I am a member of the homeowners association in our village. I did not participate in the just-concluded election of officials in our association. We have news that the number of voters did not even reach half of the members. But we were surprised to find out that the total number of votes cast during the election was incredibly higher than the number of actual voters.
I was shocked when a fellow member showed me the list of the voters and I found my name there. Other members were also listed but they did not join the election. What action may we pursue regarding this issue?
Dear Citizen F,
Article 171 of the Revised Penal Code in relation to Article 172 thereof penalizes a person with the crime of falsification of document if he has caused to appear that persons have participated in any act or proceeding when they did not in fact so participate.
Based from the foregoing, the person who wrote your name in the document that contains the list of members who participated in the election of the officers of the homeowners association may be held liable for the crime of falsification of document because he made it appear that you participated in the said election when in fact you did not. Falsification of document is a crime, hence, the person who wrote your name on the list or the one who made it appear that you were present during the election shall, after conviction, be punished by imprisonment of up to six years.
If you want to pursue criminal action, you must first ascertain the identity of the person who included you in the list of participants in the election of officers for the homeowners association. Thereafter, you may either proceed to the police station that has jurisdiction over your village to report your accusation of falsification of document or you may consult a lawyer for the purpose of preparing a complaint affidavit. In order to initiate the filing of the criminal complaint, the salaysay or narration taken by a police investigator or the complaint-affidavit prepared by a lawyer should be filed or submitted to the Office of the Prosecutor of your place for investigation. The Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) may provide you with legal assistance in the preparation of the complaint-affidavit provided that you meet our Office requirements of indigency. Thus, we invite you to visit the PAO-District Office in your place for legal assistance. As to the election of the officers of the homeowners association, you may file the appropriate petition before the House and Land Use Regulatory Board to nullify the election just concluded because of the irregularities in it.
Please be reminded that the above legal opinion is solely based on our appreciation of the problem that you have stated. The opinion may vary when other facts are elaborated therein.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to email@example.com