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Rem-#3 Evidence Edited

Rem-#3 Evidence Edited

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 It has been held that a reliance on the technical rules of evidence in labor cases is misplaced. Hence, the application of the concept of judicial admissions in such cases would be to exact compliance with technicalities of law that is contrary to the demands of substantial justice. (Mayon Hotel & Restaurant vs. Adana, G.R. No. 157634, 5/16/ 2005)

 Questions concerning the credibility of a witness are best addressed to the sound discretion of the trial court as it is in the best position to observe their demeanor and bodily movements. (Llanto vs. Alzona, 450 SCRA 288, 1/31/ 2005)  The failure of a witness to recall each and every detail of an occurrence may even serve to strengthen rather than weaken his credibility because it erases any suspicion of a coached or rehearsed testimony. The assessment of the credibility of witnesses and their testimonies is best undertaken by the trial court.  The testimony of a single witness if straightforward and categorical is sufficient to convict. Corroborative evidence is deemed necessary only when there are reasons to warrant the suspicion that the witness falsified the truth or that his observations had been inaccurate. (Rivera vs. People, G.R. No. 138553, 6/30/2005)
Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus

 The admissibility of evidence should not be confused with its probative value. Admissibility refers to the question of whether certain pieces of evidence are to be considered at all, while probative value refers to the question of whether the admitted evidence proves an issue. Thus, a particular item of evidence may be admissible, but its evidentiary weight depends on judicial evaluation within the guidelines provided by the rules of evidence. (Heirs of Lourdes Saez Sabanpan vs. Cormoposa, G.R. No. 152807, 812/ 2003)

 Admissibility of evidence depends on its relevance and competence, while the weight of evidence pertains to evidence already admitted and its tendency to convince and persuade. (DBP Pool of Accredited Insurance Companies vs. Radio Mindanao Network, Inc., 480 SCRA 314, January 27, 2006)

 The principle of falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus is not strictly applied in this jurisdiction. It deals only with the weight of the evidence and is not a positive rule of law. The rule is not an inflexible one of universal application. Modern trend in jurisprudence favors more flexibility when the testimony of a witness may be partly believed and partly disbelieved depending on the corroborative evidence presented at the trial. (People vs. Negosa, G.R. No. 142856-57, 8/25/ 2003)

 Findings of credibility of the trial court will generally be respected on appeal; even findings of facts of the Court of Appeals, when supported by substantial evidence, are conclusive and binding upon the parties and not reviewable by the Supreme Court. (Millares vs. PLDT, G.R. No. 154078, 5/6/2005)  Factual findings of trial courts which have been affirmed in toto by the Court of Appeals are entitled to great weight and respect and will not be disturbed absent any showing that the trial court overlooked certain facts and circumstances which could substantially affect the outcome of the case. (Yulo vs. People, 452 SCRA 705, 3/4/2005; Mendoza vs. People, 448 SCRA 158, 1/14/ 2005)

 Variations in the declarations of witnesses in respect of collateral or incidental matters do not impair the weight of their testimonies, taken in their entirety, to the prominent facts, nor per se preclude the establishment of the crime and the positive identification of the malefactor. (People vs. Acosta, G.R. No. 140386, 11/29/2001)

 In a criminal case, circumstantial evidence may be sufficient for conviction provided the following requisites concur: (1) There is more than one circumstance; (2) The facts from which the inferences are derived are proven, and; (3) The combination of all the circumstances is such as to produce a conviction beyond

reasonable doubt. (People vs. Sevilleno, G.R. No. 152954, 3/11/2004; Ungsod vs. People, 478 SCRA 282)

 A conviction based on circumstantial evidence must exclude each and every hypothesis consistent with innocence. Hence if the totality of the circumstances eliminates beyond reasonable doubt the possibility of innocence, conviction is proper (Mallari vs. People, 446 SCRA 74, 12/ 10/2004)  Circumstantial evidence may be a basis for conviction and such conviction can be upheld provided the circumstances proven constitute an unbroken chain which leads to one fair and reasonable conclusion that points to the accused to the exclusion of all others as the guilty person. Direct evidence is not the only matrix from which the trial court may draw the conclusions and findings of fact. (People vs. Bernal, G.R. Nos.132791140465-66, 9/2/2002)  Circumstantial evidence is not a weaker defense vis-à-vis direct evidence. (People vs. Matito, G.R. No. 144405, 2/2/2004)  As to probative value, the Court considers circumstantial evidence of a nature identical to direct evidence because no greater degree of certainty is required when the evidence is circumstantial than when it is direct. In both types of evidences what is required is proof beyond reasonable doubt. (People vs. Bernal, G.R. Nos. 132791-140465-66, 9/ 2/ 2002)  Direct evidence is not a condition sine qua non to prove the guilt of an accused beyond reasonable doubt. In the absence of direct evidence, the prosecution may resort to adducing circumstantial evidence. Crimes are usually committed in secret and under conditions where concealment is highly probable. If direct evidence is insisted on under all circumstances, the prosecution of vicious felons who commit heinous crimes in secret or secluded places will be impossible to prove. (People vs. Sevilleno, G.R. No. 152954, 3/11/2004)

or are actually pending before the same judge. Courts may be required to take judicial notice of the decisions of the coordinate trial courts, or even of a decision or the facts involved in another case tried by the same court itself, unless the parties introduced the same in evidence or the court, as matter of convenience, decides to do so. Besides judicial notice of matters which ought to be known to judges because of their judicial functions is only discretionary upon the court. It is not mandatory. (T’boli Agro-Industrial Development, Inc. (TADI) vs. Solilapsi, Adm. Case No. 4766, 12/27/2002) JUDICIAL NOTICE OF FINANCIAL CONDITION OF THE GOVERNMENT

 Judicial notice could be taken of the fact that the government is and has for many years been financially strapped, to the point that even the most essential services have suffered serious curtailment. (La Bugal-B’laan Tribal Association vs. Ramos, 445 SCRA1, 12/1/2004)  However, the allegation that there is a so-called consensus to extend the terms of barangay captains cannot be subject of judicial notice. (Balajonda vs. Commission on Elections, 452 SCRA 643, 2/28/ 2005)

 Notwithstanding a person’s standing in the business community, the court cannot take judicial notice of said person’s home address or office after his departure from the government as a cabinet member. (Garrucho vs. Court of Appeals, 448 SCRA 165, 1/14/ 2005)  The Court takes notice that it is not unusual that killings are perpetrated in front of witnesses. (Velasco vs. People, 483 SCRA 649, March 28, 2006)

 As a general rule, courts are not authorized to take judicial notice in the adjudication of cases pending before them of the contents of other cases even when such cases have been tried or are pending in the same court and notwithstanding the fact that both cases may have been tried

 Judicial admissions do not require proof and may not be contradicted in the absence of a prior showing that the admissions had been made through palpable mistake. (Abarquez vs. People, 479 SCRA 225)  An admission made by a party, under the rules of evidence, binds him and may be taken or used against him. If the admission was made in the course of the proceedings in the same case, it does not

require proof, and may be contracted only by showing that it was made through palpable mistake or that no such admission was made. (Vesagas vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 142924, 12/05/2001) ADMISSIONS BY COUNSEL

 While an admission made on the pleadings cannot be controverted by the party making such admission and that the same is conclusive as to him, it is also a hornbook doctrine that the authority of an attorney to bind his client as to any admission of facts made by him is limited to matters of judicial procedure. An admission which operates as a waiver, surrender or destruction of the client’s cause is beyond the scope of the attorney’s implied authority. (People vs. Hermanes, G.R. No. 139416, 03/12/2002)  Even the negligence of counsel binds the client. (Sarraga vs. Banco Filipino Savings & Mortgage Bank, G.R. No. 143783, 12/ 9/ 2002)  This rule is not however, without exception. In cases where reckless or gross negligence of counsel derives the client of due process of law, or when its application will result in outright deprivation of the client’s liberty or property or when the interests of justice so require, relief is accorded the client who suffered by reason of the lawyer’s gross or palpable mistake or negligence. (Salazar vs. Salazar, G.R. No. 142920, 2/6/2002)
ADMISSION BY SILENCE Silence is admission if there was a chance for respondent to deny the charges. (Donton vs. Loria, 484 SCRA 224, March 10, 2006)

knowledge, and; (e) that the fact admitted from his silence is material to the issue. (People vs. Paragsa, 84 SCRA 105) Thus, in one case, despite the many opportunities given to the respondent, he refused to comment and present his side. The gravity of the charges and the weight of the evidence against him would have prompted an innocent man to come out and clear his name. However, he opted to maintain his silence. His silence can easily be interpreted as an admission of guilt. (Ortiz vs. De Guzman, A.M. No. P-03-1708, 2/26/2005) UNCOUNSELED ADMISSIONS An admission is inadmissible in evidence under Art. III Sec. 12(1) and (3) of the Constitution if it was given under custodial investigation and was made without the assistance of counsel. However, if the defense failed to object to its presentation during the trial, the result is that the defense is deemed to have waived objection to its admissibility. (People vs. Samus, G.R. Nos. 135957-58, 09/17/2002)  In Aballe vs. People, the Court held that the declaration of an accused expressly acknowledging his guilt of the offense may be given in evidence against him and any person, otherwise competent to testify as a witness, who heard the confession, is competent to testify as to the substance of what he heard if he heard and understood it. The said witness need not repeat in verbatim the oral confession; it suffices if he gives its substance. In the recent case of People vs. Zuela, the Court ruled that an admission made to a private person is admissible in evidence against the declarant pursuant to Sec. 26 of Rule 130 of the Rules of Court, which states that the “act, declaration or omission of a party as to a relevant fact may be given in evidence against him. (People vs. De La Cruz, G.R. Nos. 141162-63, 07/11/2002) ADMISSIBILITY CONFESSION OF EXTRAJUDICIAL

