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[PEOPLE v. FIDEL FORTUNO](https://lawyerly.ph/juris/view/c29f4?user=fbGU2WFpmaitMVEVGZ2lBVW5xZ2RVdz09)
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[ GR No. 48458, Nov 07, 1941 ]

PEOPLE v. FIDEL FORTUNO +

DECISION

G.R. No. 48458

[ G.R. No. 48458, November 07, 1941 ]

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE, VS. FIDEL FORTUNO, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.

D E C I S I O N

MORAN, J.:

Defendant Fidel Fortuno rented from "El Hogar Filipino" a room in the Crystal Arcade; and the rental having become due, he issued in favor of the latter a check for P60 drawn against the Bank of the Commonwealth.  This check was, upon presentation to the bank for payment, dishonored for lack of funds.  An information for estafa was presented against  the  defendant  in  the municipal  court of Manila where,  upon a plea of guilty, he was  sentenced to  two months and one day of arresto mayor and to pay an indemnity  of P60 with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency.  Defendant appealed to  the Court of First Instance where, after entering a plea of not guilty and thereafter substituting the same with the plea  of guilty, he was  sentenced to the same penalty imposed by the municipal court.  Defendant  interposed the present appeal from this mcfement

The issuance of a check with knowledge on the part of the drawer that he has no funds to cover its amount and without  informing the payee  of  such circumstance, does  not constitute the crime of estafa if the  check was intended as payment of a pre-existing obligation, as in the instant case. The reason for this rule is that deceit, to constitute estafa, should be the efficient cause of the defraudation and as such should either be prior to, or simultaneous with, the act of fraud.  (Cf. People vs. Lilius, 59 Phil., 339,  342; People vs. Quesada, 60 Phil., 515 520.)

Defendant's plea of guilty  is of no moment.  Such plea constitutes  a mere admission  of the material allegations of the information but not that the facts thus alleged constitute an offense.

Judgment is reversed and the defendant is hereby acquitted with costs de oficio.


Abad Santos, Diaz,  Horrilleno, and Ozaeta, JJ., concur.

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