Character

Character is defined to be the possession by a person of certain qualities of mind and
morals, distinguishing him from others. (People vs. Lee, G.R. No. 139070, 29 May
2002.)
Q: Distinguish character from credibility.
A: (Character: see definition above.) Credibility means the disposition and intention to
tell the truth in the testimony given. It refers to a person's integrity, and to the fact that
he is worthy of belief. (CSC vs. Belagan, G.R. No. 132164, 19 October 2004.)
The rule is that the character or reputation of a party is regarded as legally irrelevant in
determining a controversy, so that evidence relating thereto is not admissible. (People
vs. Lee, supra. CSC vs. Belagan, citing 29 Am. Jur. 2d Sec. 363.)
When Character Evidence is Allowed
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." In other words, character evidence must be "pertinent to the moral
trait involved in the offense charged." (Ibid.)
In criminal cases, the accused may prove his good moral character which is pertinent
to the moral trait involved in the offense charged. (Sec. 51(a)(1) Rule 130)
Reason for Proving Good Moral Character
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. (People vs. Lee,
supra.)
Prosecution - Only in Rebuttal and Must be Pertinent to the Moral Trait Involved
The prosecution may not prove the bad moral character of the accused except only in
rebuttal and when such evidence is pertinent to the moral trait involved in the offense
charged. (Sec. 51(a)(2) Rule 130.)
The offering of character evidence is a privilege of the [accused], 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. (People vs. Lee, supra.)
Q: In a murder case, the accused alleged that the victim is a known thief and
drug addict within the community and thus, he may have been shot by any of the
persons from whom he had stolen. The accused also presented a letter written
by the victim's mom seeking help from the mayor for her son's rehabilitation.
Should the evidence presented be admitted?
A: No, the evidence presented to prove the bad character of the victim should not be
admitted.

The remainder of the product was brought to Bureau of Science for analysis. Peña and Dr. the prosecution presented the testimony of the Maximiniana. Accused has not alleged that the victim was the aggressor or that the killing was made in self-defense. they may be admitted as evidence. Lee. The accused was charged for violation of the Pharmacy Law. 12858. accident in good faith is possibly excluded. Moments after intake.R. whose husband was killed.) Q: In a prosecution for roberry with homicide. The purpose is to ascertain defendant's knowledge and intent. and fix his negligence. G. unless it manifestly appears that the testimony has no legitimate bearing upon the question at issue. . There is no connection between the victim's drug addiction and thievery with his violent death in the hands of the accused. performed similar acts. negligence is intensified. and fraudulent intent may even be established. to explain the conduct of a particular person. 22 January 1918. Whenever necessity arises for a resort to circumstantial evidence. either from the nature of the inquiry or the failure of direct proof. Evidence is admissible in a criminal action which tends to show motive. Peña and Dr.S. No. vs. Darjuan as to their purchase of potassium chlorate at the drug store of the accused. the effort is not to convict the accused of a second offense. The accused argues that the testimony of Juana is inadmissible. (U. Darjuan found the same to be barium chlorate (poisonous).. Should the testimonies be admitted? A: Yes. Here. On the trial of a criminal case where the question relates . The accused assails the admission of testimonies of Dr. objections to the testimony on the ground of irrelevancy are not favored.) Q: Complainant bought potassium chlorate from a pharmacy of the accused to be used for his sick horses.Proof of bad moral character of the victim is irrelevant to determine the probability or improbability of his killing. If the defendant. proof of victim's bad moral character is not necessary in cases of murder committed with treachery and premeditation. Pineda. the product bought was again found to be barium chlorate. (People vs. The prosecution also presented Juana. on more than one occasion. Dr. Moreover. the horses died. The two chemists went to the same pharmacy to buy potassium chlorate. supra. there is a certain discretion on the part of the trial judge which a court of errors will not interfere with. Upon analysis. although it tends to prove the commission of another offense by the defendant.. whose house was allegedly robbed by the accused and his group after Maximiniana's. and is calculated to prejudice the accused. Decide.

