I. Concept: These are crimes which involve deceit, misrepresentation, or falsity against the public at large. If the misrepresentation or deceit or falsity was purposely availed of against a particular person the same will constitute estafa.


II. The crimes are grouped into three categories:


A. Forgeries: these refer to deceits involving:

1.     The seal of the government, the signature and stamp of the chief executive

2.     Coins

3.     Treasury or bank notes, obligations and securities of the government

4.     Documents


B. Other Falsities: these are deceits pertaining to : (1). Authority, rank or title (2) Names (3) Uniforms and insignias and (4) False Testimonies


C. Frauds or acts involving machinations in public biddings and (2) Combinations and Monopolies in Restraint of Trade and Commerce




I. Those involving the seal of the government, the signature, or stamp of the Chief Executive. 


A. The acts punished are:  (1). The act of counterfeiting the seal of the government  (2). Forging the signature of the Chief Executive or his stamp and (3). Using the forged signature or counterfeit seal or stamp


B. The act of forging the signature is ordinarily punished as falsification but it is set apart as a distinct crime with a much higher penalty (reclusions temporal) to emphasize its gravity


C. The act of counterfeiting or forging the signature must be on what purports to be an official document purporting to have been signed by the Chief Executive in his official capacity, other wise the offense is ordinary falsification 


D. Example: (i). In what purports to be an appointment paper or grant of a pardon bearing the heading of the Office of the President (ii). Forging the signature in a private thank- you- letter is falsification


E. In the crime of using, the user is a third person not the forger or counterfeiter


II. Those involving coins:  (a) Counterfeit/false or (ii) mutilated coins


A.  Counterfeit/false coins- those not authorized by the Central bank to be minted for circulation as legal tender. They include coins which have been demonetized so as to prevent the accused from using his skill upon genuine coins


      1. The acts punished

a. The act of counterfeiting, minting or making

b. The act of importing

c. The act of uttering- passing of as legal tender

d. Possession with intent to utter. Thus possession of coins as a collection is not punished


B. Mutilated Coins- these are genuine coins or coins of legal tender whose intrinsic value has been diminished due to the diminution of their metallic contents.


     1. The acts punished:

a.     The act of mutilating or any act upon the coin the purpose of which is to accumulate the metallic contents, such as by chipping off a portion, scraping its surface or boring a hole

b.    The act of selling, importing or uttering

c.     Possession with  intent to utter


C. Related Laws (1). Pres. Decree No. 247: (Penalizing the defacing, mutilation, burning or destruction of central bank notes and coins) has modified Article 164. (2) R.A. 427: which punishes the act of amassing coins in excess of P50.00


III. Forgeries committed upon Treasury or Bank Notes, Obligations and Securities


A. This is related to Banking and Finance. The subject matter are papers in the form of obligations and securities issued by the government as its own obligations which are also sued as legal tender


B. Not included are paper bills as the crime relative to them is “counterfeiting”


C. They do not include commercial checks


D. The reason is to maintain the integrity of the currency and to ensure the credit and standing of the government


E. Examples are:


1. Bonds issued by the Land Bank in connection with the Land Reform Program

2. Postal Money Orders

3. Treasury Warrants

4.Treasury Certificates

5. Sweepstake Tickets ( Lotto tickets?)


F. The Acts punished are :


1.The act of forging or Forgery consisting  of either:


(a). giving to a treasury or banknote or any document payable to bearer or to order, the appearance of a true and genuine document. Such as the act of manufacturing or producing fake treasury warrants

(b). erasing, substituting, counterfeiting, or altering, by any means, the letters, figures, words or signs contained therein.


Note: (i).if the note does not resemble a true and genuine document in that it can not possibly fool any person the act is considered as frustrated forgery

(ii). Where the accused encashed a treasury warrant by posing and signing as payee, the crime is falsification


     2. The act of importing or uttering


     3. The act of possession or use


        (a). Possession must be with intent to utter

        (b). Possessor must know the notes are forged


IV. Forgeries Upon Documents


A. The proper term is Falsification


B. Document is : (1)  any writing, whether paper based or in any solid surface, which is complete, creating rights or extinguishing obligations, or defining the relations between persons. Examples: deeds and contracts, receipts, promissory notes, checks   (2) a writing used as evidence of the facts contained in the document such as death/birth certificates; clearances, medical records, x-rays; driver’s license


C. General Classification: (In falsification, it is essential to specify the document falsified)


1. Falsification of Legislative Document punished under Art. 170- bills, resolutions, ordinances whether approved or pending approval, by any legislative body

a). the act of falsification is limited to alterations of a genuine legislative document

b). if by any other means, such as simulating a legislative document, the offense is ordinary falsification.


