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shall suffer the penalty next lower in degree than that prescribed in said

articles.
EN BANC

[G.R. No. L-16806. December 22, 1961.]

SERGIO DEL ROSARIO, petitioner, vs. THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,


respondent.

"ART. 169. How forgery is committed. The forgery


referred to in this section may be committed by any of the following
means:
1. By giving to a treasury or bank note or any instrument
payable to bearer or to order mentioned therein, the appearance of a
true and genuine document.
2. By erasing, substituting, counterfeiting or altering by any
means the figures, letters, words or signs contained therein."

P. N. Stuart del Rosario for petitioner.


Solicitor General for respondent.

DECISION

CONCEPCION, J p:
Accused of counterfeiting Philippine treasury notes, Sergio del Rosario, Alfonso Araneta
and Benedicto del Pilar were convicted by the Court of First Instance of Davao of illegal possession
of said forged treasury notes and sentenced to an indeterminate penalty ranging from 8 years and
1 day to 10 years and 1 day of prisin mayor, and to pay a fine of P5,000, without subsidiary
imprisonment in case of insolvency, as well as a proportionate part of the costs. On appeal, the
judgment was affirmed by the Court of Appeals, except insofar as the maximum of said
indeterminate penalty which was increased to 10 years, 8 months and 1 day of prisin mayor. The
case is before us on appeal by certiorari taken by Sergio del Rosario.
It appears that, after showing to complainant Apolinario del Rosario the Philippine one-peso bills Exhibits
C, E and G and the Philippine two-peso bill Exhibit H, and inducing him to believe that the same were
counterfeit paper money manufactured by them, although in fact they were genuine treasury notes of
the Philippine Government one of the digits of each of which had been altered and changed, the
aforementioned defendants had succeeded in obtaining P1,700.00 from said complainant, in the City of
Davao, on June 23, 1955, for the avowed purpose of financing the manufacture of more counterfeit
treasury notes of the Philippines. The only question raised in this appeal is whether the possession of
said Exhibits C, E, G and H constitutes a violation of Article 168 of the Revised Penal Code. Appellant
maintains that, being genuine treasury notes of our government, the possession thereof cannot be illegal.
We find no merit in this pretense.
It is not disputed that a portion of the last digit 9 of Serial No. F-79692619 of Exhibit C, had been erased
and changed so as to read 0 and that similar erasures and changes had been made in the penultimate
digit 9 in Serial No. F-79692691 of Exhibit E, in the last digit 6 in Serial No. D-716326 of Exhibit G, and
in the last digit 9 of Serial No. D-716329 of Exhibit H.
Articles 168 and 169 of the Revised Penal Code read:
"ART. 168. Illegal possession and use of false treasury or
bank notes and other instruments of credit. Unless the act be one of
those coming under the provisions of any of the preceding articles, any
person who shall knowingly use or have in his possession, with intent
to use any of the false or falsified instruments referred to in this section,

It is clear from these provisions that the possession of genuine treasury notes of the Philippines any of
"the figures, letters, words or signs contained" in which had been erased and/or altered, with knowledge
of such erasure and alteration, and with the intent to use such notes, as they were used by petitioner
herein and his co-defendants in the manner adverted to above, is punishable under said Article 168, in
relations to Article 166, subdivision (1), of the Revised Penal Code (U.S. vs. Gardner, 3 Phil., 398; U.S.
vs. Solito, 36 Phil., 785).
Being in accordance with the facts and the law, the decision appealed from is, accordingly, affirmed, with
costs against petitioner Sergio del Rosario. It is so ordered.
Bengzon, C.J., Padilla, Bautista Angelo, Labrador, Reyes, J.B.L. Barrera, Dizon, and De Leon, JJ.,
concur.
Paredes, J., took no part.
||| (Del Rosario v. People, G.R. No. L-16806, [December 22, 1961], 113 PHIL 626-628)

EN BANC

[G.R. No. 31012. September 10, 1932.]

"Both the prosecution and the defense produced an abundance of evidence, oral and documentary,
the presentation of which consumed considerable of the court's time
"UNDISPUTED FACTS
"There is no question whatsoever as to the following facts which are not disputed either by the
prosecution or by the defense:

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, plaintiff-appellee, vs. ESTELA


ROMUALDEZ and LUIS MABUNAY, defendants-appellants.

"The accused Estela Romualdez was appointed upon the recommendation of Justice Norberto
Romualdez of the Supreme Court of the Philippine Islands as his secretary on November 1, 1921,
and continued as such until September 15, 1928.

Courtney Whitney, Vicente Nepomuceno and Julio Llorente for appellant Romualdez.

"The accused Luis Mabunay was one of the candidates duly admitted to the bar examinations held
in 1926.

Vicente J. Francisco and Claro M. Recto for appellant Mabunay.

"The clerk of the Supreme Court, Mr. Vicente Albert, who was appointed to that office on July 11,
1912, acts every year as the secretary ex oficio of the examination committee for admission to the
bar.

Attorney-General Jaranilla for appellee.

DECISION

VICKERS, J p:
This is an appeal from the following decision of the Honorable E. P. Revilla, Judge of
the Court of First Instance of Manila:
"Estela Romualdez and Luis Mabunay are charged with the crime of falsification of public and
official documents, committed, according to the information, as follows:
" 'That in or about the month of February, 1927, in the City of Manila, Philippine Islands, the accused
Estela Romualdez, who, by appointment of the Supreme Court of the Philippine Islands, was then
taking part in the discharge of public functions as secretary to the Honorable Norberto Romualdez,
one of the Justices of the Supreme Court, and by reason of said duty had under her care the
compositions and other papers and documents having reference to the examinations for the
admission of candidates to the bar held in the months of August and September, 1926, which were
then kept in the archives of the said court, confabulating with her coaccused, Luis Mabunay, and
acting in common accord with him, who was then one of the candidates who took the said Bar
Examinations, willfully, illegally, and criminally extracted from the said archives of the Supreme
Court certain public and official documents, to wit: the compositions, which were written, prepared
and submitted by the accused, Luis Mabunay, in that examination. Once in possession of the same,
the said accused Estela Romualdez and Luis Mabunay, conspiring together and acting in common
accord, willfully, illegally and criminally erased the grade of fifty-eight (58%) given by the correctors
Alfonso Felix and M. Guevara to the composition in Remedial Law, which was written and prepared
by the accused Luis Mabunay, and in its place wrote sixty-four (64%); and also erased the grade
of sixty-three (63%) given by correctors Jeronimo Samson and Amado del Rosario to the
composition in Civil Law written and prepared by the said Luis Mabunay, and in its place wrote
seventy-three (73%), and by means of these alterations the said accused Estela Romualdez and
Luis Mabunay were able to change the relative merits of those compositions, thereby attributing to
the said correctors, statements and declarations contrary to what they really made, and the
accused Estela Romualdez and Luis Mabunay were able to change the relative merits of those
compositions, thereby attributing to the said correctors, statements and declarations contrary to
what they really made, and the accused Estela Romualdez and Luis Mabunay thus succeeded by
means of the falsifications made by them in the aforesaid public and official documents in making
it appear that Luis Mabunay obtained the general average required by the rules of the Supreme
Court, and in securing the latter's admission to the practice of law, as in fact he was admitted, to
the great prejudice of the public.'
"Upon arraignment the accused pleaded not guilty.

"The Supreme Court of the Philippine Islands designated Justice Norberto Romualdez as chairman
of the examination committee for admission to the bar in the year 1926, and upon recommendation
of Clerk Vicente Albert, he appointed the following as members of the examination committee, with
their respective subjects: Attorney Francisco Ortigas, Civil Law; Judge Vicente Nepomuceno,
Mercantile Law; Attorney Godofredo Reyes, Criminal Law; Judge Jose Abreu, Remedial Law;
Attorney C.A. DeWitt, International Law; Attorney- General Delfin Jaranilla, Political Law; and
Attorney Carlos Ledesma, Legal Ethics.
"Upon recommendation also of clerk of court Mr. Vicente Albert, a committee of correctors was
appointed, composed of the following attorneys: Amado del Rosario, Assistant Director of Civil
Service, and Jeronimo Samson, deputy clerk of the Supreme Court, as correctors in Civil Law;
Rafael Amparo, Secretary of Justice Johnson, and Fulgencio Vega, Secretary of Justice Malcolm,
as correctors in Mercantile Law; Cecilio Apostol, Assistant City Fiscal, and Remo, of the Bureau of
Audits, as correctors in Penal Law; Marciano Guevara, of the Bureau of Audits, and Alfonso Felix,
Assistant City Fiscal, as correctors in Remedial Law; Juan Lantin, of the Executive Bureau, and the
accused Estela Romualdez, as correctors in Political Law; Rufino Luna, of the Executive Bureau,
and Zoilo Castrillo, of the Bureau of Lands, as correctors in International Law; and Anatalio
Maalac, of the Bureau of Lands, and Jeronimo Samson, as correctors in Legal Ethics. On account
of illness, Mr. Remo was substituted by Jeronimo Samson as corrector in Penal Law. All said
correctors were designated by clerk of court Albert with the approval of the chairman of the
examination committee.
"The work of the members of the examination committee was limited to the preparation of the
questions in their respective subjects and of a memorandum or note of the articles, legal provisions
and jurisprudence showing the sources from which the questions were taken. The work of reviewing
and granting the compositions was entrusted to the correctors designated for each subject. Each
corrector was furnished with this note or memorandum, and a set of rules, patterned after those of
the Civil Service, was prepared by corrector Amado del Rosario to guide the correctors in grading
the examination papers.
"The correctors worked separately in reviewing and grading the papers on the subject assigned to
them, noting the grades given to each answer, not on the composition, but in a separate note book,
which were later checked with the grades given by the other corrector in the same subject, for the
purpose of determining the general average to be given to the composition.
"The report of the examination committee on the final result of the bar examination for the year
1926 was submitted, under date of March 2, 1927, to the Supreme Court and was published on the
fifth of said month. In the list of successful candidates (Exhibit C-5) there appeared the name of
candidate Luis Mabunay with a general average of 75%. The grades of Mabunay in each subject,
according to the list Exhibit C-2, which was prepared after the publication of the result of the
examination, are: 73 in Civil Law, 77 in Mercantile Law, 69 in Penal Law, 76 in Political Law, 86 in
International Law, 64 in Remedial Law, 80 in Legal Ethics and Practical Exercises. However, a later
revision of the composition of Luis Mabunay showed that the grades of seventy-three (73) in Civil
Law (Exhibit B-1), and sixty- four (64) in Remedial Law (Exhibit B-2) had been written on the first
page of said compositions after striking out the grades of sixty-three (63) theretofore given to the
composition in Civil Law, Exhibit B-1, and fifty-eight (58) theretofore given to the composition in

Remedial Law, Exhibit B-2. The investigation of this irregularity by the City Fiscal of Manila led to
the filing of the information in this case.
"Admission of the accused Estela Romualdez
"Before the prosecuting attorney had finished presenting his evidence tending to show the identity
of the person who altered the grades appearing on the first pages of the compositions Exhibits B1 and B-2, the accused Estela Romualdez spontaneously and with the conformity of her attorneys
made of record an admission as follows (p. 395, s.n.):
" 'In Exhibit B-1 the words seventy-three and the figures 73% inclosed in parenthesis are in my
regular handwriting, and in Exhibit B-2 the words sixty-four and the figures 64% inclosed in
parenthesis appearing in said composition are also in my regular handwriting.
"Authority of the accused Estela Romualdez to alter or change the grades
"In view of the admission made by the accused Estela Romualdez that she was the person who
wrote on the compositions Exhibits B-1 and B-2 the words and figures alleged to have been
falsified, it now appears that the burden of establishing the authority under which said changes and
alterations were made is on the accused. On this point the evidence for the defense tended to show
that the accused Estela Romualdez, both in her capacity as private secretary of the chairman of
the examination committee and as corrector and at the same time supervisor of the correctors, was
authorized by said chairman to revise the compositions already reviewed by the other correctors
and to change the grades given by them.
"Justice Romualdez, testifying as a witness for the defense, said that he considered the accused
Estela Romualdez and Deputy Clerk Samson as supervisors of the correctors; and explaining the
powers of the former he said (page 721, s.n.):
"'As such supervisor I think there was an occasion when I gave her to understand that in order to
do justice to the compositions, she could review the compositions already graded by the other
correctors; provided, I want to add, that the new revision was done in order to do justice to the
compositions and before the names of the candidates were known.'
"Referring to the alterations made by the accused Estela Romualdez of the grades given by the
corresponding correctors to compositions Exhibits B-1 and B-2, this same witness testified that said
alterations were made within the limits of the powers he had given to said accused (pages 723,
726, s.n.).
"For her part the accused Estela Romualdez, testifying as a witness in her own behalf, said that
the chairman of the examining committee, gave her to understand that she 'was authorized to
correct any composition in any subject' in the bar examinations of the year 1926 and that she had
never corrected any composition after the name of the corresponding candidate was identified
(pages 782, 783, s.n.). She denied having known Luis Mabunay, and said that the first time she
saw him was on the first day of the trial of this case (page 783, s.n.).
"Contention of the Prosecuting Attorney
"The contention of the prosecuting attorney with respect to the accused Estela Romualdez may be
summarized in two following propositions: 1st that Justice Romualdez, as chairman of the
examination committee, did not have authority to delegate to his secretary, the accused Estela
Romualdez, the power to revise compositions in subjects in which she was not a corrector and
which had already been graded by the other correctors, and much less the power to alter or change
the grades given to and written on said compositions; and 2nd that granting that the chairman
of the examination committee had such authority, the accused Estela Romualdez did not exercise
the same in the manner prescribed by said chairman, namely, in order to do justice to the
compositions and on the condition that the manner prescribed by said chairman, namely, in order
to do justice to the compositions and on the condition that the revision and the changes of grades
should be made before the names of the candidates, to whom the compositions belonged, were
known.
"In support of the first proposition, the prosecuting attorney maintains that Justice Romualdez was
appointed by the Supreme Court as chairman of the bar examination committee of the year 1926,
so that he would supervise the examinations in accordance with law and the rules, and that
precisely, in accordance with the rules the chairman can not by himself exercise the individual
powers of the committee, among which were the powers to review, and to change or alter the
grades given to the compositions.

"As to the second proposition, the prosecuting attorney maintains that the evidence adduced by
the prosecution, specially the testimony of the Deputy Clerk Samson, shows that the accused
Estela Romualdez made the changes in the grades given by the correctors to compositions Exhibits
B-1 and B-2, in order to favor the accused Luis Mabunay, to whom she knew said compositions
belonged, thus violating the conditions imposed upon her by the chairman of the examination
committee when she was given said authority.
"As to the accused Luis Mabunay, the prosecuting attorney also maintains that the evidence for the
prosecution shows that he was in connivance with the accused Estela Romualdez in the alteration
by the latter of his grades in Civil Law and Remedial Law for the purpose of raising to 75% the
general average of 72.8 which he had obtained.
"Theory of the Defense
"In reply to the contention of the prosecuting attorney, the defense argues that the power of
supervision given by Justice Romualdez to his secretary, the accused Estela Romualdez, is not
contrary to law, rules or precedents. This assertion is based on the testimony of said Justice that
the appointment of a committee of attorneys in accordance with section 2 of the rules had not been
followed by the Supreme Court for a number of years prior to 1926, and that when said court
designated Justice Romualdez as chairman of the examination committee without designating the
examiners, it left that function to said chairman, and conferred upon him ample powers to do what
in his judgment was most in line with justice and the law, and that no Court of First Instance has
jurisdiction to determine the propriety or illegality of the procedure employed by the chairman of the
examination committee, or of the powers conferred by him upon his secretary, inasmuch as said
chairman was responsible only to the Supreme Court for his acts.
"The defense also claims that the accused Estela Romualdez could not known to whom
compositions Exhibits B-1 and B-2 belonged at the time of making the alteration of the grades
appearing on the first pages thereof, because, according to the testimony of said accused,
corroborated by that of Catalina Pons, who was one of those who helped in the preparation of the
list of candidates Exhibit C-1, the envelopes containing the names and the identification numbers
of the candidates were opened just one day before the publication of the result of the examination,
and that in order to finish this work and to place the names of the candidates on said list, they had
to work continuously from 8 o'clock in the morning until 8 o'clock in the evening on the day prior to
the publication of the result of the examinations.
"Considerations on the evidence and contentions of both parties
"Upon an examination of the testimony of Justice Romualdez, as a witness for the defense, the
court finds that the accused Estela Romualdez, as secretary of the chairman of the examination
committee, and Jeronimo Samson, as deputy clerk of the Supreme Court were considered by said
chairman not only as correctors in the subjects assigned to them but also as supervisors of the
correctors (page 721, s.n.), both of them with equal powers and authority so that neither could
consider himself superior to the other (page 727, s.n.). It appears, however, that while the chairman
of the committee gave his secretary, the accused Estela Romualdez, to understand that she 'was
authorized to revise the compositions already graded by the other correctors provided the new
revisions were made for the purpose of doing justice to the compositions and that the same were
made before the names of the candidates were known' (pages 721, 722, s.n.), he did not do the
same with respect to Deputy Clerk Jeronimo Samson, to whom he said nothing about this matter
(page 768, s. n.). It also appears that the accused Estela Romualdez had never informed the
chairman of the committee about the corrections or alterations made by her in compositions
Exhibits B-1 and B-2; neither did the latter examine said compositions to determine whether or not
their merits justified the changes so made, and he only knew of said changes upon the filing of the
information against his said secretary (page 728, s. n.). For her part, she made no report to the
chairman of the examination committee of any error or injustice committed by any corrector, and
she only told him during the progress of the work of grading the papers that they were being graded
very strictly and that papers that they were being graded very strictly and that 'she feared that some
injustice might be committed' (page 729, s. n.), and for that reason Justice Romualdez told his
secretary, Estela Romualdez, that 'should a case of the kind come to her knowledge, she should
take special notice of the same in order to do justice,' that is to say, if any person should bring to
her attention any such case in which, in her opinion, some injustice had been committed, she was
authorized to put things in order (page 781, s. n.) and the revision in such cases was left to the
judgment of his secretary (page 780, s. n.).

"The powers conferred in the manner above stated, by Justice Romualdez as chairman of the
examination committee upon his secretary, Estela Romualdez, gave her so ample a discretionary
power of supervision that in its exercise she could act independently, not only of the correctors and
of her cosupervisor Jeronimo Samson, but also of the examination committee. Now, granting that
Justice Romualdez, as chairman of the committee appointed by the Supreme Court to conduct the
bar examinations of 1926, was authorized to confer such power of supervision upon his secretary
Estela Romualdez, in what manner did she exercise that power then she made the changes in the
compositions in question?
"The accused Estela Romualdez who, according to her own admission, made the alterations of the
grades originally given by the correctors to compositions of Exhibits B-1 and B-2, is the only person
who could give an account of and explain the circumstances under which said alternations were
made. But said accused, testifying as a witness in her own behalf, was not able to explain how and
under what circumstances she made those alterations. When pressed by the fiscal during the
cross-examination to state the circumstances under which she came across those compositions
Exhibits B-1 and B-2 the accused Estela Romualdez said: 'If I were to make any statement with
reference to the circumstances under which I came across these compositions, you would compel
me to tell a lie, because I do not really remember' (page 823, s. n.). Neither does the accused
remember why she did not put her initials under or at the side of those alterations she made on
compositions Exhibits B-1, and B-2, limiting herself to say, when she saw the other compositions
(Exhibits 3-1, X, X-1 and X-2) bearing her initials which were exhibited to her by the fiscal, that she
placed her initials on said compositions because the graded them as corrector, and she did not put
her initials on compositions Exhibits B-1 and B-2 because she revised them in her capacity as
supervisor (pages 824-832, s. n.). She also said that, as corrector, she had instructions to put her
initials when writing the original grade on any compositions, but as supervisor 'she was under no
obligation' to put her initials (page 830, s n.) and that the chairman of the examination committee
'has not gone into such minor details' (page 831, s. n.). Upon being questioned by the fiscal as to
why she wrote the altered grade on composition Exhibit B-2 on the same line and immediately
before the initials of the correctors she said: 'Because on that occasion it pleased me to do so'
(page 836, s. n.). Neither does the accused remember whether or not she exercised her
supervisory authority with respect to the other five compositions forming part of those marked as
Exhibits B-1 and B-2 (page 840, s. n.); and when asked by the fiscal for an explanation as to why
the increase given by her to the grades originally given to said compositions had the effect of raising
the general average of the compositions of the same candidate to 75%, the accused answered that
'the fiscal ought to know that in this life there are happy coincidences' (page 848, s. n.). With these
answers and others appearing in her testimony, the accused instead of giving a satisfactory
explanation of her conduct, has demonstrated that with the encouragement given by Justice
Romualdez to the effect that the new revision of the compositions was left to her discretion (page
780, s. n.) she assumed that the powers exercised by her in the bar examinations of 1926 were
such that she could revise any composition in any subject already graded and increase or decrease
the grades given by the correctors; in other words, that she could, at her pleasure, do or undo the
work done by the correctors without the necessity of accounting to anybody for it (page 834, s. n.),
or of keeping a note or memorandum of the compositions so revised and the alteration of the
grades.
"The evidence, however, shows that Justice Romualdez himself in reviewing, in his capacity as
chairman of the examination committee, the compositions of the candidates who filed motions for
reconsideration of the grades given them, after the publication of the result of the examinations,
performed his work with such diligence and zeal that he noted in a memorandum book (Exhibit F)
not only the grades given to each answer of the candidate, but also the total grade obtained by the
candidate in the revision, together with such other data which would explain the increase of the
grades of this or that candidate.
"The court is loath to believe that Justice Romualdez had given his secretary to understand that
she had such unlimited powers, or that the Supreme Court in designating said Justice as chairman
of the bar examination committee of the year 1926, authorizing him to confer such powers upon
his secretary, because it is an undisputed fact that his designation was made so that he should
conduct the examinations in accordance with law and the rules.
"But, even granting that when the accused Estela Romualdez altered the grades given by the
correctors to compositions Exhibits B- 1 and B-2 she acted in the exercise of the powers conferred
upon her by the chairman of the examination committee, is there any ground in support of her claim
that she made those alterations only to do justice to the compositions, and without knowing the
name of the candidate to whom they belonged?

"Without giving any weight to the testimony of the witness for the prosecution, Juan Villaflor, which,
according to the defense is not worthy of credit because of the contradictions and inconsistencies
therein noted, the record contains other evidence establishing certain facts from which such
knowledge can be inferred.
"It has been proved that after the revision and grading of all the compositions numbering over
8,000, a list, Exhibit C-1, was prepared in pencil. This list was prepared with the intervention of the
said Jeronimo Samson and Josephine Stevens, assisted by Catalina Pons, Juan Villaflor and the
accused Estela Romualdez. However, before the preparation of this list, sometime during the first
day of February, 1927, the sealed envelopes containing the identification numbers attached to each
composition were opened. Said numbers were written either on the upper part of each envelope or
on the first page of the composition, and that work lasted several days (pages 162, 163, s. n.). In
the list Exhibit C-1 the numbers of the candidates contained in the envelopes attached to the
compositions were first written (page 166, s. n.), and then the grades in each subject, followed by
the general average (pages 71, 184, s. n.), leaving in blank the space intended for the names (page
166, s. n.). Deputy Clerk Samson wrote on an adding machine the grades in each composition as
they were read out by one of the helpers, and then the corresponding general average as computed
by him (page 71, s. n.) and, at the same time, Josephine Stevens wrote said grades in the space
corresponding to each subject (page 188, s. n.). The roll of paper used by Deputy Clerk Samson
on the adding machine was presented as Exhibit C-6.
"After the list Exhibit C-1 containing the grades in each subject and the general average of each
candidate, who was theretofore known by his identification number only, was prepared, the
envelopes containing the names corresponding to the identification numbers written on said list
were taken from the safe of the office of the clerk, and the names of the candidates were inserted
in said list by those who assisted in the preparation thereof (pages 166, 167, s. n.) among whom
was the accused Estela Romualdez, who admitted, upon cross-examination, having written many
of the names appearing on several pages of said list (pages 859-861, s. n.). After said list Exhibit
C-1 was prepared the examination committee submitted to the Supreme Court a report
recommending the admission to the bar and not only for those candidates with a general average
of 75% or more, but also of those who had obtained a general average of 70 or more but below
75%, and said automatic increase was ordered noted on said list Exhibit C-1. However, this
recommendation was not approved by the Supreme Court on the ground that said automatic
increase was arbitrary (pages 73, 74, s. n.), and for that reason the clerk of court, Mr. Albert,
instructed his deputy, Mr. Samson, to prepare another list containing only the names of the
candidates who had originally obtained a general average of 75% without having obtained less
than 60% in any subject, and in pursuance thereof the typewritten list Exhibit C-5 was prepared
(page 77, s. n.), which was approved by the Supreme Court and published on March 5, 1927. in
this list Luis Mabunay is included with an average of 75%.
"Eight or ten days after the publication of the result of the examinations the list Exhibit C-2 was
prepared in the same form as Exhibit C-1 taking the grades directly from the compositions; while
one of the helpers read them, Deputy Clerk Samson listed them on the adding machine and
computed the general average of each candidate, The roll of paper used by Deputy Samson on
this occasion was also presented and marked as Exhibit C-7.
"Both rolls, Exhibits C-6 and C-7, as well as the lists Exhibits C-1 and C-2, were kept in the office
of Justice Romualdez and were only taken out when the investigation of the irregularities in the
examinations of 1926 was commenced (page 81, s. n.). And only in the course of that investigation
it was discovered that the grades of candidate Luis Mabunay, identified with number 898 in roll
Exhibit C-6 and in the list Exhibit C-1, which had been prepared simultaneously, did not agree,
because, while roll Exhibit C-6 shows that the grade in Civil Law of candidate No. 898 is 63, the list
Exhibit C-1 shows that the grade of the same candidate is 73; and while roll Exhibit C-6 shows that
the grade of candidate No. 898 was 58 (in Remedial Law), his grade in the list Exhibit C-1 is 64 (in
the same subject), a difference also being noted between the general average of candidate No.
898 in Exhibit C-1 is 64 (in the same subject), a difference also being noted between the general
average of candidate No. 898 in Exhibit C-6, which is 72.8%, and his general average on Exhibit
C-1, which is 75% (pages 73, 74, s. n.). This discovery led to the revision of the compositions of
Luis Mabunay in the examinations of 1926, which were united to his personal record (Exhibit B),
which showed that the grades given to, and written by the respective correctors on the compositions
of said candidate in Civil Law Exhibit B-1 and Remedial Law Exhibit B-2 had been altered, and
further, that the grades that appeared on said compositions before the alterations were identical
with those that appeared on the roll, Exhibit C-6. An ocular inspection of page 29 of said Exhibit C1 shows at first glance that the numbers 73, 64, and 75 in the columns corresponding to Civil Law,

Remedial Law and General Average, respectively, were written after erasing with rubber what was
there originally written. It may also be noted, upon an examination of the alterations appearing on
the first pages of compositions Exhibits B-1 and B-2, that the grades originally written by the
correctors, authenticated by their initials, had been stricken out in such a way that it is difficult to
make out said original grades, leaving, however, intact, the initials of the correctors.
"From these facts it is inferred: First, that the person who erased and altered the grades written by
the correctors on the first pages of compositions Exhibit B-1 and B-2 wished to make it appear that
said alterations had been made by the correctors themselves; second, that said alterations made
by the correctors themselves; second, that said alterations were made after the grades written by
the correctors had been noted on the adding machine in roll Exhibit C- 6 and on the list Exhibit C1 which were prepared simultaneously; third, that after said alterations had been made, and in
order that the grades so altered should agree with the grades already written on the list Exhibit C1, the grades in Civil Law and Remedial Law were erased with rubber, and in place thereof were
written the grades now appearing in said compositions. The accused Estela Romualdez having
admitted that she was the author of such alterations, the only logical inference from her admission
and the facts above set out, is that she was also the person who erased not only the grades
originally written by the correctors on the compositions Exhibit B-1 and B-2 but also those appearing
in the columns corresponding to Civil Law and Remedial Law on the list Exhibit C-1, and the same
person who wrote the grades now appearing in said columns, and which agree with those written
by her on compositions Exhibits B-1 and B-2. Now, if the accused Estela Romualdez erased in the
manner stated the grades originally written, and substituted for them the grades now appearing in
said compositions Exhibits B-1 and B-2 as well as the columns corresponding to Civil Law and
Remedial Law in the list Exhibit C-1, it cannot be doubted that in making such erasures and
alterations she not only acted with the intent of concealing her identity, but she also knew the
number of the name of the candidate to whom said composition belonged, because at that time the
numbers and the names of the candidates were already written on the list Exhibit C-1, and that list
was kept in the office of Justice Romualdez (page 83, s. n.), where she had complete and absolute
control as private secretary and supervisor of the examinations.
"Participation of the accused Luis Mabunay
"Discarding the testimony of witness Juan Villaflor in which he says that one Luis Mabunay called
up the accused Estela Romualdez on the telephone a few days before the publication of the results
of the examinations, there is, indeed, no direct proof in the record showing the participation of the
accused Luis Mabunay. However, there is other evidence for the prosecution establishing certain
facts which show strong indications that he cooperated in the act before or at the time of its
execution by his coaccused. It has been proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused Luis
Mabunay was one of the candidates who took the bar examinations in 1926; that the general
average obtained by him, according to the computation appearing on the roll Exhibit C-6 of the
adding machine and that originally written in the list Exhibit C-1 was 72.8%; that after the Supreme
Court denied the recommendation of the examination committee that all grades and between 70%
and 75% be automatically raised to 75%, his name, nevertheless, appeared in the list of successful
candidates which was published on March 5, 1927 (Exhibit C-5), and that said inclusion was due
to the increase of these grades in Civil Law (Exhibit B-1) and Remedial Law (Exhibit B-2), which
was made by his coaccused by erasing and altering the grades theretofore given by the correctors.
"It is true that the accused Estela Romualdez, in her desire to show that she had no motive
whatsoever for favoring his coaccused Luis Mabunay, testified that she did not know him and that
the first time she saw him was on the first day of the trial of this case. However, in view of her
inability to explain why precisely the compositions of said Luis Mabunay had been benefited by the
revision, and in view of the admission of Justice Romualdez that the power to revise conferred
upon Estela Romualdez could be exercised by her in the compositions already graded by the
correctors in all cases of injustice which came to her knowledge, or which might be brought to her
attention (page 781, s. n.), her testimony lacks foundation, because it is absurd to believe that her
revision of the compositions of her coaccused Luis Mabunay was due only and solely to a happy
coincidence.
"Furthermore, the accused Mabunay made no effort to contradict the evidence for the prosecution
with reference to his withdrawal of the amount of P600 from his savings account in the Philippine
Trust Company on the second day of March, 1927, or three days before the publication of the result
of the examinations (Exhibit I) which, when correlated with the deposit of the sum of P400 made
by the accused Estela Romualdez in her current account (Exhibit H) with the Bank of the Philippine
Islands on the seventh day of said month of March, 1927, may, perhaps, give an explanation of the

motive of said accused for increasing the grades of Mabunay with just the necessary points to
reach the lowest passing general average. It is also true that Estela Romualdez testified that said
amount had been sent to her by her cousin named Prisca Magpayo Redona from the province for
the purchase of merchandise for sale at the latter's store (page 791, s. n.), but the testimony in that
respect was not corroborated either by her said cousin, or by any other persons mentioned by her
as the bearers of said amount, or by the corresponding check or postal money order, as she had
done when referring to other deposits in the bank.
"Conclusion
"In view of the foregoing considerations, the court finds that the allegations of the information are
sufficiently supported by the evidence and that the accused, Estela Romualdez and Luis Mabunay
are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt; the former as principal and the latter as accomplice, of the
crime of falsification of official documents with which they are charged and, therefore, a judgment
is rendered sentencing Estela Romualdez, who was a Government employee at the time of the
commission of the crime, to suffer, in accordance with article 300 of the Penal Code, as amended
by section 1 of Act No. 2712, six years and one day of prision mayor with the accessory penalties
of the law, to pay a fine of 1,000 pesetas, without subsidiary imprisonment in view of the nature of
the penalty, and also to suffer the penalty of perpetual disqualification from public office; and her
coaccused Luis Mabunay, who was a private individual with respect to said examination, to suffer,
under the provisions of article 301 as amended by section 2 of Act No. 2712 and article 67 of the
Penal Code, the penalty of four months and one day of arresto mayor, with the accessory penalties
of the law, and to pay a fine of 250 pesetas, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency,
and each to pay one-half part of the costs."
The appellant Estela Romualdez through her attorneys makes the following assignments of error:
"I. The trial court erred in finding the accused, Estela Romualdez, guilty of the crime of
'falsification of public and official documents' and in sentencing her to suffer imprisonment
without due process of law, contrary to section 3, Act of Congress of August 29, 1916, entitled
'An Act to Declare the Purpose of the People of the United States as to the Future Political Status
of the People of the Philippine Islands, and to Provide a More Autonomous Government for
those Islands'.
"II. The trial court erred in not finding, that the accused Estela Romualdez, was fully authorized
to make the alterations she in fact made on the composition papers of Luis Mabunay, Exhibits
B-1 and B-2 of the Government, and in denying full credit to the uncontradicted testimony of Mr.
Justice Norberto Romualdez, chairman of the bar examining committee for the year 1926,
concerning the authority granted her.
"III. The trial court erred in failing to extend to the accused Estela Romualdez a fair and impartial
trial."
The attorneys for the appellant Luis Mabunay allege that the trial court committed the following errors:
"I. The lower court erred in not crediting the uncontradicted testimony of Justice Romualdez with
reference to his authority as chairman of the bar examination committee of the year 1926, to
confer upon the accused Estela Romualdez, the powers he in fact conferred upon her, in
connection with said examination.
"II. It also erred in not crediting the uncontradicted testimony of Justice Romualdez as to the fact
that he, as chairman of the bar examination committee of 1926, really and truly conferred upon
the accused Estela Romualdez the powers which she exercised in that examination.
"III. It also erred in concluding that the accused Estela Romualdez did not exercise the powers
conferred upon her by the chairman of the bar examination committee of 1926, within the limits
fixed by said chairman, to wit: that the new revision and grading of the compositions be made in
order to do justice thereto, and before the names of the corresponding candidates were known.
"IV. It likewise erred in concluding that the accused Estela Romualdez changed the general
average and the grades of candidate Luis Mabunay in Civil Law and Remedial Law on the list
Exhibit C-1.
"V. The lower court erred in not admitting the expert testimony of Wm. J. Rhode, Felicisimo Feria,
and Claro M. Recto, as well as Exhibits 26 and 27, containing the opinion of said lawyers as to
the grades to which said compositions Exhibits B-1 and B-2 were justly entitled.

