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22. Caubang vs Pp

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  12/28/2018 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED VOLUME 210http://central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/00000167f385724e9f8752e5003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 1/19  VOL. 210, JUNE 26, 1992377 Caubang vs. People G.R. No. 62634. June 26, 1992. *  ADOLFO CAUBANG, petitioner, vs.  PEOPLE OF THEPHILIPPINES, respondent. Criminal Law; Falsification of Public Document; Evidence;The credibility of witnesses who testified in court becomes a matterof great significance in order to determine whether or not thedegree of proof required in criminal cases has been met.  —The firsttwo questions raised by petitioner pertain to one and the sameissue of the correctness or propriety of the factual findings of thecourt, including the finding on credibility of witnesses. The Courtrestates that the credibility of witnesses who testified in courtbecomes a matter of great significance in order to determinewhether or not the degree of proof required in criminal cases hasbeen met. Same; Same; Same; Rule is well-settled that appellate courts generally will not disturb, but instead uphold and respect the factual findings of the trial court.  —It is well-settled rule, however,that appellate courts generally will not disturb, but insteaduphold and respect  ________________  *  THIRD DIVISION. 378 378SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED Caubang vs. People the factual findings of the trial court which had the opportunity tohear the witnesses and to observe their deportment as well as the  12/28/2018 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED VOLUME 210http://central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/00000167f385724e9f8752e5003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 2/19 manner of testifying during the trial, and which was in a betterposition to decide the case. Same; Same; Same; Inconsistencies and contradictionsreferring to minor details do not dispel the credibility of thewitness.  —The vacillations of Atty. Espejo did not make him anunreliable witness. The Court has held several times thatinconsistencies and contradictions referring to minor details donot dispel the credibility of the witness. Same; Same; Same; In cases of forgery, the prosecution wouldnot always have the means for obtaining such direct evidence toconfute acts contrived clandestinely.  —It is not strange to realizethat in cases of forgery, the prosecution “wo1uld not always havethe means for obtaining such direct evidence to confute actscontrived clandestinely.” Same; Same; Same; Court satisfied that the court a quo andthe respondent court did not err in relying upon the presumptionthat the possessor and user of a falsified document is presumed tobe the forger thereof.  —We are satisfied that the court a quo  andthe respondent court did not err in relying upon the presumptionthat the possessor and user of a falsified document is presumed tobe the forger thereof. Same; Same; Same; In the falsification of a public documentsuch as Exhibit “B-2”, it is immaterial whether or not the contentsset forth therein were false.  —In the falsification of a publicdocument such as Exhibit “B-2,” it is immaterial whether or notthe contents set forth therein were false. What is important is thefact that the signature of another was counterfeited. Same; Same; Same; In a crime of falsification of a public orofficial document, the principal thing punished is the violation of the public faith and the destruction of the truth as thereinsolemnly ing the signature of Baltazar Pagaduan as to cause it toappear that proclaimed.  —The Court is of the view that merefalsification by forgPagaduan has participated in the execution of Exhibit “B-2,” when he did not in fact so participate, makes theaccused-petitioner criminally liable. In a crime of falsification of apublic or official document, the principal thing punished is the“violation of the public faith and the destruction of the truth astherein solemnly proclaimed.” (People v. Pacana, 47 Phil. 48[1924]; People v. Po Giok To, 96 Phil. 913 [1955]; 379  VOL. 210, JUNE 26, 1992379 Caubang vs. People  12/28/2018 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED VOLUME 210http://central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/00000167f385724e9f8752e5003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 3/19 Sarep v. Sandiganbayan, 177 SCRA 440 [1989]) Thus, intent togain or to injure is immaterial. Even more so, the gain or damageis not necessary. PETITION for review of the decision of the Court of  Appeals.The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court.   