 The rule on admission by silence applies to both criminal and civil cases although must be received with caution because not every silence is an admission. For instance, the silence of a person under investigation for the commission of an offense should not be construed as an admission by silence because of constitutional reasons. (Crisostomo vs. Sandiganbayan, 456 SCRA 45, 4/15/2005)  Not every silence of a party is admissible. It is necessary that: (a) that he heard and understood the statement; (b) that he was at liberty to make a denial; (c) that the statement was about a matter affecting his rights or in which he was interested and which naturally calls for a response; (d) that the facts were within his

 The Court, with its constant tryst with retracting confessants, has drawn the cardinal requirements for an extra-judicial confessions to be admissible to wit: (1) the confession must be voluntary; (2) the confession must be made with the assistance of a competent and independent counsel, preferably to the confessant’s choice; (3) the confession must be express, and; (4) the confession

must be in writing. (People vs. Porio, G.R. No. 117202, 02/13/2002)

his conscience. (People vs. Ladao, G.R. Nos. 100940-41, 11/27/2001)

 Under Sec. 3 of Rule 113 of the Rules of Court, and extrajudicial confession made by an accused shall not be sufficient ground for conviction, unless corroborated by evidence of corpus delicti. Corpus delicti means the body of the crime and, in its primary sense, that a crime has actually been committed. Applied to a particular offense, it is the actual commission by someone of the particular crime charged. (People vs. Taboga, G.R. Nos. 144086-87, 02/06/2002)  The issue on the admissibility of an extrajudicial confession is addressed, in the first instance, to the judge, and since such discretion must be controlled by all the attendant circumstances, courts have wisely forborne to mark with absolute precision any rule limiting the admission or the exclusion of such confession. This judicial reluctance in accepting extrajudicial confession linking an accused to the crime, particularly when subsequently disputed, can be appreciated when it is shown that the confession has been made freely and voluntarily, without compulsion or inducement, or hope of reward of any sort. (People vs. Tablon, G.R. No. 137280, 03/13/2002)
In ascertaining whether or not an extrajudicial confession has been voluntarily made, courts resort to an examination of the confession itself, the language that is used, as well as how it is composed, and whether or not it is replete with details that could only be supplied by the accused himself and would not have been known to the investigating police officers. (People vs. Tablon, G.R. No. 137280, 03/13/2002)

 A confession of the accused constitutes evidence of a high order since it is supported by a strong presumption that no person of normal mind would deliberately and knowingly confess to a crime unless prompted by truth and his conscience. Once the prosecution has shown that there was compliance with the constitutional requirement on preinterrogation advisories, a confession is presumed to be voluntary, and the burden is on the accused to destroy this presumption. The declarant bears the burden of proving that his confession is involuntary and untrue. A confession is admissible until the accused successfully proved that it was given as a result of violence, intimidation, threat, or promise of reward, or leniency. (People vs. Ranis, Jr., G.R. No. 129113, 09/17/2002)  Where the prosecution failed to discharge the State’s burden of proving with clear and convincing evidence that the accused had enjoyed effective and vigilant counsel before the extrajudicially admitted his guilt, the extrajudicial confession cannot be given any probative value. (People vs. Suela, G.R. Nos. 133570-71, 01/15/2002)  Consonant with the constitutional precept that a person under custodial investigation should have a right to counsel “in every phase of the investigation,” the court has held in a number of cases that a person under custodial investigation should enjoy the right to counsel from its inception to its termination. Truly, the accused’s counsel of choice must be present and must be able to advise and assist his client from the time he answers the first question until the time he signs the extra-judicial confession. (People vs. Felixminia, G.R. No. 125333, 03/20/2002)  It has been held that the constitutional provision on custodial investigation does not apply to a spontaneous statement, not elicited through questioning by the authorities, but given in an ordinary manner whereby the suspect orally admits having committed the crime. Neither can it apply to admissions or confessions made by a suspect in the commission of a crime before he is placed under investigation. What the Constitution bars is the compulsory disclosure of incriminating facts or confessions. The rights under Sec. 12 of the Constitution are guaranteed to preclude the slightest use of coercion by

 A witness, who heard the confession is competent to testify as to its substance. Proof of the contents of an oral extrajudicial confession may be made by the testimony of a person who testifies that he was present, heard, understood, and remembers the substance of the conversion or statement made by the accused. (People vs. Suela, G.R. Nos. 133570-71, 01/15/2002)  Having been obtained without infringing the Constitutional safeguards, accused-appellant’s confession constitutes evidence of the highest order since it is backed up by the strong presumption that no person of normal mind would deliberately and knowingly confess to a crime unless he is prompted by truth and


the state as would lead the accused to admit something false, not to prevent him from freely and voluntarily telling the truth. (People vs. Baloloy, G.R. No. 140740, 04/12/2002) CONCEPT OF PHYSICAL EVIDENCE

 Physical evidence is a mute but eloquent manifestation of truth, and it ranks high in the hierarchy of our trustworthy evidence. (Macalinao vs. Ong, 477 SCRA 740, December 14, 2005) For this reason, it is regarded as evidence of the highest order. It speaks more eloquently than a hundred witnesses. (Rabanal vs. People, 483 SCRA 601, March 28, 2006; People vs. Mark Whisenhunt, G.R. No. 123819, 11/14/2001)

 While a negative result on a paraffin test is not conclusive proof that an accused did not fire a gun, such fact if considered with the other circumstances of the case, which may be taken as an indication of his innocence. The prosecution’s evidence must stand or fall on its own merit, and cannot draw strength from the weakness of the evidence of the defense. (People vs. Narvaez, G.R No. 140759, 01/24/2002)

 Failure to conduct a paraffin test is not fatal to the case of the prosecution as scientific experts agree that the paraffin test is extremely unreliable and it is not conclusive as to an accused’s complicity in the crime committed. (Ungsod vs. People, 478 SCRA 282)  Negative results of the paraffin test do not conclusively show that a person did not discharge a firearm at the time the crime was committed for the absence of nitrates is possible if a person discharged of firearm with gloves on, or if he thoroughly washed his hands thereafter. The absence of powder burns in a suspect’s hand is not conclusive proof that he has not fired a gun. (People vs. Balleras, G.R. No. 134564, 06/26/2002)  Scientific experts concur in the view that the result of a paraffin test is not conclusive. While it can establish the presence of nitrates or nitrites on the hand, it does not always indubitably show that said nitrates or nitrites were caused by the discharge of firearm. The person tested may have handled one or more of a number of substances which give the same positive reaction for nitrates or nitrites, such as explosives, fireworks, fertilizers, pharmaceuticals, and leguminous plants such as peas, beans, and alfalfa. A person who uses tobacco may also have nitrate or nitrite deposits on his hands since these substances are present in the products of combustion of tobacco. The presence of nitrates, therefore, should be taken only as an indication of a possibility but not of infallibility that the person tested has fired a gun. (People vs. Pacificador, G.R. No. 126515, 02/06/2002)

 The fact that there was bloodstain on the accused’s clothing could not be taken as an indication of guilt on his part. At most, this piece of circumstantial evidence may lead to suspicion. But courts do not rely on circumstantial evidence that merely arises suspicion or conjecture. For circumstantial evidence to lead conviction, it must do more than just raise the mere possibility or even probability of guilt. It must engender moral certainty. (People vs. Asis, G.R. No. 142531, 10/15/2002)

 As a matter of reliability and trustworthiness, a telephone conversation must first be authenticated before it can even be received in evidence. To this end, it is critical that the person with whom the witness was conversing on the phone is first satisfactorily identified, by voice recognition or any other means. (Sandoval vs. Hret, G.R. No. 149380, 07/03/02)

 According to American courts, photographs are admissible in evidence in motor vehicle cases when they appear to have been accurately taken and are proved to be faithful and clear representation of the subject. (Macalinao vs. Ong, 477 SCRA 740, December 14, 2005)

