Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Demand in estafa cases - "Demand need not even be formal; it may be verbal."

See - file:///C:/Users/Asus/Documents/SAVE%20HERE/5_TO%20BLOG/1.2_HTML_APRIL%202015/G.R.%20No.%20180016_estafa.html

G.R. No. 180016 April 29, 2014

LITO CORPUZ, Petitioner,

"x x x.

Petitioner argues that the last element, which is, that there is a demand by the offended party on the offender, was not proved. This Court disagrees. In his testimony, private complainant narrated how he was able to locate petitioner after almost two (2) months from the time he gave the pieces of jewelry and asked petitioner about the same items with the latter promising to pay them. Thus:


q Now, Mr. Witness, this was executed on 2 May 1991, and this transaction could have been finished on 5 July 1991, the question is what happens (sic) when the deadline came?

a I went looking for him, sir.

q For whom?

a Lito Corpuz, sir.

q Were you able to look (sic) for him?

a I looked for him for a week, sir.

q Did you know his residence?

a Yes, sir.

q Did you go there?

a Yes, sir.

q Did you find him?

a No, sir.

q Were you able to talk to him since 5 July 1991?

a I talked to him, sir.

q How many times?

a Two times, sir.

q What did you talk (sic) to him?

a About the items I gave to (sic) him, sir.

q Referring to Exhibit A-2?

a Yes, sir, and according to him he will take his obligation and I asked him where the items are and he promised me that he will pay these amount, sir.

q Up to this time that you were here, were you able to collect from him partially or full?

a No, sir.9

No specific type of proof is required to show that there was demand.10 Demand need not even be formal; it may be verbal.11 The specific word "demand" need not even be used to show that it has indeed been made upon the person charged, since even a mere query as to the whereabouts of the money [in this case, property], would be tantamount to a demand.12 As expounded in Asejo v. People:13

With regard to the necessity of demand, we agree with the CA that demand under this kind of estafa need not be formal or written. The appellate court observed that the law is silent with regard to the form of demand in estafa under Art. 315 1(b), thus:

When the law does not qualify, We should not qualify. Should a written demand be necessary, the law would have stated so. Otherwise, the word "demand" should be interpreted in its general meaning as to include both written and oral demand. Thus, the failure of the prosecution to present a written demand as evidence is not fatal.

In Tubb v. People, where the complainant merely verbally inquired about the money entrusted to the accused, we held that the query was tantamount to a demand, thus:

x x x [T]he law does not require a demand as a condition precedent to the existence of the crime of embezzlement. It so happens only that failure to account, upon demand for funds or property held in trust, is circumstantial evidence of misappropriation. The same way, however, be established by other proof, such as that introduced in the case at bar.14

In view of the foregoing and based on the records, the prosecution was able to prove the existence of all the elements of the crime. Private complainant gave petitioner the pieces of jewelry in trust, or on commission basis, as shown in the receipt dated May 2, 1991 with an obligation to sell or return the same within sixty (60) days, if unsold. There was misappropriation when petitioner failed to remit the proceeds of those pieces of jewelry sold, or if no sale took place, failed to return the same pieces of jewelry within or after the agreed period despite demand from the private complainant, to the prejudice of the latter.

x x x."