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Chapter IV TESTIMONIAL EVIDENCE

A Qualifications of Witnesses
Nature of Testimonial or Oral Evidence
Testimonial or oral evidence is evidence elicited from the mouth of a witness as
distinguished from real and documentary evidence (Black's Law Dictionary,5th Ed 1323).
It is sometimes called viva voce evidence which literally means "living voice" or by word
of mouth. In this kind of evidence, a human being is called to the stand, is asked
questions, and answers the questions asked of him. The person who gives the testimony
is called a "witness."

Recall that competent evidence means evidence that is not excluded by the law or by the
rules. It therefore means the eligibility of an evidence to be admitted by the court. Whe
n applied to a witness, competence means that the witness is qualified to take the stand
and testify. It means that he is fit or that he is eligible to testify on a particular matter
in a judicial proceeding.
If a witness cannot perceive or even if he can perceive he cannot remember what he has
perceived, he is incompetent to testify. If he has no personal knowledge of an event the
truth of which he wants to prove, he is also incompetent to testify. Competence of a witness
therefore, refers to his personal qualifications to testify. Competence also includes the absence of any factor
that would disqualify him from being a witness.
Experience and plain observation will tell us that the presentation and introduction of every kind of
evidence, whether it be object, demonstrative or documentary evidence, needs the intervention of a witness.
The admission of any evidence requires its identification by a witness. It is a legal truth that
identification precedes authentication. Without a witness, no evidence can ever be authenticated. Even the
so-called documents" need a witness to iden tify the document. The reason is simple. Being
inanimate, a document or an object cannot speak for itself.
Presumption in Favor of Competence of a Witness
As a general rule, a person who takes the stand as a wit ness, is presumed to be qualified to testify. A
party who desires to question the competence of a witness must do so by making an objection as soon as the
facts tending to show incompetency are apparent (Jones on Evidence, Vol. 3, 796).
Qualifications of a Witness
As to the qualifications of a witness, the relevant provision provides:
"Section 20. Witnesses; their qualifications. Except as provided in the next succeeding section, all
persons who can perceive, and in perceiving, can make known their perception to others, may be witnesses.
Religious or political belief, interest in the outcome of the case, or conviction of a crime unless otherwise
provided by law, shall not be a ground for disqualification."
2. The above provision supplies the basic qualifications of a witness, namely:
a. he can perceive; and
b. in perceiving, he can make known his perception to others.

To these, we may add the following:


he must take either an oath or an affirmation(Section 1, Rule 132, Rules of Court);
and
he must not possess the disqualifications imposed by law or the rules.

Oath or Affirmation
While the taking of an oath or of an affirmation is either rarely mentioned and is
merely glossed over by com mentators in discussing the qualifications of a witness
to take the stand, the rule clearly requires that the examination of a witness in a trial
or hearing shall be done under oath or affirmation (Section 1, Rule 132, Rules of Court).
The willingness to take an oath affirmation is an essential qualification of a witness.
No court would and should allow the testimony of someone who desires to testify but who refuses to swear or
to make an affirmation.

A person is not qualified to be a witness if he is capable of understanding the duty to tell the truth. An
oath or affirmation is necessary for the witness to recognize the duty to tell the truth. Th e oath of
a witness signifies that he is swearing to the Creator to tell the truth and nothing
but the truth" and that if he does not, he will later on answer for all the lies he is
guilty of. Of course, in the early stages of legal history, this was concededly the
underlying reason for requiring an oath before a witness testifies. In modern times,
this reason may have been obscured by a universal shift in moral values but the oath
is nevertheless, required as a rule, even if to many, the oath appears merely to be a
pious incantation or a meaningless ritual which must simply be done to be allowed
to testify.

The issue which a judge must resolve before a witness is allowed to take the stand is whether the
witness understands the nature of an oath, realizes the moral duty to tell the truth, and understands
the prospects of being punished for a falsehood. This understanding is not necessarily inferred
from the age of the witness. One American case (People v. Berry [1968] 260 CA2d
649, 67 CR 312), ruled that it is not required that the understanding of the
importance of an oath be a detailed one. It is enough that the witness understands and
believes that some earthly evil will occur to him for lying.

Any objection to the competency of a witness raises an issue of fact: whether or not the
witness is capable of understanding the duty to tell the truth. The issue is addressed
to judicial determination and in the absence of a clear abuse of discretion, the trial
court's findings will not be reversed (People v. Blagg[91970] 10 CA3d 1035, 89 CR
446).
Not all may want to take an oath for reasons of religion or the lack of it. Thus, the rule
in this jurisdiction affords the courts the flexibility to deal with those who refuse to
being sworn by requiring the witness to make an affirmation instead. Consider this
hypothetical:
Suppose that the prosecution calls a witness and offers his testimony to prove that it was
indeed the accused who ran over the victim with a car. Here goes the brief exchange between
the bailiff or appropriate court personnel and the supposed witness:
"Sir, please raise your right hand."
The supposed witness retorts: "For what?"
The bailiff snaps: "You are going to be sworn before you testify, Sir."
"No! I will not!"
"Do you instead want to make an affirmation?" "I won't do that either!"
The most likely scenario is of the court dismissing the proposed witness. Most likely that
person will not be allowed to testify. This is because he failed to meet the oath or affirmation
requirement.
Ability to Perceive
A witness must be able to perceive an event. Thus, it would be absurd to ask a blind man what
he saw, or a deaf person what he heard. Corollary to this capacity to perceive is the
requirement that the witness must have personal knowledge of the facts surrounding the subject
matter of his testimony. Section 36 of Rule 130 explicitly requires that a witness can testify
only to those facts which he knows of his personal knowledge, i.e., those which are
derived from his own perception. When the witness takes an oath or an affirmation to tell
the truth, he cannot live up to that oath or affirmation without his ability to show that
his testimony is based on his personal knowledge. Without this personal knowledge, the witness
lacks the competence to testify. To illustrate:
A witness is called to testify in a defamation suit for alleged defamatory acts committed
against the complainant on March 27, 2008 in the corner of XYZ and ABC Sts. in Manila.
He willingly took the oath.
Q: Sir, where were you on the 27th of March 2007 at around 7:30 in the evening?
A: I was in Israel, Sir for a pilgrimage.
Obviously, the witness will be dismissed from the stand. The court has no use for him.
He is incompetent for the purpose for which he was called. Whil e taking the oath
enabled him to meet the first requirement for competency, he miserably failed the next
test. He did not perceive anything about the incident and could offer no facts about
the incident based on his personal knowledge.
Ability to Make Known the Perception to Others
The ability to make known the perception of the wit ness to the court involves two factors: (a )
the ability to remember what has been perceived; and (b ) the ability to communicate the remembered
perception. Consider a witness who has taken the oath and who has personal knowledge of
the event on which he is going to testify. Imagine the exchange that follows in the courtroom:
Q: What incident if anyetc... etc.... occurred
A: Sorry, sir. can't I don't remember.
It is of common reason to realize that a witness is presented to testify on a matter he has
perceived. If he cannot remember, he cannot be a competent witness.
2. Deaf-mutes are not necessarily incompetent as witnesses. The y are competent where they:
(a ) can understand and appreciate the sanctity of an oath; (2 ) can comprehend facts they
are going to testify to; and (3 ) can communicate their ideas through a qualified
interpreter (People v. Tuangco,345 SCRA 429).

Competency and Credibility


Competence is a matter of law or in this jurisdiction, also a matter of rule. Credibility of the witness
has nothing to do with the law or the rules. It refers to the weight and the trustworthiness or reliability of the
testimony. In deciding the competence of a witness, the court will not inquire into the trustworthiness of
the witness.
Accordingly, a prevaricating witness or one who has given contradicting testimony is
still a competent witness (U.S. v. Cook, 949 F2d 289 [10th Cir. 1991 ] Although he
may be competent as a witness, his testimony may not be given much weight by the
court or no weight at all if the court deems him not worthy of belief. Th e competence of
the witness must hence, be sharply distinguished from his credibility.
Bar 2004
Distinguish clearly but briefly between:
Competency of the witness and credibility of the witness
Competency of a witness has reference to the basic qualifications of a witness as his capacity to
perceive and his capacity to communicate his perception to others. It also includes the absence of any
of the disqualifications imposed upon a witness Secs. 20 -24, Rule 130, Rules of Court)
Credibility of the witness refers to the credibility of the witness and has nothing to do with the law or
the rules. It refers to the weight and the trustworthiness or reliability of the testimony.
In deciding the competence of a witness, the court will not inquire into the trustworthiness of the
witness. Accordingly, a prevaricating witness or one who has given contradicting testimony is
still a competent witness (U.S. v. Cook, 949 F2d 289 [10th Cir. 1991]
Bias is not even a basis for declaring a witness incompetent to testify (U.S. v.
Cervantes-Pacheco 826 F2d 310 [5th Cir.1987]
Under the Rules of Court, persons covered by the Survivorship Disqualification Rule (Dead Man's Statute)
can not testify as to any matter of fact occurring before the death or insanity of the adverse party
(Section 23, Rule 130). This rule is one which is directed to the issue of competency of a witness, not
to his credibility.
Drug abuse will not render a person incompetent to testify (U.S. v. Behrens 689 F.2d 154
[10th Cir.1982] Drug abuse becomes relevant only if the witness was under the influence of drugs at
the time he is testifying or at the time the events in question were observed (U.S. v. Novo
636 F.2d 621 [B.C. Cir.1980]While bias and drug abuse may not be grounds
for barring a witness from testifying, they may serve as grounds for attacking the
credibility of the witness.
Questions concerning the credibility of a witness are best addressed to the sound discretion of the trial court
as it is in the best position to observe his demeanor and bodily movements (Llanto v. Alzona, 450
SCRA 288). The Supreme Court generally defers to the trial court's assessment
because it has the singular opportunity to observe the demeanor of witnesses and their
manner of testifying (People v. Bustamante G.R No. 177769 September 12, 2007).
It is axiomatic that when it comes to evaluating the credibility of the testimonies of
witnesses, great respect is accorded to the findings of the trial judge who is in a better
position to observe the deameanor, facial expression, and manner of testifying of
witnesses and to decide who among them is telling the truth. (People vs Mateo, GR No
2000531, December 5, 2012) See also People vs Brainier, GR No. 188571, october 10,
2012). Similarly, it was ruled earlier that findings of the trial court on the matter of
credibility of witnesses are entitled to the highest degree of respect and will not be
disturbed on appeal, because said lower court had the opportunity to observe, firsthand,
how the witnesses testified (Philippine Airlines vs Lao Lim, GR No. 168987, October
17, 2012)
In more specific terms, the Court in People vs Basao, G.R No. 189820, October 10, 2012, explained the
principle, thus:
As consistently adhered to by this Court, the matter of assigning values to declarations on the witness
stand is best and most competently performed by the trial judge, who had the unmatched opportunity to
observe the witnesses and to assess their credibility by the various indicia available but not reflected on the
record. The demeanor of the person on the stand can draw the line between fact and fancy. The forthright
answer or the hesitant pause, the quivering voice or the angry tone, the flustered look or the sincere gaze, the
modest blush or the guilty blanch these can reveal if the witness is telling the truth or lying through his
teeth. (Italics supplied)

