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Tiburcia Brabangco is the declared owner
of two parcels of land. The surviving
widow and children of German Corpus
alleged that they were sold by the former
to Corpus in 1925 for P450, of which P300
was paid right upon the execution of the
deed of sale in due form, as witnessed by
Pablo and Bonifacio Villareal and
acknowledged by Tiburcia before the
Notary Public, Jose Tirador. The balance
was also alleged to have been paid by
Corpus to Tiburcia, as evidenced by a
receipt. Corpus heirs claim that Corpus
had been in possession of said lands from
1925 until his death. Six months after
Corpus death, however, the defendants,
with the aid and protection of policemen,
entered the property, cut down and carried
away 1,000 bamboos as well as 2 and
sacks of corn. Tiburcia denied having sold
the land, alleging that she simply
accommodated and allowed the Corpuses
to build their evacuation cottage when

Were the heirs of
Corpus able to
establish the contents
of the deed of sale
despite the absence
of the original

Held: Yes.
As the heirs alleged, the original deed of sale signed by
Tiburcia was lost during the war. Corpus heirs made efforts
to trace the whereabouts of Notary Public Jose Tirador to
get a copy of the deed, but the latters children said that
their parents were already dead and that their house in
chich their father had kept his documents had burned down.
The existence of the deed, however, was convincingly
proven not only by the testimony of Corpus widow, and by
the environmental facts disclosed by the evidence, but also
by the disinterested testimony of Pablo Ableza, a municipal
counselor who served as one of the witnesses in the
execution of the sale. After proper proof of the due
execution and delivery of the instrument, and its loss or
destruction, oral evidence may be given of its contents by
any person who signed the document or read it.

It is not necessary that the witness
should be able to testify with verbal
accuracy as to the contents of a lost
instrument; it is sufficient that the
contents are stated in substance.
Witnesses cannot be expected to
recite the content word for word. It is
enough if intelligent witnesses have
read the paper and can state
substantially its contents and import
with reasonable accuracy.


FERRER (1968)

Jose Villarama sold his 2 CPC to

PANTRANCO with the condition that the
seller "shall not for a period of 10 years
from the date of this sale, apply for any
TPU service identical or competing with
the buyer." Barely 3 mos. thereafter, Villa
Rey Transit Inc was organized where
Natividad, wife of Jose Villarama, was one
of the incorporators. It was granted
provisional permit to operate by PSC.
However, 2 of its CPC were sold to Ferrer
who then sold them to Pantranco. Villa
Rey Corp filed for annulment of the
sheriffs sale and sale to Pantranco.
Pantranco filed a 3rd party complaint
against Villarama invoking the restriction

WON the photostatic

copies of the ledger
entries and vouchers
showing that
Villarama had comingled his personal
funds and
transactions with
those made in the
name of the
Corporation were

YES. 2nd, 3rd, 4th requisites admitted by Villarama. First

element also met, even if lost.
Taking account of the foregoing evidence, together with
Celso Rivera's testimony,16 it would appear that: Villarama
supplied the organization expenses and the assets of the
Corporation, such as trucks and equipment;17 there was no
actual payment by the original subscribers of the amounts of
P95,000.00 and P100,000.00 as appearing in the
books;18 Villarama made use of the money of the
Corporation and deposited them to his private
accounts;19 and the Corporation paid his personal
accounts.20 Villarama himself admitted that he mingled the
corporate funds with his own money.21 He also admitted that
gasoline purchases of the Corporation were made in his
name22 because "he had existing account with Stanvac
which was properly secured and he wanted the Corporation
to benefit from the rebates that he received."23 The
foregoing circumstances are strong persuasive evidence
showing that Villarama has been too much involved in the
affairs of the Corporation to altogether negative the claim
that he was only a part-time general manager. They show

Section 5 of Rule 130 of the Rules of

Court provides for the requisites for
the admissibility of secondary
evidence when the original is in the
custody of the adverse party, thus:
(1) opponent's possession of the
(2) reasonable notice to opponent to
produce the original;
(3) satisfactory proof of its existence;
(4) failure or refusal of opponent to
produce the original in court.
It is not necessary for a party
seeking to introduce secondary
evidence to show that the original is
in the actual possession of his
adversary. It is enough that the
circumstances are such as to
indicate that the writing is in his
possession or under his control.
Neither is it required that the party
entitled to the custody of the

Best Evidence Rule | Alegre

Corpus heirs could not produce the deed

of sale, however, which had allegedly
been lost during the war. The trial court
ruled in favor of the heirs and upheld the

beyond doubt that the Corporation is his alter ego.


