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law, thereby causing undue injury to the

DUTY TO ACT WITH JUSTICE, HONESTY AND said Leticia G. Fuertes.


GOODFAITH
FIRST DIVISION CONTRARY TO LAW.

Duly arraigned on March 29, 1993, petitioner,


with the assistance of counsel, entered a plea of NOT
[G.R. No. 122166. March 11, 1998] GUILTY.[2] After trial in due course, the
Sandiganbayan[3] rendered the assailed Decision,
disposing as follows:[4]
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby
CRESENTE Y. LLORENTE, JR., petitioner, rendered finding accused Mayor Cresente
vs. SANDIGANBAYAN and LETICIA G. Y. Llorente, Jr. GUILTY beyond reasonable
FUERTES, respondents. doubt as principal of the crime of Violation
of Section 3(e) of Republic Act 3019, as
DECISION amended, and he is hereby sentenced to
suffer imprisonment of SIX (6) YEARS and
PANGANIBAN, J.: ONE (1) MONTH, as minimum to SEVEN
(7) YEARS, as maximum; to further suffer
In a prosecution for violation of Section 3[e] of the perpetual disqualification from public office;
Anti-Graft Law, that is, causing undue injury to any and to pay the costs.
party, the government prosecutors must prove actual Respondent Court denied the subsequent motion
injury to the offended party; speculative or incidental for reconsideration in the assailed Resolution, thus:[5]
injury is not sufficient.
WHEREFORE, accuseds Motion for
Reconsideration and/or New Trial is hereby
DENIED for lack of merit. His Motion for
The Case
Marking of Additional Exhibits Cum Offer of
Documentary Exhibits in Support of Motion
for Reconsideration and/or New Trial is now
Before us is a petition for review of the Decision rendered moot and academic.
promulgated on June 23, 1995 and the Resolution
promulgated on October 12, 1995 of the Hence, this petition.[6]
Sandiganbayan in Criminal Case No. 18343, finding
Cresente Y. Llorente, Jr. guilty as charged.
The Facts
Llorente, then municipal mayor of Sindangan,
Version of the Prosecution
Zamboanga del Norte, was charged with violation of
Sec. 3[e] of Republic Act No. 3019, otherwise known
as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, under an
Information dated October 22, 1992, textually
As found by Respondent Court, the prosecutions
reproduced as follows:[1]
version of the facts of this case is as follows:[7]
That in or about and during the period of
After appreciating all the evidence on both
July, 1990 to October, 1991, or for
sides, the following uncontroverted facts
sometime subsequent thereto, in the
may be gleaned:
Municipality of Sindangan, Province of
Zamboanga del Norte, Philippines, and
within the jurisdiction of this Honorable 1. Accused Mayor Cresente Y. Llorente, Jr., at the
Court, the above-named accused Cresente time the alleged act was committed, was the
Y. Llorente, Jr., a public officer, being then Municipal Mayor of Sindangan, Zamboanga del Norte.
the Mayor of Sindangan, Zamboanga del
Norte, in the exercise of his official and 2. Private [C]omplainant, Leticia C. Fuertes, is the
administrative functions, did then and there, duly appointed Assistant Municipal Treasurer in the
wilfully, unlawfully and criminally with same municipality since October 18, 1985.
evident bad faith refuse to sign and approve
the payrolls and vouchers representing the
3. Starting 1986, private complainant was detailed to
payments of the salaries and other
different offices, as follows:
emoluments of Leticia G. Fuertes, without
just valid cause and without due process of
(a) Municipality of Katipunan, Zamboanga del Norte Treasurer.When she referred the matter to
from April, 1986 to August, 1987 as OIC Municipal the Provincial Auditor, she was advised to
Treasurer. claim her salary for that month with her
mother agency, the Municipality of
(b) Municipality of Roxas, Zamboanga del Norte from Sindangan, [(]p. 12, TSN of August 9, 1994;
September, 1987 to March, 1988 as OIC Municipal 10th paragraph of complainants
Treasurer. Supplemental Affidavit marked Exh. G); (b)
salary differential for the period from July 1,
1989 to April 30, 1990 in the total amount
(c) Office of the Provincial Treasurer of Zamboanga of P19,480.00 under disbursement voucher
del Norte from April, 1988 to May, 1988. dated August, 1990 (Exh. I); (c) 13th month
pay, cash gift and clothing allowance under
(d) Municipality of Pian, Zamboanga del Norte from Supplemental Budget No. 5, CY 1990 in the
June, 1988 to June, 1990 as OIC Municipal total amount of P7,275 per disbursement
Treasurer. voucher dated December 4, 1990 (Exh. J);
(d) vacation leave commutation for the
4. In July, 1990, she was returned to her post as period from October to December 31, 1990
Assistant Municipal Treasurer in the town of in the total amount of P16,356.00 per
Sindangan. disbursement voucher dated December 3,
1990 (Exh. K); (e) RATA for the months of
July, August and September, 1990, January
She was not provided with office table and and February, 1991 in the total amount
chair nor given any assignment; neither her of P5,900.00 (par. 12 & 16 of Exh. E); and
daily time record and application for leave (f) salaries for January and February, 1991
acted upon by the municipal treasurer per in the total amount of P10,904.00 (par. 17 of
instruction of accused Mayor (Exh. G-2; G- Exh. E).
