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1 Fingerprinting History, Philippine Perspective and its Significance to Criminology Education ALFIE P. SARMIENTO, Ph.D.

2 The First? (Historical Timeline)

3 Objective: Know the historical background and basic principles and significance of fingerprint identification as one of the methods of identifying persons

4 THE FIRST? What is the FIRST CULTURE known to have used friction ridge impressions as a means of identification? Answer: Chinese Reference: “The Volume of Crime Scene Investigation – Burglary”, from the Qin Dynasty (221 to 206 B.C.)

5 Early Use of Friction Ridge impressions
Qin Dynasty 221 to 206 BC Volume of Crime Scene Investigation (fingerprint evidence described in the book) Han Dynasty 221 B.C. to 220 A.D. Used in clay seal to symbolized authorship A.D. 105 When paper was invented, fingerprints was used to sign documents Tang Dynasty A.D Fingerprints are seen on land contracts, wills and army rosters

6 Early Use of Friction Ridge impressions
Japan in A.D index finger was used to sign certain divorce papers as part of their Domestic Laws India in A.D – written treaties between nobilities are stamped with the impression of hands

7 THE FIRST? Who is the FIRST SCIENTIST that described in detail friction ridges? Answer: Dr. Nehemiah Grew Reference: 1684 Paper entitled Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London

8 THE FIRST? Who was the FIRST to use the newly invented microscope for medical studies in observing details of friction ridges? Answer: Dr. Marcello Malpighi (Italian Physiologist) Reference: “Concerning the External Tactile Organo”

9 THE FIRST? Who was the FIRST TO WRITE that friction ridge skin is Unique? Answer: Dr. J.C.A Mayer (German doctor and anatomist) Reference: Book entitled: Anatomical Copper-plates with Appropriate Explanations, 1788


11 THE FIRST? Who was the FIRST SCIENTIST that named nine fingerprint pattern types which were the precursor to the Henry Classification System? Answer: Dr. Johannes Purkinje (Czech Physiologist) Reference: 1823 Thesis entitled: Commentary on the Physiological Examination of the Organs of Vision and the Cutaneous System

12 THE FIRST? Who was the FIRST PERSON to start a permanence study of friction ridge skin details? Answer 1: Herman Welcker (German Anthropologist) Reference: 1898 Paper Answer 2: William James Herschel Note: Credit for being the first person to study persistence of friction ridge skin goes to Herschel (1858)


14 THE FIRST? Who was the FIRST PERSON to publish in a journal the value of friction ridge skin for individualization, especially its use as evidence? Answer: Henry Faulds (Scottish Physician) Reference: 1880 Nature Journal

15 THE FIRST? Who was the FIRST to identify the presence and locations of volar pads on the hands and feet? Answer: Dr. Arthur Kollman (German Scientist) Reference: 1883 Paper entitled: The Tactile Apparatus of the Hand of the Human Races and Apes in its Development and Structure

16 THE FIRST? Who was the FIRST PERSON to author a book on fingerprints?
Answer: Francis Galton (German Anthropologist) Reference: 1892 Book Finger Prints Note: Galton established that friction ridge skin was unique and persistent; there were no link between friction ridge skin and the character of the individual with that skin

17 He attempted to calculate the probability of two persons having the same fingerprints (1 case in every 64 billion)

18 THE FIRST? What were the FIRST PRACTICAL uses of the fingerprint science by law enforcement personnel? Answer: Vucetich’s Classification System and individualization of prisoners Reference: 1891 study of fingerprints; 1892 murder case (Rojas murder solved by La Plata Inspector Eduardo Alvarez)

19 Juan VUCETICH (1891) “icnofalangometrica” Argentinian police officer evolved his own system of fingerprint classification and in 1891 founded in La Plata, Argentina, the worlds first fingerprint Bureau.  