 An object evidence is not taken in isolation. It is weighed in relation to the testimony of a witness. Also, in giving credence to a testimony, the court takes into consideration the physical evidence. If the testimony bears a striking similarity with the physical evidence, the testimony becomes worthy of belief. (People vs. Larraňaga, G.R. 138874-75, 7/21/ 2005)


Sec. 22 of Rule 132 enumerates how the genuineness of a handwriting may be proved: (a) by any witness who believes it to be the handwriting of a person because (1) he has seen the person write, or; (2) he has seen writing purporting to be his upon which the witness has acted or been charged, and has thus acquired knowledge of the handwriting of such person, or; (3) by a comparison made by the witness or the court, with writings admitted or treated as genuine by the party against whom the document is offered, or proved to be genuine to the satisfaction of the judge. (Heirs of Amado Celestial vs. Heirs of Editha G. Celestial, G.R. No 142691, 8/5/2003) DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE

controversy as to the falsity of the certificate. (Pan Pacific Industrial Sales Co., Inc. vs. CA, 482 SCRA 164, February 10, 2006)

 View that what is contextually considered a public document is not the private writing but the public record. (Yuchenco vs.Sandiganbayan, 479 SCRA 1)

 Although police blotters are of little probative value, they are nevertheless admitted and considered in the absence of competent evidence to refute the facts stated therein. (Macalinao vs. Ong, 477 SCRA 740, December 14, 2005)

 As a rule, documentary evidence should be presented to substantiate the claim for damage for loss of earning capacity. By way of exception, damages for loss of earning capacity may be awarded despite the absence of documentary evidence, provided that there is testimony either that the minimum wage under current labor laws and judicial notice may be taken of the fact that in the victim was employed as a daily wage worker earning less than the minimum daily wage under the current labor laws. (People vs. Pajotal, G.R. No. 142870, 11/14/01)  A witness’ testimony cannot be considered as competent proof and cannot replace the probative value of official receipts to justify the award of actual damages, for jurisprudence instructs that the same must be duly substantiated by receipts. (Dino vs. Jardines, 481 SCRA 226, December 2006)

 Under the Rules on Evidence, documents are either public or private. Private documents are those that do not fall under any of the enumerations in Sec. 19 of Rule 132 of the Rules of Court. Sec. 20 of the same law in turn, provides that before any private document is received in evidence, its due execution and authenticity must be proved either by anyone who saw the document executed or written or by evidence of the genuineness of the signature or handwriting of the maker. (Malayan Insurance Co. Inc. vs. Philippine Nails and Wires Corporation, G.R. No. 138084, 04/10/02)

 Where the requisite circumstances exist, a party may be entitled to the production of records for inspection, copying, and photocopying as a matter of right. (Santos vs. Philippine National Bank, G.R. No. 148218, 04/29/02)

 A notarized document carries the evidentiary weight conferred upon it with respect to its due execution, and it has in its favor the presumption of regularity which may only be rebutted by evidence, so clear, strong and convincing as to exclude all

 A baptismal certificate is evidence only to prove the administration of the sacrament on the dates therein specified, but not have veracity of the declaration therein stated with respect to a person’s kinsfolk. The same is conclusive only of the baptism administered according to the rites of the Catholic Church, by the priest who baptized the subject child, but it does not prove the veracity of the declarations and statements contained in the certificate concerning the relationship of the person baptized. A baptismal certificate, a private document, is not conclusive proof of filiation. More so are the entries made in an income tax return, which only shows that income tax has been paid and the amount thereof. (Labagala vs. Santiago, G.R. No. 132305, 12/04/2001)


 A birth certificate is the best evidence of a person’s date of birth and that late registration by the mother of her child’s birth does not affect its evidentiary value. (Orfila vs. Arellano, 482 SCRA 280, February 13, 2006)

 One of the exceptions to the parol evidence rule is when a party puts in issue in his pleading the validity of the written document. (Aloria vs. Clemente, 483 SCRA 634, March 28, 2006)

 When the subject of inquiry is the contents of a document, no evidence shall be admissible other than the original document. (Ebreo vs. Ebreo, 483 SCRA 583, March 28, 2006)

 An acknowledgment receipt is valid and binding between the parties who executed it, as a document evidencing the loan agreement of the parties cannot stand against the acknowledgment receipt presented by respondent. (Spouses Reyes vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 147758, 06/26/2002)

 It is axiomatic that before a party is allowed to adduce secondary evidence to prove the contents of the original of a deed or document, the party has to prove with the requisite quantum of evidence, the loss or destruction or unavailability of all the copies of the original of the said deed or document. (Ebreo vs. Ebreo, 483 SCRA 583, March 28, 2006)

 It is the quality not the number, of witnesses, which may be considered a factor in the appreciation of evidence, preponderance does not necessarily lie in the greatest number. (Jimenez vs. Commission on Ecumenical Mission and Relations of the United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, G.R. No. 140472, 06/10/2002)

 Sec. 9 of Rule 130 of the Revised Rules of Court provides that when the terms of an agreement have been reduced to writing, it is to be considered as containing all the terms agreed upon and there can be, between the parties and their successors in interest, no evidence of such terms other than the contents of the written agreement. Simply put, evidence of a prior or contemporaneous verbal agreement is generally not admissible to vary, contradict, or defeat the operation of a valid contract while parol evidence is admissible to explain the meaning of a written contract. It cannot serve the purpose of incorporating into the contract additional contemporaneous conditions which are not mentioned at all in writing, unless there has been fraud or mistake. It is basic that parties are bound by the terms of their contract which is the law between them. (MC Engineering, Inc. vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 104047, 04/03/2002)
Under the rule, the terms of a contract are rendered conclusive upon the parties and evidence aliunde is not admissible to vary or contradict a complete and enforceable agreement embodied in a document. (Rosario Textile Mills Corporation vs. Home Bankers Savings and Trust Company, G.R. No. 137232, 6/29/2005)

 Affidavits taken ex-parte are generally considered inferior to the testimony given in open court, and affidavits of recantation have been invariably regarded as exceedingly unreliable, since they can easily be secured from poor and ignorant witnesses, for monetary consideration or through intimidation and are most likely to be repudiated afterwards. (People vs. Somodio, G.R. Nos. 134139-40, 02/15/2002)  An affidavit of desistance is regarded with suspicion as it can be easily obtained through intimidation and attains no probative value in light of the affiant’s testimony to the contrary. (People vs. Acojedo, G.R. No. 138661, 11/19/2001)

 Relationship per se does not affect the credibility of a witness. However, the Court takes cognizance of the facts that blood relatives tend to be naturally protective of each other and are giving false testimonies in favor of one another, especially a relative in danger of being convicted. (People vs. Acojedo, G.R. No. 138661, 11/19/2001)


 Unsoundness of mind does not per se render a witness incompetent, one may mentally or metaphysically insane, yet be capable in law of giving competent testimony in the trial of a case. The general rule is that a lunatic or a person affected with insanity is admissible as a witness if he has sufficient understanding to apprehend the obligation of an oath and is capable of giving a correct account of the matters which he has been or heard with respect to the questions at issue. It is now held universally that insanity or intellectual weakness of witness, no matter what form it assumes, is not a valid objection to his competency if, at the time he is testifying, he has mental capacity to distinguish between right and wrong, so far as the facts in issue and his testimony thereon are involved, he understands the nature and obligation of an oath, and he can give fairly intelligent and reasonable narrative of the matters about which he testifies. The issue of competence of witness to testify rests largely within the discretion of the trial court. (People vs. Caingat, G.R. No. 137963, 02/06/2002) QUALIFICATION/DISQUALIFICATION OF WITNESSES; CHILDREN  As a general rule, when a witness takes the witness stand, the law, on ground of public policy, presumes that he is competent. The court cannot reject the witness in the absence of proof of his incompetency. The burden is upon the party objecting to the competency of a witness to establish the ground of incompetency. Sec. 21 of Rule 130 of the Rules of Evidence enumerates the persons who are disqualified to be witnesses. Among those disqualified are “children whose maturity is such as to render them incapable of perceiving the facts respecting which they are examined and relating them truthfully.” No precise minimum age can be fixed at which children shall be excluded from testifying. The intelligence, not the age, of a young child is the test of his competency as a witness. It is settled that a child, regardless of age, can be a competent witness if he can perceive and, in perceiving, can make known his perception to others and that he is capable of relating truthfully the facts for which he is examined.

