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G.R. No. 127240; March 27, 2000

Nature of the Case: Petition for Review of CAs decision

(CA reversed RTCs [Branch 24 Koronadala S. Cotabato] decision admitting

Ong Chia to Philippine Citizenship)


[1989] Petitioner, at the age of 66, filed a verified petition to be admitted as a Filipino
citizen under C.A. No. 473, otherwise known as the Revised Naturalization Law, as

During the hearings, petitioner testified as to his qualifications and presented three
witnesses to corroborate his testimony.

Petitioner, born on January 1923 in Amoy, China

In 1932 (9y/o), petitioner arrived at the port of Manila on board the vessel
Angking and stayed in the Phils. since then

He got employed/eventually started his own business and married a Filipina

with whom he had 4children
Administrative was first sought in filing a petition for naturalization with the
Special Committee on Naturalization (Office of the SolGen) but the same was
not acted upon as it was not reconstituted after Feb 1986 revolution such that
processing of petitions by Administrative process was suspended.

Hence, the consequence of seeking judicial intervention.

With such testimony, the Prosecutor got impressed asking the trial court to admit
petitioner to Philippine citizenship and wished not to present any evidence to
counteract/refute the testimony for the petitioner which the trial court did (in 1999).

The State, however, through the Office of the SolGen, appealed for:

failure to his other name in 1989 petition

o a copy of the 1977 petition filed with the Committee was annexed to
the States appellant brief, in which petitioner stated that in addition to
his name of "Ong Chia," he had likewise been known since childhood
as "Loreto Chia Ong

failure to state all his former places of residence in violation of C.A. No. 473,

o as shown by petitioner's Immigrant Certificate of Residence, petitioner

resided at "J.M. Basa Street, Iloilo," but he did not include said
address in the petition

failure to conduct himself in a proper and irreproachable manner during his

entire stay in the Philippines, in violation of 2

o petitioner actually lived with his wife without the benefit of marriage
from 1953 until they were married in 1977

o petitioner failed to present his 1953 marriage contract, if there be any

having no known lucrative trade or occupation and his previous incomes have
been insufficient or misdeclared, also in contravention of 2

o income tax returns allegedly filed by petitioner from 1973 to 1977 to

show that his net income could hardly support himself and his family

failure to support his petition with the appropriate documentary


CA reversed the decision of the trial court.

Hence, this petition.

Petitioners contention: The appellate court erred in considering the documents which had
merely been annexed by the State to its appellant's brief and, on the basis of which, justified
the reversal of the trial court's decision. Not having been presented and formally offered
as evidence, they are mere "scrap(s) of paper devoid of any evidentiary value," so it
was argued, because under Rule 132, 34 of the Revised Rules on Evidence, the court
shall consider no evidence which has not been formally offered.

ISSUE: Whether petitioners contention is tenable.

HELD: NO. The SC found the contention to have no merit.

(1) Naturalization; Evidence; Pleadings and Practice; Formal Offer of Evidence. The
rule on formal offer of evidence is clearly not applicable to a petition for
naturalization; Decisions in naturalization proceedings are not covered by the rule
on res judicata

Petitioner failed to note Rule 143 of the Rules of Court which provides that the rules
shall not apply to land registration, cadastral and election cases, naturalization and
insolvency proceedings, and other cases not herein provided for, except by analogy or in a
suppletory character and whenever practicable and convenient.

The rule on formal offer of evidence (Rule 132, 34) invoked by petitioner is clearly not
applicable to the present case involving a petition for naturalization. The only instance when
said rules may be applied by analogy or suppletorily in such cases is when it is "practicable
and convenient." That is not the case here, since reliance upon the documents presented by
the State for the first time on appeal, in fact, appears to be the more practical and
convenient course of action considering that decisions in naturalization proceedings are not
covered by the rule on res judicata. Consequently, a final favorable judgment does not
preclude the State from later on moving for a revocation of the grant of naturalization on the
basis of the same documents.

(2) Same; Same. The reason for the rule prohibiting the admission of evidence which
has not been formally offered is to afford the opposite party the chance to object to
their admissibility.

Petitioner cannot claim that, as a result of the States failure to present and formally offer its
documentary evidence, he was denied the right to object against their authenticity, thus,
depriving him of his fundamental right to procedural due process. Indeed, the reason for the
rule prohibiting the admission of evidence which has not been formally offered is to afford
the opposite party the chance to object to their admissibility. Petitioner cannot claim that he
was deprived of the right to object to the authenticity of the documents submitted to the
appellate court by the State.
(3) Same; Same; Public Documents. Where a party fails to make a satisfactory
showing of any flaw or irregularity that may cast doubt on the authenticity of
documents which have been executed under oath, the court may rely on them.

