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Today is Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
FIRST DIVISION
G.R. No. 74231 April 10, 1987
CORAZON J. VIZCONDE, petitioner,
vs.
INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT & PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.

NARVASA, J.:
Corazon J. Vizconde has appealed as contrary to law and the evidence, the Decision of the Court of Appeals 1affirming her conviction of the crime of estafa by the
Court of First Instance of Rizal Quezon City Branch, in Criminal Case No. Q- 5476.

Vizconde and Pilar A. Pagulayan were charged in the Trial Court with misappropriation and conversion of an 8-carat diamond ring belonging to Dr. Marylon J.
Perlas in an information which avers that they:
* * * wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously, with intent of gain and with unfaithfulness and/or abuse of confidence, defraud(ed) DRA.
MARYLOU J. PERLAS in the following manner, to wit: the said accused received from the offended party one (1) 8-karat solo
diamond ring, white, double cut, brilliant cut with multiple bentitos, valued at P85,000.00, to be sold by them on commission basis,
with the obligation to tum over the proceeds of the sale to the offended party, or to return the said ring if unsold, but the Id accused,
once in possession thereof, contrary to their obligation, misapplied, misappropriated and converted the same to their own personal
use and benefit, and in spite of repeated demands made upon them, both accused failed, omitted and refused, and still fait omit
and refuse up to the present, to comply with their aforesaid obligation, to the damage and prejudice of the offended party, in the
aforementioned amount of P85,000.00, Philippine currency. 2
After trial both accused were convicted and each sentenced to serve an indeterminate prison term of from eight (8) years, four (4) months and one (1) day to
ten (10) years and two (2) months of prision mayor, with the accessory penalties provided by law, and jointly and severally to indemnify the offended party in the
sum of P55,000.00 for the unaccounted balance of the value of the ring with legal interest from April 22, 1975, the further sum of P30,000.00 as and for moral
damages and the sum of P10,000.00 for attorney's fees. 3
Both accused appealed to the Court of Appeals, but as Pilar A. Pagulayan had evaded promulgation of sentence in the Trial Court and had appealed only
through counsel the Appellate Court vacated her appeal as ineffectual. 4On Vizconde's part, the Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment of the Trial

Court in all respects except the penalty of imprisonment, which it increased to a term of from ten (10) years and one (1) day of prision
mayor to twelve (12) years ten (10) months and twenty-one (21) days of reclusion temporal. A motion for reconsideration was denied.
Vizconde thereafter filed the present petition for review on certiorari. 5
Required to comment on the petition, the Solicitor General, despite having argued for affirmance of Vizconde's conviction in the Court of Appeals, now
recommends that she be acquitted, but nonetheless held civilly liable to the complainant in the sum of P55,000.00 (the unaccounted balance of the value of the
ring as found by the Trial Court) " * * * or whatever portion thereof which remains unpaid. * * * 6

From the record and the findings of the courts below, it appears that sometime in the first week of April, 1975, the complainant, Dr. Marylon J. Perlas, called up
the appellant Vizconde, a long-time friend and former high school classmate, asking her to sen Perlas' 8-carat diamond ring. Shortly afterwards, Perlas
delivered the ring to Vizconde to be sold on commission for P 85,000.00. Vizconde signed a receipt for the ring. 7
About a week and a half later, Vizconde returned the ring to Perlas, who had asked for it because she needed to show it to a cousin However, Vizconde
afterwards called on Perlas at the latter's home, with another lady, Pilar A. Pagulayan, who claimed to have a "sure buyer" for the ring. 8 Perlas was initially

