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Posted by kaye lee on 1:45 PM

G.R. No. 125901, March 8, 2001 [Habeas Corpus]
Edgardo and Bienvenida Tijing filed a petition for habeas corpus in order to recover their
youngest child, Edgardo Jr., whom they did not see for 4 years. Trial court granted the
petition and ordered Angelita Diamante to immediately release the child, now named John
Thomas D. Lopez, and turn him over to his parents. CA reversed and set aside the decision
rendered by the lower court. It questioned the propriety of the habeas corpus in this case.
ISSUE:Whether or not habeas corpus is the proper remedy to regain custody of the minor.
Yes. SC upheld the decision of the trial court.
The writ of habeas corpus extends to all cases of illegal confinement or detention by which
any person is deprived of his liberty, or by the rightful custody of any person withheld from
the persons entitled thereto. The writ of habeas corpus is the proper legal remedy to enable
parents to regain the custody of a minor child even if the latter be in the custody of a third
person of his own free will. It must be stressed out that in habeas corpus proceeding, the
question of identity is relevant and material, subject to the usual presumption, including
those as identity of the person.
The trial court was correct in its judgment based on the evidence established by the parents
and by the witness who is the brother of the late common-law husband of Angelita.
Furthermore, there are no clinical records, log book or discharge from the clinic where John
Thomas was allegedly born were presented. Strong evidence directly proves that Thomas
Lopez, Angela's "husband", was not capable of siring a child. Moreover, his first marriage
produced no offspring even after almost 15 years of living together with his legal wife. His
14 year affair with Angelita also bore no offspring.
The birth certificate of John Thomas Lopez were attended by irregularities. It was filed by
Thomas Lopez, the alleged father. Under Sec. 4, Act No. 3753 (Civil Register Law), the
attending physician or midwife in attendance of the birth should cause the registration of
such birth. Only in default of the physician or midwife, can the parent register the birth of his
child. Certificate must be filed with the LCR within 30 days after the birth. The status of
Thomas and Angelita on the birth certificate were typed in as legally married, which is false
because Angelita herself had admitted that she is a "common-law wife."
Trial court also observed several times that when the child and Bienvenida were both in
court, the two had strong similarities in their faces. Resemblance between a minor and his
alleged parent is competent and material evidence to establish parentage. Lastly, the

spouses presented clinical records and testimony of the midwife who attended Bienvenida's
Categories: Habeas Corpus, Persons and Family Relations, Philippine Civil Code

People of the Philippines vs

Gerrico Vallejo
On July 10, 1999 (Rosario, Cavite), at about 1pm, 9-year old Daisy Diolola went to her
neighbors house to seek help in an assignment. It was a Saturday. Gerrico Vallejo, the
neighbor, helped Daisy in her assignment. At 5pm of the same day, Daisys mom noticed
that her child wasnt home yet. She went to Vallejos house and Daisy wasnt there. 7pm,
still no word of Daisys whereabouts. The next morning, Daisys body was found tied to a
tree near a river bank. Apparently, she was raped and thereafter strangled to death.
In the afternoon of July 11, the police went to Vallejos house to question the latter
as he was one of the last persons with the victim. But prior to that, some neighbors
have already told the police that Vallejo was acting strangely during the afternoon
of July 10. The police requested for the clothes that Vallejo wore the day Daisy
disappeared. Vallejo complied and the clothes were submitted forprocessing.
The person who processed the clothing was Pet Byron Buan, a Forensic Biologist of
the NBI. At the instance of the local fiscal, he also took buccal swabs (mouth/cheek
swabs) from Vallejo and a vaginal swab from Daisys body for DNA testing. Dr. Buan
found that there were bloodstains in Vallejos clothing Blood Type A, similar to that
of the victim, while Vallejos Blood Type is O.
Buan also found that the vaginal swab from Daisy contained Vallejos DNA profile.
Meanwhile, Vallejo already executed a sworn statement admitting the crime. But
when trial came, Vallejo insisted that the sworn statement was coerced; that he was
threatened by the cops; that the DNA samples should be inadmissible because the
body and the clothing of Daisy (including his clothing which in effect is an
admission placing him in the crime scene though not discussed in the case) were
already soaked in smirchy waters, hence contaminated. Vallejo was convicted and
was sentenced to death by the trial court.