2. Falsification of a Non-Legislative Document

a). Document proper under Article 171 and 172

b). Wireless, Telegram, cablegram, telephone Messages under Article 173

c). Certificates under Article 174


D. Kinds of Documents Proper


1. Public Documents: they consists of the following


a). Those which embody the official acts of a public officer such as Decisions/Resolutions; Administrative Orders; Marriage Contract;  Oaths of Office

b). Those issued by a public officer or in which he participates, virtute officii ( by virtue of his office) such as clearances; certificates of appearance, designation of personnel; receipts. These are the so called “Official Documents”.

      Thus all official documents are public documents but not all public documents are official documents

c). Those acknowledged before a Notary Public such as deeds and conveyances

d). Private documents :


(i). which already formed part of the public records ( Public by Incorporation) such as private deeds submitted to the office of the Register of Deeds; acknowledgment letter sent to the Local \Civil Registrar;  Protest letters to the Assessor’s Office; libelous letters offered as exhibits in a trial; letters formally seeking opinions


(ii). those which are intended to form part of the public record ( Public by Intention)  


Per Monteverde vs. PP ( Aug. 12, 2000) involving falsification of sales invoices required by the  BIR, it was held: : “ If the document is intended by law to be part of the public or official record, the preparation of which being in accordance with rules and regulations issued by the government, the falsification of that document, although it was a private document at the time of the falsification ton, is regarded as falsification of public or official documents”


Examples: Falsification of Civil Service or Bar Exam Booklets; Application letters and personal data sheets sent to personnel officers.


Query: What about attendance sheets during seminars or conferences?


Note: In case of falsification of Travel Documents ( Visa, Passport, and any document submitted in connection therewith) the law applicable is R.A. 8239 or the Philippine Passport Act.


2.Commercial Documents: (a). those used by merchants or business people to promote trade or credit transactions or commercial dealings and (b) those defined  and regulated by the Code of Commerce or other commercial laws.. Examples:  commercial checks; sales receipts and invoices; trust receipts; deposit and withdrawal slips and bank passbooks; tickets issued to passengers; enrollment forms; grades.


3. Private Documents: any other document, deed or instruments executed by private persons without the intervention of a notary public or of other persons legally authorized, by which some disposition or agreement is proved, evidenced or set forth. Examples: unnotarized deeds,  letters, private receipts, class cards, timre records in private employment.  Vouchers of business people are private, not commercial, documents ( Batulanon vs. PP, 502 SCRA 35) 


E. Importance of distinguishing Falsification of Public from Falsification of Private Documents


1. As to penalty: a higher penalty is imposed for falsification of public documents


2. As to modes of commission: there are 8 ways of falsifying a public documents as against 7 as to private documents


3. As to complexing with Estafa: Estafa cannot be complexed with Falsification of Private document. The reason is because both have a common element which is damage

a). The crime is falsification if the deception cannot be committed without falsification, i.e. the falsification is committed as a means to commit estafa.

b). It is estafa if the estafa can be committed without the necessity of falsifying a document


4. As to requirement of damage: In falsification of a private document the act of falsification must be coupled with either (a) actual damage even if there was no intent to cause damage or (b) an intent to cause damage even if no actual damage resulted. In falsification of public document, the gravamen of the offense is the perversion of truth; the loss of faith and confidence by the public in the document even if there is no actual damage t the public


F. Principles Involving Falsification:


1. The Falsification maybe complexed with the crimes of Estafa ( save private documents) malversation or theft


2. Maybe committed intentionally or through negligence

a). Examples through negligence: (i) The Register of Deeds who issued a duplicate title without noting on its back a notice of the encumbrances (ii) A Clerk who issues a certified true copy of a birth certificate but inadvertently copied the wrong entries (iii) a person who signs a check to accommodate a payee without verifying the payee’s identification

b). Thus the accused who is charged with intentional falsification may be convicted for falsification thru negligence without amending the Information because the former includes the latter ( see  PP vs Uy 475 SCRA 248)


