I am part of a volunteer neighbor¬hood watch in our subdivision. During one of our nightly rounds, we caught a person attempting to run away from the barangay officer who was then chasing him after he robbed one of the houses in our subdivision. After he was apprehended, we confronted him and inquired as to his identity. He gave us a name which we later found out to be fake. He allegedly gave a fake name so that he may not be properly charged of his crime. We want to ask now if this person can also be charged for the use of a fake name? Is there a law against this use of a fake name? Please advise us. Thank you!
There is a law expressly prohibiting the use of fictitious name or the concealment of true name which is suitable to your query. Based from the details you have narrated, the person you caught robbing a house gave the authorities a fake name to conceal his identity and evade criminal prosecution. This act is a punishable crime according to Article 178 of the Revised Penal Code which provides that:
“Art. 178. Using fictitious name and concealing true name.—The penalty of arresto mayor and a fine not to exceed 500 pesos shall be imposed upon any person who shall publicly use a fictitious name for the purpose of concealing a crime, evading the execution of a judgment or causing damage.
Any person who conceals his true name and other personal circumstances shall be punished by arresto menor or a fine not to exceed 200 pesos.”
As expressly provided by this law, the act of publicly using a fictitious name to conceal a crime or cause damage is punishable by imprisonment for a period of one day to 30 days or a fine not exceeding P200.
This law is clearly applicable to your situation considering that the person you caught concealed his true identity by misrepresenting himself in his use of a fake name to avoid criminal prosecution. This is precisely the act penalized by law in the use of a fictitious name. Thus, a criminal charge for the violation of the aforementioned provision may be filed against this person who illegally used a fictitious name.
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 email@example.com