In determining the competency of a child witness, the court must consider his capacity: (a) at the time the fact to be testified occurred, such that he could receive correct impressions thereof; (b) to comprehend the obligation of an oath, and; (c) to relate those facts truly to the court at the time he is offered as a witness. The examination should show that the child has some understanding of the punishment which may result from false swearing. The requisite appreciation of consequences is disclosed where the child states that he knows that it is wrong to tell a lie, and that he would be punished if he does so, or that he uses language which is equivalent to saying that he would be sent to hell for false swearing. A child can be disqualified only if it can be shown that his mental maturity renders him incapable of perceiving facts with respect to which he is being examined, and of relating them truthfully. The question of competency of a child witness rests primarily in the sound discretion of the trial court. This is so because the trial judge sees the proposed witness and observes his manner of testifying, his apparent possession or lack of intelligence, as well as his understanding of the obligation of an oath. Since many of the witness’ manners cannot be photographed into the record, the finding of the trial judge will not be disturbed or reversed unless from what is preserved it is clear that such finding was erroneous. (People vs. Pruna, G.R. No. 138471, 10/10/2002) QUALIFICATION/DISQUALIFICATION OF WITNESSES; MARITAL DISQUALIFICATION

 Under the marital disqualification rule, neither the husband nor the wife may testify for or against the other without the consent of the affected spouse, except in civil case by one against the other, or in criminal case for a crime committed by one against the other or the latter’s direct descendants or ascendants. However, objections to the competency of a husband and wife to testify in a criminal prosecution against the other may be waived as in the case of other witnesses generally. The objection to the competency of the spouse must be made when he or she is first offered as a witness. (People vs. Pansensoy, G.R. No. 140634, 09/12/2002)


The marital privilege rule, being a rule of evidence, may be waived by failure of the claimant to object timely to its presentation or by any conduct that may be construed as implied consent. (Lacurom vs. Jacoba, 484 SCRA 206, March 10, 2006) QUALIFICATION/DISQUALIFICATION OF WITNESSES; DEAD MAN’S STATUTE

guilt may be drawn only when it is unexplained and with an evident purpose of evading prosecution. (People vs. Monje, G.R. No. 146689, 09/27/2002) OFFER OF COMPROMISE BY ACCUSED

 The dead man’s statute does not operate to close the mouth of a witness as to any matter of act coming to his knowledge in any other way than through personal dealings with the deceased person, or communication made by the deceased to the witness. (Bordlaba vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 112443, 01/25/2002)

 Under Sec. 27 of Rule 130 of the Rules of Court, an offer of compromise by the accused may be received in evidence as an implied admission of guilt. (People vs. Viernes, G.R. Nos. 136733-35, 12/13/2001)  Although the marriage of the accused in a rape case extinguishes the penal action (Alonto vs. Savellano, Jr., 287 SCRA 245), an offer of marriage is, generally, speaking, an admission of guilt. (People vs. Bulos, G.R. No. 123542, 6/26 /2001)
RES INTER ALIOS ACTA  Under Section 34, Rule 130 of the Revised Rules of Court, evidence that one did a certain thing at one time is not admissible to prove that he did the same or similar thing at another time, although such evidence may be received to prove habit, usage, pattern, of conduct or the intent of the parties. Courts must contend with the caveat that, before they admit evidence of usage, of habit or pattern of conduct, the offering party must establish the degree of specificity and frequency of uniform response that ensures more than a mere tendency to act in a given manner but rather, conduct that is semi-automatic in nature. It is only when examples offered to establish pattern of conduct or habit are numerous enough to lose an inference of systematic conduct that examples are admissible. (Boston Bank of the Philippines vs. Manalo, 482 SCRA 108, February 9, 2006)

A written letter containing libelous matter cannot be classified as privileged when it is published and circulated among the public. (Buatis, Jr. vs. People, 485 SCRA 275) ABILITY TO MAKE KNOWN PERCEPTION TO OTHERS THE

 A deaf-mute is not necessarily an incompetent as a witness. They are competent where they: (a) can understand and appreciate the sanctity of an oath; (2) can comprehend facts they are going to testify on, and; (3) can communicate their ideas through a qualified interpreter. (People vs. Tuangco, G.R. No. 130331, 11/ 22/ 2000)

 The act, declaration or omission of a party as to a relevant fact may be given in evidence against him. One type of act that can be given in evidence against him is flight. In Criminal Law, “flight” means an act of evading the course of justice by voluntarily withdrawing oneself to avoid arrest or detention or the institution or continuance of criminal proceeding. The unexplained flight of the accused person may, as a general rule, be taken as evidence having tendency to establish his guilt. In short, flight is an indication of guilt. (People vs. Licayan, G.R. No. 144422, 02/28/2002)  Although as a general rule flight is an indication of guilt, the same should not be flippantly considered. Flight is a circumstance from which an inference of

 Like any other fact, habits, customs, usage or patterns of conduct must be proved. (Pag-Asa Steel Works, Inc. vs. CA, 486 SCRA 475, March 31, 2006)

 The receipt of property seized is issued by the police in accordance with their standard operating procedure in a buy bust operation to show what property was seized. The receipt should not be treated as an admission or confession. Indeed, the receipt could not be considered evidence against the accused because it was signed by him without the

assistance of counsel. (People vs. Casimiro, G.R. No. 146277, 06/20/2002)

 A suspect’s confession, whether verbal or non-verbal, when taken without the assistance of counsel without a valid waiver of such assistance, regardless of the absence of such coercion or the fact that it had been voluntarily given, is inadmissible in evidence, even if suspect’s confession was gospel truth. (People vs. Sia, G.R. No. 137457, 11/21/2001)
HEARSAY EVIDENCE  The term “hearsay” as used in the law on evidence signifies evidence which is not founded upon the personal knowledge of the witness from whom it is elicited and which consequently does not depend wholly for its credibility and weight upon the confidence which the court may have in him. Its value, if any, is measured by the credit to be given to some third person not sworn as a witness to that fact, and consequently not subject to cross-examination. If one therefore testifies to facts which he learned from a third person not sworn as a witness to those facts, his testimony is inadmissible as hearsay evidence. The reason for the exclusion of hearsay evidence is that the party against whom the hearsay testimony is presented is deprived of the right or opportunity to cross-examine the person to whom the statements are attributed. Moreover, the court is without opportunity to test the credibility of hearsay statements by observing the demeanor of the person who made them. (People vs. Pruna, G.R. No. 138471, 10/10/2002)

 As a rule, the inadmissibility of testimony taken by deposition is anchored on the ground that such testimony is hearsay, i.e. the party against whom it is offered has no opportunity to crossexamine the deponent at the time his testimony is offered. The act of crossexamining the deponent during the taking of the deposition cannot, without more, be considered a waiver of the right to object to its admissibility as evidence in the trial proper. (Sales vs. Sabino, 477 SCRA 101, December 9, 2005)

 The rule is that there can be conviction even if there is no physical evidence to corroborate her claim. This is on the supposition that her testimony was clear and free from serious contradictions, and her sincerity and candor beyond suspicion. If the complainant’s testimony is not of such character, convincing corroborative proof is required. (People vs. Benoza, G.R. No. 139470, 11/29/2001)

 This doctrine holds that conversation communicated to a witness by a third person may be admitted as proof that, regardless of its truth or falsity, it was actually not secondary but primary, for in itself it: (a) constitutes a fact in issue, or; (b) is circumstantially relevant to the existence of such fact. (Republic vs. Heirs of Alejaga, G.R. No. 146030, 12/03/2002)  While it is true that the testimony of a witness regarding a statement made by another person, if intended to establish the truth of the fact asserted in the statement, is clearly hearsay evidence, it is otherwise if the purpose of placing the statement in the record is merely to establish the fact that the statement was made or the tenor of such statement. (Comilang vs. Burcena, 482 SCRA 342, February 13, 2006)
DYING DECLARATION  An ante mortem statement in articulo mortis is admissible under the following requisites: (1) death is imminent and the declarant is conscious of that fact; (2) the declaration refers to the cause and the surrounding circumstances of such death; (3) the declaration relates to a fact which the victim is competent to testify to, and; (4) the declaration is offered in a

 The reliability of a testimony is based on the personal knowledge of the witness. If a witness testifies on the basis of what others have told him, and not on facts which he knows of his own personal knowledge, the testimony would be excluded as hearsay evidence. This is because the witness cannot be effectively cross-examined on the matters he testified to. His answers to questions in open court would necessarily be based on the knowledge of a person who is not in the witness stand. The latter called the outside declarant cannot be crossexamined because he is not in court. The reliability and truth of the perception of this outside declarant cannot be tested and verified in court. Hearsay evidence if not objected to is admissible. However, even if admitted, it has no probative value. (Mallari vs. People, 446 SCRA 74, 12/10/2004)


case wherein the declarant’s death is the subject of the inquiry. The issue of whether a declaration was made under the consciousness of an impending death is a matter of evidence. It must be shown that such declaration was made under a realization that one’s demise or at least its imminence, not so much its rapid occurrence, was at hand. This may be proven by the statement of the victim or inferred from the nature and extent of the victim’s wounds or other relevant circumstances. (People vs. Mendoza, G.R. No. 142654, 11/16/2001)

imminence not so much is rapid occurrence, was at hand. This may be proven by the statement of the victim or inferred from the nature and the extent of the victim’s wounds or other relevant circumstances. (People vs. De Leon, G.R. No. 144052, 03/06/2002)  An ante-mortem statement or dying declaration is entitled to probative weight if: (1) at the time the declaration was made, death was imminent and the declaarnt was conscious of that fact; (2) the declaration refers to the cause and surrounding circumstances of such death; (3) the declaration relates to the facts which the victim was competent to testify to; (4) the declarant thereafter died, and; (5) the declaration is offered in a criminal case wherein the declarant’s death is the subject of the inquiry. The significance of a victim’s realization or consciousness that he was on the brink of death cannot be gainsaid. Such ante-mortem statement is evidence of the highest order because at the threshold of death, all thoughts of fabricating lies are stilled. The utterance of a victim made immediately after sustaining serious injuries may be considered the incident speaking through the victim. It is entitled to the highest credence.

