Criminal Law,  Legally Yours

People v. Villanueva

People v. Villanueva

People of the Philippines v. Julie Grace K. Villanueva
G.R. No. 163662, February 25, 2015

FACTS:

Accused-appellant Villanueva was charged with the crime of Estafa under Article 315, paragraph 2 (d) of the Revised Penal Code. The RTC and the CA found her guilty beyond reasonable of the crime charged.

Records show that complainant Madarang went to Villanueva’s residence and was able to sell to Villanueva five sets of jewelry worth P 1,010,000.00. Villanueva made out nine checks drawn against Philippine National Bank (PNB), eight of which were postdated for the payment of such jewelry.

Madarang received the checks because of Villanueva’s assurance that they would all be honored upon presentment. However, the drawee bank paid only one of the eight postdated checks since the remaining checks were dishonored by reason of Account Closed or Drawn Against Insufficient Funds.

Villanueva denies the crime and insists on the absence of fraud when she drew the postdated checks. She avers that (a) the checks were issued as replacement; (b) the checks could only be deposited or encashed after Madarang was notified of the sufficiency of funds; and (c) the receipt presented by the Prosecution failed to embody the real intention of the parties. She further argues that the checks were not executed prior to or simultaneous with the alleged fraud and that Madarang had instigated her to issue the checks, hence, she cannot be held liable for estafa.

ISSUE:

Did Villanueva commit estafa under Article 315 paragraph 2(d), of the Revised Penal Code in issuing the seven postdated checks?

HELD:

YES. The estafa charged under Article 315 paragraph 2(d) may be committed when: (1) the offender has postdated or issued a check in payment of an obligation contracted at the time of the postdating or issuance; (2) at the time of postdating or issuance of said check, the offender has no funds in the bank, or the funds deposited are not sufficient to cover the amount of the check; and (3) the payee has been defrauded. The deceit should be the efficient cause of the defraudation and should either be prior to or simultaneous with, the act of the fraud. In the present case, all the elements of estafa were present.

The first element was admitted by Villanueva, who confirmed that she had issued the checks to
Madarang in exchange for the jewelry she had purchased. There is no question that Madarang accepted the checks upon the assurance of Villanueva that they would be funded upon presentment. The second element was likewise established because the checks were dishonored upon presentment due to insufficiency of funds or because the account was already closed. The third element was also proved by the showing that Madarang suffered prejudice by her failure to collect from Villanueva the balance of P995, 000.00.

In her defense, Villanueva adverts to an agreement with Madarang whereby the latter would deposit or encash the checks only after being informed of the sufficiency of funds in Villanueva’s account. This defense, however, crumbles because she did not present proof of the supposed agreement.

The prosecution has proved the existence of all elements of estafa under Article 315 paragraph 2(d) of the Revised Penal Code, hence, accused-appellant’s conviction is affirmed.

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