G.R. No. 1530. April 04, 1905

Please log in to request a case brief.

4 Phil. 373

[ G.R. No. 1530. April 04, 1905 ]

THE UNITED STATES, PLAINTIFF AND APPELLEE, VS. VENANCIO SANTOS, DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.

D E C I S I O N



WILLARD, J.:

It was the duty of the defendant to keep the time of the laborers at
the Government corral in San Lazaro. For that purpose he was furnished
with two books, one for the odd-numbered days and the other for the
even-numbered days. These books contained the names of the laborers,
and against each name a space for each day of the month. If a man
worked a particularday, a horizontal mark was made in the space
corresponding to that day; if he did not work, a cipher was put in that
space. These books were turned in to the office every other day, either
by Santos himself, or by one of his laborers. Whether they were public
documents or private documents we do not decide. They showed by marks,
as indicated above, that one Lazaro de los Santos worked twenty-five
days in the month of March, 1903. There is evidence to show that he did
not work at all during that month. When the laborers appeared on the
last day of the month for the purpose of making and signing the pay
roll, one of them, Regino Verde, presented himself and on being
questioned by James, the clerk who was doing the work, stated that his
name was not Lazaro de los Santos, but was Regino Verde. The defendant,
who was present, then stated that Lazaro de los Santos had not worked
during March; that Verde had, and that there had been a mistake in
entering the former’s name in the books. The name of Regino Verde was
thereupon placed, upon the pay roll, the name of Lazaro de los Santos
omitted therefrom, and the money, amounting to 25 pesos, was paid to
Verde. He later paid it to the defendant. It was also proved that
Regino Verde did not work at all during the month of March.

The charge against the defendant is that he falsified these books by
entering the name of Lazaro de los Santos therein, and by making the
above-mentioned marks against that name. There is evidence furnished by
the Government that the name of Lazaro de los Santos upon the pages of
the books for the month of March is not in the hand writing of the
defendant. The name of the defendant himself, Venancio Santos, appears
on these pages, but the evidence is to the effect that he did not write
it there. There is no direct evidence that he made any of the marks
against the name of Lazaro de los Santos. No witness so testified. In
the two particulars, namely, the writing of the name of Lazaro de los
Santos and the writing of the name of Venancio Santos, in which
comparison of hand writing could be used to show the falsification, it
was proved that such falsification did not exist. As to the other
particular, namely, the placing of the horizontal and circular marks in
the spaces opposite the name, such proof could not, from the nature of
the case, be used.

The Government relies on the facts that it was defendant’s duty to
make these entries, that he had the books in his possession, was
responsible for them, and that he profited by the falsification. This
might lead to a strong presumption that he did in fact make them, but
that, we think, is not sufficient, and it is weakened by the fact that
while he seems to have signed his name to some of the pages of these
books, he did not do it upon the pages for the month of March; nor did
he place there the name of Lazaro de los Santos. He undoubtedly
committed a fraud in obtaining the said sum of 25 pesos, and he may be
guilty of the crime of falsification, for which he was sentenced by the
court below to imprisonment for twelve years, but we have so much doubt
as to his guilt of the latter offense that we think he must be
acquitted.

The judgment is reversed, and the defendant acquitted, with the costs de oficio.

Arellano, C. J., Mapa, Johnson, and Carson, JJ., concur.


