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Elements of Falsification of Private Document

1. That the offender committed any of the acts of falsification, except


those in paragraph 7 and 8, enumerated in art. 171;
2. That the falsification was committed in any private document; and
3. That the falsification caused damage to a third party or at least the
falsification was committed with intent to cause such damage

- It is not necessary that the offender profited or hoped to profit

A document falsified as a necessary means to commit another crime


(complex crime)
must be public, official or commercial. Hence, there is no complex crime of
estafa
through falsification of private document because the immediate effect of
the latter
is the same as that of estafa.

There is no falsification through reckless imprudence if the document is


private and no
actual damage is caused.

If the estafa was already consummated at the time the falsification of a


private document
was committed for the purpose of concealing the estafa, the falsification is
not punishable.
As regards the falsification of the private document, there was no damage
or intent to
cause damage.

A private document may acquire the character of a public document


when it becomes part of an official record and is certified by a public
officer duly authorized by law.

The crime is falsification of public documents even if the falsification


took place before the private document became part of the public records.

Elements of Use of Falsified Document (par. 3, art. 172):


Introducing in a judicial proceeding
1. That the offender knew that a document was falsified by another person.
2. That the false document is embraced in art. 171 or in any subdivisions
nos. 1 and 2 of art. 172.
3. That he introduced said document in evidence in any judicial proceeding.
Use in any other transaction
1. That the offender knew that a document was falsified by another person.
2. That the false document is embraced in art. 171 or in any of subdivision
nos. 1 and 2 of art. 172.
3. That he used such documents (not in judicial proceedings).
4. That the use of the documents caused damage to another or at least
was used with intent to cause such damage

The user of the falsified document is deemed the author of the falsification,
if:
1. The use was so closely connected in time with the falsification, and
2. The user had the capacity of falsifying the document.

Falsification Of Private Documents - Damage to third party is an element of


the
offense.

Falsification Of Public/Official Documents - Damage to third persons is


immaterial.
what is punished is the violation of public faith and perversion of truth which
the
document proclaims.

For petitioner to be convicted of the complex crime of estafa through falsification


of public document committed in the manner described in the Information, all the
elements of the two crimes of estafa and falsification of public document must exist.[9]

To secure a conviction for estafa under Article 315, paragraph 2(a) of the Revised Penal
Code (RPC), the following requisites must concur:

(1) The accused made false pretenses or fraudulent representations as to his power,
influence, qualifications, property, credit, agency, business or imaginary transactions;

(2) The false pretenses or fraudulent representations were made prior to or


simultaneous with the commission of the fraud;

(3) The false pretenses or fraudulent representations constitute the very cause which
induced the offended party to part with his money or property;

(4) That as a result thereof, the offended party suffered damage.[10]


For the crime of Estafa through Falsification of a Public
Document, the following requisites must concur:

(1) the accused made false pretenses or fraudulent


representations as to his power, influence,
qualifications, property, credit, agency, business or
imaginary transactions;
(2) the false pretenses or fraudulent representations were
made prior to or simultaneous with the commission of
the fraud;
(3) the false pretenses or fraudulent representations
constitute the very cause which induced the offended
party to part with his money or property;
(4) that as a result thereof, the offended party suffered
damage;
(5) that the offender is a private individual or a public
officer or employee who took advantage of his official
position;
(6) that he committed any of the acts of falsification
enumerated in Article 171 of the Revised Penal Code
(which in this case involves making untruthful
statements on the details of the vehicles); and
(7) that the falsification was committed in a public or
official or commercial document. 13 There is reasonable
ground to believe that Fuentes made false pretenses or
fraudulent misrepresentations to Lim and Lazo that
the subject vehicles were legally acquired. Relying on
the ORs, CRs, and MVCCs which Pangandag and
Fuentes issued, Lim and Lazo decided to buy said
motor vehicles thinking that they were free from any
legal encumbrance or liability.

