Proving genuine handwriting

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Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
I am a nurse who works in the Middle East. I own a parcel of land in Isabela province, and the certificate of title covering the property is entrusted with my sister. When I went home for a vacation last January 2017, I discovered that the title of my land was already canceled and transferred in the name of my sister. She used a fake Deed of Sale to facilitate the transfer. My signature on the deed was forged. I filed a complaint before authorities of the barangay (village) where we are both residing but the dispute was not resolved. One village official told me that there is a clear disparity between my actual handwriting and that appearing on the Deed of Sale, and the only way to prove the forgery is through the evaluation/examination of a handwriting expert. I do not have the luxury of time to go to a handwriting expert, because I will be leaving soon. I am now contemplating to file the case even without the evaluation of a handwriting expert. Please guide me.
Michael

Dear Michael,
There are certain ways of proving a genuine handwriting and it is not limited to result of evaluation or examination of a handwriting expert. These ways are found under Section 22, Rule 132 of the 1997 Revised Rules of Court, which states that “the handwriting of a person may be proved by any witness who believes it to be the handwriting of such person because he has seen the person write, or has seen writing purporting to be his upon which the witness has acted or been charged, and has thus acquired knowledge of the handwriting of such person. Evidence respecting the handwriting may also be given by a comparison, made by the witness or the court, with writings admitted or treated as genuine by the party against whom the evidence is offered, or proved to be genuine to the satisfaction of the judge.”

In the case of Carbonell vs. Mendes (G. R. No. 205681, July 1, 2015), the Supreme Court through Associate Justice Antonio Carpio ruled:

“Besides, the court finds no justifiable reason to deviate from the finding of the RTC [Regional Trial Court] and the Court of Appeals that the signature of respondent was forged on the Deed of Absolute Sale dated 2 April 1997, which was clearly established by the evidence presented during the trial. Under Section 22, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court, among the methods of proving the genuineness of the handwriting are through a witness familiar with such handwriting or a comparison by the court of the questioned handwriting and the admitted genuine specimens of the handwriting. In this case, respondent, the purported writer or signatory to the Deed of Absolute Sale, testified that her signature was forged. To prove the forgery, respondent presented, among others, her Canadian and Philippine passports, driver’s license, citizenship card and health card, showing her genuine signature, which was clearly different from the signature on the Deed of Absolute Sale. Comparing the genuine signature of respondent on these documents with her purported signature on the Deed of Absolute Sale, the RTC found “significant differences in terms of handwriting strokes, as well as the shapes and sizes of letters, fairly suggesting that the plaintiff [Julita A. Carbonell-Mendes] was not the author of the questioned signature.”
Signatures on a questioned document may be examined by the trial court judge and compared with the admitted genuine signatures to determine the issue of authenticity of the contested document. Xxx xxx”.


Applying this decision to your case, you can still prove that the handwriting or signature appearing on the Deed of Sale was forged by comparison to your signature appearing on any public or private document/instrument or testimonies of witnesses familiar with your handwriting.

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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