3. As to the liability of Heads of Offices as final approving authority if it turns out the document to which they affixed their signatures contains falsities:


a). The Arias Principle ( Arias vs. Sandiganbayan, 180 SCRA 315) as reiterated in Magsuce vs. Sandiganbayan ( Jan. 3, 1995) holds: “ All heads of offices have a right to rely to a reasonable extent on their subordinate and on the good faith of those who prepared the documents, and are not liable for the falsification”


b). Exceptions: (i). Where there is a clear evidence of conspiracy with the authors (ii) if through their negligence, they brought about the commission of the crime. Thus in PP. vs. Rodis the Head of Office was held liable where the document signed by him contained anomalies which were glaring in the document


4. The following are accepted as defenses


a). Good faith and lack of intent to pervert the truth. As in the case of a co-employee who signed for another in the payroll because the latter was sick

b). Alterations which are in the nature of corrections such as changing the civil status from single  to married in a Community Tax Certificate

d). Alterations which do not affect the integrity or veracity of the document. Example:  The Certification by the treasurer that he paid the salary on July 10 when in truth it was on July 12

e) Minor inaccuracies as in a deed of sale which declared the consideration was paid in cash when it was paid in two installments


5. Presumption of Authorship of the Falsification: In the absence of satisfactory explanation, one found in possession of and who used a forged document is the forger of said document. If a person had in his possession a falsified document and he made sue of it, taking advantage of it and profiting thereby, the clear presumption is that he is the material author of the falsification. ( Nierva vs. PP. 503 SCRA 114).


6. There is a ruling that generally, falsification of public/commercial documents have no attempted or frustrated stages unless the falsification is so imperfect that it may be considered as frustrated. (Personal Opinion: the crime should be consumated since what was frustrated was not the act but the purpose of the offender)


7. There are as many falsifications as there are documents falsified; or as there are separate acts of falsification committed by one person within the same period of time


a). The falsification of several signatures in one payroll is only one falsification

b). Several checks falsified at the same time gives rise to several separate crimes


8. Falsification is not a continuing crime


V. Proof of Falsification.


  A. An allegation of forgery and a perfunctory comparison of the signature/handwritings by themselves cannot support a claim of forgery, as forgery cannot be presumed and must be proved by clear, positive and convincing evidence and the burden of proof lies on the party alleging forgery.


B. Criteria to determine forgery or falsification: per Ladignon vs. CA ( 390 Phil. 1161 as reiterated in Rivera vs. Turiano ( March 7, 2007)


The process of identification must include not only the material differences between or among the signatures/handwritings but a showing of the following:

(i) the determination  of the extent, kind and significance of the resemblance and variation ( of the handwriting or signature)

(ii) that the variation is due to the operation of a different personality and not merely an expected and inevitable variation found in the genuine writing of the same writer

(iii) that the resemblance is a result more or less of a skillful imitation  and not merely a habitual and characteristic resemblance which normally appears in genuine handwriting


ART. 171. Falsification by public officer, employee, or notary

or ecclesiastic minister


I. Coverage: this article provides: (1) the penalty of falsification if committed by a public officer or employee or a notary or an ecclesiastical minister. The penalty is higher than if committed by a private person. The document may be any document. (2) And   the eight acts of falsification.


A. The public officer must take advantage of his official position or that there was abuse of office. By this is meant that his functions include participating in the preparation, recording, keeping, publishing or sending out to the public of the falsified document otherwise he will be punished as a private person. As for instance: secretaries, the Clerk of Court; the record officers; those who issue receipts or licenses; the  Register of Deeds; Local Civil Registrar.