3).
8. Accused Mayor did not file an answer;
5. On July 23, 1990, the Sangguniang instead, he negotiated for an amicable
Bayan of Sindangan, Zamboanga del Norte, settlement of the case (p. 24, TSN of
presided by accused Mayor, passed August 10, 1994). Indeed, a Compromise
Resolution No. SB 214 (Exh. 3), vehemently Agreement (Exh. A) dated August 27, 1991,
objecting to the assignment of complainant between the accused and private
as Assistant Municipal Treasurer of complainant was submitted to and approved
Sindangan. by the court, hereto quoted as follows:
6. On March 12, 1991, accused Municipal
Mayor received a letter (SB Resolution No. COMPROMISE AGREEMENT
36) from the Sangguniang Bayan of the
Municipality of Pian, demanding from the That the parties have agreed, as they hereby agree,
private complainant return of the amount to settle this case amicably on the basis of the
overpaid to her as salaries (par. 9, p. 2 of following terms and conditions, to wit:
Exh. 4 counter-affidavit of accused Mayor).
7. On May 22, 1991, private complainant (a) That the respondent Mayor Cresente Y. Llorente,
filed a Petition for Mandamus with Damages Jr. binds himself to sign and/or approve all vouchers
(Exh. E) against the accused Mayor and the and/or payrolls for unpaid salaries, RATA, Cash-gifts,
Municipality of Sindangan before Branch II, 13th month pay, clothing allowance, salary
Regional Trial Court of Sindangan, differentials and other emoluments which the
Zamboanga del Norte docketed as Special petitioner is entitled is Assistant Municipal Treasurer
Proceedings No. 45, for the alleged of Sindangan, Zamboanga del Norte;
unjustified refusal of Mayor Llorente to sign
and/or approve her payrolls and/or vouchers (b) That the parties herein hereby waive, renounce
representing her salaries and other and relinquish their other claims and counter-claims
emoluments as follows: (a) salary for the against each other;
month of June, 1990 in the amount
of P5,452.00 under disbursement voucher
dated September 5, 1990 (Exh. (c) That the respondent Mayor Cresente Y. Llorente
H). Although complainant rendered services Jr. binds himself to sign and/or approve all
at the municipality of Pian during this period, subsequent vouchers and payrolls of the herein
she could not collect her salary there petitioner.
considering that as of that month, Pian had
already appointed an Assistant Municipal
9. On August 27, 1991, a Decision (Exh. B) was due to her failure to submit the required money
was rendered by Judge Wilfredo and property clearance, and to the Sangguniang
Ochotorena on the basis of the aforesaid Bayans delayed enactment of a supplemental budget
compromise agreement. to cover the claims. He adds that such delays did not
result in undue injury to complainant. In his
10. For his failure to comply with the terms memorandum, petitioner restates the facts as
of the compromise agreement, private follows:[8]
complainant, thru counsel, filed a Motion for
Execution on September 12, 1991. A Writ of 1. Complainant xxx was appointed assistant
Execution (Exh. C) was issued by the Court municipal treasurer of Sindangan,
on September 17, 1991, and served [on] the Zamboanga del Norte on October 18,
accused on September 23, 1991. 1985. However, starting 1986 until July
1990, or for a period of about four (4) and
11. As shown in the Sheriffs Return dated one half (1/2) years, she was detailed in
November 19, 1991 (Exh. D), private other municipalities and in the Office of the
complainant was paid her salaries for the Provincial Treasurer of Zamboanga del
period from January, 1991 to August, 1991, Norte. She returned as assistant treasurer
while the rest of her salaries including the of Sindangan in July 1990. (Decision, pp. 5-
RATA and other emoluments were not paid 6).
