SC upholds estafa conviction of Emilio Aguinaldo namesake

Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 16 2018 02:48 PM

MANILA - The Supreme Court has upheld the conviction of the namesake and descendant of the late President Emilio Aguinaldo for estafa for defrauding a real estate company in the sale of a property in Tagaytay, a ruling released Friday said.

The high court dismissed the petition of Emilio Aguinaldo IV questioning his conviction after it found “no reversible error” in the decisions of the lower courts.

He was accused of misrepresentation after claiming he had been authorized by his relatives to sell a portion of the Aguinaldo property based on a special power of attorney.

Aguinaldo sold the Tagaytay property to ACROL Holdings, Inc. in 2000 for P1.75 million with an agreement allowing him to repurchase the property within 6 months.

Despite several extensions and an additional P300,000, he was unable to redeem the property.

When ACROL attempted to transfer the title to the property to its name, the administrator of the estate filed a complaint claiming that Aguinaldo had not been authorized to sell the property.

The company also found out that the title given to it was fake.

A Makati regional trial court found Aguinaldo guilty of estafa in 2013, sentencing him to 4 years and 2 months to 20 years imprisonment and the return of P2.05 million. The ruling was upheld by the Court of Appeals.

Aguinaldo eventually paid the amount and ACROL desisted from pursuing the case.

STILL GUILTY OF ESTAFA

Despite ACROL’s desistance, the SC still found Aguinaldo guilty of estafa.

“The petitioner misrepresented and falsely represented that he has lawful authority or power to deal with the subject property,” the Court said.

“The petitioner presented several SPAs allegedly executed by his co-heirs and pretended to possess the authentic and genuine TCT No. T-15632. Such false pretenses or fraudulent misrepresentations induced ACROL to part with its money. As a result, ACROL suffered damages because the purported sale did not materialize and the amounts of money it paid were never recovered,” it added.

The Court disregarded Aguinaldo’s payment of the entire amount he obtained from ACROL, saying criminal liability for estafa is not affected by a compromise agreement or belated payment of the money swindled.

“A compromise or settlement entered into by the parties after the commission of the crime will not and does not extinguish petitioner’s liability for estafa,” read the ruling.

“Therefore, the parties entering into an agreement with the private complainant expressing its unwillingness to participate in further proceedings after it receives monetary retribution, does not remove from the State the imprimatur of imposing the proper penalty for the commission of the said offense,” it concluded.