FORGERIES: Ex-lawmaker’s signatures on docs used in graft case were phoneys

Rolex Suplico

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

Documents presented by the prosecution before the Fifth Division of the Sandiganbayan in the graft case against former Iloilo fifth district congressman Rolex Suplico appear to be forgeries.

This is the result of the handwriting examination conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation’s (NBI) Questioned Documents Laboratory Division (QDLD).

The case stemmed from the alleged payment of P14.7 million sourced from the Priority Development Assistance Fund of Suplico in 2007 for the implementation of livelihood and development projects for his constituents in the Fifth District.

Suplico and his co-accused, former Technology and Livelihood Resource Center director general Antonio Ortiz, tapped AARON Foundation for the project despite its ineligibility and dubious existence.

In a report dated January 23, 2020 and signed by QDLD chief Carolyn J. Moldez-Pitoy and NBI Deputy Director Ferdinand Lavin, the QDLD concluded that the alleged signatures of Suplico in eight pieces of documents presented by the prosecution as evidence were “not original handwritten signatures but scanned signatures.”

The prosecution documents the NBI examined included the letter to former Technology and Livelihood Resource Center director general Antonio Y. Ortiz, project proposals and programs livelihood and development projects in the 5th district of Iloilo, work and financial plans for the P15-million funding of the project, and memorandum of agreement for the said project.

The NBI compared Suplico’s alleged signatures on the questioned documents with documents and identification papers the former congressman submitted to the investigating agency.

The papers were subjected to laboratory analysis using a stereoscopic microscope, magnifying lens, Video Spectral Comparator, and photographic enlargements.

The NBI report indicated that the tests revealed evidence of scanned images of the questioned signatures… as shown by:

-absence of original handwriting ink strokes

-absence of pen pressure on the paper surface

-presence of satellite dots alongside the images of the scanned signatures

-uniformity/congruency in size and form when all the eight questioned signatures were superimposed/placed on top of each other indicating that only one model signature was used in the scanning, copying and pasting process.

The Sandiganbayan itself ordered the examination of the questioned documents upon Suplico’s motion to submit original copies of the documents to be examined by the NBI.

Suplico had claimed he never signed the questioned documents and that his signatures were allegedly forged and superimposed.

In granting Suplico’s plea, the Sandiganbayan ruled that Suplico should be “afforded reasonable opportunity” to present evidence to support his allegation.