It is undisputed that petitioner committed estafa. He and his wife falsely represented to
Ramirez that they had the influence and capability to cause the subdivision of the lot. In
view of said false representation, Ramirez was induced to part with the owners copy of
her TCT on the condition that the same would be returned after a month as evidenced by
the Acknowledgment Receipt.

However, petitioner and his wife never complied with their obligations. It is also on
record that Ramirez made a formal demand for the return of the TCT but petitioner and
his wife failed to comply. Their failure to return the said title despite demand is evidence
of deceit that resulted in damages to Ramirez. It was also established that the property
covered by TCT No. 188686 was eventually mortgaged for P300,000.00 to a third
person without the knowledge and consent of Ramirez.

The following testimony of Ramirez clearly established that petitioner falsely represented
that he has the capacity to cause the subdivision of the property; that false pretenses
induced her (Ramirez) to entrust her TCT to petitioner; and that as a result thereof,
Ramirez suffered damage to the extent of P300,000.00, thus:

In its Decision dated 7 September 2001, the trial court (1) found petitioner
guilty with one count of Estafa thru Falsifcation of Public Documents and
sentenced her to 10 years and one day of prision mayor as minimum to 20
years of reclusion temporal as maximum and (2) ordered petitioner to pay
Mangali P175,005 as actual damages.[6] The trial court held:

Against the clear and convincing evidence that thru misrepresentations of


Eugenio, among others, Mangali extended two loans, one for Saquitan and
the other for Ty, with a cancelled title and a non-existent one being offered
as collaterals, Eugenios denial of any knowledge concerning the irregularity
of the transactions of which she played a principal role and her further
claim that in this case she was merely the victim of circumstances, cannot
prevail.

Add to the foregoing the fact that an entrapment was effected which
resulted in the arrest of Eugenio and Ablaza after they demanded for
another additional loan, probably with the alleged Ty property as collateral,
too, and the inevitable conclusion would be that Eugenio is liable as a co-
conspirator of the others who are charged with her in this case.

Two spurious titles were made to appear to be genuine and valid ones
although the same were no longer valid with respect to one and non-
existent and spurious with respect to the other, and with both titles having
no legal basis to exist at all and thus, can be presumed falsified with the
possessor thereof being further presumed as the author of the
falsification x x x x and it would also be concluded that falsification of public
document was resorted to in order to defraud Mangali of the amounts she
[sic] gave to the accused and her co-conspirators.
There was fraud resulting in swindling or estafa because
misrepresentations with intent to defraud and to cause damage
characterized the actuations of all the accused in this case, including the
two designated only as Jane Does.

In this case, Eugenio was in conspiracy with the others because of the
misrepresentations made by her to the effect that Saquitans title was really
registered and therefore genuine and because of other acts she did in
connection with the negotiations with Mangali where she actively
participated at every stage of the transactions and played an important and
active role.

In fine, the Court is of the view and so holds that the offense charged in this
case has been sufficiently established and that accused Eugenio is guilty
as charged.[7]

In its Decision of 30 November 2004, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial
courts ruling. In sustaining the trial courts finding on petitioners vital role in
the scheme to defraud Mangali, the Court of Appeals held:

[W]e are convinced that the accused-appellant defrauded the private


complainant through her fraudulent misrepresentation. The records of the
instant case show that the accused-appellant knew that her co-accused are
not the real owners of the property mortgaged to the private
complainant. However, knowing that she has gained the trust of the private
complainant, she misrepresented to the latter that the persons she
introduced to him are the real Epifania Saquitan and Lourdes Ty, the true
owners of the mortgaged properties. Were it not for the misrepresentation
of the accused-appellant, the private complainant would not have agreed to
the mortgage and eventually part with his one hundred seventy five
thousand pesos (P175,000.00), to his damage and prejudice.

