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Tijing v.

CA 354 SCRA 17 March 8, 2001

Facts: Petitioners are husband and wife. They sought to recover custody of their child from Angelita Diamante who claimed the child to be her own. During the hearing of the petition, the judge noted that the child and the petitioner Bienvenida Tijing had strong similarities in their faces, eyes, eyebrows and head shapes.

Issue: In determining the real parents of the child, can the court take into account the facial similarity between the child and the alleged parents?

Ruling: The court ruled in the affirmative. Resemblance between a minor and his alleged parent is competent and material evidence to establish parentage The trial court's conclusion should be given high respect, it having had the opportunity to observe the physical appearances of the child and petitioner concerned.

People v. Rullepa 398 SCRA 567 March 5, 2003

Facts: The accused was charged with raping a three and a half year old girl. He prays that he be held liable for acts of lasciviousness instead of rape, apparently on the basis of the victim's testimony. The victim's age is relevant in rape cases since it may constitute an element of the offense. Furthermore, the victim's age may constitute a qualifying circumstance, warranting the imposition of the death sentence.

Issue: Is the victim's appearance in rape cases admissible as object evidence to establish her age?

Ruling: A person's appearance, where relevant, is admissible as object evidence, the same being addressed to the senses of the court. Section 1, Rule 130, of the

Revised Rules on Evidence provides that when an object is relevant to the fact in issue, it may be exhibited to be examined or viewed by the court. Experience teaches that corporal appearances are approximately an index of the age of their bearer, particularly for the marked extremes of old age and youth. In every case such evidence should be accepted and weighed for what it may be in each case worth.

People v. Jara 144 SCRA 516 September 30, 1986

Facts: The accused was sentenced to death for robbery with homicide and for parricide. During the investigation at the scene of the crime, blood stains were found splattered in the trousers and shirt worn by accused Jara. His eyeglasses were also smeared with blood. According to the NBI biologist, the blood stains found in Jara's clothing are human blood. The human blood stains were Type B.

Issue: What weight can be given to such evidence when the blood types of the victims are unknown?

Ruling: A failure to get evidence on the blood types of the two victims keeps this circumstantial evidence from being well-nigh conclusive. However, it is still strong evidence in the chain of circumstances pointing to Jara as the killer of his wife.

Sison v. People 250 SCRA 58 November 16, 1995

Facts: The defendants, identified as Marcos loyalists, were charged with the murder of Salcedo. All of the accused pleaded not guilty to the charge and trial ensued accordingly. The prosecution presented twelve witnesses, including

two eyewitnesses, Ranulfo Sumilang and Renato Banculo, and the police officers who were at the Luneta at the time of the incident. In support of their testimonies, the prosecution likewise presented documentary evidence consisting of newspaper accounts of the incident and various photographs taken during the mauling.

Issue: Who should identify photographs when presented in court as evidence?

Ruling: The rule in this jurisdiction is that photographs, when presented in evidence, must be identified by the photographer as to its production and testified as to the circumstances under which they were produced. The value of this kind of evidence lies in its being a correct representation or reproduction of the original, and its admissibility is determined by its accuracy in portraying the scene at the time of the crime. The photographer, however, is not the only witness who can identify the pictures he has taken. The correctness of the photograph as a faithful representation of the object portrayed can be proved prima facie, either by the testimony of the person who made it or by other competent witnesses, after which the court can admit it subject to impeachment as to its accuracy. Photographs, therefore, can be identified by the photographer or by any other competent witness who can testify to its exactness and accuracy.

Philippine Movie Pictures Workers' Association v. Premiere Productions, Inc. 92 Phil 843 March 25, 1953


Respondent Premiere Productions, Inc. filed with the Court of Industrial Relations an urgent petition seeking authority to lay off 44 men working in three of its departments. The ground for the lay off is the financial losses which respondent was allegedly suffering during the current year. Petitioner opposed the request alleging that the claim of financial losses has no basis in fact it being only an act of retaliation on the part of respondent for the strike staged by the workers days before in an attempt to harass and intimidate them and weaken and detroy the union to which they belong. On the date when the urgent petition was set for hearing, at the request of counsel for respondent, the presiding judge of the Court of Industrial Relations, held an ocular inspection of the studios and filming premises of respondent in the course of which he interrogated about fifteen laborers who were then present in the place. On the strength of the evidence adduced during the ocular inspection, the judge issued an order allowing respondent to lay off the workers mentioned in its petition subject to the condition that in the event that work is available in the future, they should be reemployed.

Issue: May the Court of Industrial Relations authorize the layoff of workers on the basis of an ocular inspection without receiving full evidence to determine the cause or motive of such layoff?

Ruling: An ocular inspection of the establishment involved is proper if the court finds it necessary, but such is authorized only to help the court in clearing a doubt, reaching a conclusion, or finding the truth. It is not the main trial nor should it exclude the presentation of other evidence which the parties may deem necessary to establish their case. It is merely an auxiliary remedy which the law affords the parties or the courts to reach an enlightened determination of the case.

United States v. Tan Teng 23 Phil 145 September 7, 1912


Tan Teng was charged with the crime of rape. Several days after the incident, the victim who was 7 years of age, was discovered by her sister to be suffering from a venereal disease known as gonorrhea. It was at the time of this discovery that the victim related to her sister what had happened upon the morning of the 15th of September. The latter at once put on foot an investigation to find the Chinaman. A number of Chinamen were collected together and the victim identified the defendant as the one who had attempted to violate her. Upon this information the defendant was arrested and taken to the police station and stripped of his clothing and examined. The policeman who examined him swore that his body bore every sign of the fact that he was suffering from the venereal disease known as gonorrhea. The policeman took a portion of the substance emitting from the body of the defendant and turned it over to the Bureau of Science for the purpose of having a scientific analysis made of the same. The result of the examination showed that the defendant was suffering from gonorrhea.

Issue: Whether or not the result of the scientific examination made by the Bureau of Science is admissible in evidence as proof of the fact that he was suffering from gonorrhea without violating his right not to be compelled from testifying against himself.

Ruling: The evidence is admissible. The accused was not compelled to make any admission or answer any questions. The substance was taken from the body of the defendant without his objection. The examination of the substance was made by competent medical authority and the result showed that the defendant was suffering from said disease. The prohibition against compelling a man in a criminal case to be a witness against himself is a prohibition against physical or moral compulsion to extort communications from him, and not an exclusion of his body as evidence, when it may be material. The prohibition contained in the Philippine Bill (sec. 5) that a person shall not be compelled to be a witness against himself, is simply a prohibition against legal process to extract from the defendant's own lips, against his will, an admission of his guilt.

Villaflor v. Summers 41 Phil 62 September 8, 1920

Facts: The Honorable Judge of the Court of First Instance ordered the defendant Emeteria Villaflor, to submit her body to the examination of one or two competent doctors to determine if she was pregnant or not. The accused refused to obey the order on the ground that such examination of her person was a violation of the constitutional provision relating to self-incrimination.

Thereupon she was found in contempt of court and was ordered to be committed to Bilibid Prison until she should permit the medical examination required by the court.

Issue: Whether or not the compelling of a woman to permit her body to be examined by physicians to determine if she is pregnant, violates her right against self-incrimination.

Ruling: Constitutional guaranty, that no person shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, is limited to a prohibition against compulsory testimonial self-incrimination. The corollary to the proposition is that, an ocular inspection of the body of the accused is permissible. The proviso is that torture of force shall be avoided. Although the order of the trial judge, acceding to the request of the assistant fiscal for an examination of the person of the defendant by physicians was phrased in absolute terms, it should, nevertheless, be understood as subject to the limitations herein mentioned, and therefore legal.