Paruganan, Ongkiko & Associates  for petitioner.GUTIERREZ, JR., J.: This is a petition filed by the accused Adolfo Caubang toreview the Court of Appeals decision which affirmed in toto his conviction of the crime of falsification of a publicdocument punished under Article 172, paragraph 1 of theRevised Penal Code, in relation to Article 171, paragraph 2. At the time Caubang was charged with committing thecrime, he was the incumbent mayor of Baganga, DavaoOriental.The information charging him with the offense alleged: “That on or about the 15th day of January, 1975, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused, being then a privateindividual, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniouslycommit an act of falsification on a Statement of Assets andLiabilities of the Baganga Consolidated Arrastre-StevedoringServices, Inc., which is a public and/or official document identifiedas Document No. 95, Page No. 15, Book No. 27, Series of 1975 of the Notary Public Justo Agtarap of the City of Manila, by thenand there forging, falsifying and simulating, or causing to beforged, falsified and simulated the signature of the treasurerthereof, Baltazar Pagaduan, appearing on the lower, right handportion of the said document, thus making it appear, as it didappear, that the said document was made, prepared and signedby the said Baltazar Pagaduan, thereby attributing to the latterparticipation and intervention in the making and preparation of said document by signing his name and affixing his signaturethereon when in truth and in fact, as the said accused well knew,the said Baltazar Pagaduan did not so participate, neither did heauthorize the herein accused or anybody else to prepare and signthe same.” (See RTC decision, pp. i and ii in Rollo, p. 51) The facts as found by the trial court are as follows: 380 380SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED Caubang vs. People  12/28/2018 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED VOLUME 210http://central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/00000167f385724e9f8752e5003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 4/19 “That in 1954, the accused and his brother, Melquiades Caubang,Florencio Teves and Teodoro Diaz organized a stevedoring servicein Davao Oriental called the Banganga Mutual Association. Thiswas operating without permit from the Bureau of Customs sinceits establishment.“In 1966, Solomon Baja also organized the East Coast ArrastreStevedoring Services, Inc., also in Davao Oriental. BaltazarPagaduan was one of the members thereof who was its managersince 1967.“In 1974, the Collector of Customs at Mati, Davao, suggestedthat the two arrastre companies merge into one. Following thesuggestion, the respective officials of both organizations enteredinto a merger agreement with the signing of a document to thateffect (See Exh. A-1). Thereafter, they drew up and signed the Articles of Incorporation (Exh. H) of a new merged organizationwhich they called the Banganga Consolidated ArrastreStevedoring Services, Inc. Baltazar Pagaduan was electedTreasurer of the merged corporation and he executed and signedhis Treasurer’s Affidavit (Exh. H-1). After the execution of the Articles of Incorporation (Exh. H)and the Treasurer’s Affidavit (Exh. H-1), the accused brought toManila these papers, as well as the sum of P2,500.00 on the paid-up capital and P500.00 for filing fees, for the registration of thenew corporation with the Securities and Exchange Commission(SEC for short). During the process of its registration in Manila,the accused accomplished and signed an information sheet (Exh.C) and an undertaking to change the corporate name in the eventthat another person, firm or entity has acquired a prior right touse the same or one similar to it (Exh. D). He also wrote at thebottom of Exhibit D a promise to submit the TAN (Tax AccountNumber) of his brother, Melquiades (should be Clemente)Caubang now marked Exhibit D-1. On the 15th day of January,1975, the corporation was registered with the SEC which issued aCertificate of Registration (Exh. B-1). The Certificate of Registration (Exh. B-1), together with the letter of transmittal(Exh. F-1), was received by the accused who brought and hand-carried the same to Davao Oriental.Disputed is the authorship of the forgery of the signature of Baltazar Pagaduan, marked Exhibit B-2-a, found in theStatement of Assets and Liabilities of the Banganga Consolidated Arrastre Stevedoring Services, Inc., marked Exhibit B-2, whichwas submitted to the SEC as required by SEC as a pre-requisiteto the registration of the new corporation.” (RTC decision, p. iii inRollo, p. 51) The plaintiff-appellee, People of the Philippines, admitsthat the officials of the two arrastre companies srcinallyagreed to a
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