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Chapter I

PRELIMINARY CONSIDERATIONS

A .

Miscellaneous Basic Principles

CONSIDERATIONS A . Miscellaneous Basic Principles Concept of "Evidence" 1. The term

Concept of "Evidence"

1.

Basic Principles Concept of "Evidence" 1. The term "evidence" is denned by Sec. 1 of Rule
Basic Principles Concept of "Evidence" 1. The term "evidence" is denned by Sec. 1 of Rule

The term "evidence" is denned by Sec. 1 of Rule 128

of the Rules of Court as follows:

by Sec. 1 of Rule 128 of the Rules of Court as follows: "SECTION 1. Evidence

"SECTION 1. Evidence defined. — Evidence is the means sanctioned by these rules, of ascertaining in a judicial proceeding the truth respecting a matter of fact."

2. The very tenor of the definition clearly indicates

that not every circumstance which affords an inference as to the truth or falsity of a matter alleged is considered evidence.

To be considered evidence, the same must be "sanctioned"

or allowed by the Rules of Court. It is not evidence if it is

excluded by law or by the Rules even if it proves the existence

or non-existence of a fact in issue. Thus, a hearsay evidence,

a coerced extrajudicial confession of the accused and an

evidence obtained in violation of constitutional rights even if

ultimately shown to correspond to the truth, do not fall within the definition of Sec. 1 of Rule 128.

3. The definition provided for under Sec. 1 of Rule 128,

significantly considers "evidence" not as an end in itself but merely as a "means" of ascertaining the truth of a matter of fact. Equally significant is the observation that "evidence" as defined in the Rules of Court is a means of ascertainment of

is the observation that "evidence" as d efined in the Rules of Court is a means
l
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EVIDENCE (The Bar Lectures Series)

the truth not in all types of proceedings but specifically in a "judicial proceeding."

Purpose of Evidence

The purpose of evidence under the Rules of Court is to ascertain the truth respecting a matter of fact in a judicial proceeding (Sec. 1, Rule 128, Rules of Court). Litigations can- not be properly resolved by suppositions, or even presump- tions, with no basis in evidence. The truth must have to be determined by the rules for admissibility and proof (Lagon v. Hooven Comalco Industries, Inc., 349 SCRA 363). Evidence is required because of the presumption that the court is not aware of the veracity of the facts involved in a case. It is there- fore incumbent upon the parties to prove a fact in issue thru the presentation of admissible evidence.

fact in issue thru the presentation of admissible evidence. Truth as the Purpose of Evidence While
fact in issue thru the presentation of admissible evidence. Truth as the Purpose of Evidence While

Truth as the Purpose of Evidence

While the purpose of evidence is to know the truth, the truth referred to in the definition is not necessarily the ac- tual truth but one aptly referred to as the judicial or the legal truth. The limitations of human judicial systems cannot al- ways guarantee knowledge of the actual or real truth. Actual truth may not always be achieved in judicial proceedings be- cause the findings of the court would depend on the evidence presented before it based on the accepted rules for admissibil- ity. Also, under Sec. 34 of Rule 132, courts, as a rule, are not even authorized to consider evidence which has not been for- mally offered. Thus, a supposed evidence that would undoubt- edly show the innocence of the accused will not be considered

in the decision of the court if not formally offered in evidence. If it is evidence to the contrary that has been formally offered, it is the latter which the court is bound to consider or appreci- ate. For instance, while it may be the actual truth that it was Mr. X who shot Mr. Y, if the available evidence presented and admitted in court points to Mr. Z as the culprit, then the judi- cial or legal truth is that it was Mr. Z, not Mr. X, who shot Mr.

Y.

PRELIMINARY CONSIDERATIONS A. Miscellaneous Basic Principles

3

When Evidence is Required; When Not Required

1. Evidence is the means of proving a fact. As the defi-

nition says, it is offered to ascertain the truth "respecting a matter of fact." Implied from the definition of "evidence" in Sec. 1 of Rule 128 is the need for the introduction of evidence when the court has to resolve a question of fact. Where no factual issue exists in a case, there is no need to present evi- dence because where the case presents a question of law, such question is resolved by the mere application of the relevant statutes or rules of this jurisdiction to which no evidence is required. In the Philippine judicial system, there is a manda- tory judicial notice of the official acts of the legislature (Sec. 1, Rule 129, Rules of Court) and these acts cover statutes.

2. When the pleadings in a civil case do not tender an

issue of fact, a trial need not be conducted since there is no more reason to present evidence. The case is then ripe for judi-

cial determination through a judgment on the pleadings pur- suant to Rule 34 of the Rules of Court.

p leadings pur- suant to Rule 34 of the Rules of Court . 3. Evidence ma

3. Evidence may likewise be dispensed with by agree-

ment of the parties. The parties to any action are allowed by the Rules to agree in writing upon the facts involved in the litigation and to submit the case for judgment upon the facts agreed upon, without the introduction of evidence (Sec. 6, Rule 30, Rules of Court).

Evidence is not also required an matters of judicial

Evidence is not also required an matters of judicial 4. notice (Sec. 1, Rule 129, Rules

4.

Evidence is not also required an matters of judicial 4. notice (Sec. 1, Rule 129, Rules
Evidence is not also required an matters of judicial 4. notice (Sec. 1, Rule 129, Rules

notice (Sec. 1, Rule 129, Rules of Court) and on matters judi- cially admitted (Sec. 4, Rule 129, Rules of Court).

Applicability of the Rules of Evidence

1. The rules of evidence, being parts of the Rules of

Court, apply only to judicial proceedings (Sec. 1, Rule 128, Rules of Court).

Significantly, Sec. 4 of Rule 1 provides for the non-appli- cability of the Rules of Court, including necessarily the rules of evidence, to certain specified proceedings. The provision de- clares:

4

EVIDENCE (The Bar Lectures Series)

"Sec. 4. In what cases not applicable. — These Rules shall not apply to election cases, land registra- tion, cadastral, naturalization and insolvency proceed- ings, and other cases not herein provided for, except by analogy or in a suppletory character and whenever practicable and convenient."

character and whenever practicable and convenient." 2. It has been held that administrative bodies are not

2. It has been held that administrative bodies are not

bound by the technical niceties of the rules obtaining in a court of law. Technical rules of procedure and evidence are not strictly applied and administrative due process cannot be fully equated with due process in strict judicial term s (Sama- lio v. Court of Appeals, 454 SCRA 462; El Greco Ship Man- ning and Management Corporation v. Commissioner of Cus- toms, G.R. No. 177188, December 4, 2008). It has also been ruled that a reliance on the technical rules of evidence in labor cases is misplaced. Hence, the application of the concept of ju- dicial admissions in such cases would be to exact compliance with technicalities of law that is contrary to the demands of substantial justice (Mayon Hotel & Restaurant v. Adana, 458 SCRA 609).

3. The Civil Service Commission for example, conducts

its investigations for the purpose of ascertaining the truth without necessarily adhering to technical rules of procedure

applicable in judicial proceedings. It was therefore, sustained by the Supreme Court when it validly appreciated certain documents in resolving the formal charge against respondent inspite of the fact that they were not duly authenticated but the contents of which were not disputed by respondent and whose only objection was that they were not duly authenticat- ed (Civil Service Commission v. Colanggo, G.R. No. 174935,

ed (Civil Service Commission v. Colanggo, G.R. No. 174935, April 30, 2008). 4. In Ong Chia
ed (Civil Service Commission v. Colanggo, G.R. No. 174935, April 30, 2008). 4. In Ong Chia
ed (Civil Service Commission v. Colanggo, G.R. No. 174935, April 30, 2008). 4. In Ong Chia
ed (Civil Service Commission v. Colanggo, G.R. No. 174935, April 30, 2008). 4. In Ong Chia

April

30,

2008).

4. In Ong Chia v. Republic (328 SCRA 749), the Court

once again emphasized that the rule on formal offer of evidence is not applicable to a case involving a petition for naturaliza- tion. In Ong Chia, the Regional Tria l Court rendered judg- ment in favor of the petitioner's application for naturalization. On appeal, the Court of Appeals reversed the Regional Trial Court and denied the application for naturalization on the ba-

PRELIMINARY CONSIDERATIONS A. Miscellaneous Basic Principles

5
5

sis of documents not earlier formally offered in the trial court, raised for the first time on appeal and merely attached to the appellant's brief for the State. Petitioner contends that under

Sec. 34, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court, only evidence that has been formally offered shall be considered by the court. Brush- ing aside petitioner's contention, the Court held that the rule on formal offer of evidence is not applicable to a case involving

a petition for naturalization unless applied by analogy or in

a suppletory character and whenever practicable and conve- nient.

v

5.

character and whenever practicable and conve- nient. v 5. A more recent case, Sasan, Sr. v.

A more recent case, Sasan, Sr.

v. NLRC (G.R. No.

176240, October 17, 2008), further illustrates the rule on the non-applicability of the Rules of Court including the rules of evidence, to non-judicial proceedings.

In this case the respondent, in support of its material

allegations,

which it did not present before the Labor Arbiter. Largely on

NLR C several documents

submitted before the

the basis of those documents presented for the first time on appeal, the NLR C promulgated its decision modifying the rul- ing of the Labor Arbiter.

Distressed by the decision of the NLRC , the petitioners sought recourse with the Court of Appeals by filing a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. In its deci- sion the Court of Appeals affirmed the findings of the NLR C holding that the NLRC did not commit a grave abuse of dis- cretion.

In the Supreme Court, the petitioners raised as one of the issues the acceptance and consideration by the NLR C of the evidence presented for the first time on appeal. The Supreme Court ruled that the issue is not a novel procedural issue, and that Philippine jurisprudence is replete with cases allowing the NLR C to admit evidence, not presented before the Labor Arbiter, and submitted to the NLR C for the first time on ap- peal.

and submitted to the NLR C for the first time on ap- peal. Explained the Court:

Explained the Court:

"Technical rules of evidence are not binding in labor cases. Labor officials should use every reasonable means

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6

EVIDENCE (The Bar Lectures Series)

to ascertain the facts in each case speedily and objective- ly, without regard to technicalities of law or procedure, all in the interest of due process. The submission of ad- ditional evidence before the NLR C is not prohibited by its New Rules of Procedure. After all, rules of evidence prevailing in courts of law or equity are not controlling in labor cases. The NLR C and labor arbiters are directed to use every and all reasonable means to ascertain the facts in each case speedily and objectively, without regard to technicalities of law and procedure all in the interest of substantial justice. In keeping with this directive, it has been held that the NLRC may consider evidence, such as documents and affidavits, submitted by the parties for the first time on appeal. The submission of additional evi- dence on appeal does not prejudice the other party for the latter could submit counter-evidence."

party for the latter could submit counter-evidence." Citing the earlier case of Clarion Printing House, Inc.

Citing the earlier case of Clarion Printing House, Inc.

u.

National Labor Relations Commission (461 SCRA 272), the Court reiterated what it had in the past already adequately emphasized:

"[T]he NLR C is not precluded from receiving evi- dence, even for the first time on appeal, because technical rules of procedure are not binding in labor cases.