"VI. It also erred in not concluding that Jeronimo Samson used the same powers exercised by
the accused in the bar examination of 1926.
"VII. Granting that the accused Estela Romualdez knew that compositions Exhibits B-1 and B-2
belonged to her coaccused Luis Mabunay when she reviewed and regraded them, the court
erred in concluding that said act constitutes the offense charged in the information.
"VIII. Granting that Justice Romualdez, as chairman of the bar examination committee of 1926,
was not authorized by the Supreme Court to confer upon Estela Romualdez the powers which
she exercised in that examination, the court erred in concluding that she altered the grades of
said compositions willfully and feloniously.
"IX. The lower court also erred in concluding that Estela Romualdez intended to conceal her
identity when she revised and regraded compositions Exhibits B-1 and B-2.
"X. It also erred in concluding that the accused Estela Romualdez, in exercising her powers as
supervisor of the correctors in said bar examinations, revised compositions Exhibits B-1 and B2 only, in order to regrade them.
"XI. It also erred in suggesting that her motive, in revising and regrading said compositions
Exhibits B-1 and B-2, was the fact that she had received from her coaccused Luis Mabunay the
sum of P400.
"XII. Granting that the accused Estela Romualdez committed the offense of falsification with
which she is charged, the lower court erred in concluding that Luis Mabunay participated in its
commission."
In addition to the usual brief for each of the accused, the attorneys for the appellants filed a joint
memorandum on July 10, 1929. The Attorney-General filed a brief on behalf of the People of the
Philippine Islands and a reply to the memorandum for the defense.
The court at that time consisted of nine members, one of whom, Justice Romualdez, was disqualified
to sit in this case. Upon a consideration of the case on its merits, four justices were in favor of affirming
the decision of the trial court and the same number were in favor of acquitting the defendants. The
court being unable to reach a decision in the usual course, an attempt was made on February 11,
1930 to break the deadlock, as is evidenced by the following resolution:
"The court having under consideration again the case of People vs. Romualdez, et al., No.
31012, those participating being all the members of the court, except Mr. Justice Romualdez,
who was disqualified, it was moved that following precedents elsewhere, particularly in the
United States Supreme Court, to the effect that when there is an equal division in the court and
these is no prospect of a change in the vote the judgment appealed from stand affirmed, and in
accordance with the action taken in the case of Nacionalista Party vs. Municipal Board of Manila,
No. 21265 the judgment in the case at bar be affirmed. Mr. Chief Justice Avancea and
Messrs. Justices Malcolm, Ostrand, and Johns voted in favor of the motion. Messrs. Justices
Johnson, Street, Villamor, and Villa-Real voted against the motion. Mr. Justice Johnson based
his dissent on the peculiar statutory provisions in force in the Philippine Islands. For want of a
majority, the motion was lost.
"The court thereupon directed that the clerk retain the record in the case until the further order
of the court."
On January 12, 1931 Luis Mabunay filed a motion praying that the case against him be considered
separately and he be absolved from the complaint. This motion was denied by the court. He renewed
his motion on August 1, 1931. This motion was also denied on the ground that no severance had been
asked for in the lower court, and for the further reason that there was a prospect that the membership
of the court would soon be increased.
The membership of the court was finally increased to eleven, and due to the death or retirement of
three justices only six of the former members remained. On June 23, 1932 Courtney Whitney as
attorney for Estela Romualdez filed a petition praying that his case be set for a rehearing before the
court as newly constituted. This motion was granted. On July 2, 1932 he filed a motion for the dismissal
of the information, alleging that because of the inability of the court to reach a determination from the
facts as to the guilt or innocence of the defendant-appellant Estela Romualdez, she had been denied
her right to a speedy trial. This motion was denied.
After a reargument of the case, the attorney for Estela Romualdez filed an additional memorandum,
to which the Attorney-General filed a reply.

Under the first assignment of error, the attorneys for Estela Romualdez maintain that even if the lower
court's findings of fact be justified by the evidence of record, "they fail to sustain that any criminal
offense, recognized under the laws of the Philippine Islands, has been committed." They contend that
the appointment of the committee of attorneys by Justice Romualdez to read and grade the
examination papers was no warranted by law, and that therefore the alteration by the defendant Estela
Romualdez, under the circumstances alleged in the information, of the grades in question did not
constitute a crime.
The testimony of Justice Romualdez, who was a witness for the defense, completely refutes this
contention. He testified that the bar examining committee was composed of two groups of attorneys:
Those that were appointed to prepare the questions, and those that were appointed to grade the
papers. He further testified that the court was informed of the way in which the examination was
conducted and that it approved thereof. There was more than a thousand candidates and some eight
thousand papers. According to the contention of appellant's attorneys only the seven attorneys
appointed to prepare the questions or the court itself could lawfully grade these papers. Such a
contention is clearly untenable. The attorneys that prepared the questions did not intervene in the
grading of the papers, but they prepared a key to the questions, which served the other group of
attorneys, the readers or "correctors", as a guide in grading the papers. The intervention of the
"correctors" was just as legal as that of the attorneys that prepared the questions, and the intervention
of the two groups of attorneys was perfectly regular and valid.
It is also contended that the examination papers which the defendant Estela Romualdez altered were
not public or official documents. That contention is likewise without merit. As stated by her attorneys,
the examination of candidates for admission to the bar is a judicial function. It cannot therefore be
maintained with any show of reason that the papers submitted by the candidates in the course of the
examination were not public and official documents, or that the alteration, under the circumstances
alleged in the information, of the grades given to such papers by the "correctors" was not a crime. (In
re Del Rosario, 52 Phil., 399, where this court refers to the falsification of his examination papers as
"the falsification of public documents"; People vs. Castro and Doe, 54 Phil., 41, where the conviction
of Castro for the falsification of his examination papers was affirmed.)
In accordance with the established practice of the court to have one of its members each year make
all the necessary arrangements for the bar examination, the Chief Justice in 1926 designated Justice
Romualdez for that purpose, and in pursuance thereof he appointed one group of attorneys to prepare
the questions and another group to grade the papers. If any of these attorneys were designated by
the clerk of the court, it was with the advice and consent and on the authority of Justice Romualdez.
The phrase "falsification of a document" is not used in articles 300 and 301 of the Penal Code in the
ordinary acceptation of the words. It has a technical meaning, and according to article 300 may be
committed in the following eight ways:
"1. By counterfeiting or imitating any handwriting, signature, or rubric.
"2. By causing it to appear that persons have participated in any act or proceeding when they
did not in fact so participate.
"3. By attributing to persons who have participated in an act or proceeding statements other than
those in fact made by them.
"4. By making untruthful statements in a narration of facts.
"5. by altering true dates.
"6. By making any alteration or intercalation in a genuine document which changes its meaning.
"7. By issuing in authenticated form a document purporting to be a copy of an original document
when no such original exists, or by including in such a copy of statement contrary to, or different
from, that of the genuine original.
"8. By intercalating any instrument or rote relative to the issuance thereof in a protocol, registry
or official book."
The acts of the accused are covered by paragraphs 2, 3, and 6. She made the alterations in the
grades in such a way as to make it appear that the "correctors" had participated therein, because she
blotted out the grades of the "correctors" and wrote new and increased grades opposite their initials,
without indicating by her own initials that she had made the alterations. She in that way attributed to
the "correctors" statements other than those in fact made by them. Her only explanation of why she
altered the grades in that way was that it pleased her to do so.

A decision in point has just come to hand. It is reported in 180 N.E., 725, and is referred to in the
American Bar Association Journal for August, 1932, p. 497. A bill was presented in the Massachussets
Senate prohibiting the marking of the examination papers of applicants for admission to the bar by
any person not a member of the board of bar examiners. The Senate wished to know whether such a
bill, if enacted, would be an unconstitutional interference with the functions of the Judicial Department,
and asked the Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court for an advisory opinion. They replied that such
a law would be unconstitutional. In the course of the opinion they said: "If the judicial department
decides that the marking of the written examinations may be performed by competent persons not
members of the board cut acting under the direction of such members, that pertains directly to the
ascertainment of the qualifications of applicants. It is a definite attribute of the judicial department and
not an immaterial incident." It was also stated that the plan of employing assistants to aid the bar
examiners in marking the papers had been approved by the Supreme Judicial Court.
In the second assignment of error, the attorney for Estela Romualdez maintains that the trial court
erred in not finding that she was fully authorized to make the alterations she in fact made on the
examination papers of Luis Mabunay, Exhibits B-1 and B-2, and in denying full credit to the
uncontradicted testimony of Justice Norberto Romualdez, chairman of the bar examining committee
for the year 1926, concerning the authority granted her.
In the first place, we find it difficult to believe that Justice Romualdez ever gave the accused the
authority which she claims to have received; and in the second place, even if it be assumed that he
gave her the alleged authority, she did not exercise it in accordance with the terms thereof.
The defense would have us believe that Justice Romualdez regarded his secretary, Estela
Romualdez, and the deputy clerk, Jeronimo Samson, who were themselves "correctors" as
supervisors of the other "correctors", and that he authorized Estela Romualdez to revise any grade to
correct an injustice, without consulting or notifying the other supervisor, Samson, or the "correctors"
who had graded the paper, without requiring her to initial the alteration, or to make any record thereof
or any report to him or to anybody else.
Justice Romualdez was designated by the Chief Justice to conduct the examination in accordance
with the law and the Rules of Court. He himself had no such authority as he is alleged to have given
his secretary. He is presumed to have discharged his duties in accordance with the law, and it is
inconceivable that he would without any warrant of law give or attempt to give his secretary that
unlimited authority which she claims to have received, thereby enabling her to alter at will any grade
on any paper, without making any record thereof or any report to anybody. The mere statement of
such a claim shows that it is preposterous.
No such authority was given to Samson, who according to Justice Romualdez was regarded by him
as a supervisor of equal rank with Estela Romualdez. Samson was never notified that he was
regarded as a supervisor, and he never acted in that capacity.
Let us notice how this unlimited authority is alleged to have been granted to the accused Estela
Romualdez.
It was not in writing or evidenced by any memorandum. It was not even a positive statement. Justice
Romualdez testified that he believed that on a certain occasion he gave his secretary to understand
that if a case should be brought to her attention she might revise any grade to prevent an injustice, so
long as she did not know the name of the candidate to whom the paper belonged. When asked where
she was when the pretended authority was given to her, the accused could not remember.
There was according to the theory of the defense nothing to prevent Samson from revising the revision
of Estela Romualdez, because she did not initial the changes made by her, and he was supposed to
be a supervisor of equal rank.
If it be admitted for the sake of argument that the accused Estela Romualdez was given the authority
which she claims to have received, nevertheless she was not authorized to change the grades now
in question, because when she made the changes she already knew that the papers belonged to her
coaccused Luis Mabunay. The evidence fully sustaining that conclusion is carefully set forth by the
trial court, and it is unnecessary for us to review it. The testimony of Justice Romualdez to the effect
that the accused acted within the authority granted her in changing the grades in question was a mere
expression of opinion. It was clearly inadmissible and not binding on the court. The accused Estela
Romualdez did not even attempt to explain under what circumstances she raised the grades of her
coaccused so as to enable him to obtain the necessary general average of 75 per cent. She did not
confer with the "correctors" who had graded the papers in question. She did not attempt to explain
how she arrived at the increased grades, or how she came to revise the grades in question, how she

happened to pick these two papers out of eight thousand. She could not point to any other grades
that had been altered by her.
Under the second assignment of error the attorney for Estela Romualdez also alleges that she freely
and voluntarily admitted from the start of the trial of her case that the alterations had been made by
her, and concludes therefrom that she acted in good faith. We cannot agree either with the statement
of fact or the conclusion. The accused Estela Romualdez did not admit that the alterations were made
by her until after the prosecuting attorney had presented three hundred and fifty pages of testimony
and announced his readiness to prove by three handwriting experts that the alterations were in the
handwriting of the accused. The evidence shows that before the trial defendant's attorney obtained
from the fiscal's office a photograph that had been made for the purpose of comparing a specimen of
defendant's handwriting and that of the altered grades. The fact that the defendant Estela Romualdez
made the alterations under the circumstances which we have mentioned, when she already knew that
the papers belonged to Mabunay, disproves any contention that she acted in good faith.
In the case of the United States vs. Ballesteros (25 Phil., 634), this court said:
"When the unlawful acts charged against an accused are established by competent evidence,
criminal intent may be and will be presumed, unless such intent is rebutted by the introduction
of evidence sufficient to overcome this presumption, and satisfactorily disclosing the absence of
such criminal intent."
The third assignment of error made by the appellant Estela Romualdez is that the trial court erred in
failing to extend to her a fair and impartial trial. We shall not waste much time on this assignment of
error, which is utterly without merit. The record itself completely refutes any such contention. If the
learned trial judge erred, it was in permitting the attorneys for the defendants too great latitude in
arguing their objections. Arguments four and five pages long were incorporated into the stenographic
record of the evidence. The record shows a most unjustifiable attack on the good faith of the fiscal
and a persistent effort to embarrass him in presenting his evidence against the accused.
The appellant Luis Mabunay makes twelve assignments of error. They are for the most part embraced
in the assignments of error of his coaccused which we have already considered. There remain only
his fifth, eleventh, and twelfth assignments of error. In his fifth assignment of error it is alleged that the
lower court erred in not admitting the expert testimony of attorneys Wm. J. Rhode, Felicisimo Feria,
and Claro M. Recto, and in rejecting Exhibits 26 and 27, which contain the opinion of said attorneys
as to the correct grades which the examination papers Exhibits B-1 and B-2 deserved.
The lower court sustained the objection to the admission of the testimony of these three attorneys on
the ground that it was not the best evidence, and suggested that the defense might call the members
of the examining committee that prepared the questions in Remedial Law and Civil Law and the key
thereto. The attorneys for the defense did not see fit to adopt the suggestion of the court. It is not true
therefore that lower court deprived the accused of an opportunity of showing that the examination
papers in question deserved the increased grades which the defendant Estela Romualdez gave them.
The attorneys that prepared the questions and the key to the answers were certainly the persons best
qualified to decide whether or not the questions were correctly answered. The opinion of other
attorneys, who had nothing to do with the examination, would only lead to confusion. We find no merit
in this assignment of error.
The eleventh assignment of error is that the trial court erred in insinuating that the motive of the
accused Estela Romualdez in reviewing and regrading the examination papers Exhibits B-1 and B-2
was the fact that she had received four hundred pesos from her coaccused Luis Mabunay.
The twelfth assignment of error is that if it be assumed that the accused Estela Romualdez committed
the crime of falsification imputed to her in the information, the court erred in concluding that the
accused Luis Mabunay participated in its commission.
For the sake of convenience we shall consider these two assignments of error together.
In the first place we should like to say that there is no evidence to show that Estela Romualdez ever
reviewed the examination papers of her coaccused. So far as the evidence shows, she merely raised
his grades in two subjects, thus giving him by "a happy coincidence"., to use her own words, a passing
mark. She could not or would not enlighten the court as to why she raised the grades of Luis Mabunay
so as to enable him to be admitted to the bar. As already stated, the record does not show that she
raised the grades of any other candidate.
The evidence shows that Luis Mabunay had failed in two previous examinations, and that he failed in
the examination in question, receiving a general average of only 72.8%. The bar examining committee

recommended that not only those having the required general average of 75 per cent be admitted,
but also that those who had received between 70 and 75 per cent. This is referred to in the record as
"an automatic increase". It was not automatic but arbitrary, and was disapproved by the Supreme
Court, and the committee was directed to prepare a new list and to include therein only those who
had obtained a general average of 75 per cent. The name of Luis Mabunay was included in the new
list submitted three days later, notwithstanding the fact that he had obtained a general average of only
72.8 per cent, precisely because Estela Romualdez had in the meantime raised the grades now in
question so that he appeared to have obtained the general average required for admission to the bar.
The evidence shows that on March 2, 1927 Luis Mabunay withdrew P600 from the Philippine Trust
Co., and that on March 7, 1927 Estela Romualdez deposited P510 in the Bank of the Philippine
Islands. Luis Mabunay did not testify, and he did not present any evidence to show for what purpose
he withdrew P600 from the bank immediately after the first list was disapproved.
In the case of the United States vs. Tria (17 Phil., 303, 307), Justice Moreland speaking for the court
said:
"An accused person sometimes owes a duty to himself if not to the State. If he does not perform
that duty he may not always expect the State to perform it for him. If he fails to meet the obligation
which he owes to himself, when to meet it is the easiest of easy things, he is hardy indeed if he
demand and expect that same full and wide consideration which the State voluntarily gives to
those who by reasonable effort seek to help themselves. This is particularly so when he not only
declines to help himself but actively conceals from the State the very means by which it may
assist him."
In the famous case of the Commonwealth vs. Webster (5 Cushing, 295, 316), Chief Justice Shaw laid
down the following rule:
"When pretty stringent proof of circumstances is produced, tending to support the charge, and it
is apparent that the accused is so situated that he could offer evidence of all the facts and
circumstances as they existed, and show, if such was the truth, that the suspicious
circumstances can be accounted for consistently with his innocence, and he fails to offer such
proof, the natural conclusion is, that the proof, if produced, instead of rebutting, would tend to
sustain the charge. But this is to be cautiously applied, and only in cases where it is manifest
that proofs are in the power of the accused, not accessible to the prosecution."

"When the circumstances in proof tend to fix the liability on a party who has it in his power to
offer evidence of all the facts as they existed and rebut the inferences which the circumstances
in proof tend to establish, and he fails to offer such proof, the natural conclusion is that the proof,
if produced, instead of rebutting would support the inferences against him, and the court is
justified in acting upon that conclusion."
The case of In re Del Rosario (52 Phil., 399), is directly in point. Felipe del Rosario failed for the third
time in the bar examination of 1926. He then filed a motion for the revision of his grades, based on an
alleged mistake in computation. This motion was granted, and he was admitted to the bar. It was
subsequently found that alterations had been made in his examination papers, and he and Juan
Villaflor were prosecuted for the falsification of a public document. Villaflor assumed full responsibility
for the commission of the crime, and testified that Del Rosario did not know anything about the making
of the alterations. The trial court acquitted Del Rosario, but upon a review of the case for the purpose
of taking disciplinary action against him Justice Malcolm, speaking for the court in banc, said:
"It is asking a great deal of the members of the court to have them believe that Felipe
del Rosario was totally unaware of the illegal machinations culminating in the falsification
of public documents, of which he was the sole beneficiary."
The attorney's certificate of Felipe del Rosario was cancelled.
In the case of People vs. Bella Bautista (53 Phil., 158), the accused was charged with the falsification
of a public document. The evidence showed that in the Register of Attorneys the name of an attorney
had been erased, and that the accused had written his own name in that space, although he had not
been admitted to the bar. The accused contended that he wrote his name in the register under the
direction of an employee of the court, and that he acted in good faith. He was convicted, and on appeal
the decision was affirmed. This court in its decision said: "The trial court suggests in the opinion that
the offense committed required the participation of some unfaithful employee of the court. But this
fact, as the court found, did not lessen the criminal responsibility of the appellant."
It is alleged in the information that the accused conspired together and acted in common accord in
the commission of the crime. As the Attorney-General says, a conspiracy can seldom be proved
except by circumstantial evidence, but once it is proved, the acts of one of the conspirators are the
acts of all. (U.S. vs. Ipil, 27 Phil., 530.)

"An accused person runs the risk of an inference against him because of failure to produce
evidence. The inference, unless the failure to produce evidence is explained away, is that the
tenor of the specific unproduced evidence would not support the party's case." (U.S. vs. Sarikala,
37 Phil., 486.)

"The existence of the assent of minds which is involved in a conspiracy may be, from the secrecy
of the crime, usually must be, inferred by the jury from proof of facts and circumstances which,
taken together, apparently indicate that they are merely parts of some complete whole. If it is
proved that two or more persons aimed by their acts towards the accomplishment of the same
unlawful object, each doing a part so that their acts, though apparently independent, were in fact
connected and cooperative, indicating a closeness of personal association and a concurrence
of sentiment, a conspiracy may be inferred though no actual meeting among them to concert
means is proved. Evidence of actual participation, rather than of passive acquiescence, is
desirable. But proof of acquiescence in, or consent to, the actions of others is relevant to show
the criminal intention of the passive party, and generally the smallest degree of consent or
collusion among parties lets in the act or words of one against the others." (Underhill on Criminal
Evidence, pp. 795, 796.)

In the case just cited the court quoted with approval the following rule as stated by Dean Wigmore in
his work on Evidence, Vol. IV, p. 3148:

For the foregoing reasons, we find that the conclusions of the trial court are fully justified by the
evidence.

"The failure to produce evidence, in general, other than his own testimony, is open to inference
against a party accused, with the same limitations applicable to civil parties. Here the effect of
the burden of proof has sometimes tended to confuse. It is true that the burden is on the
prosecution, and that the accused is not required by any rule of law to produce evidence; but
nevertheless he runs the risk of an inference from nonproduction. This seeming paradox, which
has been already sufficiently noticed in treating of the general principle, has misled a few courts
to deny that any inference may be drawn."

As the accused Estela Romualdez took advantage of her official position in committing the crime, the
trial court found her guilty of a violation of article 300 of the Penal Code, as amended by Act No. 2712,
and sentenced her to suffer six years and one day of prision mayor, and the accessory penalties
provided by law, to pay a fine of 1,000 pesetas, and to suffer perpetual disqualification to hold any
public office.

Estela Romualdez showed that of the sum of P510 P100 was paid to her by her mother and P10 by
her brother, but she could not satisfactorily prove where the remaining P400 came from. She said it
was sent to her by her cousin, Prisca Magpayo Redoa, for the purchase of goods, but she could not
name the person that brought the money to her, or explain why she deposited it in the bank. She did
not attempt to show that she had paid it out by means of checks for the purchase of goods for her
cousin. She did not call her cousin as a witness.

The alterations in the grades made by Estela Romualdez were made for the sole use and benefit of
her coaccused Luis Mabunay. They were made willfully and illegally, and after the Supreme Court
had rejected those candidates that had received less than 75 per cent. The alterations were therefore
made after Mabunay had failed, and he withdrew the money after he had time to learn from his
coaccused that he had failed. It was under those circumstances incumbent upon the accused
Mabunay to present evidence to show for what purpose he withdrew the six hundred pesos from the
bank. As this court said in the case of Worcester vs. Ocampo (22 Phil., 42):

The penalty provided by the Penal Code is prision mayor in full extent, or from six years and one day
to twelve years, and the penalty under the Revised Penal Code being the same, and there being no
aggravating or mitigating circumstance present in the commission of the crime, the penalty should be
imposed in the medium degree, which is from eight years and one day to ten years. The penalty
imposed on the appellant Estela Romualdez is therefore increased to eight years and one day of
prision mayor.
The trial court found the defendant Luis Mabunay guilty as an accomplice under article 301 of the
Penal Code, the crime not being connected with the performance of his duties as an employee of the

Government, and sentenced him to suffer four months and one day of arresto mayor, and the
accessory penalties provided by law, and to pay a fine of 250 pesetas, with subsidiary imprisonment
in case of insolvency. The defendants were each sentenced to pay one-half of the costs.
We find that the lower court erred in holding that Luis Mabunay was merely an accomplice. He was a
conspirator and coprincipal of Estela Romualdez. The penalty provided by article 301 of the Penal
Code, as amended by Act No. 2712, is prision correccional in the maximum degree, but that has been
changed by the Revised Penal Code to prision correccional in the medium and maximum degrees,
and the medium degree of that penalty is from three years, six months, and twenty-one days to four
years, nine months and ten days. The prison sentence of Luis Mabunay is therefore increased to three
years, six months, and twenty-one days of prision correccional.
The decision of the trial court is modified as hereinabove stated. In all other respects it is affirmed,
with the costs against the appellants.
Ostrand, Abad Santos, Hull, Imperial and Butte, JJ., concur.
||| (People v. Romualdez, G.R. No. 31012, [September 10, 1932], 57 PHIL 148-205)

FIRST DIVISION

charges in Criminal Cases Nos. CCC-0258, CCC-0259, and CCC-0263; consequently, she is
hereby acquitted therefrom with costs de oficio; and decreeing the bail bonds posted for her
provisional release in these cases cancelled and discharged.

[G.R. No. L-49483-86. March 30, 1981.]

SALUD P. BERADIO, petitioner, vs. THE COURT OF APPEALS and PEOPLE


OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.

Hugo B. Sansano, Jr., for petitioner.


Solicitor General Estelito P. Mendoza, Assistant Solicitor General Vicente V. Mendoza
and Solicitor Antonio L. Villamor for respondents.

"On the other hand, however, the Court so finds and holds accused Salud P. Beradio GUILTY
beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of falsification of public or official document as charged in
Criminal Case No. CCC-0260 as to entry on July 13, 1973 only, and Criminal Case No. CCC-0261;
Criminal Case No. 0262 as to entry on May 28, 1973 only, Criminal Case No. CCC-0264, defined
and penalized under Article 171, paragraph 4, of the Revised Penal Code, and absent any
aggravating or mitigating circumstance and applying the Indeterminate Sentence Act, hereby
accordingly sentences said Salud P. Beradio to serve an indeterminate prison term in the following
manner, to wit:
"a) In Criminal Case No. CCC-0260 a prison term of from TWO (2) YEARS, FOUR (4) MONTHS
and ONE (1) DAY of prision correccional, as minimum, to EIGHT (8) YEARS and ONE (1) DAY of
prision mayor, as maximum, with the accessories of the law, to pay a fine of TWO THOUSAND
PESOS (P2,000) but without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, and to pay the cost;

SYNOPSIS

Petitioner, a lady-lawyer, formerly an election registrar of the Commission on Elections whose job was
field work, was charged after her retirement from the service, with falsification of public documents for
allegedly having made it appear in her daily time records that she was not absent from office when in
fact she was at the Court of First Instance of Pangasinan attending to her cases. Petitioner admitted in
all candor her appearances in said court, claiming among other things that she is not under strict
obligation to submit a time record and that she did not reflect her appearances in court in said record as
they were for few minute-duration only apart from the fact that she has a standing authority given by the
COMELEC to act as de oficio counsel. The Court of First Instance rendered a decision finding her guilty
as charged which was affirmed by the Court of Appeals.
The Supreme Court in acquitting the petitioner held that no criminal intent to commit falsification can be
imputed on her who in submitting her daily time records not as a legal obligation but as a matter of
practice, made entries therein that were not absolutely false but had a color of truth and who had caused
no damage to the government, or to third parties but on the contrary rendered service in the interest of
the public with proper permission from her superiors.
Judgment reversed.

