2014 Case Digest: People v. Cahilig



G.R. No. 199208               July 30, 2014



TOPIC: Qualified Theft



                Cahilig worked as cashier at Wyeth Philippines Employees Savings and Loan Association, Inc. (WPESLAI). She was tasked with handling, managing, receiving, and disbursing the funds of the WPESLAI.

                It was discovered that from 31 May 2000 to 31 July 2001, Cahilig made withdrawals from the funds ofWPESLAI and appropriated the same for her personal benefit. Cahilig would prepare disbursement vouchers, to be approved by the WPESLAI president and Board of Directors, in order to withdraw funds from one of WPESLAI’s bank accounts then transfer these funds to its other bank account. The withdrawal was done by means of a check payable to Cahilig, in her capacity as WPESLAI cashier. This procedure for transferringfunds from one bank account to another was said to be standard practice at WPESLAI. However, Cahilig did not actually transfer the funds. Instead, she made it appear in her personal WPESLAI ledger that a deposit was made into her account and then she would fill out a withdrawal slip to simulate a withdrawal of said amount from her capital contribution.


                Whether or not Cahilig was guilty of qualified theft.



                YES. The elements of Qualified Theft, committed with grave abuse of confidence, are as follows:

  1. Taking of personal property;
  2. That the said property belongs to another;
  3. That the said taking be done with intent to gain;
  4. That it be done without the owner’s consent;
  5. That it be accomplished without the use of violence or intimidation against persons, nor of force upon things;
  6. That it be done with grave abuse of confidence.

                All the elements are present in this case.

                Cahilig took money from WPESLAI and its depositors by taking advantage of her position. Her intent to gain is clear in the use of a carefully planned and deliberately executed scheme to commit the theft.

Grave abuse of confidence, defined

                Grave abuse of confidence, as an element of Qualified Theft, “must be the result of the relation by reason of dependence, guardianship, or vigilance, between the appellant and the offended party that might create a high degree of confidence between them which the appellant abused.”

                Cahilig’s position was one reposed with trust and confidence, considering that it involves “handling, managing, receiving, and disbursing” money from WPESLAI’s depositors and other funds of the association. Cahilig’s responsibilities as WPESLAI cashier required prudence and vigilance over the money entrusted into her care.

                However, instead of executing her duties, she deliberately misled the board of directors into authorizing disbursements for money that eventually ended up in her personal account, a fact that Cahilig did not deny.

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