 The rule on dying declaration does not require that the person should be at the time in the throes of death, or that he should die immediately, or within any specified time thereafter, in order to give the declaration probative force. Where a person has been fatally wounded, is in sore distress therefrom, and he believes that he will not recover and is soon to die, his statement made in this belief relating to the cause of his injury is admissible, if it appears that he subsequently died from the effects of the wound, although he may have revived after making the statements or may have lived a considerable time thereafter, and may have again begun to hope for recovery. (People vs. Mendoza, G.R. NO. 142654, 11/16/2001)
 Dying declaration, also known as an ante mortem statement or a statement in articulo mortis, is one that refers to the cause and surrounding circumstances of the declarant’s death and is made under the consciousness of impending death. Because of its necessity and trustworthiness, it is admissible in evidence as an exception to the hearsay rule. Necessity because the declarant’s death makes it impossible for him to take the witness stand, and trustworthiness, for when a person is at the point of death, every motive for falsehood is silenced and the mind is induced by the most powerful consideration to speak the truth. An antemortem statement is admissible, provided the following requisites are present: (1) death is imminent and the declarant is conscious of that fact; (2) the declaration refers to the cause and surrounding circumstances of such death; (3) the declaration relates to a fact that the victim is competent to testify to, and; (4) the declaration is offered in a case wherein the declarant’s death is the subject of the inquiry. It must be shown that the declaration was made under a realization that one’s demise or at least its

 The crucial factor to consider is the contemporaneity of the moment when the statement was made and the moment of the realization of death. The time the statement was being made must also be the time the victim was aware that he was dying. (People vs. Pena, G.R. No. 133964, 02/13/2002)  Apart from the statements of the declarant, his consciousness of impending death can be proved by surrounding circumstances, such as the nature of injury or by his conduct.(People vs. Calago, G.R. No. 141122, 04/22/2002).  The rule is that a dying declaration may be oral or written. If oral, the witness who heard it may testify thereto without the necessity of reproducing the word of the decedent, if he is able to give substance thereof. An unsigned dying declaration may be used as a memorandum by the witness who took it down. (People vs. Boller, G.R. Nos. 144222-24, 04/03/2002)

 The declarant’s utterance are considered part of res gestae when made


immediately after a startling occurrence. The admission of such utterances are based on the well founded belief that words spoken instinctively at the time of a specific transactional event, without the opportunity for the speaker to effectively concoct a fabricated version of the startling event can only be but credible. (People vs. Calago, G.R. No. 141122, 05/22/2002)  The term “res gestae” comprehends a situation which presents a startling or unusual occurrence sufficient to produce a spontaneous and instinctive reaction, during which interval certain statements are made under such circumstances as to who lack of forethought or deliberate design in the formulation of their contents. Since res gestae refers to those exclamations and statements made by either the participants, victims, or spectators to a crime before, during, or immediately after the commission of the crime, they should necessarily be the ones who must not have the opportunity to contrive or devise a falsehood but not the persons to whom they gave their dying declaration or spontaneous statement. In other words, the witness who merely testifies on a res geatae is not the declarant referred to in the second requisite whose statements had to be made before he had the time to contrive or devise a falsehood. (People vs. Pena, G.R. No. 133964, 02/13/2002)

which are derived from his perception. Consequently, a witness may not testify as to what he merely learned from others either because he was told, read or heard the same. Such testimony is considered hearsay and may not be received as proof of the truth of what he has learned. Such is the hearsay rule, which applies not only to oral testimony or statements but also to written evidence as well. The hearsay rule is based upon serious concerns about the trustworthiness and reliability of hearsay evidence inasmuch as such evidence are not given under oath or solemn affirmation and, more importantly, have not been subjected to cross-examination by opposing counsel to test the perception, memory, veracity and articulateness of the out-of-court declarant or actor upon whose reliability on which the worth of the out-of-court declarant or actor upon whose reliability on which the worth of the out-of-court statement depends. There are exceptions to the hearsay rule, among which are entries in official records. To be admissible in evidence, however, 3 requisites must concur, to wit: (1) that the entry was made by a public officer, or by anther person specially enjoined by law to do so; (2) that it was made by the public officer in the performance of his duties, or by such other person in the performance of a duty specially enjoined by law, and; (3) that the public officer or other person had sufficient knowledge of the facts by him stated, which must have been acquired by him personally or through official information. (Country Bankers Insurance Corp. vs. Lianga Bay And Community Multi-Purpose Coop., Inc., G.R. No. 136914, 01/25/2002) OPINION RULE

 Res gestae utterances refer to those exclamation and statements made by either the participants, victims, or spectators to a crime immediately before, during, or after the commission of the crime when the circumstances are such that their statements were made as a spontaneous reaction or utterance inspired by the excitement of the occasion and there was no opportunity for the declarant to deliberate and to fabricate a false statement. A declaration is deemed part of the res gestae and thus admissible in evidence as an exception to the hearsay rule when the following requisites concur: (1) the principal act, the res gestae, is a startling occurrence; (2) the statements were made before the declarant had time to contrive or devise, and; (3) the statements must concern the occurrence in question and its immediately attending circumstances. (People vs. Cantonjos, G.R. No. 136748, 11/21/2001)
ENTRIES IN OFFICIAL RECORDS  A witness can testify only to those facts, which he knows of his personal knowledge, which means those facts,

 Having testified on matters undeniably within the area of his expertise, and having performed a thorough autopsy on the body of the victim, an expert’s findings as to the cause of death of the victim are more than just speculations of an ordinary person. (Calimutan vs. People, 482 SCRA 44, February 9, 2006)
EXPERT OPINION  Expert opinion is to be considered or weighed by the court like any other testimony, in the light of their own general knowledge and experience upon the subject of inquiry.


The inclusion or exclusion by the expert of factors or elements that should or should not be considered in the determination of his opinion is to be considered in determining the wieht to be attached to his testimony. (People vs. Malejana, 479 SCRA 610) OPINIONS OF HANDWRITING EXPERTS  It is also hornbook doctrine that the opinions of handwriting experts, even those from the NBI and the PC, are not binding upon courts. This principle holds true especially when the question involved is mere handwriting similarity or dissimilarity, which can be determined by a visual comparison of specimens of the questioned signatures with those of the currently existing ones. Handwriting experts are usually helpful in the examination of forged documents because of the technical procedure involved in analyzing them. But resort to these experts is not mandatory or indispensable to the examination or the comparison of handwriting. (Jimenez vs. Commission On Ecumenical Mission And Relations Of The United Presbyterian Church In The USA, G.R. No. 140472, 06/10/2002). OPINION OF ORDINARY WITNESSES; IDENTIFICATION OF OFFENDERS

increased need to identify someone to show the police that they, too, feel that the criminals is in the line-up, and makes the witnesses particularly vulnerable to any clues conveyed by the police or other witnesses as to whom they suspect of the crime. The test is whether or not prosecution was able to establish by clear and convincing evidence that the in-court identifications were based upon observations of the suspect other than the line-up identification. (People vs. Escordial, G.R. Nos. 138934-35, 01/16/2002)  While it might be easier for a witness to recognize the culprit if they are known to each other, an identification made by a witness is not less credible just because the accused is a stranger. Neither can the lapse of only a few seconds in witnessing the crime diminish the witness’ credibility. Time is not an accurate measure of a person’s ability to recognize a face. A startling or frightful experience creates an indelible impression in the mind that can be recalled vividly. (People vs. Punsalan, G.R. No. 145475, 11/22/2001)

