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Cesario Ursua, petitioner Vs Court of Appeals and People of The Philippines,

respondents
G.R. No. 112170 April 10, 1996
Ponente: BELLOSILLO, J.
Facts:
In 1989, Cesario Ursua was charged with bribery and dishonesty. His lawyer then asked
him to get a copy of the complaint against him from the Office of the Ombudsman. His
lawyer asked him that because the law firms messenger, a certain Oscar Perez, was
unable to go to the Ombudsman.
Before going to the Ombudsman, Ursua talked to Perez. He revealed to him that he
feels uncomfortable asking for a copy of the complaint because he is the respondent in
the said case. Perez then told him than he can go there as Oscar Perez so that he
does not have to reveal his true identity.
At the Office of the Ombudsman, Ursua signed the logbook there as Oscar Perez.
When he was handed a copy of the complaint, he signed the receipt as Oscar Perez.
However, a staff of the Ombudsman was able to learn that he was in fact Cesario Ursua.
The staff then recommended that a criminal case be filed against Ursua. Eventually,
Ursua was sentenced to three years in prison for violating C.A. No. 142, as amended,
otherwise known as An Act To Regulate The Use Of Aliases.

Issue:
Whether or not Cesario Ursuas conviction is proper.
Held:
No. Ursua should be acquitted. The Supreme Court ruled that a strict application of C.A.
No. 142, as amended, in this case only leads to absurdity something which could not
have been intended by the lawmakers.

Under C.A. No. 142, as amended, save for some instances, a person is not allowed to
use a name or an alias other than his registered name or that which he was baptized.
Under the law, what makes the use of alias illegal is the fact that it is being used
habitually and publicly in business transactions without prior authorization by competent
authority. In this case, Ursua merely used the name Oscar Perez once, it was not used
in a business transaction, the use of the name was with the consent of Oscar Perez
himself, and even if he used a different name, in this instance, he was not even required
to disclose his identity at the Office of the Ombudsman. When he was requesting a copy
of the complaint, he need not disclose his identity because the complaint is a public
record open to the public.
In short, the evils sought to be avoided by the C.A. No. 142 was not brought about when
Ursua used a name other than his name. A strict application of the law is not warranted.
When Ursua used the name of Oscar Perez, no fraud was committed; there was no
crime committed punishable under C.A. No. 142. The purpose of the law is to punish
evils defined therein so when no such evil was produced by Ursuas act, said law need
not be applied.