considering the alleged need of a
supplemental budget to be enacted by the 2. As complainant had been working in
Sangguniang Bayan of Sindangan per municipallities and offices other than in
verbal allegation of the municipal treasurer. Sindangan for more than four (4) years, her
name was removed from the regular payroll
12. Complainant was not also paid her of Sindangan, and payment of past salaries
salaries from July to December 1990; and other emoluments had to be done by
September and October, 1991; RATA for vouchers. When complainant xxx presented
the period from July 1990 to June 1994 her vouchers to petitioner, the latter
(admission of accused, pp. 8-9, TSN of required her to submit clearances from the
June 27, 1994, a.m.; Exh. E; p. 17, TSN of different offices to which she was detailed,
June 27, 1994). as well as a certificate of last payment as
13. Sometime in 1993, accused municipal required by COA regulations (Tsn, p. 11,
mayor received from the Municipality of Aug. 10, 1994). Instead of submitting the
Pian, Bill No. 93-08 (Exh. 1), demanding required documents, Mrs. Fuertes said that
from the Municipality of Sindangan what I did, I endorsed my voucher to the
settlement of overpayment to complainant mayor through the municipal treasurer (Tsn,
Fuertes in the amount of P50,643.93 per SB p. 13, June 27, 1994). The
Resolution No. 6 sent on July 23, 1990. The municipal treasurer could not, however,
bill was settled by the Municipality of process the vouchers and certify as to the
Sindangan in December, 1993 per availability of funds until after the
Disbursement Voucher No. 101-9312487 Sangguniang Bayan had passed a
dated December 2, 1993 (Exh. 2). supplemental budget for the purpose (Exhs.
D and 6-c Motion), which came only in
14. Private complainant was able to receive December 1992.
complete payment of her claims only on
January 4, 1993 in the form of checks all 3. Petitioner, in the meanwhile, received on
dated December 29, 1992 (as appearing on March 12, 1991 SB Resolution No. 36 from
Exhs. H, I, J, K of the prosecution, Exhs. 6, the Municipality of Pinan, demanding from
7, 8, of the defense) except her RATA which Mrs. xxx Fuertes the reimbursement
was given to her only on July 25, 1994, of P105,915.00, and because of this
covering the period from July 1990 to demand, he needed time to verify the matter
December, 1993 amounting to P55,104.00, before acting on Mrs. Fuertes claims (Exh.
as evidenced by Disbursement Voucher 4). Mrs. Fuertes admitted that she had at
dated July 25, 1994 (Exh. 5). the time problems of accountability with the
Municipality of Pinan.She testified:
Q. Counsel now is asking you, when you went
Version of the Defense back to Sindangan there was [sic] still
problems of the claims either against you or
against the Municipality of Sindangan by the
municipalities had, [sic] in their minds,
While admitting some delays in the payment of
overpaid you?
the complainants claims, petitioner sought to prove the
defense of good faith -- that the withholding of payment
A. Yes, your Honor, that was evidence[d] by the Aug. 10, 1994). The budget officer, Mr.
bill of the Municipality of Pinan to the Narciso Siasico stated as follows:
Municipality of Sindangan. (Tsn, p. 18, Aug.
3, 194). 1. I am the budget officer for the
Municipality of Sindangan,
4. Petitioner also stated that he could not Zamboanga del Norte, a position I
act on complainants claims because she have held since 1981.
had not submitted the required money and
property accountability clearance from xxx xxx xxx
Pinan (Tsn, 11, Aug. 10, 1994) and that at 3. Immediately after said
the time the Sangguniang Bayan had not mandamus case was settled
appropriated funds for the purpose. (Tsn, through a compromise
pp. 18, 30, 42-43, Aug. 10, agreement, Mayor Llorente
1994). Nonetheless, petitioner included Mrs. instructed me to prepare the
Fuertes name in the regular annual budget necessary budget proposals for
beginning 1991 (Exhs. 4-b, 4-d, 4-f), as a the deliberation and approval of
result of which she had been since then the Sangguniang Bayan;
receiving her regular monthly salary.
xxx xxx xxx.
5. On May 21, 1991, Mrs. Fuertes filed a
complaint xxx. Petitioner filed his answer to 8. Instead of waiting for the Sangguniang
the complaint, alleging as a defense, that Bayan to enact the budget or of securing
plaintiff did not exhaust administrative an alias writ of execution to compel the
remedies. (Annex B, p. 3, Petition; Exh. 1- Sangguniang Bayan to pass the same, Mrs.