"The settled rule is that the NLRC is not precluded from receiving evidence on appeal as technical rules of evidence are not binding in labor cases. In fact, labor of- ficials are mandated by the Labor Code to use every and all reasonable means to ascertain the facts in each case speedily and objectively, without regard to technicali- ties of law or procedure, all in the interest of due process the fact that it was duly introduced on appeal to the NLR C is enough basis for the latter to be more judicious in admitting the same, instead of falling back on the mere technicality that said evidence can no longer be consid- ered on appeal. Certainly, the first course of action would be more consistent with equity and the basic notions of fairness."

with equity and the basic notions of fairness." 6. In the Sasan case, the petitioners likewise
with equity and the basic notions of fairness." 6. In the Sasan case, the petitioners likewise
with equity and the basic notions of fairness." 6. In the Sasan case, the petitioners likewise
with equity and the basic notions of fairness." 6. In the Sasan case, the petitioners likewise
with equity and the basic notions of fairness." 6. In the Sasan case, the petitioners likewise

6. In the Sasan case, the petitioners likewise inter-

posed a protest against the documentary evidence submitted

PRELIMINARY CONSIDERATIONS A. Miscellaneous Basic Principles

7

by the adverse party because they were mere photocopies. Pe- titioners invoked the best evidence rule, espoused in Section 3, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court which provides that:

"Section 3. Original document must be produced; exceptions. — When the subject of inquiry is the con- tents of a document, no evidence shall be admissible "

other than the original document itself

admissible " other than the original document itself The Court, in dismissing the objection, stressed once

The Court, in dismissing the objection, stressed once again that even assuming that petitioners were given mere photocopies, the proceedings before the NLR C are not covered by the technical rules of evidence and procedure as observed in the regular courts. Technical rules of evidence do not ap- ply if the decision to grant the petition proceeds from an ex- amination of its sufficiency as well as a careful look into the arguments contained in position papers and other documents (Sasan, Sr. v. NLRC, supra).

7. The rule that the provisions of the Rules of Court,

do not apply to administrative or quasi-judicial proceedings likewise found expression in the earlier case of Bantolino v. Coca Cola Bottlers, Inc., (403 SCRA 699). Here , the Court re- iterated previous rulings that the rules of evidence are not strictly observed in proceedings before administrative bodies where decisions may be reached on the basis of position pa- pers only. The Court disregarded the findings of the Court of Appeals which among others, considered the affidavits of the petitioners as mere hearsay and thus could not be admitted in evidence against their employers. The Court unequivocally ruled that in a labor case, it is not necessary for an affiant to appear and testify and be cross-examined by counsel for the adverse party on his affidavit. Administrative bodies are not bound by the technical niceties of law and procedure and the rules obtaining in the courts of law.

Even if not bound by the technical rules of procedure

"the findings of facts of administrative bodies are however, re- spected as long as they are supported by substantial evidence, even if such evidence is not overwhelming or preponderant'

8.
8.
long as they are supported by substantial evidenc e, even if such evidence is not overwhelming

8

(Avenido v.
(Avenido v.
8 (Avenido v. EVIDENCE (The Bar Lectures Series) Civil Service Commission, G.R. No. 177666, April 30,

EVIDENCE (The Bar Lectures Series)

Civil Service Commission,

G.R. No.

177666, April

30, 2008).

Within the field of administrative law, while strict rules of evidence are not applicable to quasi-judicial proceedings, nevertheless, in adducing evidence constitutive of substan- tial evidence, the basic rule that mere allegation is not evi- dence cannot be disregarded (Marcelo v. Bungubung, G.R. No. 175201, April 23, 2008).

Application of the Rules on Electronic Evidence

The application of the rules of evidence in the Rules of Court contrasts with the application of the Rules on Elec- tronic Evidence. While the definition of "evidence" under the Rules of Court makes reference only to judicial proceedings, the provisions of the Rules on Electronic Evidence apply to all civil actions and proceedings, as well as quasi-judicial and administrative cases. Sec. 2, Rule 1 of the Rules on Electronic Evidence provides:

2 , Rule 1 of the Rules on Electron ic Evidence provides : "Sec. 2. Cases

"Sec. 2. Cases covered. — These Rules shall apply to all civil actions and proceedings, as well as quasi-ju- dicial and administrative cases."

Scope of the Rules of Evidence

The rules of evidence in the Rules of Court are guided by the principle of uniformity. As a general policy, the rules of evidence shall be the same in all courts and in all trials and hearings (Sec. 2, Rule 128, Rules of Court).

"Sec. 2. Scope. — The rules of evidence shall be the same in all courts and in all trials and hearings, ex- cept as otherwise provided by law or by these rules."

Evidence

Criminal Cases

in

Civil

Cases

Distinguished from

Evidence

in

Section 2 of Rule 128 declares that the rules of evi-

dence shall be the same in all trials and hearings, except as otherwise provided by law or these rules. To declare that the

1.
1.

PRELIMINARY CONSIDERATIONS A. Miscellaneous Basic Principles

9

rules of evidence shall be the same in all courts and in all tri- als and hearings, is not to say however, that there are abso- lutely no distinctions between a civil and a criminal proceed- ing. Indeed, there are certain evidentiary differences between these proceedings.

2. In civil cases, the party having the burden of proof

must prove his claim by a preponderance of evidence (Sec. 1,

Rule 133, Rules of Court). In criminal cases, the guilt of the ac- cused has to be proven beyond reasonable doubt (Sec. 2, Rule

133,

3. In civil cases, an offer of compromise is not an admis-

sion of any liability, and is not admissible in evidence against the offeror (Sec. 27, Rule 130, Rules of Court). In criminal cas- es, ^xcepiDthose involvin g quasi-offenses (criminal negligence )

Rules

of Court).

g quasi - offenses (criminal negligenc e ) Rules of Court) . or those allowed by
g quasi - offenses (criminal negligenc e ) Rules of Court) . or those allowed by
g quasi - offenses (criminal negligenc e ) Rules of Court) . or those allowed by

or those allowed by law to be compromised, an offer of compro- miseb y the_accused_may be receivejLin evidence as an implie d admission of guilt (Sec. 27, Rule 130, Rules of Court).

4. In civil cases, the concept of presumption of inno-

cence does not apply and generally there is no presumption for or against a party except in certain cases provided for by law. Example: A common carrier is presumed to have been at fault or negligent in case a passenger is injured in the course of his transportation by the carrier (Art. 1756, Civil Code of the Philippines).

In criminal cases, the accused enjoys the constitutional presumption of innocence (Sec. 14, Art. Ill, Constitution of the Philippines).

. 14 , Art . Ill , Constitution of th e Philippines) . Distinction Between Proof
. 14 , Art . Ill , Constitution of th e Philippines) . Distinction Between Proof
. 14 , Art . Ill , Constitution of th e Philippines) . Distinction Between Proof

Distinction Between Proof and Evidence

"Proof is not the evidence itself. There is proof only

because of evidence. It is merely the probative effect of evi- dence and is the conviction or persuasion of the mind result- ing from a consideration of the evidence (29 Am Jur 2d, Evi- dence, §2).

1.

of the evidence (29 Am Jur 2d , E vi- dence , §2) . 1. 2.

2. Evidence is the medium or means by which a fact

. 1. 2. Evidence is the medium or means b y which a fact is _p

is_proved or disproved. Proof is the effect of evidence because

10

EVIDENCE (The Bar Lectures Series)

1 0 EVIDENCE (The Bar Lectures Series) without evidence there is no proof (Black's Law Dictionary,

without evidence there is no proof (Black's Law Dictionary, 5th Ed., 1094; 1 Jones on Evidence, § 4). Bare allegations un- substantiated by evidence, are not equivalent to proof (Do- mingo v. Robles, 453 SCRA 812).

equivalent to proof (Do- mingo v. Robles, 453 SCRA 812). Falsus in Uno, Falsus in Omnib
equivalent to proof (Do- mingo v. Robles, 453 SCRA 812). Falsus in Uno, Falsus in Omnib

Falsus in Uno, Falsus in Omnibus

1. Literally falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus means "false in one thing, false in everything" (Dawson v. Bertolinin,

70 R.I

768). Th e doctrine means that if the

70 R . I 768) . Th e doctrine means that if th e 325 ,
70 R . I 768) . Th e doctrine means that if th e 325 ,
70 R . I 768) . Th e doctrine means that if th e 325 ,

325, 38A.2d 765,

Th e doctrine means that if th e 325 , 38A . 2d 765 , testimon

testimony of a witness on a material issue is willfully false and given with an intention to deceive, the jury may disregard all the witness' testimony (Hargrave v. Stockloss, 127 N.J.L. 262, 21 A.2d 820, 823). It is particularly applied to the testi- mony of a witness who may be considered unworthy of belief as to all the rest of his evidence if he is shown to have testified falsely in one detail.

2. Th e maxim falsus in uno falsus in omnibus is not

an absolute rule of law and is in fact rarely applied in modern jurisprudence (People v. Batin, G.R. No. 177223, November 22, 2007). It deals only with the weigh t of the evidence and is not a positive rule of law. The rule is not an inflexible one of universal application. Modern trend in jurisprudence favors more flexibility when the testimony of a witness may be partly believed and partly disbelieved depending on the corrobora- tive evidence presented at the trial (People v. Negosa, 456 Phil

presented at the trial (People v . Negosa , 456 P hil 861) . It is
presented at the trial (People v . Negosa , 456 P hil 861) . It is
presented at the trial (People v . Negosa , 456 P hil 861) . It is
presented at the trial (People v . Negosa , 456 P hil 861) . It is
presented at the trial (People v . Negosa , 456 P hil 861) . It is

861).

It is not a positive rule of law and is not strictly ap-

plied in this jurisdiction. Before this maxim can be applied, the witness must be shown to have wilfully falsified the truth on one or more material points. The principle presupposes the existence of a positive testimony on a material point contrary to subsequent declarations in the testimony (Northwest Air- lines, Inc. v. Chiong, G.R. No. 155550, January 31, 2008).

3.

Inc. v. Chiong, G.R. No. 155550, January 31, 2008). 3. 4. For instance, in People v.
Inc. v. Chiong, G.R. No. 155550, January 31, 2008). 3. 4. For instance, in People v.
Inc. v. Chiong, G.R. No. 155550, January 31, 2008). 3. 4. For instance, in People v.

4. For instance, in People v. Letigio (268 SCRA 227),

the accused alleged that both prosecution witnesses in certain aspects of their testimony had "deliberately and wantonly lied"

PRELIMINARY CONSIDERATIONS A. Miscellaneous Basic Principles

11

in inculpating him, and he contends that the maxim "falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus" should be applied for his exculpation.

Mana-

lansan (189 SCRA 619),

be applied for his exculpation. Mana- lansan (189 SCRA 619), an Quoting earlier pronouncement in People

an

Quoting

earlier pronouncement in People

the Court stressed:

v.
v.

The maxim f alsus in unus , f alsus in omnibus does no t lay down a falsus in unus, falsus in omnibus does not lay down a categorical test of credibility. While the witnesses may differ in their recollections of an inci- dent, it does not necessarily follow from their disagree- ments that all of them should be disbelieved as liars and their testimonies completely discarded as worthless."

In People

v.

Pacapac

that the maxim

(248

SCRA

77),

the

Court

added

is not a positive rule of law or of universal ap- plication. It should not be app lied to p ortions of the testi- mon y c orroborated by other evidence, pplied to portions of the testi- mony corroborated by other evidence, particularly where the false portions could be innocent mistakes. Moreover, the rule is not mandatory but merely sanctions a disre- gard of the testimony of a witness if the circumstances so warrant. To completely disregard all the testimony of

a witness on this ground, his testimony must have been

false as to a material point, and the witness must have

a conscious and deliberate intention to falsify a material point."

Alibi; Frame-up; Self-defense

1.

As a defense, ahbiismherently weak and crumbles

1. As a defense , ahbiismherentl y weak and crumbles in the l ight of positiv

in the light of positive identification by truthful witnesses. It is evidence negative in nature and self-serving and cannot at- tain more credibility than the testimonies of prosecution wit- nesses who testify on clear and positive evidence (People v. Larranaga, 463 SCRA 652; People v. Torres, G.R. No. 176262,

September 11, 2007; Bank of the Philippine Islands v. Reyes, G.R. No. 157177, February 11, 2008; Ingal v. People, G.R. No. 173282, March 4, 2008; Malana v. People, G.R. No. 173612, March 26, 2008; People v. Ranin, Jr., G.R. No. 173023, June 25, 2008; People v. Dela Cruz, G.R. No. 175929, December 16,

2008; People v. Ranin, Jr., G.R. No. 173023, June 25, 2008; People v. Dela Cruz, G.R.
2008; People v. Ranin, Jr., G.R. No. 173023, June 25, 2008; People v. Dela Cruz, G.R.
2008; People v. Ranin, Jr., G.R. No. 173023, June 25, 2008; People v. Dela Cruz, G.R.