 Eyewitness identification is often decisive of the conviction or acquittal of an accused. Identification of an accused through mug shots as one of the established procedures in pinning down criminals. However, to avoid charges of impermissible suggestion, there should be nothing in the photograph that would focus attention on a single person. (People vs. Villena, G.R. No. 140066, 10/14/2002)
 Various social psychological factors increase the danger of suggestibility in a line-up confrontation. Witnesses, like other people, are motivated by a desire to be correct and to avoid looking foolish. By arranging a line-up, the police have evidenced their belief that they have caught the criminal. Witnesses, realizing this, probably will feel foolish if they cannot identify anyone and therefore may choose someone despite residual uncertainty. Moreover, the need to reduce psychological discomfort often motivates a victim to a crime to find likely target for feelings of hostility. Finally, witnesses are highly motivated to behave like those around them. This desire to conform produces an

 Positive identification requires essential proof of identity and not per se an eyewitness account of the very act of committing the crime. Such identification forms part of circumstantial evidence which, when taken together with other pieces of evidence constituting an unbroken chain, leads to a fair and reasonable conclusion that accusedappellant is the author of the crime to the explosion of the others. (People vs. Rubares, G.R. No. 143127, 11/29/2001)  Visibility is indeed a vital factor in the determination of whether or not an eyewitness has identified the perpetrator of a crime. When conditions of visibility are favorable and the witnesses do not appear to be biased, their assertion as to the identity of the malefactor should normally be accepted. Illumination produced by kerosene lamp or a flashlight is sufficient to allow identification of persons. Wicklamps, flashlights, even moonlight or starlight may, in proper situations, be considered sufficient illumination, making the attack on the credibility of witnesses solely on that ground unmeritorious. (People vs. Coca, Jr., G.R. No. 133739, 05/19/2002)


 Character is the possession by a person of qualities of mind and morals. Distinguishing him from others is the opinion generally entertained of a person which is derived from the common report of the people who are acquainted with him, his reputation ‘good moral character’ includes all the elements essential to make up such a character, among these are common honesty and veracity. Especially in all professional intercourse, a character that measures up as good among people of the community in which the person lives or that is up to the standard of the average citizen, that status which attaches to a man of good behavior and upright conduct. The rule is that the character of reputation of a party is regarded as legally irrelevant in determining a controversy, so that evidence relating thereto is not admissible. Ordinarily, if the issues in the case were allowed to be influenced be evidence of the character or reputation of the parties, the trial would be apt to have the aspects of a popularity contest rather than a factual inquiry into the merits of the case. After all, the business of the court is to try the case, and not the man; and a very bad man may have a righteous cause. There are exceptions to this rule however and Sec. 51 of Rule 130 gives the exceptions in both criminal and civil cases. In criminal cases, sub-paragraph 1 of Sec. 51 of Rule 130 provides that the accused may prove his good moral character, which is pertinent to the moral trait involved in the offense charged. When the accused presents proof of his good moral character, this strengthens the presumption of innocence, and where good character and reputation are established, an inference arises that the accused did not commit the crime charged. This view proceeds from the theory that a person of good character and high reputation is not likely to have committed the act charged against him. Su-paragraph 2 provides that the prosecution may not prove the bad moral character of the accused except only in the rebuttal and when such evidence is pertinent to the moral that involved in the offense charged. This is intended to avoid unfair prejudice to the accused who might otherwise be convicted not because he is guilty but because he is a person of bad character. The offering of character evidence on his behalf is a privilege of the defendant, and the prosecution cannot comment on the failure of the defendant to produce such evidence. Once the defendant raises the issue of his good character, the prosecution may, in rebuttal, offer evidence of the defendant’s

bad character. Otherwise, a defendant, would have a license to unscrupulously impose a false character upon the tribunal. Both sub-paragraphs 1 and 2 of Sec. 51 of Rule 130 refer to character evidence of the accused. And this evidence must be “pertinent to the moral trait involved in the offense charged,” meaning, that the character evidence must be relevant and germane to the kind of the act charged, e.g., on a charge of rape, character for chastity; on a charge of assault, character for peacefulness or violence; on a charge for embezzlement, character for honesty and integrity. Subparagraph 3 of Sec. 51 of the said Rule refers to the character of the offended party. Character evidence, whether good or bad, of the offended party may be proved “if it tends to establish in any reasonable degree the probability or improbability of the offense charged.” Such evidence is most commonly offered to support a claim of self-defense in an assault or homicide case or a claim of consent in a rape case. (People vs. Lee, G.R. No. 139070, 05/29/2002) GOOD MORAL ACCUSED CHARACTER OF

 It is true that the good moral character of an accused having reference to the moral trait involved in the offense charged may be proven by him. But an accused is not entitled to an acquittal simply because of his previous good moral character and exemplary conduct if the Court believes he is guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime charged. The affirmance or reversal of his conviction must be resolved on the basic issue of whether the prosecution had discharged its duty of proving his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. (People vs. Concorcio, G.R. Nos. 121201-02, 10/19/2001)
 In the Philippine setting, proof of the moral character of the offended party is applied with frequency index offenses. In rape and acts of lasciviousness or in any prosecution involving an unchaste act perpetrated by a man against a woman where the willingness of a woman is material, the woman’s character as to her chastity is admissible to show whether or not she consented to the man’s act. The exception to this is when the woman’s act. The exception to this is when the woman’s consent is immaterial such as in statutory rape or rape with violence or intimidation. In the crimes of qualified seduction or consented abduction, the offended party must be a “virgin” which is “presumed if


she is unmarried and of good reputation” or a “virtuous woman of good reputation.” The crime of a simple seduction involves “the seduction of a woman who is single or a widow of a good reputation, over twelve but under eighteen years of age.” The burden of proof that the complaint is a woman of good reputation lies in the prosecution, and the accused may introduce evidence that the complainant is a woman of bad reputation. In homicide cases, a pertinent character trait of the victim is admissible in two situations: (1) as evidence of the deceased’s aggression, and; (2) as evidence of the state of mind of the accused. The pugnacious, quarrelsome or trouble-seeking character of the deceased of his calmness, gentleness and peaceful nature, as the case may be, is relevant in determining whether the deceased or the accused was the aggressor. When the evidence tends to show that it produced a reasonable belief of imminent danger in the mind of the accused and a justifiable conviction that a prompt defense action was necessary. Moreover, proof of the victim’s bad moral character is not necessary in cases of murder committed with treachery and premeditation. Following the ruling in People vs. Soliman, the presence of these aggravating circumstances negates the necessity of proving the victim’s bad character to establish the probability or improbability of the offense charged and, at the same time, qualifies the killing to murder. (People vs. Lee, G.R. No. 139070, 05/29/2002) BURDEN OF PROOF

readily be disapproved by the production of documents or other evidence probably within the defendant’s possession or control. Moreover, where the subjectmatter of a negative averment in an indictment, or a fact relied upon by defendant as a justification or excuse, relates to him personally or otherwise lies peculiarly within his knowledge, the general rule is that the burden of proof as to such averment or facts is on him. (Herrera vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 140651, 02/19/2002)

 As a rule the burden of proving the existence of a trust is on the party asserting its existence, and such proof must be clear and satisfactorily show the existence of the trust and its elements. (Oco vs. Limbaring, 481 SCRA 348, December 2006)

 The test for determining where the burden of proof lies is to ask which party to an action or suit will fail if he offers no evidence competent to show the facts averred as the basis for the relief he seeks to obtain. If the defendant has affirmative defenses, he bears the burden of proof as to those defenses which he sets up in answer to the plaintiff’s cause of action. Hence, if the defendant sets up the affirmative defense of prescription, he must prove the date when prescription began to run. (Aznar Brothers Realty Co., vs. Aying, G.R. No. 144773, 5/16/2005)

 It is the burden of the applicant to prove not only his own good moral character but also the good moral character of his/her witnesses who must be “credible.” (Republic vs. Hong, 485 SCRA 405)  It is well-settled that in administrative proceedings, the complainant has the burden of proving by substantial evidence the allegations in his complaint. (Cabarrubias vs. Apostol, 481 SCRA 20, December 2006)  The burden of proof is shifted to the defense once the prosecution has produced sufficient evidence to be entitled as a matter of law to a ruling in its favor. It is not incumbent upon the prosecution to adduce positive evidence to support a negative averment the truth of which is fairly indicated by established circumstances and which, if untrue, could

 When an accused’s alibi can only be confirmed by his relatives, who may not be impartial witnesses, his denial of culpability merits scant consideration. On the other hand, accused’s identification by credible prosecution witnesses as the author of the crime makes his alibi indefensible. (People vs. Rubares, G.R. No. 143127, 11/29/2001)  As a defense, alibi is inherently weak and crumbles in the light of positive identification by truthful witnesses. It is an evidence negative in nature and selfserving and cannot attain more credibility than the testimonies of prosecution witnesses who testify on clear and positive evidence. (People vs. Larraňaga, G.R. Nos. 138874-75, 7/21/2005)  It cannot prevail over the positive identification of the accused as perpetrator of the crime. In the face of positive identification of the accused by

the prosecution witness, such alibi crumbles like a sand fortress. (People vs. Enriquez, G.R. No. 158797, 7/29/2005)

