Fencing is “the act of any person who, with intent to gain for himself or another, shall buy, receive, possess, keep, acquire, conceal, sell or dispose of, or shall buy and sell, or in any other manner deal in any article, item, object, or anything of value which he knows, or should be known to him, to have been derived from the proceeds of the crime of robbery or theft.” (Sec. 2, par. a)
The crime of fencing is applies only to proceeds of theft or robbery.
- Robbery or theft has been committed;
- Accused is not a principal or accomplice in the commission of robbery or theft, buys, receives, possesses, acquires, conceals, sells, or disposes or buys and sells, or in any other manner deals in any article, item, object, or anything of value, which has been derived from the proceeds of the said crime;
- Accused knows or should have known that the said article, item, object, or anything of value has been derived from the proceeds of the crime of robbery or theft; and
- Accused has an intent to gain for himself or for another.
The offender may be prosecuted at the place where he took hold of the property and not at the place of the commission of the theft or robbery.
Fencing may be a crime involving moral turpitude depending on the actual knowledge of the fence of the fact that property received is stolen. It displays the same degree of malicious deprivation of one’s rightful property which animated the robbery or theft, which are by their very nature are crimes of moral turpitude.
Based on Sec. 5, the law does dot require proof of purchase of the stolen articles, as mere possession thereof is enough to give rise to a presumption of fencing.
The offense is covered by the Indeterminate Sentence Law which should be computed on the basis of the rules for felonies under the Revised Penal Code and its system of penalties.
Civil indemnity is authorized under Sec. 3 par. a of the law which includes the accessory penalty pertaining thereto vis-a-vis Art. 104 of the RPC. Such civil liability includes the restitution of the thing or the reparation of the damage caused plus indemnification for consequential damages.
Source: Notes and Cases on Special Penal Laws by Leonor D. Boado (2007)