Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 12

Falsification of Public Documents

1 G.R. NO. 168437 (LAURINIO GOMA AND


NATALIO UMALE VS. C.A., PEOPLE OF THE
PHIL., MANUEL TORRALBA) JANUARY 8,
2009
Black defines a public document as "a document of public interest issued or published by a
political body or otherwise connected with public business."10 The term is also described as a
document in the execution of which a person in authority or notary public takes part.11
Art. 171(2) of the RPC provides as follows:
ART. 171. Falsification by public officer, employee; or notary or ecclesiastical minister.The
penalty of prision mayor and a fine not to exceed 5,000 pesos shall be imposed upon any public
officer, employee, or notary who, taking advantage of his official position, shall falsify a
document by committing any of the following acts:
xxxx
(2) Causing it to appear that persons have participated in any act or proceeding when they did
not in fact so participate.
The elements of the crime of falsification of public documents, as above defined and penalized,
are:
1. That the offender is a public officer, employee, or notary public.
2. That he takes advantage of his official position.
3. That he falsifies a document by causing it to appear that persons have participated in any
act or proceeding.
4. That such person or persons did not in fact so participate in the proceeding. 18

Falsification of a public document is consummated upon the execution of the false document.
And criminal intent is presumed upon the execution of the criminal act. Erring public officers
failure to attain their objectives, if that really be the case, is not determinative of their guilt or
innocence. The simulation of a public document, done in a manner so as to give it the
appearance of a true and genuine instrument, thus, leading others to errors as to its authenticity,
constitutes the crime of falsification.21
In fine, the element of gain or benefit on the part of the offender or prejudice to a third party as a
result of the falsification, or tarnishing of a documents integrity, is not essential to maintain a
charge for falsification of public documents.22 What is punished in falsification of public

document is principally the undermining of the public faith and the destruction of truth as
solemnly proclaimed therein. In this particular crime, therefore, the controlling consideration lies
in 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.23
10

Blacks Law Dictionary 520 (8th ed.).

Bermejo v. Barrios, Nos. L-23614-15, February 27, 1970, 31 SCRA 764; Cacnio v. Baens, 5
Phil. 742 (1906); cited in 6 Herrera, Remedial Law 256 (1999).
11

18

2 L.B. Reyes, The Revised Penal Code (15th ed., 2001).

Re: Fake Decision Allegedly in G.R. No. 75242, A.M. No. 02-8-23-0, February 16, 2005, 451
SCRA 357, 386.
21

22

Bustillo v. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 146217, April 7, 2006, 486 SCRA 545, 551.

Lastrilla v. Granda, G.R. No. 160257, January 31, 2006, 481 SCRA 324, 345; citing Lumancas
v. Intas, G.R. No. 133472, December 5, 2000, 347 SCRA 22, 33-34; and Luague v. Court of
Appeals, G.R. No. 55683, February 22, 1982, 112 SCRA 97, 101.
23

2 G.R. NO. 179448 (CARLOS TANENGGE VS.


PEOPLE OF THE PHIL.) JUNE 26, 2013
Falsification of documents under paragraph 1, Article 172 in relation to Article 171 of the
Revised Penal Code (RPC) refers to falsification by a private individual or a public officer or
employee, who did not take advantage of his official position, of public, private or commercial
document. The elements of falsification of documents under paragraph 1, Article 172 of the RPC
are: (1) that the offender is a private individual or a public officer or employee who did not take
advantage of his official position; (2) that he committed any of the acts of falsification
enumerated in Article 171 of the RPC;33 and, (3) that the falsification was committed in a public,
official or commercial document.
When the offender commits on a public, official or commercial document any of the acts of
falsification enumerated in Article 171 as a necessary means to commit another crime like
estafa, theft or malversation, the two crimes form a complex crime. Under Article 48 of the RPC,
there are two classes of a complex crime. A complex crime may refer to a single act which
constitutes two or more grave or less grave felonies or to an offense as a necessary means for
committing another.
In Domingo v. People,36 we held:
The falsification of a public, official, or commercial 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 document. In other words,

the crime of falsification has already existed. Actually utilizing that falsified public, official or
commercial document to defraud another is estafa. But the damage is caused by the
commission of estafa, not by the falsification of the document. Therefore, the falsification of the
public, official or commercial document is only a necessary means to commit estafa.
33

ART. 171. Falsification by public officer, employee; or notary or ecclesiastical minister. The
penalty of prision mayor and a fine not to exceed 5,000 pesos shall be imposed upon any public
officer, employee, or notary who, taking advantage of his official position, shall falsify a
document by committing any of the following acts:
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;
36

Domingo v. People, G.R. No. 186101, October 12, 2009, 603 SCRA 488, 505-506.

3 G.R. NO. 107383 (FELIX NIZURTADO VS.


SANDIGANBAYAN AND PEOPLE OF THE
PHIL.) DECEMBER 7, 1994
The essential elements common to all acts of malversation under Article 217 of the
Revised Penal Code are the following:
(a) the offender is a public officer;
(b) he has the custody or control of funds or property by reason of the duties of his office;
(c) the funds or property involved are public funds or property for which he is accountable; and
(d) he has appropriated, taken or misappropriated, or has consented to, or through abandonment or
negligence permitted, the taking by another person of, such funds or property.
Accused-appellant was charged with having committed the crime (malversation) through the
falsification of a public document punishable under paragraph 2 of Article 171 of the Revised Penal
Code.The pertinent provisions read:
Art. 171. Falsification by public officer, employee or notary or ecclesiastic minister.
The penalty ofprision mayor and a fine not to exceed 5,000 pesos shall be imposed

upon any public officer, employee, or notary who, taking advantage of his official
position, shall falsify a document by committing any of the following acts:
xxx xxx xxx
2. Causing it to appear that persons have participated in any act or proceeding when
they did not in fact so participate;
In falsification under the above-quoted paragraph, the document need not be an authentic
official paper since its simulation, in fact, is the essence of falsification. So, also, the
signatures appearing thereon need not necessarily be forged. 11
Under Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code, when a single act constitutes two or more grave or less
grave felonies, or when an offense is a necessary means for committing the other, the penalty for
the most serious crime shall be imposed, the same (the penalty) to be applied in the maximum
period. The penalty prescribed for the offense of malversation of public funds, when the amount
involved exceeds six thousand pesos but does not exceed twelve thousand pesos, is prision
mayor in its maximum period to reclusion temporal in its minimum period; in addition, the offender
shall be sentenced to suffer perpetual special disqualification and to pay a fine equal to the amount
malversed (Art. 217[3], Revised Penal Code). The penalty of prision mayor and a fine of five
thousand pesos is prescribed for the crime of falsification under Article 171 of the Revised Penal
Code. The former (that imposed for the malversation), being more severe than the latter (that
imposed for the falsification), is then the applicable prescribed penalty to be imposed in its maximum
period.
11

Castillo vs. Sandiganbayan 151 SCRA 425, citing U.S. vs. Corral, 15 Phil. 383.

4 G.R. NOS. 158694-96 (PEOPLE OF THE PHIL.


VS. TEOFILO PANTALEON, JR. AND JAIME
VALLEJOS) MARCH 13, 2009
Malversation is defined and penalized under Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code, which reads:
Art. 217. Malversation of public funds or property Presumption of malversation. Any public officer
who, by reason of the duties of his office, is accountable for public funds or property, shall
appropriate the same, or shall take or misappropriate or shall consent, or through abandonment or
negligence, shall permit any other person to take such public funds or property, wholly or partially, or
shall, otherwise, be guilty of the misappropriation or malversation of such funds or property, shall
suffer:
xxxx
4. The penalty of reclusion temporal in its medium and maximum periods, if the amount involved is
more than 12,000 pesos but is less than 22,000 pesos. If the amount exceeds the latter, the penalty
shall be reclusion temporalin its maximum period to reclusion perpetua.

