THE Quezon City Regional Trial Court has sentenced a former finance officer of the QC Police District to a total of 30 years of imprisonment for duping eight other police officers into investing their money in a non-existing investment business.
Judge Editha Mina-Aguba of QCRTC Branch 100 found the accused, Police Officer 3 (PO3) Honorio Negrito guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of eight counts of estafa through deceit under Article 325 para (2)(a) of the Revised Penal Code.
The case stemmed from the complaints of Lito Soriano, Elias Mier, Rodolfo Florencio, Ricardo Gonzales John Ross dela Cruz, Roseller Gamayon, Jeremias Alligayu and Valentin Santos, all members of the QCPD.
Court records showed that Soriano invested the amount of P300,000; Mier, P900,000; Florencio, 1,950,000; Gonzales, 1,515,000; dela Cruz, 2,550,000; Gamayon, 2,970,000; Aliggayu, P3,050,000 and Santos, P5,350,000.
The complainants claimed that Negrito convinced them to invest in his “paluwagan” business in which his partner are his wife and three others.
The accused promised the complainants that their money would earn from 5.5 per cent to 7.5% interest monthly.
The complainants added that part of Negrito’s scheme was his representation that the offer to invest was limited only to certain members of the uniform.
But the complainants later learned that he invited all police officers to invest in his business.
They said that while initially accused was able to religiously give the agreed interest eventually he started to be remiss in giving the promised interest.
The complainants said that because they were earning high interest, they did not withdraw the principal amount they invested.
However, the accused ceased to pay the interest and even the principal amounts they invested were never returned to the complainants despite repeated demands.
In his defense Negrito denied the allegations claiming that the amounts in question were actually loans.
The accused alleged during cross-examination that for the period covering his transactions with the complainants, while he and his wife were financially unstable, he resorted to borrowing 67 times from the complainants for the expenses of his family and those of police officers who needed operations.
But in her decision, Judge Aguba explained that the execution of the acknowledgement receipts in such terms as to evade the word “investment” is a ruse by the accused to avoid his future criminal liability.
The court stressed that such scheme could not conceal what was the real and true agreement and transaction of the parties, much less serve to exonerate him from his evident liability.
“It is emphasized that accused never denied having transacted with the complainants. He only wanted though to impress that he received the money as loan. Also, the execution of the promissory notes which were the basis of the claimed novation, should not excuse him from the case,” the decision stated.
Meanwhile, the court said that the actual damages that the accused should pay are subject to interest of 6% per annum from the date of finality of the decision until fully paid.