G.R. No. 192565, February 28, 2012
UNION BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES and DESI TOMAS, Petitioners,
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.
Desi Tomas executed and signed the Certification against Forum Shopping. Then, she was charged of deliberately violating Article 183 of the RPC (perjury) “by falsely declaring under oath in the Certificate against Forum Shopping in the second complaint that she did not commence any other action or proceeding involving the same issue in another tribunal or agency”. The Certification was notarized in Makati City but was submitted and used in Pasay City, while the Information against Union Bank and Tomas was filed in Makati.
Tomas filed a Motion to Quash. She argued that the venue was improperly laid since it is the Pasay City Court (where the Certificate against Forum Shopping was submitted and used) and not the MeTC-Makati City (where the Certificate against Forum Shopping was subscribed) that has jurisdiction over the perjury case.
The MeTC-Makati City denied the Motion to Quash, ruling that it has jurisdiction over the case since the Certificate against Forum Shopping was notarized in Makati City. The MeTC-Makati City also ruled that the allegations in the Information sufficiently charged Tomas with perjury.
The petitioners filed a petition for certiorari before the RTC-Makati City to annul and set aside the MeTC-Makati City orders on the ground of grave abuse of discretion. The petitioners anchored their petition on the rulings in United States v. Canet and Ilusorio v. Bildner which ruled that venue and jurisdiction should be in the place where the false document was presented.
Whether or not the proper venue of perjury under Article 183 of the RPC should be – Makati City, where the Certificate against Forum Shopping was notarized, or Pasay City, where the Certification was presented to the trial court.
The SC denied the petition and held that the MeTC-Makati City is the proper venue and the proper court to take cognizance of the perjury case against the petitioners.
The criminal charged was for the execution by Tomas of an affidavit that contained a falsity. Article 183 of the RPC is indeed the applicable provision; thus, jurisdiction and venue should be determined on the basis of this article which penalizes one who “makes an affidavit, upon any material matter before a competent person authorized to administer an oath in cases in which the law so requires.” The constitutive act of the offense is the making of an affidavit; thus, the criminal act is consummated when the statement containing a falsity is subscribed and sworn before a duly authorized person.
Based on these considerations, SC held that its ruling in Sy Tiong is more in accord with Article 183 of the RPC and Section 15(a), Rule 110 of the 2000 Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure. To reiterate for the guidance of the Bar and the Bench, the crime of perjury committed through the making of a false affidavit under Article 183 of the RPC is committed at the time the affiant subscribes and swears to his or her affidavit since it is at that time that all the elements of the crime of perjury are executed. When the crime is committed through false testimony under oath in a proceeding that is neither criminal nor civil, venue is at the place where the testimony under oath is given. If in lieu of or as supplement to the actual testimony made in a proceeding that is neither criminal nor civil, a written sworn statement is submitted, venue may either be at the place where the sworn statement is submitted or where the oath was taken as the taking of the oath and the submission are both material ingredients of the crime committed. In all cases, determination of venue shall be based on the acts alleged in the Information to be constitutive of the crime committed.