In all cases, persons guilty of malversation shall also suffer the penalty of perpetual special
disqualification and a fine equal to the amount of the funds malversed or equal to the total value of
the property embezzled.
The failure of a public officer to have duly forthcoming any public funds or property with which he is
chargeable, upon demand by any duly authorized officer, shall be prima facie evidence that he has
put such missing funds or property to personal uses.
Falsification was a necessary means
to commit the crime of malversation
Article 171, paragraphs (2) and (5) of the Revised Penal Code, provides:
ART. 171. Falsification by public officer, employee or notary or ecclesiastic minister. The penalty of
prision mayor and a fine not to exceed 5,000 pesos shall be imposed upon any public officer,
employee, or notary who, taking advantage of his official position, shall falsify a document by
committing any of the following acts:
2. Causing it to appear that persons have participated in any act or proceeding when they did not in
fact so participate;
xxx
5. Altering true dates;
xxx
Falsification under paragraph 2 is committed when (a) the offender causes it to appear in a
document that a person or persons participated in an act or a proceeding; and (b) that such person
or persons did not in fact so participate in the act or proceeding.

5 G.R. NO. 185493 (ROBERTO K. GUILLERGAN


VS. PEOPLE OF THE PHIL.) FEBRUARY 2,
2011
What is punished in falsification of a public document is the violation of the public faith and the
destruction of the truth as solemnly proclaimed in it. 16 Generally, the elements of Article 171 are: 1)
the offender is a public officer, employee, or notary public; 2) he takes advantage of his official
position; and 3) that he falsifies a document by committing any of the ways it is done. 17
On the other hand, the elements of falsification of documents under paragraph 1, Article 172 are: 1)
the offender is a private individual or a public officer or employee who did not take advantage of his
official position; 2) the offender committed any of the acts of falsification enumerated in Article
171; 18 and 3) the falsification was committed in a public or official or commercial document. 19

Lastrilla v. Granda, G.R. No. 160257, January 31, 2006, 481 SCRA 324, 345, citing Lumancas v.
Intas, 400 Phil. 785, 798 (2000), further citing People v. Po Giok To, 96 Phil. 913, 918 (1955).
16

17

Regidor, Jr. v. People, G.R. Nos. 166086-92, February 13, 2009, 579 SCRA 244, 263.

Art. 171. Falsification by public officer, employee or notary or ecclesiastic minister. The penalty
of prision mayor and a fine not to exceed P5,000 pesos shall be imposed upon any public officer,
employee, or notary who, taking advantage of his official position, shall falsify a document by
committing any of the following acts:
18

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 a 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.
The same penalty shall be imposed upon any ecclesiastical minister who shall commit any of
the offenses enumerated in the preceding paragraphs of this article, with respect to any
record or document of such character that its falsification may affect the civil status of
persons.

6 G.R. NO. 148682-85 (PEOPLE OF THE PHIL.


VS. ANGEL A. ENFERMO) NOVEMBER 30,
2005
The crime of malversation of public funds is defined and penalized as follows:
ART. 217. Malversation of public funds or property.
Presumption of malversation Any public officer who, by reason

of the duties of his office is accountable for public funds or


property, shall appropriate the same, or shall take or
misappropriate or shall consent, or through abandonment or
negligence, shall permit any other person to take such public
funds or property wholly or partially, or shall otherwise be guilty of
the misappropriation or malversation of such funds or property.
...
The failure of a public officer to have duly forthcoming any public
funds or property with which he is chargeable, upon demand by
any duly authorized officer, shall be prima facie evidence that he
has put such missing funds or property to personal uses.
The elements of malversation, essential for the conviction of an accused, under
the above penal provision are that:
(a)

the offender is a public officer;

(b)

he has the custody or control of funds or


property by reason of the duties of his office;

(c)

the funds or property involved are public


funds or property for which he is accountable; and

(d)

he
has
appropriated,
taken
or
misappropriated, or has consented to, or through
abandonment or negligence permitted, the taking by
another person of, such funds or property. (Rueda, Jr. v.
Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 129064, November 29, 2000.)