It is settled in jurisprudence that in a prosecution for rape, the accused may be convicted solely on the basis
of the testimony of the victim that is credible, convincing, and consistent with human nature and the
normal course of things. (People vs Viojela, G.r No 177140, October 17, 2012)
Also, when the credibility of the victim is at issue, the Court gives great weight to the trial courts
assessment. Expounding on the said principle, the Court declared that the trial courts finding of facts is
even conclusive and binding if it is not shown to be tainted with arbitrariness or oversight of some fact or
circumastance of weight and influence. The wisdom behind this rule is that the trial court had the full
opportunity to observe directly witnesses deportment and manner of testifying, thus, it is in a better
position than the appellate court to properly evaluate testimonial evidence. (People vs Padigos, G.R. No
181202, December 5, 2012)
The Court has consistently declared that the manner of assigning values to decalarations of witnnesses on
the witness stand is best and most competently performed by the trial judge who has the unique and
unmatched opprotunity to observe the deameanor of witnesses and assess their credibility. In essence, when
the question arises as to which of the conflicting versions of the prosecution and the defense is worhty of
belief, the assessment of the trial court is generally given the highest degree of respect, if not finality. The
assessment made by the trial court is even more enhanced when the Court of Appeals affirms the same.
Testimonies of child-victims are normally given full weight and credit, since when a girl, particularly if
she is a minor, says that she has been raped, she says in effect all that is necessary to show that rape has in
fact been committed. When the offended party is of tender-age and immature, courts are inclined to give
credit to her account of what transpired, considering not only her relative vulnerability but also the shame to
which she would be exposed if the matter to which she testified is not true. Youth and immaturity are
generally badges of truth and sincerity. A young girls revelation that she had been raped, coupled with her
volunatry submission to medical examination and willingness to undergo public trial where she could be
compelled to give out the details of an assault on her dignity, cannot be so easily dismissed as mere
concoction. (People vs Garcia, G.R No. 200529, September 19, 2012).
Time and again, this Court held that when the issues revolve on matters of credibility of witnesses, the
findings of fact of the trial court, its calibration of the testimonies of the witnesses, and its assesment of the
probative weight thereof, as well as its conclusions anchored on said findings, aee accorded high respect, if
not conclusive effect. This is so because the trial court has the unique opportunity to observe the deameanor of
witnesses and is in the best position to discern whether they are telling the truth. Moreover, credibility to
state what is axiomatic, is the sole province of the trial court. In the absence of any clear showing that it
overlooked, misunderstood or misapplied some facts or circumastances of the case, the trial courts findings
on the matter of credibility of witnesses will not be disturbed on appeal. (people bs Nelmida, G.R. No 184500,
Spetember 11, 2012).
A more recent case similarly declares:
When the credibility of a witness is in issue, the findings of fact of the trial court, its calibration of the
testimonies of the witnesses and its assessment of the probative weight thereof, as well as its conclusions
anchored on said findings are accorded high respect if not conclusive effect. This is more true if such
findings were affirmed by the appellate court, since it is settled that when the trial courts findings have been
affirmed by the appellate court, said findings are generally binding upon this Court. (People vs Vilbar,
664 SCRA 749, February 1, 2012)
Other Factors that Do Not Affect the Competency of a Witness
Under Section 20 of Rule 130, except as provided by the law and the rules, the following
factors do not, as a general rule, constitute a disqualification of a witness:
religious belief;
political belief;
interest in the outcome of the case; or
conviction of a crime, unless otherwise provided by law
(Example those who have been convicted of falsi fication of a document, perjury or false testimony are
dis qualified from being witnesses to a will ) . (Art. 821, Civil Code of the Philippines). As a
consequence, these persons may not also testify as witnesses in the probate of a will where the subject
of the testimony is the very fact of execution of the will in their presence.
The relationship of a witness with a party does not ipso facto render him a biased
witness in criminal cases where the quantum of evidence is proof beyond reasonable
doubt. There is no reason why the same principle should not apply to a civil case where
the quantum of evidence is only preponder ance of evidence (Northwest Airlines, Inc. v.
Chiong, G.R. No. 155550, January 31, 2008).
Bar 1994
Al was accused of raping Lourdes. Only Lourdes testified on how the crime was perpetrated.
On the other hand, the defense presented Als wife, son and daughter to testify that Al was
with them when the alleged crime took place. The prosecution interposed a timely objection to
the testimonies on the ground of obvious bias due to the close relationship of the witnesses
with the accused.
If you were the judge:
(1) How would you rule on the objection?
(1) I would overrule the objection. Interest in the outcome of a case which also includes close
relationship, is not a ground to disqualify a witness (Section 20, Rule 132, Rules of Court).
Ba r 1994
Louise is being charged with the frustrated murder of Roy. The prosecution's lone witness,
Mariter, testified to having seen Louise prepare the poison which she later surreptitiously poured
into Roy's wine glass. Louise sought the disqualification of Mariter as witness on account of
her previous conviction of perjury.
Rule on Louise's contention.
Suggested answers:
(1) The contention of Louise has no legal basis. Basic is the rule that previous conviction is
not a ground for disqualification of a witness, unless otherwise provided by law.
Maritersconviction is not sufficient to have her disqualified to testify. Her situation is not
one of the exceptions provided for by law.
B Disqualifications of Witnesses
Disqualification by Reason of Mental Incapacity
In relation to a disqualification by reason of mental incapacity, Section 21 of Rule 130
declares:
"Section 21. Disqualification by reason of mental incapacity x x x. The following persons cannot be
wit nesses:
Those whose mental condition, at the time of their production examination, is such that they are incapable
of intelligently making known their perception to others;
x x x"
To be disqualified as a witness by reason of mental incapacity, the following must
concur:
) the person must be incapable of intelligently making known his perception to others; and
his incapability must exist at the time of his production for examination.
2.Section 21(a) of Rule 130 establishes the rule that the mental incapacity of the witness at
the time of his perception of the events subject of the testimony does not affect his
competency as long as he is competent at the time he is produced for examination to make
known his perception to others. His incapacity at the time of perception although without legal effect on
his competency to testify, would however, concededly have an adverse effect on his credibility.
3. The test supplied by the Rules of Court is a simple test: Is the mental condition of the
proposed witness at the time he is to testify such that he is incapable of intelligently
making known his perception to others? (Section 21[a], Rule 130, Rules of Court). Th e
answer to this question will deter mine whether or not a person is a mentally
competent wit ness.
Disqualification by Reason of Immaturity
Section 21 of Rule 130 provides:
"Section Disqualification by reason of xxx immaturity. The following persons cannot be
witnesses:
(b) Children whose mental maturity is such as to render them incapable of perceiving the facts respect
ing which they are examined and of relating them truthfully."
2. To be disqualified as a witness by reason of immatu rity the following must
concur:
a. ) the mental maturity of the witness must render him incapable of perceiving the facts respecting
which he is examined; and
b. )he is incapable of relating his perception truth fully (Section 21[b], Rule 130, Rules of
Court).
3. Not e that in a disqualification by reason of mental incapacity under Section 21(a)
of Rule 130, the incompetence of the witness must exist not at the time of his perception of the facts
but at the time he is produced for examination, and consists in his inability to intelligently
make known what he has perceived. In disqualification by reason of immaturity, the
incompetence of the witness must occur at the time the wit ness perceives the event including his
incapability to relate his perceptions truthfully.
The rule on disqualification by reason of immaturity must however, be construed in
relation to the Rule on Examination of A Child Witness (A.M. No. 004-07-SC
December 15, 2000).
Child Witness; Meaning
A CHILD witness" is any person who at the time of giving testimony is below the age of
eighteen (18) years (Section 4[a], Rule On Examination of A Child Witness, A.M. No. 004-
07-SC).
May a person over eighteen (18) years old be some times considered as a child? Sometimes,
he may. In child abuse cases, a child includes one over eighteen (18) years but is
found by the court as unable to fully take care of himself or protect himself from abuse,
neglect, cruelty, exploitation, or discrimination because of a physical or mental
disability or condition (Section 4[a], Rule On Examination of A Child Wit ness, A.M.
No. 004-07-SC).
Competency of a Child Witness
Every child is presumed qualified to be a witness. This is the presumption established by
the Rule on Examina tion of a Child Witness (Section 6 of A.M. No. 004-07-SC) and to
rebut the presumption of competence enjoyed by a child, the burden of proof lies on the
party challenging his compe tence (Section 6[b], Rule on Examination of Child
Witness).
Whe n the court finds that substantial doubt exists regarding the ability of the child to
perceive, remember, com municate, distinguish truth from falsehood, or appreciate the
duty to tell the truth in court, the court shall conduct a competency examination of the child.
Th e court may do so motu propio or on motion of a party ( Section 6, Rule on
Examination of a Child Witness).
A party who seeks a competency examination must pres ent proof of necessity of a
competency examination. Proof of such necessity must be grounded on reasons other
than age of the child because such age in itself is not a sufficient basis for a
competency examination (Section 6[a], Rule on Examination of A Child Witness).
The competency examination of a child witness is not open to the public. Only the
following are allowed to at tend the examination:
) The judge and necessary court personnel;
Th e counsel for the parties;
) Th e guardian ad litem;
) One or more support persons for the child; and
) Th e defendant, unless the court determines that competence can be fully evaluated
in his absence (Section 6[c], Rule on Examination of A Child Witness).
Th e competency examination of the child shall be conducted only by the judge. If the
counsels of the parties de sire to ask questions, they cannot do so directly. Instead, they
are allowed to submit questions to the judge which he may ask the child in his
discretion (Section 6[d], Rule on Examina tion of A Child Witness).
Th e questions asked at the competency examination shall be appropriate to the age and
developmental level of the child. Th e questions shall not be related to the issues at the trial but
shall focus on the ability of the child to remember, to communicate, to distinguish between truth and
falsehood and to appreciate the duty to testify truthfully (Section 6[e], Rule on Examination
of A Child Witness).
Th e assessment is designed to be a continuing one. Th e court has the duty of continuously
assessing the compe tence of the child throughout his testimony (Section 6[f], Ruleon
Examination of A Child Witness).
Ba r 2005
(e) When may the trial court order that the testmony of a child be taken by live-link
television?
Suggested answer:
(e) The court may order that the testimony of the child be taken by live-link television if
there is a likelihood that the child would suffer trauma from testifying in the presence of the accused,
his counsel or the prosecutor as the case may be. The trauma must be of a kind which would
impair the completeness or truthfulness of the tes timony of the child (Section 25[f] Rule on
