Infidelity in the Custody of Documents

ART.226. Removal, Concealment, Or Destruction Of Documents

1. That the offender be a public officer;
2. That he abstracts, destroys or conceals a document or papers
3. That the said document or paper should have been entrusted to such public officer by reason of his office; and
4. That damage, whether serious or not, to a third party or to the public interest should have been caused.


The document must be complete and one by which a right could be established or an obligation could be extinguished.

Books, periodicals, pamphlets, etc. are not documents.

“Papers” would include checks, promissory notes and paper money.

A post office official who retained the mail without forwarding the letters to their destination is guilty of infidelity in the custody of papers.

Removal of a document or paper must be for an illicit purpose. There is illicit purpose when the intention of the offender is to:
a. tamper with it,
b. to profit by it, or
c. to commit any act constituting a breach of trust in the official care thereof.

Removal is consummated upon removal or secreting away of the document from its usual place. It is immaterial whether or not the illicit purpose of the offender has been accomplished.

Infidelity in the custody of documents through destruction or concealment does not require proof of an illicit purpose.

Delivering the document to the wrong party is infidelity in the custody thereof.

The damage may either be great or small.

Can only be committed by the public officer who is made the custodian of the document in his official capacity. If the officer was placed in possession of the document but it is not his duty to be the custodian thereof, this crime is not committed.

The offender must be in custody of such documents because of his official capacity.

Damage to public interest is necessary. However, material damage is not necessary.

Damage in this article may consist in mere alarm to the public or in the alienation of its confidence in any branch of the government service.