 For the defense of alibi to prosper, the following must be established: (1) The presence of the accused in another place at the time of the commission of the offense, and; (2) The physical impossibility for him to be at the scene of the crime at the time of its commission. (People vs. Larraňaga, G.R. No. 138874-75, 7/21/2005; People vs. Enriquez, G.R. No. 158797, 7/29/2005)  Self-defense, like alibi is inherently weak because it can be easily fabricated. (Rugas vs. People, G.R. No. 147789, 1/14/ 2004)  A denial evidence is the weakest defense and can never overcome a positive testimony particularly when it comes from the mouth of a credible witness. (People vs. Mendoza, 1/31/2005)

prima facie case created thereby, and which if no proof to the contrary is presented and offered, will prevail. The burden of proof remains where it is, but by the presumption the one who has the burden is relieved for the time being from introducing evidence in support of his averment, because the presumption stands in the place of evidence unless rebutted. It is true that said rule is not changed by the fact that the party having the burden of proof has introduced evidence, which established prima facie his assertion because such evidence does not shift the burden of proof; it merely puts the adversary to the necessity of producing evidence to meet the prima facie case. Where the defendant merely denies, either generally or otherwise, the allegations of the plaintiffs pleadings, the burden of proof continues to rest on the plaintiff throughout the trial and does not shift to the defendant until the plaintiff’s evidence has been presented and duly offered. The defendant has then no burden except to produce evidence sufficient to create a state of equipoise between his proof and that of the plaintiff to defeat the latter, whereas the plaintiff has the burden, as in the beginning, of establishing his case by a preponderance of evidence. But where the defendant has failed to present marshal evidence sufficient to create a state of equipoise between his proof and that of plaintiff, the prima facie case presented by the plaintiff will prevail. (Lee vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 117913, 01/02/2002) PRESUMPTION THAT EVIDENCE WILLFULLY SUPPRESSED WOULD BE ADVERSE IF PRODUCED

 Motive is never an essential element of a crime. It becomes inconsequential where there are affirmative, nay, categorical declarations towards the accused’s accountability for the felony. (People vs. Villamore, G.R. Nos. 140407-08, 01/15/2002)  While the motive of the accused in a criminal case is generally held to be immaterial, not being an element of the crime, motive becomes important when the evidence on the commission of the crime is purely circumstantial. (People vs. Turtoga, G.R. No. 135536, 06/06/2002)

 The effect of a presumption upon the burden of proof is to create the need of presenting to overcome the prima facie case created, thereby which, if no contrary proof is offered, will prevail. (Lastrilla vs. Granda, 481 SCRA 324, December 2006)
 During the trial of an action, the party who has the burden of proof upon an issue may be aided in establishing his claim or defense by the operation of a presumption, or expressed differently, by the probative value, which the law attaches to a specific state of facts. A presumption may operate against his adversary who has not introduced proof to rebut the presumption. The effect of a legal presumption upon a burden of proof is to create the necessity of presenting evidence to meet the legal presumption or

 The presumption that suppressed evidence is unfavorable does not apply where the evidence was at the disposal of both the defense and the prosecution. (People vs. Mazo, G.R. No. 136869, 10/17/2001)

 It should be stressed that while the court is mindful that the law enforcers enjoy the presumption of regularity in the performance of their duties, this presumption cannot prevail over the constitutional right of the accused to be presumed innocent and it cannot, by itself constitute proof of guilt beyond reasonable doubt. The presumption is precisely just that – a mere presumption. Once challenged by evidence, as in this

case, cannot be regarded as binding truth. The presumption of regularity in the performance of official functions cannot preponderate over the presumption of innocence that prevails over positive averments concerning violations of the constitutional rights of the accused. In short, the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty cannot by itself overcome the presumption of innocence nor can constitute proof beyond reasonable doubt. (People vs. Canete, G.R. No. 138400, 07/11/2002) REGULARITY IN THE PERFORMANCE OF OFFICIAL DUTY

other words, the ultimate purpose of cross-examination is to test the truth or falsity of the statements of a witness during direct examination. The basic rule is that the testimony of a witness given on direct examinations should be stricken off the record where there was no adequate opportunity for cross-examination. Of course, there are notable modifications to the basic rule which make its application essentially on a case-to-case basis. Thus, where a partly had the opportunity to cross-examine a witness but failed to avail himself of it, he necessarily forfeits his right to crossexamine and the testimony given by the witness on direct examination will be allowed to remain on record. But when the cross-examination is not or cannot be done or completed due to causes attributable to the party offering the witness, to the witness himself, the uncompleted testimony of a witness who dies before the conclusion of the crossexamination, and the absence of a witness is not enough to warrant striking of his testimony for failure to appear for further cross-examination where the witness has already been sufficiently cross-examined, which is not true in the present case, or that the matter on which further crossexamination is sought is not in controversy. (People vs. Monje, G.R. No. 146689, 09/27/2002) LEADING QUESTIONS

 It was never intended that the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty would be applied even in cases where there is no showing of substantial compliance with the requirements of the rules of procedure. (Bank of the Phil. Island vs. Spouses Evangelista, G.R. No. 146553, 11/27/2002)
CROSS-EXAMINATION  It bears stressing that the crossexamination of a witness is an absolute right, not a mere privilege, of the party against whom he is called with regard to the accused, it is a right guaranteed by the fundamental law as part of the due process. Article III Sec. 14 par. (2) of the 1987 Constitution specifically mandates that “the accused shall enjoy the right to meet the witnesses face to face” and Rule 115, Sec. 1, par (f), of the 2000 Rules of Criminal Procedure enjoins that in all criminal prosecutions the accused shall be entitled to confront and cross-examine the witnesses against him at the trial. Crossexamination serves as a safeguard to combat unreliable testimony, providing means for discrediting a witness’ testimony, and is in the nature of an attack on the truth and accuracy of his testimony. The purpose of crossexamination, however, is not limited to bringing out a falsehood, since it is also a leading and searching inquiry of the witness for further disclosure touching the particular matters detailed by him in his direct examination, and it serves to modify, or explain what has been said, in order to develop new or old facts in a view favorable to the cross-examiner. The object of cross-examination therefore is to weaken or disprove the case of one’s adversary, and break down his testimony in chief, test the recollection, veracity, accuracy, honesty and bias or prejudice of the witness, his source of information his motives, interest and memory and exhibit the improbabilities of his testimony. In

 As a general rule, leading questions are not allowed. However, when the witness is a child of tender years, it is proper for the court to allow leading questions, as it is usually difficult for a child of such age to state facts without suggestion. Leading questions are necessary to coax the truth out of their reluctant lips. (People vs. Cana, 04/22/2002)

 The fact that the witness may have been a co-conspirator in the commission of the offense is not in itself sufficient to dilute the credibility of or, mush less, be a ground to disregard altogether his testimony. Indeed, by way of exception, the testimony of a co-conspirator may, even if uncorroborated, be sufficient as when it is shown to be sincere in itself, because given unhesitatingly and in a straightforward manner, and is full of details which by its nature could not have been the result of deliberate afterthought.


(People vs. 11/21/2001)







 Previous extrajudicial statements cannot be employed to impeach the credibility of a witness unless his attention is first directed to the discrepancies, and he must then be given an opportunity to explain them. It is only when the witness cannot give a reasonable explanation that he shall be deemed impeached. (People vs. Cortezano, G.R. No. 140732, 01/29/2002)

which the record is kept, and authenticated by the seal of his office. The attestation must state, in substance, that the copy is a correct copy of the original, or a specific part thereof, as the case may be, and must be under the official seal of the attesting officer. (Manufacturers Hanover Trust Co. vs. Guerrero, G.R. No. 1366804, 02/19/2003) FOREIGN JUDGMENTS

 It is recognized in Philippine jurisprudence and international law that a foreign judgment may be barred from recognition if it runs counter to public policy. (Republic vs. Gingoyon, 481 SCRA 457, December 19, 2006)

 Inconsistencies in the testimony of a witness with respect to minor details and collateral matters do not affect the substance, veracity, or weight of the witness’ declarations. (People vs. Condino, G.R. No. 130945, 11/19/2001)
FORGERY  A finding of forgery does not depend entirely on the testimonies of handwriting experts, because the judge must conduct an independent examination of the questioned signature in order to arrive at a reasonable conclusion as to its authenticity. Sec. 22 of Rule 132 of the Rules of Court explicitly authorizes the court, by itself, to make a comparison of the disputed handwriting “with writings admitted or treated as genuine by the party against whom the evidence is offered or proved by the party to the satisfaction of the judge. (Jimenez vs. Commission on Ecumenical Mission and Relations of the United Presbyterian Church in the USA, G.R. No. 140472, 06/10/2002) PROOF OF OFFICIAL FOREIGN LAW RECORD OF