20 THE FIRST? More facts?



23 First Fingerprinting Practice in North America (1877 -1900)
Isaiah West Taber (1880) In 1880, a photographer in San Francisco who suggested that fingerprinting be adopted for the registration of Chinese immigrant laborers. Gilbert Thompson (1882) He used his thumbprint to ensure that the amounts were not changed or altered on payroll cheques. When issuing a payroll cheque, he would put an inked thumbprint over the amount. This is to prevent fraudulent cheque alternations.

24 Mark Twain – 1883 (Real Name: Samuel Clemens)
An American author and lecturer, Twain enhanced the position of fingerprints when he included their use in the plot of a novel entitled Pudd’n Head Wilson. In the novel, a bloody fingerprint is found on the murder weapon and Pudd’n Head, the defense attorney, has the whole town fingerprinted. He lectured the court and jury on the basics of fingerprinting, how fingerprints are immutable, and that two fingerprints will never be found to be the same. He also commented on how identical twins can be indistinguishable in appearance, at times even by their parents, but their fingerprints will always be different.

25 Dr. Henry P. De Forest

26 Capt. James I. Parke He advocated the first state and penal use of fingerprint which was officially adopted in Sing-sing Prison on June 5, 1903 and later at Auburn, Napanoch and Clinton Penitentiaries. He introduced the unpopular American Classification System.

27 Sgt. John Kenneth Ferrier
An Englishman and first fingerprint instructor at the St. Louis Police Department, Missouri. He was one of the pupils of Sir Edward Richard Henry and through personal contact during the Worlds Fair Exposition held in St. Louis, a fingerprint bureau was established on April 12, 1904.

28 Maj. Robert Mccloughry He was the Warden of the Federal Penitentiary of Leavenworth when the office of the Atty General of the US granted permission to establish a fingerprint bureau thereon on November 2, It was the first official National Government use of fingerprints.

29 THE FIRST? A. USA CASES   1. PEOPLE VS. JENNINGS, Illinois (1911). Illinois Appellate Court first court to pass upon the admissibility of fingerprint as evidence.



32 THE FIRST? First Disaster Victim Identification


34 Galton’s Fingerprints

35 AlphoNse BERTILLON ( ) Near the end of 19th century, a Frenchman named Alphonse Bertillon devised an identification system based on the theory that every individual has unique body measurements (anthropometry).  

36 Portrait Parle – “speaking likeness”
WILLIAM WEST WILL WEST 177.5/188.0/91.3/19.8/15.9/14.8/6.5/27.5/12.2/9.6/ /187.0/91.2/19.7/15.8/14.8/6.6/28.2/12.3/9.7/50.2 Portrait Parle – “speaking likeness” Rogues Gallery – Photographs of known Criminals

37 THE FIRST? First systematic classification of fingerprint records Sir Edward HENRY ( ) HENRY was Inspector General of Police in India and as a result of a visit to GALTON he instituted the use of fingerprints as an aid to identification on a national level. He devised a simple and viable classification system which he describes in his book “Classification and Uses of Fingerprints” –  

38 THE FIRST? THE FIRST TO INTRODUCE A CRITERION FOR POSITIVE IDENTIFICATION OF FINGERPRINTS BASED ON SUFFICIENT NUMBER OF MATCHING RIDGE CHARACTERISTICS Edmond Locard wrote that if 12 points (Galton's Details) were the same between two fingerprints, it would suffice as a positive identification.  In the past, different countries used different standards. In Spain 10 to 12 points were required; in Switzerland, 12 to 14; in Austria, 12; in England, 16; in France, 17; in Germany, 8 to 12; and in most Asian countries,  

39 Edmond Locard’s Tripartite Rule in 1914 Source of North Americans’
If more than 12 concurring points is sharp, then the certainty of identity is beyond debate; If 8 to 12 concurring points are involved, will depend on: the sharpness of the fingerprint; the rarity of its type; the presence of the center of the figure (core) and the triangle(delta) in the exploitable part of the print; the presence of pores; the perfect and obvious identity regarding the width of the papillary ridges and valleys, the direction of the lines, and the angular value of the bifurcations; If a limited number of characteristic points are present, the fingerprint cannot provide certainty for an identification, but only a presumption proportional to the number of points available and their clarity.

