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Republic of the Philippines v. Sandiganbayan, et al.
G.R. No. 188881; April 21, 2014
Sereno, CJ.
This Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court seeks to nullify the
Sandiganbayan Resolution in Civil Case No. 0008. The Second Division of the graft court
denied admission of Exhibits "MMM" to "AAAAAAA" in the Formal Offer of Evidence filed
by petitioner Republic.
The Republic, through the PCGG, commenced a complaint for "reconveyance, reversion,
accounting, restitution and damages against Bienvenido R. Tantoco, Jr. (Tantoco),
Dominador R. Santiago (Santiago), Ferdinand E. Marcos, Imelda, R. Marcos, Bienvenido
R. Tantoco, Sr., Gliceria R. Tantoco, and Maria Lourdes Tantoco-Pineda.
Pre-trial commenced and the temporary markings of Exhibits "A" to "LLL" of the Republic,
together with their sub-markings, were adopted. However, over the objections of
respondents Tantoco and Santiago, the PCGG produced and caused the pre-marking of
additional documents, Exhibits "MMM" to "AAAAAAA." Tantoco and Santiago filed a
"Motion under Rule 29 of the Rules of Court," claiming that the additional documents were
never produced at the discovery proceedings and praying that petitioner be sanctioned
for contempt. The Sandiganbayan denied the motion.
Republic filed its formal offer of evidence and the Sandiganbayan initially excluded the
said documents but later partly relented and admitted Exhibits "MMM" to "AAAAAAA."
Respondents filed a Motion for Reconsideration and granted the motion.
Should Evidence not produced at the discovery proceedings be admitted?
No. It is the purpose and policy of the law that the parties, before the trial if not indeed
even before the pre-trial, should discover or inform themselves of all the facts relevant to
the action, not only those known to them individually, but also those known to adversaries
as set forth in Rules 24 to 29.
The Sandiganbayan clarified in its First Resolution that the defendants "Motion Filed
under Rule 29," was but in pursuance of their continuing objection to the marking of
evidence not produced at discovery. The Second Resolution, while issued after petitioner
had submitted its Formal Offer of Evidence, noted that all the documents contained
therein were photocopies. It stated that a mere certification from the Clerk of Court that

they "appear to be the original copy" would not suffice. The Sandiganbayan still admitted
them as evidence, yet the only reason cited for doing so was liberality. The general rule
is that secondary evidence is still not admissible until the non-production of the primary
evidence has been sufficiently accounted for. Nothing on record shows, and petitioner
itself makes no claim, that the Exhibits fall under any of the exceptions to the Best
Evidence rule.
After failing to submit the documentary evidence during discovery, when it was clearly
ordered by both the Sandiganbayan and the Supreme Court to do so, petitioner also
repeatedly failed to prove the due execution and authenticity of the documents.
Hence, the subject documents are not admissible as evidence.