DECISION

"b) In Criminal Case No. CCC-0261 a prison term of from TWO (2) YEARS, FOUR (4) MONTHS
and ONE (1) DAY of prision correccional, as minimum, to EIGHT (8) YEARS of prision mayor, as
maximum, with the accessories of the law, to pay a fine of TWO THOUSAND PESOS (P2,000)
without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, and to pay the cost;
"c) In Criminal Case No. CCC-0262 - a prison term of from TWO (2) YEARS, FOUR (4) MONTHS
and ONE (1) DAY of prision correccional, as minimum, to EIGHT (8) YEARS and ONE (1) DAY of
prision mayor, as maximum, with the accessories of the law, to pay a fine of TWO THOUSAND
PESOS (P2,000) without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, and to pay the cost; and
"d) In Criminal Case No. CCC-0264 a prison term of from TWO (2) YEARS, FOUR (4) MONTHS
and ONE (1) DAY of prision correccional, as minimum, to EIGHT (8) YEARS and ONE (1) DAY of
prision mayor, as maximum, with the accessories of the law, to pay a fine of TWO THOUSAND
PESOS (P2,000) without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, and to pay the cost.
"The penalties herein imposed shall be served successively with the maximum duration of the
sentences not to exceed threefold the length of time corresponding to one penalty imposed upon
her in accordance with Article 70 of the Revised Penal Code.
"As to charges of falsification on July 12, 1973 in Criminal Case No. CCC-0260, and on May 30,
1973, the Court finds no sufficient evidence to hold the accused liable. Consequently, the accused
is hereby absolved therefrom."
The facts pertinent to the specified dates of falsification as found by the Court of Appeals are as follows:

DE CASTRO, J p:
By petition for review on certiorari, Salud P. Beradio, an election registrar of the COMELEC in Rosales,
Pangasinan, who was convicted on four (4) counts of the crime of falsification of public or official
documents of the seven (7) separate informations filed against her for making false entries in her daily
time records, elevates to this Court, the decision 1 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. No. 20319 to
20322 promulgated on September 18, 1978, affirming in toto the judgment of conviction rendered on
July 30, 1976 by the Circuit Criminal Court, Third Judicial District, Dagupan City. The dispositive portion
of the decision of the lower court reads as follows:

". . . On the following particular dates, as reflected in her daily time records (Exhs. "D" to "H"),
BERADIO reported her attendance in office and actual hours of work performed as:
"On:
"1) March 15, 1973 7:35 a.m. 12:00 n.; 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
"2) March 23, 1973 7:30 a.m. 12:00 n.; 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

"FOR THE FOREGOING DISCUSSION, and with the prosecution not having established by proof
beyond reasonable doubt the guilt of the herein accused and for insufficiency of evidence or the
lack of it, the Court hereby finds, as it so holds, accused Salud P. Beradio NOT GUILTY of the

"3) May 28, 1973 7:45 a.m. 12:00 n., 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

"4) June 6, 1973 7:30 a.m. 12:00 n., 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

V "WHETHER DAMAGE TO THE GOVERNMENT IN FALSIFICATION OF PUBLIC OR OFFICIAL


DOCUMENT IS TOTALLY OF NO MOMENT.

"5) June 22, 1973 7:35 a.m. 12:00 n., 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

VI "IT FAILED TO HOLD THAT, UNDER THE ESTABLISHED FACTS, THE CONSTITUTION, THE
LAW AND WELL-SETTLED JURISPRUDENCE, PETITIONER IS ENTITLED TO ACQUITTAL ON
THE GROUND OF REASONABLE DOUBT."

"6) July 13, 1973 8:00 a.m. 12:00 n., 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
"The veracity of the foregoing reports were negated by the following
"1) On March 15, 1973, BERADIO appeared as counsel for the applicants at the initial hearing and
reception of evidence in Land Registration Case No. 19-R before the Court of First Instance of
Pangasinan, Branch XIV, Rosales, in both morning and afternoon sessions (Exhs. "K", "K-1" and
"K-2").
"2) In the morning of March 23, 1973, BERADIO appeared as counsel for the petitioner in the
hearing of Special Proceedings No. 24-R (summary settlement of the estate of Vicente Oria, Court
of First Instance of Pangasinan, Branch XIV, at Rosales, which was called first in open court and
later, in chambers (Exhs. "M" and "M-1").
"3) On May 28, 1973, in the same case, Sp. Proc. No, 24-R, BERADIO again appeared as counsel
for the petitioner in the same court which held sessions from 8:45 to 11:45 (Exh. "M").
"4) In the morning of June 6, 1973, BERADIO appeared as counsel for the defendant in CAR Case
No. 1982-TP' 73, entitled "Pepito Felipe vs. Ismael Pontes and Camilo Tamce," before CAR Branch
II in Tayug, Pangasinan (Exh. "J"). Minutes of the pre-trial conference which the appellant attended
are manifest in the pre-trial order that was dictated in open court (Exh. "J-1").
"5) In the morning of June 22, 1973, Beradio appeared in Sp. Proc. No. 24-R before the Court of
First Instance of Pangasinan, Branch XIV at Rosales (Exh. "M").
"6) In the morning of July 13, 1973, Beradio appeared as counsel for plaintiff at the pre-trial
conference of Civil Case No. 137-R, "Venancia Diaz vs. Armando Ordonio" before Branch XIV of
the Court of First Instance of Pangasinan (Exhs. "L" to "1-3")
"It is thus clear that while in the six abovementioned dates, BERADIO made it appear in her daily
time records that she was in her office and performed her work on the dates and hours she
specified, the facts were that she was elsewhere attending court sessions." 2
From the said decision of the Court of Appeals and the denial of her motion for reconsideration on
November 28, 1978, Salud Beradio filed the instant petition for review on certiorari to this Court. We
asked the Solicitor General to comment on the petition and thereafter, We resolved to give due course
to said petition it appearing that the issues raised are, in the main questions of law rendered novel by
the peculiar circumstances of the case. Thus, she raised the following legal issues: cdrep
I "WHETHER THE CONVICTION OF THE PETITIONER TAKEN IN THE LIGHT OF THE
PROVISION OF ARTICLE 171, PARAGRAPH 4, OF THE REVISED PENAL CODE IS LEGAL AND
PROPER.
II "WHETHER THE PETITIONER COULD STILL BE LEGALLY AND PROPERLY PROSECUTED
FOR AN OFFENSE WHERE SHE WAS NO LONGER A PUBLIC OFFICIAL.
III "WHETHER PETITIONER IS UNDER LEGAL OBLIGATION TO FILL UP AND SUBMIT TIME
RECORD.
IV "ASSUMING THAT SHE IS, DO THE STATEMENTS THEREIN REFLECTED IN HER TIME
RECORD BEAR ANY `COLOR OF TRUTH.'

Salud P. Beradio, petitioner, is a lady-lawyer appointed as an election registrar of the Commission on


Elections (COMELEC) on February 1, 1964 (Exhibits A and A-1). In 1972 and 1973, she was stationed
in Rosales, Pangasinan, as Chief of Office, Office of the Election Registrar, COMELEC, holding office
beside the municipal building from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon and from 1:00 o'clock to 5:00 o'clock in the
afternoon. As the nature of her job was field work, she was required to fill up and submit to the
COMELEC's main office in Manila her daily time records after having been counter-signed by her
provincial supervisor. 3
On March 29, 1973, the COMELEC by resolution (Exhibits 1 and 1-A, CCC-0261) granted her request
for permission to appear as counsel for her cousins and cousins-in-law in the case before the Court of
Agrarian Relations in Rosales, Pangasinan. 4
During her assignment as Election Registrar of Rosales, Pangasinan, one Raymundo Valdez filed with
the COMELEC, sometime in September, 1973, an administrative complaint charging her of unauthorized
practice of law. On the other hand, Salud Beradio tendered her resignation as Election Registrar of
Rosales, Pangasinan, which, by COMELEC resolution (Exhibit B) of October 25, 1973, was accepted
and made to retroact on the close of office hours on September 30, 1973. She was duly granted
clearance by all the offices of the COMELEC, and she received her retirement benefits under the law.
LLjur
Raymundo Valdez made an inquiry with the COMELEC on the status of his administrative case against
Salud P. Beradio, and upon being informed of her separation from the service, he initiated the filing of
criminal charges against Salud Beradio on grounds of falsification of daily time records defined and
penalized under Article 171, paragraph 4 of the Revised Penal Code as falsification of public documents.
In the Office of the Provincial Fiscal of Pangasinan where he lodged the criminal charges, Jose Peralta,
and his wife Paz de Guzman-Peralta, trial attorney of Agrarian Legal Assistance (DAR) submitted
affidavits in support of the charges against Salud P. Beradio.
On August 4, 1975, the Provincial Fiscal of Pangasinan filed seven (7) separate informations all dated
July 7, 1975 with the Circuit Criminal Court, Third Judicial District, Dagupan City, charging Salud P.
Beradio with falsification of public or official documents for making false entries in her daily time records
on: 1) October 12, 1972 in Criminal Case CCC-0258; 2) September 4, 1973 in Criminal Case CCC-0259;
3) July 12 and 13, 1973 in Criminal Case CCC-0260; 4) June 6 and 22, 1973 in Criminal Case CCC0261; 5) May 28 and 30, 1973 in Criminal Case CCC-0262; 6) April 3, 1973 in Criminal Case CCC-0263;
and 7) March 15 and 23, 1973 in Criminal Case CCC-0264 that she submitted to the Commission on
Elections in Manila. 5 The separate informations allege that petitioner was absent the whole day on the
days mentioned therein but to the "damage and prejudice of the National Government," she made it
appear in her time records that she was not so absent from the office, when in fact she well knew that
on such date or time she was in the Court of First Instance of Pangasinan, Branch XIV, Rosales,
Pangasinan, appearing in her cases.
While petitioner raised the above-quoted legal issues which, to Us, point to the more basic issues
inherent in acts mala in se as contradistinguished from mala prohibita, We narrowed down these issues,
for proper disposition of the instant case, into whether or not the alleged acts of falsification of public
documents imputed against the petitioner were tainted with criminal intent (dolo), and whether or not the
act of alleged false narration of facts in the daily time record bears, under the law, some semblance of
colorable truth. This We did in full consideration of the peculiar circumstances which render the instant
case novel in some respects, worthy of pronouncements from this Court. LLpr
At the outset, it must be emphasized that for a conviction of the offense of falsification of public or official
documents, defined and penalized under Article 171, paragraph 4 of the Revised Penal Code, the

requisite elements thereof must be clearly established, namely: 1) the offender makes in a document
false statements in a narration of facts; 2) he has a legal obligation to disclose the truth of the facts
narrated by him; 3) the facts narrated by him are absolutely false, and 4) the perversion of truth in the
narration of facts was made with the wrongful intent of injuring a third person. 6
Of great weight in Our criminal justice system is the principle that the essence of an offense is the
wrongful intent (dolo), without which it cannot exist. 7 Actus non facit reum, nisi mens set rea, the act
itself does not make a man guilty unless his intentions were so. Article 3 of the Revised Penal Code
clearly indicates that malice or criminal intent (dolo) in some form is an essential requisite of all crimes
and offenses defined in the Code, except in those cases where the element required is negligence
(culpa).
On one point, however, the claim of the petitioner that she is not under strict obligation to keep and
submit a time record is not at all empty with justification. While it is true, as held by the respondent court,
8 that the obligation to disclose the literal truth in filling up the daily time record is required of all officers
and employees in the civil service of the government in accordance with Civil Service Rule XV, Executive
Order No. 5, Series of 1909, this vague provision, however, is rendered dear by Section 4, Rule XV of
the Civil Service Rule, dated December 3, 1962, later by Memorandum Circular No. II, Series of 1965
which exempt from requirements of keeping and submitting the daily time records three categories of
public officers, namely: 1) Presidential appointees; 2) chiefs and assistant chiefs of agencies; and 3)
officers who rank higher than these chiefs and assistant chiefs in the three branches of the government.
Clearly thus, petitioner as Chief of Office, Office of Election Registrar, COMELEC in the municipality of
Rosales, Pangasinan, exercising supervision over four (4) subordinate employees, would fall under the
third category aforementioned. An Election Registrar of a municipality performing the powers, duties,
and responsibilities of the COMELEC, a constitutional body, in the conduct of national or local elections,
referenda, and plebiscites, in a particular voting district may be regarded as an officer who rank higher
than such chiefs or assistant chiefs of agencies although he may not be a presidential appointee.
Notwithstanding such an exemption, if the Election Registrars of the various municipalities all throughout
the country, who occasionally work more than the ordinary eight-working hour on the last day of
registration or on election day, are keeping and submitting the daily time records to the main office in
Manila, it may be only for the sake of administrative procedural convenience or as a matter of practice,
but not by reason of strict legal obligation. LLpr
On the main point, assuming, however, that petitioner is under strict legal obligation to keep and submit
the daily time records, We are definitely inclined to the view that the alleged false entries made in the
time records on the specified dates contained in the information do not constitute falsification for having
been made with no malice or deliberate intent. Noteworthy is the fact that petitioner consistently did not
dispute, but admitted in all candor her appearances in six (6) different ways, on March 15, March 23,
May 28, June 6, June 22, July 13, all in 1973 before the Court of First Instance, Branch XIV, Rosales,
Pangasinan, in the aforementioned cases, claiming that she did not reflect these absences in her daily
time records because they were for few minute-duration, the longest was on March 15, 1973 being for
forty-five (45) minutes; that they could be absorbed within the allowed coffee breaks of 30 minutes in the
morning and in the afternoon; that as Chief of Office, and all Election Registrars of the COMELEC for
that matter, she is allowed to have one (1) day leave during week days provided she worked on a
Saturday; and that her brief absences did not in any way interfere with or interrupt her official duties as
an Election Registrar. Above all, petitioner categorically emphasized that her appearances in court were
duly authorized by the COMELEC, which in certain instances were as counsel de oficio, and no
remuneration whatsoever from her clients was received by her.
Finding that the justifications claimed by Beradio as unavailing, the Court of Appeals ruled that her
various appearances in court were not on official business, and the permission granted her by the
COMELEC was to appear in behalf of her relatives, and she was still obligated to reflect in her daily time
records only the hours when she was actually in the office. 9
We are not convinced. The Court of First Instance, Branch XIV, in Rosales, Pangasinan, is only two (2)
meters from her own office as Election Registrar in the said municipality. She had standing authority to
act as de oficio counsel given by the COMELEC evidently in furtherance of the free legal aid service
program of the Integrated Bar, and an identical policy of the Government itself, 10 especially as
COMELEC lawyers, before any election had been held during the regime of martial law, did not have

much office work to keep them busy. This state of virtual absence of electoral activities is what prompted
COMELEC to authorize its lawyers to take active part in the free legal aid program above adverted to, if
to do so would not unduly interfere with their work. In recognition of the long-standing policy of the
COMELEC in response to the legal aid program of the Government 11 and the "free access to the courts"
provision of the 1973 Constitution, 12 the COMELEC, by Resolution No. 1401, 13 formally created the
Legal Assistance Office thereby constituting all COMELEC lawyers with rank of division chief and below
as COMELEC Legal Assistance Officers. Even prior to the formal creation of the Legal Assistance Office,
the liberal policy of the COMELEC in allowing its Election Registrars to act as counsel in areas where
there are no lawyers available is indeed, laudable. LLjur
Under the attendant facts and circumstances in the instant case, no criminal intent to commit the crime
with which she is charged can be imputed against the petitioner. In the information, it was alleged that
the petitioner was not in her office for the full office hours from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon and from 1:00
p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on the specified dates therein as she was then busy attending her cases in court. On
the contrary, the evidence of the prosecution belies its allegation of the whole-day absence in office as
Election Registrar. Records reveal that petitioner had stayed in court for only 5, 30, 40 or 45 minutes a
day for her appearances therein, at no instance exceeding one (1) hour.
If petitioner filled up her daily time record for the six days in question making it appear that she attended
her office from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon and from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., there is more than color of truth
in the entry made. It is not shown that she did not report first to her office as Election Registrar of Rosales,
Pangasinan, before going to the courtroom just two (2) meters away. Petitioner thus likened her
appearance to going out for the usual coffee breaks. The comparison is not even apt, for during the while
she appeared in court, she was rendering service more, if not wholly, for the public good, than just for
her own well-being as when she goes out for snack during the coffee-break period. The court being only
two (2) meters away from her office, she did not even have to go so far as when one goes out for snack.
What is more, everytime she appeared in court, she surely must have made this fact officially of record
in the court proceedings, something which is not done with leaving the office room for coffee breaks. In
fine, the entries in petitioner's daily time records were not absolutely false. The alleged false entry may
be said to have a color of truth, not a downright and willful falsehood which alone would constitute
falsification as a crime. 14 As Cuello Calon stated: "La mera inexactud no es bastante para integrar este
delito (Cuello Calon, Derecho Penal 6th Ed. Vol. II, p. 216, cited in People vs. Villena, et al., 51 O.G.
5691; People vs. La Corte, CA-G.R. No. 05818-CR; U.S. vs. Bayot, 10 Phil. 518)."
In thus preparing her daily time record the way she did, it was evidently in her belief that she was just
making of record the fact that, as was her honest opinion, she was entitled to receive her full pay even
for those days she appeared in court, rendering what she felt was no less a public service, being in
furtherance of a public policy on free legal assistance. As a lawyer, and as an officer of the court, she,
for one, aids in the administration of justice, oathbound servant of society whose duty is not solely for
the benefit of her clients but for the public, particularly in the administration of justice. The court a quo
itself recognized that the COMELEC registrars, at that time, are directed to appear as counsel de oficio
when there are no lawyers to represent the parties in litigation. 15 If petitioner is not at all appointed as
counsel de oficio strictly in accordance with the Revised Rules of Court, Rule 138, it is an undisputed
fact, as reflected in court records, that petitioner, true to her oath, acted as counsel in certain cases. On
this point, if one fills up his daily time record in the belief that, on the basis of the time so indicated therein,
she is merely making an honest claim for the pay corresponding to the time so indicated, no intent to
commit the crime of falsification of public document can be ascribed to her. In the case of the herein
petitioner, she was only submitting a time record she knew would be the basis for computing the pay she
honestly felt she deserved for the period indicated. Indeed, the time record is required primarily, if not
solely, for the purpose of serving as basis for the determination of the amount of pay an employee is
entitled to receive for a given period. prcd
Further, on the issue of malus animus, or criminal intent, it was ruled by the court a quo, confirmed by
the respondent Court of Appeals, that in falsification of public document, in contradistinction to private
document, the idea of gain or the intent to injure a third person is unnecessary, for, what is penalized is
the undermining or infringement of the public faith and the violation of the truth as therein solemnly
proclaimed, invoking the case of People vs. Po Giok Te, 96 Phil. 918. Arguing against this ruling,
petitioner cited the case of People vs. Pacana, 47 Phil. 48, which the ponente in the instant case upheld
in the case of People vs. Motus, CA-G.R. No. 18267-CR when he was in the Court of Appeals, that
although the idea of gain or the intent to injure a third person is unnecessary, this Court emphasized that

"it must, nevertheless, be borne in mind that the change in the public document must be such as to affect
the integrity of the same or change the effects which it would otherwise produce; for, unless that happens,
there could not exist the essential element of the intention to commit the crime which is required by
Article 1 (now Article 3) of the Penal Code."
We find the petitioner's stand tenable. The evident purpose of requiring government employees to keep
a time record is to show their attendance in office to work and to be paid accordingly. Closely adhering
to the policy of no work-no pay, a daily time record is primarily, if not solely, intended to prevent damage
or loss to the government as would result in instances where it pays an employee for no work done. The
integrity of the daily time record as an official document, however, remains untarnished if the damage
sought to be prevented has not been produced. As this ponente observed in the case of People vs.
Motus, supra, while it is true that a time record is an official document, it is not criminally falsified if it
does not pervert its avowed purpose as when it does not cause damage to the government. It may be
different in the case of a public document with continuing interest affecting the public welfare which is
naturally damaged if that document is falsified where the truth is necessary for the safeguard and
protection of that general interest. In the instant case, the time records have already served their purpose.
They have not caused any damage to the government or third person because under the facts duly
proven, petitioner may be said to have rendered service in the interest of the public, with proper
permission from her superiors. They may now even be condemned as having no more use to require
their continued safe-keeping. Public interest has not been harmed by their contents, and continuing faith
in their verity is not affected.
As pointed out, the obligation to make entries in the daily time records of officers and employees in the
Government service is a matter of administrative procedural convenience in the computation of salary
for a given period, characteristically, not an outright and strict measure of professional discipline,
efficiency, dedication, honesty and competence. prLL
Under the proven and admitted facts, petitioner-appellant surely is entitled to receive the pay as if she
had stayed in her office the whole period covered by the official hours prescribed. She had perhaps
made herself even more useful in the general benefit of the public than if she had remained practically
idle in her office as Election Registrar with perhaps no work at all to attend to, as is generally the case
long before elections take place, specially during the martial law regime. The COMELEC must have been
fully cognizant of the legal implications of the peculiar facts and circumstances that obtained in this case,
when it gave petitioner full clearance after she presented her resignation when an administrative charge
was filed against her by the same complainant as in the criminal charge. The courts, in the present
criminal prosecution, should do no less. It would be too harsh and cruel for the courts to punish petitioner
not only with imprisonment but with general disqualification and possible disbarment, for an act or
omission which she performed or failed to perform without any criminal intent. Such an insignificant
transgression, if ever it is one, would not beam the scales of justice against the petitioner, for courts must
always be, as they are, the repositories of fairness and justice. It is inconceivable that a person who,
without any attempt to conceal her appearances in court for this is a matter always made officially of
record in the court proceedings, emphatically, not for his own private gain, but animated by the zeal of
service not wanting in public benefit, and as an officer of the court, could have acted with a deliberate
criminal intent. Moreover, what she stated in her daily time record, as earlier observed, had more than a
mere color of truth to exclude such act from the pale of the criminal offense of falsification of public
document with which she is charged.
WHEREFORE, finding the guilt of petitioner not to have been established beyond reasonable doubt, the
judgment of conviction rendered by respondent court in affirming that of the trial court is hereby reversed,
and petitioner, acquitted of the crime charged, with costs de oficio.
SO ORDERED.
Teehankee (Chairman), Makasiar, Fernandez and Guerrero, JJ., concur.
Melencio-Herrera, J., concurs in the result.

||| (Beradio v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. L-49483-86, [March 30, 1981], 191 PHIL 153-170)

SECOND DIVISION

[G.R. Nos. L-55683 & 55903-04. February 22, 1982.]

PILAR S. LUAGUE, petitioner, vs. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS


and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.

"Thereafter, the then Bureau of Public Schools sent to the deceased's salary warrants [Exhibits A
(599), A (600) and A (601) to the Superintendent of schools at Catarman, Northern Samar who in
turn forwarded them to the District Supervisor, Florencio Guillermo. A payroll-warrant register
accompanied the checks.
"The paychecks delivered, Florencio Guillermo signed the payroll-warrant registers certifying that on
his official oath, each employee whose name appeared on the rolls had received the salary warrant
indicated opposite his name on February 7, 1972, February 17, 1972 and February 25, 1972,
respectively, and returned the same to Jose Figueroa, the District Administrative Officer of Northern
Samar.

Emerito M. Salva and Associate for the petitioner.


Solicitor General Estelito P. Mendoza, Assistant Solicitor General Roberto E.
Soberano and Trial Attorney for respondents.

SYNOPSIS

Three treasury warrants in the name of Iluminado Luague, a teacher clerk who died on January 24, 1972,
were delivered by his District Supervisor to his wife, the petitioner, after his death. Petitioner endorsed
the treasury warrants by signing the name of her husband on them and used the proceeds to pay for the
expenses of her husband's last illness and his burial. Charged with estafa through falsification of
commercial documents, petitioner claimed that when she encashed the paychecks, she believed that
she was entitled to them as advance payment of her husband's vacation and sick leave credits the money
value of which exceeded the value of the checks. After trial, petitioner was found guilty of falsification
only due to the absence of the element of damage. The Court of Appeals affirmed her conviction.
On petition for review, the Supreme Court, adopting a compassionate attitude, held that petitioner acted
in good faith when she signed her husband's name to the checks and encashed them to pay for the
expenses of her husband's last illness and burial upon the belief that she was entitled to them; and that
considering that the government sustained no damage due to such encashment, criminal intent may not
be ascribed to the petitioner.
Petitioner acquitted.

"Exhibit A (599) was personally received by Pilar S. Luague, while Exhibit A (600) was received by
Glen S. Luague. Exhibit A (601) was received by Edmundo Echano, a relative of Iluminado Luague
and who claimed to be employed in the Office of the District Supervisor.
"Florencio Guillermo claimed that upon discovering his mistake, he asked appellant to return the
treasury warrants issued in the name of her husband Iluminado Luague, further claiming that
appellant promised to do so, but actually did not. Upon the receipt of the xerox copies from the IBM
Section of the Bureau of Public Schools, Guillermo discovered that the treasury warrants in question
had been encashed by appellant and Glen Luague with different local stores at Laoang. Exhibit A
(599) was cleared on February 22, 1972, while Exhibit A (600) was deposited to the account of a
certain Lee and/or Nicolas Chu, Jr. at Philippine Bank of Communications; and Exhibit A (601) was
deposited to the account of Colgate-Palmolive Philippines, Inc. Appellant admitted having endorsed
the treasury warrants by means of which she was able to encash the same.
"For signing the name of her husband Iluminado Luague as payee on three treasury warrants for
purposes of endorsement, appellant stands charged with the crime of Estafa thru Falsification of
Commercial Document." [Note: The appellant was charged with three counts of estafa thru
falsification of commercial document but was convicted of falsification only.].
It is the petitioner's contention before Us as well as in the Court of Appeals that she acted in good faith
or had no criminal intent when she cashed her deceased husband's paychecks. As stated in the decision
of the Court of Appeals:
"Appellant puts up the defense of good faith in signing the name of her deceased husband in the
treasury warrants in question.

DECISION

ABAD SANTOS, J p:
Certiorari to review a decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. Nos. 22414-16 CR, which affirmed the
decision of the Court of First Instance of Samar, Branch X, convicting the petitioner of three counts of
falsification of commercial documents in Criminal Cases Nos. 599, 600 and 601.

"Her version: The late Iluminado Luague was on leave from January 3 to February 9, 1972, as
evidenced by his approved application for sick leave. On January 23, 1972, the Principal, Jose
Infante, while visiting Iluminado Luague in the hospital, handed to Luague a check representing his
differentials. Luague in turn handed over the check to his wife, the herein appellant, who was then
present. Before Infante left, he informed the Luague spouses that Luague's pay check for the
second half of January 1972 had arrived and advised Mrs. Luague to get the same from Florencio
Guillermo so that she could use it to pay for medicine and hospital expenses of her husband.
"Iluminado Luague instructed her [his (sic)] wife to get the check from Florencio Guillermo.
Appellant went to the house of Guillermo in the afternoon of January 23, 1972. Guillermo asked
her to sign the name of her husband on the payroll-warrant register and counter-sign with her
initials. Guillermo then handed her the treasury warrant [Exhibit A (599)].

The facts are stated in the poorly written decision of the Court of Appeals thus: cdll
"Iluminado Luague, a teacher clerk in the district office of Laoang II, Northern Samar, died at the
G.B. Tan Memorial Hospital at around 7:00 o'clock in the evening of January 24, 1972 after he was
confined in said hospital since January 3, 1972.

"Iluminado Luague died on January 24, 1972. From the proceeds of the warrants they received
were paid the amount the Luague family owed the drugstores owned by Amor Carandang, Purisima
Saba and Luz Tan. A treasury warrant was also paid to Edward Kam from whom they bought
construction materials for the tomb of the deceased and to Ong Kiat store for the payment of
materials used for the coffin of the late Iluminado Luague which were purchased on credit.

"Upon the instruction of Amor Carandang and on her belief and upon suggestion of Florencio
Guillermo himself that the warrants could be used to settle their financial obligations incurred by
the hospitalization and death of her late husband, appellant indorsed the said treasury warrants by
signing the name of Iluminado Luague.
"Heirs of deceased government employees are entitled to whatever unpaid salaries the deceased
employee failed to receive. Appellant claims that it was upon this honest belief that she endorsed
the treasury warrants of her late husband to defray for the necessary expenses incurred due to the
latter's hospitalization, funeral and burial."
The Court of Appeals did not reject the petitioner's version, except in respect of the date when the first
paycheck was delivered. In affirming the decision of the trial court, the Court of Appeals followed the
simplistic procedure of applying literally the letter of the law, namely: there was falsification because the
petitioner "signed her husband's name in indorsing the treasury warrants in question." The Court of
Appeals failed to take into account the following facts: That the petitioner signed her husband's name to
the checks because they were delivered to her by no less than her husband's district supervisor long
after the husband's death which was known to the supervisor; that she used the proceeds of the checks
to pay for the expenses of her husband's last illness and his burial; and that she believed that she was
entitled to the money as an advance payment of her husband's vacation and sick leave credits the money
value of which exceeded the value of the checks. In the light of these circumstances, We cannot ascribe
criminal intent to the petitioner. We sustain her claim that she acted in good faith.
During the hearing, it was brought out that the government did not sustain any financial loss due to the
encashment of the checks because the petitioner's husband had accumulated vacation and sick leaves
the money value of which exceeded the value of the three paychecks and the value of the checks was
simply deducted from the money value of the leaves. This explains why the petitioner was not convicted
of estafa but of falsification only. While we do not mean to imply that if there is no damage there can be
no falsification, We do say that the absence of damage is an element to be considered to determine
whether or not there is criminal intent.
We notice here the lack of compassion on the part of the prosecuting fiscal, the trial judge, and the Court
of Appeals. Even the Solicitor General who is alert in seeking to correct improper convictions by trial
courts has somehow misappreciated the evidence in this case. LLphil
The accused is a poor widow who was obviously in a state of bewilderment due to the recent death of
her husband when she cashed the paychecks. She was also in dire need of money to settle the expenses
for her husband's last illness and his burial. A compassionate attitude repeatedly urged by the First Lady,
Mrs. Imelda R. Marcos, would have been highly in order under the circumstances.
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby granted; the decision of the Court of Appeals is reversed; the
petitioner is acquitted of the charges against her. No costs.
SO ORDERED.
Barredo (Chairman), Aquino, Concepcion, Jr., De Castro and Ericta, JJ., concur.
Escolin, J., took no part.
||| (Luague v. Court of Appeals, G.R. Nos. L-55683 & 55903-04, [February 22, 1982], 197 PHIL 784789)

EN BANC

Securities/Documents under Custody, both dated March 9, 1982, but were discovered to have been
missing after an inventory conducted by accused on March 20, 1982, thereby making an untruthful
statement in a narration of facts in violation of par. 4 of Articles 171 of the Revised Penal Code."

[G.R. No. L-67472. July 3, 1987.]

DARIO CABIGAS Y CACHO, petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,


respondent.