2008).

12

EVIDENCE (The Bar Lectures Series)

2.
2.

For alibi to prosper, it is not enough for the accused

to prove that he was somewhere else when the crime was com- mitted. He must likewise prove that it was physically impos- sible for him to be present at the crime scene or its immediate vicinity at the tim e of its commission (People v. Coja, G.R. No. 179277, June 18, 2008; People v. Guevarra, G.R. No. 182982,

Garte.

November 26,

October 29, 2008; People v.

No. 182982, Garte. November 26, October 29, 2008; People v. G.R. No. No. 176152, November 25,
No. 182982, Garte. November 26, October 29, 2008; People v. G.R. No. No. 176152, November 25,
No. 182982, Garte. November 26, October 29, 2008; People v. G.R. No. No. 176152, November 25,

G.R. No.

No.

176152, November

25,

2008; People

v.

Erquiza,

G.R.

171348,

2008; People v. Guerrero, G.R. No.

170360, March 12, 2009).

Alibi may serve as a basis for acquittal if it can really be

that it was indeed

a basis for acquittal if it can really be that it was indeed shown by clear

shown by

clear and convincing evidence

physically impossible for the accused to be at the scene of the crime at the tim e (People v. Cacayan, G.R. No. 180499, July 9, 2008; People v. De Leon, G.R. No. 180762, March 4, 2009).

Alibi cannot prevail over the positive identification of the accused as perpetrator of the crime. In the face of positive identification of the accused by the prosecution witness, such alibi crumbles like a sand fortress (People v. Vargas, G.R. No. 122765, October 13, 2003; People v. Adam, 413 SCRA 293; People v. Enriquez, 465 SCRA 407). Positive identification de- stroys the defense of alibi and renders it impotent, especially where such identification is credible and categorical (People v. De la Cruz, G.R. No. 173308, June 25, 2008).

(People v. De la Cruz, G.R. No. 173308, June 25, 2008). 3. A case of more
(People v. De la Cruz, G.R. No. 173308, June 25, 2008). 3. A case of more
3.
3.

A case of more recent vintage confirms, thus:

"For the appellant's defense of alibi to prosper, he should have proven that it was physically impossible for him to have been at the scene of the crime when it was committed. By physical impossibility we refer to the dis- tance and the facility of access between the situs criminis and the place where he says he was when the crime was committed. The appellant fails this test as he insisted that he was at the Yellow Submarine working as a bouncer at the time of the stabbing incident. By his own admission, the Yellow Submarine is only 30 to 40 meters from the Great Taste Bakery. This short distance does not render it physically impossible for the appellant to have been at the place where the victim was attacked.

PRELIMINARY CONSIDERATIONS

A.

Miscellaneous Basic Principles

13

"Aside from being inherently weak, the appellant's alibi cannot prevail over the positive identification made by Alfonso that the appellant was one of the victim's as- sailants. We particularly note that Alfonso categorically stated that he stabbed the victim from the front, and note as well that the victim's two fatal wounds were his chest wounds. Thus, of the three assailants, it was the appel- lant himself who delivered the fatal blows on the victim.

"In a long line of cases, this Court has held that posi- tive identification, made categorically and consistently, almost always prevails over alibi and denial. These de- fenses, if not substantiated by clear and convincing evi- dence, are negative and self-serving and are undeserving of weight in law.

"We see no reason in this case to deviate from these established rules." (People v. Nueva, G.R. No. 173248, No- vember 3, 2008)

(People v. Nueva, G.R. No. 173248, No- vember 3, 2008) 4. For the defense must be
(People v. Nueva, G.R. No. 173248, No- vember 3, 2008) 4. For the defense must be

4.

For

the

defense

must be established:

of alibi

to

prosper,

the

following

(a )
(a )

The_pre&ejrice_pf t.he_AQCuaeii.inanQther place at

the tim e of th e jjommissioii of the offense^and

(b) The physical impossibility for him to be at the scene of the^rirne^Tt}ie; th^ep f its cornmission (People v. Larranaga, 463 SCRA 652; People v. Enriquez, 465 SCRA 407; People v. Tumulak, G.R. No. 177299, November 28,

2007; People v. Santos,

G.R. No. 177299, November 28, 2007; People v. Santos, G.R. No. 176735, June 26, 2008). It
G.R. No. 177299, November 28, 2007; People v. Santos, G.R. No. 176735, June 26, 2008). It

G.R. No.

176735, June 26, 2008).

It is not enough for the accused to prove that he was somewhere else when the crime was committed. He must likewise prove that it was physically impossible for him to be present at the crime scene or its immediate vicinity at the tim e of its commission (People v. Guevarra, G.R. No. 182982, October 29, 2008). Where there is even the least chance for the accused to be present at the crime

scene, the defense of alibi will not hold water (People v.

Castro, G.R. No.

172874, December 17, 2008).

(c)

Supreme

In the case of People

Court gave no

v. Larranaga (supra), the

alibi that the

credence to

the

14

EVIDENCE (The Bar Lectures Series)

accused Larranaga, was in Quezon City on the date and time the alleged crime was committed because it was not impossible for him to be in Cebu on said date and time. The Court ratiocinated, thus:

"During the hearing, it was shown that it takes only one (1) hour to travel by plane from Manila to Cebu and that there are four (4) airline companies plying the route. One of the defense witnesses ad-

mitted that there are several nights from Manila to

Cebu each morning, afternoon and evening

from Manila to Cebu each morning, afternoon and evening ." (d) In a later case, the
."
."

(d) In a later case, the Supreme Court observed

that the accused should have proven that he was in some place where it was physically impossible for him to be at the locus criminis during the commission of the crime.

His contention that he was in his neighbor's house dur- ing the alleged commission of the rape does not satisfy such physical impossibility (People v. Abellera, G.R. No. 166617, July 3, 2007).

(People v. Abellera, G.R. No. 166617, July 3, 2007). (e) Alibi was not likewise recognized as
(People v. Abellera, G.R. No. 166617, July 3, 2007). (e) Alibi was not likewise recognized as

(e) Alibi was not likewise recognized as a defense

in a case where the accused-appellant claimed that he was in a place seven (7 ) kilometers away from the locus criminis. Th e Court noted that it was not impossible for him to traverse this distance (People v. Garcia, G.R. No. 172966, February 8, 2007).

Similarly it was declared that when the distance be- tween the place where the crime was committed and the place where the accused said he was is only one and a half kilometers, the accused, who at the time had the use of a motorized vehicle, has not established the physical im- possibility required (People v. Agustin, G.R. No. 175325, February 27, 2008).

5. While the defense of alibi is by nature a weak one, it

assumes significance and strength where the evidence for the prosecution is also intrinsically wea k (People v. Canlas, 372 SCRA 401).

6. Alib i is not always false and without merit (People v.

Cacayan, G.R. No. 180499, July 9, 2008). Contrary to the com-

Alib i is not always false and without merit (People v. Cacayan, G.R. No. 180499, July

PRELIMINARY CONSIDERATIONS

A.

Miscellaneous Basic Principles

15

mon notion, alibi is not always a weak defense. Sometimes, the fact that the accused was somewhere else may just be the

plain and unvarnished truth. But to be exonerating, the de- fense of alibi must be so airtight that it would admit of no ex- ception. It must be demonstrated that the person charged with the crime was not only somewhere else when the offense was committed, but was so far away that it would have been physi- cally impossible to have been at the place of the crime or its immediate vicinity at the time of its commission. The reason

is that no person can be in tw o places at the same tim e (People

v. Baro, 383 SCRA 75; People v. Ubina, G.R. No. 176349, July 10, 2007).

7. Like alibi, the defense of frame up is viewed with

2007). 7. Like alibi, the defense of frame up is viewed with disfavor as it can

disfavor as it can easily be concocted and is commonly used as

a defense in most prosecutions arising from the violations of

the Dangerous Drugs Act. The legal presumption that official duty has been regularly performed exists (People v. Lee Hoi Ming, 412 SCRA 550; People v. Barita, 325 SCRA 22). It is generally viewed with caution by the court because it is easy to contrive and difficult to disprove. For this claim to pros- per, the defense must adduce clear and convincing evidence to overcome the presumption that government officials have per- formed their duties in a regular and proper manner (People v. Del Monte, G.R. No. 179940, April 23, 2008).

In assessing the defense of frame-up, the court need also to consider the evidence of the prosecution.

The rule requiring a claim of

frame-up to be supported by clear and convincing evidence was never intended to shift to the accused the burden of proof in a criminal case." The claim of frame-up assumes impor- tance when faced with the rather shaky nature of the prosecu- tion evidence (Agustin v. People, G.R. No. 158788, April 30,

It has been held that

v. People, G.R. No. 158788, April 30, It has been held that 2008). 8. Self-defense, like
v. People, G.R. No. 158788, April 30, It has been held that 2008). 8. Self-defense, like

2008).

8. Self-defense, like alibi is inherently weak because it

16

EVIDENCE (The Bar Lectures Series)

1 6 EVIDENCE (The Bar Lectures Series) Bar 1994 Al was accused of raping Lourdes. Only

Bar 1994

Al was accused of raping Lourdes. Only Lourdes testified on how the crime was perpetrated. On the other hand, the defense presented Al's wife, son, and daughter to testify that Al was with them when the alleged crime took place. The prosecution interposed timely objection to the testimonies on the ground of obvious bias due to the witness close relationship with the accused.

bias due to the witness close relationship with the accused. If you were the judge: (1)
bias due to the witness close relationship with the accused. If you were the judge: (1)

If you were the judge:

(1)

XX X

(2)

Will the fact that the version of the defense

is corroborated by three witnesses suffice to acquit Al? Why?

Suggested answer:

(1) xx x

suffice to acquit Al? Why? Suggested answer: (1) xx x (2) The corroboration of the version

(2) The corroboration of the version of the defense by three witnesses is not sufficient for acquittal. Alibi is one of the weakest defenses due to its being capable of easy fabrication. It cannot prevail over the positive iden- tification of the accused as perpetrator of the crime. For an alibi to prevail, the defense must establish by positive, clear and satisfactory proof that it was physically impos- sible for the accused to have been at the scene of the crime at the time of its commission, and not merely that the accused was somewhere else. In the face of positive iden- tification of the accused by the prosecution witness, such alibi crumbles like a sand fortress (People v. Vargas, G.R. No. 122765, October 13, 2003; People v. Adam, 413 SCRA

293).

Delay and Initial Reluctance in Reporting a Crime

1. Delayed reporting by witnesses of what they know

Dela y ed re p ortin g b y witnesses of what the y know about

about a crime does not render their testimonies false or incred-

crime does not render their testimonies false or incre d- ible, for the delay may be

ible, for the delay may be explained by the natural reticence of most people and their abhorrence to get involved in a criminal case. But more than this, there is always the inherent fear of reprisal, which is quite understandable, especially if the ac-

PRELIMINARY CONSIDERATIONS A. Miscellaneous Basic Principles

17
17

cused is a man of power and influence in the community. The natural reluctance of a witness to get involved in a criminal case, as well as to give information to the authorities is a mat- ter of judicial notice (People v. Navarro, 297 SCRA 331).

2. Different people react differently to a given stimulus

or type of situation, and there is no standard form of behavior-

al response when one is confronted with a strange, startling or frightful experience. A witness' delay in reporting what he knew about a crime does not render his testimony false or incredible, for the delay may be explained by the natural reti- cence of most people to get involved in a criminal case (People v. Manalad, 387 SCRA 263).

in a criminal case (People v. Manalad, 387 SCRA 263). Delay in reporting an incident of
in a criminal case (People v. Manalad, 387 SCRA 263). Delay in reporting an incident of

Delay in reporting an incident of rape for instance, is not necessarily an indication that the charge is fabricated; it is entirely possible for a rape victim to go through what psy- chologists describe as a "state of denial" which is a way of cop- ing with the overwhelming emotional stress of an extremely shocking event (People v. Maglente, G.R. No. 179712, June 27, 2008; People v. Mahinay, G.R. No. 179190, January 20,

2009).

