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PEOPLE VS. JOSE GO, AUGUST 6, 2014
In October 14, 1998, the Monetary Board of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) issued a Resolution ordering the closure of the Orient Commercial Banking Corporation (OCBC) and placing such bank under the receivership of the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation (PDIC). PDIC took all the assets and liabilities of OCBC. PDIC began collecting OCBC’s due loans by sending demand letters from the borrowers. Among these borrowers are Timmy’s, Inc. and Asia Textile Mills, Inc. which appeared to have loan in the amount of 10 million each. Both Corporation denied the allegation. Because of this, the PDIC conducted an investigation and found out that the loans purportedly for Timmy’s, Inc. and Asia Textile Mills, Inc. were released in the form of manager’s check deposited in the account of the private respondents.
PDIC filed two counts of Estafa thru falsification of Commercial Documents against the private respondents. After finding probable cause, the Office of the City Prosecutor of the City of Manila filed Information against the private respondents. Upon being subjected to arraignment by the RTC in Manila, the private respondents pleaded not guilty to the criminal cases filed against them. A pre-trial was conducted. Thereafter, trial of the cases ensued and the prosecution presented its evidence. After the presentation of all of the prosecution’s evidence, the private respondents filed a Motion for Leave to File Demurrer to Evidence and a Motion for Voluntary Inhibition.
The presiding judge granted the private respondents’ Motion for Voluntary Inhibition and ordered the case to be re-raffled to another branch. The case was subsequently re-raffled to the branch of the respondent RTC judge. Respondent Judge granted the Motion for Leave to File Demurrer of Evidence praying for the dismissal of the criminal cases instituted against them due to the failure of the prosecution to establish their guilt beyond reasonable doubt. An order was promulgated by the respondent judge finding the private respondents’ Demurrer to Evidence to be meritorious, dismissing the Criminal Case. Private prosecutor filed a Motion for Reconsideration but was denied by the RTC Judge. The prosecution through the Office of the Solicitor General filed a certiorari before the Court of Appeals but was also denied.
Whether or not the CA erred in affirming the decision of RTC Judge erred in granting the Motion for Leave to File Demurrer of Evidence.
No. CA grossly erred in affirming the trial court’s Order granting the respondent’s demurrer, which Order was patently null and void for having been issued with grave abuse of discretion and manifest irregularity, thus causing substantial injury to the banking industry and public interest.
The Court found that the prosecution has presented competent evidence to sustain the indictment for the crime of estafa through falsification of commercial documents, and that respondents appear to be the perpetrators thereof. What the trial and appellate courts disregarded, however, is that the OCBC funds ended up in the personal bank accounts of respondent Go, and were used to fund his personal checks, even as he was not entitled thereto. These, if not rebutted, are indicative of estafa.
Hence, the Petition is GRANTED. Resolution of the Court of Appeals are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The July 2, 2007 and October 19, 2007 Orders of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 49 in Criminal Case Nos. 00-187318 and 00-187319 are declared null and void, and the said cases are ordered REINSTATED for the continuation of proceedings.