For lack of probable cause, the Supreme Court recently directed the dismissal of four criminal cases of introducing falsified documents against several officers of Urban Bank, including the late banker Teodoro C. Borlongan, among others.
In a 26-page decision penned by Justice Jose P. Perez, the Court also made permanent the temporary restraining order it issued enjoining the proceedings in the criminal cases in the Bago City, Negros Occidental Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC).
The Court held that the allegations in the complaint-affidavit of respondent Atty. Magdaleno M. Peña against Borlongan, et al. (petitioners) partook of hearsay. Peña had claimed that the documentary evidence petitioners presented in another case to show that he (Peña) was not appointed an agent by Urban Bank but insteadby Isabela Sugar Company, Inc. (ISCI) were falsified because the alleged signatories did not actually affix their signatures and that the signatories were neither stockholders or officers and employees of ICSI. The Court, however, found that “[t]hese averments are mere assertions which are insufficient to warrant the filing of the complaint or worse the issuance of warrants of arrest. These averments cannot be considered as proceeding from the personal knowledge of herein respondent who failed to, basically, allege that he was present at the time of the execution of the documents. Neither was there any mention in the complaint-affidavit that herein respondent was familiar with the signatures of the mentioned signatories to be able to conclude that they were forged.”
Petitioners filed the herein petition with the High Court after the Court of Appeals had dismissed their petition for certiorari assailing the MTCC’s denial of their motion for reinvestigation and recall of the arrest warrants against them. (GR No. 143591, Borlongan v. Peña, May 5, 2010)