It is also not uncommon that a rape victim will conceal for some time the assault against her person on account of fear of the threats posed by her assailant (People v. Domin- go, G.R. No. 177136, June 30, 2008) and must not be taken against the victim because the effect of fear and intimidation instilled in the victim's mind cannot be measured against any given hard-and-fast rule such that it is viewed in the context of the victim's perception and judgment not only at the time of the commission of the crime but also at the time immediately thereafter (People v. Lantano, G.R. No. 176734, January 28, 2008). A rape victim is sometimes overwhelmed by fear rather than by reason (People v. Montesa, G.R. No. 181899, Novem- ber 27, 2008).

3.

, G . R . No . 181899 , Novem - ber 27 , 2008 ).
, G . R . No . 181899 , Novem - ber 27 , 2008 ).

In Ingal v. People (G.R. No. 173282, March 4, 2008),

a murder case, accused-petitioner faults the witness for hav- ing waited for the apprehension of the assailant after more than seven years from the commission of the crime to divulge

18

EVIDENCE (The Bar Lectures Series)

to the policemen the alleged crime by signing a written state- ment. The accused argues that if the witness truly witnessed the crime, the fact that she revealed what she saw only after seven years was contrary to ordinary human experience and conduct, thereby rendering her testimony unworthy of cre- dence.

The Court found that the witness did not immediately give to the police a signed written statement under oath be- cause she was fearful that "something bad might happen to her" because the suspect was still at large. She explained to the authorities that she would only give her written state- ment when the suspect was apprehended, because the crime was a grave offense. True to her word, once the accused was arrested she executed a statement under oath.

The Court categorically declared that the witness can- not be faulted for doing what she did. Fear of reprisal and the natural reluctance of a witness to get involved in a crim- inal case are sufficient explanations for a witness' delay in reporting a crime to the authorities. Initial reluctance to vol- unteer information regarding a crime due to fear of reprisal is common enough that it has been judicially declared as not affecting a witness' credibility. The reluctance of the witness to right away submit a written statement to the police was natural and within the bounds of expected human behavior. Her action revealed a spontaneous and natural reaction of a person who had yet to fully comprehend a shocking and trau- matic event. Besides, the Court added, the workings of the hu- man mind are unpredictable. People react differently to emo- tional stress. There is simply no standard form of behavioral response that can be expected from anyone when confronted with a strange, startling or frightful occurrence. In her case, the witness said she was shocked and lost her composure be- cause that was the first time she saw someone being killed in front of her.

the first time she saw someone being killed in front of her. 4. The celebrated double
the first time she saw someone being killed in front of her. 4. The celebrated double

4. The celebrated double murder and frustrated murder

cases of People v. Teehankee, Jr. (249 SCRA 54) illustrate the willingness of the Court to take judicial notice of the natural reticence of witnesses to get involved in the solution of crimes.

PRELIMINARY CONSIDERATIONS A. Miscellaneous Basic Principles

19

The witness who actually saw the shooting of the victims by the accused and had a clear and positive identification of the plate number of the assailant's car, denied having witnessed the crime during the investigation by the police and the NBI. He refused to volunteer information to anyone as to what he supposedly witnessed. It was only after consistent prodding and assurance of protection from NB I officials that he agreed to cooperate with the authorities. The Court recognized that the initial reluctance of the fear-gripped witness to reveal to the authorities what he supposedly witnessed was sufficiently explained during the trial. His fear was not imaginary. He saw with his own eyes the senseless violence perpetrated by the accused. He knew that the accused belonged to an influen- tial family. In his own words, he testified that his reluctance was due to his fear for his and his family's safety.

e was due to his fear for his and his family's safety . 5. People v.

5. People v. Sanidad (402 SCRA 381), is also illustra-

tive. Here, the complaining witnesses were victims and sur- vivors of an ambush allegedly perpetrated by the accused but

they reported the incident to the authorities only after several weeks. The delay was put in issue by all the accused as part of their defense. The Court stressed that delay in reporting

a crime to the authorities is not an uncommon phenomenon.

The rule is that delay by a witness in divulging what he or she knows about a crime is not by itself a setback to the evi- dentiary value of such witness' testimony, where the delay

is sufficiently justified by any acceptable explanation. Thus,

a well-founded fear of reprisal or the individual manner by

which individuals react when confronted by a gruesome event as to place the viewer in a state of shock for sometime, is a valid excuse for the temporary silence of witnesses. The Court adopted the argument of the Solicitor General, as follows:

adopted the argument of the Solicitor General, as follows: the victims in the instant case were

the victims in the instant case were survivors of an extremely violent incident which inflicts severe con- comitant psychological stress on them. Considering also that the survivors were being investigated by the police from another municipality where the perpetrators not only reside but one of them was even a member of the CAFGU , it is a natural reaction for the victims not to re-

not only reside but one of them was even a member of the CAFGU , it
not only reside but one of them was even a member of the CAFGU , it

20

EVIDENCE (The Bar Lectures Series)

veal that they know the identities of the perpetrators and induce them to take action to prevent the victims from testifying x x x x Furthermore, Marlon Tugadi insisted to the police during the investigation that he knew who ambushed them but that he would talk only after his brother's interment. This hardly qualifies as an unusual behavior."

6. People v. Ortoa (G.R. No. 176266, August 8, 2007),

exemplifies another case in which the court recognized a justi- fication by a victim for a delay in reporting a crime committed by her father against her. Anent the claim that the truthful- ness of the accusation is affected by the victim's failure to re- port the purported previous incidents of rape, the Court ruled against the accused-appellant. Here, the Court had another occasion to declare that there is no uniform behavior that can be expected from those who had the misfortune of being sexu- ally molested. Accordingly, some may have found the cour- age early on to reveal the abuse they experienced; there are those who have opted to initially keep the harrowing ordeal to themselves and tried to move on with their lives. In a crimi- nal action for rape for instance, a rape victim's actions are oftentimes overwhelmed by fear rather than by reason. It is this fear, springing from the initial rape, that the perpetra- tor hopes to build a climate of extreme psychological terror, which would, he hopes, numb his victim into silence and sub- missiveness. Incestuous rape magnifies this terror, because the perpetrator is a person normally expected to give solace and protection to the victim. Furthermore, in incest, access to the victim is guaranteed by the blood relationship, proximity magnifying the sense of helplessness and the degree of fear.

the sense of helplessness and the degree of fear . In this case, the Court found

In this case, the Court found that the delay was suffi- ciently explained by the victim. The Court likewise found that when the victim was still a young child and already subjected to the revolting behavior of the accused, the latter threatened her with physical harm should she divulge his misdeeds to anyone else. When she became pregnant, the accused resorted to emotional blackmail by telling her that he would be impris-

PRELIMINARY CONSIDERATIONS A. Miscellaneous Basic Principles

21

oned should she tell anyone about what he had been doing to her. And when the wife of the accused wanted the latter to move out of their house because of his appalling conduct, the accused had the audacity to confront the victim and her mother with the fact that he was the sole breadwinner of their family. It is therefore clear, according to the Court, that the accused used every scheme he could think of to dissuade the family from going to the proper authorities. But more than the appellant's actuations, the victim in her own words testi- fied that she was discouraged by the public ridicule that she expected to come her way. In her words:

"Nalaman na noon ng aking Mama ang ginagawa ng aking Papa sa akin at tinanong ako kung anong gusto kong mangyari, ang sabi ko ayoko pa dahil hindi ko pa kaya na humarap sa ibang tao."

pa dahil hindi ko pa kaya na humarap sa ibang tao." 7. In People v. Satioquia
pa dahil hindi ko pa kaya na humarap sa ibang tao." 7. In People v. Satioquia

7. In People v. Satioquia (414 SCRA 60), the victim of

rape by her stepfather was the chairperson of the Sangguni- ang Kabataan in their area. She claimed in her sworn com- plaint in August 1994, that her stepfather had been raping her since 1992, but she failed to report any of the incidents to the police authorities because of the constant threats by the accused. The accused in his defense averred that the victim's testimony is incredible and is barren of probative weight for her having failed to report to the police authorities that the accused had raped her as early as May 1992. The accused ar- gued that she could have accordingly easily reported the inci- dent to the police authorities considering that she was a Sang- guniang Kabataan chairperson.

In affirming the conviction, the Court gave no merit to the argument of the accused. It held that delay or vacillation by the victims in reporting sexual assaults on them does not nec- essarily impair their credibility if such delay is satisfactorily explained. Fear of reprisal or social humiliation are sufficient explanations. Moreover, Filipinas, especially those in the ru- ral areas, are by nature shy and coy, and rape stigmatizes the victim, not the perpetrator. A victim of rape cannot be expected to have the courage to immediately report a sexual

22

EVIDENCE (The Bar Lectures Series)

assault committed against her especially when accompanied by a death threat. Delay is not a sign of fabrication. It is not uncommon for a young girl at the tender age to be intimidated and cowed into silence and conceal, for some time, the viola- tion of her honor, even by the mildest threat against her life.

The Court further explained that the credibility of the victim and her testimony cannot be discredited merely be- cause she failed to immediately divulge to her mother, to her brother and to the police authorities the bestial acts of the ac- cused. It bears stressing that when the appellant first raped her, she was barely fifteen years old.

Positive and Negative Defenses

1.

barely fifteen years old. Positive and Negative Defenses 1. In Phili pp ine j uris p

In Philippine jurisprudence, a positive testimony

normally enjoys more weight than a negative testimony. In short, a testimony that a fact exists enjoys more weight than a testimony that asserts that the same fact does not exist. A denial evidence is merely a negative evidence.

Positive evidence is, as a general rule, more credible

than negative evidence. However, the reason for this rule is that the witness who testifies to a negative may have forgot-

ten what actually occurred, while it is impossible to remem- ber what never existed (Gomez v. Gomez-Samson, G.R. No. 156284, February 6, 2007).

2.

, G . R . N o. 156284 , February 6 , 2 007). 2. A

A denial evidence is the weakest defense and can nev-

er overcome a positive testimony particularly when it comes from the mouth of a credible witness (People v. Mendoza, 450 SCRA 328). Evidence that is negative is self-serving in na- ture and cannot attain more credibility than the testimonies of witnesses who testify on clear and positive evidence (People v. Larranaga, supra). Denial, like alibi is an inherently weak defense vis-a-vis positive identification (People v. Guambor, 420 SCRA 677; People v. Guevarra, G.R. No. 182192, October

29, 2008; People v. Montesa, G.R. No. 181899, November 27,

2008).

3.
3.
677; People v. Guevarra, G.R. No. 182192, October 29, 2008; People v. Montesa, G.R. No. 181899,

PRELIMINARY CONSIDERATIONS

A.

Miscellaneous Basic Principles

23

Factum

Probans and

Factum

Probandum

1.

Evidence signifies a relationship between two facts,

namely:

(a )

the fact or proposition to be

established (factum

probandum);
probandum);

and

(b)

the

facts

or

material

evidencing

the

fact

or

proposition to be established (factum probans) (Wigmore,

Principles

be established (f actum p robans) (Wigmor e, Principles Proof , 5) . of Judicial 2.

Proof,

5).

of Judicial

2. Stated in another way , the factum probandum is the

fact to be proved; the fact which is in issue and to which the evidence is directed. On the other hand, factumjprobans is the probative or evidentiary fart tending to prove the fact in issue (Black's Law Dictionary, 5th Ed., 533).

Thus, if P claims to have been injured by the negligence of D who denies having been negligent, the negligence of D and the causal connection between such negligence, and the injuries of P taken as a whole, constitute the factum proban- dum of the suit. Th e evidence offered by P, whether it be ob- ject, documentary or testimonial, constitute the materials to prove the liability of D. The totality of the evidence to prove the liability refers to the factum probans.

to prove the liability refers to the factum probans. 3. Th e factum probandum in a
to prove the liability refers to the factum probans. 3. Th e factum probandum in a

3. Th e factum probandum in a certain case ma y be af-

fected by the judicial admissions of a party. For instance, if the defendant in a suit based on a culpa aquiliana theory ad- mits his negligence in his answer to the complaint, there is no more need to prove negligence. Hence, negligence ceases to be a factum probandum in the case.