The Court notes that the documents namely, the petition in SCN Case No. 031767,
petitioner's marriage contract, the joint affidavit executed by him and his wife, and
petitioner's income tax returns are all public documents. As such, they have been
executed under oath. They are thus reliable. Since petitioner failed to make a satisfactory
showing of any flaw or irregularity that may cast doubt on the authenticity of these
documents, it is in the conclusion of the SC that the appellate court did not err in relying
upon them.

Disposition: Decision of the CA AFFIRMED; instant petition DENIED.


G.R. No. 107383; February 20, 1996

Nature of the Case: Petition to review the decision of the CA affirming the decision of the
RTC of Manila (Branch X) which ordered petitioner to return documents and papers taken by
her from private respondent's clinic without the latter's knowledge and consent.

Petitioner Cecilia Zulueta is the wife of private respondent Alfredo Martin.
On March 26, 1982, petitioner entered the clinic of her husband, a doctor of
medicine, and in the presence of her mother, a driver and private respondent's
secretary, forcibly opened the drawers and cabinet in her husband's clinic and took
157 documents consisting of private correspondence between Dr. Martin and his
alleged paramours, greetings cards, cancelled checks, diaries, Dr. Martin's passport,
and photographs.
The documents and papers were seized for use in evidence in a case for legal
separation and for disqualification from the practice of medicine which petitioner had
filed against her husband.
Dr. Martin brought this action below for recovery of the documents and papers and
for damages against petitioner.
The RTC ruled in favor of Dr. Alfredo Martin, declaring him "the capital/exclusive
owner of the properties described in paragraph 3 of plaintiff's Complaint or those
further described in the Motion to Return and Suppress" and ordering Cecilia Zulueta
and any person acting in her behalf to a immediately return the properties to Dr.
Martin and to pay him certain amount including nominal and moral damages.
The writ of preliminary injunction earlier issued was made final and petitioner Cecilia
Zulueta and her attorneys and representatives were enjoined from "using or
submitting/admitting as evidence" the documents and papers in question.
On appeal, the CA affirmed the RTCs decision

Hence this petition.

ISSUE: Whether the documents and papers, so forcibly/illegally taken or seized by the wife
from and without the consent of her husband as the capital owner of the same, are
admissible in evidence in a case of legal separation to which they are parties.

(1) Illegally obtained evidence; Constitutional Law; Privacy of communication and

Correspondence; Privacy of Communication and Correspondence is inviolable. The
only exception in the Constitution is if there is a lawful order [from a] court or when
public safety or order requires otherwise, as prescribed by law. Indeed the
documents and papers in question are inadmissible in evidence. The constitutional injunction
declaring "the privacy of communication and correspondence [to be] inviolable" is no less
applicable simply because it is the wife (who thinks herself aggrieved by her husband's
infidelity) who is the party against whom the constitutional provision is to be enforced. The
only exception to the prohibition in the Constitution is if there is a "lawful order [from a] court
or when public safety or order requires otherwise, as prescribed by law." Any violation of this
provision renders the evidence obtained inadmissible "for any purpose in any proceeding."

(2) The intimacies between husband and wife do not justify any one of them in breaking the
drawers and cabinets of the other and in ransacking them for any telltale evidence of marital
infidelity, as in the instant case. A person, by contracting marriage, does not shed
his/her integrity or his right to privacy as an individual and the constitutional
protection is ever available to him or to her.

(3) The law insures absolute freedom of communication between the spouses by
making it privileged. Neither husband nor wife may testify for or against the other without
the consent of the affected spouse while the marriage subsists. Neither may be examined
without the consent of the other as to any communication received in confidence by one
from the other during the marriage, save for specified exceptions. But one thing is freedom
of communication; quite another is a compulsion for each one to share what one knows with
the other. And this has nothing to do with the duty of fidelity that each owes to the other.

Disposition: Petition for review DENIED for lack of merit.

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.


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.


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


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.


