SCRA 370 (1999)

FACTS:

On several occasions petitioner Remedios Nota Sapiera, a sari-sari store owner, purchased from Monrico Mart certain grocery items, mostly cigarettes, and paid for them with checks issued by one Arturo de Guzman. When presented for payment the checks were dishonored because the drawers account was already closed. Private respondent Ramon Sua informed Arturo de Guzman and petitioner about the dishonor but both failed to pay the value of the checks. Hence, four (4) charges of estafa were filed against petitioner.

On 27 December 1989 the court a quo2 acquitted petitioner of all the charges of estafa but did not rule on whether she could be held civilly liable for the checks she indorsed to private respondent. The trial court found Arturo de Guzman guilty of Violation of B.P. Blg. 22 on two (2) counts and sentenced him to suffer imprisonment of six (6) months and one (1) day in each of the cases, and to pay private respondent P167,150.00 as civil indemnity.
She appealed the case however was ordered to pay indemnity despite acquittal.

ISSUE:

Whether respondent Court of Appeals committed reversible error in requiring petitioner to pay civil indemnity to private respondent after the trial court had acquitted her of the criminal charges.

RULING:

Petitioner must pay indemnity.

Based on the above findings of the trial court, the exoneration of petitioner of the charges of estafa was based on the failure of the prosecution to present sufficient evidence showing conspiracy between her and the other accused Arturo de Guzman in defrauding private respondent. However, by her own testimony, petitioner admitted having signed the four (4) checks in question on the reverse side. The evidence of the prosecution shows that petitioner purchased goods from the grocery store of private respondent as shown by the sales invoices issued by private respondent; that these purchases were paid with the four (4) subject checks issued by de Guzman; that petitioner signed the same checks on the reverse side; and when presented for payment, the checks were dishonored by the drawee bank due to the closure of the drawers account; and, petitioner was informed of the dishonor.

*Case digest Claudette Anne G. Sayson, JD-IV, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2019-2020