Crim Digest Cases

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CASE # 78
Fidel Salamera v. Sandiganbayan
G.R no 121099 February 17, 1999
Pardo, J.:

Facts;
The Sandiganbayan convicted Mayor Fidel Salamera of Casiguran Aurora for the crime of Malversation of Public Property. This was about the Smith & Wesson revolver gun that was mortgaged to him by barangay chairman Antonio Benavidez. The said gun was owned and licensed to Ponciano Benavidez. When the owner demanded the return of his gun the latter cannot produce the item because it was conficted by the police during the checkpoint when Mayor Salamera and his security went to manila. Ponciano Benavidez filed a complaint for theft against the mayor before the sandiganbayan. Issue;

Whether the gun which is owned by a private person converted into a public property when it was entrusted to a public officer. Held;
The supreme court reversed the decision of sandiganbayan  By turning over the gun to Mayor Salamera, the gun did not become public property because it was not intended for public use or purpose nor was it lawfully sized. The gun continued to be private property, that is why the gun owner rightfully asked for its return to him, not to be turned over to the public coffer or treasury. Petitioner's failure to return the gun after demand by the private owner did not constitute a prima facie evidence of malversation. The property was private and the one who demanded its return was a private person, not a person in authority. The presumption of conversion will not apply.

CASE # 79
Luis A. Tabuena v Sandiganbayan
G.R no 103501-03 February 17, 1997
Francisco,J.;

Facts;
President Marcos instructed Luis Tabuena, the General Manager of MIAA, to pay directly to the President’s office and in cash what the MIAA owes the Philippine National Construction Corporation (PNCC) A presidential memorandum was served to Tabuena reiterating such verbal order. Tabuena with the help of Dabao and Peralta caused the release of P 55 Million of MIAA thru three withdrawals (25,25,5) upon delivery of the last withdrawal to Malacanang a receipt was issued thereof

Three criminal cases for Malversation were then filed against Tabuena for intending to defraud the government, take and misappropriate the amount of 25 Million from MIAA funds by applying for the issuance of managers check for said account in the name of accused Luis A Tabuena chargeable against MIAA’s saving account in the PNB extention office at the Manila International Airport in Pasay City, purportedly as partial payment to the PNCC, the mechanics of which said accused Tabuena would personally take care of when both accused well knew that there was no outstanding obligation of MIAA in favor of PNCC . The sandiganbayan held tabuena guilty of having malversed the total amount of P55 Million of MIAA funds.

Petitioner defense good faith in merely complying with the Marcos memorandum which offered him to foreward immediately to the office of the President . P55M in cash as partial payment of MIAA’s obligation to PNCC and that was of the belief that MIAA indeed had liabilities to PNCC. Peralta for his part shared the same belief and so he heeded the request of Tabuena, his superior, for him to help in the release of 5million. Issue;

Whether Tabuena, in following the orders of his superiors was guilty of malversation Held;
Tabuena is merely civilly liable. The very fact that he was merely following the orders of his superior is a justifying circumstance. The Court, based on the evidence presented, found that Tabuena had no other choice but to actually follow the order stated in the Marcos Memorandum, because, as president of the Philippines, indubitably the head of governmental agencies such as the MIAA and PNCC, Marcos is undeniably the superior of Tabuena.

Tabuena entitled to the justifying circumstance of “any person who acts in obedience to an order issued by a superior for some lawful purpose” because he is only acting in good faith, faithfully and efficiently...
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