After arraignment and trial, the Sandiganbayan rendered its decision in both cases, the dispositive
portion of which reads as follows: LexLib
"WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered

DECISION

"1. In Criminal Case No. 6529 ACQUITTING the accused Dario Cabigas y Cacho and Benedicto
Reynes y Lopez, with costs de officio and ordering their bail bonds in the said case cancelled.
"2. In Criminal Case No. 6938:

PARAS, J p:
Under separate informations both dated September 20, 1982, the Office of the Tanodbayan charges
Dario Cabigas y Cacho and Benedicto Reynes y Lopez on two (2) counts, with the crime of Falsification
of Official Documents allegedly committed in the following manner:
(1) Criminal Case No. 6529
"That on or about March 29, 1982, in the Municipality of Makati, Metro Manila, and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, accused Dario Cabigas y Cacho and Benedicto Reynes y
Lopez, both public officers being then employed as Securities Custodian and Securities Receiving
Clerk, respectively, of the Land Bank of the Philippines, Makati Branch, a government-owned
and/or controlled corporation, conspiring together, taking advantage of their official position and
committing the crime herein charged in relation to their Office, did then and there willfully, unlawfully
and feloniously falsify . . . Securities Delivery Receipt dated March 9, 1982 . . . evidencing, among
others, receipt by them in their official capacity of Treasury Bills bearing Serial No. A-000064 up to
A-000082 of the 795th series, by then and there making alterations and/or intercalations thereon
to the effect that only treasury bills bearing SN-A-000064 to A-000076 were received by them on
March 9, 1982, for the purpose of hiding or concealing the loss while in their custody of six (6)
treasury bills bearing SN-A-000077 to A-000082 of the 795th series, thereby changing the meaning
of said Securities Delivery Receipt."
(2) Criminal Case No. 6938
"That on or about March 30, 1982 in the Municipality of Makati, Metro Manila, and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, accused Dario Cabigas y Cacho and Benedicto Reynes y
Lopez, both public officers, being then employed as Securities Custodian and Securities Receiving
Clerk, respectively, of the Land Bank of the Philippines, Makati Branch, a government-owned
and/or controlled corporation, conspiring together, and taking advantage of their official positions
and committing the crime herein charged in relation to their office, did then and there willfully,
unlawfully and feloniously falsify the Daily Report of Securities/Documents under custody dated
March 30, 1982, which is an official document evidencing the securities transactions and/or
operations of the Makati Branch of the aforenamed bank, and which it was their official duty to
prepare and submit to their superiors, by then and there indicating in said document, for the purpose
of hiding the loss or disappearance while in their custody of six (6) treasury bills of the 795th series,
with face value of P500,000.00 each, that the beginning balance of securities under their custody
as to volume was 1,533 pieces, when, the ending balance as to volume in the previous day's report
was 1,539 pieces and that the beginning balance as to face value in the previous day's report was
P610,095,000.00 and thereafter falsely stating in the footnote of the same document that the
reduction was due to `Adjustment on Erroneous Entry (incoming) dated 3/09/82' the truth being
that the six (6) pieces of treasury bills with aggregate face value of P3,000,000.00 were not
erroneously entered in either the Securities Delivery Receipt or the Daily Report of

"a) Finding the accused Dario Cabigas y Cacho GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt as principal of
the crime of Falsification of a Public or Official Document defined and penalized under Article 171,
paragraph No. 6 of the Revised Penal Code without any mitigating or aggravating circumstances;
and applying the indeterminate Sentence Law, hereby sentencing him to an indeterminate penalty
ranging from TWO (2) YEARS, FOUR (4) MONTHS and ONE (1) DAY of prision correccional, as
minimum, to EIGHT (8) YEARS and ONE (1) DAY of prision mayor, as maximum, to pay a fine of
P2,000.00 without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, and to pay the costs.
"b) ACQUITTING accused Benedicto Reynes y Lopes, with costs de officio; an ordering his bail
bond cancelled.
"SO ORDERED."
The instant petition is an appeal, interposed by herein petitioner Dario Cabigas y Cacho from the
foregoing decision in Criminal Case No. 6938.
The following pertinent facts are not disputed: Petitioner Dario Cabigas is the Securities Custodian of
the Securities Section of the Land Bank of the Philippines assigned to its branch at Makati, Metro Manila.
Assisting him in his work is Benedicto Reynes, the securities receiving clerk. The Fund Management
Department (FMD) of the Land Bank of the Philippines is engaged in money market and securities trading
transactions. The securities which are in the form of treasury notes and bills are in turn deposited with
the Securities Section of the Land Bank of the Philippines, Makati Branch.
On March 9, 1982, the Fund Management Department, delivered to the Securities Section, Makati
Branch of the Land Bank of the Philippines, for safekeeping, 112 pieces of treasury notes and treasury
bills worth P46,000,000.00 and for which a copy of the Securities Delivery Receipt (SDR) Exh. D, was
issued to the Fund Management Dept. while the original of the same was retained by the Securities
Section. Included in the securities received on March 9, 1982 are 19 pieces of treasury bills with Serial
Nos. A-000064 to A-000082, 795th series, in the denomination of P500,000.00 each, or a total amount
of P9,500,000.00. After receiving the securities, the accused would prepare the Daily Report on
Securities/Documents Under Custody (DR SDUC) evidencing the securities transactions and operations
of the Makati Branch of the Land Bank of the Philippines. This has been the routine procedure being
adopted by the accused in the performance of his duty as a Security Custodian.
On March 29, 1982, in the course of their inventory of treasury notes and bills deposited with them,
Cabigas and Reynes discovered the loss of six (6) treasury bills of the 795th series with a total value of
P3,000,000.00. Upon verification that Securities Delivery Receipt (SDR) dated March 9, 1982, Exhibit C,
was the source document of the missing securities which were delivered to them for safekeeping,
accused Reynes crossed out with a red ink in the said document the last two digits "82" and the addition
after them of the figure "76" on the serial numbers A-000064 to A-000082 of the 19 treasury bills of the
795th series with a total maturity value of P9,500,000.00. Then at the bottom of the SDR, Cabigas placed

the notation "For adjustment" and below it the date "3/29/82." Then upon Cabigas' suggestion, Reynes
reported the incident to their branch manager, Aurora Pigram. When the DR SDUC for March 29, 1982
was prepared, the number of treasury bills of the 795th series stood at 1,539 pieces with a total face
value of P610,095,000.00. LLphil
The following day, Reynes prepared a draft report for March 30, 1982 by carrying forward the ending
balance of the treasury bills of the 795th series reflected in the DR SDUC dated March 29, 1982.
However, instead of following the draft prepared by Reynes, Cabigas prepared his own report - DR
SDUC (Exh. "G") dated March 30, 1982 wherein he indicated 1,533 pieces of treasury bills of the 795th
series with a total amount of P607,095,000.00 which the latter claimed to be the number of securities of
the 795th series in his possession at the time of the preparation of said report. At the bottom of DR SDUC
(Exh. "G") Cabigas placed the notation "Adjustment on Erroneous Entry (incoming) dated March 9, 1982"
as legend of the asterisk (*) sign which appears after the figure "1,533."
On May 20, 1982, a certain Rosie Chua was found to be authenticating with the Central Bank of the
Philippines a treasury bill of the 795th series with Serial No. A-000082 in the amount of P500,000.00.
Upon investigation by NBI agents, it was discovered that the Land Bank of the Philippines Makati Branch
Manager, Aurora Pigram, was the one who negotiated the said treasury bill with the Gainsbo
Commodities. Further investigation revealed that the five (5) missing treasury bills with series numbers
A-000077 to A-000081 were negotiated by Pigram with the Home Savings Bank to secure a loan. The
Land Bank immediately sought the assistance of the NBI in investigating the case. On May 24, 1982,
Cabigas and Reynes were investigated by NBI agents. After the investigation, Cabigas and Reynes were
arrested for having allegedly conspired together in falsifying the Securities Delivery Receipt (SDR) dated
March 9, 1982 (Exh. "C" and the Daily Report on Securities/Documents under custody (DR SDUC) Exh.
G dated March 30, 1982 and for which the corresponding informations were filed with the
Sandiganbayan. Both accused were acquitted in Criminal Case No. 6529. However, accused Dario
Cabigas y Cacho was convicted in Criminal Case No. 6938, while his co-accused was acquitted therein.
In convicting accused Dario Cabigas y Cacho, the Sandiganbayan stated in its now assailed Decision
that
"In the case of Exhibit "G", the Daily Report on Securities/Documents Under Custody (DR SDUC)
for March 30, 1982, the alleged falsification consists of the following entries (figures) pertaining to
treasury bills: '1,533', '607,095,000.00', '1,533 and 607,095,000.00' marked on the document as
Exhibit G-1, and the legend of the asterisk (*) sign at the bottom portion reading, 'Adjustment on
erroneous entry (incoming) dated 3/09/82' marked as Exhibit G-2. The numbers '1,533' and
'607,095,000.00' represent the volume and the total face/maturity value, respectively, of the
treasury bills supposedly in the custody of the Securities Section as of March 30, 1982. Those
entries were falsifications, the prosecution maintains, because the correct number of treasury bills
deposited with the Securities Section as of that date was 1,539 valued at P610,095,000.00; that
the said figures were altered to '1,533 and 607,095,000.00,' respectively, to conceal the loss or
disappearance of 6 treasury bills worth P3,000,000.00, and that the footnote at the bottom portion
of the document (Exh. G-2) was written to attribute the reduction in the number of treasury bills
from '1,539' to '1,533' to mistake or error in the entries in the Securities Delivery Receipt of March
9, 1982 (Exh. C).
"The discrepancy in the figures is indeed apparent. In the DR SDUC for March 29, 1982 (Exh. F),
the ending balance on the number of treasury bills at the close of office hours on that day was
1,539 pieces with a total face maturity value of P610,095,000.00 (Exh. F-1). Accordingly, the
beginning balance on the number of the same treasury bills on the following day, March 30, 1982,
must also be 1,539 pieces with a total face/Maturity value of P610,095,000.00. But as it was made
to appear in the DR SDUC for March 30, 1982 (Exhs. G and G-1), the beginning and ending
balances on the number and value of treasury bills for that date were 1,533 pieces and
P607,095,000.00 maturity value.
"The question now is, who caused the alterations and what was the purpose behind them."
xxx xxx xxx

"By changing the original figures in the draft of the DR SDUC from '1,539' and '610' to '1,533' and
'607' respectively, and causing Reynes to type the final copy of the DR SDUC on the basis of the
corrected draft Cabigas caused the document to show that the treasury bills in their custody as of
March 30, 1982 were 1,533 pieces with a total face/maturity value of P607,095,000.00. By placing,
likewise, an asterisk (*) sign after the figure '1,533' and writing the words 'Adjustment on erroneous
entry (incoming) dated 3/09/82' as legend of the asterisk (*) sign, Cabigas caused to make it appear
that the discrepancy of 6 treasury bills valued at P3,000,000.00 was due to error in the entries in
the Securities Delivery Receipt of March 9, 1982 (Exh. C). Considering that the said SDR of March
9, 1982 (Exh. C) did not contain any error but reflected the number of securities received by them
on that day, it is obvious that Cabigas made the alterations in Exhibit G and the misleading footnote
(Exh. G-2) in order to suppress, bide or conceal the fact that the 6 treasury bills comprising the
discrepancy were lost while in their custody.
"The alterations amounted to falsification of Exhibit G, a public or official document, under
paragraph No. 4, Article 171, of the Revised Penal Code, by making untruthful statements in a
narration of facts. As Securities Custodian, Cabigas was under obligation to disclose in the said
document the correct number and total maturity value of the securities under his official custody as
of March 30, 1982."
It is a settled doctrine that in falsification by an employee under par. No. 4 of Article 171, which reads
"by making untruthful statements in a narration of facts," the following elements must concur
(a) That the offender makes in a document untruthful statements in a narration of facts;
(b) That he has a legal obligation to disclose the truth of the facts narrated by him;
(c) That the facts narrated by the offender are absolutely false; and
(d) That the perversion of truth in the narration of facts was made with the wrongful intent of injuring
a third person.
Herein petitioner contends that the foregoing elements are not present in the case at bar. The correction
of the figure from 1,539 to 1,533 pieces to conform to the actual number of treasury under custody is not
falsification because it was made to speak the truth (US vs. Mateo, 25 Phil. 324). The placing of an
asterisk (*) sign after the figure "1,533" and writing the words, "Adjustment on erroneous entry (incoming)
dated 3/09/82" as legend of the asterisk sign, contrary to the ruling of the respondent court, was not
effected to hide or conceal the fact that the missing 6 treasury bills were lost. It would be far more difficult
to detect or discover the loss if there was no asterisk or footnote in the DR SDUC, Exh. G. In fact, the
evidence discloses that immediately upon discovery of the loss on March 29, 1982, petitioner reported
the matter to his immediate supervisor, Estela L. Espiritu and Branch Manager of the Securities Section,
Aurora Pigram. This shows good faith and lack of motive on the part of petitioner to conceal the said
loss. cdphil
Petitioner further argues that the Daily Report on Securities/Documents under Custody (DR SDUC) is a
form purely devised and adopted by him. This form was never required, neither was it introduced nor
prescribed by the Land Bank. Petitioner, therefore, was not under "legal obligation" to disclose in the DR
SDUC or SDR, the correct number and total maturity value of the securities under their official custody
as of a given date. It is purely optional on the part of petitioner to use the said forms.
The Honorable Solicitor General recommends that the accused be acquitted because
"There is nothing to show the DR SDUC dated March 30, 1982, Exh. G, for the alleged falsification
of which petitioner was convicted in Criminal Case No. 6938 is a form the submission of which was
or is required by law. In the petition for review, petitioner points out that as testified by him the form
was not an official form of the Land Bank. The form was his own initiative adopted 'for our own
convenience and also for reference purposes.' Petitioner therefore, was not under legal obligation

to disclose or reveal the truth by said DR SDUC. In the absence of such obligation and of the
alleged wrongful intent, defendant cannot be legally convicted of the crime of falsification of public
document with which he is charged. (People vs. Quasha, 93 Phil. 333)."
WHEREFORE, on ground of reasonable doubt, the decision of the Sandiganbayan in Criminal Case No.
6938 is hereby REVERSED and another one rendered ACQUITTING the petitioner, Dario Cabigas y
Cacho.
Cost de oficio.
SO ORDERED.
Teehankee, (C.J.), Yap, Fernan, Narvasa, Melencio-Herrera, Gutierrez, Jr., Cruz, Feliciano, Gancayco,
Padilla, Bidin, Sarmiento and Cortes, JJ., concur.
||| (Cabigas y Cacho v. People, G.R. No. L-67472, [July 3, 1987])

SECOND DIVISION

employee of a lumber and hardware store in Dagupan City, and with Anastacio Quirimit, the provincial
auditor, as an accomplice, used six (6) forged provincial vouchers in order to embezzle from the road
and bridge fund the total sum of P57,048.23.

[G.R. Nos. L-33252-54. January 20, 1978.]

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. LICERIO P.


SENDAYDIEGO, JUAN SAMSON and ANASTACIO QUIRIMIT, defendants. JUAN
SAMSON, defendant-appellant. PROVINCE OF PANGASINAN, Offended PartyAppellee, vs. HEIRS OF LICERIO P. SENDAYDIEGO, defendants-appellants.

Norberto J. Quisumbing for appellant Sendaydiego.

The provincial voucher involved in these cases has several part. In the upper part with the legend
"ARTICLE OR SERVICE" the nature of the obligation incurred is indicated. That part is supposed to be
signed by two officials of the provincial engineer's office and by the governor's representative.
The middle part of the voucher contains five numbered printed paragraphs. Paragraph 1 is a certificate
to be signed by the creditor. It is stated therein that the creditor vouches that the expenses "were actually
and necessarily incurred". In the instant cases paragraph 1 was not signed presumably because it is not
relevant to the purchase of materials for public works projects.
Paragraph 2 is a certification that the expenses are correct and have been lawfully incurred. It is signed
by the provincial engineer.

Donato J. Rillera for appellant Samson.


Office of the Solicitor General for appellee.

Paragraph 3 contains these words: "Approved for pre-audit and payment, appropriations and funds being
available therefor." This is signed by the provincial treasurer.
SYNOPSIS

Licerio P. Sendaydiego, provincial treasurer of Pangasinan, in conspiracy with Juan Samson, as an


employee of a lumber store, and with Anastacio Quirimit, the provincial auditor as an accompliance, used
six forged provincial vouchers to embezzle from the road and bridge fund the total sum of P57,048.23.
They were charged with malversation through falsification. After trial the lower court acquitted the auditor
and found Sendaydiego and Samson guilty as principals of malversation through falsification of public
documents.
Pending appeal, Sendaydiego died. By resolution of the Supreme Court, his appeal as to this Criminal
liability was dismissed, but the court resolved to continue exercising appellate jurisdiction over his
possible civil liability for the monetary claims of the province of Pangasinan arising from the alleged
criminal acts complained of, as if no criminal case had been instituted against him, thus making
applicable, in determining his civil liability, Article 30 of the Civil Code. The title of the case was thus
amended to show its civil aspect.
The Supreme Court held that the crime committed are not complex, but separate crimes of falsification
and malversation; because in the six vouchers the falsification was used to conceal the malversation.
Each falsification and each malversation constituted independent offenses which must be punished
separately. Since Samson, a private person, conspired with an accountable public officer in committing
malversation, he is also guilty of malversation.
Samson and the estate of the late Sandaydiego were held solidarily liable to indemnify the province of
Pangasinan.

DECISION

Paragraph 4 is a certification which, as filled up in Exhibit K, Voucher No. 10724 dated February 28,
1969, reads: LibLex
"I certify that this voucher has been pre-audited and same may be paid in the amount of sixteen
thousand seven hundred twenty-seven and 52/100 (P16,727.52) in cash or in check, provided there
is sufficient fund to cover the payment."
This is signed by the auditor.
Paragraph 5 is a certification signed by the provincial treasurer that the account mentioned in the
provincial engineer's certification "was paid in the amount and on the date shown below and is
chargeable as shown in the summary hereof. . . ." It may be noted that the provincial treasurer signs two
parts of the voucher.
Following paragraph 5, and as referred to therein, is the receipt of payment signed by the creditor. As
accomplished in Exhibit K, the receipt reads (it was signed according to the prosecution by Juan Samson,
a point which is disputed by him):
"Received this 31st day of March, 1969, from L. P. Sendaydiego, Treasurer, Province of
Pangasinan, the sum of sixteen thousand seven hundred twenty-seven pesos & 52/100 (16,727.52)
in full payment of the above stated account, which I hereby certify to be correct. Paid by Check No.
...........
CARRIED
CONSTR.
SUPPLY CO.
By:
(Sgd.) JUAN
SAMSON"

AQUINO, J p:

According to the prosecution, Samson also signed on the left margin of the six vouchers below the
stamped words: "Presented to Prov. Treasurer. By Juan Samson."

In these three cases of malversation through falsification, the prosecution's theory is that in 1969 Licerio
P. Sendaydiego, the provincial treasurer of Pangasinan, in conspiracy with Juan Samson y Galvan, an

Voucher No. 10724 (Exh. K). This provincial voucher, dated February 28, 1969, evidences the
payment of P16,727.52 to the Carried Construction Supply Co. of Dagupan City for lumber and hardware

materials supposedly used in the repair of the bridge in Barrio Libertad at the Umingan-Tayug road in
Pangasinan along the Nueva Ecija boundary (Exh. K). The voucher makes reference to invoice No. 3327
and other supporting papers.

(3) Voucher No. 11870 dated April 28, 1969 evidencing the payment of P6,290.60 for lumber and
hardware materials allegedly used in the repair of the Cabatuan bridge at the Umingan-Guimba
Road (Exh. Q).

The falsity of the provincial voucher is proven by the following circumstances:

(4) Voucher No. 11871 dated April 15, 1969 evidencing the payment of P9,769.64 for lumber and
hardware materials allegedly used in the repair of the Casabar bridge at the Binalonan-San Manuel
Road (Exh. R).

(a) That there was no project for the repair of the bridge at Barrio Libertad (p. 1; Exh. Z).
(b) That the amount of P16,727.52 was never received by the Carried Construction Supply Co. The
alleged official receipts No. 3025 of the company dated March, 1969 (Exh. K-6) is forged.
(c) That the lumber and materials mentioned in Exhibit K were never delivered by the company to the
provincial government.
(d) That in the provincial voucher, Exhibit K, and in the supporting requisition and issue voucher (RIV)
No. 2206 dated January 29, 1969 (Exh. A), covering the same lumber and hardware materials, the
signatures of the following officials were forged: Salvador F. Oropilla, senior civil engineer; Rodolfo P.
Mencias, supervising civil engineer; Victoriano M. Servilleja, acting provincial engineer, and Ricardo B.
Primicias,, chief of equipment of the governor's office. These four officials denied that their signatures in
the two vouchers, Exhibits A and B, are their genuine signatures.
(e) That the imprint of the rubber stamp on Exhibits A and B, containing the words "Approved: For and
By Authority of the Governor (signed) Ricardo B. Primicias, Chief of Equipment", is not the imprint of the
genuine rubber stamp used in Primicias' office.
(f) That charge invoice No. 3327 of the Carried Construction Supply Co. dated February 18, 1969,
containing a description and the prices of the lumber and hardware materials (Exh. B), is fake because,
according to Ambrosio Jabanes, the company's assistant manager, the company's invoice No. 3327 was
issued to the Mountain Agricultural College (Exh. II-1). Oropilla denied that his alleged signature on
Exhibit B is his signature.
(g) That three other documents, supporting the provincial voucher (Exh. K), were also forged. Those
documents are the taxpayer's certificate dated February 10, 1969 (Exh. C) stating that no tax is due on
the goods sold in the fake invoice No. 3327 and the two certificates as to the samples of lumber allegedly
purchased from the Carried Construction Supply Co., (Exh. D and E). Narciso P. Martinez, a district
forester, denied that his signatures in Exhibits D and E are his genuine signatures.
(h) That Angelo C. Manuel, the checker of the provincial auditor's office, denied that his signature on the
left margin is his signature (Exh. A-10).
The forged character of provincial voucher No. 10724 (Exh. K) is incontrovertible.
Other five forged vouchers. Five other provincial vouchers evidencing supposed payments of certain
amounts to the Carried Construction Supply Co. for lumber and hardware materials supposedly used in
the repair of other bridges were also falsified. These five vouchers are the following:
(1) Voucher No. 11995 dated April 29, 1969 evidencing the payment of P14,571.81 for lumber and
hardware materials allegedly used in the repair of Bayaoas bridge at the Urbiztondo-Pasibi Road
(Exh. O).
(2) Voucher No. 11869 dated April 15, 1969 evidencing the payment of P5,187.28 for lumber and
hardware materials allegedly used in the repair of the Panganiban bridge at the Umingan-Tayug
Road (Exh. P).

(5) Voucher No. 11872 dated April 15, 1969 evidencing the payment of P4,501.38 for lumber and
hardware materials allegedly used in the repair of the Baracbac bridge at the Umingan-Guimba
Road (Exh. S).
As in the case of voucher No. 10724 (Exh. K), Oropilla, Mencias, and Primicias declared that their
signatures in the said five vouchers are not their genuine signatures. Samson, who hand-carried the said
vouchers for processing, did not turn over to the provincial auditor's office the papers supporting the said
vouchers after the vouchers had been pre-audited. Hence, those supporting papers could not be
presented in evidence.
Jabanes, the aforementioned assistant manager of the Carried Construction Supply Co., testified that
the lumber and hardware materials mentioned in the five vouchers were never delivered by his company
to the provincial government. The charge invoices mentioned in the said vouchers were cancelled
invoices issued to the Mountain Agricultural College. The projected repairs of the bridges were fictitious.
llcd
The company's cashier testified that the company never received the payments for the lumber and
hardware materials. The receipts evidencing payments (Exh. K-6, KK to KK-4) are fake official receipts.
The cashier produced in court the genuine official receipts (Exh. LL to LL-7) bearing the serial numbers
of the fake receipts. The genuine receipts do not refer to transactions with the provincial government.
Samson played a stellar role in the processing of the six vouchers. He used to be an employee of the
provincial treasurer's office. He resigned and worked with several firms doing business with the provincial
government. In 1969 he was the collector of the Carried Construction Supply Co. He represented that
firm in its dealings with the offices of the governor, provincial auditor, provincial engineer and provincial
treasurer. He was personally known to those provincial officials and the employees of their offices (2122 Sendaydiego's brief).
The six (6) forged provincial vouchers, with their respective supporting papers, were hand-carried by
Samson. He delivered the papers to Carmencita Castillo, the ledger clerk in the provincial engineer's
office, for recording and for her signature (Exh. DD).
Thereafter, Samson brought the papers to the provincial treasurer's office. Marcelo Crusada, a laborer
in that office who performed the chore of recording the vouchers and payrolls, recorded Vouchers Nos.
11869, 11871 and 11872 (Exh. P, R, and S). Crusada's initials appear on the upper lefthand corner of
the said vouchers with the date "4/17/69"
Samson signed on the left margin of the vouchers to indicate that he presented them to the provincial
treasurer's office. Crusada said that after Samson had presented the said papers to him, Samson
brought them to Ricardo Baraan, the bookkeeper of the provincial treasurer's office, for processing and
for the latter's signature (Exh. WW).
From Baraan's office, Samson hand-carried the vouchers to the provincial auditor's office. He asked
Virginia Cruz, a clerk, to record the same (Exh. CC).
Afterwards, Samson asked Donato Rosete, the assistant provincial treasurer, to initial the vouchers.
After Rosete had initialled the vouchers, Samson went to the provincial treasurer's office where the

amounts covered by the vouchers were paid by Sendaydiego to him in cash (instead of by check) as
representative of the Carried Construction Supply Co. (Exh. EE). He received the payments on March
31 and April 29 and 28 (four payments on that date) as shown on the face of the vouchers.
The signatures of Sendaydiego and Quirimit, the auditor, on the said six vouchers are admittedly
authentic. Sendaydiego signed the vouchers ahead of Rosete, his assistant. Sendaydiego's defense is
that he signed the vouchers in the honest belief that the signatures therein of the provincial officials
concerned were genuine because the vouchers had been pre-audited and approved by the auditor.
Samson denied the authenticity of his two signatures on each of the six vouchers showing that he
received from Sendaydiego the amounts covered thereby as representative of the lumber and hardware
firm (Exh. OO to TT) and that he presented the vouchers to the provincial treasurer's office (Exh. 6-12
Samson). Sendaydiego testified that Samson's signatures are genuine.
In connection with the six vouchers, Sendaydiego, Samson and Quirimit were charged with malversation
through falsification in three cases docketed as follows:
1. Criminal Case No. 23349 involving provincial voucher No. 10724 dated February 28, 1969 in the
sum of P16,727.52 (Exh. K), L-33252.
2. Criminal Case No. 23350 involving provincial vouchers Nos. 11869, 11870, 11871 dated April
15 (two dates) 28 and 15, 1969 for the respective amounts of P5,187.28, P6,290.60, P9,769.64
and P4,501,38 (four vouchers, Exh. P, Q, R and S), now L-33253.
3. Criminal Case No. 23351 involving provincial voucher No. 11955 dated April 29, 1969 in the sum
of P14,571.81 (Exh. O), now L-33254.
After trial, the lower court acquitted the auditor, Quirimit and found Sendaydiego and Samson guilty of
malversation through falsification of public or official documents, imposing each of the following
penalties:
(1) In Criminal Case No. 23349, an indeterminate sentence of twelve years, ten months and twentyone-days, as minimum, to eighteen years, two months and twenty-one days of reclusion temporal,
as maximum, and a fine of P16,727.52 and to indemnify solidarily the provincial Government of
Pangasinan in the same amount;
(2) In Criminal Case No. 23350, the penalty of reclusion perpetua, and a fine of P29,748.90 and to
indemnify solidarily the provincial government of Pangasinan in the same amount; and
(3) In Criminal Case No. 23351, an indeterminate sentence of twelve years, ten months and twentyone days, as minimum, to eighteen years, two months and twenty one days of reclusion temporal,
as maximum, and a fine of P14,571.81 and to indemnify solidarily the provincial government of
Pangasinan in the same amount.
Sendaydiego and Samson appealed to this Court.
Sendaydiego died on October 5, 1976. His appeal as to his criminal liability was dismissed. Death
extinguished his criminal liability but his civil liability remained. The resolution of July 8, 1977 dismissing
Sendaydiego's appeal reads as follows: prcd
"The death of appellant Sendaydiego during the pendency of his appeal or before the judgment of
conviction rendered against him by the lower court became final and executory extinguished his
criminal liability, meaning his obligation to serve the personal or imprisonment penalties and his

liability to pay the fines or pecuniary penalties (Art. 89[1], Revised Penal Code; 1 Viada, Codigo
Penal, 4th Ed., 565).
"The claim of complainant Province of Pangasinan for the civil liability survived Sendaydiego
because his death occurred after final judgment was rendered by the Court of First Instance of
Pangasinan, which convicted him of three complex crimes of malversation through falsification and
ordered him to indemnify the Province in the total sum of P61,048.23 (should be P57,048.23).
"The civil action for the civil liability is deemed impliedly instituted with the criminal action in the
absence of express waiver or its reservation in a separate action (Sec. 1, Rule 111 of the Rules of
Court). The civil action for the civil liability is separate and distinct from the criminal action (People
and Manuel vs. Coloma, 105 Phil. 1287; Roa vs. De la Cruz, 107 Phil. 8).
"'When the action is for the recovery of money' 'and the defendant dies before final judgment in the
Court of First Instance, it shall be dismissed to be prosecuted in the manner especially provided' in
Rule 87 of the Rules of Court (Sec. 21, Rule 3 of the Rules of Court).
"The implication is that, if the defendant dies after a money judgment had been rendered against
him by the Court of First Instance, the action survives him. It may be continued on appeal (Torrijos
vs. Court of Appeals, L-40336, October 24, 1975; 67 SCRA 394).
"The accountable public officer may still be civilly liable for the funds improperly disbursed although
he has no criminal liability (U. S. vs. Elvina, 24 Phil. 230; Philippine National Bank vs. Tugab, 66
Phil. 583).
"In view of the foregoing, notwithstanding the dismissal of the appeal of the deceased Sendaydiego
insofar as his criminal liability is concerned, the Court Resolved to continue exercising appellate
jurisdiction over his possible civil liability for the money claims of the Province of Pangasinan arising
from the alleged criminal acts complained of, as if no criminal case had been instituted against him,
thus making applicable, in determining his civil liability, Article 30 of the Civil Code (Note: The lower
court had issued an order of attachment against him on January 13, 1970 for the sum of P36,487
and in the brief for said appellant, there is no specific assignment of error affecting the civil liability
fixed by the trial court.) and, for that purpose, his counsel is directed to inform this Court within ten
(10) days of the names and addresses of the decedent's heirs or whether or not his estate is under
administration and has a duly appointed judicial administrator. Said heirs or administrator will be
substituted for the deceased insofar as the civil action for the civil liability is concerned (Secs. 16
and 17, Rule 3, Rules of Court). According to Sendaydiego's brief, he had a wife and ten children
named Arturo, Licerio, Jr., Prospero, Regulo, Eduardo, Cesar, Nola, Aida, Wilfredo and Manolo
(deceased).
"The title of this case should be amended to show its civil aspect by adding thereto the following:
'Province of Pangasinan vs. Heirs of Licerio P. Sendaydiego.'"
Sendaydiego's appeal will be resolved only for the purpose of showing his criminal liability which is the
basis of the civil liability for which his estate would be liable.
Sendaydiego's appeal; civil liability of his estate. In view of Sendaydiego's death, it is not necessary
to resolve his first two assignments of error, wherein he assails the imposition of reclusion perpetua as
a cruel and unusual penalty and wherein it is argued that there is no complex crime of malversation
through falsification committed by negligence.
In the third assignment of error, it is contended that the trial court erred in allowing private prosecutors
Millora and Urbiztondo to prosecute the case, thereby allegedly subjecting the accused to proceedings
marked by undue publicity, pre-judgment, bias and political self-interest.

