• Handwriting experts’ testimonies inconclusive

    Persida Acosta

    Persida Acosta

    Dear PAO,
    My father mortgaged our lot in Ilocos Sur to our neighbor sometime in 1976. In 1978, my father tried to pay his debt to him. The later, however, refused to accept the payment. Later on, it was discovered by my father that the lot was already in the name of our neighbor, and the original of the certificate of title in the name of my father was canceled because of a Deed of Absolute Sale, which was allegedly executed by my father and by our neighbor.

    My father filed before the court a complaint for nullification of the Deed of Absolute Sale and transfer certificate of title in the name of our neighbor alleging that his signature appearing on the Deed of Absolute Sale was forged. Can we present a handwriting expert to prove forgery?

    Dear Bitoy,
    A testimony of a handwriting expert may help to support your father’s claim that his signature on the Deed of Absolute Sale was forged, but the testimony is not conclusive. The testimony of a handwriting expert must be supported by other pieces of evidence such as the testimony of the witnesses to the execution of the deed or any person/s who can testify to the alleged forging of signature in the Deed of Absolute Sale. Falsification by private individuals and use of falsified documents are punishable under Article 172 of the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines. There are two punishable acts under the provision: 1.) “Any private individual who shall commit any of the falsifications enumerated in the next preceding article in any public or official document or letter of exchange or any other kind of commercial document; and 2.) Any person who, to the damage of a third party, or with the intent to cause such damage, shall in any private document commit any of the acts of falsification enumerated in the preceding article.”

    The Supreme Court said in Mendez vs. CA (G.R. No. 174937, January 13, 2012), that “forgery is not presumed but must be proved by clear, positive and convincing evidence by the party alleging it. It is established by comparing the alleged forged signature with the genuine signatures. Considering the technical nature of the procedure in examining forged documents, handwriting experts are often offered as expert witnesses. But although their testimonies are useful, resort to these experts is not mandatory or indispensable because a finding of forgery does not depend entirely on their testimonies. Judges must also exercise independent judgment in determining the authenticity or genuineness of the signatures in question, and not rely merely on the testimonies of handwriting experts.”

    Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.

    We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.

    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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    1 Comment

    1. Dear PAO
      May binili po akong lupa sa kinikilala kong nanay at meron po kming kasulatan sa brgy.na sa katunayan nabili ko po ang lupang iyon.pero ang nka pangalan po sa tilulo ay sa
      pangalan pa po ng tatay nya at pareho na pong patay ang tatay at nanay nya.tatlo po silang magkakapatid at pareho na din pong patay at sa katunayan c mama nlang natira sa magkakapatid…at wla rin pong iniwan ang mga lolo na kasulatan na ang lupang yun ay pinaparte nya sa tatlo po nyang anak..ang kapatid po ni mama na babae ay wlang anak at ung kapatid nyang lalaki ay maraming anak..
      Ang tanong ko po ay totoo po bang wlang karapatan si mama’ng mag binta ng lupa na yun?ksi po inaaway ng pamangkin na lalaki at ng asawa nya
      si mama at sinabihan at dinuro duro pa ng asawa nya “wla kang karapatang mag binta ng lupa dito na wlang pirma ng asawa ko..
      Wala din pong anak ang mama ko,ako po ay lumaki sa kanya ay tinuring na parang tunay na anak at ninang ko pa lamang sya..ang po ksi na tinitirikan ng bahay ko ngayun ay dapat ibigay lang yan sa akin ni mama kaso ayaw kong pumayag ksi iniisip ko balang araw magiging magulo lng yan pag wla na si mama..at pumayag namang huhulog hulugan ko nalang at sa itoy matapus ko ng hulog…
      Ang tanong ko po uli ay ano po ba ang dapat kong gawin ng maging legal yung lupang binili ko..pwede po bang ipanotary ko yung pinirmahan ni mama na kasulatan?
      Salamat po at magandang araw at mabuhay po kayo..
      Sana masagot nyo po sa madaling panahon yung latanungan ko..salamat po sa uulitin.