I entrusted to my grandchild (child of my oldest child) to pay the amilyar or real estate tax of my property in the province for the past five years. I never asked for receipts for the payments made because I trusted him. However, when my agent was fixing the documents in connection with my intention to sell the property, I was informed that the payment of the real property tax was not updated. Apparently, my grandchild used it for his personal gain.
I felt betrayed that my grandchild was making money out of me even if I regularly give him allowance. I know that my grandchild is my relative, but despite this, I want to give him a lesson by filing a complaint against him. What complaint is proper in this case?
Misappropriating or converting money that was given for payment of an obligation is a crime punishable under Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) governing the crime of swindling or estafa. It is provided under Article 315, Par. 4(1) (b) of the said law that estafa may be committed with unfaithfulness or abuse of confidence “by misappropriating or converting, to the prejudice of another, money, goods or any other personal property received by the offender in trust, or on commission or for administration, or under any other obligation involving the duty to make delivery of, or to return the same, even though such be totally or partially be guaranteed by a bond; or by denying having received such money, goods or other property.”
Based from the foregoing, the crime of estafa is appropriate in the act of your grandchild whom you gave money to pay for the real property tax for your property but failed to pay the same because he has used or converted the same for his personal gain. However, a complaint for estafa against your grandchild will only be dismissed even if estafa is the proper crime to be filed under the circumstances. Your grandchild, being your descendant, is exempt from criminal liability in accordance with Article 332 of the RPC, which states that no criminal, but only civil liability shall result from the commission of the crime of theft, swindling, or malicious mischief committed or caused mutually by the following persons: Spouse, ascendants and descendants, or relative by affinity in the same line; The widowed spouse with respect to the property which belonged to the deceased spouse before the same shall have passed into the possession of another; and Brothers and sisters and brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, if living together. Hence, despite the lack of criminal liability of your grandchild, you may still reimburse or refund the money that you gave him by filing a civil case for collection of sum of money.
We hope that we have answered your query. Our legal opinion may vary if other facts are stated or elaborated.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to email@example.com