2013 (Criminal Law) Bar Exam Questions: Essay Question 8

[Answer/discuss the question below. Or jump to Criminal Law Essay Question 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10 and 11; Criminal Law Multiple Choice Question 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24 and 25; See also 2013 Bar Exam: Information, Discussions, Tips, Questions and Results]


William is the son-in-law of Mercedes who owns several pieces of real property. In 1994, William’s wife, Anita, died. In 1996, William caused the preparation of a Special Power of Attorney (SPA) giving him the authority to sell two (2) parcels of land registered in the name of Mercedes. The signature of Mercedes in the SPA was forged and, through this forged SPA and without the consent and knowledge of Mercedes, William succeeded in selling the two (2) parcels for Php 2,000,000. He pocketed the proceeds of the sale.

Mercedes eventually discovered William’s misdeeds and filed a criminal complaint. William was subsequently charged with estafa through falsification of public document.

Was the criminal charge proper? (7%)


  1. Here mali ang answer ko kasi sabi ko hindi tama ang charge, but I realized there can be another explanation which is purely codal. General rule crimes of estafa,theft etc ( i forgot the exact provision) between family members which include parents in law , its either no criminal liability or cannot be prosecuted ( sori i cant remember) Except if these crimes are complexed with other crimes.

  2. Pero anon the facts state na patay na wife befire te act, wala sinabi na may child sila so diba presumption ang judicial ties ay wala na? I think the inclusion of “son-in-law” is meant the throw the examinees off guard.

    1. You have a point, kaya nga im sure mali ako dito sa question na ito, ano ba suggested answer mo dito? Was the charge correct or not.

  3. Ang sagot ko incorrect the proper charge should have been falsification of a private document. I didn’t consider the SPA as a public document kasi wala sa facts na notarized siya. falsification of a private document absorbs all damages. Though i have strong doubts about my answer.

  4. For purposes of Article 20 of the Revised Penal Code, the relationship by affinity created between the surviving spouse and the blood relatives of the deceased spouse survives the death of either party to the marriage which created the affinity, whether or not there is a surviving issue. -actual case to, 2010

  5. The charge is correct. ESTAFA through FALSIFICATION OF A PUBLIC DOCUMENT. Akala ko nung una mali ako, until I encountered a case, Estate of Gonzales v Sato. Almost the same facts, son-in-law nagfalsify ng SPA na ginamit nya to sell the property of the mother-in-law. May discussion din sa case na hindi napuputol ang family ties with the death of the wife. Kung simple estafa yung case, hindi proper, pero dahil complex crime na siya, hindi na mag-aaply yung family ties. Pero di ko ginalaw ang issue ng family ties, sinagot ko siya point blank kung tama o hindi tama yung charge. Medyo mababaw lang ang natatandaan ko na explanation ko, SPA is forged and may sale of land (presumed public ang documents since land ang property involved), and the falsified public document was used to perpetuate fraud, the crucial element of estafa.

  6. i also considered the SPA a private document absent notarization, which is not given in the facts. i deemed it that the word ‘preparation’ pertains to those acts prior to notarization. saka SPA does not automatically become a public document when the perpetrator used it to facilitate selling another’s properties. kaya estafa through falsification of private document ang correct charge for me.

    if ipipilit ng examiner na notarized yung SPA, e di tama nga yung charge.

    basta immaterial yung relationship angle kasi the facts of the case speak of estafa complexed with another crime.

    1. Pero Benj diba estafa cannot be complexed with falsification of private instrument since they have the common element of deceit. Ok lang kung estafa through falsification of public document since kung public document hindi naman kailangan ng deceit, the mere fact of falsifying is its element.

      1. Hi, hindi ko rin kinonsider na estafa through falsification of public document. ang isinagot ko dito Estafa AND Falsification of private doc kasi nga common element nila ang deceit. Sana pwede na he he Nahirapan ako dito sa crim 🙂

  7. @anon yup, what i posted was my answer during the exam kaya mali ako.

    pero, kung public document yung SPA, estafa through falsification of public document is a proper charge kasi immaterial yung relationship kasi nga complex crime sya.

    1. Hirap tlga kapag nakikita natin yung mga kulang natin sa sagot natin, although learning experience sya, medyo nababawasan yung confidence at optimism. Parang lumalabas eh we are hoping for miracles as experienced by those who passed na nagsasabi na marami silang hindi nasagutan or mali ang sagot but still hurdled the bar exam.

  8. The criminal charge is proper. Article 315 -swindling (estafa) of the revised penal code provides that any person who shall defraud another bu any of yhe means mentioned hereinbelow shall be punished by:
    2. By means of any of the following false pretenses or fraudulent acts executed prior to or simultaneously with the commission of fraud:
    By using a fictitious name or falsely pretending to possess power influence qualifications property credit agency business or imaginary transactions; or by means of other deceits.

  9. I would choose not to dwell on provision about the provision whether he can prosecute or not with estafa nor is he liable for estafa even if the wife has died because it wasnt asked if its possible for him to be prosecuted of estafa of falsification of public document so i chose to just answer it point blank citing the exact provision.

  10. I thinks its theft through falsification of public document for the following reasons:
    1. Mercedes was unlawfully deprived of her properties, which is equivalent to unlawful taking.
    2.In estafa, you need to establish the contractual relationship between the parties which gave the other party the juridical possession over the party. If it was the BUYER of the property who was prejudiced and field the complaint because Mercedes filed an action to annul the sale, then, estafa through falsification of public document is possible. Here, there is a contractual relation between the son-in-law and the buyer of property, and there is also misrepresentation (i.e. son-in-law pretending be authorized to sell the property)
    3. I will presume that SPA in this case was notarized because you cannot effect a transfer of property without the SPA being notarized.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *