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Asejo vs. People, G.R. No.

Facts: Private complainant Castro testified that the Asejo spouses, respondents in
this case, borrowed money from them in order to present to the bank to show the
latters liquidity. This was evidenced by an undertaking signed by the spouses and
witnessed by a certain Albert Bato. However, the respondents were not able to
return the money on the agreed date.
The respondents, on the other hand, contend that the money (100,000.00) allegedly
borrowed was a down payment of the agreed sale of their land to the private
complainants which was later on cancelled by the parties. The respondents were not
able to return the down payment in full since they were in a financial difficulty.
Because of this, she was allegedly forced to execute the deed of undertaking and to
push through with the sale of the land at a lower amount. The sale did not
materialize since the land was foreclosed which led the private complainants to file
a case of Estafa against them. Only the wife was on trial since the husband was in
hiding. RTC convicted the accused. CA affirmed, hence this petition. Asejo contends
that formal demand was not made by the private complainants.
Issue: Whether formal demand is required to hold petitioner liable for estafa under
art. 315 1(b).
Ruling: SC convicting the respondent for estafa, appreciated the evidence of the
prosecution. The court ruled that the elements of estafa (abuse of confidence) is
present in the case at bar. The elements of estafa with abuse of confidence under
Art. 315 1(b) are:
1. That the money, goods or other personal property be received by the offender in
trust, or on commission, or for administration, or under any other obligation
involving the duty to make delivery of, or to return, the same
2. That there be misappropriation or conversion of such money or property by the
offender, or denial on his part of such receipt
3. That such misappropriation or conversion or denial is to the prejudice of another
4. That there is a demand made by the offended party to the offender.
In the case at bar, the amount received by respondent was for the sole purpose of
using it as show money to the bank. She did not acquire the right to dispose of it.
The law does not require a demand as a condition precedent to the existence of the
crime of embezzlement. An query is tantamount to a demand. And demand may be
made in any form since the law did not distinguish whether demand should be
formal or written.

[Note: In a trust agreement, the transfer of the property to the trustee is mere
physical possession and not juridical possession. Unlike in a contract of loan where
the debtor acquires juridical possession and is technically the owner of the amount,
in a trust, the obligation of the trustee is fiduciary in nature, i.e. to take care of the
thing strictly for the benefit of the trustee in accordance with the purpose of the
express trust.]