If the factum probandum "signifies the fact or proposition to be established," then matters of judicial notice, conclusive presumptions and judicial admissions cannot qualify as parts of the factum probandum of a particular case, because such matters need not be established or proven.

4. In practical terms, the factum probandum in a civil

case refers to the elements of a cause of action from the point

24

EVIDENCE (The Bar Lectures Series)

of view of the plaintiff and the elements of the defense from the standpoint of the defendant.

In a suit for instance, for collection of a sum of money, in the absence of any admission by the defendant, the factum probandum of the plaintiff would be:

(i)

the existence of the debt of the defendant;

(ii)

the maturity of the debt;

(iii)

the demand made by the plaintiff upon the de-

fendant to pay; and

(iv) the failure to pay despite the demand.

From the side of the defendant, the fact of payment of the obligation or the prescription of the debt or the elements of any defense he may interpose would constitute the factum probandum.

In every tort case filed under Art. 2176 of the Civil Code, plaintiff has to prove (a) the damages suffered by the plain- tiff; (b ) the fault or negligence of the defendant or some other person for whose act he must respond; and (c) the connection of cause and effect between the fault or negligence and the damages incurred (Corinthian Gardens Association, Inc. v. Tanjangco, G.R. No. 160795, June 27, 2008).

5. In a criminal case, the factum probandum includes

all matters that the prosecution must prove beyond reason- able doubt in order to justify a conviction.

(a) Thus, in a prosecution for robbery, the prosecu-

tion has the burden to prove the following matters be- yond reasonable doubt:

(i) that there be personal property belonging

to another;

erty;

(ii)

that there is unlawful taking of that prop-

(iii)

(iv ) that there is violence against or intimida-

(Art. 293, Re-

that the taking is with intent to gain; and

tion of persons or force upon things

PRELIMINARY CONSIDERATIONS A. Miscellaneous Basic Principles

CONSIDERATIONS A. Miscellaneous Basic Principles 25 vised Penal Code; People v. Sandoval, 254

25

vised

Penal

Code;

People

v.

Sandoval,

254

SCRA

436).

(b)

To convict an accused for illegal possession of

To convict an accused for illegal possession of

firearms and explosives, the factum probandum would be the two (2) essential elements which must be indubitably established, viz:

elements which must be indubitably established, viz: (i) the existence of the sub j ect firearm

(i) the existence of the subject firearm or ex-

plosive which may be proved by the presentation of the subject firearm or explosive or by the testimony of witnesses who saw accused in possession of the same, and;

(ii) the negative fact that the accused had no

license or permit to own or possess the firearm or explosive which fact may be established by the testi- mony or certification of a representative of the PN P Firearms and Explosives Unit that the accused has no license or permit to possess the subject firearm or explosive.

Even if the firearm or explosive is presented in court, the failure of the prosecution to prove the absence of a permit to own or possess the firearm or explosive is fatal to its cause. The essence of the crime penalized is primarily the lack of license or permit to carry or possess the firearm, ammunition or explosive as possession by it- self is not prohibited by law (People v. Cortez, 324 SCRA

335).

is not prohibited by law (People v. Cortez, 324 SCRA 335). (c) In a prosecution for

(c) In a prosecution for illegal sale of prohibited or

dangerous drugs, what determines if there was a sale of dangerous drugs is proof of the concurrence of all the ele- ments of the offense. Conviction is proper if the following elements concur:

(i) the identity of the buyer and the seller, the

object, and the consideration; and

(ii) the delivery of the thing sold and the pay- ment therefor (People v. Rivera, G.R. No. 182347, October 17,2008).

o f t h e thin g sold and the p ay- ment ther efor (People

26

EVIDENCE (The Bar Lectures Series)

What is material to the prosecution for the sale of illegal drugs is the proof that the sale actually took place, coupled with the presentation in court of evidence of corpus delicti

(People v. Del Monte,

G.R. No.

179940, April 23, 2008).

In criminal cases involving prohibited drugs, there can be no conviction unless the prosecution shows that the accused knowingly possessed the prohibited articles in his person, or that animus possidendi is shown to be present together with his possession or control of such article; animus possidendi is only prima facie — it is subject to contrary proof and may be rebutted by evidence that the accused did not in fact exercise power and control over the thing in question, and did not in- tend to do so (People v. Penaflorida, Jr., ibid.).

The presentation of the informant in illegal drug cases is not indispensable for a successful prosecution because his testimony would merely be corroborative and cumulative. In- formants are generally not presented in court because of the need to hide their identity and preserve their invaluable ser- vice to the police (Ibid.).

their invaluable se r- vice to the police (Ibid . ) . Multiple Admissibility There are
their invaluable se r- vice to the police (Ibid . ) . Multiple Admissibility There are
their invaluable se r- vice to the police (Ibid . ) . Multiple Admissibility There are
their invaluable se r- vice to the police (Ibid . ) . Multiple Admissibility There are

Multiple Admissibility

There are times when a proffered evidenceis ad-

missible for two or more purposes. Thus, depending upon the circumstances, the declaration of a dying person may be ad- missible for several purposes. It may be offered as a dying declaration (Sec. 37, Rule 130, Rules of Court), as part of the res gestae (Sec. 42, Rule 130, Rules of Court) or as a declara- tion against interest (Sec. 38, Rule 130, Rules of Court). Th e statement by a bus driver immediately after the collision that he dozed off in the wheel while driving may be admissible as an admission under Sec. 26 of Rule 130 or as part of the res gestae pursuant to Sec. 42 of Rule 130.

1.

part of the res gestae pursuant to Sec. 42 of Rule 130. 1. Sometimes it is

Sometimes it is inadmissible for one purpose but ad-

missible for another or vice versa. For instance, evidence of a person's bad general reputation for truth, honesty, or integrity

is objectionable if offered to prove that he committed the crime

2.
2.
re p utation for truth , hone sty, or integri ty is objectionable if offered to

PRELIMINARY CONSIDERATIONS A. Miscellaneous Basic Principles

CONSIDERATIONS A. Miscellaneous Basic Principles 27 charged but it may be admissible to impeach the

27

charged but it may be admissible to impeach the credibility of a witness under the authority of Sec. 11 of Rule 132.

3. Evidence may also be admissible against one party

but not against another. An extrajudicial statement of a rob- bery suspect is not admissible against his co-accused under the res inter alios acta rule but ma y be admissible against the declarant himself as an admission pursuant to Sec. 26 of Rule

himself as an a dmission pursuant to Sec. 26 of Rule 130. the concept of multiple

130.

the

concept of multiple admissibility.

4. If testimony is offered to prove that the project was

completed pursuant to the contract, it cannot be offered to prove that the project was delayed. It must be remembered that the purpose for which evidence is offered must be speci- fied because such evidence may be admissible for several pur- poses under the doctrine of multiple admissibility, or may be admissible for one purpose and not for another, otherwise the adverse party cannot interpose the proper objection (Uniwide Sales Realty and Resources Corporation v. Titan-Ikeda Con- struction and Development Corporation, G.R. No. 126619, De- cember 20, 2006).

The

various

situations

abovementioned

illustrate

20, 2006). The various situations abovementioned illustrate Ba r 2005 (a) xx x (b) xx x
20, 2006). The various situations abovementioned illustrate Ba r 2005 (a) xx x (b) xx x

Ba r 2005

(a)

xx x
xx x
(b) xx x •Sic)
(b) xx x
•Sic)

May a private document be offered and admit-

ted in evidence both as documentary evidence and as ob- ject evidence?

(d)

xx x
xx x

(e)

xx x
xx x

Suggested answer:

evidence and as ob- ject evidence? (d) xx x (e) xx x Suggested answer: (a) xx

(a)

xx x
xx x

(b)

xx x
xx x
evidence and as ob- ject evidence? (d) xx x (e) xx x Suggested answer: (a) xx

EVIDENCE (The Bar Lectures Series)

(c) A private document may be offered and ad-

mitted in evidence both as documentary evidence and as object evidence depending on the purpose for which the document is offered. If offered to prove its existence, condition or for any purpose other than the contents of a document, the same is considered as an'^bject^gvidence. When the private document is offered as proof of its con- tents, the same is considered as a 3ocumentary>vidence (Sec. 2, Rule 130, Rules of Court). ^

y >viden ce (Sec. 2, Rule 130, Rules of Cou rt). ^ (a) xx x (b)
y >viden ce (Sec. 2, Rule 130, Rules of Cou rt). ^ (a) xx x (b)

(a)

xx x
xx x

(b)

xx x
xx x

Ba r 1991

Two (2) hours after Lt. Yap of the 2nd Air Division, PAF, at the Mactan Air Base in Lapu-Lapu City, was shot with a .45 caliber pistol, his Division commander, Brig.

Gen. A, visited him at the Cebu Doctor's Hospital in Cebu City where he was immediately brought before treatment

of the gunshot wound. Lt. Yap told A that it was Jose Co-

men who shot him. Forthwith, A, who is a law graduate, took the initiative of taking down in long hand the state- ment of Lt. Yap. The latter narrated the events surround- ing and categorically stated that it was Jose Comen who shot him. Lt. Yap signed the statement in the presence of

A and the attending nurse. Ten (10) days later, Lt. Yap

died as a consequence of the gunshot wound. An informa- tion for murder was filed against Jose Comen.

At the trial, the above statement of Lt. Yap marked

as

however, testify that Lt. Yap read it, or that it was read

to him before he (Yap) signed it. A, nevertheless, testified

to him before he (Yap) signed it. A, nevertheless, testified Exh. "X" was presented and identified
to him before he (Yap) signed it. A, nevertheless, testified Exh. "X" was presented and identified
to him before he (Yap) signed it. A, nevertheless, testified Exh. "X" was presented and identified

Exh. "X" was presented and identified by A who did not,

that it was Jose Comen who shot him. The defense ob- jected to the testimony of A and to the admission of Exh. "X" on the ground that they are hearsay. The prosecution

contended that both are exceptions to the hearsay rule as they are part of res gestae.

to the hearsay rule as they are part of res gestae. (a) Is the prosecution correct?

(a)

Is the prosecution correct?

(b)

If the statement cannot be admitted as part of

(b) If the statement cannot be admitted as part of the res gestae, may it be

the res gestae, may it be considered as a dying declara- tion?

PRELIMINARY CONSIDERATIONS A. Miscellaneous Basic Principles

Suggested answers:
Suggested answers:

(a) The prosecution is not correct. The statement

of Lt. Yap is not part of the res gestae. To be part of the res gestae, the statement should have been made by a person while a startling occurrence is taking place or immedi- ately prior to or subsequent to such startling occurrence (Sec. 42, Rule 130, Rules of Court). The statement of Lt. Yap was made two (2) hours after he was allegedly shot, not neither while he was being shot nor immediately prior to or immediately after being shot.

(b) The statement cannot be admitted as a dying

declaration. To be admissible as a dying declaration, the statement should have been made while the declarant was conscious of an impending death. The facts of the case do not clearly show that this essential element of a dying declaration was met.

that this es sential element of a dying declaration was met. Ba r 1984 When A

Ba r 1984

When A was stabbed on the chest during a street brawl, he instinctively shouted for help. B, who was near- by, heard the shout and immediately ran towards A who, upon inquiry by B, stated that C had stabbed him.

If A should die on account of the stab wound, upon what rule or rules of evidence could B's testimony be re- ceived? Explain.

of evidence could B's testimony be re- ceived? Explain. Suggested answer: 29 The testimony could be

Suggested answer:

29

The testimony could be admitted either as a dying declaration or as part of the res gestae.

Assuming that A was under the consciousness of an impending death when he stated that C had stabbed him, the declaration may be admitted as a dying declara- tion pursuant to Sec. 37 of Rule 130. If the statement was made without such consciousness, it could be admissible as part of the res gestae under Sec. 42 of Rule 130, since the same was made immediately after a startling event, i.e. the stabbing.