Anent the last element, our Supreme Court has ruled that to justify
conviction for malversation of public funds, the prosecution has only to prove that
the accused received public funds or property and that he could not account for
them or did not have them in his possession and could not give a reasonable
excuse for the disappearance of the same. (Estrada v. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No.
125160, June 20, 2000, citing People v. Pepito, 267 SCRA 358,368, See also
Felicilda v. Grospe, 211 SCRA 285.) An accountable public officer may be
convicted of malversation even if there is no direct evidence of misappropriation
and the only evidence is that there is a shortage in his accounts which he has not
been able to explain satisfactorily. (Navallo v. Sandiganbayan, 234 SCRA 175,
185; Villanueva v. Sandiganbayan, 200 SCRA 722, 734.) Such conversion of
public funds must be affirmatively proved, whether by direct evidence or by the
production of facts from which conversion necessarily follows. (Bugayong v.
People, 202 SCRA 762.)
It has been held that in the absence of a satisfactory explanation, one found in possession of
and who used a forged document is the forger and therefore guilty of falsification. (Maliwat v.
CA, 256 SCRA 718.) Since it is obvious that the purported signatures of the payees in the
questioned checks were not genuine signatures on the basis of visual comparison alone, it goes

without saying that the person who encashed the same and received payment thereof is
presumed to be the forger of said signatures. Taken together with the circumstances that as
disbursing officer, appellant was the one in charge of preparation, encashment and delivery of
checks issued by the NRCP, the conclusion is inevitable that no other person other than
appellant could have falsified the payees signature, encashed the questioned checks and
misappropriated the proceeds thereof. Being a public officer who had taken advantage of his
official posisiton and falsified the signature of the payees of the questioned checks, appellant
has committed falsification of public document defined and penalized under Art. 171, paragraph
1 of the Revised Penal Code.

7 G.R. NO. 178652 (SPS. REVELO AND


CORAZON VILLAMAR VS. PEOPLE OF THE
PHIL.) DECEMBER 8, 2010
The elements of the crime of falsification under paragraph 1 of Article 172 are: (i) that the
offender is a private individual; (ii) that he committed any of the acts of falsification enumerated
in Art. 171; and (iii) that the falsification was committed in a public or official or commercial
document.
In Maliwat vs. Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court held that in the absence of satisfactory
explanation, one found in possession of and who used a forged document is the forger and
therefore guilty of falsification. "If a person had in his possession a falsified document and he
made use of it, taking advantage of it and profiting thereby, the clear presumption is that he is
the material author of the falsification."

8 G.R. NO. L-7236 (PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. VS.


PO GIOK TO) APRIL 30, 1955
the law is clear 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.
Article 172, par. 1, in connection with Art. 171, par. 4, of the Revised Penal Code,
under which provision the accused is charged, provides as follows:
ART. 171. Falsification by the public officer, employee or notary or
ecclesiastic minister. The penalty ofprision mayor and a fine not to
exceed 5,000 pesos shall be imposed upon any public officer, employee,
or notary who, taking advantage of his official position shall falsify a
document by committing any of the following acts:
xxx

xxx

xxx

4. Making untruthful statements in a narration of facts.

ART. 172. Falsification by private individuals and use of falsified


documents. The penalty of prision correccional in its medium and
maximum periods and a fine of not more than 5,000 pesos shall be
imposed upon:
xxx

xxx

xxx

1. Any private individual who shall commit any of the falsifications


enumerated in the next preceding article in any other kind of commercial
document.
On the other hand, Art. 172, par 2, defining the crime falsification of private
document, provides:
2. Any person who, to the damage of a third party, or with intent to cause
such damage, shall in any private document commit any of the acts of
falsification enumerated in the next preceeding article.
The distinction made by the law between falsification by private persons, first, of
public documents, and secondly of private documents, is clear; the first is
committed by the mere performance of any of the acts of falsification enumerated
in Art. 171; while the second is committed not only by the performance of any of
the acts of falsification enumerated in Art. 171; but it must likewise be shown that
such act of falsification was committed to the damage of a third party or with
intent to cause such damage.
The reason for the distinction is given in a decision of the Supreme Court of
Spain dated December 23, 1885, cited by this Court in the case of People vs.
Pacana, 47 Phil. 48; i.e., that in the falsification of public or official documents,
whether by public officials or by 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 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.
Our own commentators on the Revised Penal Code are also agreed on this
distinction. (Francisco, Revised Penal Code.) Sec. ed., Vol. II, Part 1, p. 301;
Guevara, Comm. on the Revised Penal Code, IV Ed., P. 172; Albert, Revised
Penal Code, 1948 Ed., p. 398).