Experts with years of specialized training, experience and proven ability (proficiency tested) can positively identify persons using fingerprints by comparing various levels of detail (Levels 1, 2 and 3) present in the known fingerprints (on file) and questioned fingerprints (of the person just printed).

Positive identification occurs when a qualified expert determines that the questioned and known prints contain sufficient quality (clarity) and quantity of friction ridge detail in agreement with no unexplainable differences.

42 Because the skin on fingers and palms is very flexible, no two fingerprints (even one recorded immediately after another) are exactly alike. Fingerprint experts study for years to understand the normal variations caused by flexible skin, by finger movement, by temporary skin damage, and by other factors such as dirt or liquid present on a finger or surface. Even one unexplainable difference means that the fingerprints are not from the same person.

43 There is no minimum number of matching points (Level 2 detail) required for positive identification because fingerprint experts also use the actual ridge shapes (Level 3 detail) during the identification process.

44 Because Levels 1, 2 and 3 are used, the amount of area required to effect an identification, such as just a portion of one fingerprint, depends on the quality (clarity) and quantity of friction ridge detail present in the questioned and known prints being compared. In many situations, a tiny piece of a fingerprint with good quality ridge detail from a crime scene may be positively identified.

45 Positive identification of a fingerprint to a person means a qualified expert has determined the chances the fingerprint was made by someone else are so small as to be considered a practical impossibility.

46 AUTOMATIC FINGERPRINT RECOGNITION (AFR) In the mid 1960’s a Research and Development Programme commenced to produce an A. F. R. System which would minimize problems evident in manpower intensive fingerprint bureau.  

47 In 1973, the International Association for Identification, after a three-year study of the question of the minimum number of points which should be required for matching, concluded that no valid basis existed for requiring any predetermined minimum number of points to be present before a positive identification could be made.

48 In 1995, members of the international fingerprint community at a conference in Israel issued the Ne’urim Declaration, which supported the 1973 International Association for Identification resolution.

49 1999 The FBI upgrades its computerized fingerprint database and implements the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS), allowing paperless submission, storage, and search capabilities directly to the national database maintained at the FBI.

50 Systematic Use of Fingerprint in the Philippines: A TIMELINE

51 Systematic Use of Fingerprint in the Philippines
According to unverified accounts practical use of fingerprints was introduced in the country by Chinese traders around 1800s

52 Systematic Use of Fingerprint in the Philippines
The presentation will start on the year This year is considered remarkable for the rest of the world when various delegates and people around the world meet together in a common ground. The St. Louis World's Fair was the largest of them all occupying 1292 acres and with 12 million paid visitors, and a total of 20 million visitors.

53 Systematic Use of Fingerprint in the Philippines
1900s – Philippines Constabulary personnel were oriented about the practical use of fingerprint while the Criminal Records and Identification Division of Manila Police Department sought the use of the Bertillon System of identification.

54 1904 At the 1904 World’s Fair apart from the international exhibits of the world’s new inventions and discoveries, were three booths demonstrating identification methods. One booth displayed the anthropometric method and was run by Emerson E. Davis from New York. Captain James J. Parke, from New York, and Inspector John Kenneth Ferrier, of New Scotland Yard, each set up a booth displaying the fingerprint method of identification. (Myers, 1938, p 19).

55 1910 The Bureau of Prisons (BuCor) through a certain Generoso La Torre, adopted a fingerprint identification system for inmates which he learned from Lt. George M. Wolfe (1st Director of the Bureau of Prisons and 1st Superintendent of Iwahig 11/06/04)

56 1930 Estate of the deceased Paulino Diancin. TEOPISTA DOLAR, proponent-appellant, vs. FIDEL DIANCIN ET AL., oppositors-appellees.1930 Dec 201st DivisionG.R. No D E C I S I O N

57 The will in question is alleged to have been executed by Paulino Diancin at Dumangas, Iloilo, on November 13, 1927. One, Carlos J. Jaena, attempted to qualify as an "expert," and thereafter gave as his opinion that the thumbmarks had not been made by the same person. One, Jose G. Villanueva, likewise attempted to qualify as an "expert" and gave as his opinion that the thumbmarks were authentic.

