Pay for what you eat or you’ll be liable for estafa

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Persida Acosta

Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
What case can I file against the persons who, after ordering food and drinks from our eatery, just left without paying when no one from our staff is paying attention to them?
Criselda

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Dear Criselda,
The persons who did not pay for the food and drinks that they ordered from your eatery may be held criminally liable for the crime of estafa defined and penalized under Article 315 (2) of the Revised Penal Code (RPC):

Article 315. Swindling (estafa). – xxx

2. By means of any of the following false pretenses or fraudulent acts executed prior to or simultaneously with the commission of fraud:

xxx

e. By obtaining any food, refreshment or accommodation at a hotel, inn, restaurant, boarding, lodging house or apartment house and the like without paying therefore, with intent to defraud the proprietor or manager thereof, or by obtaining  credit at a hotel, inn, restaurant, boarding house, lodging house or apartment house by the use of any false pretense, or by abandoning or surreptitiously removing any part of his baggage from a hotel, inn, restaurant, boarding house, lodging house, or apartment house after obtaining credit, food, refreshment, or accommodation therein without paying for his food, refreshment, or accommodation. (As amended by Com. Act 157)

The crime of estafa has the following elements: 1) that there must be a false pretense, fraudulent act or fraudulent means; 2) that such pretense, fraudulent act or fraudulent means must be made or executed prior to or simultaneously with the commission of fraud; 3) that the offended party must have relied on the false pretense, fraudulent act or fraudulent means, that is, he was induced to part with his money or property because of the false pretense, fraudulent act or fraudulent means; and 4) that as a result thereof, the offended party suffered damage. The element of fraud or deceit is evident in your case when the persons who dined at your eatery just left without paying. As a result of their deceit, you suffered damage for not being able to get the payment for the items that they ordered. To prosecute them of the crime of estafa, you need to file a complaint before the Office of the City Prosecutor where your eatery is located.

We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts that 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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1 Comment

  1. beth padilla on

    Dear Mam,
    Ako po ay miyembro ng cooperative ng aming kumpanya. Nagresign na po ako kc may mga anomalya. Hindi po maibigay ang naihulog kong pera plus dividend dahil lahat ng pera ay nailabas na nila at hindi nagbabayad ang mga umutang.Paano ko po makukuha ang pera kong pinaghirapan? Pede po kaya ako magsampa ng kaso sa pamunuan