30

EVIDENCE (The Bar Lectures Series)

Conditional Admissibility

It happens frequently enough that the relevance of a piece of evidence is not apparent at the time it is offered, but the relevance of which will readily be seen when connected to o^her pieces of evidence not yet offered. The proponent of the evidence may ask that the evidence be conditionally admit- ted in the meantime subject to the condition that he is going to establish its relevancy and competency at a later time. If the connection is not shown as promised, the court may, upon motion of the adverse party, strike out from the record the evidence that was previously conditionally admitted.

For instance, Mr. P files an action for recovery of owner- ship of a parcel of land against Mr. D. The complaint alleges

that Mr. P is the owner of the property. During the trial, Mr.

P testifies and adduces evidence that sometime in 1995, the

property subject of the action was bought by Mr. O from a cer- tain Mr. M. The defendant, Mr. D, objects on the ground that the evidence is irrelevant to support the claim of ownership of Mr. P. The problem presented in such a situation is whether or not to interrupt the examination of the witness to first present the connecting evidence or to admit the testimony condition- ally, subject to presentation of the said connecting evidence later in the trial. Mr. P may ask the court to conditionally allow the testimony with the undertaking to show later that he bought the property from Mr. O who in turn bought it from Mr. M.

the property from Mr. O who in turn bought it from Mr. M. Curative Admissibil ity
the property from Mr. O who in turn bought it from Mr. M. Curative Admissibil ity

Curative Admissibility

1.
1.

The doctrine of curative admissibility allows a party

to introduce otherwise inadmissible evidence to answer the op-

posing party's previous introduction of inadmissible evidence if

it

of the earlier inadmissible evidence (Adams v. Burlington N. R.R. Co., 865 S.W.2d 748, 751 [Mo. App. 1993]). Thus, a party who first introduces either irrelevant or incompetent evidence into the trial cannot complain of the subsequent admission of similar evidence from the adverse party relating to the same

would remove any unfair prejudice caused by the admission

similar evidence from the adverse party relating to the same would remove any unfair prejudice caused
similar evidence from the adverse party relating to the same would remove any unfair prejudice caused
similar evidence from the adverse party relating to the same would remove any unfair prejudice caused

PRELIMINARY CONSIDERATIONS A. Miscellaneous Basic Principles

CONSIDERATIONS A. Miscellaneous Basic Principles 31 subject matter (Commonwealth v. Alexander, Ky., 5

31

CONSIDERATIONS A. Miscellaneous Basic Principles 31 subject matter (Commonwealth v. Alexander, Ky., 5 S.W.3d

subject matter (Commonwealth v. Alexander, Ky., 5 S.W.3d 104, 105 [1999] quoting Dunaway v. Commonwealth, 239 Ky 166, 39 S.W.2d 242, 243 [1931]; Smith v. Commonwealth, Ky., 904 S.W.2d 220, 222 [1995]). Conversely , th e doctrine should not be invoked where evidence was properly admitted.

should not be invoked where evidence was properly admitted. 2. For example, in an action for
should not be invoked where evidence was properly admitted. 2. For example, in an action for
should not be invoked where evidence was properly admitted. 2. For example, in an action for

2. For example, in an action for damages arising from a

car accident, the plaintiff, despite objection by the defendant, introduced evidence to show that on several occasions the defendant in the past had injured pedestrians because of his negligence. The evidence was offered to prove the defendant's propensity for negligence. Of course, under the rules, this kind of evidence is inadmissible because evidence that a person did a certain thing at one time is not admissible to prove that he did the sam e or a similar thing (Sec. 34, Rule 130, Rules of Ev- idence). If w e wer e to follow the concept of curative admissibil- ity, the court may be asked to give the party against whom the evidence was admitted the chance to contradict or explain the alleged past acts he committed and to show evidence of past acts of diligence of the defendant to counteract the prejudice which the improperly admitted evidence may have caused.

e which the improperly admitted evidence may have caused . Also, if hearsay evidence prejudicial to

Also, if hearsay evidence prejudicial to the defendant is

erroneously admitted despite objection, under the principle

of curative admissibility, the court should allow hearsay evi-

dence favorable to the same defendant.

Does the concept of curative admissibility refer to

a situation where incompetent evidence was erroneously re-

ceived by the court despite objection from the other party? Local case law does not extensively address the matter but

some America n

(865 S.W.2d 748, 751[Mo. App. 1993]), hold that the principle applies where inadmissible evidence was admitted without objection. It has been held that curative admissibility in its broadest form, allows a party to introduce otherwise inadmis- sible evidence when necessary to counter the effect of improp- er evidence previously admitted by the other party without objection (Clark v. State, 629 A.2d 1239, 1244-45 [Md. 1993]; See also Wigmore on Evidence, § 15 [Rev. Ed. 1983]). Another

cases like Adams v. Burlington N.R.R. Co.

3.

1993]; See also Wigmore on Evidence, § 15 [Rev. Ed. 1983]). Another cases like Adams v.
1993]; See also Wigmore on Evidence, § 15 [Rev. Ed. 1983]). Another cases like Adams v.
1993]; See also Wigmore on Evidence, § 15 [Rev. Ed. 1983]). Another cases like Adams v.
1993]; See also Wigmore on Evidence, § 15 [Rev. Ed. 1983]). Another cases like Adams v.
1993]; See also Wigmore on Evidence, § 15 [Rev. Ed. 1983]). Another cases like Adams v.

32

EVIDENCE (The Bar Lectures Series)

case also allowed curative evidence even if there was failure to object to the objectionable evidence (Nguyen v. Southwest Leasing and Rental, Inc., 282 F3d 1061, 1068 [9th Circuit,

2002]).
2002]).

It is submitted that in our jurisdiction, the principle of curative admissibility should not be made to apply where the evidence was admitted without objection because the failure to object constitutes a waiver of the inadmissibility of the evi- dence. In our jurisdiction, inadmissible evidence not objected to becomes admissible.

For instance, where a party failed to object to hearsay evidence, then the same is admissible (See SSS Chemicals Corporation v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 128538, February 28, 2001).

An objection to an otherwise inadmissible evidence is not merely suggested but required by the Rules of Court. The tenor of the rule is clear: Objections to evidence offered orally must be made immediately after the offer is made and objections to questions propounded in the course of the oral examination of the witness shall be made as soon as the grounds therefor shall become apparent (Sec. 36, Rule 130, Rules of Court).

shall become apparent (Sec. 36, Rule 130, Rules of Court). It is likewise submitted that it

It is likewise submitted that it is only where the objec- tion was incorrectly overruled, that the court should allow the other party to introduce evidence to contradict the evidence improperly admitted in order to cure the prejudice caused to the other party against whom the offered evidence was erro- neously admitted. Common reason suggests that where there is a waiver, there is no defect to cure.

While a trial court generally has discretion in ruling on the admissibility of evidence, it is opined that a trial court should be without discretion to apply the doctrine of curative admissibility if it appears that the party seeking to invoke it intentionally or negligently failed to object to the inadmissible evidence in order to gain admission later of his inadmissible evidence. If no limitations are placed on the doctrine of cu- rative admissibility, the doctrine will predictably be open to abuse and will encourage counsel not to object to inadmissible

PRELIMINARY CONSIDERATIONS A. Miscellaneous Basic Principles

33

CONSIDERATIONS A. Miscellaneous Basic Principles 33 evidence to "open the door" for him to introduce

evidence to "open the door" for him to introduce inadmissible evidence. The more logical rule should be one which will not allow a party to be heard through the offering of inadmissible evidence if he declines or fails to timely object to the other party's inadmissible evidence.

One American case puts it: "A breach of the rules of evi- dence by one party does not suspend those rules with respect to the other party" (See United States v. Young, 470 U.S. 1

[1985]). [^Eecland^CinxumstariliaLEyid^nce
[1985]).
[^Eecland^CinxumstariliaLEyid^nce

1.

Direct evidence means evidence which if believed,

1. Direct evidence means evidence which if believed, p roves the existence of a fact in

proves the existence of a fact in is§ue_wjthpjitinference or pre- sumption (State v. Mclure, Mo. App. 504 S.W. 2d 664, 668 as cited in Black's Law Dictionary, 5th Ed. p.413-414). In short, direct evidence proves a fact without the need to make an in- ference from another fact. Thus, the testimony of the prosecu- tion witness claiming that he personally witnessed the attack by the accused on the victim without the latter's provocation is ajdirecJ,

victim without the latter's provocation is ajdirecJ, 2 . JCircumstantia l evidence is tha t evidenc

2 .

JCircumstantia l evidence is tha t evidenc e tha t indi-

. JCircumstantia l evidence is tha t evidenc e tha t indi- rectl y proves a

rectly proves a fact in issue through an inference which the fact finder draw s from the evidence established (People v.

Matito, 423 SCRA 617).

3. JCircumstantial or indirect evidence is the exact op-

posite of direct evidence. When the evidence is circumstantial, a fact is established by making an inference from a previously established fact. In other words, in this type of evidence, the court uses a fact from which an assumption is drawn. When the court does not have to make an inference from one fact to arrive at a conclusion, the evidence is direct. For instance, the testimony of the victim that he dreads the mere presence of the accused is direct evidence that the statement was made. However, it is also circumstantial evidence to show that this fear prevented the victim from attacking the accused without provocation.

also circumstantial evidence to show that this fear prevented the victim from attacking the accused without

34

EVIDENCE (The Bar Lectures Series)

Conviction by Circumstantial Evidence

1.
1.

In a criminal case, circumstantial evidence may be

sufficient for conviction provided the^follQwJLD^eiauisites con-

cur:

for conviction provided the^follQwJLD^eiauisites con- cur: (a ) There is rnoreJJhajLPnje circumstance; (b)

(a )

There is rnoreJJhajLPnje circumstance;

There is rnoreJJhajLPnje circumstance;

(b)

The facts from which the inferences are derived

are proven; and

s from which the inferences are derive d are proven ; and (c) The combination of

(c) The

combination

of

all

the

circumstances

is

such as to produce a conviction, beyond reasonable doubt (Sec. 4, Rule 133, Rules of Court; People v. Sevilleno, 425 SCRA 247; People v. Garcia, G.R. No. 174479, June 17,

2008).

SCRA 247; People v. Garcia, G.R. No. 174479, June 17, 2008). 2. All the circumstances proved
SCRA 247; People v. Garcia, G.R. No. 174479, June 17, 2008). 2. All the circumstances proved
SCRA 247; People v. Garcia, G.R. No. 174479, June 17, 2008). 2. All the circumstances proved

2. All the circumstances proved must be consistent

with each other, and they are to be taken together as proved. Being consistent with each other, and, taken together, they must point unerringly to the direction of guilt and mere sus-

picions, probabilities, or suppositions do not warrant a con- viction (Underhill, Criminal Evidence, 4th Ed., §18; People v.

Pascual,

Criminal Evidence, 4th Ed., §18; People v. Pascual, G.R. No. 172326, January 19, 2009). Bar_199g A

G.R.

No.

172326,

January

19,

2009).

Bar_199g

A was accused of having raped X. Rule on the admis- sibility of the following pieces of evidence:

1.

xx x
xx x

2.

A pair of short pant&allegedly left by A at the

A pair of short pant&allegedly left by A at the

cdTne_scene xxx .
cdTne_scene xxx .

Suggested answer:

The evidence may be admissible as a circumstantial evidence of his liability although not sufficient in itself to support a conviction.

A conviction based on circumstantial evidence mustalthough not sufficient in itself to support a conviction. exclude each and every hypothesis consistent with

exclude each and every hypothesis consistent with innocence. Hence if the totality of the circumstances eliminates beyond reasonable doubt the possibility of innocence, conviction is proper (Mallari v. People, 446 SCRA 74).