DISSENTING

TORRES, J.:

From the record of the case it appears that Fred M. James, the chief
clerk, states under oath that the defendant was an employee, foreman,
of the sanitary department and was in charge of making and keeping the
list of the laborers as well as keeping track of those who worked on
the even days and those who worked on the odd days of the month, in
which book the defendant wrote the names of the laborers and the number
of days and hours which each laborer worked ; that in addition to
keeping said books he was an overseer of the laborers. The two books
which were kept; in said office being presented and his attention
called to the pages corresponding to the month of March, the witness
states that there appeared in same the name of Lazaro de los Santos
under the number 58, adding that although he did not see the entries
regarding Lazaro de los Santos at the time they were made, yet it was
the duty of Venancio de los Santos to make same as foreman, and upon
petition of the prosecuting attorney the two books were admitted as
evidence to show the entries for the month of March regarding the man
Lazaro, and they were admitted over the objection of the defense. The
items regarding the name of Lazaro de los Santos, together with the
dates on which he had worked, were copied in the record. The witness
further stated that he was in charge of making up the pay roll
according to the data given him by the foreman as taken from said
books; that on the pay roll to be seen at page 17, the name of Regino
Verde was put in at No.28 instead of that of Lazaro de los Santos,
because, according to the defendant, Lazaro had not worked one day
during the month of March and that Regino Verde worked the remainder of
said month. The name of Regino Verde was then permitted to be placed on
the pay roll by the witness and for that reason it appears signed by
Regino Verde instead of the name of Lazaro de los Santos, on the
statement of the defendant that Lazaro had not worked.

It must be noted that the defendant, Venancio, was present when the
pay roll was signed by Regino Verde and acknowledged the signature of
Venancio Santos to be seen in the pay roll and also in the time book of
the workmen, as authenticating same.

Regino Verde stated under oath that he began to work for said
department on the 1st day of April, 1903, and notwithstanding the fact
that he did not work the entire month of March, the defendant told him
to sign the pay roll and to collect the money, for the reason that the
defendant, Lazaro de los Santos, to whom the money belonged, was sick ;
that he gave the 25 pesos he collected to Venancio Santos who told him
that he could go to work in place of Lazaro from the first day of
April. He states that he turned over this 25 pesos because they did not
belong to him and he did not know what became of said sum or whether
Lazaro de los Santos received it.

Francisco A. Sherman also stated under oath that as paymaster of the
sanitary department, it was his duty to pay the salaries to the
employees of the pail system in accordance with the pay roll. He stated
that he paid all the men whose names appeared on the pay roll to be
seen in the record of the case, except five; that he paid Regino Verde,
No. 28, 25 pesos, local currency, which fact was corroborated by said
pay roll introduced in evidence and admitted over the objection of the
defense.

John E. Enright testifies that Venancio Santos was examined and
appointed foreman of the workmen in the pail system by the Civil
Service Board, such appointment of Venancio Santos being with a salary
of $300; such appointment was copied into the record and reads as
follows :

“Department of the Interior, Office of the Board of
Health. Actual employment, foreman; salary, $300; name, Venancio
Santos; place of birth, Rizal; year of birth, 1864, native; class of
examination, foreman; age, 35; date of original appointment, June 5,
1902; original office, same; original employment, same; change of
station.”

Sixto Guansing and Sixto Endaya stated that they knew the defendant,
Santos, Regino Verde, and Lazaro de los Santos for the reason that they
were workmen in the service of the pail system; that they did not see
the individual, Lazaro de los Santos, who was an old workman, during
the month of March in said service and that he ceased working during
that month for the reason that he was sick and for having been detained
by the police; that Regino Verde did not work either during said month
of March, although according to the former witness when he asked Regino
where he had collected so much money as he had in his possession, the
latter told him that he had collected it from the office by order of
Venancio Santos in place of Lazaro de los Santos.

At page 9 of the record the contents of the book containing the even
days of the month of March, 1903, and exhibited by the prosecution, is
copied, on which the following is written:

“Time book, department of pail system, for the month
of March, 1903. Venancio Santos in charge of the time book and of the
time. No. 58. Lazaro de los Santos; occupation, P.; March 2.”

There are several days of even numbers of same month up to March 30, at the rate of 1 peso.

In the time book of odd dates for the employees of the pail system:

“Venancio
Santos in charge of the time book and of the time. Month of March,
1903, No. 58. Lazaro de los Santos; occupation, P.; March 30.”

