• Lying over money or goods to shore up credit standing amounts to estafa

    Persida Acosta

    Persida Acosta

    Dear PAO,
    I need your advice. I live in Montalban, Rizal while my work is in Parañaque City (Metro Manila). To make my travel easier, I purchased a motorcycle but it was under a bank loan. Unfortunately, I had to sell it six months after my purchase, because I can no longer pay the remaining monthly installments. The person who bought my motorcycle was only referred to me by one of the agents in the dealership where I got it. We came to an agreement that he will pay me for half of the installments I have already settled, and that he will assume my remaining loan amortizations. He showed me his bank statements to warrant that he has enough means to pay for my remaining amortizations. But now, someone from the bank called me up and asked me to bring the motorcycle to their office since my loan amortizations haven’t been paid for almost four months already.

    I tried to call the buyer because he has the motorcycle, but I can no longer contact him. I tried to verify his details from government agencies, but it turned out that the name he used in the identification documents which he presented to me is that of another person. If I see this person again, what should I do? What case can I file against him?

    Dear Wilfredo,
    If the bank where you secured your loan was not formally informed and made party to the agreement that you have entered with the buyer insofar as the latter’s assumption of loan, then it cannot be bound to accept the terms thereof. Corollary thereto, you are still liable to settle with the bank your unpaid loan amortizations as well as those which may have accrued by reason of your failure to pay the principal obligation. You may appeal to the bank for an adjustment or a payment schedule, so that you may have sufficient opportunity to comply with your contractual obligation.

    Relative to your concern with the buyer, you can demand from him to fulfill his obligations insofar as your contractual agreement is concerned, particularly the satisfaction of the unpaid loan amortizations that he assumed.

    In the alternative, you may opt to file a complaint for estafa against him. Pursuant to the Revised Penal Code (RPC), penalty may be imposed upon any person who shall defraud another by means of false pretenses or fraudulent acts executed prior to or simultaneously with the commission of the fraud such as by using fictitious name, or falsely pretending to possess power, influence, qualifications, property, credit, agency, business or imaginary transactions, or by means of other similar deceits (Article 315 (2) (a), Ibid.).

    It is, however, necessary for you to establish that you greatly relied upon his representation when you entered into the contract with him. This is in consonance with the ruling of the Supreme Court, through Justice Jose P. Perez: “x x x Under the above-quoted provision, there are three (3) ways of committing estafa: (1) by using a fictitious name; (2) by falsely pretending to possess power, influence, qualifications, property, credit, agency, business or imaginary transactions; and (3) by means of other similar deceits. To convict for this type of crime, it is essential that the false statement or fraudulent representation constitutes the very cause or the only motive which induces the complainant to part with the thing of value. x x x” (People of the Philippines vs. Rodolfo Gallo,G.R. No. 185277, March 18, 2010).

    We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed 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 dearpao@manilatimes.net


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