Examination of A Child Witness)
Survivorship Disqualification Rule or the Dead Man's Statute
The survivorship disqualification rule (dead man's statute) is detailed in Section 23 of Rule
130 and provides:
Section 23. Disqulaification by reason of death or insanity of adverse party- Parties or assignors of parties to a case, or
persons in whose behalf a case is prosecuted, against an executor or administrator or oth er representative of a
deceased person, or against a per son of unsound mind, upon a claim or demand against the estate of such deceased
person or against such per son of unsound mind, cannot testify as to any matter of fact occurring before the death of
such deceased per son or before such person became of unsound mind."
This rule applies only to a civil case or a special proceeding over the estate of a deceased or insane person (Regalado,
Remedial Law, Compendium, Vol II, 2008 Ed. P 743)
The following are the elements for the application of this
) Th e defendant in the case is the executor or administrator or a representative of the deceased
or the person of unsound mind;
Th e suit is upon a claim by the plaintiff against the estate of said deceased or person of unsound
mind;
The witness is the plaintiff, or an assignor of that party, or a person in whose behalf the
case is pros ecuted; and
) The subject of the testimony is as to any matter of fact occurring before the death of such deceased
person or before such person became of unsound mind (Section 23, Rule 130, Rules of Court).
A simple hypothetical may help us understand the Rule:
Mr. D approaches Mr. C one rainy Sunday morning to borrow one hundred thousand pesos to
be paid exactly a year after. Without hesitation, Mr. C gives Mr. D the amount requested.
Mr. C does not require Mr. D to ex ecute a promissory note. They had been very good friends
for as long as they can remember. Years ago, when Mr. C's small business was on the verge
of bankruptcy it was the generosity of the then wealthy Mr. D that bailed him out. Exactly a
day before the agreed date for payment, Mr. D peacefully joins his Creator without paying the
debt. What does Mr. C do? Well, he does what every creditor would do under the
circumstances. He goes to the execu tor of what remains of the estate of Mr. D, and tells him
of the debt of Mr. D. He says:
Toda y is supposed to be the due date of his debt. I cannot demand payment from him
because he is dead. You are the executor and you are very much alive. I am asking you to pay
his debt.
The executor retorts:
Look Sir! I am not sure if you are telling the truth. Don't get me wrong! I am not calling you a
liar but I can not verify the truth of your claim. Mr. D is dead. He can not speak. His lips are
forever sealed. I would be doing an act unfair to the memory of Mr. D if I were to listen to you. I
am sorry, I cannot pay.
Wha t is the effect of the death of Mr. D? The rule is clear. Mr . C is rendered
incompetent to testify as to the transaction he had with Mr . D. He is incompetent because of
the possibil ity that his claim is fraudulent. If Mr. C were to be heard, there would be a high
risk of paying a fraudulent or a ficti tious claim. It is Mr . C who has the motive to lie.
He is the survivor. Mr. D cannot lie. He is dead. He did not survive. Worse, he cannot answer
back. He cannot disprove the claimof Mr. C. To level the playing field between the lucky survivor
and the poor deceased, our remedial law ancestors devised a rule that would seal the lips of the survivor by
declaring him incompetent to testify on the transaction between him and the deceased. The rule is
definitely one that does not protect the survivor even at the risk of not paying a just and
valid claim because it is the survivor who has the stronger reason to file a false claim. The
rule is for the protection of the guy who died. Hence, the name, Dead Man's Statute.
4.The Supreme Court had repeatedly held in not a few cases that the object of the rule is to
guard against the temp tation to give false testimony in regard to the transaction on the part of the
surviving party and thereby put the parties upon equal terms. Its purpose is to close the lips of the
plain tiff when death has closed the lips of the defendant, in order to remove from the defendant the
temptation to do falsehood and the possibility of fictitious claims against the deceased (Tan v. Court of
Appeals 295 SCRA 755).
It is obvious that the rule, by its terms intends to protect the representatives of the
deceased person when sued in such capacity or a person of unsound mind on a claim
against the estate of the decedent or a claim against the insane person.
How to Apply the Rule
The initial point of inquiry for a clearer understanding of the rule would be in regard
to the parties involved. In order to determine whether or not the survivorship disquali
fication rule will apply to a particular situation, we should know who the plaintiff is.
We should also know who the defen dant is.
The plaintiff is the person who has a claim against the estate of the decedent or person of
unsound mind. He is the survivor. The defendant is the representative (executor or ad
ministrator) of the deceased or the person of unsound mind. The persons therefore entitled to
invoke the protection of the dead man's statute are the executor, administrator and any other
representative of a deceased person, when they are the defendants in a claim against the estate of the
deceased. The protection may likewise be invoked by a person of unsound mind in a claim filed against
him.
Th e rule will not apply where the plaintiff is the execu tor or administrator as representative of the
deceased or if the plaintiff is the person of unsound mind. So if the executor of the estate of Mr .
C, sues Mr . D to collect an unpaid debt incurred in favor of Mr . C by Mr . D before the
death of Mr. C, Mr . D, although a survivor, is not precluded from testifying as to the transaction he
previously had with Mr . C, because the case is not upon a claim against the estate of Mr . C but a claim by
his estate against Mr . D.
As held by the Court, the rule contemplates a suit against the estate, its administrator
or executor and not a suit filed by the administrator or executor of the estate. A defen
dant who opposes the suit filed by the administrator to re cover alleged shares of
stock belonging to the deceased, is not barred from testifying as to his transaction
with the deceased with respect to the shares (Razon u. Intermediate Appellate Court,
207 SCRA 234).
Also when a counterclaim is set up by the administrator of the estate, the case is removed from the
operation of the "dead man's statute," the plaintiff may testify to occurrences before the death of the
deceased to defeat the counterclaim which is not brought against the representative of the estate but by the
representative (Sunga-Chan v. Chua, 363 SCRA 249).
The next essential point to consider is the nature of the case. Wha t is the case
about? Section 23 of Rule 130 clearly specifies that the case be "upon a claim or
demand against the estate of the deceased person or a person of un sound mind." The
rule does not apply when the action brought is not "against" the estate, or not upon a
claim or demand "against" the estate. This claim, from the tenor of the rule, is by its nature civil,
not criminal because the estate itself can not be criminally Liable.
The parties and the subject of the action having been determined, the inquiry should
now shift to the persons prohibited to testify and the subject matter of their testimony.
The provisions of Section 23 of Rule 130 describes them as the "parties or assignors of
parties to a case, or persons in whose behalf a case is prosecuted." These persons are those who had
previous dealings with the deceased or the person of unsound mind. The rule is obviously intended to
be exclusive and does not prohibit a testimony by a mere witness to the transac
tion between the plaintiff and the deceased and who has no interest in such transaction.
Thus, offering the testimony of a so-called "disinterested witness" is not a transgression of the rule
since the prohibition extends only to the party or his as signor or the person in
whose behalf the case is prosecuted.
Consider the following illustration:
The case is an action for a sum of money against the de cedent's estate. The decedent is Mr.
D, the debtor. The plaintiff is Mr. C, the creditor. Mr. C claims that Mr. D borrowed two
hundred thousand pesos from him and that the debt has been due even before the death of Mr.
D who despite demand upon him, failed to pay. Mr. C calls his secretary to testify about the
transaction that occurred in her presence.
Q: What did Mr. D say to Mr. C on that day and time you mentioned earlier?
Adverse counsel: "Objection, Your Honor. I invoke the dead man's statute."
Counsel for Mr. C: "May I be heard, Your Honor before ruling on the objection?"
Court: You may."
Counsel for Mr. C: "The ground for the objection does not apply, Your Honor. The witness is
not a plaintiff or an assignor of the plaintiff or one on whose behalf the claim against the
estate is prosecuted."
Court: "Objection is overruled." (The reason for the ruling is obvious. The witness is not one of
those prohibited to testify).
Ba r 2001
Maximo filed an action against Pedro, the adminis trator of the estate of the deceased Juan,
for the recovery of a car which is part of the latter's estate. During the trial, Maximo
presented witness Mariano who testified that he was present when Maximo and Juan agreed
that the latter would pay a rental of P20,000 for the use of Maximo's car for one month after
which Juan should im mediately return the car to Maximo. Pedro objected to the admission of
Mariano's testimony.
If you were the judge, would you sustain Pedro's ob jection? Why?
Suggested answer:
The objection of Pedro should not be sustained. The testimony is admissible because the witness is not dis
qualified to testify. Those disqualified under the dead man's statute or the survivorship
disqualification rule are parties or assignors of parties to a case, or persons in whose behalf a
case is prosecuted. The witness is not one of those enumerated under the rule (Section 23,
Rule 130, Rules of Court).
Th e incompetency imposed upon the witness is to testify "on any matter of fact
occurring before the death of such deceased person or before such person became of unsound
mind." Hence, if the subject of the testimony is on some other matter, the witness may testify on
such matter as when the subject of the testimony is on a fact which transpired after the death of such
person. Also, since a claim or demand against the estate implies a claim adverse to
the estate, a testimony beneficial to such estate should not be excluded.
In other words, the rule does not altogether intend to keep the witness out of the stand altogether. The
witness is merely precluded from testifying on particular topics. Thus, a testimony favorable to
the estate or to the insane person is not barred since the rule is designed to protect the
interest of the estate of the deceased or insane person. In one old case,an oral
testimony to prove a lesser claim than what might be warranted by the evidence
was allowed Icard v. Masigan, 40 O.G., 13th Suppl, 215; 71 Phil. 419). Also, witnesses who
testify on the basis of their knowledge of a transaction not based on their dealings with the deceased are
not barred. As the Court ruled: "The dead man's statute does not operate to close the mouth
of a witness as to any matter of fact coming to his knowledge in any other way than
through personal deal ings with the deceased person, or communication made by the
deceased to the witness." (Bordalba v. Court of Appeals, 374 SCRA 555).
The survivorship disqualification rule is intended to benefit the estate of the deceased or
insane person, hence, this protection may be waived by (a ) failing to object to the testi
mony, or (b) cross-examining the witness on the prohibited testimony (Santos v.
Santos, 366 SCRA 395), or by (c) offering evidence to rebut the testimony.
Comment: The survivorship disqualification rule raises legitimate questions on the
justness of the rule. In trying to avoid fictitious claims against the estate, it ignores
the rights of persons with legitimate claims and whose lips are sealed because of a
transaction conducted without any third person as witness or any other evidence to
prove the claim.
Bar 2007
True or False.
The surviving parties rule bars Maria from tes tifying for the claimant as to what the
deceased Jose had said to her, in a claim filed by Pedro against the estate of Jose.
Suggested answer:
(a) False. The rule bars only a party plaintiff, or his assignor or a person in whose behalf a case is pros
ecuted (Section 23, Rule 130, Rules of Court). Maria is merely a witness and is not one of those enumerated
as barred from testifying.