We agree with the findings and conclusions of the trial court that the
accused-appellants fraudulent misrepresentation facilitated the commission
of the crime.
To hold petitioner liable for the complex crime of Estafa thru Falsification of
a Public Document, the prosecution must show that she committed Estafa
thru any of the modes of committing Falsification. Under Article 171 of the
Revised Penal Code, Falsification is committed under any of the following
modes:

(1) Counterfeiting or imitating any handwriting, signature or rubric;

(2) Causing it to appear that persons have participated in any act or


proceeding when they did not in fact so participate;

(3) Attributing to persons who have participated in an act or proceeding


statements other than those in fact made by them;

(4) Making untruthful statements in a narration of facts;

(5) Altering true dates;

(6) Making any alteration or intercalation in a genuine document which


changes its meaning;

(7) Issuing in an authenticated form a document purporting to be a copy of


an original document when no such original exists, or including in such
copy a statement contrary to, or different from, that of the genuine original;
or (8) Intercalating any instrument or note relative to the issuance thereof in
a protocol, registry or official book.

On the other hand, Estafa is generally committed when (a) the accused
defrauded another by abuse of confidence, or by means of deceit and (b)
the offended party or a third party suffered damage or prejudice capable of
pecuniary estimation.[13]

-__The trial court found petitioner guilty of Estafa thru Falsification of Public
Documents (which the Court of Appeals sustained) for petitioners principal
role in the loan transactions between Mangali, on the one hand, and
Saquitan and Ty, on the other hand. In further pinning liability on petitioner
for her role in the alleged falsification of TCT No. 92585, the trial court, for
lack of proof of petitioners participation in falsifying such document, relied
on the disputable legal presumption that the possessor of a falsified
document who makes use of such to her advantage is presumed to be the
author of the falsification. In short, petitioners conviction below rested on an
implied conspiracy with her co-accused to swindle Mangali, buttressed, as
to one count, by a reliance on a disputable presumption of culpability.

True, conspiracy need not be proved by direct evidence as the same can
be inferred from the concerted acts of the accused. [14] However, this does
not dispense with the requirement that conspiracy, like the felony itself,
must be proved beyond reasonable doubt. [15] Thus, the presence of a
reasonable doubt as to the existence of conspiracy suffices to negate not
only the participation of the accused in the commission of the offense as
principal but also, in the absence of proof implicating the accused as
accessory or accomplice, the criminal liability of the accused. [16]

Here, petitioners acts which the lower courts considered as constitutive of


her complicity in the supposed plot to swindle Mangali consisted of the
following: (1) petitioner was the one who brought Saquitan, Ty, and Ablaza
to Mangali; (2) petitioner was present in all the occasions Mangali met
Saquitan, Ty, and Ablaza; (3) petitioner confirmed that TCT No. 171602
was registered with the Register of Deeds of Manila when in fact it was
already cancelled; and (4) the real Epifania Saquitan denied mortgaging
the Sta. Ana property to Mangali. By themselves, these circumstances can
plausibly pass muster to prove petitioners involvement in a plan among the
accused to swindle Mangali.

However, when petitioners side is considered, taking into account admitted


facts and unrebutted claims, her participation in the events leading to her
arrest is cast in an entirely new light raising reasonable doubt as to her
culpability. These facts and unrefuted claims are: (1) petitioner works for
Mangali, on commission basis, in the latters check re-discounting and
lending businesses[17] and (2) the Civil Register of Manila certified as true
copy the photocopy of TCT No. 171602 that Saquitan gave petitioner.

As Mangalis agent, petitioner is obliged to bring prospective borrowers to


Mangali; otherwise, she will not earn commissions. This also explains why
she was present in all the ocassions Mangali met Saquitan and Ty she was
pecuniarily interested in seeing to it that the deals she brokered were
consummated to enable her to receive commission from Mangali.

On petitioners disclosure to Mangali that TCT No. 171602 is registered with


the Register of Deeds of Manila, petitioner merely relied on the certification
by the Register of Deeds of Manila that the photocopy of TCT No. 171602
she brought with her was a true copy of the title on file in that office. [18] The
prosecution did not rebut this.