People v. Ruiz 110 SCRA 155 December 14, 1981

Facts: The accused was charged with murder. In his defense, the accused claimed that the deceased and him were wrestling with the gun and it was the left forefinger of the deceased which pulled the trigger causing it to fire. Paraffin tests were conducted on both the accused and the deceased. The results showed that the accused's right hand was positive for nitrates while his left hand was negative for nitrates. The deceased's paraffin test showed that both his hands were negative for nitrates while his left cheek was positive for nitrates.

Issue: Can the claim of self defense by the accused be sustained despite the results of the paraffin tests?

Ruling: The court ruled in the negative. If the accused fired his unlicensed gun with his right hand, as the presence of nitrates thereon would prove, and there being no nitrate found on his left hand, when he was subjected to paraffin test the day following the shooting incident also in Camp Crame, the defense theory that the deceased pulled out a gun which accused tried to wrest from the deceased with his left hand, and that in the course of the struggle for the possession of the gun, it went off with the deceased's finger also pressed against the trigger, would be pure concoction. Under such theory, the left least, of the deceased that supposedly fired the gun. But paraffin test conducted on June 2, 1968 showed both hands of the deceased negative for nitrates . It was the left cheek of the deceased that was found positive for the presence of nitrates, which shows that the gun was close to the face when it was fired.

People v. Teehankee, Jr.

249 SCRA 54 October 6, 1995

Facts: The accused was charged with murder for the killing of Roland Chapman and Maureen Hultman and frustrated murder for the shooting and wounding of Jussi Leino. On the night of July 12, 1991, Leino invited Chapman, Hultman and other friends for a party at his house in Forbes Park, Makati. After the party, they decided to go to a pub to hang out and returned to Leino's house to eat. After a while, Hultman requested Leino to take her home and Chapman tagged along. On their way to Hultman's house, they came across with the accused Claudio Teehankee, Jr. The latter, without any reason shot the three which caused the death of Chapman and Hultman and wounding of Leino. During the course of the investigation, the accused submitted himself to a paraffin test and the result showed that he was negative of nitrates.

Issue: Whether or not the accused can be acquitted based on the negative result of the paraffin test.

Ruling: The court ruled in the negative. Scientific experts concur in the view that paraffin test has proved extremely unreliable in use. The only thing it can definitely establish is the presence or absence of nitrates or nitrites on the hand. It cannot be established from this test alone that the source of the nitrates or nitrites was the discharge of a firearm. The person 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. 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. Several factors may bring about the absence of gunpowder nitrates on the hands of a gunman, viz: when the assailant washes his hands after firing a gun, wears gloves at the time of the shooting, or if the direction of a strong wind is against the gunman at the time of the firing. The conduct of the

paraffin test after more than 72 hours from the time of the shooting may not lead to a reliable result for, by such time, the nitrates could have already been removed by washing or perspiration.

Abalos v. CA 321 SCRA 446

December 22, 1999

Facts: Delfin Abalos was convicted by the RTC of murder. The killing was witnessed by Veronica Bulatao who testified that Abalos shot the victim, her boyfriend, in her house and at close range. Abalos argues that there is not enough evidence to convict him because the paraffin test conducted on him yielded negative for powder burns on his hand, hence confirming that he never fired the shot that killed the victim.

Issue: Whether or not the innocence of the defendant can be proved by the negative result of the paraffin test.

Ruling: The court ruled in the negative. Although the paraffin test produced a negative result, such fact does not ipso facto merit Delfin's acquittal. The absence of powder burns in a suspect's hand is not conclusive proof that he has not fired a gun. In fact, traces of nitrates can easily be removed by the simple act of washing one's hand.

People v. De Guzman 224 SCRA 93 November 16, 1995

Facts: The accused-appellant was convicted of the crime of murder by the Regional Trial Court of Dagupan City, Branch 43, on the basis of circumstantial evidence. During the course of the trial, the prosecution presented the nitrate report on accused-appellant. The paraffin test conducted on him yielded a positive result on his left hand.