PRELIMINARY CONSIDERATIONS A. Miscellaneous Basic Principles

35

Circumstantial evidence may be a basis for conviction and such conviction can be upheld provided the circumstances proven constitute an unbroken chain which leads to one fair and reasonable conclusion that points to the accused to the exclusion of all others as the guilty person. Direct evidence is not the only matrix from which the trial court may draw the conclusions and findings of fact (People v. Bernal, 388 SCRA

211).

4. Circumstantial evidence is not a weake r defense vis-

a-vis direct evidence (People v. Matito, 423 SCRA 617). As to probative value, the Court considers circumstantial evidence of a nature identical to direct evidence because no greater de- gree of certainty is required when the evidence is circumstan- tial than when it is direct. In both types of evidence what is required is proof beyond reasonable doubt (People v. Bernal, 388 SCRA 211).

reasonable doubt (People v. Bernal, 388 SCRA 211). 5. Even carnal knowledge may be proven by
reasonable doubt (People v. Bernal, 388 SCRA 211). 5. Even carnal knowledge may be proven by
reasonable doubt (People v. Bernal, 388 SCRA 211). 5. Even carnal knowledge may be proven by
reasonable doubt (People v. Bernal, 388 SCRA 211). 5. Even carnal knowledge may be proven by
reasonable doubt (People v. Bernal, 388 SCRA 211). 5. Even carnal knowledge may be proven by
reasonable doubt (People v. Bernal, 388 SCRA 211). 5. Even carnal knowledge may be proven by

5. Even carnal knowledge may be proven by circum-

stantial evidence. Jurisprudence is replete with cases where the victim was unconscious and the accused was found guilty on the basis of circumstantial evidence (People v. Coja, G.R. No. 179277, June 18, 2008).

6. Direct evidence is not indispensable to prove a crime

charged. It may be proved by circumstantial evidence (People v. Darilay, 421 SCRA 45).

Direct evidence of the commission of a crime is not the only basis on which a court draws its findings of guilt. Es- tablished facts that form a chain of circumstances can lead

the mind intuitively or impel a conscious process of reasoning towards a conviction (Bastian v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No.

160811, April

In the absence of direct evidence, the prosecution may re- sort to adducing circumstantial evidence. Crimes are usually committed in secret and under conditions where concealment is highly probable. If direct evidence is insisted on under all circumstances, the prosecution of vicious felons who commit heinous crimes in secret or secluded places will be impossible to prove (People v. Sevilleno, 425 SCRA 247).

18, 2008).

crimes in secret or secluded places will be impossib le to prove (People v . Sevilleno

36

EVIDENCE (The Bar Lectures Series)

7. When the prosecution's evidence rests on circum-

stantial evidence alone, it is imperative that the chain of cir- cumstances establish the guilt of the accused beyond reason- able doubt. This means that the circumstances would allow no other conclusion other than the guilt of the accused. If from the same set of facts relied upon by the prosecution to show the guilt of the accused, an opposing inference consistent with the innocence of the accused can be drawn, the evidence would be inconsistent with guilt. Thus, the Suprem e Court in People v. Corpuz, held that where the evidence admits of tw o inter- pretations one of which is consistent with guilt and the other with innocence, the accused must be acquitted (People v. Cor-

puz,

412 SCRA 479).

8.

be ac q uitted (People v . Co r- puz , 412 SCR A 479) .

One caseYAmora v. People (G.R. No. 154466, Janu-

ary 28, 2008), demonstrates the application of the rule on cir- cumstantial evidence.

The petitioner was adjudged guilty of the crime of De- structive Arson defined and penalized under Presidential De- cree (P.D.) No . 1613. The records of the case show that the petitioner owned a building constructed in a rented lot un- der a twenty-year contract. The contract provided that upon the expiration of the lease, ownership of the building shall be transferred to the lessor. Six months before the expiration of the lease, petitioner was notified by the lessor that the lease would no longer be renewed. A few days after the notice, peti- tioner secured a fire insurance from two insurers each with a coverage that was substantially higher than the market value of the building. Less than a month before the expiration of the lease contract, a fire broke out in the building which was also used by petitioner as residence and as a bakery. The fire also gutted nearby houses. Evidence offered in the trial indi- cated that during the actual fire, petitioner was within the premises. Calls and shouts from his neighbors of a fire in his building went initially unheeded by the petitioner. It was only later on that he finally did look to check what was going on. The authorities who conducted an investigation submitted an investigation report which concluded that the fire was inten-

PRELIMINARY CONSIDERATIONS A. Miscellaneous Basic Principles

CONSIDERATIONS A. Miscellaneous Basic Principles 37 tionally caused and which pointed to the petitioner as

37

tionally caused and which pointed to the petitioner as the pos- sible perpetrator.

The Regional Trial Court, later affirmed by the Court of Appeals, relied on the following circumstances as adequate proof of petitioner's guilt:

"First, there is motive on the part of [petitioner] to

commit arson, as the contract of lease over the building

would soon be terminated by owner

"Second, [petitioner] insured the property despite the fact that the lease would soon be terminated and in fact, he had already been advised to vacate the place.

insurance

was substantially more than its market and assessed

was substantially more than its market and assessed against his will. "Third, the amount covering the

against his will.

more than its market and assessed against his will. "Third, the amount covering the fire "Fourth,

"Third,

the

amount

covering

the

fire

"Fourth, [petitioner] was seen in his residence im- mediately before the fire and subsequently in a neighbor's shop during the fire.

"Fifth, the Fire Investigators concluded in their re- port that the fire was intentionally done. In the absence of any showing that these investigators were ill-motivated in testifying against [petitioner], their testimonies are

given weight and

."
."

Aggrieved , petitioner filed a Petition for Review on Cer- tiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, raising the sole question of whether the guilt was proven beyond reasonable doubt because of the absence of direct evidence to prove his culpability.

Sustaining the applicability of P.D . 613 to the case, as well as the presumption of arson under Sec. 6 of the Decree against the petitioner, and meeting head on the contention that an accused could not be convicted in the absence of direct evidence of guilt, the Supreme Court ruled:

"At the outset, it may be well to emphasize that di- rect evidence is not the sole means of establishing guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Established facts that form a

that di- rect evidence is not the sole means of establishing guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Established

38

EVIDENCE (The Bar Lectures Series)

chain of circumstances can lead the mind intuitively or impel a conscious process of reasoning towards a convic- tion. Indeed, rules on evidence and principles in jurispru- dence have long recognized that the accused may be con- victed through circumstantial evidence.

"Circumstantial evidence has been denned as such evidence which goes to prove a fact or series of facts, oth- er than the facts in issue, which, if proved, may tend by inference to establish the fact in issue. Circumstantial evidence may be resorted to when to insist on direct tes- timony would ultimately lead to setting felons free. But for circumstantial evidence to be sufficient for a convic- tion, the following requisites must be present, namely: (a) there is more than one circumstance; (b) the facts from which the inferences are derived have been proven; and (c) the combination of all the circumstances results in a moral certainty that the accused, to the exclusion of all others, is the one who has committed the crime.

"These requisites obtain in the instant case. The trial court found that the circumstances enumerated above suf- ficiently point to the petitioner as the author of the crime. Indeed, all these circumstances, taken together, are con- sistent with the hypothesis that petitioner is guilty, and at the same time inconsistent with the hypothesis that he is innocent.

"We find no cogent reason to disturb the findings of the trial court as affirmed by the appellate court. Case law states that findings of facts of the trial court, especially if affirmed by the appellate court, are given great respect, if not conclusive effect, by this Court unless the trial court ignored, misunderstood or misinterpreted facts and cir- cumstances of substance which, if considered, would al- ter the outcome of the case. Having had the unique ad- vantage of observing and monitoring at close range the demeanor and conduct of witnesses, the trial court is in a better position to pass judgment on the credibility of witnesses and the probative weight of their testimonies" (Amora v. People, G.R. No. 154466, January 28, 2008).

(Amora v. People, G.R. No. 154466, January 28, 2008). ^ 9 - People v. Ochate (385
(Amora v. People, G.R. No. 154466, January 28, 2008). ^ 9 - People v. Ochate (385
^ 9 -
^ 9 -
(Amora v. People, G.R. No. 154466, January 28, 2008). ^ 9 - People v. Ochate (385
(Amora v. People, G.R. No. 154466, January 28, 2008). ^ 9 - People v. Ochate (385

People v. Ochate (385 SCRA 353) on th e other hand,

9 - People v. Ochate (385 SCRA 353) on th e other hand, illustrates tKe refusal

illustrates tKe refusal of th e Cour t to appreciate circumstan -

PRELIMINARY CONSIDERATIONS A. Miscellaneous Basic Principles

39

CONSIDERATIONS A. Miscellaneous Basic Principles 39 tial evidence. Reviewed by the Supreme Court in this case

tial evidence. Reviewed by the Supreme Court in this case is the decision of the Regional Trial Court finding the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of rape with homicide.

The facts of the case as gleaned from the records indicate that one afternoon at around 5:15, the victim and her older brother were walking together on their way home from school. On the way, the victim stopped and went to the communal water pump to wash her food container and her slippers while her brother proceeded to go home ahead of her sister. On his way home, he passed by the hut of the accused where he saw the latter in the yard tucking a scythe on his waist. When the victim did not arrive home after a few hours, a search was conducted the whole evening to no avail. It was only around eight o'clock the following morning that the victim was found dead in a rice field about fifty meters from the house of the accused. Th e medico-legal officer who later examined the ca- daver reported that the cause of death was hemorrhagic shock due to deep and penetrating incised wounds in the neck and abdomen. Suspecting that the accused was the culprit, police officers, as well as other members of the barangay, went to see him at his house but they were not able to find him. It was only after two days from the discovery of the crime that the accused was located and taken into custody.

Prosecution evidence established the following circum- stances: (1) in the afternoon of the date when the victim was last seen alive by her brother, the accused was seen near his house located along the road where the victim and her el- der brother passed on their way home; (2) the road passing through the house of the accused is the only path coming from the school going to the house of the victim's family; (3) appel- lant was the only person seen by the brother on his way home; (4) appellant, who was alone at that time, appeared to the brother as if he was waiting for somebody; (5) upon waking up in the morning and noticing that people in their barangay were gathering and looking for somebody, appellant did not bother to inquire about the reason for such activity; (6) he did not participate in the search for the missing girl; (7) the vic- tim's cadaver was found about 50 meters from appellant's hut;

40

EVIDENCE (The Bar Lectures Series)

(8) when he was informed by his wife that the victim's cadaver was found near their house, he showed no surprise and he did nothing; and (9) on two occasions, when he was informed by the police that someone was killed in their barangay and that he is a suspect in the killing, he did not bother to ask who the victim was.

The Supreme Court agreed with accused that the trial court erred in convicting him based on circumstantial evi- dence. Declared by the Court:

based on circumstantial evi- dence. Declared by the Court: "The requisites to sustain a conviction of

"The requisites to sustain a conviction of an accused based on circumstantial evidence are: (1) there must be more than one circumstance; (2) the inference must be based on proven facts; and (3) the combination of all circumstances produces a conviction beyond reasonable doubt of the guilt of the accused. And in the appreciation of circumstantial evidence, there are four basic guidelines:

(1) it should be acted upon with caution; (2) all the essen- tial facts must be consistent with the hypothesis of guilt; (3) the facts must exclude every other theory but that of guilt; and (4) the facts must establish such a certainty of guilt of the accused as to convince the judgment beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused is the one who commit- ted the offense.

"After a careful review of the entire evidence pre- sented, we find that a combination of the foregoing cir- cumstances is insufficient to convict appellant of rape with homicide. Said circumstances do not lead to a fair and reasonable conclusion that accused-appellant, to the exclusion of all others, is the person guilty of the offense charged. Appellant's indifference to the events that hap- pened in their barangay xx x may lend support to the suspicion of the barangay and police authorities that he is the author of the crime. But then, mere suspicion, no matter how strong it may be, is not sufficient to sustain conviction. Law and jurisprudence demand proof beyond reasonable doubt before any person may be deprived of his life, liberty, or even property. Enshrined in the Bill of Rights is the right of the accused to be presumed in- nocent until the contrary is proved, and to overcome the

the Bill of Rights is the right of the accused to be presumed in- nocent until

PRELIMINARY CONSIDERATIONS A. Miscellaneous Basic Principles

presumption that nothing but proof beyond reasonable doubt must be established by the prosecution. The consti- tutional presumption of innocence requires courts to take "a more than casual consideration" of every circumstances or doubt proving the innocence of the accused.