B. As for an ecclesiastic, the document he falsified must affect the civil status of a person, else he will be considered as a private person. The usual document involved is a marriage contract


II. The acts of falsification:


A. By counterfeiting, imitating any handwriting, signature or rubric. To counterfeit a handwriting or signature is to create one that is so similar to the genuine as to make it difficult to distinguish and thus easily fool the public. This act includes creating or simulating a fictitious handwriting or signature


B. Causing it to appear that persons have participated in any act or proceeding when they did not in fact so participate

1).  There is no need to imitate the signature or handwriting

2). This includes simulating a public document like a Warrant of Arrest as having been issued by a judge

3) Examples: impersonating a person in a document; voting in place of a registered voter, posing as payee if a negotiable instrument in order to encash the same


C. Attributing to persons who have participated in an act or proceeding statements other than those in fact made by them proceeding when they did not in fact so participate.

1). This is twisting the statements or putting words into the mouth of another

2).  Substituting a forged will where the accused is now named as an heir in lieu of the original where he was not so named

3). Where the accused was instructed to prepare a Special Power of Attorney over a parcel of land, with himself as the agent but he instead  prepared a deed of sale with himself as the vendee


D. Making untruthful statements in a narration of facts


1). This require that (i) the accused knows that what he imputes is false (ii) the falsity involves a material fact (iii) there is a legal obligation for him to disclose the truth and (iv) such untruthful statements are not contained in an affidavit or a statement required by law to be sworn to.

2).  by legal obligation is meant that the law requires a full disclosure of facts such as in a public official’s Statements of Assets and Liabilities; the Personal Data Sheet submitted to the NBI; the contents of an Application for Marriage; the Community Tax Certificate

3). Narration of facts means an assertion of a fact and does not include statements of opinion or conclusions of law. Thus when the accused placed himself as “eligible” in his statement of candidacy   when in truth he is disqualified, this is not a narration of fact but a conclusion of law. Similarly, the accused as claimant to a land stated in his application that he entitled to the ownership when under the law he is disqualified, is not liable

4). There is no falsification if there is some colorable truth in the statement of facts by the accused

5). False statements in an application form of the Civil Service, which was under oath, for police examination is perjury not falsification

6). But when a third person, not the Affiant, alters a prepared Affidavit, the crime committed by him is falsification under mode number 6


E. Altering true dates. This requires that the date must be material as in the date of birth or marriage; date of arrest; date when a search warrant was issued; date of taking the oath of office


F. Making alterations or intercalations in a genuine document which changes its meaning. The change must affect the integrity of the document. It must make the document speak something false so that alterations to make it speak the truth cannot be falsification.


1. Changing the grades in one’s Transcript of Records

2. Changing one’s time of arrival in the DTR

3. Changing the stated consideration a deed of sale

4. Deleting a condition in a contract of lease


G. Issuing in an authenticated form a document purporting to be an original when no such original exist, or including in such copy a statement contrary to, or different from, that of the genuine original.

1. This can only be committed by the Official Custodian of documents

2. Example: Issuing a Certified True Copy of a birth certificate of a person when no such certificate exists or

3. Issuing a true copy of a title and indicating therein the land is mortgaged when no such encumbrance exist on the original on file with the office


H. Intercalating any instrument or note relative to the issuance thereof in a protocol, registry or official book

1. Example: Inserting a Birth Certificate in the recorded of the Civil Registrar to make it appear the birth was recorded



ART. 172.  Falsification by a private individual and

Use of falsified documents


I.  Punishes these acts: (1) If the falsification is by a private person and the document falsified is a public or commercial document (2) Falsification by any person of a private document and (3) Introducing in any judicial proceeding a falsified document or (4) Using a falsified document in any transaction


II. There are only seven acts of falsification of a private person. In the falsification of a private document the damage includes damage to honor.


III. In introducing a falsified document in a judicial proceeding, damage is not required. Example: The act of the defendant in introducing a falsified receipt to show that the debt was paid.


IV. In the crime use of a falsified document, the user is not the falsifier but a third person, who must know the falsity of the document.  


ART. 173. Falsification of wireless, cable, telegram

and telephone messages


!. Acts punished: (1) The act of falsifying said messages (2) Uttering of said falsified messages and (3) Using such falsified damages with intent to cause damage or to the damage of third persons


II. The acts of falsifying and uttering:

1). The offender must be officers or employees of the government or of a private entity engaged in the  business of sending or receiving such messages

2) Examples: making up a false “break-up” telegram or decreasing the number of the words in a message even if the contents are not changed


III. The crime of using may be committed by any person


Crimes  Affecting Medical Certificate, Certificates

of Merit and the Like


A. Acts punished:


1. Issuing a false medical certificate by a physician or surgeon

a). The contents are not true in that the person was never examined; or that he actually had no illness; or that the illness is not as serious as stated in the  certificate; or that the period of  confinement or rest is not as stated therein.