The union was performing arraste and

stevedoring services for the companys
vessels. It was stipulated that the union
shall be paid by cargo owners and
consignees. The latter refused to pay for
the stevedoring services. The contract
was verbally renewed. Pending a
certification case filed by the union to be
the exclusive bargaining unit of the
employees, the company later on
terminated the contract. It entered into a
new contract with ISA. The union picketed
for nine days. The company filed for
rescission, injunction, and damages. TC
ruled against the union.

WON the
accountants reports
(damages suffered by
the company only
amounted to
349,245.37, and not
450,000) are
admissible by virtue of
Sec 3(c), Rule 130

instrument should, on being notified

to produce it, admit having it in his
possession.14 Hence, secondary
evidence is admissible where he
denies having it in his possession.

NO. The voluminous character of the records was not duly

It is also a requisite for the application of the rule that the
records and accounts should be made accessible to the
adverse party so that the company, of the summary may be
tested on cross-examination (29 Am Jur 2nd 517-8; 32A
C.J.S. 111).
What applies to this case is the general rule "that an audit
made by, or the testimony of, a private auditor, is
inadmissible in evidence as proof of the original records,
books of accounts, reports or the like" (Anno 52 ALR 1266).
That general rule cannot be relaxed in this case because
the company failed to make a preliminary showing as to the
difficulty or impossibility attending the production of the
records in court and their examination and analysis as
evidence by the court (29 Am Jur 2nd 529).

Efren Teodoro was a credit cardholder of

Citibank. He refused payment saying that
the amt demanded did not correspond to
his actual obligations. Pet filed a complaint
for collection. During trial, pet presented
photocopies of several sales invoices or
charge slips.

WON the photocopies

were admissible

NO. Offeror failed to prove any of the exceptions as well as

the conditions of admissibility.
The existence of the original sales invoices was
established by the photocopies and the testimony of
Hernandez. Petitioner, however, failed to prove that the
originals had been lost or could not be produced in court
after reasonable diligence and good faith in searching for
Indeed, the loss of the originals and reasonable
diligence in the search for them were conditions that were
not met, because the sales invoices might have been found
by Equitable. Hernandez, testifying that he had requested
the originals from Equitable, failed to show that he had
subsequently followed up the request.
Also, triplicates were produced, although the cardholder
signed the sales invoice only once.[19] During the trial,
Hernandez explained that an original copy had gone to
respondent, another to the merchant, and still another to
petitioner. Petitioner failed to show that all three original
copies were unavailable, and that due diligence had been
exercised in the search for them.

Before a party is allowed to adduce

secondary evidence to prove the
contents of the original sales
invoices, the offeror must prove the
(1) the existence or due execution of
the original;
(2) the loss and destruction of the
original or the reason for its
nonproduction in court; and
(3) on the part of the offeror, the
absence of bad faith to which the
unavailability of the original can be
The correct order of proof is as
follows: existence, execution, loss,
and contents. At the sound
discretion of the court, this order
may be changed if necessary.
When more than one original copy
exists, it must appear that all of them
have been lost, destroyed, or cannot
be produced in court before
secondary evidence can be given of
any one. A photocopy may not be

Best Evidence Rule | Alegre


used without accounting for the

other originals.


Veronico Tenebro, in his life, contracted 3

marriages. After the 2nd wife Ancajas
learned of the 3rd marriage and upon
verifying the existence of the 1st marriage,
Ancajas filed a complaint for bigamy.
Tenebro denied the validity of the 1st
marriage. RTC found him guilty.