hesitant to do so, but she eventually parted with the ring so that it could be examined privately by Pagulayan's buyer when the latter'
gave her a postdated check for the price (P 85,000.00) and, together with Vizconde, signed a receipt prepared by Perlas. This receiptpeople's Exhibit "A"- reads as follows:
RECEIPT
Received from Dra. Marylon Javier-Perlas one (1) solo 8 karat diamond ring, white, double cut, brilliant cut with multiple
brilliantitos, which I agree to sell for P85,000.00 (eighty-five thousand pesos) on commission basis and pay her in the following
manner:
P85,000.00 postdated check
PNB check 730297
dated April 26, 1975
for P85,000.00
It is understood that in the event the above postdated check is dishonored for any reason whatsoever on its due date, the total
payment of the above item shall become immediately due and demandable without awaiting further demand.
I guarantee that the above check will be sufficiently funded on the respective due date.
Quezon City, Philippines
22 April 1975
(SGD.) PILAR A. PAGULAYAN
PILAR A. PAGULAYAN
16 Rd. 8 Project 6
I guarantee jointly and severally
(SGD.) CORAZON J. VIZCONDE
CORAZON J. VIZCONDE 9
After Pagulayan's postdated check matured, Perlas deposited it to her account at Manila Bank. It was dishonored for the reason, "No arrangement," stated in
the debit advice. Perlas then called up Vizconde to inform her about the dishonor of the check. The latter suggested that Perlas re-deposit the check while she
(Vizconde) followed up the sale of the ring. Perlas re-deposited the check, but again it was dishonored because drawn against insufficient funds. 10 So Perlas
took the matter to counsel who sent separate letters of demand to Vizconde and Pagulayan for return of the ring or payment of P85,000.00. 11

After nine days, Vizconde and Pagulayan called on Perlas. Pagulayan paid Perlas P5,000.00 against the value of the ring. She also gave into Perlas' keeping
three certificates of title to real estate to guarantee delivery of the balance of such value. A receipt for the money and the titles was typed and signed by Perlas,
which she also made the two sign. 12 The receipt Exhibit "D" of the prosecution reads:
Received from Mrs. Pilar Pagulayan, the sum of FIVE THOUSAND PESOS ONLY (P5,000.00) representing part of the proceeds of

the sale of one (1) solo 8 carat diamond ring, white, double cut, brilliant cut w/multiple brilliantitos, given to Mrs. Pilar Pagulayan
and Mrs. Corazon de Jesus Vizconde on 22 April 1975, to be sold on commission basis for eighty- five thousand pesos
(P85,000.00).
Received also owner's duplicate copies of TCT Nos. 434907, 434909, 434910, which will be returned upon delivery of the
remaining balance of the proceeds of the sale of said diamond ring for eighty five thousand pesos (P85,000.00).
This receipt is being issued without prejudice to legal action.
Quezon City, Philippines
7 May 1975
(Sgd.) Marylon J. Perlas
Dra. Marylon J. Perlas
Conforme:
(Sgd.) Pilar A. Pagulayan
Pilar A. Pagulayan
(Sgd.) Corazon J. Vizconde
Corazon Vizconde 13
Vizconde and Pagulayan having allegedly reneged on a promise to complete payment for the ring on the very next day, Perlas filed with the Quezon City
Fiscal's office a complaint against them for estafa This notwithstanding, Pagulayan stin paid Perlas various sums totalling P25,000.00 which, together with the
P5,000.00 earlier paid, left a balance of P55,000.00 still owing. 14
Both the Trial Court and the Court of Appeals found istilln these facts sufficient showing that Vizconde and Pagulayan had assumed a joint agency in favor of
Perlas for the sale of the latter's ring, which rendered them criminally liable, upon failure to return the ring or deliver its agreed value, under Art. 315, par. l(b), of
the Revised Penal Code, for defraudation committed " * * * with unfaithfulness or abuse of confidence * * * by misappropriating or converting, to the prejudice of
another, * * * personal property received in trust or on commission, or under any other obligation involving the duty to make delivery of or to return the same, * *
* " The Solicitor General falling back, as already stated, from an earlier stance, disagrees and submits in his Comment that the appellant cannot be convicted
of estafa under a correct interpretation of the two principal exhibits of the prosecution, the receipts Exhibits A" and "D". 15 He is correct.
Nothing in the language of the receipt, Exhibit "A", or in the proven circumstances attending its execution can logically be considered as evidencing the creation
of an agency between Perlas, as principal, and Vizconde, as agent, for the sale of the former's ring. True, reference to what may be taken for an agency
agreement appears in the clause " * * * which I agree to sell * * * on commission basis" in the main text of that document. But it is clear that if any agency was
established, it was one between Perlas and Pagulayan only, this being the only logical conclusion from the use of the singular "I" in said clause, in conjunction
with the fact that the part of the receipt in which the clause appears bears only the signature of Pagulayan. To warrant anything more than a mere conjecture
that the receipt also constituted Vizconde the agent of Perlas for the same purpose of selling the ring, the cited clause should at least have used the plural "we,"
or the text of the receipt containing that clause should also have carried Vizconde's signature.
As the Solicitor General correctly puts it, the joint and several undertaking assumed by Vizconde in a separate writing below the main body of the receipt,
Exhibit "A", merely guaranteed the civil obligation of Pagulayan to pay Perlas the value of the ring in the event of her (Pagulayan's) failure to return said article.
It cannot, in any sense, be construed as assuming any criminal responsibility consequent upon the failure of Pagulayan to return the ring or deliver its value. It
is fundamental that criminal responsibility is personal and that in the absence of conspiracy, one cannot be held criminally liable for the act or default of another.
A person to be guilty of crime, must commit the crime himself or he must, in some manner, participate in its commission or in the
fruits thereof. * * * 16
Thus, the theory that by standing as surety for Pagulayan, Vizconde assumed an obligation more than merely civil in character, and staked her very liberty on
Pagulayan's fidelity to her trust is utterly unacceptable; it strikes at the very essence of guaranty (or suretyship) as creating purely civil obligations on the part of
the guarantor or surety. To render Vizconde criminally liable for the misappropriation of the ring, more than her mere guarantee written on Exhibit "A" is