58 (Emperor vs. Abdul Hamid [1905], 32 Indian L. Rep
(Emperor vs. Abdul Hamid [1905], 32 Indian L. Rep., 759, cited in 3 Chamberlayne on the Modern Law of Evidence, sec. 2561, note 3.) The court stated in their decision: Expert testimony as to the identity of thumbmarks or fingerprints is of course admissible. The method of identification of fingerprints is a science requiring close study. The court justified however and refused to accept the opinions of alleged experts and cited the you need not be an expert to see the similarity in some respects between the admittedly genuine thumbmark and the questioned thumbmarks citing the case Emperor vs Abdul Hamid.

59 1933 G.R. No. L-38434         December 23, 1933 THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, plaintiff-appellee, vs. MARCIANO MEDINA y DIOKNO (alias MARIANO MEDINA, alias ALEJANDRO DOLA), defendant-appellant. Agripino Ruiz made an impression as the first expert witness whose expert opinion receives merit in Philippine judicial history. This could be considered a landmark case where fingerprint evidence serves as basis in the conviction of Marciano Medina.

60 1936 November 13, The National Bureau of Investigation was born patterned after the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It was the brainchild of the late President Manuel L. Quezon and Jose A. Yulo, then secretary of justice.

61 Flaviano C. Guerrero, the only Filipino member of the Federal Bureau of Investigation together with Thomas Dugan* helped in the selection and training of forensic specialists for the country including fingerprint technicians. *Veteran Police Captain of the Ney York Police Department

62 According to local crime laboratory monographs and manuscripts, the name Agustin C. Patricio was specifically mentioned topping the first examination on fingerprint given by Flaviano C. Guerrero. In March 31, 1948 he hurdled the bar examination and was included in the roll of attorneys (

63 1946 RA 0036 “CENSUS ACT OF NINETEEN HUNDRED AND FORTY-SIX”, 1946 Sep 30 Sec. 13. Of the law specifically mentioned the taking of fingerprints of both hands of every resident as part of the census procedures.

64 1947 Pursuant to EO No. 94, series 1947, the Philippine Constabulary was placed under the administrative and operational control of GHQ, AFP with a very extensive range of diversified missions that do not fall under its primary responsibilities. By express provision of law, the PC enforced the motor vehicles law, fishing and games law, the alien law for registration and fingerprinting.

65 1954 Former Supreme Court Justice Felix Angelo Bautista founded the Philippine College of Criminology, the pioneer school of Criminology for scientific crime detection. This higher educational institution is formerly known as Plaridel Educational Institute. The subject Personal Identification was included in the Criminology curriculum.


67 1967 May 14, 1967 Lucila Lalu, the first Filipina chop-chop lady was identified through systematic classification of her fingerprint. Her identification served as investigative lead towards the identification of the possible culprits.

68 1968 According to the Bureau of Prisons, fingerprints was first systematically used as part of the carpeta or also known as prisoner’s record. Famous criminal personalities include Marcial Ama alias Baby Ama (leader of the sige-sige gang) and Leonardo Manecio alias Nardong Putik (notorious gang leader in Cavite). To add more personalities such as Jaime Jose, Basilio Pineda, and Edgardo Aquino who were accused of raping the actress Magie Dela Riva in 1967.