Issue: Whether or not the positive result of the paraffin test is sufficient to prove the guilt of the accused-appellant.

Ruling: Paraffin test is inconclusive. "Scientific experts concur in the view that the paraffin test has proved extremely unreliable in use.' The only thing that it can definitely establish is the presence or absence of nitrates or nitrites on the hand. It cannot be established from this test alone that the source of the nitrates or nitrites was the discharge of firearm. The person 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 alfalta. 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 should be taken only as an indication of a possibility or even of a probability but not of infallibility that a person has fired a gun, since nitrates are also admittedly found in substances other than

gunpowder. In the case at bar, we note, too, that accused-appellant's left hand alone is positive of nitrates. His right hand has no trace of nitrate. Did he use his left hand in shooting the victim? Is he left handed? The evidence of the prosecution does not provide the answer.

Alih v. Castro 154 SCRA 279 June 23, 1987

Facts: On November 25, 1984, a contingent of more than two hundred Philippine marines and elements of the home defense forces raided the compound occupied by the petitioners at Gov. Alvarez street, Zamboanga City, in search of loose firearms, ammunition and other explosives. The besieged compound surrendered the following morning, and sixteen male occupants were arrested, later to be finger-printed, paraffin-tested and photographed over their objection. The military also inventoried and confiscated nine M16 rifles, one M14 rifle, nine rifle grenades, and several rounds of ammunition found in the premises. On December 21, 1984, the petitioners came to this Court in a petition for prohibition and mandamus with preliminary injunction and restraining order. Their purpose was to recover the articles seized from them, to prevent these from being used as evidence against them, and to challenge their fingerprinting, photographing and paraffin-testing as violative of their right against self-incrimination.

Issue: Can the arrested male occupants be compelled to be finger-printed, paraffintested and photographed over their objection?


The objection to the photographing, fingerprinting and paraffin-testing of the petitioners deserves slight comment. The prohibition against selfincrimination applies to testimonial compulsion only. As Justice Holmes put it in Holt v. United States, "The prohibition of compelling a man in a criminal court to be a witness against himself is a prohibition of the use of physical or moral compulsion to extort communications from him, not an exclusion of his body as evidence when it may be material.

People v. Codilla 244 SCRA 104 June 30, 1993

Facts: Margarita Alpos, Helen Pepito and Letecia Pepito instituted four separate complaints with the Regional Trial Court, Branch 12, Ormoc City, for rape against accused-appellants Rolando Codilla, German Lucanas and Marcelo Putulin. The police investigators induced positive identification by placing the accused-appellants in a police line-up by themselves only and by having them undress. The accused-appellants questions this procedure because it it is violative of their right against self-incrimination.

Issue: Whether or not the right of the accused-appellants against self-incrimination was violated when they were required to remove their garments.

Ruling: The court ruled in the negative. The right against self-incrimination has been defined as a protection against testimonial compulsion. It prohibits the use of physical or moral compulsion to extort communications from the accused, not an exclusion of his body as evidence when it may be material. Essentially, the right is meant to "avoid and prohibit positively the repetition and recurrence of the certainly inhuman procedure of compelling a person, in a criminal or any other case, to furnish the missing evidence necessary for his conviction."

With the passage of time, this has been extended to any evidence "communicative in nature acquired under circumstances of duress." An act, whether testimonial or passive, that would amount to disclosure of incriminatory facts is covered by the inhibition of the Constitution. This should be distinguished, parenthetically, from mechanical acts the accused is made to execute which are not meant to unearth undisclosed facts but to ascertain physical attributes determinable by simple observation, like requiring him to take part in a police line-up. In fact, it has been held that to require a person to remove his garments would not be violative of the right against self-incrimination. To require the accused to put on a pair of pants and a hat to determine whether they fitted him for measuring or photographing of a party, or the removal or replacement of garments or shoes, are not within the privilege against self-incrimination too.