Atty. Vicente D. Millora, a senior member of the provincial board actually handled the prosecution of the
case from the preliminary investigation, which started on June 5, 1969, up to the termination of the trial
on July 29, 1970.
At the commencement of the preliminary investigation, the counsel for the accused auditor inquired
whether Atty. Millora was authorized by the provincial board to act as private prosecutor in representation
of the province of Pangasinan, the offended part. Atty. Millora replied that there was a board resolution
designating him as private prosecutor.
The acting provincial commander, who filed the complaints, manifested to the trial court that he had
authorized Atty. Millora to act as private prosecutor (4-8 tsn June 5, 1969).
Another defense counsel filed a written motion to inhibit Millora and the others as private prosecutors.
The lower court denied the motion in its order of June 18, 1969 (p. 40, Record of Criminal Case No.
23350).
After the termination of the preliminary investigation conducted by the lower court, the provincial fiscal of
Pangasinan and the city fiscal of Dagupan City filed three informations against the accused all dated
November 4, 1969.
At the commencement of the trial on February 23, 1970 the city fiscal, an assistant provincial fiscal, and
Atty. Millora, the private prosecutor, appeared for the prosecution. The city fiscal moved "that the private
prosecutor (Millora) be authorized to conduct the examination subject to our (the fiscal's) control and
supervision". The trial court granted the motion (7 tsn). prcd
At the hearing on April 23, 1970 the same city fiscal moved that Atty. Urbiztondo be authorized to
examine the prosecution witnesses under his supervision and control. The trial court granted the motion
(155 tsn).
The record shows that at every hearing the provincial fiscal, the city fiscal or an assistant fiscal were
present together with the private prosecutor.
Under the foregoing circumstances, we believe that there was substantial compliance with the rule that
the criminal action should be "prosecuted under the direction and control of the fiscal" and that "the
provincial fiscal shall represent the province" in any court (Sec. 4, Rule 110, Rules of Court; sec. 1683,
Revised Administrative Code).
The observation of Sendaydiego's counsel, that the imposition of reclusion perpetua "could have been
the result of the undue publicity, prejudgment, bias and political self-interest which attended the
proceedings", is not well founded. The trial court's decision dispels any doubt as to its impartiality. The
evidence in the three cases is mainly documentary. The unassailable probative value of the documents
involved. rather than bias and prejudice, was the decisive factor on which the trial court anchored the
judgment of conviction.
Moreover, as already adverted to, Sendaydiego's death had rendered moot the issue as to the propriety
of the imposition of reclusion perpetua. And, as will be shown later, reclusion perpetua cannot be
imposed in these cases because the crimes committed were not complex.
The other seven assignments of error made by Sendaydiego's counsel refer to the trial court's conclusion
that Sendaydiego and Samson are guilty beyond reasonable doubt of malversation through falsification
or, specifically, that the provincial treasurer, in signing the six vouchers, evinced "malice or fraud and
that there must have been connivance between" the two.
Several circumstances indicate that Sendaydiego conspired with Samson. Donato N. Rosete, the
assistant provincial treasurer, testified that, contrary to the usual procedure, he affixed his initial to

paragraph 3 of the vouchers after Sendaydiego had signed it. Rosete adhered to that unusual procedure
because the interested party, Samson, who hand carried the vouchers, approached Rosete after he
(Samson) had conferred with the provincial treasurer and Samson told Rosete to initial the voucher
because it was areglado na (already settled) since the treasurer had already signed the voucher (54 tsn
July 3, 1969).
Rosete's testimony and affidavit confute appellant Sendaydiego's contention that the trial court erred in
finding that he signed the questioned vouchers before Rosete had placed his initial in them. After the
treasurer had signed the voucher, Rosete's duty to initial it was only ministerial (75 tsn July 3, 1969).
The bookkeeper in the treasurer's office testified that he indicated in the vouchers that the amounts
covered thereby should be paid in cash. That indication was made by means of the symbol "A-1-1"
placed at the bottom of the vouchers under the column "Account Number". The bookkeeper was
instructed by Samson to place that symbol. Samson told him that he (Samson) had an understanding
with Treasurer Sendaydiego that the payment should be made in cash. There were instances when the
treasurer insisted on payment by check to creditors other than Juan Samson.
The cash payments were made to Samson in the inner office of the provincial treasurer where the cashier
was summoned to make the cash payments (11-12 tsn July 9, 1969; p. 11, Exh. EE). As noted by the
trial court, it was unusual that the payments should be made in the treasurer's office when that was a
ministerial chore of the cashier.
The cash payments were made to Samson even if Samson had no power of attorney from the Carried
Construction Supply Co. authorizing him to receive the payments. The space in the vouchers for the
signature of the witness, who should be present when the payments were received, was blank. The
treasurer did not bother to have a witness to attest to the payments or to require the exhibition of
Samson's residence certificate.
Another apt observation of the trial court is that the forged character of the six vouchers would have been
unmasked by the supposed creditor, Carried Construction Supply Co., if the payments had been made
by means of checks. The company on receiving the checks would have returned them to the treasurer
because it knew that there was no reason to make any payments at all. The trial court said that the cash
payments prove Sendaydiego's collusion with Samson.
Sendaydiego's counsel assails the lower court's finding that there was a conspiracy between the
provincial treasurer and Samson as shown by the fact that the amounts covered by the vouchers were
paid to Samson by the cashier in the treasurer's inner office. That point was testified to by Rosete, the
assistant provincial treasurer.
The cashier, Napoleon Ulanday, would have been the best witness on how and where the payments
were made. However, Ulanday died before the preliminary investigation was started. On May 27, 1969,
after the anomalies were unearthed, he wrote a letter to the provincial treasurer, stating that he paid to
Samson the amounts covered by five vouchers in the presence of Salazar K. Misal and Josefina E.
Pulido (Exh. 13).
Rosete was in a position to state that the cash payments were made to Samson in the treasurer's inner
office because his table was near the main door of the treasurer's office or was about fifteen meters
away (18 tsn). Rosete always knew when the cashier went to the treasurer's office because the cashier
was summoned by means of a buzzer (long buzz), and when the cashier came out of the treasurer's
office, he would be holding the voucher (12-13 tsn).
Sendaydiego's counsel stressed that no gross negligence can be imputed to the treasurer (malversation
is a crime which can be committed by means of dolo or culpa and the penalty in either case is the same).
This argument does not deserve serious consideration because the facts proven by the prosecution
show that he had a tieup with Samson and that he acted maliciously in signing the six questioned
vouchers.

The last contention put forward for Sendaydiego is that, because the trial court acquitted the auditor,
then the treasurer's exoneration follows as a matter of course. We see no merit in that contention
because the evidence for the prosecution against Sendaydiego is not the same as its evidence against
the auditor. For that reason, the auditor was charged only as an accomplice, whereas, the treasurer was
charged as a principal. The auditor based his defense on the undeniable fact that the treasurer had
approved the six vouchers "for pre-audit and payment" before they were passed upon by the auditor. In
short, the auditor was misled by the treasurer's certification which the auditor apparently assumed to
have been made in good faith when in truth it was made in bad faith.
We are convinced after a minutes examination of the documentary and oral evidence and an
unprejudiced consideration of the arguments of Sendaydiego's learned counsel that his criminal liability
was established beyond reasonable doubt and, therefore, the civil liability of his estate for the amounts
malversed was duly substantiated.
Samson's appeal. Samson's brief has no statement of facts. He contends that the trial court erred in
disregarding the expert testimony that his signatures on the vouchers are not his signatures; in finding
that he forged the vouchers and received the proceeds thereof, and in relying on circumstantial evidence
as proof of conspiracy.
As a preliminary issue, Samson argues that Judge Eloy B. Bello should have inhibited himself "in fairness
to the accused, in the interest of justice, and as a gesture of delicadeza" because he had conducted the
preliminary investigation. LexLib
Our searching study of the record fails to sustain Samson's insinuation that he was prejudiced by the
fact that the Judge, who conducted the preliminary investigation, was the one who tried the case and
convicted him. Judge Bello tried the case fairly. His conduct of the trial does not show that he had already
prejudged their guilt.
Section 13, Rule 112 of the Rules of Court, in allowing a Court of First Instance to conduct a preliminary
investigation, does not disqualify it from trying the case after it had found probable cause and after the
fiscal, as directed by the Court had filed the corresponding information. The rule assumes that the Judge,
who conducted the preliminary investigation, could impartially try the case on the merits.
We cannot assume that judges as a rule are opinionated and narrow-minded insomuch that they would
invariably be iron-bound by their findings at the preliminary investigation.
The case of a Judge of the Court of First Instance, who conducts a preliminary investigation and then
tries the case on the merits, is similar to a situation where an inferior court conducts a preliminary
investigation of a grave or less grave offense falling within the concurrent jurisdiction of the Court First
Instance and the inferior court. In such a case, the inferior court after terminating the preliminary
investigation is not obligated ( por delicadeza) to remand the case to the Court of First Instance for trial.
The inferior court has the option to try the case on the merits. (People vs. Palmon, 86 Phil. 350; Natividad
vs. Robles, 87 Phil. 834; People vs. Colicio, 88 Phil. 196). The assumption is that the inferior court can
try the case without any ingrained bias or undue prejudice.
Samson sought to prove, through Lieutenant Colonel Jose G. Fernandez, retired chief of the
Constabulary crime laboratory, a handwriting expert, that his signatures on the vouchers are not his
signatures.
Fernandez found that the questioned signatures and the alleged genuine signatures (exemplars) of
Samson have fundamental differences. The expert concluded that the questioned signatures and the
exemplar signatures of Samson were not written by one and the same person (Exh. 20).
After examining the questioned and genuine signatures and analyzing the evidence and contentions of
the parties, we find that the expert is correct in declaring that (as admitted by the trial court) there are
radical differences between the questioned and authentic signatures.

But the expert is in error in concluding that Samson did not forge the questioned signatures or in implying
that Samson had no hand in the writing thereof.
The truth is that Samson used two forms of signature. His supposed genuine signatures found in his
residence certificates, income tax returns and the genuine official receipt of the Carried Construction
Supply Co. are "in an arcade form or rounded form of writing". The surname Samson is encircled.
On the other hand, the questioned signatures used in Samson's transactions with the provincial
government are in angular form; his surname is not encircled, and the questioned signatures terminate
in angular and horizontal strokes.
Samson was consistent in his fakeries. Knowing that the six vouchers evidenced fictitious transactions,
he used therein his fake signature, or the signature which is different from his signature in genuine
documents. He used his forged signatures in the six fake official receipts of the Carried Construction
Supply Co., stating that the amounts covered by the six vouchers were received by him (Exh. K-6, KK to
KK-4). the expert admitted that a person may have two forms of signature (186 tsn July 16, 1970).
Signatures may be deliberately disguised with the dishonest intention of denying the same as and when
necessary (Mehta, Identification of Handwriting and Cross Examination of Experts, pp. 4th Ed., 1970, p.
224; Harrison, Suspect Documents 418-419).
Sendaydiego himself testified that the questioned signatures of Samson in the six vouchers were
Samson's signatures (94-99 tsn July 31, 1969).
Fernandez, the handwriting expert, declared that the questioned signatures of Samson in the vouchers
were written by only one person (264-265 tsn July 16, 1970). LLjur
The evidence conclusively proves that Samson, as the representative or collector of the supposed
creditor, Carried Construction Supply Co., hand-carried the vouchers in question to the offices of the
provincial engineer, treasurer and auditor and then back to the treasurer's office for payment. He actually
received the cash payments. Under those circumstances, Samson is presumed to be the forger of the
vouchers.
The rule is that if a person had in his possession a falsified document and be made use of it (uttered it),
taking advantage of it and profiting thereby, the presumption is that he is the material author of the
falsification. This is especially true if the use or uttering of the forged documents was so closely
connected in time with the forgery that the user or possessor may be proven to have the capacity of
committing the forgery, or to have close connection with the forgers, and therefore, had complicity in the
forgery. (U.S. vs. Castillo, 6 Phil. 453; People vs. De Lara, 45 Phil. 754; People vs. Domingo, 49 Phil.
28; People vs. Astudillo, 60 Phil. 338; People vs. Manansala, 105 Phil. 1253).
In the absence of a satisfactory explanation, one who is found in possession of a forged document and
who used or uttered it is presumed to be the forger (Alarcon vs. Court of Appeals, L-21846, March 31,
1967, 19 SCRA 688; People vs. Caragao, L-28258, December 27, 1969, 30 SCRA 993).
Samson's use of one form of signature for his crooked transaction with the provincial government and
another form of signature of his valid transactions or papers shows the deviousness of the falsifications
perpetrated in these cases. (Note that Sendaydiego signed the certification in the first voucher, Exhibit
K, stating that proceeds thereof were paid Samson but Sendaydiego did not sign the same certification
in the other five forged vouchers, Exhibits O, P, Q, R and S).
As to the question of conspiracy, the statement of Samson's counsel on page 19 of his brief, that "the
trial court made absolutely no finding of any supposed conspiracy" between Samson and Sendaydiego,
is not correct.

We have already noted that the trial court explicitly stated that the circumstance that Sendaydiego signed
the six vouchers ahead of his assistant shows that there was "malice or fraud" on the part of Sendaydiego
and that there was connivance between Samson and Sendaydiego when the proceeds of the vouchers
were paid to Samson in Sendaydiego's inner office, instead of in the cashier's office (p. 23, 26, Decision,
Appendix to Samson's brief). The trial court said that the fact that Sendaydiego allowed payment in cash
shows "his collusion" with Samson (Ibid, p. 26).
Samson's contention that the trial court merely conjectured that he had received the proceeds of the
vouchers is not well-taken. The trial court's finding on that point is based on very strong circumstantial
evidence (assuming that it was not proven that Samson signed the vouchers).
Samson vehemently argues that there is no evidence that the total sum of P57,048.23 paid under the
six vouchers "was really misappropriated". He asserts that the six vouchers are genuine (although he
contends that his signatures thereon are forgeries) and that there is no proof that the amounts covered
thereby were not paid for the construction materials indicated therein. He insists that the materials were
actually delivered to the province.
These contentions appear to be untenable in the light of the declaration of Jabanes, the assistant
manager of Carried Construction Supply Co., the alleged supplier, that the materials shown in the six
vouchers were never delivered by the company (Exh. HH).
And Leticia Sevilleja (wife of the provincial engineer), who was employed as cashier of the Carried
Construction Supply Co., denied that Samson turned over to the company the proceeds of the six
vouchers which he was supposed to have collected for the company from Sendaydiego. The six
vouchers appear to be fake principally because they evidence fictitious sales of construction materials.
Under the said circumstances, it cannot be contended that there was no malversation after Sendaydiego
admitted that Samson acknowledged in the six vouchers that he received from Treasurer Sendaydiego
the total sum of P57,048.23.
The assertion of Samson's counsel on page 29 of his brief, that the finding as to his guilt is based on a
shaky foundation or is predicated on circumstances which were not proven, is not correct.
Recapitulation: In resum, it appears that the provincial treasurer wants to base his exculpation on his
belief that in the six vouchers the signatures of Samson and the officials in the provincial engineer's office
appeared to be genuine and on the fact that the auditor had approved the vouchers. The treasurer
claimed that he acted in good faith in approving the payments of the proceeds of the vouchers to Samson
as the representative of the supplier, Carried Construction Co.

The unavoidable conclusion is that Sendaydiego and Samson were in cahoots to defraud the provincial
government and to camouflage the defraudation by means of the six vouchers which have some genuine
features and which appear to be extrinsically authentic but which were intrinsically fake.
Penalties. The trial court and the parties assumed that three complex crimes of malversation through
falsification of public documents were committed in this case. That assumption is wrong.
The crimes committed in these three cases are not complex. Separate crimes of falsification and
malversation were committed. These are not cases where the execution of a single act constitutes two
grave or less grave felonies or where the falsification was used as a means to commit malversation.
In the six vouchers the falsification was used to conceal the malversation. It is settled that if the
falsification was resorted to for the purpose of hiding the malversation, the falsification and malversation
are separate offenses (People vs. Cid, 66 Phil. 354; People vs. Villanueva, 58 Phil. 671; People vs.
Garalde, 52 Phil. 1000; People vs. Regis, 67 Phil. 43).
In the Regis case, supra, where the modus operandi is similar to the instant cases, the municipal
treasurer made it appear in two official payrolls dated April 30 and May 2, 1931 that some persons
worked as laborers in a certain street project at Pinamungahan, Cebu. In that way, the two amounts
covered by the payrolls, P473.70 and P271.60, were appropriated and taken from the municipal funds.
As a matter of fact, no such work was done in the said street project and the persons mentioned in both
payrolls had not performed any labor.
It was held in the Regis case, that the falsification and malversation did not constitute a complex crime
because the falsifications were not necessary means for the commission of the malversations. Each
falsification and each malversation constituted independent offenses which must be punished
separately.
The municipal treasurer was convicted of two falsification and two malversations. Four distinct penalties
were imposed.
In the instant cases, the provincial treasurer, as the custodian of the money forming part of the road and
bridge fund, could have malversed or misappropriated it without falsifying any voucher. The falsification
was used as a device to prevent detection of the malversation.
The falsifications cannot be regarded as constituting one continuing offense impelled by a single criminal
impulse.

On the other hand, Samson, by impugning his signatures in the vouchers, denied that he received the
said amounts from the cashier of the treasurer's office.

Each falsification of a voucher constitutes one crime. The falsification of six vouchers constitutes six
separate or distinct offenses (People vs. Madrigal-Gonzales, 117 Phil. 956).

These conflicting versions of the treasurer and Samson have to be resolved in the light of the
inexpugnable fact that Samson had hand-carried the vouchers and followed up their processing in the
offices of the provincial engineer, treasurer and auditor (Exh. AA, p. 1, Exh. CC, p. 2; Exh. DD; Exh. W
and EE, p. 5) and that Samson's principal, the Carried Construction Supply Co., denied having sold to
the provincial government the construction materials described in the six vouchers and denied having
received from Samson the prices of the alleged sales.

And each misappropriation as evidenced by a provincial voucher constitutes a separate offense. The six
misappropriations evidenced by the six vouchers constitute six distinct offenses (U.S. vs. Sacramento,
53 Phil. 639).

The result is that Samson's denial of his signatures in the six vouchers and in the six receipts (Exh. K-6
and KK to KK-4) and the provincial treasurer's pretension of having acted in good faith or having
committed an honest mistake have to be disbelieved.

The overall result is that in these three cases six separate offenses of falsification and six separate
crimes of malversation were committed. Appellant Samson is a co-principal in each of the said twelve
offenses.
As already stated, he is presumed to be the author of the falsification because he was in possession of
the forged vouchers and he used them in order to receive public monies from the provincial treasurer.
cdrep

He is a co-principal in the six crimes of malversation because he conspired with the provincial treasurer
in committing those offenses. The trial court correctly ruled that a private person conspiring with an
accountable public officer in committing malversation is also guilty of malversation (People vs. Rodis,
105 Phil. 1294; U.S. vs. Ponte, 20 Phil. 379; U.S. vs. Dato and Lustre, 37 Phil. 359; U.S. vs. Dowdell, 11
Phil. 4; People vs. Caluag, 94 Phil. 457).
Note that a different rule prevails with respect to a stranger taking part in the commission of parricide or
qualified theft. In such cases, the stranger is not guilty of parricide or qualified theft but only of murder or
homicide, as the case may be, and simple theft, by reason of paragraph 3, article 62 of the Revised
Penal Code (People vs. Patricio, 46 Phil. 875 and People vs. Valdellon, 46 Phil. 245).
Falsification of a public document committed by a private person is punished in article 172(1) of the
Revised Penal Code by prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods and a fine of not more
than P5,000.
For the malversation of the sum of P5,187.28 and P4,501.38, respectively covered by vouchers Nos.
11869 and 11872 (Exh. P and S), the penalty provided in paragraph 2 of article 217 of the Revised Penal
Code is prision mayor minimum and medium.
For the malversation of the sums of P6,290.60 and P9,769.64, respectively covered by vouchers Nos.
11870 and 11871 (Exh. Q and R) the penalty provided in paragraph 3 of article 217 is prision mayor
maximum of reclusion temporal minimum.
For the malversation of the sums of P16,727.52 and P14,571.81 respectively covered by vouchers Nos.
10724 and 10995 (Exh. K and O), the penalty provided in paragraph 4 of article 217 is reclusion temporal
medium and maximum.
In each of the malversation cases, a fine equal to the amount malversed should be added to the
imprisonment penalty.
In the twelve cases the penalty should be imposed in the medium period since there are no modifying
circumstances (Arts. 64[1] and 65, Revised Penal Code). Samson is entitled to an indeterminate
sentence.

For the malversation of the sum of P6,290.60 covered by voucher No. 11870 (Exh. Q), Samson is
sentenced to an indeterminate penalty of nine (9) years of prision mayor medium, as minimum, to thirteen
(13) years of reclusion temporal minimum, as maximum; to pay a fine of P6,290.60, and to indemnify the
province of Pangasinan in the same amount (Criminal Case No. 23350, L-33253).
For the malversation of the sum of P9.769.64 covered by voucher No. 11871 (Exh. R), Samson is
sentenced to an indeterminate penalty of nine (9) years of prision mayor medium, as minimum, to thirteen
(13) years of reclusion temporal minimum, as maximum; to pay a fine of P9,769.64, and to indemnify the
province of Pangasinan in the same amount (Criminal Case No. 23350, L-33253).
For the malversation of the sum of P5,187.28, covered by voucher No. 11869 (Exh. P), Samson is
sentenced to an indeterminate penalty of five (5) years of prision correccional maximum, as minimum,
to eight (8) of prision mayor minimum, as maximum; to pay a fine of P5,187.28, and to indemnify the
province of Pangasinan in the same amount (Criminal Case No. 23350, L-33253).
For the malversation of the sum of P4,501.38 covered by voucher no. 11872 (Exh. S), Samson is
sentenced to an indeterminate penalty of five (5) years of prision correccional maximum, as minimum,
to eight (8) years of prision mayor minimum, as maximum; to pay a fine of P4,501.38, and to indemnify
the province of Pangasinan in the same amount (Criminal Case No. 23350, L-33253).
In the service of the twelve penalties meted to Samson, the threefold limit provided for in article 70 of the
Revised Penal Code should be observed (People vs. Escares, 102 Phil. 677), meaning that the maximum
penalty that he should serve is three times the indeterminate sentence of twelve (12) years to seventeen
(17) years, the severest penalty imposed on him, or thirty-six (36) years to fifty-one (51) years (See
People vs. Peas, 68 Phil. 533).
The maximum duration of his sentences should not exceed forty (40) years (Penultimate par. of art. 70;
People vs. Alisub, 69 Phil. 362; People vs. Concepcion, 59 Phil. 518, 68 Phil. 530 and 69 Phil. 58).
The estate of the late Licerio P. Sendaydiego is ordered to indemnify the province of Pangasinan in the
sum of P57,048.23. Samson and the said estate are solidarily liable for the said indemnity (Art. 110,
Revised Penal Code). Samson should pay one-half of the costs.
SO ORDERED.

WHEREFORE, Samson is convicted of six crimes of falsification of a public document and six crimes of
malversation.

Antonio, Concepcion, Jr. and Santos, JJ., concur.

In lieu of the penalties imposed by the trial court, he is sentenced to the following penalties:

Fernando, J., took no part.

For each of the six falsifications of the vouchers (Exh. K, O, P, Q, R and S), Samson is sentenced to an
indeterminate penalty of two (2) years of prison correccional minimum, as minimum, to four (4) years of
prision correccional medium, as maximum, and to pay a fine of three thousand pesos.

||| (People v. Sendaydiego, G.R. Nos. L-33252-54, [January 20, 1978], 171 PHIL 114-147)

For the malversation of the sum of P16,727.52 covered by voucher No. 10724 (Exh. K), Samson is
sentenced to an indeterminate penalty of twelve (12) years of prision mayor maximum, as minimum, to
seventeen (17) years of reclusion temporal medium, as maximum; to pay a fine in the amount of
P16,727.52, and to indemnify the province of Pangasinan in the same amount (Criminal Case No. 23349,
L-33252). LLpr
For the malversation of the sum of P14,571.81 covered by voucher No. 11995 (Exh. O), Samson is
sentenced to an indeterminate penalty of twelve (12) years of prision mayor maximum, as minimum, to
seventeen (17) years of reclusion temporal medium, as maximum; to pay a fine in the sum of P14,571.81,
and to indemnify the province of Pangasinan in the same amount (Criminal Case No. 23351, L-33254).

THIRD DIVISION

told Jesusa Carreon to report for work the following day and that she should be included in the
budget. The accused then accompanied her to the Office of the Municipal Treasurer, Calo Battung.
The Treasurer agreed that she could report for work.

[G.R. No. 82197. March 13, 1989.]

MANUEL L. SIQUIAN, petitioners, vs. THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,


and THE COURT OF APPEALS, respondents.

Cortes & Reyna Law Firm for petitioner.

One week after, Jesusa Carreon went alone to the Office of the Municipal Secretary. He was there.
When she went to the accused, she was told to go back to the Municipal Secretary to work for her
appointment papers.
She was appointed clerk to the Municipal Secretary in the Office of the Municipal Secretary, on July
1, 1975 by the accused.
xxx xxx xxx

The Solicitor General for respondents.

DECISION

Accompanying her appointment is the certification, among others, of the availability of funds (C.S.
Form No. 203) dated July 1, 1975, issued by the accused Manuel L. Siquian, pursuant to the
requirements of Memorandum Circular No. 5, Series of 1975, addressed to the Commissioner of
Civil Service, Manila (Exh. "C").
xxx xxx xxx

CORTES, J p:
The information charging petitioner Manuel L. Siquian, the then municipal mayor of Angdanan, Isabela,
of the crime of falsification of public document under Art. 171, p. 4 of the Revised Penal Code filed by
Second Assistant Provincial Fiscal before Branch XX of the Regional Trial Court of Cauayan, Isabela
reads as follows:
That on or about the 1st day of July, 1975, in the Municipality of Angadanan, Province of Isabela,
and within the preliminary jurisdiction of this Honorable court, the accused Manuel L. Siquian, being
then the Municipal Mayor of Angadanan, Isabela, taking advantage of his position as such Municipal
Mayor did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously prepare and, sign a false document,
knowing it to be false, to wit. An official communication to the Civil Service Commissioner, dated July
1, 1975, which is required by law in order to support the appointment of a certain Jesusa B. Carreon
to the position of clerk in the Office of the Municipal Secretary which (sic) he appointed as such by
stating and making it appear in said document that there was such a position existing and that funds
therefore were available. When in truth and in fact, as said accused well-know (sic), there was no
such position or item and no funds were available for said position in the Fiscal Budget of Angadanan
for 1975-76, nor was there any special ordinance creating said position and appropriating the
necessary funds therefor.
xxx xxx xxx
[Rollo, pp. 23-24.]
Upon arraignment, petitioner pleaded not guilty to the offense charged and the trial of the case ensued.
The facts as found by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) are as follows:
It appears from the evidence that sometime in June 1975, Jesusa Carreon, 20 years old, single
and a resident of Ilagan, Isabela, went to the accused Manuel L. Siquian, Mayor of the Municipality
of Angadanan, Province of Isabela, to apply for employment in the office of the Mayor. Earlier, she
and her friends went to the Municipal Hall of Angadanan to ask information if there was any
vacancy. When she was informed that there was, she went to see the accused in his house.

Jesusa Carreon took her oath of Office (Exh. "A-1") on July 1, 1975, and promptly began to work
on the same day. Her monthly salary was P120.00. She rendered services for the months of July,
August, September, October, November and December 1975 (Exhibits "B", "B-1" to "B-5"). She
was not, however, paid. As early as October 1975, she went to the Municipal Treasurer to receive
her salary, but she was told that there was no money yet. In November 1975, she went to see the
accused, but the latter told her to see the treasurer. She went to the Treasurer who told her that
there was no money. Because of this, she went to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan at the Provincial
Capitol in Ilagan, Isabela, to ask (sic) information regarding her unpaid salaries. She was
interviewed by Atty. Efren Ambrosio, Provincial Administrator. Atty. Ambrosio asked her if she had
complete appointment papers. Thereafter, she filed her verified complaint dated April 20, 1976,
against the accused. Her complaint is addressed to Governor Faustino N. Dy (Exhibit "G" and "G1").
It also appears from the evidence that the Municipal council of Angadanan, Isabela, failed to enact
the annual budget for the municipality for the Fiscal Year 1975-1976 (Exhs. "H", "H-1", and "H-2").
Accordingly, and pursuant to PD No. 477, the annual budget for the previous Fiscal Year 19741975, was deemed re-enacted (Exh. "H-1"). Thus, the Municipal Plantilla of Personnel for the Fiscal
Year 1975-1976 is the same as the Plantilla of Personnel for the Fiscal Year 1975-1976. No
supplemental budget was enacted by the municipal council of Angadanan.
In the Plantilla of Personnel for 1974-1975, which was deemed re-enacted for the Fiscal Year 19751976, there was no new item or appropriation for the position of clerk in the Office of the Municipal
Secretary of Angadanan, Isabela. The new position of clerk in the office of the Municipal Council
appearing in the Municipal Plantilla for Personnel (Exhibit "H-2") for 1974-1975, was filled-up as
early as October 16, 1974 by the accused when he appointed Clarita G. Ramirez to that position
(Exhibits "J" and "J-2"). With respect to the new position of a Clerk to the office of the Municipal
Mayor in the Plantilla for 1974-1975, it was already filled-up by the appointment of Miss Marivic A.
Tallod on June 16, 1975, by the accused (Exhibits "K" and "K-4"). As early as June 28, 1974, the
same position was held by Miss Felicidad Visitacion who was appointed by the accused, but she
resigned (Exhs. "K" and "K-1").
xxx xxx xxx
[Rollo, pp. 26, 28, 29-30.]