Motion). On August 27, 1991, the parties Fuertes filed a criminal complaint with the
entered into a compromise agreement, Office of the Ombudsman under date of
which the trial court approved (Exh. B). x x October 28, 1991, admitting receipt of her
x. salaries from January 1991 and saying she
had not been paid her other claims in
6. Upon motion of counsel for Mrs. Fuertes, violation of the compromise judgment. (Exh.
the trial court issued a writ of execution of F). She had thus made the Office of the
the compromise judgment. However, the Ombudsman a collecting agency to compel
writ of execution was addressed only to payment of the judgment obligation.
petitioner; it was not served on the
municipal Sangguniang Bayan. x x x. 9. While the budget proposal had been
prepared and submitted to the Sangguniang
Thus, Mrs. Fuertes had been receiving her Bayan for action, it took time for the
regular salary from January, 1991 because Sangguniang Bayan to pass the
petitioner had included her name in the supplemental budget and for the Provincial
regular budget beginning 1991, which fact Board to approve the same. It was only on
complainant did not dispute. With respect to December 27, 1992 that the municipal
her other claims for past services in other treasurer and the municipal accountant
offices, Municipal Treasurer, Mrs. Narcisa issued a certification of availability of funds
Caber, informed that a supplemental budget for the purpose. Petitioner approved the
for such purpose to be passed by the vouchers immediately, and in a period of
Sangguniang Bayan was necessary before one week, Mrs. Fuertes was paid all claims,
she could be paid thereof. Being the as evidenced by the prosecutions Exhs. H,
municipal treasurer, Mrs. Caber knew that I, J and K, which were the four vouchers of
without such supplemental budget, payment Mrs. Fuertes, xxxx.
of Mrs. Fuertes other claims could not be
made because the law requires that xxx xxx xxx
disbursements shall be made in accordance
with the ordinance authorizing the annual or 11. Petitioner testified that he could not
supplemental appropriations (Sec. 346, RA immediately sign or approve the vouchers of
7160) and that no money shall be disbursed Mrs. Fuertes for the following reasons:
unless xxx the local treasurer certifies to the
a) The Sangguniang Bayan had
availability of funds for the purpose. (Sec.
not appropriated the amounts to
344, RA 7160).
pay Mrs. Fuertes. (Tsn, pp. 18,
7. Petitioner had instructed the municipal 30, 42-43, Aug. 10, 1994).
budget officer to prepare the supplemental
b) Municipal Treasurer Caber, to
budget for payment of complainants unpaid
whom Mrs. Fuertes endorsed her
claims for submission to the Sangguniang
vouchers for processing, and the
[Bayan] for enactment. (Tsn, pp. 32-33,
Municipal Accountant issued the Exh. D, the sheriffs return dated November
certificate of availability of funds 19, 1991, stated that Mrs. Fuertes had
only on December 27, 1992 (Tsn, received her salary from January 1, 1991 up
p. 42, Aug. 10, 1994; Exhs. H, I, J to the present, which meant that even
and K); and the delay in the before the information was filed, she had
issuance of the certificate of been paid her regular salaries from January
availability of funds was due to 1, 1991 to October 1991. The supplemental
the delay by the Provincial Board budget to cover payment of her other claims
to approve the supplemental for past services was passed only in
budget. (Tsn, p. 43, Aug. 10, December 1992 and the municipal treasurer
1994). and accountant issued the certificate of
availability of funds only on December 27,
[c]) He received on March 12, 1992, and Mrs. Fuertes got paid of [sic] all
1991 a demand from the her other claims, including those not
Municipality of Pinan, Zamboanga claimed in the Information, within one week
del Norte, where Mrs. Fuertes last therefrom. (Exhs. H, I, J, and K).
worked, for the reimbursement of
P105,915.00, and the matter had xxx xxx xxx.
to be clarified first. (Exh. 4). Mrs.
Fuertes admitted that she had
some problem of accountability
Ruling of the Sandiganbayan
with the Municipality of Pinan.