[a witness] admitted that ac-

cused-appellant was considered a suspect because he did not join the search for the missing girl. Appellant testi- fied that he did not participate in the search because he was busy drying copra. It cannot be contradicted that such passive reaction is susceptible to different interpre- tations. Indeed, it may be construed as an indication of guilt; but, it may also be interpreted as mere indifference or even downright insensibility.

"Moreover, there was no evidence presented to show

that after

[the brother] left his sister to wash her food

container and slippers at the communal water pump, ap- pellant was seen with her. Furthermore, the testimony of

that he saw appellant along the road on his way home is not sufficient to support the conclusion that it was ap- pellant who committed the crime. At best, it is mere con- jecture or speculation which the Court will not subscribe to.

"Jurisprudence instructs that where the circum- stances obtaining m^liasielErF"capable of two inferences, one of which is consistent with the presumption of inno- cence while the other may be compatible with the finding of guilt, the court must acquit the accused because the evidence does not fulfill the test of moral certainty and, therefore, is insufficient to support a judgment of convic- tion .

"In his testimony, his testimony,

a judgment of convic- tion . "In his testimony, 41 Flight or Non - flight of
a judgment of convic- tion . "In his testimony, 41 Flight or Non - flight of
a judgment of convic- tion . "In his testimony, 41 Flight or Non - flight of
a judgment of convic- tion . "In his testimony, 41 Flight or Non - flight of
a judgment of convic- tion . "In his testimony, 41 Flight or Non - flight of
a judgment of convic- tion . "In his testimony, 41 Flight or Non - flight of
a judgment of convic- tion . "In his testimony, 41 Flight or Non - flight of

41

Flight or Non-flight of the Accused

Th e f act t h at appe ll ants never fled the locality where The fact that appellants never fled the locality where

e f act t h at appe ll ants never fled the locality where the crime

the crime was committed i^JiatbyJtself a valid defense against tijejpjrosecution's allegations because non-flight does not sig- nify innocence. Non-flight is simply inaction, which may be due~to~several factors. It cannot be singularly considered as evidence or as a manifestation determinative of innocence

due~to~seve ral factors. It cannot be singularly considered as evidence or as a manifestation determinative of
due~to~seve ral factors. It cannot be singularly considered as evidence or as a manifestation determinative of
due~to~seve ral factors. It cannot be singularly considered as evidence or as a manifestation determinative of

42

EVIDENCE (The Bar Lectures Series)

4 2 EVIDENCE (The Bar Lectures Series) (People v. Amodia, G.R. No. 177356, November 20, 2008).

(People v. Amodia, G.R. No. 177356, November 20, 2008). It is established in this jurisdiction that while flight indicates guilt, non-flight does not mean innocence (Gulmatico v. Peo- ple, G.R. No. 146296, October 15, 2007).

2. There is no law or principle holding that non-flight

per se is proof, let alone conclusive proof, of innocence. Much like the defense of alibi, the defense of non-flight cannot pre- vail against the weight of positive identification of the appel- lants (People v. Dacibar, 325 SCRA 725). On the other hand, flight per se is not synonymous with guilt and must not always be attributed to one's consciousness of guilt. Flight alone is not a reliable indicator of guilt without other circumstances because flight alone is inherently ambiguous (Valdez v. Peo- ple, G.R. No. 170180, November 23, 2007). However , in a case where the accused escaped from detention during the penden- cy of the case, flight was considered as an indication of guilt or of his guilty mind: "x x x the wicked flee even when no man pursues, but the righteous stand fast as bold as a lion" (People v. Isang, G.R. No. 18307, December 4, 2008).

v . Isang , G . R . No . 18307 , December 4 , 2008)
v . Isang , G . R . No . 18307 , December 4 , 2008)
v . Isang , G . R . No . 18307 , December 4 , 2008)
v . Isang , G . R . No . 18307 , December 4 , 2008)

Cumulative Evidence and Corroborative Evidence

1. Cumulative evidence refers to evidence of the same

kind and character as that already given and that tends to prove the sam e proposition (Wyne v. Newman, 75 Va., 811, 817 as cited in Moran, Comments on the Rules of Court, Vol. 5, 1980, p. 3). For example, when a witness testifies that he saw the event testified to and two other witnesses testify having seen the same event which the first witness claimed he saw, the subsequent testimonies constitute cumulative evidence.

the subsequent testimonies constitute cumulative evidence. 2. Corroborative evidence is one that is su pp lementary
the subsequent testimonies constitute cumulative evidence. 2. Corroborative evidence is one that is su pp lementary
the subsequent testimonies constitute cumulative evidence. 2. Corroborative evidence is one that is su pp lementary

2. Corroborative evidence is one that is supplementary

2. Corroborative evidence is one that is su pp lementary tothat already given tending to strengthen

tothat already given tending to strengthen or confirm itTlt is additional evidence of a different character to the same point (Edwards v. Edwards, Tenn. App., 501 S.W. 2d 283. 289 as cited in Black's Law Dictionary, 5th Ed., p. 311). As commonly used, the term connotes evidence which tends to confirm, vali- date, or strengthen evidence already presented. Thus, if W testifies that the gun marked as Exhibit "A" was the weapon

or strengthen evidence already presented. Thus, if W testifies that the gun marked as Exhibit "A"
or strengthen evidence already presented. Thus, if W testifies that the gun marked as Exhibit "A"

PRELIMINARY CONSIDERATIONS A. Miscellaneous Basic Principles

43

used in the shooting of the victim, the findings of the crime laboratory that the gun bears only the fingerprints of the ac- cused corroborates the testimony of W.

of the ac- cused corroborates the testimony of W. Corroborative evidence is usuallyjqf a different type

Corroborative evidence is usuallyjqf a different type from that previously offered but which tends to prove the same fact. For instance, a witness claims that he saw Mr. X sign the document subject of the action. Mr. X denies the authenticity of his signature. Evidence by a handwriting expert that the signature is indeed that of Mr. X is corroborative evidence. Here, we have a testimonial evidence from an eyewitness, and a testimony from an expert who did not personally witness the signing of the document.

Although traditionally, this type of evidence is of a differ- ent type from the one it corroborates, the meaning of corrobo- rative evidence has been loosely used in local courts so as to cover also evidence of the same kind as that already proferred as long as it affirms the previous evidence. For instance, the testimony of X that he saw Y hack the victim with a bolo cor- roborates the previous testimony of Z that indeed he saw Y strike the victim with a bladed weapon. Here, the previous testimony is corroborated by evidence of the sam e kind, i.e., testimonial evidence from eyewitnesses. In this sense, the cor- roborating evidence is also cumulative since the evidences are of the same kind and character.

since the evidences are of the same kind and character. Corroborative testimony is not always required.
since the evidences are of the same kind and character. Corroborative testimony is not always required.

Corroborative testimony is not always required. For testimony is not always required. For testimony is not always required. For

example, in a case, the accused avers that his conviction for estafa example, in a case, the accused avers that his conviction for is without legal basis because is without legal basis because there was no other evi- dence, documentary or testimonial, establishing his alleged crime except for the uncorroborated testimony of the prosecu- tion witness.

Supreme

In

clear terms,

the

Court,

speaking through

Justice Regalado held:

. it also bears mention th at the testimony of a it also bears mention that the testimony of a

single prosecution witness, where credible and positive, is sufficient to prove beyond reasonable doubt the guilt of the accused. There is no law which requires that the tes-

44

EVIDENCE (The Bar Lectures Series)

4 4 EVIDENCE (The Bar Lectures Series) timony of a single witness has to be corroborated,

timony of a single witness has to be corroborated, except where expressly mandated in determining the value and credibility of evidence. Witnesses are to be weighed, not numbered" (People v. Pabalan, G.R. No. 115350 and G.R. Nos. 117819-21, September 30, 1996).

No. 115350 and G. R. Nos. 11 7819-21, September 30, 1996). 4. In People u. Rama

4. In People u. Rama (350 SCRA 266), the defense faults

the trial court for relying on a single eyewitness account in convicting the accused Rama. The Court dismissed the argu- ment declaring that it has long been held that the testimony of a sole eyewitness is sufficient to support a conviction so long as it is clear, straightforward and worthy of credence by the

trial court.

Corroborative evidence is necessary only when there are reasons to suspect that the witness falsified the truth or that his observations are inaccurate (Mangangey u. Sandiganbay- an, G.R. Nos. 147773-74, February 18, 2008).

Corroboration of the Testimony of a Child Witness

Under the Rule on Examination of a Child Witness, cor- roboration shall not be required of a testimony of a child. His testimony if credible by itself, shall be sufficient to support a finding of fact, conclusion or judgment subject to the standard of proof required in criminal and non-criminal cases (Sec. 22, Rule on Examination of a Child Witness; People v. Rama, su- pra).

Positive and Negative Evidence

These categories of evidence have been normally as-

sociated with testimonial evidence but there is no rule which precludes their application to other forms of evidence. Thus, evidence is said to be positive when a witness.affirms j n the stand that a certain state of facts does exist or that a certain event happjened. It is negative when the witness states that an event did not occur or that the state of facts alleged to exist does not actually exist. Thus, the testimony of W that he saw P fire a gun at the victim is a positive evidence. The testimony

1.
1.
exist . Thus , the testimony of W that he sa w P fire a gun
exist . Thus , the testimony of W that he sa w P fire a gun

PRELIMINARY CONSIDERATIONS A. Miscellaneous Basic Principles

45

of W that he could not have fired the gun because he was not armed during the incident, is a negative evidence.

Positive and negative evidence may likewise refer to the presence or absence of something. Thus, the presence of fin- gerprints of a person in a particular place is positive evidence of his having been in said place although absence of his fin- gerprints does not necessarily mean he was not in the same place.

A negative finding on a paraffin test is not a conclusive evidence that one has not fired a gun because it is possible for a person to fire a gun and yet bear no traces of nitrates or gun- powder, as when the culprit washes his hands or wears gloves (People v. Cerilla, G.R. No. 177147, November 28, 2007).

2. A denial is a negative evidence. It is considered by

the Court to be a very weak form of defense and can never overcome an affirmative or positive testimony particularly when the latter comes from the mouth of a credible witness (People v. Mendoza, 450 SCRA 328). It is negative and self- serving which cannot be given greater weight than the testi- mony of credible witnesses who testified on affirmative mat- ters (People v. Malicsi, G.R. No. 175833, January 29, 2008).

Already beyond cavil is the evidentiary rule that mere denial does not overturn the relative weight and probative value of an affirmative assertion. Denial is inherently a weak defense. To be believed, it must be buttressed by strong evi- dence of non-culpability; otherwise, such denial is purely self- serving and is with no evidentiary value. Like the defense of

alibi, denial crumbles in the light of positive declarations. De- nial cannot prevail over the positive identification of the ac- cused by the witnesses who had no ill motive to testify falsely (Tan v. Pacuribot, A.M. No. RTJ-06-1982, December 14, 2007;

v. Pacuribot, A.M. No. RTJ-06-1982, December 14, 2007; Villafranca v. Pacuribot, A.M. No. RTJ-06-1983, December
v. Pacuribot, A.M. No. RTJ-06-1982, December 14, 2007; Villafranca v. Pacuribot, A.M. No. RTJ-06-1983, December
v. Pacuribot, A.M. No. RTJ-06-1982, December 14, 2007; Villafranca v. Pacuribot, A.M. No. RTJ-06-1983, December
v. Pacuribot, A.M. No. RTJ-06-1982, December 14, 2007; Villafranca v. Pacuribot, A.M. No. RTJ-06-1983, December