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File complaint within 10 years from discovery of crime...

File complaint within 10 years from discovery of crime
"I just want to ask for your advice. I found out that my brother faked the signature of my late father to transfer my father’s property to my father’s sister. I found out about it when I went to the city hall and saw the documents that was given to me by the officer in the land titles there. I was with my mother at that time and she too was surprised when she saw that there was a different signature in the documents pertaining to the title of the property. Later, upon confronting my brother, he confirmed that it was his signature and that he falsified the signature of our father since he believes that it was all my aunt’s fund that was used in buying the property and that he was merely giving it back to her. He did not take into consideration that my father contributed some funds into it. Based on the document that we saw with my father’s falsified signature, it is indicated there that the property was sold by my father for P1,000,000 and we do not know where that money is. We also saw that the community tax certificates used (issued by the barangay office) were antedated to a date when my aunt and brother were not physically present in the Philippines. They are already Australian citizens, my brother since early year 2000 and my aunt for at least 15 years now. My problem is will I be able to file a case even if my brother and aunt are already permanently residing in Australia and just come home in the Philippines for a vacation? Is there a grace period or time limit as to when I can file a case? Regards, JimmyDear Jimmy, According to you, your brother admitted to you that he forged the signature of your father in the documents involving a property owned by your father. We may assume that one of those documents is a Deed of Sale considering that you mentioned that the property was purportedly sold by your father. We can also deduce from your narration that your aunt has benefited from the act of your brother of forging the signature of your father.If indeed your brother has forged the signature of your father and your aunt has used the said document for her benefit, they may be prosecuted for the crime of Falsification of Public Document under Article 172 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) which provides, to wit: “Art. 172. Falsification by private individual and use of falsified documents. — The penalty of prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods and a fine of not more than P5,000 pesos shall be imposed upon:1. Any private individual who shall commit any of the falsifications enumerated in the next preceding article (Article 171) in any public or official document or letter of exchange or any other kind of commercial document andX x xAny person who shall knowingly introduce in evidence in any judicial proceeding or to the damage of another or who, with the intent to cause such damage, shall use any of the false documents embraced in the next preceding article, or in any of the foregoing subdivisions of this article, shall be punished by the penalty next lower in degree.” Article 171 of the same Code enumerates the acts which constitute the crime of falsification of document. Among the acts enumerated are:1. Counterfeiting or imitating any handwriting, signature or rubric2. Causing it to appear that persons have participated in any act or proceeding when they did not in fact so participate.By signing the deed of sale, your brother imitated the signature of your father and by such act, your brother made it appear that your father has participated in the execution of the deed of sale when in fact he did not. These acts constitute the crime of falsification.Considering that the said crime is punishable by prision correcional which is a correctional penalty, the crime prescribed in ten years (Article 90, RPC). The period of prescription shall commence to run from the day on which the crime is discovered by the offended party, the authorities, or their agents, and shall be interrupted by the filing of the complaint or information, and shall commence to run again when such proceedings terminate without the accused being convicted or acquitted, or are unjustifiably stopped for any reason not imputable to him. The term of prescription shall not run when the offender is absent from the Philippine Archipelago (Article 91, RPC).Thus, you may file the complaint within ten years from the date you discovered the crime. It bears stressing that the prescriptive period does not run when the offender is out of the country. The fact that your brother and aunt are permanently residing in Australia is of no moment. If they have committed the crime in the Philippines, they may be prosecuted here upon their return.We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter. Please take note however, that all the information contained herein are based on our appreciation of your question and on the assumptions we made. A different legal opinion may be given if other facts not included in your query will be discussed.Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to dearpao@manilatimes.net."
 

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"File complaint within 10 years from discovery of crime" was written by Mary under the Legal Advice category. It has been read 271 times and generated 0 comments. The article was created on and updated on 15 September 2021.
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