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People vs Villalon

Facts: 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.

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.

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.

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.

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 (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 (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).

Issue: Is there a sufficient basis for the charge of falsification against the respondents?

Whether the offense charged in the aforementioned criminal case is already extinguished by prescription

Presiding Judge Manuel Castañeda of the Court of First Instance of Pangasinan, Branch III, dismissed the case on
January 28, 1976 on the ground that the crime had prescribe

Ruling: 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.

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.

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.

US vs Capule
Facts:
September 2, 1903, Nicasio Capule, for the purpose of appropriating to himself a tract of coconut land, situated in the
town of San Pablo, Laguna, without the knowledge or consent of the owners thereof, the married couple Aniceto
Maghirang and Isabel Pili, by agreement and cooperation with the notary public, Inocente Martinez, who later died,
prepared and drew up a document setting forth the sale in his favor of the said land, pretending that it was made and
executed by the said owners of the tract, stating in the document that they had made the declaration that they had
sold said land for the sum of 550 pesos paid at the time of the sale to the vendors, and Jacinto Peñaflor and Jorge
Tolentino appear in said document as witnesses of the execution thereof; and Eulogio Ortega and Doroteo Guia as the
signers of the deed of sale.
A complaint was filed on February 3, 1910, by the provincial fiscal in the Court of First Instance of Laguna, charging
Nicasio Capule with the crimes of falsification of a public document and estafa. After due trial the judge rendered
judgment therein on March 21, 1911, sentencing Nicasio Capule to the penalty of eight years of presidio mayo.
Aniceto Maghirang denies that he sold the said land to Nicasio Capule or that he executed in his favor any document
of sale, stating that he had conferred a power of attorney upon him so that he might represent himself and his wife,
who later died, in a suit they had with Maximino Reyes, because of the absolute confidence they had in the defendant,
just as it was the latter himself who drew up the document that was later signed in his stead by Eulogio Ortega,
because he could not read or write; but he denied that he or his wife had ever been in the house of the notary
Inocente Martinez to execute or ratify any document or that he and his wife Isabel Pili, when she was alive, had told
the defendant Capule that they wished to sell the said land and that he had offered to buy it.

It therefore appears to be plainly proven that the crime of falsification of a document has been committed, and while it
may not be public still it is of an official or notarial character, provided for and penalized in articles 300 and 301,
because the defendant executed upon said notarial document of an official character acts constituting falsification, by
counterfeiting therein the intervention of the married couple Aniceto Maghirang and Isabel Pili, to whom he ascribed
statements different from what they had made to him and by perverting the truth in the narration of facts, getting two
persons to sign in the name of said married couple through deceit, after giving them to understand that the document
contained a commission or power of attorney, when in fact it was a deed of sale of a piece of land, the legitimate
owners whereof had never intended or consented to its alienation.

None of the persons who appear to have signed said document and seem to have been present at its execution were
informed of its true contents, because they all confided with the greatest good faith in the false and deceitful
statements of the defendant, believing what he said to the effect that said instrument was a commission voluntarily
conferred upon him by the couple executing it, who never intended to execute any document of sale of their property
to the defendant, who went to the extreme of getting a notary to certify to its ratification before him, made apparently
by the alleged vendors in the contents of the said false document.

The fact that the married couple Maghirang and Pili did not know how to read and write certainly reveals great
ignorance and lack of culture in them, but when they got to be landowners and acquired property of some value, they
cannot be absolutely denied the ability to distinguish a deed of sale from a power of attorney, because they have
demonstrated well enough that they understood their purpose to be that the defendant should represent them in a
suit pending in a court and that they had never intended or executed any fact for the alienation of a tract of land
belonging to them in favor of the defendant, and it is therefore unquestionable that he took advantage of the
opportunity when he was to have executed a document or instrument of power of attorney, which the married couple
desired, to draw up maliciously and deceitfully a deed of sale in his favor, deceiving the alleged vendors and the two
persons who signed for them and making them believe that the document executed was a power of attorney or
commission, when it fact it was a deed of sale and is the Exhibit A, wherein, if he did not forge the signatures of the
two witnesses Peñaflor and Tolentino, he must have obtained them in an equally deceitful way.
Ruling: there was no contract in the present case, nor any consent to the contract pretended to have been stipulated
in the instrument, Exhibit A, wherein the defendant entered statements ascribed to the alleged vendors, who proposed
and intended to execute an instrument of commission or power of attorney in favor of the defendant, but not a deed of
sale, as in bad faith and with evident perverseness the defendant did, perverting the truth in the statement of facts
and ascribing to the offended parties statements different from those they made to him in the counterfeited document,
since the statements set forth therein were not characteristic and constitutive of an instrument of power of attorney in
his favor in order that he might represent them in a suit against Maximino Reyes.