necessary. At the least, she must be shown to have acted in concert and conspiracy with Pagulayan, either in obtaining possession of the ring, or in undertaking
to return the same or delivery its value, or in the misappropriation or conversion of the same.
Now, the information charges conspiracy between Vizconde and Pagulayan, but no adequate proof thereof has been presented. It is of course true that direct
proof of conspiracy is not essential to convict an alleged conspirator, and that conspiracy may be established by evidence of acts done in pursuance of a
common unlawful purpose. 17 Here, however, the circumstances from which a reasonable inference of conspiracy might arise, such as the fact that Vizconde and the
complainant were friends of long standing and former classmates, that it was Vizconde who introduced Pagulayan to Perlas, that Vizconde was present on the two occasions when
the ring was entrusted to Pagulayan and when part payment of P5,000.00 was made, and that she signed the receipts, Exhibits "A" and "D," on those occasions are, at best,
inconclusive. They are not inconsistent with what Vizconde has asserted to be an innocent desire to help her friend dispose of the ring; nor do they exclude every reasonable
hypothesis other than complicity in a premeditated swindle. 18

The foregoing conclusion in nowise suffers from the fact that the second receipt, Exhibit "D", appears to confirm that the ring "* * * was given to Mrs. Pilar
Pagulayan and Mrs. Corazon de Jesus Vizconde on 22 April 1975, to be sold on commission basis for eighty five thousand pesos (P85,000.00)." 19 The
implications and probative value of this writing must be considered in the context of what had already transpired at the time of its making. The ring had already been given to
Pagulayan, and the check that she had issued in payment therefor (or to secure payment, as the complainant would have it) had already been dishonored twice. That the
complainant then already entertained serious apprehensions about the fate of the ring is evident in her having had her lawyers send Vizconde and Pagulayan demands for
restitution or payment, with threat of legal action. Given that situation, Exhibit "D", insofar as it purports to confirm that Vizconde had also received the ring in trust, cannot be
considered as anything other than an attempt to "cure" the lack of mention of such an entrustment in the first receipt, Exhibit "A", and thereby bind Vizconde to a commitment far
stronger and more compelling than a mere civil guarantee for the value of the ring. There is otherwise no explanation for requiring Vizconde and Pagulayan to sign the receipt, which
needed only the signature of Perlas as an acknowledgment of the P5,000.00 given in part payment, and the delivery of the land titles to secure the balance.