WON the first

marriage was valid
considering the NSO
and Civil Registrar
Certificates saying
that the respective
offices do not have a
record of the 1st

NMI, in 3 separate transactions, sold and

delivered to VMCI pieces of empty white
bags evidenced by charge invoices. As
payment, VMCI issued 2 BPI checks
payable to the order of NMI. NMIs trustee,
upon dissolution, requested
stockholder/president Lee to turn over the
payment of VMCI. It then filed a complaint
for estafa against Lee. The accused
objected to the admission of the
photocopies of the checks and charge

WON the TC properly

admitted in evidence
the photocopies of the
checks and charge
invoices in lieu of the
original copies

YES. Prosecution presented sufficient evidence, oral and

documentary to prove first marriage. (Documentary: copy of
the marriage contract and handwritten letter of 1st wife to
Pursuant to Sec 7, Rule 130, the certified copy of the
marriage contract, issued by a public officer in custody
thereof, was admissible as the best evidence of its contents.
The marriage contract plainly indicates that a marriage was
celebrated between petitioner and Villareyes on November
10, 1986, and it should be accorded the full faith and
credence given to public documents. The NSO and CR cert.
do not attest as a positive fact that there was no marriage
celebrated, only that they do not have a record of the
YES. Contrary to the claim of the petitioner, the prosecution
adduced preponderant evidence to prove the existence, the
due execution and the authenticity of the said checks and
charge invoices consisting of the admission of no less than
the petitioner in his counter-affidavit. The petitioner admitted
therein that he received the total amount ofP1,500,150.00
from VMCI in full payment of the delivery and sale of the
empty bags by NMI to VMCI and that the said amount was
in the custody of the said corporation.
With the admissions of the petitioner in his counter-affidavit,
the prosecution even no longer needed to adduce evidence
aliunde to prove the existence, due execution and the
authenticity of the charge invoices and the checks.

(NOTE: The prosecution offered the photocopies of the

invoices in evidence to prove the contents thereof: (a) VMCI
purchased 203,500 empty bags from NMI for the total price
of P1,500,150.00; (b) VMCI received the said goods in good
order and condition; and (c) NMI charged VMCI for the
purchase price of said goods. The prosecution offered the
checks to prove the contents thereof as well as the
following: (a) VMCI drew and delivered the checks to the
NMI; (b) the said checks were endorsed by the petitioner;
and (c) the said checks were deposited by the petitioner
with the Solidbank which was not the official depository of
NMI. )

Before the onset of liberal rules of

discovery, and modern technique of
electronic copying, the best
evidence rule was designed to guard
against incomplete or fraudulent
proof and the introduction of altered
copies and the withholding of the
originals. But the modern
justification for the rule has
expanded from the prevention of
fraud to a recognition that writings
occupy a central position in the law.
The importance of the precise terms
of writings in the world of legal
relations, the fallibility of the human
memory as reliable evidence of the
terms, and the hazards of inaccurate
or incomplete duplicate are the
concerns addressed by the best
evidence rule.
The offeror of secondary evidence is
burdened to prove the predicates
thereof: (a) the loss or destruction of
the original without bad faith on the
part of the proponent/offeror which
can be shown by circumstantial
evidence of routine practices of
destruction of documents;40 (b) the
proponent must prove by a fair
preponderance of evidence as to
raise a reasonable inference of the
loss or destruction of the original
copy; and (c) it must be shown that
a diligent and bona fide but
unsuccessful search has been made
for the document in the proper place
or places.41 It has been held that
where the missing document is the

Best Evidence Rule | Alegre


WORKS (2005)

Pet extended a loan of 1M to Resps as

evidenced by a promissory note. Resps
defaulted despite demands by pet. Pet
filed for collection of sum of money and
sought the admission of the photocopy of
the promissory note. TC granted resps
opposition. Case was dismissed.

