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Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-36345
1932

November 25,

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE


ISLANDS, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
PEDRO MONTANO and WENCESLAO
CABAGSANG, defendants-appellants.
BUTTE, J.:
FACTS: The defendant Wenceslao Cabagsang
was the chief of police and the defendant Pedro
Montano was the justice of the peace of the
municipality of Tanza in the Province of Cavite,
in the month of September, 1930, when the
crimes for which they were convicted occurred.
It appears from the evidence that on
September 5, 1930, a criminal complaint
against one Arturo A. Soriano for the crime of
qualified seduction was filed with the said
justice of the peace. The justice, apparently to
favor Soriano, delayed the preliminary
investigation until the offended woman on
September 18, 1930, filed with him a motion
demanding immediate action and calling his
attention to the fact that his delay was a
violation of the circular of instructions of the
judge of the Court of First Instance of said
province. The case was then set for hearing on
September 22, 1930. Thereafter administrative
charges against the justice of the peace were
filed with the Court of First Instance of Cavite,
alleging that the delay in the preliminary

investigation was a violation of the circular of


the Court of First Instance, dated November 15,
1928, requiring all justices of the peace to
dispose of all preliminary investigations within
ten days from the date on which the court
acquired jurisdiction over the person of the
accused.lawphil.net
The evidence shows beyond reasonable doubt
that prior to the hearing of said administrative
case, the defendants, in order to make it
appear that there had been no violation of the
said instructions to the justices of the peace,
falsified official records in their custody as
follows:
The defendant chief of police fraudulently
altered and falsified the municipal police
blotter and the book of records of arrests and
the return of the warrant of arrest and
Soriano's bail bond so as to make them show
that the said Arturo A. Soriano was arrested
and gave bond on the 13th day of September,
1930, whereas, in truth and in fact, as said
records showed before said falsification, the
said Arturo A. Soriano was arrested and
released on bond on the 6th day of September,
1930; that the defendant Pedro Montano
conspired and cooperated with his codefendant
in making said falsifications in order to meet
the administrative charges then pending
against him.
HELD: The court below rejected the defense of
the accused that said alterations were made in
good faith and corresponded to the true facts
of the case. There is no issue of law raised in
the assignment of errors. We have made a
careful review of the evidence and have come
to the conclusion that the judgment of the
court below should be affirmed, with costs
against the appellants. So ordered.

People vs Felix Manansala


Facts: Manansala was accused of altering the
duplicate copy of the Traffic Violation Report
(TVR) previously issued to him as a temporary
drivers permit. He erased the originally written
figure III and the word three after the
words pending cases, and superimposed
thereon number I and the word one. The
alterations made changed the meaning of the
document. It was made to appear that he has
only one pending case of traffic violation. The
practice was proved to be to arrest a driver
who commits a fourth traffic violation instead
of merely issuing to him a TVR, which is usually
done for the first, second and third violations.
The accused had in his possession the falsified
TVR and had been using it as a temporary
drivers permit from its issuance to the time he
was caught committing the fourth traffic
violation.
Issue: Whether or not the accused is guilty of
falsifying an official document.
Ruling: It is an established rule that when a
person has in his possession a falsified
document and makes use of the same, the
presumption is justified that such person is the
forger. The circumstances that the accused
made use of and benefited from the falsified
TVR is a strong evidence that he either himself
falsified it or caused the same to be falsified.
Us vs alejandro mateo
Facts: Falsification of cedula; erroneous
conviction; defendant acquitted.
Mateo being required in October, 1911, for the
purposes of an affidavit, to present his cedula
for the year 1911 to a justice of the peace,

produced also his cedula for the year 1910; on


reading the cedula for the year 1910,
something which he had not done before,
mateo discovered that his age was stated
incorrectly therein and he, fearing the result of
presenting to a public official a cedula which
contained an incorrect statement regarding his
own age, changed his age, making it 25
instead of 23; the change having been
discovered by the justice of the peace on the
presentation of the cedula, mateo, without
hesitation, detailed the part he had taken in
the change and the reason therefor; it is
admitted that the age in the cedula was
incorrect and that the change made the cedula
give his true age; mateo was tried for
falsification of a cedula and was convicted.
Held: In the case in hand, the change did not
affect in the remotest degree the privileges or
immunities which the accused could enjoy
under the cedula. The judgment is reversed
and the accused acquitted.
Leonila Batulanon, petitioner, vs. PEOPLE
OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondent.
G.R. No. 139857 September 15, 2006
Criminal case: Falsification of private
documents and Estafa
FACTS: Petitioner Leonila Batulanon was
employed as cashier/manager of Polomok
(Polomok) Credit Cooperative Inc. from May
1980 up to December 1982 (so thats two
years). She was in charge with the receiving of
deposits and releasing loans to members of the
said cooperative (Polomok).
During an audit conducted in December 1982,
certain irregularities were found out.
Thereafter, four informations of estafa through

