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G.R. No.

L-46370 June 12, 1992

ANTONIO AVECILLA, appellant-petitioner,


vs.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES and HON. COURT OF APPEALS, appellees-respondents.

FACTS: Lourdes de Lacson (Lourdes), an employee of Litton Mills, Inc. (Litton), testified that
her sister residing at the USA, Ma. Paz, sent her a registered letter containing a bank draft worth
$400. Lourdes only knew about this letter through her other sister, Carmencita. Since she did not
know about the letter, Lourdes went to the Post Office to inquire about this.

Apparently, Avecilla, the messenger of Litton and her co-worker, had picked up the letter.

Lourdes then made a call to Ma. Paz requesting her to stop the payment of the bank draft. Ma.
Paz, thru Carmencita, informed Lourdes that a “stop payment” order had already been made to
the drawee bank.

However, a clerk from the Post Office had already released the letter to Avecilla and an
unknown woman posing as Lourdes. The woman who introduced herself as Lourdes had actually
signed the control book. When the real Lourdes arrived at the Post Office, she repudiated the
signature as hers.

Avecilla, in his defense, stated that he only received the letter from the Post Office because he
saw that it bore the signature of Lourdes. After receiving the letter, he had left the same at the
desk of Lourdes after 5:00 in the afternoon since nobody was at the office anymore. He also
presented a Bank Statement stating that he had not benefitted from the amount of $400, as
allegedly contained in the bank draft of the letter.

Lourdes filed a criminal complaint before the RTC. The RTC found Avecilla guilty of simple
theft. Upon appeal before the CA, it convicted Avecilla of qualified theft and increased his
penalties.

ISSUE: WON Avecilla possessed criminal intent.

HELD: A thorough examination of the information reveals that it contains all the essential
elements of the crime of theft, to wit: (1) that there be taking of personal property; (2) that said
property belongs to another; (3) that the taking be done with intent to gain; (4) that the taking be
done without the consent of the owner; and (5) that the taking be accomplished without the use
of violence or intimidation against persons or force upon things.

While the averments against Avecilla are vague, in nonetheless contains all the elements of theft.
Although intent to gain was not explicitly alleged, it may be presumed from the allegation that
the letter had been unlawfully taken.

Avecilla’s defense that he had not benefitted from the said letter by providing a Bank Statement
attesting to the same cannot be given credit because this fact does not change the nature of the
crime because the moment that he gained possession of the thing, the unlawful taking is
complete.

Although proof as to motive for the crime is essential when the evidence of the theft is
circumstantial, the intent to gain or animus lucrandi is the usual motive to be presumed from all
furtive taking of useful property appertaining to another, unless special circumstances reveals
different intent on the part of the perpetrator. As earlier noted, the intent to gain may be
presumed from the proven unlawful taking.

Hence, Avecilla is convicted of qualified theft.