People v. Narvasa 298 SCRA 637 November 16, 1998

Facts: Felicisimo Narvasa was convicted by the RTC of illegal possession of firearms in its aggravated form. Narvasa contends that the existence of the firearms was not sufficiently proven because the prosecution had not presented the firearms as evidence. It is necessary, he argues, that said firearms allegedly possessed by him and allegedly used in the killing of policeman Primo Camba be presented in evidence as those firearms constitute the corpus delicti of the crime with which they are sentenced.

Issue: Whether or not the firearm must be presented in evidence in order to establish its existence.

Ruling: The court ruled in the negative. The existence of the firearm must be established but need not be presented as evidence. The testimonies of several witnesses indubitably demonstrate the existence of the firearms. Said testimonies taken together sufficiently establish the existence of the subject firearms and the fact that Narvasa possessed and used said firearms in firing at the victims.

Vallejo v. Samartino 382 SCRA 192 May 9, 2002

Facts: The accused was charged with rape with homicide. During the course of the investigation, at the instance of City Prosecutor, NBI Forensic Biologist Pet Byron Buan took buccal swabs and hair samples from accused-appellant, as well as buccal swabs and hair samples from the parents of the victim, namely, Ma. Nida Diolola and Arnulfo Diolola. The samples were submitted to the DNA Laboratory of the NBI for examination. Aida Viloria-Magsipoc, Forensic Chemist of the NBI, conducted DNA tests on the specimens collected by Dr. Vertido. She testified that the vaginal swabs of the victim taken by Dr. Vertido during the autopsy contained the DNA profiles of accused-appellant and the victim. The DNA analysis was questioned by accused-appellant. He argues that the prosecution failed to show that all the samples submitted for DNA testing were not contaminated, considering that these specimens were already soaked in smirchy waters before they were submitted to the laboratory.

Issue: What should the court consider in assessing the probative value of DNA evidence?

Ruling: In assessing the probative value of DNA evidence, the courts should consider among others things, the following data: how the samples were collected, how they were handled, the possibility of contamination of the samples, the procedure followed in analyzing the samples, whether the proper standards and procedures were followed in conducting the tests, and the qualification of the analyst who conducted the tests.

Herrera v. Alba 460 SCRA 197 June 15, 2005

Facts: On 14 May 1998, then thirteen-year-old Rosendo Alba (respondent), represented by his mother Armi Alba, filed before the trial court a petition for compulsory recognition, support and damages against petitioner. On 7 August 1998, petitioner filed his answer with counterclaim where he denied that he is the biological father of respondent. Petitioner also denied physical contact with respondents mother. Respondent filed a motion to direct the taking of DNA paternity testing to abbreviate the proceedings. Petitioner opposed DNA paternity testing and contended that it has not gained acceptability.

Issue: Whether or not a DNA test is a valid probative tool in this jurisdiction to determine filiation.

Ruling: Evidence is admissible when it is relevant to the fact in issue and is not otherwise excluded by statute or the Rules of Court. Evidence is relevant when it has such a relation to the fact in issue as to induce belief in its existence or non-existence. Section 49 of Rule 130, which governs the admissibility of expert testimony, provides as follows: The opinion of a witness on a matter requiring special knowledge, skill, experience or training which he is shown to possess may be received in evidence. This Rule does not pose any legal obstacle to the admissibility of DNA analysis as evidence. Indeed, even evidence on collateral matters is allowed when it tends in any reasonable degree to establish the probability or improbability of the fact in issue.

