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Cortes, J.
July 16, 1990

G.R. No. 89043-65




Petitioner (District Auditor/SHED Resident Auditor), along with other officers and employees of the Ministry
of Public Highways Central Office, Regional Office No. VII and Siquijor Highway Engineering District
(SHED), and some contractors were charged with 46 counts of Estafa thru Falsification of Public
Documents, as defined and penalized under A318 (Other Deceits) and A171(4) in relation to A48 of the
Accused were being held liable for defrauding the Government in the amount of P982,207.60 through the
illegal and unauthorized issuance of fake Letters of Advice of Allotments (LAAs) and Cash Disbursement
Ceilings (CDCs) and tampering and falsifications of General Vouchers (GVs) and supporting documents.
Sandiganbayan found petitioner guilty as co-principal of the crime charged. His liability emanated from his
irregular and improper processing, pre-audit and approval of all the GVs based on irregular/fake
supporting papers and he knew that these were illegally funded and improperly charged to the prior
years obligations. He also engaged in Splitting so that he would be the one to pass the GVs in audit
when such should have been forwarded to the COA Regional Auditor for action/review
Petitioner does not dispute the existence of anomalies in the SHED nor the existence of a conspiracy
between the suppliers and certain government officials and employees.
Whether petitioners participation in the criminal conspiracy has been established beyond
reaonable doubt. YES
Under a COA circular, petitioner is authorized to countersign checks and warrants in amounts not exceeding
P50,000 in each case. All GVs exceeding said amount should be processed, pre-audited and approved
by the Regional Auditor of COA.
In this case, accused district officials split GVs involved in the fake LAA in the amount of P200,000 into 3
separate transactions involving the amounts of P48, 480, P48, 480 and P48,189.60, Otherwise, the
Regional COA Auditor, who might be averse to joining the conspiracy, may find that the latter GVs were
the result of inexistent programs of work, illegal funding, irregular/non-existent bidding, fictitious deliveries
and inspection and other anomalies.
Sandiganbayan considered such Splitting as an integral and/or essential element/link in the conspiracy to
defraud the government inasmuch as such practices were consciously and deliberately resorted to in
order to hide the massive and stupefying misappropriations being undertaken by the accused.
Petitioner: Claims innocence and good faith in attaching his signature to the documents. His act
was merely ministerial. He could not question the veracity of the prepared LAAs and CDCs since
such documents gave him the go-signal to pass them in audit.
Sandiganbayan rejected such arguments. Accused cannot rely on the regularity of the documents or on the
presumption that their subordinates and/or superiors have acted regularly, since, by the very nature of
their duties, they should have known/realized by mere scrutiny of the documents or by the exercise of
ordinary diligence that there were irregularities/anomalies reflected on their very faces.
Petitioners acts and omissions in auditing the documents which related not only to one but to several
transactions clearly established his participation in the conspiracy to defraud the government beyond
reaonsable doubt. There need not be direct evidence of the existence and details of the conspiracy, as
conspiracy and a conspirators participation may be established through circumstantial evidence.
Petitioner was tasked with ensuring the regularity of all transactions that are subject to his review. In these
cases, he had before him GVs that were patently irregular which he should not have passed in audit,
however, he merely turned a blind eye and signed the documents, completing the process that led to the
consummation of the crime.
He cannot rely on the excuse that his subordinates have already initialed to documents for his signature
because his function as their superior is to check on their work and to ensure that they do it correctly.
The number of transactions in which petitioner is involved and the magnitude of the amount involved also
negate the proposition that he was merely careless/negligent in the performance of his functions.
Decision of Sandiganbayan is AFFIRMED.

Prepared by: Flores