(Tsn, p. 18, 1994). It took time
before this matter could be
clarified by the Municipality of Respondent Court held that the delay or
Pinan reducing its claim to withholding of complainants salaries and emoluments
P50,647.093 and the Municipality was unreasonable and caused complainant undue
of Sindangan paying said claim. injury. Being then the sole breadwinner in their family,
(Exh. 2; Decision, p. 9). the withholding of her salaries caused her difficulties in
meeting her familys financial obligations like paying for
[d]) Mrs. Fuertes had not the tuition fees of her four children. Petitioners defense
submitted the required clearance that complainant failed to attach the required money
from the Municipality of Pinan. and property clearance to her vouchers was held to be
(Tsn, p. 11, Aug. 10, 1994). He an afterthought that was brought about, in the first
did not insist on this requirement place, by his own failure to issue any memorandum
after the trial court issued the writ requiring its submission. That the voucher form listed
of execution to implement the the clearance as one of the requirements for its
compromise judgment. (Tsn, p. approval had neither been brought to complainants
23, Aug. 10, 1994). Nonetheless, attention, nor raised by petitioner as defense in his
in the post audit of Mrs. Fuertes answer. In any event, the payment of complainants
accountability, the Commission salary from January to November 1991, confirmed by
on Audit issued a notice of the sheriffs return, showed that the clearance was not
suspension of the amount of an indispensable requirement, because petitioner
P5,452.00 from Mrs. Fuertes for could have acted upon or approved the disbursement
her failure to submit: 1. Clearance even without it. The alleged lack of a supplemental
for money & property budget was also rejected, because it was petitioners
accountability from former office. duty as municipal mayor to prepare and submit the
2. Certification as [sic] last day of executive and supplemental budgets under Sections
service in former office. 3. 318, 320, and 444 (3)(ii) of the Local Government
Certification of last salary Code,[9] and the complainants claims as assistant
received & issued by the municipal treasurer, a permanent position included in
disbursing officer in former office, the plantilla for calendar year 1990 and 1991, were
certified by chief accountant and classified as current operating expenditures for the
verified by resident auditor. (Exh. same calendar years, which were chargeable against
2-Motion). the general funds of the town of Sindangan. Except for
the representation and transportation allowance,
12. The Information dated October 12, 1992
Fuertes claims for thirteenth month pay, cash gift and
filed against petitioner alleged that petitioner
clothing allowance were already covered by
as mayor did not sign and approve the
Supplemental Budget No. 5 for calendar year
vouchers of Mrs. Fuertes for payment of her
1990. Petitioners contention that funds covering
salaries and other emoluments from July 1,
complainants claims were made available only in
1990 to October 1991, which caused her
December 1992 was unbelievable, considering that an
undue injury. However, the prosecutions
ordinance enacting a supplemental budget takes effect
upon its approval or on the date fixed therein under Mrs. Fuertes submitted the clearance from the
Sec. 320 of the Local Government Code. Municipality of Pinan, Zamboanga del Norte?
The Sandiganbayan also ruled that the
petitioners evident bad faith was the direct and Restated, petitioner claims that the prosecution
proximate cause of Fuertes undue failed to establish the elements of undue injury and bad
injury. Complainants salaries and allowances were faith. Additionally, petitioner submits that a violation of
withheld for no valid or justifiable reasons. Such delay Section 3[e] of RA 3019 cannot be committed through
was intended to harass complainant, because nonfeasance.
petitioner wanted to replace her with his political
protege whom he eventually designated as municipal
treasurer, bypassing Fuertes who was next in The Courts Ruling
seniority. Bad faith was further evidenced by
petitioners instructions to the outgoing municipal
treasurer not to give the complaining witness any work
The petition is meritorious. After careful review of
assignment, not to provide her with office table and
the evidence on record and thorough deliberation on
chair, not to act on her daily time record and application
the applicable provision of the Anti-Graft Law, the Court
for leave of absence, instructions which were
agrees with the solicitor generals assessment that the
confirmed in the municipal treasurers certification.
prosecution failed to establish the elements of the
(Exh. G-2).
crime charged.

The Issues
First Issue: Undue Injury

In his memorandum, petitioner submits the


Petitioner was charged with violation of Section
following issues:[10]
3[e] of R.A. 3019, which states:
1. Could accused be held liable under Sec.
SEC. 3. Corrupt practices of public
3(e) of R.A. 3019 in the discharge of his
officers.In addition to acts or omissions of
official administrative duties, a positive act,
public officers already penalized by existing
when what was imputed to him was failing
law, the following shall constitute corrupt
and refusing to sign and/or approve the
practices of any public officer and are
vouchers of Mr[s]. Fuertes on time or by
hereby declared to be unlawful:
inaction on his obligation under the
compromise agreement (ibid., p. 19), a xxx xxx xxx
passive act? Did not the act come under
Sec. 3(f) of R.A. 3019, of [sic] which (e) Causing any undue injury to any party,
accused was not charged with? including the Government, or giving any
private party any unwarranted benefits,
2. Assuming, arguendo, that his failure and advantage or preference in the discharge of
refusal to immediately sign and approve the his official, administrative or judicial
vouchers of Mrs. Fuertes comes [sic] under functions through manifest partiality, evident
Sec. 3(e), the questions are: bad faith or gross inexcusable
negligence. This provision shall apply to
(a) Did not the duty to sign and approve the same officers and employees of offices or
arise only after the Sangguniang Bayan had passed government corporations charged with the
an appropriations ordinance, and not before? In other grant of licenses or permits or other
words, was the non-passage of the appropriation concessions.
ordinance a justifiable reason for not signing the
vouchers? To hold a person liable under this section, the
concurrence of the following elements must be
established beyond reasonable doubt by the
(b) Did Mrs. Fuertes suffer undue injury, as the term is prosecution:
understood in Sec. 3(e), she having been paid all her
claims? (1) that the accused is a public officer or a
private person charged in conspiracy with
the former;
(c) Did petitioner not act in good faith in refusing to
immediately sign the vouchers and implement the (2) that said public officer commits the
compromise agreement until the Sangguniang Bayan prohibited acts during the performance of
had enacted the appropriation ordinance and until his or her official duties or in relation to his
or her public positions;
(3) that he or she causes undue injury to speculative damages which are too remote to be
any party, whether the government or a included in an accurate estimate of the loss or injury.
private party; and
In this case, the complainant testified that her
(4) that the public officer has acted with salary and allowance for the period beginning July
manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross 1990 were withheld, and that her family underwent
inexcusable negligence.[11] financial difficulty which resulted from the delay in the
satisfaction of her claims.[19] As regards her money
The solicitor general, in his claim, payment of her salaries from January 1991 until
manifestation,[12] points out that undue injury requires November 19, 1991 was evidenced by the Sheriffs
proof of actual injury or damage, citing our ruling Return dated November 19, 1991 (Exh. D). She also
in Alejandro vs. People[13] and Jacinto vs. admitted having been issued a check on January 4,
Sandiganbayan.[14] Inasmuch as complainant was 1994 to cover her salary from June 1 to June 30, 1990;
actually paid all her claims, there was thus no undue her salary differential from July 1, 1989 to April 30,
injury established. 1990; her thirteenth-month pay; her cash gift; and her
This point is well-taken. Unlike in actions for torts, clothing allowances. Respondent Court found that all
undue injury in Sec. 3[e] cannot be presumed even her monetary claims were satisfied. After she fully
after a wrong or a violation of a right has been received her monetary claims, there is no longer any
established. Its existence must be proven as one of the basis for compensatory damages or undue injury, there
elements of the crime. In fact, the causing of undue being nothing more to compensate.
injury, or the giving of any unwarranted benefits, Complainants testimony regarding her familys
advantage or preference through manifest partiality, financial stress was inadequate and largely
evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence speculative. Without giving specific details, she made
constitutes the very act punished under this only vague references to the fact that her four children
section. Thus, it is required that the undue injury be were all going to school and that she was the
specified, quantified and proven to the point of moral breadwinner in the family. She, however, did not say
certainty. that she was unable to pay their tuition fees and the
In jurisprudence, undue injury is consistently specific damage brought by such nonpayment. The
interpreted as actual damage. Undue has been fact that the injury to her family was unspecified or
defined as more than necessary, not proper, [or] illegal; unquantified does not satisfy the element of undue
and injury as any wrong or damage done to another, injury, as akin to actual damages. As in civil cases,
either in his person, rights, reputation or property[;] actual damages, if not supported by evidence on
[that is, the] invasion of any legally protected interest of record, cannot be considered.[20]
another. Actual damage, in the context of these Other than the amount of the withheld salaries
definitions, is akin to that in civil law.[15] and allowances which were eventually received, the
In turn, actual or compensatory damages is prosecution failed to specify and to prove any other
defined by Article 2199 of the Civil Code as follows: loss or damage sustained by the
complainant.Respondent Court insists that
Art. 2199. Except as provided by law or by complainant suffered by reason of the long period of
stipulation, one is entitled to an adequate time that her emoluments were withheld.