The defendant Capule does not come within the purview of article 300 of the Penal Code, but of 301, which fixes the
penalty, not of cadena temporal but of presidio mayor; further keeping in mind that the act of falsification of a public
document in itself constitutes a crime, morally and legally punishable, even though to date the penal law with respect
to falsification of a public document committed by public officers, in lieu of said article 300 of the code, has not yet
been promulgated; but article 301, applicable to the present case, has not been repealed and subsists in all its force.

The concurrence of neither extenuating nor aggravating circumstances can be found in the commission of the crime,
and therefore the penalty fixed in said article 301 of the code must be imposed in its medium degree.

For these reasons, whereby the errors assigned to the judgment appealed from are found to be refuted, we hold that it
should be affirmed; provided, however, that Nicasio Capule be sentenced to the penalty of eight years and one day of
presidio mayor

People vs Manansala

Facts: August 13, 1954, accused-appellant was driving TPU jeepney No. 3873, along P. Paterno Street, Quiapo,
Manila, when; he was apprehended by Corporal Vicente del Rosario of the Manila Police Department (hereinafter
referred to as MPD) for driving his cab (jeepney) outside of his authorized line (route). Required to present his
driver's license, accused showed to Corporal del Rosario the duplicate copy of Traffic Violation Report (hereinafter
referred to as TVR) No. 277957 (Exh. A, p. 45S Records), previously issued to said accused;as a temporary driver's
permit, by MPD patrolman P. Purificacidn, on account of the accused's third traffic violation. Noticing that the TVR
had been altered, Corporal del Rosario brought accused to the Records Section, MPD, for further investigation. The
alterations were found to consist in erasing or obliterating the originally written figure "HI" and the word "three" after
the words "pending cases" and by writing and superimposing thereon number "I" and the word "one". The alterations
thus made changed the meaning of the said official document, because by said alterations, it was made to appear in
said duplicate TVR that accused had only one pending case of traffic violation instead of three, as originally written on
said document.

At the investigation, the accused admitted having made the alterations in question, in order to hide his previous
pending traffic violation cases and thereby avoid immediate arrest should he be caught committing a fourth traffic
violation.

After trial, the court below rendered judgment finding accused guilty of the crime of falsification of official or public
document mainly on the proposition that "the only person who could have made the erasures and the super
impositions mentioned is the one who will be benefited by the alterations thus made" and that "he alone could have
the motive for making such alterations."

Issue: Is the respondent guilty of falsification?

Ruling: The falsified TVR in question was issued to the ac cused and the records show that he had it in his
possession and if had been using it as a temporary driver's permit from its issuance to the time he was caught by
Corporal del Rosario committing a fourth traffic violation. Required to explain the falsification therein, he could not
do so. 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.

Besides, accused had a sufficient and strong motive to commit the falsification. The policy and practice of the MPD
was proved to be to arrest a driver who commits a fourth traffic violation instead of merely issuing to him a TVR, as is
usually done for the first, second and third violations

US vs Castillo

Facts: morning of the 2d of December, 1905, the appellant Pio Castillo, presented a check for the sum of 56 pesos,
Philippine currency, to Chinese merchant named Lim Ponso; that the said check was made payable to bearer and
purported to be drawn by one James J. Watkins; that the amount of the check was paid to Pio Castillo; that the
signature of the drawer upon said check was a forgery made in imitation of the genuine signature of James J.
Watkins, sheriff of the city of Iloilo, and that, in fact, the said James J. Watkins never signed or issued the said check;
that the blank upon which the check was written was stolen from a book of blank checks between the hours of 12
noon on the 1st of December, 1903, and 11 a. m. on the 2d of December, 1903, when the check was presented for
payment; that this blank check book was kept in a drawer in the office of the said James J. Watkins, and that Pio
Castillo was one of three clerks employed by Watkins in the office; that Castillo was in the office on the evening of
December 1 and early in the morning of December 2, and that he was the last person let alone in the office on the
evening of December 1, he having locked the office after all the other clerks had gone.

