G.R. No. 2273. December 13, 1905

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5 Phil. 370

[ G.R. No. 2273. December 13, 1905 ]




It appears from the record in this case and from the motion by
counsel for defendant that Francis J. Berry and another were charged in
the same complaint with the crime of estafa, by fraudulently
inducing one Cornelio Finohermoso to execute a deed of transfer of a
tract of land planted with coconut trees, and that the defendants,
having been duly arraigned, pleaded not guilty.

When a complaint does not in terms charge the defendant with a
frustrated offense or with an attempt to commit the same it must be
presumed that it alleges a consummated offense. As a general rule, the
penalty to be imposed shall be that prescribed for the consummated
crime. The reduction of the penalties to be imposed upon those guilty
of a frustrated offense or of an attempt to commit the same is
especially provided for in articles 63, 65, and 66 of the Penal Code.

The complaint in this case does not allege a frustrated offense or
an attempt to commit the same. It must therefore be presumed that the
defendant, Francis J. Berry, was charged with the crime of consummated estafa. This rule applies to all complaints drawn in a similar form.

The trial court found the defendant guilty of frustrated estafa.
This finding of the court below does not, however, affect the nature of
the complaint. Upon a review of the case on appeal we held with the
Solicitor-General that the defendant was guilty of consummated estafa. (See the decision ante.)

The judgment of the lower court does not contain a word or a finding
which could be construed as an acquittal. The defendant can not
therefore allege that he was once in jeopardy.

If a trial court finds, against the contention of the public
prosecutor, that the defendant is guilty of a frustrated offense and
sentences him accordingly, this action on the part of the court can not
be construed as an acquittal at all. The court in such a case merely
punishes the defendant for a frustrated and not for a consummated
offense, but in either case the defendant is found guilty.

This court, following the theory of the Penal Code, held that the
judgment of the trial court in this case was erroneous, reversed the
same, convicted the defendant of consummated estafa, and sentenced him accordingly.

So long as the present Penal Code is in force the judgments
rendered by the various courts of these Islands must be in strict
accordance with the provisions and rules contained therein, and in case
of any violation of such rules and provisions it will be the duty of
this court to enforce the law by reversing the judgment of the trial
court and imposing upon the accused such penalty as the facts and
circumstances of each particular case may require. The enforcement of
the law, and its proper and just application, does not constitute a
trespass upon the rights of a defendant who by the willful commission
of the offense has incurred the punishment prescribed by the penal law.

For the foregoing reasons and for those contained in the opinion
rendered by this court upon the merits of the case, the exception of
the defendant thereto is hereby disallowed and his motion for a
rehearing upon said decision is denied:

Johnson, Carson, and Willard, JJ., concur.

Date created: April 28, 2014


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