The accused must have agreed to appoint her because he accompanied her to the office of the
Municipal Secretary, Emilio Valenzuela. The latter, however, was not there. Even so, the accused

After trial, the Court found the petitioner guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime charged and
decreed:
WHEREFORE, finding the accused Manuel L. Siquian guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime
of falsification of public document as charged in the information, the Court hereby sentences said
accused to suffer an indeterminate penalty of from FIVE (5) YEARS, EIGHT (8) MONTHS and ONE
(1) DAY of prision correctional (sic) as minimum to SEVEN YEARS of prision mayor as maximum
and to pay a fine of THREE THOUSAND (P3,000.00) PESOS.
SO ORDERED. [Rollo, p. 35.]
On appeal, the respondent Court of Appeals ruled as follows:
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is in accordance with law and the evidence and is
hereby therefore affirmed. Costs against the accused-appellant.
SO ORDERED. [Rollo, p. 42.]
Hence, this petition for review seeking reversal of the CA decision and the acquittal of petitioner Manuel
L. Siquian. Petitioner contends that the respondent court has decided a question of substance not in
accord with law and jurisprudence when it affirmed the decision of the trial court convicting him of the
crime of falsification despite the following:
A.The evidence on record which consists of the testimony of the prosecution's principal witness,
shows the absence of criminal intent on the part of the accused.
B.There is no evidence that the accused took advantage of his position as Municip[al Mayor when
he made the allegedly falsified certification.
C.The statement that "Funds for the position are available" is not a narration of facts but a
conclusion of law.
D.The petitioner was deprived of his right to due process of law when the trial court proceeded with
the trial in his absence despite a pending petition for change of venue with the Supreme Court.
[Rollo, p. 13.]

office is a public document [U.S. v. Asensi, 34 Phil. 765 (1915)]. It is immaterial whether or not the Civil
Service Commissioner to whom the certification was addressed received the document issued by
petitioner. Since the certification was prepared by petitioner in accordance with the standard forms
prescribed by the government (specifically the Civil Service Commission) pursuant to law, the
certification was invested with the character of a public document [People v. Asensi, supra citing U.S. v.
Vy Guico, 12 Phil. 209 (1908)] falsification of which is punishable under Article 171 of the Revised Penal
Code. Here, falsification of such document was committed when the petitioner stated that funds were
available for the position to which Jesusa Carreon was appointed when he knew that, in reality, the
position itself did not even exist and no funds had been appropriated therefor.
Petitioner's stance that the certification which he issued contained no narration of facts but rather a
conclusion of law is not meritorious. The respondent court, upholding the Solicitor General's arguments,
correctly ruled as follows
"Conclusion of law" is defined as a proposition not arrived at by any process of natural reasoning
from a fact or combination of facts stated but by the application of the artificial rules of law to the
facts pleaded [Levins v. Rovegno, 71 Cal. 273, 12 p. 161; Black's Law Dict., p. 362].
From the above-cited definition, it can be deduced that the certification by the appellant that "funds
for the position are available" does not require the application of the artificial rules of law. To certify
that funds are available for the position what one should do was (sic) to refer to the budget and
plantilla of personnel of the applicable fiscal year and ascertain if such item exists and funds are
allocated therefor.
In the present case, despite the presence of the records which shows that there is no position and
funds therefor referred to in the certification, the appellant, fully aware of the data provided by the
records, certified falsely that "funds for the position are available" [Rollo, p. 41].
It is undisputed that the Municipal Council of Angadanan failed to enact the annual budget of the
municipality for the Fiscal Year 1975-1976 and therefore, the annual budget for the last fiscal year, 19741975, was deemed re-enacted under P.D. No. 477. In the Municipal Plantilla of Personnel (Exh. "B-2")
accompanying the Annual Budget for the Municipality of Angadanan, Isabela for the Fiscal Year 19741975, there is no such position as Clerk to the Municipal Secretary in the Office of the Municipal
Secretary, the position to which Jesusa Carreon was appointed. Accordingly, there is no appropriation
made in the Annual Budget for the Fiscal Year 1974-1975 for such position, thus rendering petitioner's
statement in his certification utterly false. The requisite of absolute falsity of the statement made in the
document is met when there exists not even an iota of colorable truth in what is declared in the narration
of facts [U.S. v. Bayot, 10 Phil. 518 (1908)], as in this case. From the foregoing, it can be seen that the
first and third requirements laid down in the Cabigas case, supra, are fully satisfied.

Petitioner's arguments, however, are bereft of any merit.


The offense of falsification by a public officer under Article 171 of the Revised Penal Code is committed
by "any public officer, employee or notary who, taking advantage of his official position, shall falsify a
document by committing any of the following acts: . . . 4. Making untruthful statements in a narration of
fact; . . ." It is settled that in this fourth kind of falsification, the following requisites must concur: Cdpr

The second element of the offense is likewise present. Under the civil service rules and regulations,
specifically the Guidelines in the Preparation of Appointment for Original Appointment (Exhs, "D" and
"D-3"), a certification of the availability of funds for the position to be filled up is required to be signed by
the head of office or any officer who has been delegated the authority to sign. As an officer authorized
by law to issue this certification which is designated as Civil Service Form No. 203, as revised, the
petitioner has a legal obligation to disclose the truth of the facts narrated by him in said certification which
includes information as to the availability of the funds for the position being filled up.

(a)That the offender makes in a document untruthful statements in a narration of facts;


(b)That he has a legal obligation to disclose the truth of the facts narrated by him; and
(c)That the facts narrated by the offender are absolutely false [Cabigas v. People, G.R. No.
67472, July 3, 1987, 152 SCRA 18.]
All these requisites had been fully met in the case at bar. Petitioner, a public officer, being then the mayor
of the municipality of Angadanan, Isabela, made an untruthful statement in the narration of facts
contained in the certification which he issued in connection with the appointment of complainant Jesusa
Carreon. The certification, having been issued by a public official in the exercise of the function of his

Contrary to petitioner's claim, the existence of a wrongful intent to injure a third person is not necessary
when the falsified document is a public document. This has already been authoritatively decreed in the
1955 case of People v. Po Giok To [96 Phil. 913 (1955)]. The Court in the aforementioned case explicitly
stated that wrongful intent on the part of the accused to injure a third person is not an essential element
of the crime of falsification of public document. The rationale for this principal distinction between
falsification of public and private documents has been stated by the Court in this wise: "In the falsification
of public or official documents, whether by public officials or private persons, it is unnecessary that there
be present the idea of gain or the intent to injure a third person, for the reason that, in contradistinction
to private documents, the principal thing punished is the violation of the public faith and the destruction
of truth as therein solemnly proclaimed" [People v. Po Giok To, supra at 918, citing People v. Pacana,

47 Phil. 48 (1924)]. In falsification of public documents therefore, the controlling consideration is the
public character of a document and the existence of any prejudice caused to third persons or, at least,
the intent to cause such damage becomes immaterial [People v. Pacana, supra]. prLL

to him, with an opportunity to be heard, and a judgment awarded within the authority of a
constitutional law, then he has had due process of law. . ." [People v. Muit, G.R. No. L-48875,
October 21, 1982, 117 SCRA 696 citing People v. Castillo, 776 Phil. 73 (1946); Emphasis supplied.]

Petitioner's plea for acquittal on the ground that the evidence for the prosecution shows the absence of
criminal intent on his part must be denied. While this Court has declared good faith as a valid defense to
falsification of public documents by making untruthful statements in a narration of facts [U.S. v. San Jose,
7 Phil. 604 (1907)], such defense cannot serve to exonerate the petitioner since the element of good
faith has not clearly been shown to exist in the case at bar.

Thus, there is no denial of due process when an accused is afforded the chance to present evidence on
his behalf but due to his repeated, unjustifiable failure to appear at the hearings, the trial court ordered
the case to be deemed submitted upon the evidence presented by the prosecution. For under such
circumstances, he will be deemed to have waived his right to be present during the trial [Section 1 (c),
Rule 115 of the Revised Rules of Court] and his right to adduce evidence on his behalf [People v. Angco,
103 Phil. 33 (1958).]

Under the applicable law at the time, petitioner, as municipal mayor of Angadanan, Isabela presides at
all meetings of the municipal council [Section 2621 (d), Revised Administrative Code] and signs all
ordinances and resolutions passed by the municipal council [Section 2624 (c), Revised Administrative
Code]. He was thus aware that (1) for failure to enact a budget for the Fiscal Year 1975-1976, Ordinance
No. V of the Municipal Council of Angadanan, Isabela which was the Municipal Annual Budget of
Angadanan, Isabela for Fiscal Year 1974-1975 was re-enacted and (2) that under the Municipal Plantilla
of Personnel for that fiscal year, there were no funds appropriated for the position of clerk to the municipal
secretary. His knowledge of these facts is shown by the fact that he even affixed his signature in
attestation to the correctness of these documents; i.e. Ordinance No. V and Municipal Plantilla of
Personnel. [See Exhs. "H-1" and "H-2", Folder of Exhibits, pp. 27-32]. He cannot claim good faith in
issuing a certification of the availability of funds for the questioned position since at the time he issued
such certification on July 1, 1975, the fiscal year 1975-1976 had already commenced and no new
ordinance creating the new position to which he appointed Jesusa Carreon had been enacted by the
municipal council.

It is true that he filed a petition for change of venue with the Supreme Court. However, on the date set
for the hearing of the petitioner's urgent motion to suspend the proceedings in the trial court due to the
pendency of the petition for change of venue, he also failed to appear [See Order dated January 18,
1985, Original Records, p. 428]. In fact, Atty. Romeo Calixto, one of the counsel for the petitioner,
manifested before the trial court that he was withdrawing as counsel for his client for the reason that he
has lost contact with the latter who already went abroad [See Original Records, p. 435]. Hence, the trial
court cannot be faulted for rendering its decision on the basis solely of the evidence presented by the
prosecution. cdrep
WHEREFORE, the appealed decision being in conformity with law and settled jurisprudence, the same
is AFFIRMED and the instant petition is hereby DENIED.
SO ORDERED.

In view of the foregoing considerations, petitioner must be held criminally liable for his act of issuing the
absolutely false certification as to the availability of funds for the subject position. The law considers his
act criminal since it amounts to an untruthful statement in a narration of facts in a public document [Article
171(4), Revised Penal Code]. Criminal intent and the will to commit a crime are presumed to exist on
the part of the person who executes an act which the law punishes, unless the contrary shall appear
[United States v. Apostol, 14 Phil. 92 (1909)]. In this case, the presumption that petitioner committed the
act with criminal intention, which arose from proof of his commission of the unlawful act, stands
unrebutted.
Petitioner's claim that there was no showing that he took advantage of his official position in falsifying
the document should likewise be rejected. This essential element of falsification of a public document by
public officer requires that the offender "abuse his office or use the influence, prestige or ascendancy
which his office gives him, in committing the crime" [U.S. v. Rodriguez, 19 Phil. 150 (1911)]. Abuse of
public office is considered present when the offender falsifies a document in connection with the duties
of his office which consist of either making or preparing or otherwise intervening in the preparation of a
document [U.S. v. Inosanto, 20 Phil. 376 (1911); People v. Santiago Uy, 101 Phil. 159 (1957)], as in the
case of petitioner who was charged with the duty of issuing the certification necessary for the
appointment of Jesusa Carreon. LLjur
Finally, the alleged denial of due process of law committed by the trial court when it proceeded with the
trial of the case in the absence of the petitioner despite a pending petition for change of venue with the
Supreme Court is totally unfounded. A careful and thorough review of the record reveals that petitioner
had been afforded due process when the trial court, in view of the absence of petitioner, granted
continuances to enable the defense to present its evidence although the prosecution had rested its case
as early as December 7, 1978. [See Original Records, p. 253, et seq.]
It is a basic postulate in law that what is repugnant to due process is not lack of previous notice but
absolute lack of opportunity to be heard [Tajonera v. Lamaroza, G.R. Nos. L-48097 & 49035, December
19, 1981, 110 SCRA 438]. Hence, this Court laid down this criterion to determine whether an accused
in a criminal case has been properly accorded due process of law:
". . . (I)f an accused has been heard in a court of competent jurisdiction and proceeded against
under the orderly processes of law, and only punished after inquiry and investigation, upon notice

Fernan, C.J., Feliciano and Bidin, JJ., concur.


||| (Siquian v. People, G.R. No. 82197, [March 13, 1989], 253 PHIL 217-230)

SECOND DIVISION

[G.R. No. L-43659. December 21, 1990.]

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. HON. FELICIDAD


CARANDANG VILLALON and FEDERICO DE GUZMAN, respondents.

The Solicitor General for petitioner.

(sic) participate in any acts thereof, nor gave his permission, and in order to make good the acts of
falsification, with intent of gain and by means of fraud and other deceits, the said accused
FEDERICO DE GUZMAN, thru the said falsified public document (Power of Attorney) did succeed
in securing the loan from the People's Bank and Trust Company in the amount of EIGHT
THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED PESOS (P8,500.00) Philippine currency, without the knowledge and
consent of said MARIANO F. CARRERA, to the damage and prejudice of the latter in the amount
of P4,250.00, and other consequential damages." 2
After arraignment where private respondent pleaded not guilty, the case proceeded to trial and the
prosecution presented complainant Mariano F. Carrera and one Melanio Esguig from the Office of the
Register of Deeds for the Province of Pangasinan. Another witness, Col. Jose G. Fernandez, a
handwriting expert, gave his partial testimony but the same was not continued as counsel for private
respondent moved for and was granted leave to file a motion to dismiss.

Isidro G. Arenas for respondents.

DECISION

On December 16, 1975, the motion to dismiss 3 was filed, wherein it was alleged that the crime charged
would not lie due to the partial testimony of complainant allegedly to the effect that he authorized private
respondent to mortgage the said one-half portion of the land owned by him and his brother. Said partial
testimony of complainant was quoted, with the emphasized portions, as follows:
"Q Mr. Carrera, do you know what happened to the title of your property at present?

REGALADO, J p:
Assailed in this special civil action for certiorari is the order rendered by Judge Manuel Castaeda on
January 28, 1976 dismissing Criminal Case No. D-868 of the former Court of First Instance of
Pangasinan, and the order rendered in the same case on March 22, 1976 by his successor, the herein
public respondent, denying petitioner's motion for reconsideration of the aforesaid order of dismissal.
Culled from the records, 1 it appears that complainant Mariano Carrera and his brother, Severo Carrera,
are co-owners of a parcel of land located at Barrio Buenlag, Binmaley, Pangasinan, registered in their
names under Transfer Certificate of Title No. 47682.
On February 5, 1964, complainant allegedly executed a special power of attorney before Notary Public
Jaime B. Arzadon, Jr., naming private respondent Federico de Guzman as his lawful attorney-in-fact. On
February 13, 1964, private respondent mortgaged the parcel of land with the People's Bank and Trust
Company in Dagupan City using the said special power of attorney, and was able to obtain the amount
of P8,500.00 as a loan from the mortgagee bank. Both the special power of attorney and the mortgage
contract were duly registered in the Registry of Deeds of Pangasinan on February 13, 1964. LexLib
After the expiration of the term of the mortgage, and the mortgage account not having been paid, the
mortgagee bank foreclosed said mortgage and the land was sold to one Ramon Serafica and Vileta
Quinto who were issued Transfer Certificate of Title No. 85181 for said property. In January, 1972,
complainant allegedly discovered that their property was already registered in the name of said Ramon
Serafica when the latter filed on said date an action for the ejectment of the former from the premises.
On March 29, 1974, Criminal Case No. D-868 for estafa thru falsification of a public document was filed
against private respondent in the then Court of First Instance of Pangasinan, the information reading as
follows:

A Yes, sir, I know. LLpr


Q Could you tell us what happened to your title?
A It was foreclosed by the Bank, sir.
Q Now, you said that it was foreclosed by the Bank. Do you know the reason why it was foreclosed
by the Bank?
A Yes, sir.
Q Could you tell this Honorable Court how it was foreclosed by the Bank?
A Yes, sir. On February 10, 1964, my brother Severo Carrera went to Manila and he asked me to
sign a document as a witness and I asked him he interpreted that this is an authorization
to Federico de Guzman to get a loan from the Bank on the half portion of the land which
belongs to me, my brother said.
Q So sometime in 1964, your older brother Severo Carrera went to you in Manila and asked you to
sign a power of attorney authorizing de Guzman to mortgage the one-half portion of that
land owned by you and your brother. Do you have any document to show that?
xxx xxx xxx
ATTY. DIAZ:

"That on or about the 15th day of February, 1964, in the City of Dagupan, Philippines, and within
the jurisdiction of this Court, the abovenamed accused FEDERICO DE GUZMAN, being then a
private individual, after having in his possession Transfer Certificate of Title No. 47682, did then
and there, wilfully, unlawfully and criminally falsify and forge the signature of one MARIANO F.
CARRERA, in a Power of Attorney, causing and making it appear that the said MARIANO F.
CARRERA, signed and affixed his signature in the said Power of Attorney, which is a public
document, when as a matter of fact and in truth, said MARIANO F. CARRERA, did not in anyway

Q Can you recognize that document which you signed in 1964 if shown to you?
A Yes, sir.

Q Now I am asking . . . I am showing here a document which is, your Honor, for the purpose of
identification, and may we request that it be marked as Exhibit B for the prosecution.
This document consist (sic) of two pages, your Honor, and the first page be marked as
Exhibit B and the second page be marked as Exhibit B-1, page two. Will you tell this
Honorable Court what is this?
A This is the document brought by my brother to Manila for me to sign, sir.

With regard to the case of People vs. Dinsay cited by private respondent, petitioner submits that "(t)he
same has only a persuasive effect and not to be considered as an interpretation of Article 91 of the
Revised Penal Code as the same is the sole prerogative of the Supreme Court." 8
As earlier noted, then Presiding Judge Manuel Castaeda of the Court of First Instance of Pangasinan,
Branch III, dismissed the case on January 28, 1976 on the ground that the crime had prescribed. The
People's motion for reconsideration was denied by the succeeding Presiding Judge Felicidad Carandang
Villalon.

xxx xxx xxx


(Hearing of June 18, 1974, pp. 8-10; Emphasis supplied)" 4
Based on the aforequoted testimony, private respondent contends that there is no sufficient basis for the
charge and this fact warrants the dismissal of the case.
Private respondent also claims that the crime has prescribed since more than ten (10) years had elapsed
from the time the crime was committed. Since the information charges the complex crime of estafa thru
falsification of a public document, then the penalty shall be that for the more serious crime which shall
be applied in its maximum period, as provided for by Article 48 of the Penal Code. The more serious
crime in the present case is the falsification of the public document which is punishable with prision
correccional in its medium and maximum period and a fine not exceeding P5,000.00. Prision correccional
being a correctional penalty, the same prescribes in ten (10) years.
It was noted in said motion to dismiss that the information filed in the case merely alleged the date of the
commission of the crime which was February 5, 1964 and the information was filed only on March 29,
1974. This being the case, private respondent claims that more than ten (10) years has passed from the
commission of the crime to the filing of the information. No other allegation having been made as to the
discovery of the alleged crime, private respondent claimed that the period of prescription commenced
on the day on which the crime was committed. He asserts that, from the date appearing in the transfer
certificate of title covering the land mortgaged with the bank, the mortgage documents were duly
registered with the Registry of Deeds of Dagupan City on February 13, 1984, hence the alleged crime
became public knowledge on the same date. To support his theory, private respondent made the
following citation:
"The period of prescription commences to run from the date of the commission of the crime if it is
known at the time of its commission. Cdphi
"Thus, if there is nothing that was concealed or needed to be discovered, because the entire series
of transactions was by public instruments, duly recorded, the crime of estafa committed in
connection with said transaction was known to the offended party when it was committed and the
period of prescription commenced to run from the date of its commission. People v. Dinsay, C.A.
40 O.G. 12th Supp. 50 (The Revised Penal Code by Justice Luis B. Reyes, Revised Edition 1967,
Vol. I, pp. 711-712)." 5
The prosecution countered that the testimony of Mariano Carrera shows that what was intended was an
authority to mortgage only the one-half portion pertaining to his brother and he was only quoting what
his brother told him when he said that ". . . this is an authority to Federico de Guzman to get a loan from
the bank on the half portion of the land which belongs to me, my brother said." 6
It further submitted that the information was not filed out of time since the date to be considered should
not be the date of registration of the alleged power of attorney on February 13, 1964. It argued that the
crime was actually discovered only in January, 1972 when Ramon S. Serafica filed an action to eject
complainant from the premises, which fact was not alleged in the information because it was considered
by the prosecution as a mere evidentiary matter which would not be in accord with the legal truism that
an "information must allege only ultimate facts and not evidentiary matters." 7

On March 25, 1976, the prosecution filed a notice of appeal from both orders of the trial court. In a
resolution dated May 13, 1976, this Court required the prosecution to file a petition for review on certiorari
in accordance with Republic Act No. 5440. 9 Thereafter, said petition for review and the corresponding
comment and reply of the parties having been filed, on February 21, 1977 the Court resolved to treat
said petition as a special civil action and required petitioner and private respondent to submit their
respective memoranda. 10
From the memoranda submitted, the Court is tasked with the resolution of the following issues:
1. Whether the People could appeal from the order of dismissal because the private respondent
would thereby be placed in double jeopardy;
2. Whether the charge of estafa thru falsification of a public document filed against the private
respondent has sufficient ground to exist in law and in fact; and,
3. Whether the offense charged in the aforementioned criminal case is already extinguished by
prescription. 11
The bar of double jeopardy is not involved in the present recourse. As enunciated in People vs. City
Court of Manila, etc., et al.:
"As a general rule, the dismissal or termination of the case after arraignment and plea of the
defendant to a valid information shall be a bar to another prosecution for the offense charged, or
for any attempt to commit the same or frustration thereof, or for any offense which necessarily
includes or is necessarily included in the complaint or information (Section 9, Rule 113). However,
an appeal by the prosecution from the order of dismissal (of the criminal case) by the trial court
shall not constitute double jeopardy if (1) the dismissal is made upon motion, or with the express
consent, of the defendant, and (2) the dismissal is not an acquittal or based upon consideration of
the evidence or of the merits of the case; and (3) the question to be passed upon by the appellate
court is purely legal so that should the dismissal be found incorrect, the case would have to be
remanded to the court of origin for further proceedings, to determine the guilt or innocence of the
defendant." 12
On the issue of whether the charge of estafa thru falsification of a public document has sufficient basis
to exist in fact and in law, we hold in the affirmative. The falsification of a public document may be a
means of committing estafa because before the falsified document is actually utilized to defraud another,
the crime of falsification has already been consummated, damage or intent to cause damage not being
an element of the crime of falsification of public, official or commercial documents. The damage to
another is caused by the commission of estafa, not by the falsification of the document, hence, the
falsification of the public, official or commercial document is only a necessary means to commit the
estafa. 13
Petitioner posits that the offense charged is supported by the fact that what was intended to be
mortgaged was the one-half portion pertaining to Severo Carrera, not the portion pertaining to
complainant, otherwise complainant would not have quoted his brother's words. The theory of petitioner
and the findings of public respondent are substantially the same. We agree that the offense charged
does exist in fact and in law, as explained in the findings of the court below:

"In the light of the circumstances revealed by the partial testimony of complainant Mariano Carrera
and of the record, as regards the first ground, the court finds that the contention of the defense that
the authorization given to him to mortgage the whole property is not sustained by the evidence
because a cursory study of the answer made by the witness complainant clearly shows that what
was intended to be mortgaged was the one-half (1/2) portion pertaining only to Severo Carrera,
excluding that portion pertaining to said complainant. (tsn. pp. 8-10, hearing on June 18, 1974). In
other words, the alleged authorization given to Federico de Guzman to get a loan from the Bank
on the half portion of the land referred to the share of Severo Carrera only. This finding is based
on the following quoted answer:
'A . . . and when I asked him he interpreted that this is an authorization to Federico de Guzman
to get a loan from the bank on the half portion of the land which belongs to me, my brother
said.'
Mariano Carrera on June 18, 1974, gave the above-quoted testimony. He merely quoted his brother
Severo Carrera to whom the half portion of the land belongs. Severo Carrera, as quoted by Mariano
Carrera, did not use the phrase `which belongs to you.'" 14

private respondent herein, since the prescriptive period of the crime shall have to be reckoned with
earlier, that is, from the time the questioned documents were recorded in the Registry of Deeds.
In the instant case, the special power of attorney involved was registered on February 13, 1964. The
criminal information against private respondent having been filed only on March 29, 1974, or more than
ten (10) years thereafter, the crime with which private respondent was charged has indubitably
prescribed.
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit and the challenged orders of public
respondent are AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.
Melencio-Herrera, Paras, Padilla and Sarmiento, JJ., concur.
||| (People v. Villalon, G.R. No. L-43659, [December 21, 1990], 270 PHIL 637-648)

Notwithstanding the foregoing disquisition on the sufficiency of the charge of estafa thru falsification of a
public document, the resolution of the issue on prescription is, however, determinative of the validity of
the impugned orders of public respondent. LLphil
Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code provides that the penalty for a complex crime is that for the most
serious component offense, the same to be applied in its maximum period. In the crime of estafa thru
falsification of a public document, the more serious crime is the falsification which carries with it the
correctional penalty of prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods and a fine not more than
P5,000.00 imposed by Article 172 of the Code. Crimes punishable by correctional penalties prescribe in
ten (10) years pursuant to Article 90 of the Code, and Article 91 thereof states that the prescriptive period
commences to run "from the day on which the crime is discovered by the offended party, the authorities,
or their agents . . ."
The document which was allegedly falsified was a notarized special power of attorney registered in the
Registry of Deeds of Dagupan City on February 13, 1964 authorizing private respondent to mortgage a
parcel of land covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. 47682 in order to secure a loan of P8,500.00
from the People's Bank and Trust Company. The information for estafa thru falsification of a public
document was filed only on March 29, 1974. We reject petitioner's claim that the ten-year period
commenced when complainant supposedly discovered the crime in January, 1972 by reason of the
ejectment suit against him.
People vs. Reyes 15 cites authorities on the well established rule that registration in a public registry is
a notice to the whole world. The record is constructive notice of its contents as well as all interests, legal
and equitable, included therein. All persons are charged with knowledge of what it contains. On these
considerations, it holds that the prior ruling in Cabral vs. Puno, etc., et al., 16 to the effect that in the
crime of falsification of a public document the prescriptive period commences from the time the offended
party had constructive notice of the alleged forgery after the document was registered with the Register
of Deeds is not without legal basis.
It was also noted that in Armentia vs. Patriarca, et al., 17 in interpreting the phrase "from the discovery"
found in Article 1391 of the Civil Code which authorizes annulment, in case of mistake or fraud, within
four years from the time of the discovery of the same, the Court also held that the discovery must be
reckoned to have taken place from the time the document was registered in the Register of Deeds, for
the familiar rule is that registration is a notice to the whole world and this should apply to both criminal
and civil cases. prcd
We are further in accord with the conclusion in Reyes that the application of said rule on constructive
notice in the interpretation of Article 91 of the Revised Penal Code would most certainly be favorable to

THIRD DIVISION

[G.R. No. 73905. September 30, 1991.]

MICHAEL T. DAVA, petitioner, vs. THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES and


the INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, respondents.

K.V. Faylona & Associates for petitioner.

DECISION

FERNAN, C.J p:
On October 19, 1975, while driving a car along Shaw Boulevard, Mandaluyong, Rizal, petitioner Michael
T. Dava, then the holder of non-professional driver's license No. 1474427 1 with official receipt No.
7023037, 2 bumped pedestrians Bernadette Roxas Clamor and Dolores E. Roxas, causing death to the
former and physical injuries to the latter.
As a consequence of said incident, Dava was brought to the Mandaluyong Police headquarters where
his driver's license was confiscated by Cpl. Daniel Severino who later submitted Dava's driver's license
to the fiscal's office in Pasig, Rizal. The license was thereafter presented as prosecution evidence in the
criminal case for homicide and serious physical injuries thru reckless imprudence filed against Dava in
the then Court of First Instance of Rizal in Pasig. 3
On April 12, 1978, Antonio Roxas, the brother of Bernadette and the father of Dolores, saw Dava driving
a maroon Volkswagen (beetle-type) car with plate No. AD-902 B. Knowing that Dava's driver's license
was used as an exhibit in court and that no traffic violation receipt had been issued to Dava, Roxas
sought the help of then Minister of Defense Juan Ponce Enrile in apprehending Dava for driving without
a license. 4 The Ministry of Defense later indorsed Roxas' request for assistance to the Constabulary
Highway Patrol Group (CHPG). cdrep
At around 7:30 in the evening of July 21, 1978, M/Sgt. Domingo Lising and S/Sgt. Arturo Viduya of the
CHPG saw the maroon Volkswagen car described by Roxas parked in front of the Uniwide Department
Store near the then Nation theater in Cubao, Quezon City. When the driver and his companion arrived,
Lising and Viduya confronted them and asked the driver for his license. They were shown nonprofessional driver's license No. 2706887 5 with official receipt No. 0605870 6 issued by Agency 2L
Pampanga in the name of Michael T. Dava. When asked about the source of his license, Dava informed
them that his officemate had secured it for him.
Lising and Viduya invited Dava to the CHPG office in Camp Crame, Quezon City for questioning. Dava
refused to give a statement upon the advice of his lawyer. Lising then submitted a spot report to Col.
Maristela stating therein that "subject had violated Section 31 of RA 4136 for false representation in the
application of a driver's license intended to be used as a legal license." 7 In his affidavit of apprehension
dated November 16, 1978, Lising stated that he was "about to book him for violation of Section 31 of
Rep. Act 4136, when subsequent investigation revealed that the Driver's License above-mentioned is a
Fake and a Falsity" and therefore a case for falsification and use of falsified documents under Section
172 of the Revised Penal Code should be filed against Dava. 8 Lising concluded that Dava's driver's
license was fake because when he compared it with the xerox copy of Dava's license which was attached
to the record of the criminal case in Pasig, the signatures and the dates of birth indicated in the two
licenses did "not tally." 9

Accordingly, an information for falsification of a public document was filed against Dava in the then Court
of First Instance of Rizal, Branch V at Quezon City. 10 One of the prosecution witnesses was Carolino
Vinluan of the Angeles City branch of the Bureau of Land Transportation (BLT). He testified that he was
then the registrar of the said office when Dava's driver's license was brought to him by lawyer Jose
Francisco who was interested in knowing whether it was genuine or fake and if it was issued by the
Angeles City agency of the BLT. He examined it and found out that it was "fake or illegally issued"
because form No. 2706887 was one of the fifty (50) forms which had been reported missing from their
office sometime in November, 1976 and that it was never issued to any applicant for a driver's license.
11 He added that any license that was not included in their office index card was considered as "coming
from (an) illegal source" and "not legally issued by any agency." 12
Vinluan stated that although the form used for the license was genuine, 13 the signature of the issuing
official was fake. 14 He "believed" certain persons had been apprehended for "plasticization" of licenses
outside their office 15 and that sometime in November, 1976, agents of the National Bureau of
Investigation raided the house of a certain person who had in his possession some of the forms which
had been missing from their office. 16 He concluded that the license was fake because while the form
was issued by the central office to the Angeles City agency, the license appeared on its face to have
been issued by the San Fernando, Pampanga agency. 17
Dava was convicted of the crime charged. He appealed to the then Court of Appeals 18 which affirmed
the lower court's decision on January 29, 1982. Dava filed a motion for reconsideration of the said
decision contending that the lower court had no jurisdiction to try the case. On April 27, 1982, the Court
of Appeals reversed and set aside its decision and issued a resolution the dispositive portion of which
reads:
"WHEREFORE, as prayed for, our decision is hereby reconsidered and set aside, and another
judgment shall be entered annulling the proceedings in the court a quo without prejudice to the
refiling of the charges with the proper court." (Rollo, pp. 35-36.).
Consequently, the case was refiled with the Regional Trial Court of Pampanga, Branch 47 at San
Fernando as Criminal Case No. 2422. The information for falsification of a public document reads as
follows:
"That on or about the 12th day of April, 1978, and for sometime prior thereto, in the municipality of
San Fernando, province of Pampanga, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable
Court, the above-named accused MICHAEL T. DAVA, a private individual, did then and there
willfully, and unlawfully and feloniously falsify or cause to be falsified, a Non-Professional Driver's
License with Serial No. 2706887 covered by Official Receipt No. 0605870, dated January 24, 1978,
a public document, by making it appear that the signatories therein who are officials of the
Pampanga LTC Agency participated in the preparation thereof, when in truth and in fact they did
not so participate and the accused made use of the same knowing it to be falsified. LLpr
"ALL CONTRARY TO LAW."
At the trial, the prosecution presented Antonio Roxas who testified on how he saw Dava driving a car
and that, knowing that Dava's license had been confiscated as a result of the filing of the homicide and
serious physical injuries through reckless imprudence case, he thereafter sought the assistance of then
Minister Enrile in apprehending Dava for driving without a license. 19 For his part, Domingo Lising, who
apprehended Dava, narrated in court how he first saw Dava driving a car along Banahaw and N.
Domingo Sts. in Quezon City until he finally confronted Dava at the vicinity of the Araneta Coliseum and
confiscated his driver's license. As earlier stated, he concluded that the driver's license shown to him by
Dava was fake because he noticed that, when compared with the license attached to the record of the
criminal case filed against Dava, the license he confiscated bore a different signature and date of birth.
20
Daniel Severino, a sergeant of the Mandaluyong police, testified that he investigated the traffic incident
along Shaw Boulevard on October 19, 1975 which involved Dava and the two relatives of Antonio Roxas.

