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I. SHORT TITLE: CHING VS.

SECRETARY OF JUSTICE

II. FULL TITLE: Alfredo Ching vs. The Secretary of Justice, Asst. City Prosecutor Ecilyn
Burgos-Villavert, Judge Eduardo Sudiam, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp., and the
People of the Philippines.

III. TOPIC: Penal Sanctions if Offende is a Corporation

IV. STATEMENT OF FACTS:

Petitioner was the Senior Vice President of Philippine Blooming Mills, Inc. Sometime
in 1980, Philippine Blooming, through petitioner, applied with the Rizal Commercial
Banking Corporation for the issuance of commercial letters of credit to finance its
importation of assorted goods.

The application was approved by the Respondent Bank. Irrevocable letters of credit
were issued subsequently in favor of the petitioner. The goods were purchased and
delivered in trust by Philippine Blooming.

With the provisions of the receipts, petitioner agreed to hold the goods in trust for
the said bank, with authority to sell but not by way of conditional sale, pledge or
otherwise. In case the goods remain unsold for a specific period of time, the goods
were to be returned to respondent bank without any need of demand. When the
trust receipts matured, petitioner failed to return the goods to respondent bank, or to
return their value despite demands.

V. STATEMENT OF THE CASE:

The bank filed a criminal complaint for estafa against petitioner in the Office of the
City Prosecutor of Manila. After the requisite preliminary investigation, the City
Prosecutor found probable cause estafa under Article 315, paragraph 1(b) of the
Revised Penal Code, in relation to Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 115, otherwise
known as the Trust Receipts Law. Thirteen (13) Informations were filed against the
petitioner before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila. The cases were docketed
as Criminal Cases No. 86-42169 to 86-42181, raffled to Branch 31 of said court.

VI. ISSUE:

Whether or not the petitioner, being the Senior Vice President of Philippine
Bloomings and the signatory to the trust receipts, is criminally liable for violation of
PD NO. 115.

VII. RULING:
Yes. If a crime was committed by a corporation or any judicial entity, its directors,
officers or employees responsible for the offense shall be charged and penalized for
such crime. A corporation cannot be arrested and imprisoned.

Though the entrustee is a corporation, nevertheless, the law specifically makes the
officers, employees or other officers or persons responsible for the offense, without
prejudice to the civil liabilities of such corporation and/or board of directors, officers,
or other officials or employees responsible for the offense. The rationale is that such
officers or employees are vested with the authority and responsibility to devise
means necessary to ensure compliance with the law and, if they fail to do so, are held
criminally accountable.

In this case, petitioner was the one who signed the trust receipts in question. He
cannot allege the existence of the separate corporate personality of Philippine
Blooming Mills, Inc. A corporate officer cannot protect himself behind a corporation
where he is the actual and present actor.

VIII. DIPOSITIVE PORTION:

IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the petition is DENIED for lack of merit.
Costs against the petitioner.