9 G.R. NO. 76490 (ISAGANI SABINIANO VS.


C.A. AND PEOPLE OF THE PHIL.) OCTOBER
6, 1995
The trial court ruled that the crime committed was estafa thru falsification of
public document, instead ofmalversation thru falsification of a public document,
because "misappropriation of funds for which a public official is not accountable
constitutes estafa rather than malversation." 9
The courts below correctly convicted petitioner of estafa thru falsification of
public documents instead ofmalversation thru falsification of public documents,
the crime for which he was charged in the information. Estafa is included as a
less serious offense than, and cognate to, malversation. 27
9

Records, p. 37.

27

Delfin v. Court of Appeals, 13 SCRA 366, 369

10 G.R. NO. 93885 (FELIX H. CABELLO VS.


SANDUGANBAYAN AND PEOPLE OF THE
PHIL.) MAY 14, 1991
Malversation is committed either intentionally or by negligence. The dolo or
the culpa present in the offense is only a modality in the perpetration of the
felony. Even if the mode charged differs from the mode proved, the same offense
of malversation is involved and conviction thereof is proper. A possible exception
would be when the mode of commission alleged in the particulars of the
indictment is so far removed from the ultimate categorization of the crime that it
may be said due process was denied by deluding the accused into an erroneous
comprehension of the charge against him. That no such prejudice was
occasioned on petitioner nor was he beleaguered in his defense is apparent from
the records of this case.
In Samson vs. Court of Appeals, et al., 15 we held that an accused charged with willful or
intentional falsification can validly be convicted of falsification through negligence, thus:

While a criminal negligent act is not a simple modality of a willfull


crime, as we held in Quizon vs.Justice of the Peace of Bacolor, G.R.
No. L-6641, July 28, 1955, but a distinct crime in our Penal Code,
designated as a quasi offense in our Penal Code, it may however be

said that a conviction for the former can be had under an information
exclusively charging the commission of a willful offense, upon the
theory that the greater includes the lesser offense. This is the
situation that obtains in the present case. Appellant was charged
with willful falsification but from the evidence submitted by the
parties, the Court of Appeals found that in effecting the falsification
which made possible the cashing of the checks in question,
appellant did not act with criminal intent but merely failed to take
proper and adequate means to assure himself of the identity of the
real claimants as an ordinary prudent man would do. In other words,
the information alleges acts which charge willful falsification but
which turned out to be not willful but negligent. This is a case
covered by the rule when there is a variance between the allegation
and proof, and is similar to some of the cases decided by tills
Tribunal.
xxx xxx xxx
Moreover, Section 5, Rule 116, of the Rules of Court does not
require that all the essential elements of the offense charged in the
information be proved, it being sufficient that some of said essential
elements or ingredients thereof be established to constitute the
crime proved. . .
The fact that the information does not allege that the falsification was
committed with imprudence is of no moment for here this deficiency
appears supplied by the evidence submitted by appellant himself
and the result has proven beneficial to Mm. Certainly, having alleged
that the falsification has been willful, it would be incongruous to
allege at the same time that it was committed with imprudence for a
charge of criminal intent is incompatible with the concept of
negligence.
Subsequently, we ruled in People vs. Consigna, et al. 16 that the aforestated rationale and
arguments also apply to the felony of malversation, that is, that an accused charged with willful
malversation, in an information containing allegations similar to those involved in the present case, can be
validly convicted of the same offense of malversation through negligence where the evidence sustains the
latter mode of perpetrating the offense.

15 103 Phil. 277 (1958).


16 122 Phil. 293 (1965).