falsification of commercial documents were


filed against herein petitioner.
1. Criminal case 3625 petitioner Batulanon
falsified CASH/CHECK VOUCHER of PCCI in the
name of ERLINDA OMADLAO, making it appear
that latter was granted loan where in truth and
in fact said person never received, never
granted a loan and never signed such
document.
2. Criminal case 3626 same situation as
above stated but this time in the name of
GONAFREDA ORACION.
3. Criminal case 3453 Batulanon falsified
commercial documents namely Individual
deposits and ledger of FERLYN ARROYO making
it appear that the said person made a fixed
deposit and was granted a loan where in truth
and in fact ARROYO never made such deposit
and never received such loan.
4. Criminal case 3627 same situation as the
next preceding case but this time in the name
of his son Dennis Batulanon.
In all cases, accused did then and there release
to herself the same and received the loans and
thereafter misappropriated and converted
them into her own use and benefit. Also in all
cases, she refused to bring back the same
despite demands.
These informations were filed in the Regional
Trial Court of General Santos City. Petitioner
pleaded not guilty.
Prosecution presented its witnesses:
Modallo (posting clerk) testified that
Batulanon released 4 cash vouchers. He also
said that Omadlao, Oracion and Batulanon
were not eligible and not members of Polomok

Cooperative. Moreover, according to him,


although Arroyo was a member but there was
no proof that she applied for a loan. He also
said he witnessed Petitioner Batulanon signed
Oracion and Arroyo in cash vouchers.
Jayoma (Vice chairman of the PCCI Board of
directors) testified that laons to Omadlao and
Oracion never passed through the PCCI board
of directors.
Petitioner Batulanon denied charges against
her. She contended that she did not sigh
vouchers of Omadlao, Oracion, and Arroyo who
according to her are nonetheless members of
the cooperative. Lastly, she said that its been
an accepted practice that she can release loan
in the absence of Gopio Jr who is in charge with
such responsibility.
RTC convicted her guilty beyond reasonable
doubt. Petitioner brought it to Court of Appeals
(CA)but the latter affirmed with modifications
the ruling of RTC. CA modification is that
petitioner is guilty of falsification of PRIVATE
documents.
Petitioner moved for reconsideration but CA
denied it.
Petitioner brought it up to the Supreme Court
(SC) and contended that:
1. Best witness is person whose signature is
forged
2. Requires prejudice to 3rd person
3. PCCI not prejudiced by loan transactions
because loans are accounts receivable by
cooperative
HELD:

SC: Petition lacks merit.


Although the offense charged is estafa through
falsification of commercial documents,
appellant could be convicted of falsification of
private documents.
Elements of falsification of private document
are present in this case:
1. She made it appear that Omadlao, Oracion,
and Arroyo were granted loans

SC ruled that 1st, 2nd, and 3rd criminal cases


herein fall within the purview of falsification of
private documents but the 4th criminal case
(with Dennis Batulanon) falls within the ambit
of the crime of estafa. The latter having no
untruthful statements but there was conversion
and misappropriation; hence elements of
estafa are present in the last criminal case.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila

2. She made it in private document


****(cash/check vouchers are not public
documents because they are not notarized and
not documents used by merchants to promote
trade nor regulated by Code of commerce)
3. It caused damage to the cooperative.
Regarding best witness SC cites sec. 22 of
Rule 132 according to this rule handwriting
may be proved by any person who believes it
to be belonging to such person; or who
acquired knowledge of such handwriting
Regarding prejudice to Polomok such loans
could have granted to other members but
werent because of illegal acts done by
Batulanon such constituted damage or
prejudice to Polomok
On complex crime of estafa through
falsification:
Falsification committed as means to commit
estafa
Estafa may be carried out even without
falsification

EN BANC
G.R. No. 68203 September 13, 1989
METUROGAN L. SAREP, petitioner,
vs.
HONORABLE SANDIGANBAYAN, respondent.
PADILLA, J.:
FACTS: Petitioner, Meturogan L. Sarep, appeals
from the decision 1 of the Sandiganbayan. That
on or about December 30, 1977, or sometime
prior thereto, in the City of Cotabato,
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, the said accused being then
employed as Soil Technologist II under the
Bureau of Soils, Region XII, Cotabato City, with
a Temporary Appointment,did then and there
wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously take without
permission from the records of said Office the
appointment paper proposed in his name
dated January 19, 1976, which appointment
paper was replaced due to an incorrect entry,
by another one bearing the same date; and
theaccused once in possession of
said appointment paper, did then and
there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously
change, alter and falsify the date, figures and

