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G.R. NO. 174238 July 07, 2009
Anita Cheng, Petitioner
Spouses William Sy and Tessie Sy, Respondents.
Anita Cheng filed two(2) estafa cases before the RTC-Manila against William and Tessie Sy for issuing to her Philippine Bank of Commerce checks no. 171762 and 71860 for P300,000.00 each in payment of their loan, both of which were dishonored upon presentment for having been drawn against a closed account.
Petitioner on January 20, 1999, filed against respondents two(2) cases for violation of BP 22 before the MeTC-Manila. On March 16, 2004, the RTC dismissed the estafa cases for failure of the prosecution to prove the elements of the crime. Later, the MeTC dismissed the BP 22 cases on account of the failure of petitioner to identify the accused respondents in open court. On April 26, 2005, petitioner lodged against Sy’s before the RTC- Manila, a complaint for collection for sum of money with damages based on the same loaned amount of P600,000.00 covered by the two PBC checks previously subject of the estafa and BP 22 cases.
RTC-Manila, dismissed the complaint for lack of jurisdiction, ratiocinating that the civil action to collect the amount of P600,000.00 with damages was already impliedly instituted in the BP Blg 22 cases.
Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration which the court denied in its Order dated June 5, 2006
Whether petitioner can recover the loaned sum of money and damages?
Yes. Petitioner may recover under the principle of unjust enrichment. There is unjust enrichment when a person is unjustly benefited, and such benefit is derived at the expense of or with damages to another. Hence, if the loan be proven true, the inability of petitioner to recover the loaned amount would be tantamount to unjust enrichment of the respondents,