We arrive at the same conclusion on petitioners alleged liability for Estafa


using the allegedly falsified TCT No. 92585. Aside from relying on
conspiracy to pin petitioner for this charge, the trial court also anchored its
finding on the presumption that petitioner was party to the falsification of
TCT No. 92585 because she had possession of such title. However,
petitioners unrebutted testimony on this point is that it was Ty who brought
with her what she represented to be her owners duplicate copy of TCT No.
92585 and which she presented to Mangali. [19] At any rate, for the
presumption of authorship of falsification to apply, the possessor
must stand to profit or had profited from the use of the falsified
document.[20] Here, the extent of petitioners participation on Tys loan was
to bring Ty (and Ablaza) to Mangali. The prosecution failed to show any
proof that petitioner received a portion of the loan Mangali extended to Ty,
just as there is no proof on record that she received any share from the
loan Mangali extended to Saquitan. Petitioner is not a party to any of the
documents Mangali, Ty, and Saquitan signed.

On the NBIs finding that the real Epifania Saquitan did not mortgage the
Sta. Ana lot to Mangali, we note that such person was never presented
during the trial, rendering her affidavit inadmissible. At any rate, the
prosecution failed to rebut petitioners testimony that she was only
acquainted with Ablaza who introduced Saquitan and Ty to her.

in CONNIVANCE/CONSPIRACY

The phrase on several instances means the petitioner committed the


predicate act in series. T

appears to have also surreptitious collection

ub-paragraphs (a) to (d) describe in detail the predicate acts that


constitute the crime and name in particular the co-conspirators of
former President Estrada in each predicate act. The predicate acts
alleged in the said four sub-paragraphs correspond to the items
enumerated in Section 1 (d) of R.A. No. 7080

From the foregoing allegations of the Amended Information, it is clear that


all the accused named in sub-paragraphs (a) to (d), thru their individual
acts, conspired with former President Estrada to enable the latter to
amass, accumulate or acquire ill-gotten wealth in the aggregate amount of
P4,097,804,173.17. As the Amended Information is worded, however, it is
not certain whether the accused in sub-paragraphs (a) to (d) conspired
with each other to enable the former President to amass the subject ill-
gotten wealth. In light of this lack of clarity, petitioner cannot be penalized
for the conspiracy entered into by the other accused with the former
President as related in the second paragraph of the Amended Information
in relation to its sub-paragraphs (b) to (d). We hold that petitioner can be
held accountable only for the predicate acts he allegedly committed as

Estrada vs Sandiganbayan, 2002

The essence of conspiracy is the combination of two or more persons, by


concerted action, to accomplish a criminal or unlawful purpose, or some
purpose not in itself criminal or unlawful, by criminal or unlawful means.
[25]
Its elements are: agreement to accomplish an illegal objective, coupled
with one or more overt acts in furtherance of the illegal purpose; and
requisite intent necessary to commit the underlying substantive offense.

An indictment for conspiracy is sufficient where it alleges: (1) the


agreement; (2) the offense-object toward which the agreement was
directed; and (3) the overt acts performed in furtherance of the agreement.
[38]
To allege that the defendants conspired is, at least, to state that they
agreed to do the matters which are set forth as the substance of their
conspiracy. To allege a conspiracy is to allege an agreement. [39] The gist of
the crime of conspiracy is unlawful agreement, and where conspiracy
is charged, it is not necessary to set out the criminal object with as
great a certainty as is required in cases where such object is charged
as a substantive offense.[40]

Sec. 6. Sufficiency of complaint or information.- A complaint or information


is sufficient if it states the name of the accused, the designation of the
offense given by the statute; the acts or omissions complained of as
constituting the offense; the name of the offended party; the approximate
date of the commission of the offense; and the place where the offense was
committed.

When the offense was committed by more than one person, all of them
shall be included in the complaint or information.
The complaint or information to be sufficient must state the name of the
accused, designate the offense given by statute, state the acts or
omissions constituting the offense, the name of the offended party, the
approximate date of the commission of the offense and the place where the
offense was committed.