Marital Disqualification Rule (Spousal Immunity)


Th e marital disqualification rule is provided for in Section 22 of Rule 130 and
quoted hereunder:
"Section 22. Disqualification by reason of mar riage. During their marriage, neither the husband
nor the wife may testify for or against the other without the consent of the affected spouse, except in a civil
case by one against the other, or in a criminal case for a crime committed by one against the other or the
latter's direct descendants or ascendants."
2. Th e rule prohibiting testimony by one spouse against the other is based on society's
intent to preserve the marriage relations and promote domestic peace. A spouse
testifying against the other creates an ugly sight inimical to society's in terests. Th e
rule prohibiting a testimony in favor of the spouse is intended to discourage the commission of perjury.
Th e case of Alvarez v. Ramirez (473 SCRA 72) gives the specific reasons for the rule, thus:
) There is identity of interests between husband a n d w i f e ;
) If one were to testify for or against the other, there is a consequent danger of
perjury;
Th e policy of the law is to guard the security and confidences of private life, even at the
risk of an occa sional failure of justice, and to prevent domestic disunion and
unhappiness; and
) Where there is want of domestic tranquility there is danger of punishing one
spouse through the hos tile testimony of the other.
The marital disqualification rule under Section 22 of Rule 130, forbids the husband or
the wife to testify for or against the other without the consent of the affected spouse except
in those cases authorized by the rule. The prohibition extends not only to a testimony
adverse to the spouse but also to a testimony in favor of the spouse. It also extends
toboth criminal and civil cases because the rule does not distin guish.
In order that the husband or wife may claim the privilege, it is essential that they be
validly married. If they are not, there is no privilege (Moran, Comments on the Rules of
Court, Vol.5, 176 citing state v. Hancock, 32, Pac. 95). The rule therefore, does not
cover illicit cohabitation.
Section 22 of Rule 130 requires not only a valid marriage but the existence of that valid marriage
at the moment the witness-spouse gives the testimony.
The rule applies whether the witness-spouse is a party to the case or not but the other
spouse must be a party. That the other spouse must be a party is evident from the
phrase neither the husband nor the wife may testify for or against the other
The prohibited testimony is one that is given or of fered during the existence of the
marriage. Section 22 explic itly refers to a testimony "During their
Marriage Hence, the rule does not prohibit a testimony for or against the other after
the marriage is dissolved. Whe n the marriage is dis solved on the grounds provided for
by law like annulment or declaration of nullity, the rule can no longer be invoked. One
may now testify for against the other despite an objection be ing interposed by the
latter because there is no more marriage to speak of.
If the testimony for or against the other spouse is offered during the existence of the
marriage, it does not mat ter if the facts subject of the testimony occurred or came to the
knowledge of the witness-spouse before the marriage. Th e affected spouse may still invoke the rule
by objecting to the testimony as long as the testimony is offered during the mar riage.
Nothing in the tenor of the rule allows a contrary view .
To illustrate: Before the marriage of W to H, she wit nessed the murder of X by H but she never
reported what she witnessed to the authorities. A year after the murder, H and W married.
Barely six months after the marriage, W became a battered wife and to get even with H,
she decided to report the murder to the police (a ) Ma y she testify against H over the
latter's objection even if the murder took place before the mar riage? Answer: She cannot
testify over the objection of H. The situation is covered by the marital disqualification
rule (b) Suppose a year after the marriage, the marriage is annulled, may W now
testify despite the objection of H? Answer: She can now testify after the marriage is
annulled. The prohibition no longer applies since the testimony is to be offered
after, not during the marriage.
Be it noted that the testimony is prohibited only over the objection of the affected
spouse or the spouse against whom the testimony is offered. It is the latter spouse who
has the right to object to the competency of the spouse-witness. It goes without saying that
the testimony is admissible where no objection is interposed by the spouse who has the right to invoke
the prohibition. In other words, the benefit of the rule may be waived and it may be waived impliedly
or expressly.
Th e pronouncements of the Supreme Court in one case is instructive:
x x Under this rule, neither the husband nor the wife may testify for or against the other
without the consent of the affected spouse, except in a civil case by one against the other, or in
a criminal case for a crime committed by one against the other or the latter's direct
descendants or ascendants. However, objections to the competency of a husband and wife to
testify in a crimi nal prosecution against the other may be waived as in the case of other
witnesses generally. The objection to the competency of the spouse must be made when he or she
is first offered as a witness. In this case, the incompetency was waived by appellant's failure to
make a timely objec tion to the admission of his wife's testimony." (People v. Pansensoy 388
SCRA 669)
The testimony covered by the marital disqualifica tion rule not only consists of utterances but also the
produc tion of documents (State v. Bramlet 114 S. 389, 103 S.E. 755).
Exceptions to the Marital Disqualification Rule
In the following instances, a spouse may testify for or against the other even without
the consent of the latter:
) in a civil case by one against the other; or
in a criminal case for a crime committed by one against the other, or the latter's
direct descendants or ascendants (Section 22, Rule 130, Rules of Court).
The phrase, or the latter's direct descendants or as cendants" did not appear in the
old rules. Section 19(c) of the then Rule 130 only mentioned two exceptions: (a ) in a
civil case by one against the other; or (b) in a criminal case for a crime committed by
one against the other.
The current rule has been harmonized with the Supreme Court ruling in v. Daquigan (62
SCR A 270), allowing the wife to testify against her husband who was accused of raping their
daughter.
In Ordoho, the Court ruled that the correct rule is the one laid down in Cargill v. State
(35 ALR 133, 220 Pac 64, 25 Okl 314), which held that:
The rule that the injury must amount to a physical wrong upon the person is too narrow
The better rule is that, when an offense directly attacks or directly and vitally
impairs the conjugal relations, it comes within the exception to the statute.