Character Evidence Allowed to Impeach Witness Q: Several accused were charged for preventing Claro Mercado from rendering aid to Maria Mateo when she was allegedly assaulted and maltreated by defense witness Santiago Mercado. not admissible in a prosecution for robbery. 30 March 1937. he may prove the deceased to have been of a quarrelsome. (People vs. Irang.) . 19 September 1928. or By showing that his general reputation for truth. The objection should have been sustained. Private Prosecutor asked defense witness: "How many times have you been convicted of assault upon persons?" Defense counsel objected on the ground that the question is impertinent. and fond of starting quarrels in the municipality.R. No. 28871.R. No. Generally speaking. the proof must be of his general reputation in the community and not of isolated and specific acts. We believe that the objection should have been sustained. or tends to show his presence at the scene or in the vicinity of the crime at the time charged. G. Private Prosecutor counters that the purpose of the question is to prove the pugnacious disposition of the defense witness. honesty. Babiera. as a rule. G. Nevertheless. (U.S.R. No. you may show by an examination of the witness himself or from the record of the judgment that he has been convicted of a "high crime. Is the judge correct? Explain. G.A: The testimony of Juana is admissible (a) to prove the identity of the accused. or integrity is bad. vs. or when it is evidence of a circumstance connected with the crime. A: The judge is not correct. a witness cannot be impeached by the party against whom he has been called. irascible.) Character Evidence Must be of One's General Reputation." High crimes are generally defined as such immoral and unlawful acts as are nearly allied and equal in guilt to felonies. and irascible disposition. Not of Isolated and Specific Acts In People vs. (b) to establish his presence at the crime scene. except by showing: That he has made contradictory statements. or (c) to prove a circumstance connected with the crime. The trial judge overruled. 13 November 1913. claiming that he had the occasion to defend the witness in various causes for assault. Mercado. it is admissible when it is otherwise relevant. provoking. While it is true that when the defense of the accused is that he acted in self-defense. as where it tends to identify the defendant as the perpetrator of the robbery charged. The trial judge did not permit it. 45179. 8332. provoking. While evidence of another crime is. the defense attempted to prove that the victim Severino Haro was of quarrelsome disposition.

the CA gave paramount importance on the cases filed against complainant in ruling that the complainant is an unreliable witness. scheme. custom. malicious mischief. 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. In determining whether the examples are numerous enough and sufficiently regular. CSC found the defendant guilty.*NOTE: In this case. but it may be received to prove a specific intent or knowledge. 34 Rule 130) Habit. conduct that is semi-automatic in nature. Manalo. habit. usage or pattern of conduct must be proved like any other facts. etc. Evidence that one did or did not do a certain thing at one time is not admissible to prove that he did or did not do the same or similar thing at another time. plan. The examples offered in evidence to prove habit.. custom or usage. in the 1980's. Courts must contend with the caveat that. of habit or pattern of conduct. It is submitted that the question is not impertinent because the existence of assault upon Maria Mateo is an element in the crime charged. grave threats. On appeal. system. defendant presented evidence showing several charges filed against the complainant for grave oral defamation. 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. (Sec. identity. it would not prejudice the right of either party since it was established that the defense witness assaulted Maria Mateo. before they admit evidence of usage. etc. 158149. G. Character Evidence Allowed to Prove Specific Intent or Knowledge. physical injuries. repetitive conduct that might constitute evidence of habit. the key criteria are adequacy of sampling and uniformity of response. the SC held that even if the question had been properly interposed and was sustained. The offering party must allege and prove specific. her character being questionable. or pattern of evidence must be numerous enough to base on inference of systematic conduct. 09 February 2006. unjust vexation.R.) Character Evidence Must be Confined to a Time Not Too Remote from the Time in Question Q: In an administrative complaint for sexual harassment filed in 1994. Are the previous cases filed against the complainant sufficient to prove her questionable character? . After all. and the like. habit means a course of behavior of a person regularly represented in like circumstances. The key criteria are adequacy of sampling and uniformity of response or ratio of reaction to situations. Mere similarity of contracts does not present the kind of sufficiently similar circumstances to outweigh the danger of prejudice and confusion. No.

) Loose Morals per se is Not a Ground to Discredit a Witness In this jurisdiction.in other words. but not a period remote from the commencement of the suit.A: No.R. loose morals per se is not a ground to discredit a witness. Settled is the principle that evidence of one's character or reputation must be confined to a time not too remote from the time in question . the evidence presented by the defendant is not sufficient to prove the questionable character of the complainant witness. 15 September 1997. Cheng. 120158-59. Otherwise stated.) . There must be clear indications militating against her credibility other than being a person of ill repute. (People vs. No. G. Belagan. even a prostitute may be a competent witness to the extent that even with her sole testimony. provided that such witness is not coached and her testimony is not rehearsed and on all other counts worthy of credence beyond reasonable doubt. what is to be determined is the character or reputation of the person at the time of the trial and prior thereto. Cheng.) Mere Allegation is Not Evidence Mere allegation is not evidence and such unproved allegation may not be given any favorable consideration whatsoever. (CSC vs. supra.an accused may be duly convicted. supra. (People vs.