Prof. Effrendy Estipona, Dean, College of Criminal Justice Education (CCJE), spearheaded the formation of the Association of Practicing Questioned Documents Examiners of the Philippines (APQDEX), the first of its kind in the country with members coming from various regions.
The pioneering 13 members of the association are all registered criminologists and specialist-practitioners in examining questioned documents. They attended the Questioned Documents Specialized Skills and Competency Training held from April 3 to 16 at the Criminology Forensic Investigation and Law Enforcement Academy of the Philippines, under the Professional Academy of the Philippines in Cebu City.
According to Estipona, the aim of the association is to hasten investigation involving various forms of suspected forgery, in the interest and welfare of the criminal justice system. Through the association, the members hope to pool their resources and assist each other in the expert examination of questioned documents, giving second opinions to strengthen findings. The graduates of the aforestated seminar realized that in their profession, they need each other’s support especially when confronted with difficult and delicate cases.
The association members would like to make sure that results of their examinations will lead to accurate and sound legal decisions on cases involving suspected forgeries, hence, assure the vindication of victims and the imprisonment of culprits.
The examination of questioned documents is a branch of forensic science which deals with the study of documents when the authenticity of these is being disputed, in part or as a whole. It employs the macrophotography method, that is, using a film camera to take photos of subject documents and analyzing the resulting images under a magnifier. The piece of questioned document may take the form of a land title, a piece of signature, a suicide note, and bank notes, among others.
Estipona said that the CCJE has the pieces of equipment needed for questioned documents examination, as well as the expertise to do so. According to him, the college is ready to serve the public for a fee. (Ms Evelyn C. Luceño, PAO-WMSU)