Agustin v. CA 460 SCRA 315 June 15, 2005

Facts: Respondents Fe Angela and her son Martin Prollamante sued Martins alleged biological father, petitioner Arnel L. Agustin, for support and support pendente lite. Arnel vehemently denied having sired Martin but expressed willingness to consider any proposal to settle the case. Fe and Martin moved for the issuance of an order directing all the parties to submit themselves to DNA paternity testing pursuant to Rule 28 of the Rules of Court. Arnel opposed said motion by invoking his constitutional right against selfincrimination.


Whether or not DNA testing is a conclusive means of proving paternity.

Ruling: In case proof of filiation or paternity would be unlikely to satisfactorily establish or would be difficult to obtain, DNA testing, which examines genetic codes obtained from body cells of the illegitimate child and any physical residue of the long dead parent could be resorted to. A positive match would clear up filiation or paternity.

People v. Bago 330 SCRA 115 April 6, 2000

Facts: Appellant Reynaldo Bago, an employee of Azkcon Metal Industries was charged with qualified theft. He contends that that the prosecution failed to prove even by circumstantial evidence that he asported the cold rolled sheets

in question. He asserts that these materials were delivered to Azkcon as evidenced by the receipt duly stamped by the guard on duty.

Issue: Is a receipt duly stamped by the guard on duty the best evidence to prove actual delivery and should therefore be given more credence than the guard's testimony?

Ruling: The best evidence rule cannot be invoked unless the content of a writing is the subject of judicial inquiry, in which case, the best evidence is the original writing itself. The rule pertains to the admissibility of secondary evidence to prove the contents of a document. In the case at bar, no secondary evidence is offered to prove the content of a document. What is being questioned by appellant is the weight given by the trial court to the testimony of Manangan over the receipt which on its face shows that the materials in question were delivered to Azkcons premises. Clearly, the best evidence rule finds no application on this issue.

Arceo v. People 495 SCRA 204

July 17, 2006

Facts: On March 14, 1991, petitioner, obtained a loan from private complainant Josefino Cenizal in the amount of P100,000.00. Several weeks thereafter, petitioner obtained an additional loan of P50,000.00 from Cenizal. Petitioner then issued in favor of Cenizal, Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) Check No. 163255, postdated August 4, 1991, for P150,000.00, at Cenizals house. When August 4, 1991 came, Cenizal did not deposit the check immediately because petitioner promised that he would replace the check with cash. Such promise was made verbally seven times. When his patience ran out, Cenizal brought the check to the bank for encashment. The head office of the Bank of the Philippine Islands through a letter dated December 5, 1991, informed Cenizal that the check bounced because of insufficient funds. Cenizal executed before the office of the City Prosecutor of Quezon City his affidavit and submitted documents in support of his complaint for estafa and violation of BP 22 against petitioner. The check in question and the return slip were however lost by Cenizal as a result of a fire that occurred near his residence. Cenizal executed an Affidavit of Loss regarding the loss of the check in question and the return slip.

Issue: Is the presentation of the check in evidence necessary for conviction under BP 22?

Ruling: Petitioners insistence on the presentation of the check in evidence as a condition sine qua non for conviction under BP 22 is wrong. Petitioner anchors his argument on Rule 130, Section 3, of the Rules of Court, otherwise known as the best evidence rule. However, the rule applies only where the content of the document is the subject of the inquiry. Where the issue is the execution or existence of the document or the circumstances surrounding its execution, the best evidence rule does not apply and testimonial evidence is admissible. The gravamen of the offense is the act of drawing and issuing a worthless check. Hence, the subject of the inquiry is the fact of issuance or execution of the check, not its content.

