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Sison vs.

250 SCRA 58 (1995)


Several informations were filed in court against eleven

persons (Sison et al) identified as Marcos loyalists charging
them with the murder of Stephen Salcedo, a supporter of Cory
Aquino, which happened on the occasion of a rally held by the
Marcos loyalists at Luneta. After being asked to disperse
the crowd for not having with them the required permit,
the loyalists started hurling stones toward the police officers
at the scene, and directed their ire against Cory
supporters. Salcedo, wearing a yellow shirt was ganged upon
by several men, and he was beaten and mauled. When he tried to
get away from his attackers by running away, the attackers ran
after him and when they caught up with him, he was further
beaten until he was knocked unconscious. He was dead upon
arriving at the PGH. All these were
w i t n e s s e d b y R e n at o B an c u l o , a c i g ar e t t e v e n d o r . B a
n c u l o an d Sumilang (who was also a witness who tried to
help Salcedo but to no avail) were principal witnesses for the
prosecution. The incident was also witnessed
by photographers, whose pictures were published in major
newspapers in Metro Manila and were presented as evidence
as to the participation of the accused in the mauling. Several
of the accused were photographed with Salcedo. Despite their
defense of alibis, the trial court convicted several of the
accused of homicide and acquitted the others. Upon appeal to the
CA, the charge was qualified to murder. In the SC, the accused
question the admissibility of the photographs taken of the victims as
he was being mauled at the Luneta, for lack of proper identification by
the person or persons who took the same.


Whether or not the photographs should be admitted as

documentary evidence against the accused

Yes.The rule in this jurisdiction is that photographs, when

presented in evidence, must be identified by the photographer
as to its production and testified as to the circumstances which
they were produced. The value of this kind of
evidence lies in its being a correct
representation or reproduction of the original, and its ad
missibility is determined by its accuracy in portraying the
scene at the time of the crime. The photographer, however, is not
only the witness who can identify the pictures he has taken. The
correctness of the photograph as a faithful representation of
the object portrayed can be proved prima facie, either by
the testimony of the person who made it or by
other competent witnesses, after which the court can
admit it subject to impeachment as to its
accuracy. Photographs, therefore, can be identified
by the photographer or by any other competent witness who
can testify to its exactness and accuracy. Even if the person who
took the photographs was not presented to identify them, the
use of these photos by some of the accused to show their alleged
non-participation in the crime
i s an a d m i s s i on o f t h e e x ac t n e s s an d ac c u r ac y t h e r e
o f. T h at t h e p h o t o s ar e f ai t h fu l representations of the
mauling incident was affirmed when appellants identified
themselves therein and gave reasons for their presence thereat.