If the wife sues the husband for fraudulently em bezzling the paraphernal funds of
the former, the reason for the prohibition in the rule ceases. Th e wife can now testify
against the husband. Also, if the wife is sued for adultery, the husband cannot be
barred from testifying against the wife. In a suit for annulment of marriage,
each spouse can testify against each other. The same rule applies when the husband
is sued by the wife for bigamy.
In order for a spouse to be allowed to testify against the other in a civil case, the case
must be a "civil case by one against the other. This contemplates a situation where
one spouse is a plaintiff or petitioner and the other spouse is a defendant or
respondent. Wher e the civil case is between a spouse and the direct descendants or
ascendants of the other, the marital disqualification rule still applies. Thus, if the
wife sues the father of her husband for collection of a loan, the hus band may be
barred from testifying against the wife upon the objection of the latter. This is
because the civil case is not by one against the other but between a spouse and the
parent of the other.
Th e rule is different in a criminal case. In a criminal case, the privilege of one to
testify against the other is not con fined to crimes committed by one against the
other, but covers crimes committed by one against the direct descendants or
ascendants of the latter like the latter's children or parents. However, crimes
committed against a spouse's collateral rela tives like uncles, aunties, cousins or
nephews and nieces are not covered by the exception because they are neither direct
descendants nor ascendants.
Ba r 2000
Vida and Romeo are legally married. Romeo is charged in court with the crime of serious
physical in juries committed against Selmo, son of Vida, step-son of Romeo. Vida witnessed
the infliction of the injuries on Selmo by Romeo. The public prosecutor called Vida to the
witness stand and offered her testimony as eyewitness. Counsel for Romeo objected on the
ground of the marital disqualification rule under the Rules of Court.
Is the objection valid?
Will your answer be the same if Vida's testimo ny is offered in a civil case for recovery of
personal prop erty filed by Selmo against Romeo?
Suggested answers:
The objection is not valid. While the rule pro vides that neither the husband nor the wife
may testify for or against the other without the consent of the affected spouse, the prohibition
is merely the general rule. Said rule is subject to certain exceptions, one of which is in a
criminal case committed by one against the direct descen dant of the other. Romeo is accused
of committing a crime against Selmo, the son of Vida and the latter's direct de scendant
(Section 22, Rule 130, Rules of Court).
The answer will not be the same. The rule in a criminal case is not the same as that in a
civil case. In a civil case, for the marital disqualification rule not to apply, the case must
be by one spouse against the other. In the case under consideration, the case is by the son
(Selmo) of one spouse (Vida) against the other spouse (Ro meo). Romeo may thus, invoke
the marital disqualifica tion rule against Vida's proposed testimony.
Testimony Where Spouse is Accused With Others
Ma y a spouse testify in a trial where the spouse is a co- accused? Consider the following
illustration:
Accused-appellant was accused with parricide for the alleged killing of his own father but
was tried jointly in the murder case filed against his two other co-accused, two brothers who
were his alleged conspirators in causing the death of his father. One of the witnesses
presented by the prosecution against all the accused was the wife of ac cused-appellant.
May the wife testify in the proceedings against all the accused?
In People v. Quidato, Jr. (297 SCRA 1), the Court ruled in the affirmative but likewise held that
the testimony of the wife in reference to her husband must be disregarded since the husband timely objected
thereto under the marital disqualifi cation rule. The Court explained that the disqualification is between
husband and wife, but the rule does not preclude the wife from testifying when it involves other parties or
accused. Hence, the wife could testify in the murder case against the brothers who were
jointly tried with the husband of the wit ness. The Court stressed however, that the
testimony cannot,be used against accused-appellant directly or through the guise of
taking judicial notice of the proceedings in the murder case without violating the
marital disqualification rule. "What cannot be done directly cannot be done
indirectly.
Testimony by the Estranged Spouse
Section 22 of Rule 130 prohibits a testimony by one spouse against the other without
the consent of the latter "during their marriage." Literally, this prohibition would cov er a
testimony by the estranged spouse because a separation "de facto does not sever the marriage bonds and
the spouses remain legally married to each other. A testimony under such a situation would
still technically be a testimony "during their marriage." This literal construction of
the rule has however, been rejected by the Supreme Court.
Whether or not the estranged spouse may testify against the other is illustrated by
the following facts:
Susan Ramirez, the respondent is the complaining witness in a criminal case for arson of her
house against the accused Maximo Alvarez, the petitioner who is the estranged husband of
Esperanza Alvarez, the sister of the respondent and who also lives in the house allegedly
burned.
During the trial of the case, the private prosecutor called Esperanza Alvarez to the witness
stand as the first witness against her husband. Petitioner and his counsel raised no
objection. In the course of Esperanza's direct testimony against petitioner, the latter showed
"uncon trolled emotions," prompting the trial judge to suspend the proceedings.
Subsequently, before the continuation of the testi mony of his estranged wife, petitioner,
through counsel, filed a motion to disqualify Esperanza Alvarez from tes tifying against
him. The trial court issued an order dis qualifying Esperanza Alvarez from further
testifying and deleting her testimony from the records. The prosecution filed a motion for
reconsideration but was denied.
The denial prompted respondent Susan Ramirez, the complaining witness to file with
the Court of Appeals a petition for certiorari with application for preliminary injunction
and temporary restraining order. The Court of Appeals rendered a decision nullifying
and setting aside the assailed orders issued by the trial court. In a subse quent petition
for review on certiorari, the issue sought to be resolved by the Court was whether
Esperanza Alvarez can testify against her estranged husband.
In sustaining the Court of Appeals allowing the testimo- of Esperanza Alvarez, the
Court explained:
xxx like all other general rules, the marital dis qualification rule has its own exceptions,
both in civil actions between the spouses and in criminal cases for offenses committed by
one against the other. Like the rule itself, the exceptions are backed by sound reasons
which, in the excepted cases, outweigh those in support of the general rule. For
instance, where the marital and domestic relations are so strained that there is no more
harmony to be preserved nor peace and tranquility which may be disturbed, the reason based upon
such harmony and tranquility fails. In such a case, identity of interests disappears and
the consequent danger of perjury based on that identity is non-existent. in
such a situ the security and confidences of private life, which through their
absence merely leave a void on the unhappy home supplied).
"Obviously, the offense of arson attributed to peti tioner, directly impairs the conjugal relation
between him and his wife Esperanza. His act, as embodied in the In formation for arson filed against
him, eradicates all the major aspects of marital life such as trust, confidence, re spect and love by
which virtues the conjugal relationship survives and flourishes.
"As correctly observed by the Court of Appeals: "The act of private respondent in
setting fire to the house of his sister-in-law Susan Ramirez, knowing fully well that
his wife was there, and in fact with the allegedintent of injuring the latter, is an act
totally alien to the harmony and confidences of marital relation which the
disqualification primarily seeks to protect. The criminal act complained of had the effect of
directly and vitally im pairing the conjugal relation. It underscored the fact that the marital
and domestic relations between her and accused-husband have become so strained
that there is no more harmony, peace or tranquility to be preserved. The Supreme
Court has held that in such a case, identity is non-existent. In such a situation,
the secuirty and con fidences of private life which the law aims to protect are
nothing but ideals which through their absence merely leave a void in the
unhappy home. (Alvarez v. Ramirez, 473 SCRA 72 [October 14, 2005] citing People v.
Castaneda 271 SCRA 504; Emphasis supplied). Thus, there is no longer any reason to
apply the Marital Disqualification Rule."
It should be stressed that as shown by the records, prior to the commission of the offense, the
relationship between petitioner and his wife was already strained. In fact, they were separated de
facto almost six months be fore the incident. Indeed, the evidence and facts presented reveal that the
preservation of the marriage between pe titioner and Esperanza is no longer an interest the
State aims to protect" (Alvarez v. Ramirez, supra).
Ba r 2006
Leticia was estranged from her husband Paul for more than a year due to his suspicion
that she was having an affair with Manuel, their neighbor. She was temporar ily living
with her sister in Pasig City.
For unknown reasons, the house of Leticia's sister was burned, killing the latter. Leticia
survived. She saw her husband in the vicinity during the incident. Later he was charged
with arson in an Information filed with the Regional Trial Court, Pasig City.
During the trial, the prosecutor called Leticia to the witness stand and offered her
testimony to prove that her husband committed the arson.
Can Leticia testify over the objection of her husband on the ground of marital privilege?
Suggested answer:
Leticia cannot testify. Section 22, of Rule 130 bars her testimony without the consent
of the husband during the marriage. The separation of the spouses has not oper ated to
terminate their marriage (Note: This is an answer based on the tenor of the Rules of
Court).
The following answer should also be considered:
Leticia may testify over the objection of her hus band. Where the marital and domestic
relations between her and the accused-husband have become so strained that there is no
more harmony, peace or tranquility to be preserved, there is no longer any reason to
apply the Marital Disqualification Rule (People v. Castaneda, 271 SCRA 504; Alvarez v.
Ramirez, 473 SCRA 72 [October 14,2005).
Marital Privileged Communications
There are two independent codal provisions which cover marital disqualifications.
Th e first is Section 22 of Rule 130 (Disqualification by reason of marriage) and the
second is Section 24(a) of Rule 130 (Disqualification by reason of privi leged
communication).
Under Section 24 of Rule 130 of the Rules of Court, there are certain persons who
cannot testify as to matters learned in confidence. Amon g those subject to the rule are le
gitimate spouses. Th e provision states as follows:
"Section 24 Disqualification by reason of privi leged communication. The following persons
cannot testify as to matters learned in confidence in the follow ing cases:
The husband or wife, during or after the mar riage, cannot be examined without the consent of the
other as to any communication received in confidence by one from the other during the marriage
except in a civil case by one against the other, or in a criminal case for a crime committed by one
against the other or the latter's direct descendants or ascendants; x x x"
Under the provisions of Section 24(a) of Rule 130, the husband or the wife cannot
be examined without the consent of the other as to any communication received
in confidence by one from the other during the marriage.
Th e application of the rule requires the presence of the following elements:
) there must be a valid marriage between the husband and wife;
)there is a communication received in confidence by one from the other; and
the confidential communication was received during the marriage.
"The law insures absolute freedom of communication between the spouses by making it privileged.
Neither may be examined without the consent of the other as to any
communication received in confidence by one from the other during the marriage,
save for specified exceptions. But one thing is freedom of communication; quite
another is a compul sion for each one to share what one knows with the other and
this has nothing to do with the duty of fidelity that each owes to the other"
(Zulueta v. Court Appeals, 253 SCRA 699, Feb ruary 20, 1996)
Since the application of the rule requires a confiden tial information received by
one spouse from the other dur ing the marriage, information acquired by a spouse
before the marriage even if received confidentially will not fall squarely with the provisions of Section
24(a) of Rule 130 but divulg ing the same may be objected to under Section 22 of Rule 130 upon
proper objection as long as the information is sought to be revealed during the marriage through a
testimony for or against the affected spouse. The tenor of Section 22 of Rule 130 does
not distinguish as to when the information subject of the testimony was
acquired and thus, may cover matters which occurred or adverse information
acquired prior to the marriage. It is sufficient that the witness-spouse testifies dur
ing the marriage. It is unlike Section 24(a) which explicitly requires that the
confidential information be received during the marriage.
Note that Section 24(a) of Rule 130 also requires that the information received in
confidence during the marriage be "by one from the other." The implication is clear: confidential
in formation received from a third person is not covered by the privilege.
For the information to be confidential, it must be made during and by reason of
the marital relations and is intended not to be shared with others. Without such
inten tion, common reason suggests that the information is not confidential.
Thus, in U.S. v. Antipolo (37 Phil. 726), the wife was allowed, in a prosecution for murder,
to testify as to her husband's dying declaration regarding the identity of the as sailant because there
was no intent of confidentiality in the information. Th e declaration is intended to be
communicated after the husband's death because it was made in the further ance
of justice.
Communications in private between husband and wife are presumed to be confidential (Blau
v. United States, 340 U.S. 332 in McCormick on Evidence, Third
Edition, 80). A variety of factors however, may serve to rebut a claim that
confidentiality was intended. In particular, if a third person (other than a child of the
family) is present with the knowl edge of the communicating spouse, this stretches the web of
confidence beyond the marital pair, and the communication is unprivileged (Pereira v. United
States, 347 U.S. 1 in Mc Cormick on Evidence, Third Edition, 80). If children of
the family are present this likewise deprives the conversation of protection unless
the children are too young to understand what is said (Freeman v. Freeman, 238 Mass, 150,
130 N. E.220 in McCormick on Evidence, Third Edition, 80).
Th e marital privilege rule, being a rule of evidence, may be waive d by failure of
the claimant to object timely to its presentation or by any conduct that may be
construed as implied consent (Lacurom v. Jacoba, A.C. No. 5921, March 10 2006).
Ba r 2004
XYZ, an alien, was criminally charged of promot ing and facilitating child
prostitution and other sexual abuses under Rep. Act No. 7610. The principal witness
against him was his Filipina wife, ABC. Earlier, she had complained that XYZ's hotel
was being used as a center for sex tourism and child trafficking. The defense counsel for
XYZ objected to the testimony of ABC at the trial of the child prostitution case and the
introduction of the af fidavits she executed against her husband as a violation of
espousal confidentiality and marital privilege rule. It turned out that DEF, the minor
daughter of ABC by her first husband who was a Filipino, was molested by XYZ
earlier. Thus, ABC had filed for legal separation from XYZ since last year.
May the court admit the testimony and affidavits of the wife, ABC, against her
husband XYZ, in the criminal case involving child prostitution?
Suggested answer:
If the testimony and affidavit of the wife are evidence of the case against her husband for
child prostitution in volving her daughter, the evidences are admissible. The marital
privileged communication rule under Section 24 of Rule 130 as well as the marital
disqualification rule un der Section 22 of Rule 130 do not apply to and cannot be
invoked in a criminal case committed by a spouse against the direct descendants of the
other.
A crime committed by the husband against the daughter of his wife is considered a
crime committed against the wife and directly attacks or vitally impairs the marital
relations (Ordono v. Da q uigan 62 SCRA 270).
Bar 2010
On March 5, 2008, Mabini was charged with murder for fatally stabbing Emilio. To prove the
qualifying circumstance of evident premeditation, the prosecution introduced on December 11, 2009,
a text message, which Mabinis estranged wife Gregoria had sent to Emilio on the eve of his death,
reading: Honey, pa2tayin u ni Mabini. Mtgal n nyang plano i2. Mg ingat u bka ma tsugi k.
A subpoena ad testificandum was served on Gregoria for her to be presented for the pirpose of
identifying her cellphone and the text message. Mabini objected to her presentation on the ground of
marital privilege. Resolve.
Suppose Mabinis objection in question A was sustained. The prosecution thereupon announced that it
would be presenting Emilios wife Gracian to identify Emilios cellphone bearing Gregorias text
message. Mabini objected again. Rule on the objection.
Suggested Anser.
The objection should be overruled. The marital privilege rule does not apply to the facts of the case.The
application of the rule invoked by Mabini required that there be, among other, a communication
received in confience by one from the other and that the confidential communication was received
during the marriage. Such elements are not present in the case at bar.
Note: A more tenable objection would be one based on the marital diqualification rule. The marriage
between Mabini and Gregoria still legally exists unless it can be shown that their relations are so
estranged that the reason for the rule no longer exists. (Alvarez vs Ramirez, 473 scra 72)
The objection should be overruled. Neither the marital diqualification rule nor the marital privilege
rule applies. Mabini is not the spouse of Graciana.
Explanation of Distinctions Between the Marital Disqualifi cation Rule and the Marital
Privileged Communication Rule
Section 24(a) of Rule 130 has reference to confiden tial communications received
by one spouse from the other during the marriage. The marital disqualification
rule under Section 22 of Rule 130 does not refer to confidential communi cations
between the spouses. It will not come into play when the fact pattern in a problem
makes reference to confidential communications between husband and wife during
the mar riage. Section 24(a) of Rule 130 will instead
However, communications that are not intended to be confidential because they
were uttered in the presence of third parties are not deemed confidential even when
made during the marriage, but Section 22 could apply instead of Section 24(a)
when used as parts of a testimony for or against the party-spouse.
The marital privileged communication rule in Sec 24(a) applies only to testimonies of a
confidential nature received by one spouse from the other during the marriage and
obviously does not include acts merely observed by the spouse unless such acts are
intended as a means of conveying confidential communication by one to the other.
Section 22 of Rule 130 includes facts, occurrences or infor mation even prior to the
marriage unlike Section 24(a) which applies only to confidential information received
during the marriage. In this sense, Section 22 is broader because it pre vents testimony
for or against the spouse on any fact and not merely a disclosure of confidential
information.
When the marital privileged communication rule under Section 24(a) applies, the
spouse affected by the disclo sure of the information or testimony may object even
after the dissolution of the marriage. Th e privilege does not cease just because the marriage
has ended. Th e marital disqualification rule under Section 22 on the other hand,
can no longer be in voked once the marriage is dissolved. It may be asserted only
during the marriage.
Th e marital disqualification rule in Section 22 re quires that the spouse for or
against whom the testimony is offered is a party to the action. This is not
required in the marital privileged communication rule in Section 24(a) and
applies regardless of whether the spouses are parties or not.
Note : In the marital disqualification rule in Section 22, the prohibition is a
testimony for or against the other. In Sec tion 24(a), what is prohibited is the
examination of a spouse as to matters received in confidence by one from the other
during the marriage.
Ba r 1995
Allan and Narita were married on August 1, 1989. After two months, Narita told Allan
in confidence that the 10-year old Liza whom she claimed to be her niece was ac tually
her daughter by a certain Basilio, a married man.
In 1992, Narita obtained a judicial decree of nullity of her marriage with Allan on the
latter's psychological incapacity to fulfill his marital obligations. When the de cree
became final, Liza, assisted by Narita, filed 10 cases of rape against Allan purportedly
committed in 1991. During the trial, Narita was called to the witness stand to testify
as a witness against Allan who objected thereto on the ground of marital
disqualification.
As public prosecutor, how would you meet the objection?
Suppose Naritas testimony was offered while the decision nullifying her marriage
to Allan was pending appeal, would your answer be different?
Suppose Narita died during the pendency of the appeal, and soon after, the legal wife of
Basilio sued for legal separation on sexual infidelity in view of Basilio's love affair with
Narita. At the trial Allan was called by Basilio's wife to testify that Narita confided to
him (Al lan) during their marriage that Liza was her love child by Basilio. As
counsel for Basilio, can you validly object to the presentation of Allan as witness for the
plaintiff? Explain.