He himself confiscated Dava's non-professional driver's license No. 1474427 which he later turned over
to the fiscal's office. 21

signature of Dava, Manalili immediately gave the license to Dava and told him to sign it immediately.
Dava did so in Manalili's presence. 40

In the course of Severino's testimony, the defense counsel informed the court that, upon a resolution of
the Court of Appeals, Dava was allowed by the lower court having jurisdiction over Criminal Case No.
16474 to withdraw his driver's license No. 1474427 from the records of said case. 22 When confronted
by the court, Dava volunteered that he withdrew said license in December, 1982 and surrendered it to
the BLT Western District Office so that he could renew his license. 23 Hence, the evidence presented
before the Court was a mere xerox copy of said license 24 which also bears a notation that Dava received
the original driver's license and its receipt on December 15, 1982. 25

On March 22, 1984, the lower court rendered a decision 41 finding that the license in question was "fake
or spurious", that it was not duly issued by any proper government licensing agency and that the accused
directly participated in the commission of the falsification or caused said falsification. The court took into
account the facts that Dava was "in dire need" of a license because of his work as a detailman; that he
received his genuine license from the court only on December 15, 1982, and that Dava himself personally
requested his friend, Manalili, to secure the license for him. It arrived at the conclusion that since Dava
was the possessor or user of the fake license, he himself was the forger or the one who caused its
forgery or falsification. The dispositive portion of the decision reads:

Victor Martin, who had been the head of the San Fernando, Pampanga branch of the BLT and whose
name appears as registrar thereof in official receipt No. 0605870 which was supposed to be attached to
Dava's driver's license No. 2706887, admitted that the form of the said license was genuine although he
could not tell whether its contents were likewise genuine because it was "opened" and "spliced." 26 He
asserted, however, that since the said form "did not emanate" from his office and "a facsimile was not
printed" over his name, said license was "not OK". 27
Martin said that he was informed by the property section of the BLT regional office that the number in
the license was one of "the numbers requisitioned by (the) Angeles City agency." 28 He affirmed that
driver's license No. 2706887 "was not issued by (their) agency" 29 although when recalled to the stand,
he admitted that the "2L" filled in the space for "Agency Code No." on the face of license No. 2706887
referred to the San Fernando agency. 30 Martin also confirmed the genuineness of official receipt No.
0605870 although it was his assistant who signed it for him 31 and affirmed that the amount of P10.00
indicated therein had been collected and received by his office. 32
Lawyer Jose Francisco testified that he went to the Angeles City office of the BLT to see its chief and
inquire about the number of driver's license issued to Dava and whether said office had indeed issued
them. According to him, the head of the office, Carolino Vinluan, advised him to verify from the index
card in the possession of the License Division head whether the Angeles City agency had indeed issued
Dava's license. 33 Thereafter, the officer-in-charge of the License Division of the BLT in East Avenue,
Quezon City, Leonardo R. Medina, issued a certification dated December 24, 1979 to the effect that nonprofessional driver's license No. 2706887 in the name of Dava was "not registered in (their) Index Card."
34
Francisco also informed the court that Carolino Vinluan, the former head of the Angeles City BLT agency,
had died on May 12, 1980. 35 He offered in evidence Vinluan's death certificate as Exh. J.
Another evidence presented by the prosecution was the transcript of stenographic notes of the testimony
of Carolino Vinluan which was taken on January 8, 1980 at the trial of Criminal Case No. Q-10759 before
the then Court of First Instance of Rizal, Branch V at Quezon City. It was marked as Exh. K. The said
exhibit was part of the record of Criminal Case No. Q-10759 which was transmitted to the Regional Trial
Court of Pampanga. 36
The defense presented only one witness: Felizardo Manalili. A friend of Dava and his former co-trainee
at the Sandoz Philippines, a pharmaceutical firm, Manalili testified that Dava requested him to secure a
driver's license for him because he had none. Manalili went to the San Fernando office of the Land
Transportation Commission (LTC) where he used to secure his own license. At the LTC branch office,
he was "approached by the fixers who roamed around the compound." 37 When he asked them how
much it would cost to secure a driver's license, he was told that it would amount to P70.00. 38 He agreed
to pay the amount and gave the fixers the personal data of Dava. 39
After an hour, the fixers gave Manalili the license which was inside a plastic jacket. (Manalili identified
the license as Exh. B.) He examined it and found out that it looked "like a genuine and authentic driver's
license" to him. The license, which was opened and unsealed, bore a signature in the portion which
showed the name Romeo Edu and contained all the personal data of Dava. Because it did not bear the

"IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, this Court finds the accused Michael T. Dava guilty beyond
reasonable doubt, as principal of the crime of Falsification of a Public Document, as defined and
penalized under the provisions of Article 172 of the Revised Penal Code, and considering the
absence of any mitigating or aggravating circumstance, hereby sentences him under the
Indeterminate Sentence Law to suffer an indeterminate imprisonment of one (1) year and eight (8)
months of prision correccional as minimum, to four (4) years, nine (9) months and ten (10) days of
prision correccional as maximum; and to pay a fine of Two Thousand Five Hundred (P2,500.00)
Pesos, Philippine Currency, plus the costs of this suit. Llcd
"IT IS SO ORDERED."
Dava appealed to the then Intermediate Appellate Court, 42 which on September 30, 1985 affirmed in
toto the decision of the trial court. On February 27, 1986, the appellate court denied Dava's motion for
the reconsideration of said decision finding that no new grounds had been raised therein. Hence, the
instant petition for review on certiorari.
Petitioner assails herein the reliance of the courts below on the testimony of Carolino Vinluan on the
ground that being a part of the annulled proceedings in Criminal Case No. Q-10759, it may not be
considered as admissible in evidence as it cannot qualify as a "testimony at a former trial" under the
provisions of Section 41, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court.
We find petitioner's contention to be meritorious. The resolution of the then Intermediate Appellate Court
in CA-G.R. No. 24312-CR, expressly annulled the proceedings had in Criminal Case No. Q-10759 for
lack of jurisdiction of the Quezon City court over the case. That ruling is founded on solid jurisprudence.
We had time and again held that in the absence of proof that the party raising the issue of lack of
jurisdiction is barred by estoppel, 43 a decision rendered by a court without jurisdiction is a total nullity.
44 Being worthless in itself, all the proceedings founded upon it are equally worthless. 45 Hence, the
testimony of Vinluan is not only inadmissible in evidence but may as well be considered as totally
nonexistent.
With the testimony of the late Carolino Vinluan out of the way, is there sufficient evidence to warrant the
conviction of the petitioner for the crime charged?
The information specifically charges the petitioner with having made it appear in his driver's license No.
2706887 that "officials of the Pampanga LTC agency participated" in its preparation and with having
used the said driver's license knowing that it was falsified. The charges therefore are founded on the
provisions of Article 172 (1) of the Revised Penal Code which punishes any private individual who shall
commit any of the falsification enumerated in Article 171 specifically paragraph 2 thereof which penalizes
the act of causing it to appear that persons (public officials) have participated in any act or proceeding
when they did not in fact so participate. The information also charges Dava with having knowingly used
a false document under the last paragraph of Article 172.
The evidence at hand proves that petitioner, misrepresenting that he had no driver's license, asked his
friend, Manalili, to secure one for him. Sometime in November, 1976, Manalili, who used to get his own
driver's license in San Fernando, Pampanga, was able to secure petitioner's driver's license No. 2706887

through fixers at the Land Transportation Commission (LTC) agency in said locality. 46 On January 24,
1978, petitioner renewed his license at the said office by paying the amount of P10.00 for which he was
issued official receipt No. 0605870. 47

sought the fixer's assistance. 59 In those days, all plastic jackets emanated from the LTC Central Office,
which accounted for the delay in the release of the license applied for. Under these circumstances, no
"reasonable and fairminded man" would say that petitioner did not know that his license was a fake. 60

In the renewal of drivers' license, the practice then was simply to present an official receipt showing that
the previous year the licensee had paid for his driver's license to any agency of the LTC, and to pay the
renewal fee. As long as the transaction did not involve the issuance of "another form," a driver did not
have to fill up an application form for the renewal of a license. The said agency would then issue an
official receipt evidencing the renewal of the license but the driver's license itself would not be changed.
48

A driver's license is a public document within the purview of Articles 171 and 172. The blank form of the
driver's license becomes a public document the moment it is accomplished. 61 Thus, when driver's
license No. 2706887 was filled up with petitioner's personal data and the signature of the registrar of the
San Fernando LTC agency was affixed therein, even if the same was simulated, the driver's license
became a public document.

Thus, on January 24, 1978, when driver's license No. 2706887 together with official receipt No. 864321
49 were presented to the San Fernando LTC agency, the personnel therein issued official receipt No.
0605870 in the name of petitioner. Although the receipt was not personally signed by office registrar
Victor Martin but by his assistant, the receipt 50 was genuine and the amount indicated therein was
actually paid to and collected by the San Fernando agency. 51 The driver's license itself may not have
been issued by said agency 52 but its form was likewise genuine. However, according to Martin, it was
"not OK" because it "did not emanate" from his office and "a facsimile was not printed over" his name
therein. 53 Moreover, according to the officer-in-charge of the License Division of the Bureau of Land
Transportation in East Avenue, Quezon City, non-professional driver's license No. 2706887 in the name
of Michael Dava y Tolosa "is not registered" in their index card. 54
Hence, while there is no doubt that driver's license No. 2706887 was a spurious one, the evidence do
not pinpoint the petitioner as the actual falsifier. Unfortunately, however, there are pieces of evidence
which prove beyond reasonable doubt that he caused the falsification and made use of the falsified
driver's license knowing it to be so. cdll
The elements of the crime of using a falsified document in any transaction (other than as evidence in a
judicial proceeding) penalized under the last paragraph of Article 172 are the following: (a) the offender
knew that a document was falsified by another person; (b) the false document is embraced in Article 171
or in any of subdivisions Nos. 1 and 2 of Article 172; (c) he used such document (not in judicial
proceedings), and (d) the use of the false document caused damage to another or at least it was used
with intent to cause such damage. 55 Except for the last, all of these elements have been proven beyond
reasonable doubt in this case.
It is not disputed that it was petitioner himself who requested Manalili to get him a license. He
misrepresented to Manalili that he has not at any time been issued a driver's license. 56 Through this
misrepresentation and capitalizing on Manalili's awareness of the dire necessity of obtaining a driver's
license in the shortest time possible to enable petitioner to perform his duties as detailman, petitioner
was able, in a very subtle and clever manner, to induce Manalili to deal with "fixers" in securing the
subject driver's license. For indeed, there was no way Manalili could obtain a driver s license in so short
a time without having to deal with "fixers." Thus, as petitioner had calculated, Manalili, who appeared to
have been motivated by a sincere desire to help a friend, did not hesitate to deal with three fixers whom
he knew were not employees of the LTC and to whom he paid P70.00 for the license even if the legal
fee then was only P15.00. 57 As it was in truth petitioner who induced and left Manalili with no choice
but to seek the aid of fixers, the fact that it was Manalili and not petitioner who dealt directly with said
fixers cannot exculpate petitioner from the charge of falsification. He is, beyond reasonable doubt, a
principal by inducement in the commission of said crime.
Petitioner cannot feign ignorance of the spurious character of his second drivers license No. 2706887.
Having already obtained a driver's license, he knew that it was not legally possible for him to secure
another one. Otherwise, there would have been no need for him to misrepresent to his friend Manalili
that he was not then a holder of a driver's license. But even with this misrepresentation, petitioner cannot
even begin to believe that Manalili would be able to secure a driver's license through legal means in
about an hour's time. 58 The patent irregularity in obtaining driver's license No. 2706887 was more than
sufficient to arouse the suspicion of an ordinary cautious and prudent man as to its genuineness and
authenticity. In fact, Manalili testified that he himself was surprised when the fixer handed to him the
plastic jacket of the driver's license of Michael Dava on November 4, 1976, a few hours after he had

The third element of use of the falsified document is proven by the fact that when petitioner was
apprehended by Lising on April 12, 1978 it was in his possession and it was what he presented Lising to
show that he had a license. Because he was a detailman who did his job with the use of a car, it is
probable that from November 4, 1976 (its date of issuance) until April 12, 1978, petitioner used driver's
license No. 2706887. prLL
The driver's license being a public document, proof of the fourth element of damage caused to another
person or at least an intent to cause such damage has become immaterial. In falsification of public or
official documents, the principal thing being punished is the violation of the public faith and the destruction
of the truth proclaimed therein. 62
In his attempt at exculpation, petitioner asserts that the following ruling in People vs. Sendaydiego, 63
should be applied in his favor:
"The rule is that if a person had in his possession a falsified document and he made use of it
(uttered it), taking advantage of it and profiting thereby, the presumption is that he is the material
author of the falsification. This is especially true if the use or uttering of the forged documents was
so closely connected in time with the forgery that the user or possessor may be proven to have the
capacity of committing the forgery, or to have close connection with the forgers, and therefore, had
complicity in the forgery (U.S. vs. Castillo, 6 Phil. 453; People vs. De Lara, 45 Phil. 754; People vs.
Domingo, 49 Phil. 28; People vs. Astudillo, 60 Phil. 338; People vs. Manansala, 105 Phil. 1253). In
the absence of a satisfactory explanation, one who is found in possession of a forged document
and who used or uttered it is presumed to be the forger (Alarcon vs. Court of Appeals, L-21846,
March 31, 1967, 19 SCRA 688; People vs. Caragao, L-28258, December 27, 1969, 30 SCRA 993)."
(Emphasis supplied.).
We agree with the petitioner that the presumption enunciated in the Sendaydiego case is not absolute
as it is subject to the exception that the accused should have a satisfactory explanation why he is in
possession of a false document. 64 His explanation, however, is unsatisfactory as it consists mainly in
passing the buck to his friend, Manalili. As stated above, Manalili himself could not have acted on his
own accord without the prodding of petitioner. Cdpr
We cannot help but comment on petitioner's allegations on the role of fixers in government agencies. To
him, a fixer is a "necessary evil" who could do things fast for the right amount. He is "not necessarily
involved in the commission of forgery or falsification of official documents" and he shares his fees with
"insiders." 65
Fixers indeed appear as undetachable fixtures in government licensing agencies. Why they proliferate
is a sad commentary not only on our bureaucracy but also on our own people. While not all fixers are
engaged in illegal activities for some simply serve as "facilitators," they nonetheless provide sources for
exploitation of the unknowing common people who transact business with the government and for
corruption of the gullible government employees. Their unwanted presence must be dealt with
accordingly and the soonest this is undertaken by our government agencies the better for all of us.
WHEREFORE, the decision of the respondent appellate court is hereby affirmed. Let a copy of this
decision be served on the Department of Transportation and Communication. Costs against the
petitioner.

SECOND DIVISION

[G.R. No. L-74727. June 16, 1988.]

MELENCIO GIGANTONI y JAVIER, petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF THE


PHILIPPINES and INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, respondents.

DECISION

YAP, C.J p:
This is an appeal by certiorari from the decision of the then Intermediate Appellate Court in AC-G.R. No.
01119 entitled "People of the Philippines v. Melencio Gigantoni y Javier," promulgated on November 13,
1985, which affirmed the decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 159, Pasig, Metro Manila, finding
the accused guilty of usurpation of authority under Article 177 of the Revised Penal Code, with
modification of the penalty by reducing the same to one (1) month and one (1) day of arresto mayor to
one (1) year and one (1) day of prision correccional, after crediting the accused with a mitigating
circumstance analogous to voluntary confession of guilt.
Petitioner Melencio Gigantoni y Javier, was charged before the Regional Trial Court of Rizal, Pasig, with
the crime of usurpation of authority in violation of Article 177 of the Revised Penal Code upon an
information alleging that the crime was committed as follows:
"That on or about the 14th and 15th day of May, 1981, in the Municipality of Makati, Metro Manila,
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, who is
not a bonafide agent of the CIS, Philippine Constabulary, did then and there willfully, unlawfully,
knowingly and falsely represented himself as a bonafide agent of the CIS, Philippine Constabulary,
said accused, knowing fully well his representation to be false."
After arraignment during which the accused pleaded not guilty and after trial, the lower court rendered
judgment finding the accused guilty as charged. On appeal to the appellate court, the judgment was
affirmed with modification only as to the penalty imposed.
The facts of the case, as recited in the decision of the appellate court, are as follows: LLjur
"During the period material to this case, or in 1981, accused-appellant Melencio Gigantoni was an
employee of Black Mountain Mining Inc. and Tetra Management Corporation, which are both
private companies doing business in the Philippines . . . . On May 14, 1981, as an employee of said
companies, Gigantoni went to the office of the Philippine Air Lines (PAL) at Vernida Building,
Legaspi Street, Makati, Metro Manila, allegedly to conduct verification of some travels made by
Black Mountain's officials. Upon reaching the said PAL office, he falsely represented himself to the
PAL legal officer as a PC-CIS agent investigating a kidnapping case, and requested that he be
shown the PAL records particularly the passenger manifests for Manila-Baguio-Manila flights
covering the period February 1 to 3, 1981. He explained that he was then at the 'tracking stage' of
aforementioned kidnapping case. . . . To further convince the PAL officials of his supposed mission,
Gigantoni exhibited his identification card purporting to show that he was a PC-CIS agent. . . .
Thereupon, his aforesaid request was granted, and PAL legal officer Atty. Conrado A. Boro showed
to him the requested PAL records. Gigantoni then secured xerox copies of the requested manifest
. . . and the used PAL tickets of one Cesar (Philippe) Wong, an SGV auditor, and that of a certain
Daisy Britanico, an employee of Black Mountain. Thereafter, he left the PAL premises.

"When Gigantoni was no longer around, PAL general counsel Ricardo Puno, Jr., inquired from Atty.
Boro about Gigantoni's purpose in securing copies of PAL records. They then became suspicious
of the accused' real identity prompting them to conduct verification from the PC-CIS office. They
subsequently learned from General Uy of PC-CIS that Gigantoni was no longer a CIS agent since
June 30, 1980 as he had been dismissed from the service for gross misconduct . . . brought about
by the extortion charges filed against him and his final conviction by the Sandiganbayan for the
said offense. . . . Upon discovering the foregoing, Atty. Puno immediately alerted the NBI as
Gigantoni would be coming back to the PAL office the following day. . . .
"On May 15, 1981, when Gigantoni returned to the Makati PAL office, he was brought by Atty. Puno
to their conference room while awaiting for the arrival of the NBI agents who were earlier contacted.
In the presence of Atty. Boro and a PAL security, Gigantoni was confronted by Atty. Puno as to his
real identity. He later admitted that he was no longer with the CIS; that he was working for the Black
Mountain Mining Corporation; and that he was just checking on a claim for per diem of one of their
employees who had travelled. . . .
"Upon the arrival of NBI agents Teodoro Pangilinan, Lolito Utitco and Dante Crisologo, Attys. Puno
and Boro turned over the person of Gigantoni to the NBI. They also submitted a complaint-affidavit
against Gigantoni . . . . On that same day, after the investigation, arrest and booking conducted by
the NBI, Gigantoni was charged before the Office of the Provincial Fiscal of Rizal, thru its office in
Makati, with the crime of Usurpation of Authority."
The petitioner-accused raised substantially the same errors on appeal to respondent appellate court, to
wit:
1. The appellate court erred in interpreting that presumption that official duty has
been regularly performed, is applicable in the case at bar;
2. The appellate court erred in its interpretation of the difference between
suspension and dismissal.
The gist of petitioner's contention is that he could not be guilty of the crime charged because at the
time of the alleged commission of the offense, he was still a CIS agent who was merely suspended
and was not yet informed of his termination from the service. Furthermore, he avers that the receipt
by him of the notice of dismissal, if there was any, could not be established on mere presumption
of law that official duty has been regularly performed.
Article 177 of the Revised Penal Code on usurpation of authority or official functions, under which the
petitioner was charged, punishes any person: (a) who knowingly and falsely represents himself to be an
officer, agent or representative of any department or agency of the Philippine Government or of any
foreign government; or (b) who, under pretense of official position, performs any act pertaining to any
person in authority or public officer of the Philippine Government or any foreign government or any
agency thereof, without being lawfully entitled to do so. The former constitutes the crime of usurpation
of authority under which the petitioner stands charged, while the latter act constitutes the crime of
usurpation of official functions.
The question before us is did petitioner knowingly and falsely represent himself as an agent of the
CIS, Philippine Constabulary? Petitioner admits that he received a notice of his suspension from the CIS
effective June 20, 1980. This admission is supported by the record (Annex "D") which shows the letter
of Lt. Col. Sabas Edades to petitioner, dated June 23, 1980, regarding said action. Said official letter was
also sent to the Commissioner of the Merit Systems Board, Civil Service Commission, the Minister of
National Defense and the Commanding General of the CIS. However, as to petitioner's alleged dismissal
effective June 20, 1980, he denies having been informed thereof. The record is bereft of any evidence
or proof adduced by the prosecution showing that the dismissal was actually conveyed to petitioner. That
is why the court, in convicting him, relied on the disputable presumption that official duty has been
regularly performed, that is, that it is presumed that he was duly notified of his dismissal. cdphil

The failure of the prosecution to prove that petitioner was duly notified of his dismissal from the service
negatives the charge that he "knowingly and falsely" represented himself to be a CIS agent. The
constitutional presumption of innocence can only be overturned by competent and credible proof and
never by mere disputable presumptions, as what the lower and appellate courts did when they presumed
that petitioner was duly notified of his dismissal by applying the disputable presumption "that official duty
has been regularly performed." It was not for the accused to prove a negative fact, namely, that he did
not receive the order of dismissal. In criminal cases, the burden of proof as to the offense charged lies
on the prosecution. Hence, it was incumbent upon the prosecution to establish by positive evidence the
allegation that the accused falsely represented himself as a CIS agent, by presenting proof that he knew
that he was no longer a CIS agent, having been duly notified of his dismissal. It is essential to present
proof that he actually knew at the time of the alleged commission of the offense that he was already
dismissed from the service. A mere disputable presumption that he received notice of his dismissal would
not be sufficient.
The Solicitor General has argued in his memorandum, that it makes no difference whether the accused
was suspended or dismissed from the service, "for both imply the absence of power to represent oneself
as vested with authority to perform acts pertaining to an office to which he knowingly was deprived of."
(Emphasis supplied). The observation of the Solicitor General is correct if the accused were charged
with usurpation of official function (second part of Article 177), but not if he is charged merely with
usurpation of authority (first part of Article 177). The information charges the accused with the crime of
usurpation of authority for "knowingly and falsely representing himself to be an officer, agent or
representative of any department or agency of the Philippine Government."
Petitioner is not accused of usurpation of official functions. It has not been shown that the information
given by PAL to the accused was confidential and was given to him only because he was entitled to it
as part of the exercise of his official function. He was not charged in the information for such an offense.
In fact, it appears from the record of the case that the information, which was not claimed to be secret
and confidential, was readily made available to the accused because PAL officials believed at the time
that he was a CIS agent. And this was the only offense with which he was charged in the information,
that he knowingly and falsely represented himself to be a CIS agent.
Premises considered, the decision of the respondent Appellate Court affirming the judgment of conviction
of the Regional Trial Court is reversed and set aside. Petitioner-accused, Melencio Gigantoni y Javier is
hereby acquitted of the crime charged.
SO ORDERED.
Melencio-Herrera, Paras, Padilla and Sarmiento, JJ., concur.
||| (Gigantoni y Javier v. People, G.R. No. L-74727, [June 16, 1988], 245 PHIL 133-139)

SECOND DIVISION

[G.R. No. L-63817. August 28, 1984.]

CORAZON LEGAMIA y RIVERA, petitioner, vs. INTERMEDIATE


APPELLATE COURT AND PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.

voucher evidencing payment of Michael's claim in the amount of P2,648.76 was also signed "Corazon
L. Reyes."
For using the name Reyes although she was not married to Emilio, Felicisima Reyes who was married
to Emilio filed a complaint which led to Corazon's prosecution. Parenthetically, the amount paid to
Michael is "equivalent to 2/5 of that which is due to each legitimate child in accordance with the provisions
of the Civil Code" per advice given by Atty. Diomedes A. Bragado of the Agricultural Credit Administration
to Felicisima. (Rollo, pp. 14-15.) Cdpr
The law:

Felipe O. Pascual for petitioner.


The Solicitor General for respondent Appellate Court.

DECISION

ABAD SANTOS, J p:
This is an appeal by certiorari to review and reverse a decision of the Intermediate Appellate Court.
In the defunct Court of First Instance of Manila, Corazon Legamia was accused of using an alias in
violation of Commonwealth Act No. 142, as amended. The information against her reads:
"That on or about November 4th, 1974, and for sometime prior and subsequent
thereto, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused did then and there
wilfully and unlawfully use the substitute or alias name CORAZON L. REYES,
which is different from Corazon Legamia y Rivera with which she was christened
or by which she has been known since childhood, nor as a pseudonym for
literary purpose and without having been previously authorized by a competent
Court to do so; that it was discovered only on or about November 4th, 1974."
(Rollo, pp. 11-12.)
She was convicted by the trial court which sentenced her to an indeterminate prison term of one (1) year,
as minimum, to two (2) years, as maximum; to pay a fine of 5,000.00, with subsidiary imprisonment; and
to pay the costs. The trial court recommended, however, that she be extended executive clemency. On
appeal to the Intermediate Appellate Court, the sentence was affirmed in toto. Hence the instant petition.
The facts:
Corazon Legamia lived with Emilio N. Reyes for 19 years from November 8, 1965 to September 26,
1974, when Emilio died. During their live-in arrangement they produced a boy who was named Michael
Raphael Gabriel L. Reyes. He was born on October 18, 1971.
From the time Corazon and Emilio lived together until the latter's death, Corazon was known as Corazon
L. Reyes; she styled herself as Mrs. Reyes; and Emilio introduced her to friends as Mrs. Reyes.

Commonwealth Act No. 142 provides in Section 1:


"Section 1. Except as a pseudonym solely for literary, cinema, television, radio
or other entertainment purposes and in athletic events where the use of
pseudonym is a normally accepted practice, no person shall use any name
different from the one with which he was registered at birth in the office of the
local civil registry, or with which he was baptized for the first time, or in case of
an alien, with which he was registered in the Bureau of Immigration upon entry;
or such substitute name as may have been authorized by a competent court:
Provided, That persons, whose births have not been registered in any local civil
registry and who have not been baptized, have one year from the approval of
this act within which to register their names in the civil registry of their residence.
The name shall comprise the patronymic name and one or two surnames." (As
amended by R.A. No. 6085.)
The issue:
Did the petitioner violate the law in the light of the facts abovestated?
The resolution:
It is not uncommon in Philippine society for a woman to represent herself as the wife and use the name
of the man she is living with despite the fact that the man is married to another woman. The practice, to
be sure, is not encouraged but neither is it unduly frowned upon. A number of women can be identified
who are living with men prominent in political, business and social circles. The woman publicly holds
herself out as the man's wife and uses his family name blithely ignoring the fact that he is not her
husband. And yet none of the women has been charged of violating the C.A. No. 142 because ours is
not a bigoted but a tolerant and understanding society. It is in the light of our cultural environment that
the law must be construed. Cdpr
In the case at bar, Corazon had been living with Emilio for almost 20 years. He introduced her to the
public as his wife and she assumed that role and his name without any sinister purpose or personal
material gain in mind. She applied for benefits upon his death not for herself but for Michael who as a
boy of tender years was under her guardianship. Surely, the lawmakers could not have meant to
criminalize what Corazon had done especially because some of them probably had their own Corazons.
WHEREFORE, the decision under review is hereby set aside; the petitioner is acquitted of the charge.
No costs.
SO ORDERED.

Emilio was Branch Claim Manager, Naga Branch, of the Agricultural Credit Administration when he died.
On October 29, 1974, or shortly after Emilio's death, Corazon filed a letter claim in behalf of Michael with
the Agricultural Credit Administration for death benefits. The letter was signed "Corazon L. Reyes." The

Concepcion, Jr., Escolin and Cuevas, JJ., concur.

