BY JOEL CALMBA ESCOL, Managing Editor
THE COURT OF APPEALS (CA) has ordered an online seller from Pangasinan to return the amount of Php63,000 to a man who was lured into buying two cellular phones online using the Gcash account of the accused.
In CA’s 17-page decision penned down by Associate Justice Fernanda Lampas Peralta issued on December 14, 2022, the appellate court affirmed the decision of the Benguet Regional Trial Court (RTC) dated January 19, 2022, and finding the accused online seller Regina Joy Ballesteros, civilly liable to Mr Frank Lester Amistoso, the case complainant.
IN the said decision, however, the court also found Ballesteros “not guilty on reasonable doubt in estafa charges.
Back in March 2021, the complainant came across a promotional offer to buy iPhones at a very low price. The said promotion was advertised on Facebook by “Cruz Mobile Tech”, it was learned.
Based on the advertisement, Cruz Mobile Tech offered its high-end iPhones at below-market prices.
The offer ignited the victim, Ballesteros, to buy two iPhones at a cheaper price of PHP63,000. During the exchange of messages, the suspect reportedly assured the complainant the units would be delivered as soon as payment is confirmed, as well as after a valid ID is also presented by the buyer at Globe Telecom in SM Baguio City.
Ballesteros was convinced the virtual transaction was legit and then he made payment for the two iPhones in the total amount of Php63,000.00 using Gcash as a mode of payment.
The suspect forwarded a Gcash account registered to Ballesteros in which he made the payment to this said account. Unfortunately, after the payment was completed, Cruz Mobile Tech could not be contacted anymore.
Meanwhile, the police later arrested Ballesteros at said address. A barangay certificate confirmed her booking documents address is the same address she used.
The ruling of the lower court that “There was no moral certainty it was the accused-appellant Ballesteros who committed the fraudulent representations and scheme, as the prosecution has failed to establish the identity of the author of the crime and the identity of the accused, as far as the actual commission of the crime” – was only affirmed by CA.
Ballesteros has also waived her right to present evidence and counter her civil liability, according to the appellate court. She also did not disprove that she owned the said Gcash account that received the payment from the victim Amistoso. She did not disprove that she received the Php 63,000 transferred and paid into her Gcash account. – with PNA report