69 1985 BP 881 “OMNIBUS ELECTION CODE OF THE PHILIPPINES” 1985 Dec 3, Batas Pambansa Sec Challenge of illegal voters. (a) Any voter, or watcher may challenge any person offering to vote for not being registered, for using the name of another or suffering from existing disqualification. In such case, the board of election inspectors shall satisfy itself as to whether or not the ground for the challenge is true by requiring proof of registration or the identity of the voter; and

70 (b) No voter shall be required to present his voter's affidavit on election day unless his identity is challenged. His failure or inability to produce his voter's affidavit upon being challenged, shall not preclude him from voting if his identity be shown from the photograph, fingerprints, or specimen signatures in his approved application in the book of voters or if he is identified under oath by a member of the board of election inspectors and such identification shall be reflected in the minutes of the board.

71 1989 Executive Order No. 386 December 19, 1989
ESTABLISHING A NATIONAL CRIME INFORMATION SYSTEM (NCIS), PROVIDING THE MECHANISMS THEREFOR AND FOR OTHER SIMILAR PURPOSES This system was created to fulfill the following major purposes: improved public safety and effective administration of justice require comprehensive, adequate and timely information on crimes, criminals and the operations of the Criminal Justice System; and the identification and apprehension of criminals, improve the efficiency of criminal justice agencies, and ultimately help reduce crimes through better planning and use of manpower, equipment and government resources

72 1995 RA 7919 “AN ACT GRANTING LEGAL RESIDENCE STATUS TO CERTAIN ALIENS THROUGH A SOCIAL INTEGRATION PROGRAM IN THE PHILIPPINES UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS” 1995 Feb 24 4.2. The registration forms shall contain the applicant's full name and one alias by which he may be known; proof of his identity, good moral character and financial capacity through affidavits from two (2) Filipino citizens of good reputation in his/her place of residence; history of stay in the Philippines; residential address for the immediate past five (5) years; four (4) passport size pictures and a complete fingerprint card for each of the agencies mentioned in 4.1, including his/her most recent dental records which shall be submitted to the NBI.

73 2003 April 11, 2003 Philippine National Police officials unveiled the automated fingerprint identification system (AFIS), the first electronic and scientific method capturing fingerprint images and textual information. PNP Chief, Director General Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. expressed hope that the new technology will help investigators in establishing the identities of suspects involved in crimes.

74 However, this similar government initiative was long realized by the United States in The FBI reinitiated its research into the complete automation of its criminal known-print repository. The National Crime Information Center was also established for this purpose. In the mid-1960s, initial research confirmed the feasibility of the project and, by the late 1960s, Cornell Laboratories was chosen to build a prototype automatic fingerprint reader (Stock, 1987, p 55). In 1972, this prototype, known as AIDS (Automated Identification System), was installed in the Identification Division in Washington, DC.

75 2010 Senate Bill July 12 AN ACT ESTABLISHING A NATIONAL CRIME DATABASE Introduced by Sen. Manny Villar SECTION 1. Short Title. This Act shall be known as the "National Crime Database Act."


77 SECTION 2. Purposes. The purposes of this Act are:
(a) to create a complete and accurate national criminal record database that is an essential element in fighting crime; and (b) to require the National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine National Police to provide information and records for the National Identification Index and the National Fingerprint File and to provide criminal-history records, in a timely fashion, to criminal-history record repositories and for non-criminal justice purposes, to update existing criminal record systems that are currently outdated and contain incomplete or incorrect information

78 III. Conclusion Therefore, it is the intention of this article to present some accounts regarding the early use of fingerprint in the country. Being a Filipino Criminologist, I feel obligated to share information no matter how limited to encourage other scholars to explore further on this topic. It is our high hopes that in the future, the Philippine government will recognize the importance of creating a commission that will explore the history of the systematic use of fingerprints in our own country. The humble presenter will welcome any collaborative study or any joint venture anchored on the exploration of the past transactions of Filipinos using one of the significant details of our human persona, our “fingerprints”.

79 References: Clevenger, Martha. (2000) The Igorots in St. Louis Fair 1904 retrieved from on Oct. 11, 2013 Villar, Manny. (2010) Senate Bill 1282, National Crime Database Act US Department of Justice. (2005) Fingerprint Sourcebook. National Institute of Justice

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