The conflict in the recitals of the two receipts insofar as concerns Vizconde's part in the transaction involving Perlas' ring is obvious and cannot be ignored.
Neither, as the Court sees it, should these writings be read together in an attempt to reconcile what they contain, since, as already pointed out, the later receipt
was made under circumstances which leave no little doubt of its truth and ;Integrity. What is clear from Exhibit "A" is that the ring was entrusted to Pilar A.
Pagulayan to be sold on commission; there is no mention therein that it was simultaneously delivered to and received by Vizconde for the same purpose or,
therefore, that Vizconde was constituted, or agreed to act as, agent jointly with Pagulayan for the sale of the ring. What Vizconde solely undertook was to
guarantee the obligation of Pagulayan to return the ring or deliver its value; and that guarantee created only a civil obligation, without more, upon default of the
principal. Exhibit "D", on the other hand, would make out Vizconde an agent for the sale of the ring. The undisputed fact that Exhibit "A" was executed
simultaneously with the delivery of the ring to Pagulayan compellingly argues for accepting it as a more trustworthy memorial of the real agreement and
transaction of the parties than Exhibit "D" which was executed at a later date and after the supervention of events rendering it expedient or desirable to vary the
terms of that agreement or transaction.
In view of the conclusions already reached, consideration of the Solicitor General's argument also quite persuasive that Exhibit "D" in fact evidences a
consummated sale of the ring for an agreed price not fully paid for, which yields the same result, is no longer necessary. It is, however, at least another factor
reinforcing the hypothesis of Vizconde's innocence.
Upon the evidence, appellant Corazon J. Vizconde was a mere guarantor, a solidary one to be sure, of the obligation assumed by Pilar A. Pagulayan to
complainant Marylon J. Perlas for the return of the latter's ring or the delivery of its value. Whatever liability was incured by Pagulayan for defaulting on such
obligation and this is not inquired into that of Vizconde consequent upon such default was merely civil, not criminal. It was, therefore, error to convict her
of estafa.

that the appellant should be held hable to pay the


complainant the amount of P55,000.00, or whatever part of such amount remains unpaid, for the value of the ring. Again, this is a
correct proposition, there being no question as in fact admitted by her that the appellant executed the guarantee already referred
to.
As already stated, the Solicitor General however maintains, on the authority of People vs. Padilla,

20

WHEREFORE, except insofar as it affirms the judgment of the Trial Court ordering appellant Corazon J. Vizconde, solidarity with Pilar A. Pagulayan, to
indemnify the complainant Marylon J. Perlas in the amount of P55,000.00 for the unaccounted balance of the value of the latter's ring, the appellant pealed
Decision of the Court of Appeals is reversed and set aside, and said appellant is acquitted, with costs de oficio. As the record indicates that levies on
preliminary attachment and on execution pending appeal have been made on behalf of the complainant, 21 which may have resulted in further reducing

the abovestated balance, the appellant may, upon remand of this case to the Trial Court, prove any reductions, by the operation of said
levies or otherwise, to which the amount of the indemnity adjudged may be justly subject.
SO ORDERED.
Melencio-Herrera, Cruz, Feliciano, Gancayco and Sarmiento, JJ., concur.
Yap (Chairman), J., is on leave.