2. Issuing a false certificate of merit or service, good conduct or similar circumstances by a public officer

a). as in the case of a barangay captain who issues a Certificate of Good Moral Character to a bully , or a head of office who issues a Certificate of Exemplary Conduct to an employee with several disciplinary penalties


3). The act of falsifying by a private person of medical certificate or certificate of merit

a). The name of the crime is Falsification of a Medical Certificate or Certificate of Merit to distinguish it from ordinary falsification    

b). Example: the patient who altered the period of days of confinement


4. The act of knowingly using said false certificates


Art. 175. Manufacturing and Possession of instruments

or implements for falsification


Acts punished:


1.     Making any instrument or implements intended to be used in the crime of counterfeiting or falsification.

a).  Examples: false seals, false branding instruments

b). The tools need not be a complete set


2.     Introducing into the Philippines of said instruments or implements


3.     Possession of said implements with animus utendi or intent to use





Note: the subject of these falsities are not papers, instruments or documents  but : (1) official authority or functions; (2) rank, title, names, (3) uniforms and insignias and (4) testimonies under oath. These are also capable of being falsified or subjected to acts of deception


Art. 177. Usurpation of Authority or official functions


A. Usurpation of Authority- the crime committed by a person who knowingly and falsely represents himself to be an officer agent, representative or any department or agency of the Philippine government or foreign country. :


1. The representation must be active, i.e by words or acts and the accused need not actually perform any function pertaining to the office misrepresented. What is punished is the act of false misrepresentation. He who does not object when introduced as a ranking official is not guilty of usurpation.

2.  This is different from the crime of Usurpation of Powers under articles 239 to 241 which deals with interference in the functions of one department by another department 

3. This includes any government owned or controlled corporations

4. Example: a private person greets tourists, gives them the key to the city, welcomes them, by declaring that he is the city mayor 


B. Usurpation of Functions- the crime committed by any person who actually performs an act pertaining to a public official of the government or any agency thereof accompanied by a pretense that he is such public official. 


1.     There must be a pretense or falsie assertion of being a public official. In the absence thereof, there is no usurpation of functions.

a)     Thus one who enters a public school ands starts teaching pupils, without claiming to be a teacher, is not liable. Same with one who asks questions on witnesses about a crime without asserting he is a police investigator. Or one who directs traffic might be performing a civic action.  

b)     One who introduces himself to be an NBI agent and begins interrogating witnesses is liable. As with one who claims to be a BIR agent and begins going over the books of a businessman, or one who claims to be with the Department of Labor and starts inquiries as to the employment status of employees.

c)      There is such a crime as Seduction through Usurpation of Official Functions.


2. The offender may himself be a public official who assumes a position without color of law. As in the case of a number one councilor who took over the position of the mayor who was on leave despite opinions that it be the vice mayor who must be the acting mayor.


3. However, if the authority or function usurped pertains to a diplomatic, consular or other accredited officers of a foreign government, the offender is also liable under R.A. 75.


Art. 178. Using Fictitious Name and concealing true name.


A. Using Fictitious Name is the act of publicly using a name other than one’s registered or baptismal name for the purpose of either to: (1) conceal a crime (2) evade judgment or (3) cause damage to public interest


1.     A fictitious name is any name which a person publicly applies to himself without authority of law.

2.     The purpose is material even if it is simply to cause confusion among the public

3.     If the purpose is to cause damage to a private person’s interest, the crime may constitute estafa 

4.     If the purpose is to obstruct justice the offense is punished under P.D. 1829

5. The use of Aliases is punished under C.A. 142


B. Concealing True Name and other Personal Circumstances- the purpose is to conceal one’s identity. Such as in order to avoid giving support or to avoid debtors .