Makasiar, (Chairman) and Guerrero, JJ., are on leave.


||| (Legamia y Rivera v. Intermediate Appellate Court, G.R. No. L-63817, [August 28, 1984], 216 PHIL
447-451)

SECOND DIVISION
[G.R. No. 65006. October 31, 1990.]
REOLANDI DIAZ, petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES and
INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, respondents.
Paterno R. Canlas Law Offices for petitioner.
DECISION
PARAS, J p:
In Criminal Case No. 934 of the Court of First Instance of Pampanga, Fifth Judicial District, Branch VI,
San Fernando, Pampanga, petitioner Reolandi Diaz was charged with the crime of Falsification of Official
Document committed as follows:
"That on or about the 5th day of December 1972, in the Municipality of San Fernando, Province of
Pampanga, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named
accused, REOLANDI M. DIAZ, then a Senior Clerk at the Jose Abad Santos High School and,
therefore, a public employee, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously commit
falsification of official documents, to wit: by executing and filing in the office of the Civil Service
Commission of said municipality a Personal Data Sheet, CS Form No. 212(65), an official
document, stating and making it appear therein that he was a fourth year Bachelor of Arts student
in 1950-54 at the Cosmopolitan and Harvardian Colleges which document is a requirement for his
reappointment as School Administrative Assistant I of the Jose Abad Santos High School and
wherein the academic requirement to said position is at least a fourth year college undergraduate,
when in truth and in fact, the said accused well knew that the said statement is false and he did not
reach the fourth year in a Bachelor of Arts degree course, and consequently, by reason of said
untruthful narration of facts, his appointment to the said position was approved by the Civil Service
Commission.
"All contrary to law." (p. 44, Rollo)
After trial following a plea of not guilty upon arraignment, petitioner was found guilty as charged. The
dispositive portion of the trial court's decision is as follows: LLphil
"WHEREFORE, and in view of all the foregoing, this Court finds the accused Reolandi M. Diaz
guilty as charged of the crime of falsification of official document penalized under Article 171,
paragraph 4, of the Revised Penal Code, and he is therefore sentenced to suffer the indeterminate
penalty of imprisonment of two (2) years, four (4) months and one (1) day of prision correccional,
as minimum, to six (6) years and (1) day of prision mayor, as maximum, and to pay a fine of ONE
THOUSAND (P1,000.00) PESOS without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency.
"Costs against the accused." (pp. 55-56, Rollo)
Petitioner appealed the aforesaid judgment of conviction to the Intermediate Appellate Court, said appeal
being docketed thereat as CA-GR No. 24580-Cr.
In its Decision promulgated on April 7, 1983, the respondent court modified the trial court's decision by
increasing the maximum of the indeterminate penalty of imprisonment in the event of non-payment of
the fine due to insolvency, but affirmed the verdict of conviction in all other respects. The pertinent and
dispositive portions of respondent court's decision read:
"The penalty for the offense of falsification of an official document committed under Article 171,
paragraph 4 of the Revised Penal Code is prision mayor and a fine not to exceed P5,000.00. The
correct penalty that should be imposed on the appellant applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law
is imprisonment of Two (2) Years, Four (4) Months and One (1) Day of prision correccional as

minimum to Eight (8) Years and One (1) Day of prision mayor as maximum. In case of non-payment
of the fine of P1,000.00 due to insolvency, the appellant should be subject to subsidiary
imprisonment.
"WHEREFORE, with the above modification as to the penalty and the imposition of subsidiary
imprisonment in case of insolvency, the decision appealed from is affirmed in all other respects
with costs against accused-appellant." (p. 68, Rollo)
Petitioner's motion for reconsideration was denied, hence, the present recourse. cdrep
It is the contention of petitioner that he is entitled to an acquittal because
1. The findings of the lower court adopted by the respondent Intermediate Appellate Court that he
was not a fourth year A.B. College student is contrary to the evidence presented.
2. The respondent Intermediate Appellate Court gravely committed an error of law in convicting him
as he did not have any legal obligation to state in CS Form 212 that he was a fourth year college
student.
3. The Intermediate Appellate Court committed a grave abuse of discretion in finding that the
transcript of records (Exhibit I) is spurious.
Upon the following facts, found by both the trial court and respondent Intermediate Appellate Court,
to have been sufficiently and satisfactorily established by the evidence on record, it appears that
petitioner Reolandi Diaz was a senior clerk at the Jose Abad Santos High School in San Fernando,
Pampanga.
In 1972 he sought appointment as School Administrative Assistant I of the same school and as one of
the requirements for appointment to said position, filled up the prescribed personal information sheet,
Civil Service Form 212, and swore to the truth and veracity of the data and information therein furnished
by him before the proper administering officer. As one of the required informations, he indicated in Exh.
"A" that his highest educational attainment was Fourth Year A.B. (Liberal Arts) allegedly pursued or
obtained at the Cosmopolitan and Harvardian Colleges, respectively, during the years 1950 to 1954
inclusive. On the basis thereof, he was extended an appointment as School Administrative Assistant I
(Exh. "B"). His personal information sheet (Exh. "A") together with his appointment paper (Exh. "B"), the
certification as to the availability of funds for the position (Exh. "C") and the resolution of the Provincial
Board of Pampanga creating the position (Exh. "D") were all forwarded to the Civil Service Commission
for the approval of petitioner's appointment.
But contrary to petitioner's claim that his highest educational attainment was Fourth Year A.B. which he
allegedly took at the Cosmopolitan and Harvardian Colleges during the years 1950 to 1954, he was
never enrolled at the Cosmopolitan Colleges which later became the Abad Santos Educational
Institution and still later the Ortaez University at any time during the period covering the years from
1950 to 1954, inclusive as certified to by the Registrar of Ortaez University, Mr. Atilano D. Solomon.
Likewise, petitioner was never a student at the Harvardian Colleges in Tondo, Manila during the first
quarter of school year 1953-1954, inclusive, as certified to by the school's President, Mrs. Virginia King
vda. de Yap.
Neither did petitioner ever enroll as a collegiate student at the Harvardian Colleges in San Fernando,
Pampanga after he finished his secondary course in the same school in June 1950, as certified to by its
Executive Director, Atty. Arnulfo Garcia.
Also, the name of petitioner was not included in all the enrollment lists of college students submitted to
the then Bureau of Private Schools of the Department of Education by the Harvardian Colleges at San
Fernando, Pampanga and at Tondo, Manila, during the period during which petitioner claimed to have

been enrolled. The same thing is true with the lists submitted by the Cosmopolitan Colleges to the said
bureau. LexLib
The petitioner did not take the witness stand. He only presented in evidence an alleged transcript of
record (Exh. 1) purporting to show that he took up collegiate courses at the Philippine Harvardian College
in Tondo, Manila, beginning from the first quarter of the school year 1951-1952 up to the first quarter of
school year 1953-1954 which transcript of record was allegedly signed by Mrs. Virginia King vda. de
Yap, for and in behalf of the then President of the school, Ildefonso Yap. But Mrs. Virginia Yap, testifying
for the prosecution disowned the said signature. Besides, at the bottom portion of the transcript is a
printed notation reading this is only valid with the college seal and signature of Pres. Ildefonso D. Yap.
Exhibit "1" lacks the imprint of the college seal and the signature of President Ildefonso Yap himself. No
other corroborating piece of evidence was presented by petitioner.
Contrary to petitioner's posture, there was ample, solid and conclusive evidence adduced by the
prosecution to prove that he was not a fourth year A.B. undergraduate.
It was clearly established that the statement made by the accused that he reached fourth year A.B.
and that he studied for this course (Liberal Arts) at the Cosmopolitan Colleges and the Harvardian
Colleges from the years 1950-1954, is devoid of truth. The records of these colleges do not at all reveal
that petitioner was even enrolled at any time from 1950 to 1954 in its College of Liberal Arts. His name
does not appear and could not be found in the enrollment lists submitted to the Bureau of Private Schools
by these colleges.

"Any person who, in case of a solemn affirmation made in lieu of an oath, shall commit any of the
falsehoods mentioned in this and the three preceding articles of this section shall suffer the
respective penalties provided therein."
In that case of People v. Cruz, supra, the accused Rufo B. Cruz filled up an application form (Civil Service
Form No. 2) for the patrolman examination. He stated therein that he had never been accused, indicted
or tried for violation of any law, ordinance or regulation before any court, when in truth and in fact, as the
accused well knew, he had been prosecuted and tried before the Justice of the Peace of Cainta, Rizal,
for different crimes. The application was signed and sworn to by him before the municipal mayor of
Cainta, Rizal. LexLib
This Court in that case held:
"This article is similar to section 3 of Act No. 1697 of the Philippine Commission, which was formerly
the law punishing perjury. Under said section 3 of that Act, this Court, in the case of United States
v. Tupasi Molina (29 Phil. 119), held that a person, who stated under oath in his application to take
police examination that he had never been convicted of any crime, when as a matter of fact he has
previous convictions, committed perjury. The facts in that case are almost exactly analogous to
those in the present, and we find no reason, either in law or in the arguments of the Solicitor General
to modify or reverse the conclusion of this Court therein. More so, because all the elements of the
offense of perjury defined in Art. 183 of the Revised Penal Code concur in the present case."
The elements of the crime of perjury are

While the petitioner in his defense presented an alleged transcript (Exh. "1") purporting to show that he
took up collegiate course at the Philippine Harvardian College in Tondo, Manila, beginning from the first
quarter of the school year 1951-1952 up to the first quarter of the school year 1953-1954, both the trial
court and the respondent court correctly disregarded said transcript as having emanated from a spurious
source. The transcript presented lacks the authenticating marks the imprint of the college seal and
the signature of the President of the college.
As correctly observed by the trial court
"It is also quite significant to note in this score that the accused in his defense failed to present any
corroborating piece of evidence which will show that he was indeed enrolled in the Philippine
Harvardian Colleges from the first quarter of the school year 1953-1954. If he had enrolled as a
student during this period of time and he was positive that the transcript of records issued to him
and in his possession is genuine and valid, it could have been easy for him to introduce
corroborating evidence, i.e., the testimony of any of his classmates or teachers in the different
subjects that he took to support his claim that he studied and passed these collegiate courses at
the said school. But this he failed to do despite all the opportunities open to him and in the face of
damning evidence all showing that he had not really enrolled in this school or in the other school
mentioned by him in the personal information sheet that he filed up as requirement for his
appointment." (p. 53, Rollo)
Following the doctrine laid down, however, in the case of People v. Rufo B. Cruz, No. L-15132, May 25,
1960, 108 Phil. 255 and the earlier case of United States v. Tupasi Molina, 29 Phil. 119, the crime
committed under the foregoing facts, is perjury. This offense, as defined in Article 183 of the Revised
Penal Code is the willful and corrupt assertion of a falsehood under oath or affirmation administered by
authority of law on a material matter. The said article provides
"Art. 183. False testimony in other cases and perjury in solemn affirmation. The penalty of arresto
mayor in its maximum period to prision correccional in its minimum period shall be imposed upon
any person who, knowingly making untruthful statements and not being included in the provisions
of the next preceding articles, shall testify under oath or make an affidavit upon any material matter
before a competent person authorized to administer an oath in cases in which the law so requires.

(a) That the accused made a statement under oath or executed an affidavit upon a material matter.
(b) That the statement or affidavit was made before a competent officer, authorized to receive and
administer oath.
(c) That in that statement or affidavit, the accused made a willful and deliberate assertion of a
falsehood.
(d) That the sworn statement or affidavit containing the falsity is required by law or made for a legal
purpose.
All the foregoing elements are present in the case at bar.
Perjury under Art. 183 of the Revised Penal Code carries a lesser penalty. The penalty for this crime is
arresto mayor in its maximum period to prision correccional in its minimum period. Since there is no
mitigating and aggravating circumstance the penalty should be imposed in its medium period. Applying
the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the penalty should be from four (4) months of arresto mayor as
minimum to one (1) year and one (1) day of prision correccional as maximum.
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing considerations, the decision appealed from is modified as
follows: prLL(a) The accused Reolandi Diaz is found guilty of the crime of perjury defined and penalized
under Art. 183 of the Revised Penal Code; and
(b) The accused is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of from four (4) months of arresto mayor as
minimum to one (1) year and one (1) day of prision correccional as maximum.

FIRST DIVISION

[G.R. No. L-40203. August 21, 1990.]

PATERNO J. OUANO, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and FRANCISCO B.


ECHAVEZ, respondents.

Still later, or two weeks after Echavez won the bid, a document simply entitled "Agreement," was signed
by him and Ouano. 9 That document, prepared by Echavez in his own handwriting, reads as follows: 10
"KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS:
Inasmuch as it was Francisco B. Echavez who won in the public bidding held at
the RFC office for Lot 3-A-1 last April, 1958, it is hereby agreed between us,
Francisco B. Echavez and Paterno J. Ouano, that we share the said lot between
us according to the herein sketch:

De Castro & Cagampang Law Offices and Fiel Manalo for petitioner.
(Sketch omitted . . .)
Arturo M. Tolentino and Asuncion, Asuncion, Arcol & Kapunan Law Offices for
respondents.

DECISION

NARVASA, J p:
The appellate proceedings at bar treat of a parcel of land with an area of about 3,710 square meters,
situated in Mandawe, Cebu, identified as Philippine Railway Lot No. 3-A-1. It was covered by Torrens
Title No. 7618 in the name of the registered owner, Rehabilitation Finance Corporation (RFC), now the
Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP). Adjoining Lot 3-A-1 are lands belonging to Francisco
Echavez, private respondent herein, and petitioner Paterno J. Ouano. What will have to be resolved are
the conflicting claims over this lot by the vendee thereof, Echavez, and Ouano.
The property was offered for sale by public bidding by the RFC on April 1, 1958. 1 Actually this was the
second public bidding scheduled for the property. The first 2 in which both Ouano and Echavez
participated, together with others was nullified on account of a protest by Ouano. 3
Now, it appears that prior to the second bidding, Ouano and Echavez orally agreed that only Echavez
would make a bid, and that if it was accepted, they would divide the property in proportion to their
adjoining properties. To ensure success of their enterprise, they also agreed to induce the only other
party known to be interested in the property a group headed by a Mrs. Bonsucan to desist from
presenting a bid. 4 They broached the matter to Mrs. Bonsucan's group. The latter agreed to withdraw,
as it did in fact withdraw from the sale; and Ouano's wife paid it P2,000 as reimbursement for its
expenses. 5
As expected, the highest bid submitted, and thus accepted by the RFC, was that of Francisco Echavez,
who offered P27,826.00 for the land. 6 Echavez paid the sum of P5,565.00 representing 20% deposit of
the profferred price. 7
A week later, Echavez sent a letter to Ouano regarding the P2,000.00 paid by the latter's wife to the
Bonsucan group. 8 It said:
"Because the owner of the money which I deposited for your share has
stipulated that today is the last day for the return of his money . . . I would like
to request you that for the P2,000.00 which you have advanced to Mrs.
Bonsucan and company, I will just give you 250 sq. meters right in front of your
house at P8.05 per sq. meter . . ." (N.B. 250 x P8.05 equals P2,012.50.)

That each of us takes care in paying direct to the RFC office Cebu Branch, the
installments, interests and amortizations on a ten-year plan in our respective
names, such that we would request the RFC to have the said Lot 3-A-1
subdivided into two portions: A portion of Lot 3-A-1 for Francisco B. Echavez to
contain 1882.5 sq. m. more or less depending on the actual survey based on
the above sketch, and another portion of Lot 3-A-1 for Paterno J. Ouano to
contain 1827.5 sq. m. more or less also based on the above sketch.
That they have agreed to share proportionately all legal expenses that may be
assessed and incurred in connection with the acquisition of the said lot in case
such expenses are levied as a whole against Francisco B. Echavez, but if such
expenses are levied separately after the RFC consents to the subdivision and
registration in our respective names our share of the said lot, then we take care
individually of paying such expenses if there be any.
In witness , we hereby set our hand and sign this agreement this 15th day of
April, 1958 at Mandawe, Cebu, Philippines, subject to the approval of the RFC,
Cebu Branch and Manila."
On the same day that the "Agreement" was executed, Echavez set down in writing a
computation of the sharing of expenses of his joint venture with Ouano, viz.: 11
1827.5 No. of sq. meters for Paterno Ouano
7.50
_________
91375
127925
________
P13706.25
.20
_________
P2741.25
- 1016.55 Share of Echavez for the P2,000.00 given to
Mrs. Bonsucan & Companions
P1,724.70 Balance payable by Mr. Ouano to F.B.
Echavez
for the deposit made by the latter at the RFC.
This is subject to the approval of the RFC,
Cebu Branch.

Mandawe, April 15, 1958


(Sgd.) F.B. ECHAVEZ
Thereafter, on various dates, Ouano and/or his wife delivered sums of money to Echavez aggregating
P1,725.00, obviously in payment of the balance indicated in Echavez's computation just mentioned, viz.:
P500.00 on April 19, 1958, another P500.00 on April 20, and P725.00 on April 27, 1958. Receipts
therefor were given by Echavez, all similarly worded to the effect that the money was being received "as
part of their reimbursement for the deposit (of P5,565.00) I have made with the RFC for Lot 3-A-1 which
I won in the bidding and which lot I have consented to share with Mr. Paterno J. Ouano, subject to the
approval of the RFC." 12
However, the RFC never approved the sharing agreement between Echavez and Ouano concerning Lot
3-A-1. It approved the sale of the lot to Echavez only, on May 9, 1958, on the condition that the purchase
price of P27,825.00 be paid in cash. Apparently Echavez found great initial difficulty in complying with
this condition. It took all of four years, and patient negotiation and diligent effort on his part, for him
ultimately to acquire title to the property, which came about in December, 1963. His travails are succinctly
narrated by the Trial Court as follows: 13
". . . Apparently, the successful bidder was caught flatfooted, for he was not able
to comply with this condition, notwithstanding the fact that he has bean making
efforts to acquire the property (See Exhibit 21, letter of March 29, 1958; also
Exhibit 22). So, he exerted much effort to change the terms of the sale from
cash to monthly amortization plan (Exhs. 24 and 10). But the Rehabilitation
Finance Corporation was adamant. The terms of the bid giving the option to pay
the balance of the purchase price either in cash or within ten years on monthly
amortization plan at 6% interest notwithstanding, said Corporation denied
defendant's request in a letter dated September 18, 1958 signed by Chairman
Romualdez (Exh. 11). This went on for more than 4-1/2 years, with none of the
parties herein having secured the conformity of the RFC or DBP to a novation
of the original terms of the sale. Thus, the said sale was finally cancelled, and
the deposit of P5,549.72 made by the defendant to the RFC forfeited as of April
4, 1962 (Exh. 12). However, on July 18, 1962, upon request of the defendant,
this cancellation was considered under the condition, among others, that the
price of the sale of P27,825.00 be payable 20% down and the balance in 5 years
at 8% interest per annum on the monthly amortization plan, commencing
retroactively on June 9, 1958, and that a payment of P2,000.00 be applied to
the total arrearages of P25,799.00, which had to be paid within 90 days. The
defendant paid on August 28, 1962 a further amount of P2,000.00. On
September 3, 1962, the deed of conditional sale, covering the property in
question, was entered into by the DBP and the defendant (Exh. D, same as Exh.
4), culminating in the signing of the corresponding promissory note dated
September 7, 1962 (Exh. E, same as Exh. 5). It is admitted that the defendant
is now the registered owner of the property, after having fully paid P29,3218.87
on account of the price to the Development Bank of the Philippines, as per Deed
of Absolute Sale dated December 9, 1963 (Exhs. 14 and 34).
It was pursuant to the absolute sale of December 9, 1963 just mentioned, that a Torrens title (TCT No.
10776) was issued in Echavez's name. 14
Ouano, in his turn, tried to have DBP either accept and implement his sharing agreement with Echavez,
or allow him to pay the full price of the lot in Echavez's behalf. By his own account, he sent a letter dated
June 3, 1963 to the DBP, "hand carried by his wife," "requesting among others, that he be permitted to
pay immediately either for his share in the aforesaid lot comprising 1,828 sq. meters at the bid price of
P7.50 per sq. meter including charges, or for the whole lot;" and that he in fact tried to make such
payment but the Bank turned down his request. 15

Shortly after his representation with the DBP were rebuffed more precisely on June 24, 1963, months
before the deed of absolute sale was executed by the DBP in Echavez's favor Paterno J. Ouano filed
suit for "specific performance and reconveyance" in the Court of First Instance of Cebu against Francisco
Echavez and the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP). 16
In his complaint, 17 Ouano recited substantially the facts just related, and further alleged that
". . . on June 3, 1963 plaintiffs wife and his attorney conferred with defendant . .
. Echavez for the purpose of again requesting said defendant to sign a
document which would be notarized and to permit plaintiff to pay for his share
direct to the defendant DBP, but said defendant refused and instead informed
them that there had been no agreement regarding joint bidding and joint
ownership of Lot 3-A-1."
The complaint was amended a few weeks later, chiefly to allege that DBP was on the point of rescinding
its contract with Echavez; and that Ouano's offer to the DBP to pay in Echavez's behalf the price of the
lot in full (P28,206.61), had been rejected; and that consequently, and "to show his good faith," he had
consigned the amount with the Court "for and in behalf of defendant . . . Echavez." 18 The amended
complaint specifically prayed that
1) pending trial, and upon such bond as may be fixed by the Court, a writ of
preliminary injunction issue to restrain Echavez and RFC "from rescinding,
cancelling or in any way terminating the conditional sale contract with respect
to Lot 3-A-1, TCT 7618;"
2) after trial, Echavez be ordered "to sign an agreement in accordance with
Annex A and the foregoing allegations which should be notarized;"
3) by virtue of aforesaid agreement and his deposit in Court of P28,206.61,
Ouano be declared as "legally subrogated to the rights, interest and participation
of defendant . . . Echavez in Lot 3-A-1 to the extent of 1,828.5 sq. m.;"
4) Echavez be ordered to reimburse Ouano "P14,358.37 corresponding to
defendant . . . Echavez' share of 1,882.5 sq. m.;"
5) should Echavez be unable to pay said amount within 15 days, Ouano be
declared "legally subrogated to the rights, interest and participation of . . .
Echavez in Lot 3-A-1 to the extent of 1,882.5 sq. m.;
6) DBP be ordered to consider the deposit made by Ouano for and in behalf of
Echavez as "complete and valid payment of Lot 3-A-1 and to execute the
necessary documents of sale in (the former's) favor . . . for 1,827.5 sq. m. and
in favor of . . . Echavez for 1,882.5 sq. m.;"
7) DBP be ordered to hold the deed of sale in favor of Echavez for 1,882 sq. m.
in abeyance until the latter has reimbursed Ouano "the amount of P14,385.37
corresponding to . . . Echavez's share of 1,882.5 sq. m.," and should Echavez
be unable to do so within 15 days, DBP be ordered to "execute said deed of
sale in favor of plaintiff;" and
8) Echavez be ordered to pay Ouano P1,000.00 as attorney's fees, P5,000.00
as moral damages, and P5,000.00 as exemplary damages, as well as the costs
of suit."

The DBP moved to dismiss the amended complaint, alleging that no cause of action was therein stated
against it. 19 The Court found the motion to be well taken, overruled Ouano's opposition thereto,
dismissed the amended complaint and dissolved the writ of preliminary injunction, by Order dated August
27, 1963. 20 It subsequently denied Ouano's motion for reconsideration. 21 Ouano appealed but on
learning of the absolute sale of Lot 3-A-1 executed by DBP in Echavez's favor on December 9, 1963
which according to him rendered moot the case for legal subrogation and injunction as far as DBP was
concerned he withdrew the appeal and moved instead for admission of a second amended complaint,
22 which the Court admitted in the absence of opposition thereto. In the second amended complaint,
dated January 4, 1964, 23 the DBP was no longer included as a party. Echavez was the sole defendant.
The second amended complaint adverted to the dismissal of the case as against the DBP and
additionally alleged that Echavez, "in gross and evident bad faith, mortgaged the whole of Lot 3-A-1 to
one Dr. Serafica." It prayed particularly that Echavez be commanded:
1. To execute a public document embodying and confirming the oral contract of
joint ownership of Lot 3-A-1, TCT 7618, of April 1, 1958 between plaintiff and
defendant . . .;
2. To execute a deed of reconveyance of 1,827.5 sq. m. of Lot 3-A-1 . . . after
reimbursement of the sum of P14,821.24 by the plaintiff;
3. To pay plaintiff P1,000 as attorney's fees, P5,000.00 as moral damages,
P5,000.00 as exemplary damages and the expenses of litigation; and
4. To pay the costs."
Trial ensued after which the Trial Court rendered judgment on June 29, 1968. It found that the sharing
agreement between Ouano and Echavez could not be enforced in view of the absence of consent of the
RFC (DBP) which the latter never gave; apart from this, the agreement had an unlawful cause and hence
could "produce no effect whatever" in accordance with Article 1352 of the Civil Code, because involving
a felony defined in Article 185 of the Revised Penal Code, to wit:
"ART. 185. Machinations in public auctions. Any person who shall solicit any
gift or promise as a consideration for refraining from taking part in any public
auction, and any person who shall attempt to cause bidders to stay away from
an auction by threats, gifts, promises, or any other artifice, with intent to cause
the reduction of the price of the thing auctioned, shall suffer the penalty of prision
correccional in its minimum period and a fine ranging from 10 to 50 per centum
of the value of the thing auctioned."
The decision accordingly dismissed the Second Amended Complaint, ordered Ouano, "to vacate
the portion of Lot No. 3-A-1 he occupied pursuant to Exhibit C," and also dismissed Echavez's
counterclaim.

executed by the RFC separately in favor of the plaintiff and the


defendant. But unfortunately, the RFC disapproved the proposal as the
sale was to be for cash. As a result, the obligatory force of the
'agreement' or the consent of the parties, which was subordinated to
the taking effect of the suspensive condition that the agreement be
subject to the approval of the RFC never happened. This being the
case, the agreement never became effective. The rule is settled that:
'When the consent of a party to a contract is given subject
to the fulfillment of a suspensive condition, the contract is not
perfected unless the condition is first complied with' (Ruperto vs.
Cosca, 26 Phil. 227).
And when the obligation assumed by a party to a contract
is expressly subjected to a condition, the obligation cannot be
enforced against him unless the condition is complied with" (wise &
Co. vs. Kelly, 37 Phil. 696; Philippine National Bank vs. Philippine
Trust Co., 68 Phil. 48).
At best, the non-fulfillment of the suspensive condition has the effect of negating
the conditional obligation. It has been held that what characterizes a conditional
obligation is the fact that its efficacy or obligatory force is subordinated to the
happening of a future and uncertain event, so that if the suspensive condition
does not take place, the parties would stand as if the conditional obligation had
never existed (Gaite vs. Fonacier, L-11827, July 31, 1961, 2 SCRA 831)." cdrep
Motions for reconsideration and for oral argument filed by Ouano were denied by Resolutions dated
February 6, February 11, and February 21, 1975, the last containing a suggestion "that appellant go to
the Higher Court for relief." 27
Ouano is now before this Court, on appeal by certiorari, to seek the relief that both the Trial Court and
the Court of Appeals have declined to concede to him. In this Court, he attempts to make the following
points, to wit:
1. The verbal agreement between the parties to acquire and share the land in proportion to their
respective abutting properties, and executed by the immediate occupation by the parties of their
respective shares in the land, is a perfected consensual contract and not "a mere promise to deliver
something subject to a suspensive condition" (as ruled in the second decision of the Court of Appeals);
hence the petitioner is entitled to compel private respondent to execute a public document for the
registration in his name of the petitioner's share in the land in question pursuant to Art. 1315 of the Civil
Code (as held in the first decision of the Court of Appeals).
2. The agreement to acquire and share the land was not subject to a suspensive condition.

Ouano appealed to the Court of Appeals. Here he fared no better. He enjoyed initial success, to be sure.
Judgment was promulgated on February 28, 1974 24 setting aside the Trial Court's judgment, and
directing: (a) Echavez "to execute a deed of conveyance in favor of plaintiff of 1827.5 square meters as
the latter's share in the property in controversy and (b) Ouano "to pay defendant the amount of
P14,821.24 representing the cost of his share." However, on a second motion for reconsideration
presented by Echavez, the Appellate Court, on November 21, 1974, reconsidered its decision of
February 28, 1974 and entered another "affirming in toto the decision appealed from without costs." 25
This second decision found that the documentary evidence 26 preponderantly established that "the
parties have manifested their intention to subordinate their agreement to the approval of the RFC."
"Consequently," the decision stated,.
". . . had the plaintiffs and defendant's proposal been accepted by the
RFC (DBP) two separate contracts, covering the two segregated lots
according to the sketch would have come into existence, to be

3. Assuming in gratia argumenti the agreement to be subject to a suspensive condition, since the
condition consisted in obtaining the approval of the RFC a third party who could not in any way be
compelled to give such approval the condition is deemed constructively fulfilled because petitioner
had done all in his power to comply with the condition, and private respondent, who also had the duty to
get such approval, in effect prevented the fulfillment of the condition by doing nothing to secure the
approval.
4. The circumstances show that Echavez clearly acted in bad faith, and it is unjust to allow him to benefit
from his bad faith and ingenious scheme.

Two material facts, however, about which Ouano and Echavez are in agreement, render these questions
of academic interest only, said facts being determinative of this dispute on an altogether different ground.
These facts are:
1) that they had both orally agreed that only Echavez would make a bid at the second bidding called by
the RFC, and that if it was accepted, they would divide the property in proportion to their adjoining
properties; and
2) that to ensure success of their scheme, they had also agreed to induce the only other party known to
be interested in the property a group headed by a Mrs. Bonsucan to desist from presenting a bid,
28 as they did succeed in inducing Mrs. Bonsucan's group to withdraw from the sale, paying said group
P2,000 as reimbursement for its expenses. 29
These acts constitute a crime, as the Trial Court has stressed. Ouano and Echavez had promised to
share in the property in question as a consideration for Ouano's refraining from taking part in the public
auction, and they had attempted to cause and in fact succeeded in causing another bidder to stay away
from the auction in order to cause reduction of the price of the property auctioned. In so doing, they
committed the felony of machinations in public auctions defined and penalized in Article 185 of the
Revised Penal Code, supra.
That both Ouano and Echavez did these acts is a matter of record, as is the fact that thereby only one
bid that of Echavez was entered for the land in consequence of which Echavez eventually acquired
it. The agreement therefore being criminal in character, the parties not only have no action against each
other but are both liable to prosecution and the things and price of their agreement subject to disposal
according to the provisions of the criminal code. This, in accordance with the so-called pari delicto
principle set out in the Civil Code.
Article 1409 of said Code declares as "inexistent and void from the beginning" those contracts, among
others, "whose cause, object or purpose is contrary to law, morals, good customs, public order or public
policy," or "expressly prohibited . . . by law." Such contracts "cannot be ratified;" "the right to set up the
defense of illegality (cannot) be waived;" and, Article 1410 adds, the "action or defense for the declaration
of the inexistence . . . (thereof) does not prescribe." Furthermore, according to Article 1411 of the same
Code 30
". . . When the nullity proceeds from the illegality of the cause or object of the
contract, and the act constitutes a criminal offense, both parties being in pari
delicto, they shall have no action against each other, and both shall be
prosecuted. Moreover, the provisions of the Penal Code relative to the disposal
of effects or instruments of a crime shall be applicable to the things or the price
of the contract.
"xxx xxx xxx"
The dismissal of Ouano's action by both the Trial Court and the Court of Appeals was thus correct, being
plainly in accord with the Civil Code provisions just referred to. 31 Article 1411 also dictates the proper
disposition of the land involved, i.e., "the forfeiture of the proceeds of the crime and the instruments or
tools with which it was committed," as mandated by the provisions of Article 45 of the Revised Penal
Code, this being obviously the provision "of the Penal Code relative to the disposal of effects or
instruments of a crime" that Article 1411 makes "applicable to the things or the price of the contract."
cdphil
WHEREFORE, the appealed decision of the Court of Appeals is MODIFIED, so that in addition to
affirming the Trial Court's judgment dismissing Ouano's complaint and Echavez's counterclaim in Civil
Case No. R-8011, Lot No. 3-A-1 subject of said case is ordered FORFEITED in its entirety in favor of
the Government of the Philippines. No pronouncement as to costs. Let copy of this Decision be furnished
the Solicitor General.

SO ORDERED.
Cruz, Grio-Aquino and Medialdea, JJ., concur.
Gancayco, J., Took no part; he concurred in the decision of the Court of Appeals subject of the petition
for review (See footnotes 24 and 25, J p: supra).
||| (Ouano v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. L-40203, [August 21, 1990], 266 PHIL 869-882)