compensation only for such pecuniary loss
suffered by him as he has duly This inconvenience, however, is not constitutive
proved. Such compensation is referred to as of undue injury. In Jacinto, this Court held that the
actual or compensatory damages. injury suffered by the complaining witness, whose
salary was eventually released and whose position was
Fundamental in the law on damages is that one restored in the plantilla, was negligible; undue injury
injured by a breach of a contract, or by a wrongful or entails damages that are more than necessary or are
negligent act or omission shall have a fair and just excessive, improper or illegal.[21] In Alejandro, the
compensation commensurate to the loss sustained as Court held that the hospital employees were not
a consequence of the defendants act. Actual pecuniary caused undue injury, as they were in fact paid their
compensation is awarded as a general rule, except salaries.[22]
where the circumstances warrant the allowance of
other kinds of damages.[16] Actual damages are
primarily intended to simply make good or replace the Second Issue: No Evident Bad Faith
loss caused by the wrong.[17]
Furthermore, damages must not only be capable
of proof, but must be actually proven with a reasonable In the challenged Decision, Respondent Court
degree of certainty. They cannot be based on flimsy found evident bad faith on the part of the petitioner,
and non-substantial evidence or upon speculation, holding that, without any valid or justifiable reason,
conjecture or guesswork.[18] They cannot include accused withheld the payment of complainants
salaries and other benefits for almost two (2) years, classified as Current Operating Expenditures
demonstrating a clear manifestation of bad faith.[23] It chargeable against the General Fund. It is undisputed
then brushed aside the petitioners defenses that that she was holding her position as Assistant
complainant failed to submit money and property Municipal Treasurer in a permanent capacity (her
clearances for her vouchers, and that an appropriation position was also designated Assistant Department
by the Sangguniang Bayan was required before Head), which was included in the plantilla for calender
complainants vouchers could be approved. It said:[24] years 1990 and 1991 (Exhs. 4-a & '4-b', Motion). In
Program Appropriation and Obligation by Object
Secondly, his reliance on the failure of (Exhs. 4-c & 4-c, Motion), appropriations were made
complainant to submit the clearances which for current operating expenditures to which
were allegedly necessary for the approval of complainants claims properly appertained. xxx. Verily,
vouchers is futile in the light of the foregoing complainants claims were covered by appropriations
circumstances: duly approved by the officials concerned, signifying
xxx xxx xxx that adequate funds were available for the purpose. In
fact, even complainants claims for her 13th month pay,
cash gift and clothing allowance, subject matter of
b. The evidence on record shows that complainants Disbursement Voucher marked Exhibit J which would
salaries for the period from January to November need a supplemental budget was covered by
1991 (included as subject matter in the mandamus Supplemental Budget No. 5 for CY 1990 duly
case) were duly paid, as confirmed in the Sheriffs approved by the authorities concerned as shown in
Return dated November 19, 1991 (Exh. D). This the voucher itself. This means that the said claim was
means that accused, even without the necessary already obligated (funds were already reserved for it)
clearance, could have acted upon or approved as of calendar year 1990. xxxx. It is clear, then, that
complainants disbursement vouchers if he wanted to. as regards availability of funds, there was no obstacle
for the release of all the complainants claims.
c. It may be true that a clearance is an indispensable
requirement before complainant will be paid of her The Court disagrees. Respondent Court cannot
claims, but accused could not just hide behind the shift the blame on the petitioner, when it was the
cloak of the clearance requirement in order to complainant who failed to submit the required
exculpate himself from liability. As the approving clearance. This requirement, which the complainant
officer, it was his duty to direct complainant to submit disregarded, was even printed at the back of the very
the same. Moreover, accused could not just set aside vouchers sought to be approved. As assistant
the obligation he voluntarily imposed upon himself municipal treasurer, she ought to know that this is a
when he entered into a compromise agreement condition for the payment of her claims. This clearance
binding himself to sign complainants vouchers without is required by Article 443 of the Implementing Rules
any qualification as to the clearance and Regulations of the Local Government Code of
requirement. Perforce, he could have seen to it that 1991:
complainant secured the same in order that he could
comply with the said obligation. Art. 443. Property Clearances When an
employee transfers to another government
xxx xxx xxx office, retires, resigns, is dismissed, or is
separated from the service, he shall be
required to secure supplies or property
Fourthly, accuseds contention that the delay in the clearance from the supply officer
release of complainants claim could not be attributed concerned, the provincial or city general
to him because the vouchers were only submitted to services officer concerned, the municipal
him for his signature on December 24-27, 1992; that mayor and the municipal treasurer, or the
the approval of the budget appropriations/resolutions punong barangay and the barangay
depends on the Sangguniang Bayan, Budget Officer treasurer, as the case may be. The local
and the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, is unavailing. chief executive shall prescribe the property
clearance form for this purpose.