Footnotes
1 In CA-G.R. No. 23774-CR; Mendoza, ponente, Alampay and Borromeo, JJ.
2 Record, pp. 1-2.
3 Record, pp. 620-629.
4 Rollo, (CA-G.R. No. 23774-CR), pp. 62-63.
5 Rollo, (CA-G.R. No. 23774-CR), pp. 61-73.
6 Rollo, pp. 96-103.
7 Rollo, (CA-G.R. No. 23774-CR), p. 63.
8 Rollo, (CA-G.R. No. 23774-CR), p. 621.
9 Rollo, pp. 64-65; Record, pp. 141-142.
10 Rollo, Id.; Exhibits "B", "B-1" and "B-2"; Record, pp. 143- 145.
11 Exhibit "C-1 ";Record, pp. 148-149.
12 Rollo, p. 65.
13 Record, p. 146.
14 Exhibits "E", "F". "G" and "H"; Record, pp. 147,150-152.
15 Commnent; Rollo, p. 96.
16 U.S. vs. Acebedo, 18 Phil. 428.
17 People vs. Cadag, 2 SCRA 388; People vs. Cruz, 4 SCRA 11-14; People vs. Belen, 9 SCRA 39; People vs. Capito, 22 SCRA
1130; People vs. Alcantara, 33 SCRA 812.
18 People vs. Macatanaw, 62 SCRA 516, 527; People vs. Aniel, 96 SCRA 199, 208-209; People vs. Sosing, 111 SCRA 368, 377;
see also Duran vs. CA, 71 SCRA 68,84 and Borromeo vs. CA, 131 SCRA 318, 326.
19 Emphasis supplied.
20 129 SCRA 558; see also People vs. Jalandoni, 131 SCRA 454; People vs. Maniego, G.R. No. L-30910, February 27, 1987.
21 Record, pp. 53, 181, 809, 814, 822.

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Today is Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. 16482

February 1, 1922

SMITH, BELL & COMPANY, LTD., plaintiff-appellant,


vs.
THE PHILIPPINE NATIONAL BANK, defendant-appellee.
Ross & Lawrence and Ewald E. Selph for appellant.
Roman J. Lacson for appellee.
STREET, J.:
This action was brought by Messrs. Smith, Bell & Co., Ltd., to recover a sum of money of the defendant, the Philippine National Bank, as damages for its failure
to accept delivery of certain machinery which had been ordered from the plaintiff by one F.M. Harden, and for the purchase price of which the bank had
obligated itself in the manner stated below. After the hearing the trial judge absolved the defendant, and the plaintiff appealed.
It appears that in the month of April, 1918, one Fred M. Harden, being desirous of obtaining eight expellers adopted to the extraction of coconut oil, applied to
Smith, expellers through this house. By the contract signed for this purpose between said Harden and Smith, Bell & Co., on April 25, 1918, the latter "sold" to
Harden eight (8) Anderson expellers, end-drive, latest model, for the price of P80,000, to be paid on delivery. It was understood that these expellers would be
manufactured in the United States; and it was stipulated that shipment would be made from the United States in the month of February or March of the ensuing
year.
In order to assure the prompt payment of the price upon delivery, an arrangement was made between Harden and the Philippine National Bank whereby the
latter bound itself to Smith, Bell & Co. for the payment of the contract price, according to the terms of the following letter dated April 27, 1918, which was
addressed by the bank to the latter firm:
Messrs. SMITH, BELL & CO.,
Manila, P.I.
GENTLEMEN: In connection with the 8 expellers purchased by Mr. F.M. Harden, amounting to P80,000 please be advised that this
institution will pay the above amount upon delivery of the expellers to us, upon condition that these are new Anderson expellers and are laid
down in
Manila in first class working order.
Yours very truly,
J. ELMER DELANEY,
Acting President.
Shortly after the contract for the purchase of these expellers had been thus made, and on or about May 9, 1918, Harden appeared in the office of Smith, Bell &
Co. and requested them to change the order for the expellers from "end-drive" to "side-drive;" and in obedience to this instruction, the house cabled to its agent
in New York to change the order accordingly, which was done. This fact is in our opinion clearly established by the concurring testimony of J. H. Schmidt,

