Other deceits – refers to the crime of deceit other than those in the Articles 315 to 317 of the RPC.
Art. 318. Other deceits. – The penalty of arresto mayor and a fine of not less than the amount of the damage caused and not more than twice such amount shall be imposed upon any person who shall defraud or damage another by any other deceit not mentioned in the preceding articles of this Chapter.
Any person who, for profit or gain, shall interpret dreams, make forecasts, tell fortunes, or take advantage of the credulity of the public in any other similar manner, shall suffer the penalty of arresto mayor or a fine not exceeding Forty thousand pesos (₱40,000). (As amended by R.A. 10951)
(Revised Penal Code)
The following is the mode of committing the offense:
1) By committing false pretense, fraudulent act, or pretense other than those in the Articles 315 to 317 of the RPC.
Elements of the crime other deceits:
1) False pretense, fraudulent act, or pretense other than those in the preceding articles;
2) Such false pretense, fraudulent act, or pretense must be made or executed prior to or simultaneously with the commission of the fraud; and
3) As a result, the offended party suffered damage or prejudice. (Marcos v. People, G.R. No. 252839, November 10, 2021, Per Carandang, J.)
For the 1st element, the offender commits false pretense, fraudulent act, or pretense other than those in the Articles 315 to 317 of the RPC.
[Article 318 includes any kind of conceivable deceit other than those enumerated in Articles 315 to 317 of the RPC. It is intended as the catchall provision for that purpose with its broad scope and intendment.” (Marcos v. People , supra.)
[F]alse pretense is an intentional false statement concerning a material matter of fact. False pretense may be established by conduct and acts, as well as by words, written or spoken. (Marcos v. People , supra.)
Fraud, in its general sense, is deemed to comprise anything calculated to deceive, including all acts, omissions, and concealment involving a breach of legal or equitable duty, trust, or confidence justly reposed, resulting in damage to another, or by which an undue and unconscientious advantage is taken of another. It is a generic term embracing all multifarious means which human ingenuity can device, and which are resorted to by one individual to secure an advantage over another by false suggestions or by suppression of truth and includes all surprise, trick, cunning, dissembling and any unfair way by which another is cheated. On the other hand, deceit is the false representation of a matter of fact whether by words or conduct, by false or misleading allegations, or by concealment of that which should have been disclosed which deceives or is intended to deceive another so that [they] shall act upon it to [their] legal injury. (People v. Balasa, G.R. Nos. 106357, 108601-02, September 3, 1998, Per Romero, J.)
[F]or concealment to be fraudulent, the purpose or design of which is to hide facts the other party sought to know. “Failure to reveal a fact [that] the seller is, in good faith, bound to disclose may generally be classified as a deceptive act due to its inherent capacity to deceive. Suppression of a material fact [that] a party is bound, in good faith, to disclose is equivalent to a false representation.” (Marcos v. People , supra.)
In Guinhawa v. People (Guinhawa), the Court had the occasion to illustrate what constitutes fraudulent concealment punishable as Other Deceits under Article 318(1) of the RPC. In the said case, Guinhawa was a dealer of brand new cars in Naga City. He purchased a brand new L-300 van from the Union Motors Corporation in Manila to be resold in his office and display room in Naga City. However, on the way to Naga City, the van met an accident that caused it to be repaired for damages. Nevertheless, Guinhawa displayed the van in its show room, making it appear to the public that it was brand new. When complainants bought the van, Guinhawa never revealed that the same was defective. The complainants, within a few days after the sale of the van, soon discovered its defects. The Court held that Guinhawa’s deliberate concealment of the van’s defects is fraudulent because as the seller, he had the duty to disclose materials facts, such as the real condition of the van. (Marcos v. People , supra., citing Guinhawa v. People, G.R. No. 162822, August 25, 2005, Per Callejo, Sr., J.)