WON there was a

need to present
original copy of the

NO. BER does not apply. (The content of the PN was not
subject of inquiry.)
1) The defendants failed to deny specifically and under oath
the due execution and genuineness of the document. This
judicial admission sufficiently established resps liability.
2) Had it been given the opportunity, petitioner could have
sufficiently established the original of the PN, calling into
application one exception.

foundation of the action, more

strictness in proof is required than
where the document is only
collaterally involved
Best evidence rule first appeared
in the yr 1699-1700 in one case
involving a goldsmith, Holt, C.J.
stating that stating that they should
take into consideration the usages of
trade and that "the best proof that
the nature of the thing will afford is
only required."
Rationale: RISK OF



This is one of the civil cases filed y PCGG

before the Sandiganbayan to recover the
Marcoses alleged ill-gotten wealth. This
case involves P200 billion of the
Marcoses alleged accumulated ill-gotten
wealth. It also includes the alleged use of
the media networks IBC-13, BBC-2 and
RPN-9 for the Marcos familys personal
benefit; the alleged use of De Soleil
Apparel for dollar salting; and the alleged
illegal acquisition and operation of the bus
company Pantranco North Express, Inc.
(Pantranco). The Sandiganbayan at first
admitted the evidence presented, but
rendered them inadmissible as violative of
the best evidence rule.

WON the photocopies

presented were
admissible on the
theory that since they
were collected by
PCGG, they are
public records in a
public office

Re Marcos siblings and Gregorio Araneta III: Petitioner did
not even attempt to provide a plausible reason why the
originals were not presented, or any compelling ground why
the court should admit these documents as secondary
evidence absent the testimony of the witnesses who had
executed them.
The fact that these documents were collected by the PCGG
in the course of its investigations does not make them per
se public records referred to in the quoted rule. Record
officer Maria Lourdes Magno, who testified that these public
and private documents had been gathered by and taken into
the custody of the PCGG in the course of the Commissions
investigation of the alleged ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses
was not a credible witness who could testify as to their
contents. To reiterate, [i]f the writings have subscribing
witnesses to them, they must be proved by those
witnesses. Witnesses can testify only to those facts which
are of their personal knowledge; that is, those derived from
their own perception.[35] Thus, Magno could only testify as to
how she obtained custody of these documents, but not as to
the contents of the documents themselves.
Neither did petitioner present as witnesses the
affiants of these Affidavits or Memoranda submitted to the
court. Basic is the rule that, while affidavits may be
considered as public documents if they are acknowledged
before a notary public, these Affidavits are still classified as
hearsay evidence.

The origin of the best

evidence rule can be found and
traced to as early as the 18th century
in Omychund v. Barker,[34] wherein
the Court of Chancery said:
The judges and sages of
the law have laid it down
that there is but one general
rule of evidence, the best
that the nature of the case
will admit.
The rule is, that if the
writings have subscribing
witnesses to them, they must
The first ground judges
have gone upon in departing
from strict rules, is an absolute
strict necessity. Secondly, a
presumed necessity. In the
case of writings, subscribed by
witnesses, if all are dead, the
proof of one of their hands is
sufficient to establish the deed:
where an original is lost, a copy
may be admitted; if no copy,
then a proof by witnesses who
have heard the deed, and yet it

Best Evidence Rule | Alegre


Precision in presenting exact

words is beyond average
Substantial hazard of inaccuracy
in making a handwritten or
typewritten copy
Special risk of error in oral
testimony based on memory

As to the copy of the TSN of the proceedings

before the PCGG, while it may be considered as a public
document since it was taken in the course of the PCGGs
exercise of its mandate, it was not attested to by the legal
custodian to be a correct copy of the original. (Rule 132,
Secs. 24 and 25 of the Rules of Court)

is a thing the law abhors to

admit the memory of man for

Best Evidence Rule | Alegre

Re Yeung Chun Kam, Yeung Chun

Ho And Yeung Chun Fan: To prove its allegations,
petitioner submitted the controverted Exhibits P, Q, R,
S, and T. As earlier discussed in detail, these pieces of
evidence were mere photocopies of the originals and were
unauthenticated by the persons who executed them; thus,
they have no probative value. Even the allegations of
petitioner itself in its Petition for Review are bereft of any
factual basis for holding that these documents undoubtedly
show respondents participation in the alleged dollar salting.