Suggested Answers:
I would ask the court to overrule the objection. Under the marital disqualification rule,
the objection to the testimony of one spouse against the other may be invoked only
during the marriage. At the time the tes timony of Narita was offered, the marriage
was already dissolved. Besides, the crime was committed against a di rect descendant
of Narita (Section 22, Rule 130, Rules of Court).
The answer would not be different and the court may likewise be asked to overrule the
objection. The marital disqualification rule may not be invoked in a criminal case for a
crime committed against the direct de scendant of the other spouse. Here, Liza is the
daughter of Narita.
Suggested answer of U.P. Law Center: Yes. I could validly object to the presentation of
Allan as a wit ness on the ground that the communication of Narita was a privileged
communication which could be invoked dur ing or after the marriage. Moreover, the
testimony of Al lan would be hearsay.
Writer's Comment: It is submitted that the testimo ny could not be validly objected
upon by Basilio's counsel on the basis of the marital privileged communication rule.
Basilio does not own the privilege. The prerogative to ob ject to a confidential
communication between spouses is vested upon the spouses themselves, particularly the
com municating spouse, not a third person. This is clear from the provision: "...cannot
be examined without the consent of the other..." (Section 24, Rule 130, Rules of Court).
The proper objection should be on hearsay grounds, not on privileged communications.
Bar 1998
C is the child of the spouses H and W. H sued his wife for judicial declaration of nullity
of marriage under Art. 36 of the Family Code. In the trial, the following testified over
the objection of W: C, H and D, a doctor of medicine who used to treat W. Rule on Ws
objection which are the following:
H cannot testify against her because of the rule on marital privilege.

Suggested answer:
The objection should be overruled. The rule invoked by W, i.e., the rule on marital
privilege, does not apply to a civil case by one against the other. The suit between the
spouses is a civil case against the other.
Attorney-Client Privilege
Th e following is the applicable provision involving privileged communications
between an attorney and his cli ent:
"Section 24. Disqualification by reason of privi leged communication. The following persons
cannot testify as to matters learned in confidence in the follow ing
(a)
An attorney cannot, without the consent of his client, be examined as to any communication
made by the client to him, or his advice given thereon in the course of, or with a view to, professional
employment, nor can attorney's secretary, stenographer, or clerk be examined, without the consent of
his client and his em ployer, concerning any fact the knowledge of which has been acquired in such
capacity."
The following requisites must be present for the privilege to arise:
There must be a communication made by the client to the attorney or an
advice given by the attorney to his client;
The communication or advice must have been given in confidence; and
The communication or advice must have been given either in the course of the
professional employment or with a view to professional employment.
The present rules do not require a perfected attor ney-client relationship for the privilege to
exist. The commu nications between the attorney and the client no longer need to be in the course
of an actual professional employment. It is enough that the communication or advice be "with a
view to" professional employment (Section 24[b], Rule 130, Rules of Court).
Hence, the privilege is extended to communications made for the purpose of securing the services
of counsel even if the counsel later refuses the professional relationship. Th e insertion of the
clause "with a vie w to" includes preliminary negotiations within the privilege.
Without the clause, it would seem extremely risky to consult an attorney for the
first time and communicate to him certain sensitive information with out the
protection of confidentiality .
Th e relationship between the attorney and the cli ent is said to exist where a
person employs the professional services of an attorney or seeks professional
guidance, even though the lawyer declines to handle the case (Keir v. State, 152
Fla 389,11 So. [2d] 886 a943)]
The privilege of a client to keep communications to his attorney confidential is
predicated upon the client's belief that he is consulting a lawyer in that capacity
and has mani fested his intention to seek professional legal advice (24
IowaRev. 538, In Note). There is authority to support the theory that it is enough if he reasonably
believes that the person con sulted is a lawyer, although in fact he is not as in the case of a detective
pretending to be a lawyer (People v. Barker, 60 Mich. 277, 27 N .W 539 cited in
McCormick on Evidece, 88). For the privilege to exist, payment of a fee is not
essential (United States v. Landorf, 591 F .2d 36 3d Cir. 1980).
Where a person consults an attorney not as a lawyer but merely as a friend, or a
participant in a business transac tion, the consultation would not be one made
in the course of a professional employment or with a vie w to professional
employment as required by Section 24(b) Rule 130, Rules of Court, and if proven
to be so, would not be within the ambit of the privilege (U.S. v. Tedder, 801 F.2d
1437 [4th Cir. 1986)].
Accordingly, the privilege is not confined to commu nications regarding actual pending cases. The
communica tions may refer to anticipated litigations or may not refer to any litigation at all. It
is sufficient that the statements have been made in the course of legitimate
professional relation ship between the attorney and the client (Jones on
Evidence, Vol. 3, 749).

Th e communication may be oral or written but is deemed to extend to other forms of