It is essential that such false statement or fraudulent representation constitutes the very cause or the only motive for the complainants to part with [their] money. (Marcos v. People , supra.)
For the 2nd element, such false pretense, fraudulent act, or pretense must be made or executed prior to or simultaneously with the commission of the fraud.
Marcos v. People, G.R. No. 252839, November 10, 2021, Per Carandang, J.:
• In their affidavits and testimonies before the MeTC and even in their pleadings filed before the Court, [private complainants] harp on the alleged non-disclosure by the L and C Marketing that the housing units sold and turned over to them are “located in a water basin that was previously intended for agricultural irrigation” causing floods even during light rains. The [private complainants] likewise fault L and C Marketing for concealment of the defects and poor development of Ireneville IV Subdivision.46
• However, as pointed out by Consolacion, Ireneville IV Subdivision is surrounded by many other subdivisions in the same area. If it was indeed a catch basin, the local government unit of Biñan, Laguna, as well as the other regulatory agencies, such as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the HLURB, should not have granted the conversion of the land from agricultural to residential and would have denied the license to develop the area into a subdivision.
• The failure of a developer to provide and maintain subdivision roads, drainage, proper water and lighting systems, and other basic necessities is subject to the penal provisions of P.D. No. 957. In fact, as claimed by the private respondent themselves, the developer of Ireneville IV Subdivision, Molera Realty, was previously convicted of violation of the provisions of P.D. No. 957. Hence, any incomplete development of Ireneville IV Subdivision is properly covered by the penal provisions of P.D. No. 957 and not the crime of Other Deceits as in this case.
• Moreover, [private complainants] admitted that L and C Marketing brought them to Ireneville IV Subdivision for a tripping, before they decided to part with their money and to purchase house and lots from the former. [Private complainants] claimed that during the tripping, L and C Marketing brought them to the better part of the subdivision presumably to entice them to purchase the house and lots. [Private complainants] wanted this Court to believe that they never knew of the terrible condition of the subdivision, as L and C Marketing and Consolacion concealed this to them. However, one of the [private complainants] himself, Miravalles, stated in his affidavit, that:
x x x x
6. Itinakda ang aming tripping makalipas ang ilang araw at dinala kami sa lugar kung saan doon kami ipagtatayo ng bahay;
7. Una ko palang nakita ang lugar ay marami na akong nakitang depekto tulad ng (a) hindi sementado and kalsada, (b) walang gutter, (c) walang riprap ang creek, (d) walang secondary live wire and Meraldo at walang centralized water system.
x x x x
• The sworn statement of Miravalles contradicts the claim of [private complainants] that they were made to believe that the subdivision is in good condition. The only logical conclusion from this is that, [private complainants] decided to purchase the house and lots from L and C Marketing despite the condition of the subdivision that they themselves visited prior to the purchase of the said housing units. [Private complainants] cannot likewise rely on the previous case for violation of P.D. No. 957 committed by the former developer of the subdivision to bolster their argument of fraudulent concealment. The violations of P.D. No. 957 only confirmed what Miravalles saw during the tripping that Molera Realty failed to provide the required facilities in the subdivision.
• In this case, [private complainants] went to Ireneville IV Subdivision and personally saw the condition of the subdivision. To repeat, Consolacion did not represent that Ireneville IV Subdivision is in good condition. In fact, when [private complainants] visited the subdivision, they already noticed the defects during their tripping. This should have signaled [private complainants] to conduct their own due diligence and investigate further to safeguard their interests. The failure of [private complainants] to exercise such care and attention to their ordinary affairs will not give rise to the crime of Other Deceits against Consolacion.
For the 3rd element, as a result of the fraud, the offended party suffered damage or prejudice.
Due to the fraud committed by the offender, the offender party suffers or experience damage or prejudice. Usually, this is in the form of monetary damages. However, the words “damage” or “prejudice” is broad enough to include non-monetary form of damage, such as reputational harm or similar thereto.
/Updated: November 21, 2023