Facts: Respondent Cristina Yap and the spouses Cesar and Ava Gardola were charged of Estafa.

That during the month of June 1991, and for sometime subsequent thereto, in the City of Cebu, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused, conniving and confederating together and mutually helping one another, that [sic] accused Cristina Yap of Majesty Pharmacy and spouses Cesar Gordola and Ava Gordola of Paramount Lending Corporation, with deliberate intent, with intent of gain and by means of false pretenses and fraudulent acts executed prior to or simultaneously with the commission of the fraud, to wit: by falsely pretending to spouses Tomy and Helen Ong and convincing them to invest with Paramount Lending Corporation as the prospect of the returns in terms of interest is bright and higher if compared to the interest rates given by the other banks and that further assuring the said spouses that the money invested will be returned plus interest and inducing the said spouses to entrust to the herein accused the total sum of P7,000,000.00, when in truth and in fact, as the accused very well knew they had no intention of investing the said sum of P7,000,000.00 owned by the herein spouses and that such scheme and other similar deceit were employed merely to obtain possession of the aforesaid sum of money, thereby misappropriating, misapplying and converting to their own personal use and benefit the same and have absconded or run away with the said sum of P7,000,000.00, thus to the damage and prejudice of the said spouses Tomy Ong and Helen Ong in the amount aforestated.

Tommy Ong testified that when they filed the first case against the Gordolas, they were made to believe that Yap had nothing to do with their loss of investment. But when they talked with some people, they were finally convinced that it was the handiwork of Yap that actually caused their loss. They reprimanded Yap, but she denied it, so their last resort was to go to court.[11]

On cross-examination, Tommy Ong testified that it was sometime in September 1991 that Yap introduced him to the Gordolas. He and his wife, along with Yap, went to the house of the Gordolas where they first met Ava Gordola. They met a few occasions before they invested with Paramount Lending Investors, but no friendship was established.[12]

However, Ong subsequently admitted that he testified in Civil Case No. 71128, the case which he filed earlier against the Gordolas, that he met the Gordolas on many occasions, that they (Ongs) were shown the Gordolas big house and different businesses so that they (Ongs) decided to let the Gordolas borrow money.[13]

The prosecution presented, among others, 12 bouncing checks totaling P7,000,000, which amount represents the business investment of the Ongs.[15]

After the prosecution presented its evidence, respondent Yap filed a demurrer to the evidence on the ground of insufficiency of evidence.

The trial court granted the demurrer to evidence. Petitioners appealed the trial courts Order however Respondent Yap opposed the appeal on the ground that said Order granting the demurrer to the evidence amounts to an acquittal; therefore, an appeal is legally barred as it would place her in double jeopardy. Hence this petition

Issue: W/N THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED A GRAVE AND REVERSIBLE ERROR IN NOT FINDING THAT PREPONDERANCE OF EVIDENCE EXISTS TO HOLD THE PRIVATE RESPONDENT CIVILLY LIABLE FOR THE CRIME CHARGED

Held: Section 1, Rule 133 of the Rules of Court provides:

SECTION 1. Preponderance of evidence, how determined. — In civil cases, the party having the burden of proof must establish his case by a preponderance of evidence. In determining where the preponderance or superior weight of evidence on the issues involved lies, the court may consider all the facts and circumstances of the case, the witnesses manner of testifying, their intelligence, their means and opportunity of knowing the facts to which they are testifying, the nature of the facts to which they testify, the probability or improbability of their testimony, their interest or want of interest, and also their personal credibility so far as the same may legitimately appear upon the trial. The court may also consider the number of witnesses, though the preponderance is not necessarily with the greater number.

Preponderance of evidence is the weight, credit, and value of the aggregate evidence on either side and is usually considered to be synonymous with the term greater weight of the evidence or greater weight of the credible evidence.[29] It is evidence which is more convincing to the court as worthy of belief than that which is offered in opposition thereto.[30]

In civil cases, the burden of proof is on the plaintiff to establish his case by preponderance of evidence.[31] Although the evidence adduced by the plaintiff is stronger than that presented by the defendant, a judgment cannot be entered in favor of the former, if his evidence is not sufficient to sustain his cause of action.[32] The plaintiff must rely on the strength of his own evidence and not upon the weakness of the defendants.[33]

Petitioners contend that there is a preponderance of evidence showing that respondent Yap took part in the defraudation scheme against them as it was Yap who, taking advantage of their trust, induced them to invest their money with the Gordolas by her proddings and assurances.

The Court is not persuaded. As the Court of Appeals held:

Tommy Ongs claim that it was Cristina Yap who induced them to lend money to the spouses Gordolas (pages 11-12, TSN of March 18, 1994) is belied by his (Tommy Ongs) own admission that he lent the money to the spouses Gordolas believing that, they are okay, they were going well in their business, also, their house is quite big also and then we were shown the different businesses that they were engaged in, so we decided to let them borrow the money, in short, the spouses Gordola had the capacity to pay. (page 195 of the Record).[34]

WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals, in CA-G.R. CV No. 52194, sustaining the Order of the Regional Trial Court of Cebu City, Branch 10 in Criminal Case No. CBU-31101 holding respondent Cristina Yap not civilly liable to the petitioners, is hereby AFFIRMED. No pronouncement as to costs. SO ORDERED.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s