SC acquits DA exec over falsification of plane ticket
The Supreme Court (SC) has reversed the June 2011 conviction of former Department of Agriculture (DA) Region 12 assistant regional director Abusama Mangudadatu Alid for allegedly falsifying his plane ticket in 2004.
In a recent 16-page ruling, the SC 1st Division said the Sandiganbayan erroneously convicted Alid of falsification of a private document under paragraph 2 of Article 172 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC).
The decision penned by Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno stated that Alid’s conviction for the said offense violated his right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him.
This was because the Ombudsman’s Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) actually charged Alid with “falsification of documents committed by a public officer” under Article 171 of the RPC. Also, the crime of falsifying a commercial document violates paragraph 1, and not paragraph 2, of Article 172.
The SC stressed that “the accused can only be convicted of an offense when it is both charged and proved.”
“If it is not charged, although proved, or if it is proved, although not charged, the accused cannot be convicted thereof,” read the decision.
Even if Alid was charged with the proper offense of violating paragraph 1 of Article 172, the SC found that the prosecution would have failed to prove malice on his part and failed to convict him anyway.
The case arose from Alid’s alteration of the date of his Philippine Airline (PAL) ticket, by erasing the words “Aug.” and “22”—the actual date of his flight in 2004—and replacing them with the words “Jul.” and “28.”
Alid originally took out a P10,496 cash advance for his transportation expenses to Manila for a turnover ceremony scheduled on July 30, 2004, where he planned to follow up on the funds intended for the Central Mindanao region’s Ginintuang Masaganang Ani projects. But, the ceremony in Manila was postponed to next month instead.
The SC noted that since Alid only altered the ticket to be consistent with his liquidation report, “there is no moral certainty that Alid benefitted from the transaction, with the government or any third person sustaining damage from his alteration of the document.”