plaintiff's sales manager, and one J. C. Cowper, who accompanied Harden on the mission to get the order changed. In addition to this it appears that the sidedrive expeller represents an improvement over the end-drive and is of a newer type; and upon the occasion mentioned, Harden exhibited to the manager of
Messrs. Smith, Bell & Co., a catalogue from the Anderson factory showing this fact, as explanatory of his change in the order.
On July 2, 1919, Smith, Bell & Co. informed both Harden and the bank that the expellers had arrived. Shortly thereafter Harden, having examined the
machinery in the plaintiff's bodega, advised the bank that the expellers were not as ordered. Upon this, the bank naturally refused to accept and pay for the
machinery, and the plaintiff disposed of them to the best advantage in the Manila market at a price which was below the price at which Harden had agreed to
take them.
The ground upon which the defense is chiefly rested is that the expellers tendered by the plaintiff were "side-drive" instead of "end-drive" expellers, and in
support of this contention Harden was produced by the defendant as a witness, and he denied that the order for expellers had been changed upon his
instructions. As we have already stated, this contention is untenable; and we do not hesitate to find upon the proof before us that the order was changed at
Harden's request. For the rest, it is shown that the expellers tendered by the plaintiff were new Anderson expellers, in all respect in first-class working order.
In the light of these facts the right of the plaintiff to recover is clear. The contract by which the bank obligated itself is both in form and effect an independent
undertaking on the part of the bank directly to the plaintiff; and inasmuch as the plaintiff had compiled, or offered to comply, with the terms of said contract, the
bank is bound by its promise to pay the purchase price. The consideration for this promise is to be found in the credit extended to Harden by the plaintiff and in
the fact that the plaintiff, relying upon the bank's promise, has gone to the expense of bringing to these Islands the expellers which Harden had ordered.
It is undeniable that the contract sued on had its origin and explanation in the contract between Harden and the plaintiff, and the bank of course obligated itself
solely for the purpose of assuring the payment of the purchase price of the expellers to the plaintiff. But this does not make the bank subsidiary liable as
regards the contract which is the subject of this suit. Its obligation to the plaintiff is direct and independent. Moreover, the debt must be considered a liquidated
debt, in the sense intended in article 1825 of the Civil Code; and the action is now maintainable by the plaintiff directly against the bank without regard to the
position of Harden.
At this point the thought may possibly suggested itself that if the view above indicated is correct, and the bank is to be considered strictly in the light of an
independent promisor, a consequence would be that Harden had no authority to change the order from end-drive to side-drive expellers; in other words, that the
bank should be held to be obligated according to the terms of the order as it stood when the bank entered into the undertaking which is the subject of the suit.
Having regard, however, to the situation as all parties understood it, we are of opinion that the act of Harden in changing the order could not affect the liability of
the defendant bank, especially since the specification in the bank's letter calls for "new" Anderson expellers and the change made was rather in furtherance of
this specification than prejudicial to it. The real purpose of the bank, as all parties were well aware, was to supply its credit to enable Harden to obtain the
expellers ordered by himself, and for his purpose, and it would tend to frustrate the intention of the parties to hold that Harden had no authority to change the
order to the extent stated.
We observe that in the second amended complaint of March 8, 1920, which was the first complaint in which the plaintiff signified his election to claim
damages for breach of contract the damages are alleged to have been in the sum of P26,339.55, upon which it is asked that interest be allowed at the legal
rate from the date of this complaint. Upon examining the several items which go to compose the damages, as indicated in the statement, Exhibit D, prepared by
the plaintiff's department of accounts, we consider the following to be legitimate charges, namely, first, the difference between the contract price and the amount
realized from the sale of the expellers, P22,400; secondly, various charges for storage, insurance, etc., while the machinery remained in the plaintiff's hands
after it should have been delivered to the defendant, P665.34; and, thirdly, expenses actually paid out by the plaintiff in moving the expellers, and for collie
hire, P640. In the itemized statement of damages submitted by the plaintiff, interest has been compounded monthly at 8 per cent, but in the absence of
express stipulation this cannot be allowed; and we are the more disposed to eliminate this charge for interest, for the reason that the plaintiff's sales manager
has effect admitted that the terms imposed by the plaintiff on Harden were severe.
Judgment will be reversed, and the plaintiff will recover of the defendant the sum of twenty-three thousand seven hundred five pesos and thirty-four centavos
(P23,705.34), with legal interest from March 8, 1920. No special pronouncement will be made as to costs of either instances. So ordered.
Johnson, Araullo, Avancea, Villamor, and Johns, JJ., concur.

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