There are several days following of odd numbers corresponding to the
month of March up to the 29th day, at the rate of 1 peso per day.

The fact charged and proven and which is the object of the present
suit consists of having entered in the books of the time of the workmen
in the service of the pail system, which books set forth the days and
hours which each workman had worked and the salary earned by each one
of the men, the name of Lazaro de los Santos, and it appears in said
book that the latter had worked and earned 25 pesos, local currency, at
the rate of 1 peso per day when it was not true that this party had
worked in said branch of said Board of Health or had earned said
salary. There was a misrepresentation made when it was stated in the
books of the office of the pail system that Lazaro de los Santos had
worked in said department and had earned and received 25 pesos for his
services, to the prejudice of the public funds, and therefore the crime
provided for and punished in article 300 of the Penal Code was
committed. Further, it appears also that on the pay roll, opposite the
number “28,” the name of Regino Verde was entered and that the latter
was paid as for services rendered the sum of 25 pesos, when this man
had not worked during said month of March which was done in
substitution of Lazaro de los Santos at the instigation of the
defendant, who so informed the employee in charge of making the pay
roll.

Venancio Santos was an employee appointed as foreman by the Civil
Service Board in the office of the pail system and his liability is
manifest, because the defendant was in charge of engaging the workmen
needed for the pail system and kept in his charge the two books in
which the names of the workmen and the number of days and hours which
each worked and the amount earned by each daily were entered and he was
the only one whose duty it was to keep watch of the workmen, and for
this reason he only is responsible and he only can explain. During the
course of the trial he has failed to explain as to how the name of
Lazaro de los Santos appeared in the daily time books when he had not
worked or rendered any services to the department of the pail system a
single day during the month of March and the truth is, if we believe
the statement made by the witnesses introduced by the defense, that he
sent through these witnesses to Lazaro de los Santos the sum of 25
pesos, which he in fact received by virtue of having caused to appear
on the pay roll the name of Regino Verde. However, notwithstanding his
not having worked during the month of March, as well as Lazaro de los
Santos, the name of Verde appears in place of the, other’s name on the
pay roll because of the fraud of the defendant. The defendant’s name
appears in the list of public employees as such foreman. He receives a
salary from the public funds and exercises public duties as an employee
of the public pail system, one of the branches of the Board of Health
of the city of Manila, for which reason it can not be denied that the
defendant as such public functionary infringed the criminal law when he
stated in the daily books of which he was in charge, the name of Lazaro
de los Santos, when in fact that person had not done any work deserving
remuneration, as has occurred in this case through the fraud practiced
by Venancio Santos. The falsification committed in said two books must
be qualified as falsification of a public document, since said books
belonged to a public department and were kept by the defendant for the
purpose of preserving the names of the workmen who rendered service to
the Government or municipality in the sanitary department, with the
number of days and hours each worked and the amount earned by each
workman, and for this reason the misrepresentations made in the items
in these books can not but be considered as made in a public document,
for the reason that these books as such, because of their exactitude
and correctness, affect directly the funds of the State or of the
municipality.

In the commission of the crime there is no aggravating circumstance
to be considered. There is, however, the extenuating circumstance
established in article 11, viz, the condition of race and lack of
intelligence of the defendant and taking this into consideration, the
penalty should properly be imposed in the minimum degree.

Therefore, by virtue of the reasons above stated I am of the opinion
that with a reversal of the judgment appealed from, the defendant
Venancio Santos should be sentenced to the penalty of twelve years and
one day of cadena temporal with a fine of 2,250 pesetas, with
the accessories of civil interdiction during the period of his
imprisonment, absolute perpetual disqualification and subjection to the
surveillance of the authorities during his life, and to pay the costs
in both instances, without having to suffer subsidiary imprisonment in
case of insolvency, because of the character of the principal penalty.






Date created: April 24, 2014




Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post
Filter
Apply Filters