G.R. No. 155208 | 2007-03-27

On October 14, 1969, Daniela sold the subject property to her granddaughter, herein
petitioner Nena Lazalita Tating. The contract of sale was embodied in a duly notarized Deed
of Absolute Sale executed by Daniela in favor of Nena. Subsequently, title over the subject
property was transferred in the name of Nena. She declared the property in her name for tax
purposes and paid the real estate taxes due thereon for the years 1972, 1973, 1975 to 1986
and 1988. However, the land remained in possession Daniela.
On December 28, 1977, Daniela executed a sworn statement claiming that she had
actually no intention of selling the property; the true agreement between her and Nena was
simply to transfer title over the subject property in favor of the latter to enable her to obtain a
loan by mortgaging the subject property for the purpose of helping her defray her business
expenses; she later discovered that Nena did not secure any loan nor mortgage the
property; she wants the title in the name of Nena cancelled and the subject property
reconveyed to her.
Daniela died on July 29, 1988 leaving her children as her heirs. In a letter dated
March 1, 1989, Carlos informed Nena that when Daniela died they discovered the sworn
statement she executed on December 28, 1977 and, as a consequence, they are
demanding from Nena the return of their rightful shares over the subject property as heirs of
Daniela. Nena did not reply. Efforts to settle the case amicably proved futile.
Hence, her son filed a complaint with the RTC praying for the nullification of the Deed
of Absolute Sale. RTC decide in favour or the plaintiff and was affirmed by the CA.

Whether the Sworn Statement should have been rejected outright by the lower

The Court finds that both the trial court and the CA committed error in giving the
sworn statement probative weight. Since Daniela is no longer available to take the witness
stand as she is already dead, the RTC and the CA should not have given probative value on
Daniela's sworn statement for purposes of proving that the contract of sale between her and
petitioner was simulated and that, as a consequence, a trust relationship was created
between them.
Considering that the Court finds the subject contract of sale between petitioner and
Daniela to be valid and not fictitious or simulated, there is no more necessity to discuss the
issue as to whether or not a trust relationship was created between them.
WHEREFORE, the assailed Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals,
affirming the Decision of the Regional Trial Court, are REVERSED AND SET ASIDE. The
complaint of the private respondents is DISMISSED.


G.R. No. 173476
February 22, 2012
Johnny Bolanon (Bolanon) was stabbed by Rodrigo Salafranca (Salafranca) on the night of
July 31, 1993, after the said incident, the assailant ran away. Bolanon still being able to walk,
went to his uncle, Rodolfo B. Estao to seek help. After having known of the incident, Estao
then brought Bolanon to PGH. On their way to the hospital on board a taxi, Bolanon confided
to Estao about the incident and told him that it was Salafranca who stabbed him and a
certain Augusto Mendoza witnessed the said incident. At around 2:30am, despite receiving
medical attention, Bolanon succumbed to death.
Whether the utterance of Bolanonis qualified as a dying declaration or part of the res


Such circumstances are qualified as both a dying declaration and a part of res gestae,
the Court has recognized that the statement of the victim an hour before his death and right
after the incident bore all the earmarks either of a dying declaration or part of the res gestae.

Generally, dying declaration is inadmissible as evidence being hearsay, however, it

may be admitted when the following requisites concur:
(a) that the declaration must concern the cause and surrounding circumstances of the
declarants death;
(b) that at the time the declaration is made, the declarant is under a consciousness of
an impending death;
(c) that the declarant is competent as a witness; and
(d) that the declaration is offered in a criminal case for homicide, murder, or
parricide, in which the declarant is a victim.

All the requisites were met. Bolanon communicated his statements, identifying
Salafranca as the person who had stabbed him; that at the time of his declaration, he was
conscious of his impending death. Bolanon died in the emergency room a few minutes after
admission, which occurred under three hours after the incident.
Furthermore, a declaration is deemed part of the res gestae and is admissible in
evidence when the following requisites concur:
a) the principal act, the res gestae, is a startling occurrence;
b) the statements are made before the declarant had time to contrive or devise; and
c) the statements must concern the occurrence in question and its immediately
attending circumstances.

The requisites for admissibility as part of the res gestae concur herein. That when he
gave the identity of the assailant, Bolanon was referring to a startling occurrence, and had no
time to contrive his identification. His utterance was made in spontaneity and only in reaction
to such startling occurrence. The statement was relevant because it identified Salafranca as
the perpetrator.