words written thereon, thus changing its


meaning and attributing to the person who
caused the preparation of the same,
statements other than those in fact made by
him; that the falsification and alteration were
committed for the purpose of converting the
Temporary Status of his appointment to a
Permanent Status, and which accused
succeeded by having said falsified appointment
paper attested by the Civil Service Commission
in Manila without the knowledge of the Civil
Service Commission, Region XII, who has the
jurisdiction and authority to attest
appointments under Region XII. 2
petitioner appealed to this Court, after his
motion for reconsideration was denied.
On 19 January 1976, Director Kundo Pahm of
the Bureau of Soils, Region XII, extended an
appointment in favor of Meturogen L. Sarep
(herein petitioner) to the position of Soil
Technologist II (Exh. "C"). After signing the
appointment paper, Pahm noticed an error in
the item on civil service eligibility. The entry
therein read "First Grade Unassembled" instead
of "Unassembled Examination" which was the
appropriate eligibility for the position of Soil
Technologist; whereupon, Director Pahm called
the attention of the acting personnel officer,
Usman Salic, to the error and directed him to
prepare another appointment paper (Exh. "B")
which Pahm signed after noting the correction
made by the personnel officer. The
appointment was approved by the Assistant
Regional Director of the Civil Service
Commission (CSC) as "temporary."
It was ruled that there can be no conviction for
falsification of a public document in the
absence of proof that the defendant

maliciously perverted the truth with wrongful


intent of injuring third person. 6
Finally, petitioner invokes good faith in his
defense. He claims that after the personnel
officer handed him the questioned document,
which bore the erasures and alterations as well
as the Director's signature, he brought it to the
Civil Service Commission in Manila upon
suggestion and with the permission of the
personnel officer.
The Court does not accept petitioner's defense
of good faith. He admitted that he knew that
Director Pahm was not only uninclined to
extend him a permanent appointment due to
his lack of civil service eligibility but he also did
not authorize him (Sarep) to follow up his
appointment with the Civil Service Commission
in Manila. More importantly, he knew that if the
falsified document had been presented before
the CSC Regional Office, it would have surely
been attested as temporary only. Hence, he
purposely avoided filing the appointment paper
with the CSC Regional Office, which is the
practice and standard procedure in the regional
office of the Bureau of Soils and, instead,
personally brought it to Manila where somehow
he was able to have it stamped approved as
permanent.
The Court also rejects Sarep's argument that
there is no falsification, as the alleged falsified
document bears the correct item number and

appropriate eligibility. We agree with the


respondent court that "(I)t is falsification, and
not a correction, which the law punishes
(People vs. Mateo, 25 Phil. 324; Arriola vs.
Republic, 103 Phil. 730)." Likewise, "(I)n the
falsification of public or official documents,
whether by public officials or by private
persons, it is not necessary that there be
present the idea of gain or the intent to injure a
third person, for the reason that, in
contradiction to private documents, the
principal thing punished is the violation of the
public faith and the destruction of the truth as
therein solemnly proclaimed (Decision of the
Supreme Court of Spain of December 23, 1885,
cited in People vs. Pacana, 47 Phil. 56)." 9
Since petitioner is the only person who stood to
benefit by the falsification of the document
that was found in his possession, it is
presumed that he is the material author of the
falsification. Petitioner has failed to convince
the Court that a person other than himself
made the erasures, alterations and
superimpositions on the questioned
appointment paper (Exh. "C").
The Sandiganbayan in qualifying the offense
and arriving at the penalty imposed on the
petitioner held:
We are inclined, however, to credit the accused
herein with the benefit of the circumstance
that he did not maliciously pervert the truth

with the wrongful intent of injuring some


person (People vs. Reyes, 1 Phil. 341). Since he
sincerely believed that his CSC eligibility based
on his having passed the Regional Cultural
Community Officer (Unassembled) Examination
and educational attainment were sufficient to
qualify him for a permanent position, then he
should only be held liable for falsification
through reckless imprudence (People vs.
Leopando, 36 O.G. 2937, People vs. Maleza, 14
Phil. 468; People vs. Pacheco, 18 Phil. 399).
HELD: The Court finds no reversible error in
the Sandiganbayan's decision finding
petitioner, Meturogan L. Sarep, guilty of the
crime of falsification of public document
through reckless imprudence. However, the
penalty imposed should be imprisonment of
THREE MONTHS AND ONE DAY TO ONE YEAR,
SEVEN MONTHS AND TEN DAYS, instead of
imprisonment of THREE MONTHS under the
appealed decision, since the period of the
penalty imposed, i.e., arresto mayor in its
maximum period to prision correccional in its
medium period is four months and one day to
four years and two months reduced by
appreciating the mitigating circumstance of
voluntary surrender and applying the
Indeterminate Sentence Law.