ISSUE: Whether or not the DNA samples gathered are admissible as evidence.
HELD: Yes. The Supreme Court ruled that the findings of Dr. Buan are conclusive.
The court reiterated that even though DNA evidence is merely circumstantial, it can
still convict the accused considering that it corroborates all other circumstantial
evidence gathered in this rape-slay case.
The Supreme Court also elucidated on the admissibility of DNA evidence in this case
and for the first time recognized its evidentiary value in the Philippines, thus:
DNA is an organic substance found in a persons cells which contains his or her
genetic code. Except for identical twins, each persons DNA profile is distinct and
When a crime is committed, material is collected from the scene of the crime or
from the victims body for the suspects DNA. This is the evidence sample. The
evidence sample is thenmatched with the reference sample taken from the suspect
and the victim.
The purpose of DNA testing is to ascertain whether an association exists between
the evidence sample and the reference sample. The samples collected are
subjected to various chemical processes to establish their profile.32 The test may
yield three possible results:
1) The samples are different and therefore must have originated from different
sources (exclusion). This conclusion is absolute and requires no further analysis or
2) It is not possible to be sure, based on the results of the test, whether the samples
have similar DNA types (inconclusive). This might occur for a variety of reasons
including degradation, contamination, or failure of some aspect of the protocol.
Various parts of the analysis might then be repeated with the same or a different
sample, to obtain a more conclusive result; or
3) The samples are similar, and could have originated from the same source
(inclusion). In such a case, the samples are found to be similar, the analyst proceeds
to determine the statistical significance of the Similarity.
In assessing the probative value of DNA evidence, therefore, 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.
Credibility of witnesses| Circumstantial Evidence| DNA Testing


G.R. No. 150224 (428 SCRA 504); May 19, 2004

Accused-appellant was sentenced to death for the special complex crime of Rape with
Homicide, and ordering him to pay the heirs of the victim. Appellant was charged to have
had carnal knowledge of a certain Kathylyn Uba against her will, and with the use of a
bladed weapon, stabbed the latter inflicting upon her fatal injuries resulting in her untimely

In the instant case, appellant raises the issue of credibility of witnesses, specifically
assigning as error on the part of the trial court, the latters giving of much weight to the
evidence presented by the prosecution notwithstanding their doubtfulness.

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Whether appellants contentions as regards the witnesses credibility are meritorious.

The issue regarding the credibility of the prosecution witnesses should be resolved against
appellant. This Court will not interfere with the judgment of the trial court in determining the
credibility of witnesses unless there appears in the record some fact or circumstance of
weight and influence which has been overlooked or the significance of which has been

Well-entrenched is the rule that the findings of the trial court on credibility of witnesses are
entitled to great weight on appeal unless cogent reasons are presented necessitating a
reexamination if not the disturbance of the same; the reason being that the former is in a

better and unique position of hearing first hand the witnesses and observing their
deportment, conduct and attitude. Absent any showing that the trial judge overlooked,
misunderstood, or misapplied some facts or circumstances of weight which would affect the
result of the case, the trial judges assessment of credibility deserves the appellate courts
highest respect. Where there is nothing to show that the witnesses for the prosecution were
actuated by improper motive, their testimonies are entitled to full faith and credit.

The weight of the prosecutions evidence must be appreciated in light of the well-settled rule
which provides that an accused can be convicted even if no eyewitness is available, as long
as sufficient circumstantial evidence is presented by the prosecution to prove beyond doubt
that the accused committed the crime.

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Sufficiency of Circumstantial Evidence

HELD: Circumstantial evidence, to be sufficient to warrant a conviction, must form an

unbroken chain which leads to a fair and reasonable conclusion that the accused, to the
exclusion of others, is the perpetrator of the crime. To determine whether there is sufficient
circumstantial evidence, three requisites must concur: (1) there is more than one
circumstance; (2) facts on which the inferences are derived are proven; and (3) the
combination of all the circumstances is such as to produce a conviction beyond reasonable

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In an attempt to exclude the DNA evidence, the appellant contends that the blood sample
taken from him as well as the DNA tests were conducted in violation of his right to remain
silent as well as his right against self-incrimination under Secs. 12 and 17 of Art. III of the

Is the contention of appellant tenable?

The kernel of the right is not against all compulsion, but against testimonial compulsion. The
right against self- incrimination is simply against the legal process of extracting from the lips
of the accused an admission of guilt. It does not apply where the evidence sought to be
excluded is not an incrimination but as part of object evidence.
We ruled in People v. Rondero that although accused-appellant insisted that hair samples
were forcibly taken from him and submitted to the National Bureau of Investigation for
forensic examination, the hair samples may be admitted in evidence against him, for what is
proscribed is the use of testimonial compulsion or any evidence communicative in nature
acquired from the accused under duress.
Hence, a person may be compelled to submit to fingerprinting, photographing, paraffin,
blood and DNA, as there is no testimonial compulsion involved. Under People v. Gallarde,
where immediately after the incident, the police authorities took pictures of the accused
without the presence of counsel, we ruled that there was no violation of the right against
self-incrimination. The accused may be compelled to submit to a physical examination to
determine his involvement in an offense of which he is accused.