Criminal Law

Jacinto v. People G.R. No. 162540 July 13, 2009 Impossible Crime

FACTS:

Petitioner, together with two other women, was charged with the crime of Qualified Theft, allegedly committed as follows:

That on or about and sometime in the month of July 1997, in Kalookan City, Metro Manila, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring together and mutually helping one another, being then all employees of MEGA FOAM INTERNATIONAL INC., herein represented by JOSEPH DYHENGCO Y CO, and as such had free access inside the aforesaid establishment, with grave abuse of trust and confidence reposed upon them with intent to gain and without the knowledge and consent of the owner thereof, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously take, steal and deposited in their own account, Banco De Oro Check No. 0132649 dated July 14, 1997 in the sum of P10,000.00, representing payment made by customer Baby Aquino to the Mega Foam Int’l. Inc. to the damage and prejudice of the latter in the aforesaid stated amount of P10,000.00.

The trial court rendered a decision finding the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime charged.

On appeal, the appellate court affirmed petitioner’s conviction and her subsequent MR was denied.

Hence, this petition.

 

ISSUE:

Whether or not a worthless check can be the object of theft.

 

RULING:

In this case, petitioner unlawfully took the postdated check belonging to Mega Foam, but the same was apparently without value, as it was subsequently dishonored. Thus, the question arises on whether the crime of qualified theft was actually produced.

The Court must resolve the issue in the negative.

The requisites of an impossible crime are: (1) that the act performed would be an offense against persons or property; (2) that the act was done with evil intent; and (3) that its accomplishment was inherently impossible, or the means employed was either inadequate or ineffectual.

The fact that petitioner was later entrapped receiving the P5,000.00 marked money, which she thought was the cash replacement for the dishonored check, is of no moment. The Court held in Valenzuela v. People that under the definition of theft in Article 308 of the Revised Penal Code, there is only one operative act of execution by the actor involved in theft ─ the taking of personal property of another.

There can be no question that as of the time that petitioner took possession of the check meant for Mega Foam, she had performed all the acts to consummate the crime of theft, had it not been impossible of accomplishment in this case. The circumstance of petitioner receiving the P5,000.00 cash as supposed replacement for the dishonored check was no longer necessary for the consummation of the crime of qualified theft.

Since the crime of theft is not a continuing offense, petitioner’s act of receiving the cash replacement should not be considered as a continuation of the theft. At most, the fact that petitioner was caught receiving the marked money was merely corroborating evidence to strengthen proof of her intent to gain.

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