Ongkingco v. People


Ongkingco v. People

G.R. No. 217787

September 18, 2019


                The RTC and CA convicted Socorro F. Ongkingco and Marie Paz B. Ongkingco for the crime of violating BPP 22. On April 6, 2001, respondent Kasuhiro4 Sugiyama entered into a "Contract Agreement"5 with New Rhia  Car Services, Inc. where petitioner Socorro is the President and Chairperson of the Board of Directors, and petitioner Maria Paz B. Ongkingco is a Board Director. Under the Agreement, Sugiyama would receive a monthly dividend of P90,675.00 for five years in exchange for his investment of P2,200,000.00 in New Rhia Car Services, Inc. To cover Sugiyama' s  monthly dividends, petitioners issued six ( 6) checks. The first three (3) checks, dated September 10, 2011, October 10, 2001 and November 10, 2001, were good checks, but the remaining 3 checks bounced for having been draw against insufficient funds.


                Whether or not petitioners are liable


                Yes. Defined as the failure or neglect for an unreasonable and unexplained length of time to do that which, by exercising due diligence, could or should have been done earlier, !aches is negligence or omission to assert a  right within a  reasonable length of time, warranting a  presumption that the party entitled to assert it  either has abandoned it  or declined to assert it. Laches can be imputed against petitioners, because a considerable length of time had elapsed before they raised the said procedural issue, and reasonable diligence should have prompted them to file a  motion to dismiss or to quash the Information before the trial court. For the first time after almost 13 years after the filing of the Informations against them, petitioners are now before the Court decrying that the prosecutor who filed the Informations against them had no authority to do so. It is  also not amiss to state that had petitioners questioned the authority of Prosecutor II Hirang before the trial court, the defect in the Informations could have been cured before the arraignment of the accused by a  simple motion of the prosecution to amend the Information; the amendment at this stage of the proceedings being a matter of right on the part of the prosecution, or for the court to direct the amendment thereof to show the signature or approval of the city prosecutor in filing the Information. Moreover, Section 4, Rule 117 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure mandates that if the motion to quash is based on the alleged defect of the complaint or Information which can be cured by an amendment, the court shall order that an amendment be made. Either of these two could have been done to address the issue of lack of written authority or approval of the officer who filed the Information.

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