Gabionza v. Court of Appeals

G.R. No. 161057, 12 September 2008

FACTS:

Petitioners Betty Go Gabionza (Gabionza) and Isabelita Tan (Tan) filed their respective Complaints-affidavit1 charging private respondents Luke Roxas (Roxas) and Evelyn Nolasco (Nolasco) with several criminal acts. Roxas was the president of ASB Holdings, Inc. (ASBHI) while Nolasco was the senior vice president and treasurer of the same corporation.

Both petitioners had previously placed monetary investment with the Bank of Southeast Asia (BSA). They alleged that between 1996 and 1997, they were convinced by the officers of ASBHI to lend or deposit money with the corporation. They and other investors were urged to lend, invest or deposit money with ASBHI, and in return they would receive checks from ASBHI for the amount so lent, invested or deposited. At first, they were issued receipts reflecting the name “ASB Realty Development” which they were told was the same entity as BSA or was connected therewith, but beginning in March 1998, the receipts were issued in the name of ASBHI. They claimed that they were told that ASBHI was exactly the same institution that they had previously dealt with.

In the first quarter of 2000, DBS Bank started to refuse to pay for the checks purportedly by virtue of “stop payment” orders from ASBHI. In May of 2000, ASBHI filed a petition for rehabilitation and receivership with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and it was able to obtain an order enjoining it from paying its outstanding liabilities. This series of events led to the filing of the complaints by petitioners. The complaints were for estafa under Article 315(2)(a) and (2)(d) of the Revised Penal Code, estafa under Presidential Decree No. 1689, violation of the Revised Securities Act and violation of the General Banking Act.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the charges against the corporation can also be pinned against Roxas and Nolasco.

RULING:

Yes. The false representations made by the ASB agents who dealt with the complainant-petitioners and who inveigled them into investing their funds in ASB are properly imputable to respondents Roxas and Nolasco, because they, as ASB’s president and senior vice president/treasurer, respectively, respectively, in charge of its operations, directed its agents to make the false representations to the public, including the complainant-petitioners, in order to convince them to invest their moneys in ASB. It is difficult to make a different conclusion, judging from the fact that respondents Roxas and Nolasco authorized and accepted for ASB the fraud-induced loans.

*Case Digest by Catherine C. Velasco, LLB-IV, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2019-2020

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