Usurpation of Authority or Official Functions

Art. 177

1. Usurpation of authority: By knowingly and falsely representing oneself to be an
    officer, agent or representative of any department or agency of the Philippine or 
    any foreign government
2. Usurpation of official functions: By performing an act pertaining to any
    person in authority or public officer of the Philippines or foreign government under 
    the pretense of such official position, and without being lawfully entitled to do so.

Prision Correccional in its minimum and medium period. The Penalty of Prision
Correccional has a duration of 6 months and 1 day to 6 years.

Usurpation of Authority Elements

1. Offender knowingly and falsely represent himself
2. As an officer, agent or representative of any department or agency of the
Philippine government  or of any foreign government.

Usurpation of Official Functions Elements
1.  Offender performs any act
2. Pertaining to any person in authority or public officer of the Philippine
government or any foreign government or any agency thereof
3. Under pretense of official position
4. Without being lawfully entitled to do so

In usurpation of authority, the mere act of knowingly and falsely representing
oneself is sufficient. It is not necessary that he performs an act pertaining to a public

There must be positive, express and explicit representation and not merely a failure to
deny. Representation may be shown by acts.

In usurpation of official functions, it is essential that the offender should have
performed an act pertaining to a person in authority.

 A public officer may also be an offender.

Note: the usurpation must pertain to a department or agency of the Philippine
Government or any foreign government.

Sec. 1 RA 75 punishes any person who shall falsely assume and take upon himself to act
as a diplomatic, consular, or any other official of a foreign government duly accredited as
such to the Government of the Republic of the Philippines with intent to defraud such
foreign government or the Government of the Philippines; in addition to penalties imposed
in RPC, the offender shall be fined not more
than P5,000 or shall be imprisoned for not more than 5  years or both.

If it can be proven that the usurpation of authority or official functions by accused was
done in good faith or under cloth of authority, then the charge of usurpation will not apply.
Ex. See Estrada v. Desierto


Estrada v. Desierto, GR 156160, 12/9/04
    Hefti was charged with Usurpation of Official Function for issuing a notice of distraint, 
    a function of the BIR Commissioner. While it is true that under Sec. 206 of
    the NIRC as amended, the Commissioner of the BIR and not any Officer of the BIR was the 
    one granted with the power to issue a notice of distraint, it bears to stress, however, 
    that when respondent Hefti exercised such function of the BIR Commissioner, she was 
    then designated Officer-In-Charge of the BIR by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, as
    evidenced by a photocopy of her Memorandum of Appointment dated January 23, 2001.Suffice it
    to say that when respondent Hefti issued the notice of distraint, she was clothed with    
    authority to issue the same in view of her appointment as the then Officer-In-Charge of 
    the BIR. Hence, the charge for Usurpation of Official Function does not apply to said