Issue: w/n Castillo is guilty of falsification?

The trial court held that the prosecution had failed to establish the charge of falsification, but found the accused
guilty of the crime of knowingly using with intent to gain a falsified mercantile document as defined and penalized in
article 302 of the Penal Code, and sentenced him to five months imprisonment (arresto mayor) with the accessory
penalties .

Ruling: For the purposes of this case it is not necessary to hold, and we do not hold, that the mere fact that the
accused uttered the check in question is proof of the fact that he also forged it or caused it to be forged, but we do
hold that the utterance of such an instrument, when unexplained, is strong evidence tending to establish the fact that
the utterer either himself forged the instrument or caused it to be forged, and that this evidence, taken together with
the further evidence set out above and brought out on the trial of the case, establishes the guilt of the accused of the
crime with which he was charged beyond a reasonable doubt.

We therefore reverse the judgment and sentence of the trial court and find the accused, Pio Castillo, guilty of the
crime of "falsification of a mercantile instrument," as charged, and it appearing that the accused, at the time of the
commission of the crime, was less than 18 though more than 15 years old, we impose upon him the penalty
immediately inferior to that prescribed for that offense, and there being no aggravating or extenuating circumstances,
we sentence the said Pio Castillo to four years’ imprisonment (presidio correccional) with the accessory penalties
prescribed by law, and to the payment of the costs in both instance and the indemnification of the injured party in the
sum of 56 pesos, Philippine currency.

People vs Dava

Facts: October 19, 1975, while driving a car along Shaw Boulevard, Mandaluyong, Rizal, petitioner Michael T. Dava,
then holder of non-professional driver's license No. 14744271 with official receipt No. 7023037,2 bumped pedestrians
Bernadette Roxas Clamor and Dolores E. Roxas, causing death to former and physical injuries to the latter.

As a consequence of said incident, Dava was brought to 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.
license was thereafter presented as prosecution evidence in criminal case for homicide and serious physical injuries
reckless imprudence filed against Dava.

April 12, 1978, Antonio Roxas, the brother of Bernadette and the father of Dolores, saw Dava driving a maroon
Volkswagen (beetle-type) car. Roxas sought the help of then Minister of Defense Juan Ponce Enrile in apprehending
Dava for driving without a license.

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 non-professional driver's license No. 27068875 with official receipt No.
06058706 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.

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

BLT. He examine 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 license.11 He added that any license that was not included their office index card was
considered as "coming from 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 office15 and
that sometime 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 office.16 He concluded that the license
was fake because the form was issued by the central office to the Angeles agency, the license appeared on its face to
have been issued the San Fernando, Pampanga agency.1

MICHAEL T. DAVA, a private individual, did then and there willfully, 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.

Ruling: 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 well be considered
as totally nonexistent

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.

Hence, while there is no doubt that driver's license No. 2706887 was a spurious one, the evidence do not pinpoint the
petition as the actual falsifier. Unfortunately, however, there are pieces of evidence which prove beyond reasonable
doubt at he caused the falsification and made use of the falsified driver's license knowing it to be so.

The elements of the crime of using a falsified document in transaction (other than as evidence in a judicial proceed
penalized under the last paragraph of Article 172 are 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 last it was used with intent to cause such damage.55 Except for last, all of these elements have been
proven beyond reason doubt in this case.

t 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 awareness of the dire necessity of obtaining a driver's license the shortest time possible to enable
petitioner to perform duties as detailman, petitioner was able, in a very subtle 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 drivers
license in so short a without having to deal with "fixers."

Petitioner cannot feign ignorance of the spurious character of his second driver's 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.

A driver's license is a public document within the purview of Articles 171 and 172. The blank form of the drivers
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 region of the San Fernando LTC agency was affixed
therein, even if the same was simulated, the driver's license became a public document.

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.

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.

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.

WHEREFORE, the decision of the respondent appellate court is hereby affirmed. Let a copy of this decision be served
on that Department of Transportation and Communication. Cost against the petitioner.

Gigantoni vs People

Facts: 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.

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.

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.

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. ...

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.
Ruling: 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.

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.

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 aquitted of
the crime charged.

Estrada vs DEsierto