C. When may a person use a name other than his registered or baptismal name?

1. When allowed by the court in a petition for a change of name

2. When used in the field of entertainment, literature or sports 

a). Pen names of authors such as Mark Twain, Saki

b). Names in the entertainment industry:

(i). Nicholas Cage ……………………..Nicholas Coppola

(ii). Tom Cruise.………………………. Tomas Mapother IV

(iii). John Denver………… Henry John Deutschendorf Jr.

(iii). Bob Dylan ………………………..Robert Zimmerman

(iv). Enya………………………………Eithne Ni Bhraonian

(v). Eminem………………………….….. Marshall Mathers

(vi). Whoopie Goldberg……………………. Caryn Johnson

(vii). Elton John……………………………….Reginald White

(viii). Joseph Estrada………………….. …….Joseph Ejercito

(ix). FPJ………………………………………...Ronald Poe  


c). Sport’s Monickers such as “Flash”: Speedy”” Bata”, “Sugar”               


3. When allowed by law such as when a woman marries or when a person is legally adopted

4.  Under the Witness Protection Program in order to protect the identity and safety of the witness


Art. 179. Illegal use of Uniform or Insignia


I. The act punished is the public and improper use of any insignia, uniform or dress pertaining to an office not held by the accused or to a class of persons of which he is not a member.


A. Examples: unlawful use of ecclesiastical habit of a religious order; school uniforms; uniform of the boy’s scout; the regalia of the Knights of Columbus


II. If the uniform, insignia, badge, emblem or rank, medal, patch or identification card pertains to members of the military what applies is R.A. 493. If it pertains to the uniform, regalia or decoration of a foreign state, it is punished under R.A. 75. 


III. The use must be malicious i.e. to give the impression that the accused is a member of the office or class and thereby enjoy the prestige and honor of that office or class.


Art. 180. Perjury requires malice and cannot be willful where the oath is according to belief or conviction as to its truth ( Villanueva vs. Secretary of Justice 495 SCRA 475)






A. Concept: The crime committed by any person who intends to cause the reduction of the price of a thing auctioned and shall either (1) solicit any gift or a promise as a consideration for refraining from taking part in any public auction, and (1) attempt to cause bidders to stay away from an auction by threats, gifts, promises or any other artifice.


B. When a thing is sold it is either through a direct sale to a particular individual or through public bidding. Public bidding is preferred in order to obtain the best and most advantageous price. This is especially true with respect to judgment debtors in case of judgment sales. The best and highest price is achieved by leaving it to any interested buyer to offer a better price over those offered by others. Any a scheme so that the article will be sold at a low price, is called machination.


C. In the second mode, the threat, coercion or force, is absorbed but the bribery is a separate offense.


D. Examples:

1. X knows Y is interested to buy a piano worth P250,000.00 being sold at an auction. X approaches Y and says he can bid as high as P250,000.0 but will not bid if Y just give him P25,000.00 so that Y has no competitor.

2. Y wants to buy the piano and knows that X is ready to bid against him. He tells X not to bid and accept P25,000.00 instead.





A. Introduction:

1.In an open market economy, the price of goods is supposed to be determined by the relationship of supply and demand. Hence, any act, scheme or strategy, by which the price of goods and commodities are intentionally affected, are punished. This includes practices such as such as resorting to artificial shortage or hoarding of goods, spreading false rumors.

Likewise there should be free competition in the market. The law thus punishes any scheme of a person or persons to monopolize goods and commodities, including all acts to kill competitors, such as under pricing of goods.     


B. However, Article 186 is ineffective in the face of conglomerates, mergers and combinations of big companies; and the diversification of the products of big companies; mass production of goods by companies so that they can afford to sell at prices lower that those offered by retailers.


Frauds in Commerce and Industry


A. Crimes involving Metal Products: Articles made of precious metals such as gold, silver, are supposed to bear marks, brands or stamps, which must indicate the actual finesse or quality of said metal products i.e carat, so as not to deceive the public. Hence Article 187 punishes the act of importing, selling or disposing off these articles knowing that their actual finesse is not indicated in their   brand, mark or stamps.


B. As to deceptions involving trademarks, trade names and service marks, the acts punished relative thereto, such as: Infringement, Unfair competition, Fraudulent Registration, False Designation of Origin; are punished by the Intellectual Property Code.