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Chan vs.

Chan
G.R. No. 179786

Facts:
Petitioner Wife filed against Respondent Husband a petition for the declaration of nullity of marriage, with
the dissolution of their conjugal partnership of gains, and the award of custody of their children to her,
claiming that Respondent Husband failed to care for and support his family and that a psychiatrist
diagnosed him as mentally deficient due to incessant drinking and excessive use of prohibited drugs.
Respondent Husband claims that it was the Wife who failed in her duties. And that he initially agreed to
marriage counseling to save their marriage, but upon arriving at the hospital, two men forcibly held him by
both arms while another gave him an injection. He attached a Philhealth Claim Form to his answer as
proof that he was forcibly confined at the rehabilitation unit of a hospital. However, that same form carried
a physicians handwritten note that the Husband suffered from methamphetamine and alcohol abuse.
Based on the physicians handwritten statement, Petitioner Wife requested for the issuance of a
subpoena duces tecum addressed to Medical City, for the production of the Husbands medical records.
The Husband opposed, arguing that the medical records were covered by physician-patient privilege. The
request of Petitioner Wife was denied and her subsequent Motion for Reconsideration on the matter was
also denied. She then filed a Petitioner for Certiorari with the Court of Appeals but this was also
dismissed. Her subsequent Motion for Reconsideration with the CA was also denied.
Issue:
Whether or Not, CA erred in ruling that the trial court correctly denied the issuance of a subpoena duces
tecum covering Johnnys hospital records on the ground that these are covered by the privileged
character of the physician-patient communication.
Held:
Issuance of a subpoena ducestecum is premature. Petitioner Wife made the request before trial started.
She will have to wait for trial to begin before making a request for the issuance of a subpoena duces
tecum covering her husbands hospital records. It is when those records are produced for examination at
the trial, that the husband may opt to object, not just to their admission in evidence, but more so to their
disclosure. Petitioner Wifes motion for the issuance of the subpoena duces tecum also cannot be treated
as a motion for production of documents as a mode of discovery because Rule 27, Section 1 of the Rules
of Court is only limited to disclosure of documents which are not priviledged. Petitioner Wife claims that
the documents are not privileged because it is the testimony of the physician that is supposed to be
privileged. This contention is wrong.
Section 24(c) of Rule 130 states that the physician cannot in a civil case, without the consent of the
patient, be examined regarding their (physician-patient) professional conversation. To allow the disclosure
during discovery procedure of the hospital records (including the results of tests that the physician
ordered, the diagnosis of the patients illness, and the advice or treatment given) would, in effect, be
tantamount to allowing access to evidence that is inadmissible without the patients consent. Disclosing
them would be the equivalent of compelling the physician to testify on privileged matters he gained while
dealing with the patient, without the latters prior consent. Lastly, Petitioner Wife argues that her Husband
already admitted in his answer that he had been confined in a hospital. However, as already mentioned
above, trial in the case had not yet begun. Since trial had not yet begun, it cannot be said the Husband

had already presented said Philhealth claim form as evidence. The Husband was not yet bound to
adduce evidence in the case when he filed his answer. Any request for disclosure of his hospital records
would again be premature.
For all of the above reasons, the CA and the RTC were justified in denying Josielene her request for the
production in court of Johnnys hospital records. Court denies the petition and affirms the Decision of the
Court of Appeals.