conduct like physical demonstration as long as they are intended to be confidential. It is
likewise submitted that the communication between a client and his lawyer
is not deemed lacking in confidentiality solely because the communication is
transmitted by facsimile, cellular telephone, or other electronic means.
It is commonly acknowledged that the privilege does not extend to communications where
the client's purpose is the furtherance of a future intended crime or fraud (8 Wigmore,
Evidence, $$2298 2299 [McNaughton Reev. 1961]; Gardner, The
Crime of Fraud Exception to the Attorney-Client Privilege, 47 A.BA.J.
708), or for the purpose of committing a crime or a tort (U.S. v. Wilson, 798 F.2d
509 [1st Cir. 1986] or those made in furtherance of illicit activity (U.S. v.
Aucoin, 964 F.2d 1492 [5th Cir. 1992] Accordingly, although communications
made when used to further crimes are not privileged, the discussion of the
communications in confidence with the lawyer after the crime has been committed
may still be privileged even though the earlier ones were not (In re Federal Grand
Jury Proceed ings 89-10 [MIA] 938 F.2d 1578 [11th Cir. 1991)]
9. Does the privilege preclude inquiries into the fact that the lawyer was consulted?
The traditional and still ap plicable rule is that an inquiry into the fact of
consultation or employment is not privileged. Even the identity of the client is
not privileged as well as that of the lawyer is not privileged (Behrens v. Hironimus 170
F.2d 627 [4th Cir. 1 9 4 8 ] ) Shien- tag, J. in People v. Warden, 270 N.Y.S., 369).
However, under the so-called last link doctrine," non-privileged information, such as the
identity of the client, is protected if the revelation of such information would necessarily reveal
privileged infor mation (In re Grand Jury Proceedings [GJ90-2J, 946 2d 746 [11th
Cir.1991]
10. The statements of the client need not have been made to the attorney in person. Those made
to the attorney's secretary, clerk or stenographer for transmission to the attor ney for the
purpose of the professional relationship or with a view to such relationship or those knowledge
acquired by such employees in such capacity are covered by the privilege. Lik e the attorney,
their employer, these persons cannot be exam ined as to the communication made
by the client or the advice given by the attorney without the consent and
also the employer's consent (Section 24[b], Rule 130, Rules of Court).
Before the statements of the client and the advice of the attorney be deemed as
privileged, the same should have been intended to be confidential. This
confidentiality is the essence of the privilege. Th e communications between law yer and
client do not become confidential merely from the fact that they were made to each other. Th e
matters communicat ed to the attorney are evidently not intended to be confiden
tial when they were made to the lawyer but in the presence of third persons who neither
stand in a position of peculiar confidence to the client or are not agents of the attorney. If the
communications made by the client to his attorney wer e also made to third
persons, the intention of secrecy does not appear (McCormick on Evidence, 91).
There can be no attor ney-client privilege where the information is given with the expectation
that it will be revealed to others (In re Grand Jury Proceeding, 727 F . 2. d 1354 [4th
Cir. 1984]
In the case of per sons overhearing without the knowledge of the client, it seems
that the more reasonable vie w is one which would protect the client against
disclosure, unless he has failed to use ordinary precautions against overhearing,
but the cases in American jurisprudence have permitted the eavesdropper to
speak (Van Horn v. Commonwealth, 239 Ky 833, 40S.W.2d 372).
12. Does the privilege apply in suits between the attor ney and the client? Th e weight
of authority supports the view that when the client and attorney become embroiled in a con troversy
between themselves, as in an action filed for payment of attorneys fees or for damages
against the negligence of the attorney, the privilege is removed from the attorney's lips
(Sokol vs Mortimer 81 ill. App.2d 225 N.E.2d 496 in McCormick, $91). This rule
however, should be made to apply only where the suit is between the attorney and
his client. The communi cation would still be privileged where the suit is by or
against a third party (State v. Markey, 259 Wis. 527, 49 N.W. 2d 437
[1951].
In relation to the attorney, the privilege is owned by the client. It is he who can invoke the
privilege. As a rule, every communication arising from the professional relation ship
cannot be disclosed without his consent. Th e privilege is personal and belongs to
the client. If the client waives the privilege, no one else including the attorney can invoke it (In
Re Youngs Estate, 33 Utah 382, 94 P 731, 732). For example, if the client is
asked on cross examination of his communi cations to his lawyer and
reveals the same, there would be a waiver of the confidentiality of the
communication. There would also be a waiver if the client does not object to his
attor ney's testimony on the communication.
Th e protection of the privilege will generally sur viv e the death of the client (Denver Tramway
Co. v. Owens, 20 Clo 848; State v. Macumber 1121 Ariz. 569, 544P.2d
108] There had been cases where the privilege was not made to apply in cases
involving the validity or inter pretation of the client's will. Where there is an attack on
the validity of the will, communications made to the attorney on the drawing of the will, while
confidential during the lifetime of the client are not intended to require secrecy after his death (8
Wigmore Evidence, 2314 [MacNaughton rev. 1961)
A lawyer is bound to comply with Canon 21 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility which states that "a law yer shall preserve the confidence and
secrets of his client even after the attorney-client relation is Terminated. The
reason for the prohibition is found in the relation of attorney and cli ent, which is
one of trust and confidence of the highest degree. A lawyer becomes familiar with
all the facts connected with his client's case. He learns from his client the weak points of
the action as well as the strong ones. Such knowledge must be considered sacred and guarded
with care u. Valencia, 512 SCRA 1; Mercado v. Vitriolo, 459 SCRA 1).
A brief but exhaustive discussion of the nature of the relationship between
attorney and client and the rule on attorney-client privilege was made in Mercado
v. Vitriolo, su pra).
In engaging the services of an attorney, the client reposes on him special powers of trust and
confidence. Their relationship is strictly personal and highly con fidential and fiduciary. The
relation is of such delicate, exacting and confidential nature that is required by ne
cessity and public interest. Only by such confidentiality and protection will a person
be encouraged to repose his confidence in an attorney. The hypothesis is that absti nence
from seeking legal advice in a good cause is an evil which is fatal to the administration of
justice. Thus, the preservation and protection of that relation will encour age a client
to entrust his legal problems to an attorney, which is of paramount importance to the
administration of justice. One rule adopted to serve this purpose is the at torney-client
privilege: an attorney is to keep inviolate his client's secrets or confidence and not to
abuse them. Thus, the duty of a lawyer to preserve his client's secrets and confidence
outlasts the termination of the attorney-client relationship, and continues even after
the client's death. It is the glory of the legal profession that its fidelity to its client
can be depended on, and that a man may safely go to a lawyer and converse with him
upon his rights or supposed rights in any litigation with absolute assurance that the
lawyer's tongue is tied from ever disclosing it. With full disclosure of the facts of the
case by the client to his attorney, adequate legal representation will result in the
ascertainment and enforcement of rights or the pros ecution or defense of the client's
cause.
now, we go to the rule on attorney-client privilege. Dean Wigmore cites the factors
essential to establish the existence of the privilege, viz:
Where legal advice of any kind is sought, (2) from a professional legal adviser in his
capacity as such, (3) the communications relating to that purpose, (4) made in
confidence, (5) by the client, (6) are at his instance per manently protected, (7) from
disclosure by himself or by the legal advisor, (8) except the protection be waived.
"In fine, the factors are as follows:
There exists an attorney-client relationship, or a prospective attorney-client relationship, and it is by
reason of this relationship that the client made the com munication.
"Matters disclosed by a prospective client to a law yer are protected by the rule on
privileged communica tion even if the prospective client does not thereafter retain the
lawyer or the latter declines the employment. The reason for this is to make the
prospective client free to discuss whatever he wishes with the lawyer without fear that
what he tells the lawyer will be divulged or used against him, and for the lawyer to be
equally free to ob tain information from the prospective client.
"On the other hand, a communication from a (pro spective) client to a lawyer for some
purpose other than on account of the (prospective) attorney-client relation is not
privileged. Instructive is the case of Pfleider v. Palanca, 35 SCRA 75, where the client
and his wife leased to their attorney a 1,328 hectare agricultural land for a period of ten
years. In their contract, the parties agreed, among others, that a specified portion of the
lease rentals would be paid to the client-lessors, and the remainder would be delivered by
counsel-lessee to client's listed creditors. The client alleged that the list of creditors which
he had "confi dentially" supplied
counsel for the purpose of carrying out the terms of payment contained in the lease
contract was disclosed by counsel, in violation of their lawyer-client re lation, to parties
whose interests are adverse to those of the client. As the client himself, however, states,
in the execution of the terms of the aforesaid lease contract between the parties, he
furnished counsel with the dential" list of his creditors. We ruled that this indicates that
client delivered the list of his creditors to counsel not because of the professional relation then existing
between them, but on account of the lease agreement. We then held that a violation of
the confidence that accompanied the delivery of that list would partake more of a
private and civil wrong than of a breach of the fidelity owing from a lawyer to his client.
The client made the communication in confi dence.
"The mere relation of attorney and client does not raise a presumption of confidentiality.
The client must in tend the communication to be confidential.
"A confidential communication refers to information transmitted by voluntary act of
disclosure between attor ney and client in confidence and by means which, so far as the
client is aware, discloses the information to no third person other than one reasonably
necessary for the trans mission of the information or the accomplishment of the purpose
for which it was given.
"Our jurisprudence on the matter rests on quies cent ground. Thus, a compromise
agreement prepared by a lawyer pursuant to the instruction of his client and delivered
to the opposing party, an offer and counter-of fer for settlement, or a document given by
a client to his counsel not in his professional capacity are not privileged
communications, the element of confidentiality not being present.
The legal advice must be sought from the at torney in his professional capacity. The
communication made by a client to his attorney must not be intended for mere information, but for
the purpose of seeking legal ad vice from his attorney as to his rights or obligations. The
communication must have been transmitted by a client to his attorney for the purpose of
seeking legal advice.
"If the client seeks an accounting service or business or personal assistance, and not
legal advice, the privilege does not attach to a communication disclosed for such purpose"
(Mercado v. Vitriolo, 459 SCRA 1).
Bar 2008
A tugboat owned by Speedy Port Service, Inc. (SPS) sank in Manila Bay while
helping tow another vessel, drowning five (5) of the crew in the resulting shipwreck. At
the maritime board inquiry, the four (4) survivors tes tified. SPS engaged Atty. Ely
to defend against potential claims and to sue the company owning the other vessel for
damages to the tug. Ely obtained signed statements from the survivors. He also
interviewed other persons, in some instances making memoranda. The heirs of the five
(5) victims filed an action for damages against SPS. Plaintiffs counsel sent written
interrogatories to Ely, asking whether statements of witnesses were obtained; if
written, copies were to be furnished; if oral, the exact provi sions were to be set forth in
detail. Ely refused to comply, arguing that the documents and information asked are
privileged communication. Is the contention tenable? Ex plain.
Suggested answer:
The contention is not tenable. The documents and information sought to be disclosed are not
privileged. They are evidentiary matters which will eventually be disclosed during the trial. What
is privileged under Sec tion 24(b) of Rule 130, is (a) the communication made by the
client to the attorney, or (b) the advice given by the attorney, in the course of, or with
the view to professional employment. The information sought is neither a commu nication by
the client to the attorney nor is it an advice by the attorney to his client.
Physician-Patient Privilege
The privileged communication between a physician and his patient is stated as
follows in Section 24 of Rule 130:
"Section 24. Disqualification by reason of privileged communication. The following persons
cannot testify as to matters learned in confidence in the follow ing cases:
(a)
b)
A person authorized to practice medicine, surgery or obstetrics cannot in a civil case, without the
consent of the patient, be examined as to any advice or treatment given by him or any information
which he may have acquired in attending such patient in a profession al capacity, which
information was necessary to enable him to act in that capacity, and which would blacken the
reputation of the patient; x x x"
2. This privilege, embodied in Section 24(c) of Rule 130 applies to a civil case, whether the patient is
a party or not. The phraseology of the rule implies that the privilege cannot be
claimed in a criminal case presumably because the interest of the public in criminal
prosecution should be deemed more important than the secrecy of the communication.
3. The rationale traditionally mentioned to justify the privilege is to encourage the patient to freely
disclose all the matters which may aid in the diagnosis in the treatment of a disease or an injury. For
this purpose it is necessary to shield the patient from embarrassing details concerning his
condi tion (Falkinburg v. Prudential Insurance Co., 132 Neb. 831, 273 N.W.
478).
Accordingly, this privilege protects the inter est of the patient. It is designed to promote health, not
truth. It encourages free disclosure in the sickroom by preventing disclosure in the
courtroom. Th e patient is the person to be encouraged and he is the holder of the privilege
(Metropolitan Life and Insurance Co. v. Kaufman, 104 Colo. 13, 87 P.2d 758 in
McCormick, Evidence, 102).
The person against whom the privilege is claimed is a person duly authorized
to practice medicine, surgery or obstetrics.
The information which cannot be disclosed refers to;
any advice given to the client;
any treatment given to the client; and
any information acquired in attending such pa tient provided that the advice,
treatment or informationwas made or acquired in a professional capacity and
was necessary to enable him to act in that capacity;
and that the information sought to be disclosed would tend to blacken the
reputation of the patient (Sec tion 24[c], Rule 130, Rules of Court). The word
reputation" is used instead of the previous word, "character."
Also, it is opined that the rule does not require that the relationship between the physician and the
patient be a result of a contractual relationship. It could be the result of a quasi-
contractual relationship as when the patient is seri ously ill and the physician
threats him even if he is not in a condition to give his consent as in the
situation described in Art . 2167 of the Civil Code of the Philippines.
It is necessary for the operation of the privilege that the physician is acting in
his "professional capacity and that the advice or treatment given or acquired in
such capacity. The physician may be said to be acting in a professional capacity when he
attends to the patient for either curative or preven tive treatment (Baird's Estate, 173 Cal
617, 160 Pac, 1078; Smart v. Kansas City, 208 Mo 162, 105 S.W. 709). Hence, it is
submitted that results of autopsies may not be deemed cov ered by the privilege because autopsies
are not intended for treatment.
The privilege does not apply to shield the commission of a crime or when the purpose is an unlawful
one as to obtain narcotics or prohibited drugs in violation of law because there is no treatment
involved. Similarly, where the purpose is to ask a physician to have one's
appearance disguised by cos metic or plastic surgery to escape apprehension, the
privilege does not apply. Common reason suggests that all these cases be deemed outside the
operation of the privilege because the purpose is not for treatment or prevention of any disease or
injury.
8. The privilege survives the death of the patient. (Bassil v. Ford Motor Co., 278 Mich.
173, 270 N.W. 258, 107A.L.R. 1491). Death does not permit the living to impair
the
Deceaseds name by disclosing communications held confiden tial by law
(Westover v. Aetna Life Ins. Co., 99 N.Y., 69 Am Rep. 1. Rep 769). Thus, in
Gonzales v. Court of Appeals (298 SCRA 322), the Supreme Court, prevented the disclosure
of medical findings that would tend to blacken the reputation of the patient even after his death.
The privilege may be waived by the patient. The waiver may be made expressly or
impliedly. The waiver may be by a contract as in medical or life insurance. Whe n there is
disclosure by the patient of the information, there is neces sarily, a waiver. When the patient
answers questions on cross on matters which are supposedly privileged, the
waiver also exists.
There could also be a waiver by operation of law or of the rules. Under Rule 28 of
the Rules of Court, the court in which the action is pending may, in its discretion,
order a party to submit to a physical or mental examination. This happens when
the mental or physical condition of a party is in dispute. The party examined may
request a report of the examination. By doing so, he waives any privilege he may
have in that ac tion regarding the testimony of every other person who has
examined him in respect of the same examination (Section 4, Rule 28, Rules of
Court).
Bar 1998
C is the child of the spouses H and W. H sued his wife for judicial declaration of nullity
of marriage under Art. 36 of the Family Code. In the trial, the following testified over
the objection of W: C, H and D, a doctor of medicine who used to treat W. Rule on Ws
objection which are the following:
(a)
(b)
(c) D cannot cannot testify against her because of the doctrine of privileged
communication.
Suggested answer:
(a)
(b)
D cannot testify over the objection of W where the subject of the testimony is the advice
or treatment given by him or any information which he may have ac quired in
attending to W in his professional capacity (Sec tion 24[c], Rule 130, Rules of Court).

