G.R. NO. 141066: February 17 2005: 492 Phil. 60
Offense Involved: Violation of B.P. Blg. 22
FACTS: In 1989, spouses Adronico and Evangeline Ladonga became regular customers in the pawnshop business of complainant Alfredo Oculam. Sometime in May 1990, the Ladonga spouses. Obtained three loans from him, guaranteed by three post-dated United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB) Checks. The three checks bounced upon presentment for the reason ‘closed account’. When the Ladonga spouses failed to redeem the check, despite repeated demands, Alfredo Oculam filed a criminal complaint against them. Ladonga spouses claimed that the checks were issued only to guarantee the obligation, with an agreement that Oculam should not encash the checks when they mature. RTC rendered a decision finding the Ladonga spouses guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violating B.P. Blg. 22. Adronico filed for a probation which was granted, while Evangeline Ladonga elevated the case to the Court of Appeals arguing that the RTC erred in finding her criminally liable for conspiring with her husband as the principle of conspiracy is inapplicable to B.P. Blg. 22 which is a special law. Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction of petitioner. Hence this case.
- Whether or not the Court of Appeals erred in applying the principle of conspiracy, as defined under the RPC, to violations of B.P. Blg. 22?
- Whether or not the Court of Appeals erred in finding petitioner guilty of violating B.P. Blg. 22?
- No. The Court of Appeals did not err in applying the principle of conspiracy, as defined under the RPC, to violations of B.P. Blg. 22. The B.P. Blg. 22 does not expressly proscribe the suppletory application of the provisions of the RPC. Thus, in the absence of contrary provision in B.P. Blg. 22, the general provisions of the RPC which, by their nature, are necessarily applicable, may be applied suppletorily.
- Yes. The Court of Appeals erred in finding petitioner guilty of violating B.P. Blg. 22. Prosecution failed to establish the guilt of the petitioner with moral certainty because conspiracy was not proven. Its evidence falls short of the quantum of proof required for conviction. Criminal liability cannot be based on a general allegation of conspiracy, and a judgment of conviction must always be founded on the strength of the prosecution’s evidence. In this case, the elements of the crim. In the present case, the prosecution failed to prove that petitioner performed any overt act in furtherance of the alleged conspiracy.