Personal Property and Theft (RPC)

Laurel v. Abrogar

“Personal property” under the Revised Penal Code must be considered in tandem with the word “take” in the law.

The statutory definition of “taking” and movable property indicates that, clearly, not all personal properties may be the proper subjects of theft. The general rule is that only movable properties which have physical or material existence and susceptible of occupation by another are proper objects of theft.

According to Cuello Callon, in the context of the Penal Code, only those movable properties which can be taken and carried from the place they are found are proper subjects of theft. Intangible properties such as rights and ideas are not subject to theft because the same cannot be “taken” from the place it is found and is occupied or appropriated.

Such rights or interests are intangible and cannot be “taken” by another x x x The following rights or interests are intangible and cannot be “taken” by another: Right to produce oil, good will or an interest in business, or the right to engage in business, credit or franchise.

Movable properties with physical and material existence and may be taken by another; hence, proper subjects of theft:

  • Goods
  • Wares
  • Merchandise
  • Plastic Credit Card

When is theft consummated? When offender unlawfully takes possession of personal property even for a short time; or he has obtained complete and absolute possession. It is not necessary that he actually carried it away or made his escape with it. (People v. Salvilla)

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