• Congress sets damages for estafa – SC

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    The Supreme Court (SC) has junked a petition that sought to lower the penalties imposed on estafa raps under the Revised Penal Code (RPC) on the basis of inflation.

    With a vote of eight against five with two abstentions, the SC did not bite the petition.

    Based on a 32-page decision of the SC en banc, penned by Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta, the high court denied the petition of estafa convict Lito Corpuz.

    Corpuz believes that the SC must “harmonize” the present value of peso to its equivalent value in 1930, the year that the RPC was created. He argued that the amounts specified in the law for estafa should be adjusted to a ratio of one peso in the 1930s to 100 pesos in the present.

    The eight magistrates ruled that they cannot allow the petition and instead, the issue must be addressed with Congress.

    “The Court should give Congress a chance to perform its primordial duty of lawmaking. The Court should not pre-empt Congress and usurp its inherent powers of making and enacting laws. While it may be the most expeditious approach, a short cut by judicial fiat is a dangerous proposition, lest the Court dare trespass on prohibited judicial legislation,” it added.

    “The solution to the present controversy could not be solved by merely adjusting the questioned monetary values to the present value of money based only on the current inflation rate,” the ruling states.

    The original ponente, Justice Roberto Abad, was outvoted by the Peralta group. This ruling should have been the valedictory decision of Abad who will retire on May 22.

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