Sandiganbayan convicts Quezon ex-mayor of falsification
06 June 2018
The Sandiganbayan convicted former mayor Cesar Alpay of Unisan, Quezon Province, of 19 counts of Falsification of Public Documents under Article 171 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) for irregularities in the “Isang Bayan, Isang Produkto, Isang Milyong Programa ni GMA.”
He was sentenced to imprisonment of six months and one day as minimum to six years and one day as maximum with a fine of P5,000.00 for each count.
Records show that on 30 June 2004, Alpay falsified disbursement vouchers and other supporting documents to make it appear that 19 beneficiaries received funds totaling P285,230.00 representing payment for the acquisition of hand tractors and motor engines.
Ombudsman prosecutors presented the purported beneficiaries as witnesses who denied receiving any funds.
In its ruling, the Sandiganbayan stated “when confronted with the allegation that [Alpay] was the author of the falsified vouchers and with proof that he had intervened in the preparation and circulation thereof, he did not present any evidence to the contrary. He cannot even identify anyone who could have done the falsification. He cannot hide behind the cloak of the right to remain silent. His silence at this point, when confronted with potentially incriminating evidence, may be considered against him.”
“All in all, and considering further the paper trail of the disbursement vouchers and its attached documents, it is clear that it was only the accused, using his position as mayor, who could have caused the falsified entries in the disbursement vouchers. With proof of the accused's authorship of the falsified entries, for these cases, the prosecution has proven all elements of the felony beyond reasonable doubt,” it added.
The court also observed that “the timing of the execution of all the disbursement vouchers is highly suspect. The records show that they were all processed in one single day—the last day in office of the accused. The municipal treasurer even testified that the checks were released in the afternoon and she opined there was not even time to encash these.”
Under Article 171(2) of the RPC, Falsification of Public Documents is committed by a public officer who falsifies a document by causing it to appear that persons have participated in any act or proceeding when in fact they did not so participate. ###