Our rulings have long settled the issue on how the acts or omissions
constituting the offense should be made in order to meet the standard of
sufficiency. Thus, the offense must be designated by its name given by
statute or by reference to the section or subsection of the statute punishing
it.[41] The information must also state the acts or omissions constituting the
offense, and specify its qualifying and aggravating circumstances. [42] The
acts or omissions complained of must be alleged in such form as is
sufficient to enable a person of common understanding to know what
offense is intended to be charged, and enable the court to pronounce
proper judgment.[43] No information for a crime will be sufficient if it does not
accurately and clearly allege the elements of the crime charged. [44] Every
element of the offense must be stated in the information. [45] What facts and
circumstances are necessary to be included therein must be determined by
reference to the definitions and essentials of the specified crimes. [46] The
requirement of alleging the elements of a crime in the information is to
inform the accused of the nature of the accusation against him so as to
enable him to suitably prepare his defense. The presumption is that the
accused has no independent knowledge of the facts that constitute the
offense.[47

Defense for Presumption of Possession of Falsified


Documents

The accused insisted that when they went to the said office to
register the Deed of Sale marked Exhibit 2, they were asked to
leave it, and when they returned to get their document, they were
given another document particularly Exhibit A which is the reason
why they were charged with falsification because it appears in the
said document that private complainant Modesta Penuliar Flores
was one of the signatories when, in fact, she was not. In other
words, the accused maintain that they could not be held liable for
falsification of public document because criminal intent was
lacking. But if the accused acted in good faith, why did they not
immediately inform the private complainant about the
matter. Moreover, they should not have received the falsified
document from the Assessors Office knowing that it was not the
document that was given to their office for registration. The
actuation and the behavior of the accused negate their claim of
innocence. It is very unusual that they entrusted such very
important document to somebody whose name they dont even
know. Furthermore, why did the accused waited [sic] for the
advice of the Brgy. Captain of their place to settle their problem
with the private complainant. Their silence work [sic] against
them as it goes against the principle that the first impulse of an
innocent was [sic] when accused of wrongdoing is to express his
innocence at the first opportune time. Besides, other than the
self-serving testimonies of the accused, no other evidence was
presented by them to substantiate their pretense of
innocence. They should have presented the person from the
Assessors Office who gave them Exhibit A to corroborate their
claim if indeed they have no hand in its falsification. It is well-
settled in this jurisdiction that the person who stood to benefit by
the falsification of a public document and was in possession of it
is presumed to be the material author of the falsification. Hence,
the defense of good faith of the accused is not acceptable as it is
not supported by clear and convincing evidence.

All told, the prosecution has succeeded in rebutting the


presumption of innocence accorded the accused who, on their
part, have dismally failed to substantiate their pretense of
innocence.

the actuation and behavior of the accused in not


immediately informing the complainant about the
inclusion of her name in the subject Deed of Sale as one of
the vendors therein negate their claim of innocence.

The Court is in consonance with the ruling of the court a-quo that
the person who stood to benefit by the falsification of a public
document and was in possession of it is presumed to be the
material author of the falsification.

As held by the Supreme Court in the case of People vs. Manansala


(105 Phil. 1253), it is an established rule that when a person has
in his possession a falsified document and makes use of the
same, the presumption or inference is justified that such person is
the forger
By the acts of Mr. Resty Mandabon in conforming to Mr. Salva
despite knowing the required task of him that corresponds to his
duties and responsibilities as stipulated in the Company’s
Guidelines creates a presumption of connivance on his part as
accomplice if not a co-conspirator.

After the discovery of the irregular loans, an internal audit was


conducted and an administrative investigation was held in the
Head Office of Metrobank, during which appellant signed a written
statement (marked as Exhibit “N”) in the form of questions and
answers.

As standard procedure, the credit investigator/collector signs a


Logbook to acknowledge receipt of the loan proceeds.