As revealed in the alleged newly discovered evidence
themselves, particularly x x x SB Res. No. 202 and For her own failure to submit the required
Appropriation Ordinance No. 035, both dated May 21, clearance, complainant is not entirely blameless for the
1990 (Exh. 5-a- Motion), the Sangguniang Bayan delay in the approval of her claims.
appropriated a budget of P5M in the General Fund for Also, given the lack of corresponding
calendar year 1991 [the Budget Officer does not appropriation ordinance and certification of availability
approve the budget but assists the Municipal Mayor of funds for such purpose, petitioner had the duty not
and the Sangguniang Bayan in the preparation of the to sign the vouchers. As chief executive of the
budget (Sec. 475, Local Government Code of municipality Llorente could not have approved the
1991)]. Complainants claims consisted of her salaries voucher for the payment of complainants salaries
and other benefits for 1990 and 1991 which were under Sec. 344, Local Government Code of
1991.[25] Also, Appropriation Ordinance No. which is quantifiable and demonstrable, results from
020[26] adding a supplemental budget for calendar year the questioned official act or inaction.
1990 was approved on April 10, 1989, or almost a year
before complainant was transferred back to In this case, the prosecution accused petitioner of
Sindangan. Hence, she could not have been included failing or refusing to pay complainants salaries on time,
therein. SB Resolution No. 202 and Appropriation while Respondent Court convicted him of unduly
Ordinance No. 035,[27] which fixed the municipal delaying the payment of complainants claims. As
budget for calendar year 1991, was passed only on already explained, both acts did not, however, legally
May 21, 1990, or almost another year after the transfer result in undue injury or in giving any unwarranted
took effect. The petitioners failure to approve the benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of
complainants vouchers was therefore due to some his official, [or] administrative x x x functions. Thus,
legal obstacles,[28] and not entirely without these acts are not punishable under Sec. 3[e].
reason. Thus, evident bad faith cannot be completely It would appear that petitioners failure or refusal
imputed to him. to act on the complainants vouchers, or the delay in his
acting on them more properly falls under Sec. 3[f]:
Bad faith does not simply connote bad judgment or
negligence; it imputes a dishonest purpose or some (f) Neglecting or refusing, after due demand
moral obliquity and conscious doing of a wrong; a or request, without sufficient justification, to
breach of sworn duty through some motive or intent or act within a reasonable time on any matter
ill will; it partakes of the nature of fraud. (Spiegel v. pending before him for the purpose of
Beacon Participations, 8 NE 2nd Series, 895, 1007). It obtaining, directly or indirectly, from any
contemplates a state of mind affirmatively operating person interested in the matter some
with furtive design or some motive of self interest or ill pecuniary or material benefit or advantage,
will for ulterior purposes (Air France v. Carrascoso, 18 or for purpose of favoring his own interest or
SCRA 155, 166-167). Evident bad faith connotes a giving undue advantage in favor of or
manifest deliberate intent on the part of the accused discriminating against any other interested
to do wrong or cause damage. [29] party.
Here, the neglect or refusal to act within a
In Jacinto, evident bad faith was not appreciated reasonable time is the criminal act, not the causing of
because the actions taken by the accused were not undue injury. Thus, its elements are:
entirely without rhyme or reason; he refused to release
the complainants salary because the latter failed to 1) The offender is a public officer;
submit her daily time record; he refused to approve her
sick-leave application because he found out that she
did not suffer any illness; and he removed her name 2) Said officer has neglected or has refused
from the plantilla because she was moonlighting during to act without sufficient justification after due
office hours. Such actions were measures taken by a demand or request has been made on him;
superior against an erring employee who studiously
3) Reasonable time has elapsed from such
ignored, if not defied, his authority.[30]
demand or request without the public officer
In Alejandro, evident bad faith was ruled out, having acted on the matter pending before
because the accused gave his approval to the him; and
questioned disbursement after relying on the
4) Such failure to so act is for the purpose of
certification of the bookkeeper on the availability of
obtaining, directly or indirectly, from any
funds for such disbursement.[31]
person interested in the matter some
pecuniary or material benefit or advantage
in favor of an interested party, or
Third Issue: Interpretation of Causing discriminating against another.[33]
However, petitioner is not charged with a violation of
Sec. 3[f]. Hence, further disquisition is not
The Court does not completely agree with proper. Neither may this Court convict petitioner under
petitioners assertion that the imputed act does not fall Sec. 3[f] without violating his constitutional right to due
under Sec. 3[e] which, according to him, requires a process.
positive act -- a malfeasance or
misfeasance. Causing means to be the cause or WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby
occasion of, to effect as an agent, to bring into GRANTED. Petitioner is ACQUITTED of violating
existence, to make or to induce, to Section 3[e] of R.A. 3019, as amended. No costs.
compel.[32] Causing is, therefore, not limited to positive
acts only. Even passive acts or inaction may cause SO ORDERED.
undue injury. What is essential is that undue injury,
Davide, Jr. (Chairman), Bellosillo,
Vitug and Quisumbing, JJ., concur.