 Under Sec. 1(f) of Rule 115 of the Rules of Court, either party may utilize as part of the evidence the testimony of a witness who is deceased, out of, or cannot, with due diligence be found in the Philippines, unavailable or otherwise unable to testify, given in another case or proceeding, judicial or administrative, involving the party having parties and subject matter, the adverse party having had opportunity to cross-examine him. (People vs. Concorcio, G.R. Nos. 12120102, 10/19/2001)

 Nothing in Sec. 34 of Rule 132 requires that the evidence be offered or adopted by a specific party before it could be considered in his favor. It is enough that the evidence is offered for the court’s consideration. (Supreme Transliner, Inc. vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 125356, 11/21/2001)

 Under Sec. 24 of Rule 132, the record of public documents of a sovereign authority or tribunal may be proved by: (1) an official publication thereof, or; (2) a copy attested by the officer having the legal custody thereof. Such official publication or copy must be accompanied, if the record is not kept in the Philippines, with a certificate that the attesting officer has the legal custody thereof. The certificate may be issued by any of the authorized Philippine embassy or consular officials stationed in the foreign country in

 As a general rule, the presentation of evidence after judgment of conviction has already attained finality is not allowed. However, it is well within the prerogative of the Court to admit such evidence at this stage of the proceedings in the exercise of its power to review. Moreover, the exercise of this discretion is as much a duty of the court especially where the reception of such evidence could save the accused from the grim and irrevocable consequences of a death sentence. Indeed, the rule on finality of judgment cannot divest the Supreme Court of its jurisdiction to execute and enforce a judgment for such finality does not mean

that the court has lost all its powers. (People vs. Alvero, G.R. No. 132364, 09/27/2002) WAIVER  In Sermonia v. CA, the court ruled that as the ground raised for objecting to the evidence presented was a violation of the rule on privileged communication, the petitioner was considered to have waived his right to make an objection on the ground of the evidence being hearsay. In People vs. Competente, the court also ruled that the failure of the accused to object to hearsay is a waver of the right to cross-examine the actual witness to the occurrence, thereby rendering the evidence admissible. (Mangio vs. Court of Appeals, G. R. No. 139849, 12/05/01)  An out-of-court identification of an accused can be made in various ways in a show-up, the accused alone is brought face to face with the witness for identification, while in a police line-up, and the suspect is identified by a witness from a group of persons gathered for that purpose. During custodial investigation, these types of identification have been recognized as critical confrontations of the accused by the prosecution, which necessitate the presence of the presence of a counsel for the accused. This is because the result of these pre-trial proceedings might well settle the accused fate and reduce the trial itself to a mere formality. We have, thus, ruled that any identification of an uncounseled accused made in a police line-up, or in a show-up for that matter, after the start of the custodial investigation is inadmissible as evidence against him. However, if the defense failed to object immediately when the prosecution presented the witnesses or when specific questions regarding the matter were asked of them, as required by Sec. 36 of Rule 132 of the Rules on Evidence, accused must be deemed to have waived his right to object to the admissibility of the testimonies. Furthermore, the inadmissibility of these out- of-court identifications does not render the in-court identification of accused-appellant inadmissible for being the ‘fruits of the poisonous tree.’ This incourt identification formed the basis of the trial courts conviction of accused– appellant as it was not derived or drawn from the illegal arrest of accused– appellant or as a consequence thereof, it is admissible as evidence against him

however, whether or not such prosecution evidence satisfies the requirement of proof beyond reasonable doubt is another matter altogether. (People vs. Escordial, G.R. No. 138934-35, 01/16/02) WAIVER; ADMISSION OF EVIDENCE ON MATTERS NOT ALLEGED IN THE PLEADINGS

 The court may admit evidence on a matter not alleged in the pleadings without amendment thereof and even against the objection of the adverse party where the latter fails to satisfy the court that the admission of the evidence would prejudice him in maintaining his defense upon the merits. (Spouses Ong vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 144581, 07/05/02)

 Fraud is never presumed but must be established by clear and convincing evidence. A mere preponderance of evidence is not even adequate to prove fraud. (MC Engineering, Inc. vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 104047, 04/03/02)

 “Equiponderance of evidence rule states: When the scales shall stand upon an equipoise and there is nothing in the evidence which shall incline it to one side or the other, the court will find for the defendant. Under said principle, the plaintiff must rely on the strength of his evidence and not on the weaknesses of defendant’s claim. Even if the evidence of the plaintiff may be stronger than that of the defendant, there is no preponderance of evidence on his side if such evidence is insufficient in itself to establish his cause of action.” (Yuchenco vs.Sandiganbayan, 479 SCRA 1)  The doctrine refers to a situation where the evidence of the parties is evenly balanced or there is doubt on which side the evidence preponderates. In this case the decision should be against the party with the burden of proof. Hence, where the burden of proof is on the plaintiff and the evidence does not suggest that the scale of justice should weigh in his favor the court should render a verdict for the defendant. (Marubeni Corp. vs. Lirag, G.R. No. 130998, 8/10/2001)  In labor cases, if doubt exists between the evidence presented by the employer and the employee, the scales of justice must be tilted in favor of the latter.


(Mayon Hotel & Restaurant vs. Adana G.R. No. 157637, 5/16/ 2005) PROOF BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT

 Reasonable doubt is not such a doubt as any man may start by questioning for the sake of a doubt suggested or surmised without foundation in facts or testimony. Reasonable doubt must rise from the evidence adduced or from the lack of evidence, and it should pertain to the facts constitutive of the crime charged. (People vs. Garcia, G.R. No. 133489 & 143970, 01/15/02)

administrative proceedings against judges are highly penal in character and are to be governed by the rules applicable to criminal cases. The quantum of proof required to support administrative charges against judges should thus be more than substantial and requires proof beyond reasonable doubt. (Duduaco vs. Laquindanum, A.M. No. MTJ-05-1601, 8/11/ 2005) PREPONDERANCE OF EVIDENCE vs. SUBSTANTIAL EVIDENCE

 In murder, the corpus delicti refers to the body, foundation or substance, upon which the crime has been committed, e.g., the corpse of a murdered man. Its elements are: (1) a certain crime has been committed, and; (2) some person is criminally responsible for it. It does not refer to the autopsy report evidencing the nature of the wounds sustained by the victim nor the testimony of the physician who conducted the autopsy or medical examination. (People vs. Canno, G.R. No. 146346, 09/30/02)

 The concept of “preponderance of evidence” refers to evidence which is of greater weight, or more convincing, than that which is offered in opposition to it; at bottom, it means probability of truth. On the other hand, substantial evidence refers to such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion, eve if other minds equally reasonable might conceivably opine otherwise. (Republic vs. Guerrero, 485 SCRA 424, )

 Substantial evidence, which is the quantum of evidence required to establish a fact in cases before administrative or quasi-judicial bodies, is that level of relevant evidence which a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to justify a conclusion. (Philemploy Services and Resources, Inc. vs. Rodriguez, 486 SCRA 302, March 31, 2006)  Substantial evidence, which is more than a mere scintilla, but is such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion, suffices to hold one administratively liable, the substantial evidence rule does not authorize any finding to be made just as long as there is any evidence to support it. It does not excuse administrative agencies from taking into account countervailing evidence, which fairly detracts from the evidence supporting a finding. (Baylon vs. Fact– Finding Intelligence Bureau, G.R. No. 150870, 12/11/02)  In a relatively recent case however, while recognizing the rule that in administrative proceedings, complainants have the burden of proving the allegations in their complaints by substantial evidence, the Supreme Court held that

 For evidence to be considered, the same must be formally offered, and that while a document has been identified and marked as an exhibit, it does not automatically mean that it has already been offered as part of the evidence of a party. (Government vs. Aballe, 485 SCRA308)  A formal offer of evidence is not required in certain cases: (a) in a summary proceeding because it is a proceeding where there is no full blown trial; (b) documents judicially admitted or taken judicial notice of; (c) documents, affidavits and depositions used in rendering a summary judgment; (d) documents or affidavits used in deciding quasi-judicial or administrative cases (Bantolino vs. Coca Cola Bottlers, Inc., G.R. No. 153660, 6/10/2003); (e) lost objects previously marked, identified, described in the record and testified to by witnesses who had been subjects of cross examination in respect to said objects. (Tabuena vs. Court of Appeals, 196 SCRA 650)  The court shall consider the evidence solely for the purpose for which it is offered, not for any other purpose. (Spouses Ragudo vs. Fabella Estate Tenants Association, Inc., G.R. No. 146823, 8/9/2005)  Courts are required to resolve the admissibility the evidence offered


immediately after the objection is made or within a reasonable time. (Deutsche Bank Manila vs. Chua Yok See, 481 SCRA 672, December 2006)


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