense, was not alleged in the Information.

We do not agree.

Section 6, Rule 110 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure lays down the guidelines in determining the sufficiency of a complaint or information. It states:

SEC. 6. Sufficiency of complaint or information. – A complaint or information is sufficient if it states the name of the accused; the designation of the offense given by the statute; the acts or omissions complained of as constituting the offense; the name of the offended party; the approximate date of the commission of the offense; and the place where the offense was committed.

          In the Information filed before the RTC, it was clearly stated that the accused is petitioner “Mark Soledad y Cristobal a.k.a. Henry Yu/Arthur.” It was also specified in the preamble of the Information that he was being charged with Violation of R.A. No. 8484, Section 9(e) for possessing a counterfeit access device or access device fraudulently applied for. In the accusatory portion thereof, the acts constituting the offense were clearly narrated in that “[petitioner], together with other persons[,] willfully, unlawfully and feloniously defrauded private complainant by applying [for] a credit card, an access device defined under R.A. [No.] 8484, from Metrobank Card Corporation, using the name of complainant Henry C. Yu and his personal documents fraudulently obtained from him, and which credit card in the name of Henry Yu was successfully issued, and delivered to said accused using a fictitious identity and addresses of Henry Yu, to the damage and prejudice of the real Henry Yu.” Moreover, it was identified that the offended party was private complainant Henry Yu and the crime was committed on or about the 13th day of August 2004 in the City ofLas Piñas. Undoubtedly, the Information contained all the necessary details of the offense committed, sufficient to apprise petitioner of the nature and cause of the accusation against him. As aptly argued by respondent People of thePhilippines, through the Office of the Solicitor General, although the word “possession” was not used in the accusatory portion of the Information, the word “possessing” appeared in its preamble or the first paragraph thereof. Thus, contrary to petitioner’s contention, he was apprised that he was being charged with violation of R.A. No. 8484, specifically section 9(e) thereof, for possession of the credit card fraudulently applied for.

The Court’s discussion in People v. Villanueva[9] on the relationship between the preamble and the accusatory portion of the Information is noteworthy, and we quote:

The preamble or opening paragraph should not be treated as a mere aggroupment of descriptive words and phrases. It is as much an essential part [of] the Information as the accusatory paragraph itself. The preamble in fact complements the accusatory paragraph which draws its strength from the preamble. It lays down the predicate for the charge in general terms; while the accusatory portion only provides the necessary details. The preamble and the accusatory paragraph, together, form a complete whole that gives sense and meaning to the indictment. x x x.

x x x x

Moreover, the opening paragraph bears the operative word “accuses,” which sets in motion the constitutional process of notification, and formally makes the person being charged with the commission of the offense an accused. Verily, without the opening paragraph, the accusatory portion would be nothing but a useless and miserably incomplete narration of facts, and the entire Information would be a functionally sterile charge sheet; thus making it impossible for the state to prove its case.

The Information sheet must be considered, not by sections or parts, but as one whole document serving one purpose, i.e., to inform the accused why the full panoply of state authority is being marshaled against him. Our task is not to determine whether allegations in an indictment could have been more artfully and exactly written, but solely to ensure that the constitutional requirement of notice has been fulfilled x x x.[10]

          Besides, even if the word “possession” was not repeated in the accusatory portion of the Information, the acts constituting it were clearly described in the statement “[that the] credit card in the name of Henry Yu was successfully issued, and delivered to said accused using a fictitious identity and addresses of Henry Yu, to the damage and prejudice of the real Henry Yu.” Without a doubt, petitioner was given the necessary data as to why he was being prosecuted.

http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/jurisprudence/2011/february2011/184274.htm

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About Erineus

Born on December 28, 1965, Surallah, South Cotabato, Southern Mindanao, Philippines.
This entry was posted in Access Device, Complaint/Information and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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