Ebreo v. Ebreo 483 SCRA 583

February 28, 2006

Facts: Felipe Ebreo died intestate leaving behind as heirs his five children. He left to his children an untitled parcel of land situated in Barangay Sampaga, Batangas City. Pursuant to the subdivision made by their father Felipe, the land was divided into six lots identified as Lots A, B, C, D, E and F. The five heirs executed and signed a document where they extrajudicially partitioned the property except the portion known as Lot No. 9046-F. They agreed that said portion shall remain under the co-ownership of all the heirs. However, plaintiffs were surprised to discover that such portion of the land was declared for taxation purposes in the name of defendant Antonio Ebreo. Based on the plaintiffs' recitals, they alleged that they never sold, ceded, conveyed or transferred their rights, share and co-ownership over Lot 9046-F. Answering the complaint, the defendants countered that after the execution of the document of partition, Lot 9046-F was sold by the heirs to Santiago Puyo. By virtue of this sale, the corresponding Real Property Tax Declaration was transferred in the name of Santiago Puyo as owner. However, the deed of sale evidencing this transaction was never presented.

Issue: Does an annotation in a tax declaration of an alleged Deed of Sale sufficiently prove conveyance of title to a property?

Ruling: The fact that tax declarations for Lot 9046-F were issued in the name of defendant Antonio Ebreo and that he paid taxes for the land provides no evidentiary value that he was the owner thereof. Tax declarations are not sufficient evidence to prove possession in the concept of owners. Considering that the annotation of the disputed Deed of Sale in a tax declaration is not sufficient proof of the transfer of property and inasmuch as the subject of inquiry is the Deed of Sale, it was incumbent on the petitioners to adduce in evidence the original or a copy of the deed. In the absence of the said document, the exhortations of petitioners regarding the existence of said deed of sale must fail.

Social Security System v. Aguas 483 SCRA 383 February 27, 2006

Facts: Pablo Aguas, a member of the Social Security Systemand a pensioner, died on December 8, 1996. His surviving spouse, Rosanna, filed a claim with the SSS for death benefits. She indicated in her claim that Pablo was likewise survived by his minor child Jeylnn. Pablo's sister contested Rosanna's claim for death benefits. She alleged that Rosanna abandoned the family abode approximately more than six years before, and lived with another man on whom she has been dependent for support. She further averred that Pablo had no legal children with Rosanna, but the latter had several children with a certain Romeo dela Pena. These allegations were confirmed by the testimonies of Pablo's cousin and neighbor during the investigation conducted by the Social Security Officer. On the basis of the report and an alleged confirmation by a doctor that Pablo was infertile, the SSS denied Rosanna's request to resume the payment of their pensions. The claimants, joined by Janet Aguas who also claimed to be the child of the deceased, filed a claim/petition for the Restoration/Paymentof Pensions with Social Security Commission. They presented photocopies of Pablo and Rosanna's marriage certificate, Janet and Jeylnn's certificate of live birth and Pablo's death certificate. Jeylnn's birth certificate was authenticated by the Civil Registry while Janet's was not.

Issue: Whether or not a mere photocopy of a birth certificate which was not verified in any way by the civil register be given probative value.

Ruling: The court ruled in the negative. Such birth certificate stands as a mere photocopy, without probative weight. Unlike Jeylnn, there was no confirmation by the civil register of the fact of Janet's birth on the date stated in the certificate.

Abella v. CA 257 SCRA 482

June 20, 1996

Facts: The lessor issued a receipt which reads: Received from Mr. Conrado O. Colarina the sum of forty thousand pesos (40, 000) as advanced deposit to answer for any rental which Mr. Conrado O. Colarina may fail to pay during the term of the lease as per contract, dated 26th day of May, 1987 notarized before notary public Oscar Villamora, Doc. No. 398; page no. 80; book no. 9, series of 1987, this 26 th day of May, 1987, at Naga City. In a subsequent litigation involving the lease contract, however, the lessor presented witnesses to show that the P40, 000 is merely goodwill money.

Issue: Whether or not oral testimony can prevail over documentary evidence.

Ruling: The court ruled in the negative. The receipt expresses truly the parties' intent on the purpose of said payment as against the oral testimony of the petitioner that said amount is merely goodwill money. Without any doubt, oral testimony as to a certain fact, depending as it does exclusively on human memory, is not as reliable as written or documentary evidence.