Hence, such circumstances are qualified as both a dying declaration and a part of res
gestae for having borne the requisites of the both principles.
G.R. No. 128538 February 28, 2001

SCC Chemicals Corporation through its chairman, private respondent Danilo Arrieta and vice
president, Pablo (Pablito) Bermundo, obtained a loan from State Investment House Inc
(hereinafter SIHI) in the amount of P129,824.48. The loan carried an annual interest rate of
30% plus penalty charges of 2% per month on the remaining balance of the principal upon
non-payment on the due date-January 12, 1984. To secure the payment of the loan, Danilo
Arrieta and private respondent Leopoldo Halili executed a Comprehensive Surety Agreement
binding themselves jointly and severally to pay the obligation on the maturity date.
SCC failed to pay the loan when it matured. SIHI then sent demand letters to SCC, Arrieta
and Halili, but notwithstanding receipt thereof, no payment was made.
SIHI filed Civil Case for a sum of money with a prayer for preliminary attachment
against SCC, Arrieta, and Halili with the Regional Trial Court of Manila.
In its answer, SCC asserted SIHI's lack of cause of action. Petitioner contended that
the promissory note upon which SIHI anchored its cause of action was null, void, and of no
binding effect for lack or failure of consideration.
The case was then set for pre-trial. The parties were allowed to meet out-of-court in
an effort to settle the dispute amicably. No settlement was reached, but the following
stipulation of facts was agreed upon:
1. Parties agree that this Court has jurisdiction over the plaintiff and the defendant and that
it has jurisdiction to try and decide this case on its merits and that plaintiff and the defendant
have each the capacity to sue and to be sued in this present action;
2. Parties agree that plaintiff sent a demand letter to the defendant SCC Chemical
Corporation dated April 4, 1984 together with a statement of account of even date which
were both received by the herein defendant; and
3. Parties finally agree that the plaintiff and the defendant SCC Chemical Corporation the
latter acting through defendants Danilo E. Arrieta and Pablito Bermundo executed a
promissory note last December 13, 1983 for the amount of P129,824.48 with maturity date on
January 12, 1984.
The case then proceeded to trial on the sole issue of whether or not the defendants were liable
to the plaintiff and to what extent was the liability.
SIHI presented one witness to prove its claim. The cross-examination of said witness
was postponed several times due to one reason or another at the instance of either party. The
case was calendared several times for hearing but each time, SCC or its counsel failed to
appear despite notice. SCC was finally declared by the trial court to have waived its right to
cross-examine the witness of SIHI and the case was deemed submitted for decision.
On March 22, 1993, the lower court promulgated its decision in favor of SIHI.

1. Whether the testimony of private respondents witness is hearsay.
2. Whether the promissory note was genuine and genuinely executed as required by
3. Whether the best evidence rule should be applied.

1. The Court of Appeals correctly found that the witness of SIHI was a competent
witness as he testified to facts, which he knew of his personal knowledge. Thus, the
requirements of Section 36, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court as to the admissibility of his
testimony were satisfied.
Rule 130, Section 36 reads:
SEC. 36. Testimony generally confined to personal knowledge; hearsay excluded.
A witness can testify only to those facts which he knows of his personal knowledge; that is,
which are derived from his own perception, except as otherwise provided in these rules.

Petitioner's reliance on Section 36, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court is misplaced. As a
rule, hearsay evidence is excluded and carries no probative value. However, the rule does
admit of an exception. Where a party failed to object to hearsay evidence, then the same is
admissible. The rationale for this exception is to be found in the right of a litigant to cross-
examine. It is settled that it is the opportunity to cross-examine which negates the claim that
the matters testified to by a witness are hearsay. However, the right to cross-examine may be
waived. The repeated failure of a party to cross-examine the witness is an implied waiver of
such right. Petitioner was afforded several opportunities by the trial court to cross-examine
the other party's witness. Petitioner repeatedly failed to take advantage of these opportunities.
No error was thus committed by the respondent court when it sustained the trial court's
finding that petitioner had waived its right to cross-examine the opposing party's witness. It is
now too late for petitioner to be raising this matter of hearsay evidence.

2. Petitioner's admission as to the execution of the promissory note by it through

private respondent Arrieta and Bermundo at pre-trial sufficed to settle the question of the
genuineness of signatures. The admission having been made in a stipulation of facts at pre-
trial by the parties, it must be treated as a judicial admission. Under Section, 4 Rule 129 of
the Rules of Court, a judicial admission requires no proof.

3. Respondent SIHI had no need to present the original of the documents as there was
already a judicial admission by petitioner at pre-trial of the execution of the promissory note
and receipt of the demand letter. It is now too late for petitioner to be questioning their
authenticity. Its admission of the existence of these documents was sufficient to establish its
obligation. Petitioner failed to submit any evidence to the contrary or proof of payment or
other forms of extinguishment of said obligation. No reversible error was thus committed by
the appellate court when it held petitioner liable on its obligation