Priest/Minister-Penitent Privilege
Another privileged communication under the Rules is as follows:

"Section 24. Disqualification by reason of priv ileged communication. The


following persons cannot testify as to matters learned in confidence in the
following cases:

A minister or priest cannot, without the consent of the person making the
confession, be examined as to any confession made to or any ad vice given to him in his
professional character in the course of discipline enjoined by the church to which the
priest or minister or priest belongs;

The person making the confession holds the privi lege and the priest or minister
hearing the confession in his professional capacity is prohibited from making a
disclosure of the confession without the consent of the person confess ing.
The privilege also extends not only to a confession made by the penitent but also to any advice
given by the minister or priest. The confession and the advice must have been made or
given pursuant to the course of discipline of the denomination or sect to which the
minister or priest belongs (Section 24[d], Rule 130, Rules of Court). Thus, the minister or
priest must be duly ordained or consecrated by his sect.
Not every communication made to a minister or priest is privileged. The
communication must be made pur suant to confessions of sins (wigmoreon Evidence, 848).
As clearly provided in the rule, the advice given as a result of the confession,
must be made in the minister's professional character" (Section 24[d], Rule 130
Rules of Court) or in his spiritual capacity. Accordingly, where the penitent discussed
business arrangements with the priest, the privilege does not apply (U.S. v. Gordon, 493 F.
Supp. 822 [7th Cir. 1987]

Privileged Communications to Public Officers


As to privileged communications to public officers, the relevant rule declares:
"Section 24. Disqualification by reason of privi leged communication. The following persons
cannot testify as to matters learned in confidence in the follow ing cases:

A public officer cannot be examined during his term of office or afterwards, as to communications
made to him in official confidence, when the court finds that the public interest would suffer by the
disclosure."
2.Under the above rule, communications made to a public officer in official
confidence are privileged when the court finds that the disclosure would
adversely affect the pub lic interest. It is the interest of the public that is sought to be
protected by the rule. Hence, the disclosure or non-disclosure is not dependent on the will of the
officer but on the determi nation by a competent court. Th e privilege may be invoked not
only during the term of office of the public officer but also after (Section 24[e],
Rule 130, Rules of Court).
3.National security matters and State secrets are of course, confidential and a court will most likely
uphold the privilege. A society may not always be able to conduct its busi ness with
total openness and matters affecting national interest must not be divulged
(Guongv. U.S., 860 F.2d 1063 [Fed Cir 1998]
4.There is also authority supporting the theory that protection must be given to
protect the identity of individu als who provide information to the government.
Effective law enforcement often results from information provided by citi zens
who do not wish to publicly involve themselves (U.S. v. Straughter, 950 F.2d
1223 [6th Cir. 1991
Executive Privilege; Presidential Communications Privilege
1. The concept of "executive privilege" and its origins were elucidated in
sufficient detail in Senateof the Philippines vs Ermita (488 SCRA 1). As defined
in relation to its American origins, the privilege has been described as "the power of
the government to withhold information from the public, the courts, and the Congress."
2. Th e doctrine of executive privilege found recognition in the 1995 case of
Almonte v. Vasquez (244 SCRA 286). Here the Court acknowledged that there are
certain types of infor mation which the government may withhold from the
public like military, diplomatic and national security secrets. Allud ing to
foreign jurisprudence, it was ruled that the President and those who assist him must be
free to explore alternatives in the process of shaping policies and making decisions and to do so in a
way many would be unwilling to express except privately.
Chavez v. PCGG (299 SCRA 744), ruled that there is a privilege against
disclosure on certain matters involving state secrets regarding the following;
military;
diplomatic; and,
other national security matters.
Again, in Chavez v. Public Estates Authority (384 SCRA 152), it was similarly
held that secrets involving military, dip lomatic and national security matters
and information on investigations of crimes by law enforcement agencies before the
prosecution of the accused were exempted from the right to information. The right to
information does not also extend to presidential conversations, correspondences, and discussions
in closed-door cabinet meetings.
The 2006 case of Senate of the Philippines v. Ermita (488 SCRA 1), cited by both the
majority and dissenting opin ions in subsequent cases, illustrates how the Court
resolved a constitutional question on the extent of executive privilege in relation to
inquiries in aid of legislation.
The case of Ermita is the result of consolidated petitions for certiorari and
prohibition praying for a declaration of the unconstitutionality of Executive
Order 464 for having been is sued through a grave abuse of presidential powers.
At issue was the constitutionality of Executive Order 464 issued by the President
of the Philippines for the purpose of "Ensuring Observance of the Principle of
Separation of Pow ers, Adherence to the Rule on Executive Privilege and Respect
for the Rights of Public Officials Appearing in Legislative In quiries in Ai d of
Legislation under the Constitution, and for Other Purposes.
The questioned Executive Order was issued at the height of Senate investigations on the
Nort h Rail Project and alle gations of fraud in the 2004 national elections involving
the controversial taped conversations between the President and a former Comelec
Commissioner.
Relying on Almonte v. Vasquez (244 SCRA 286), E.O . 464 stressed that "the rule on
confidentiality based on executive privilege is fundamental to the operation of
government and rooted in the separation of powers under the Constitution." Section 2(a)
of E.O 464 considered the executive privilege to cover all confidential and classified
information between the President and the public officers enumerated in the executive
order, including:
) Conversation and correspondence between the President and the public official
covered by the executive order;
b.) Military, diplomatic and other national security matters which in the
interest of national security should not be divulged;
c. )Information between inter-government agen cies prior to the conclusion of
treaties and executive agreements;
d. ) Discussions in closed-door cabinet meetings;
and
e.) Matters affecting national security and public
order.
Section 2(b) proceeded by enumerating the following public officers also covered by
Executive Order 464:
a.) Senior officials of executive departments who in the judgment of
department heads are covered by the executive privilege;
b.) General and flag officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and such
other officers who, in the judg ment of the Chief of Staff, are covered by the
executive privilege;
c. Philippine National Police ( P N P ) officers with rank of chief superintendent or
higher and such other of ficers who, in the judgment of the Chief of the PNP , are
covered by the executive privilege;
d) Senior national security officials who in the judgment of the National
Security Adviser are covered by the executive privilege; and
e) Such other officers as may be determined by the President.
Section 3 of E.O. 464 required that all public officials enumerated above shall have to secure prior
consent of the President prior to appearing before either House of Congress to give effect to the
purpose of the executive order. Relying on E.O. 464 (with the exception of General Gu- dani
and Col. Balutan who were subsequently relieved fromtheir military posts and were
made to face court martial pro ceedings for defying the President's executive order),
various government officials failed to appear in Senate hearings.
The Court, in resolving the issues involved, gave recogni tion to the power of inquiry of congress
in aid of legislation in accordance with its duly published rules of procedure, de scribing such power
as being broad enough to cover officials of the executive branch and co-extensive with the power to
legislate. It held that the matters which may be a proper sub ject of legislation and
of investigation are one and because the operation of government could be a subject
of legislation, it could also be the subject of investigation. Since Congress has the
authority to inquire into the operations of the executive branch, "it would be incongruous
to hold that the power of inquiry does not extend to executive officials who are the most
familiar with and informed on executive operations."
The Court also however, recognized that Presidential communications fall under
the protection of executive privi lege. While the Court upheld the doctrine of
executive privi lege, it found the executive order partly constitutionally defec tive,
specifically 2(b) and 3 which required government officials below the heads of
executive departments to secure consent from the President before appearing in congressional
hearings and investigations. Th e Court noted that E.O . 464 covers persons which
is a misuse of the doctrine because the privilege is to be properly invoked in relation to
specific cat egories of information and not to categories of persons.
When Congress exercises its powers of judicial inquiry, the department heads are not exempt
by the mere fact that they are department heads. Accordingly, only one executive official may be
exempted from the power of inquiry of Con gress the President upon whom executive power is
vested and is beyond the reach of congress except through the power of impeachment.
The Court added that Section 1 of Executive Order 464 makes reference only to Section
22 of Art . VI of the Consti tution, and in the absence of reference to inquiries in
aid of legislation, must be construed as limited in its application to appearances of
department heads in the question hour which is contemplated in Section 22. Th e
requirement then to secure presidential consent under Section 1 is limited only to
appear ances in the question hour, and is valid on its face. Under Sec tion 22 of Art .
VI , the appearances of department heads in the question hour is discretionary on their
part.
Section 1 however, declared the Court, cannot be applied to appearances of department
heads in inquiries in aid of leg islation and Congress is not bound to respect the
refusal of the department heads in such inquiry, unless a valid claim of privilege is
subsequently made by the President herself or by the Executive Secretary.
Th e letter of Secretary Ermita to the Senate which is to be construed as an implied
claim of the privilege, was unac companied as it is by any specific allegation of the
basis of the claim. In other words, if the executive branch wants to claim the privilege, it must
formally assert the same and state the reasons for the claim. Certainly, according to the
Court, "Con gress has the right to know why the executive considers the requested
information privileged." It does not suffice to mere ly declare that the President, or an authorized
representative, has determined that it is so. In the absence of a specific basis for the
claim, there is no way of determining whether it falls under one of the traditional
privileges or whether it should be respected. Instead of providing precise and certain
reasons for the claim, Section 3 of E.O. 464 merely invokes the execu tive order
coupled with a statement that the President has not given her consent. This
emphasized the Court, severely frustrates the power of inquiry of congress. Thus, Section 3
of E.O 464 in relation to Section 2(b) was declared also invalid per se.
Postcript: On March 6, 2008, the President of the Philip pines issued
Memorandum Circular revoking Executive Order 464. The Memorandum instructed
all executive employ ees to abide by the Constitution, the laws and jurisprudence
including the case of Senate v. Ermita.
The Constitution of the Philippines recognizes the right of the people to
information on matters of public concern and guarantees access to official records,
and to documents, and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions, or deci
sions, as well as to government research data used as basis for policy
development, subject to such limitations as may be provided by law (Section 7,
Article III [Bill of Rights], Consti tution of the Philippines).
What matters may be disclosed in relation to the right to information on matters of
public concern?
This was actually one of the issues sought to be resolved in AKBAYAN v.
Aquino (G.R. No. 170516, July 16, 2008)The petitioners in the case, a tapestry of
various personalities like citizens, taxpayers, congressmen including non-
government organizations, sought via a petition for mandamus and pro hibition
to obtain from respondents in the persons of various government functionaries, the
full text of the Japan-Philip pines Economic Partnership Agreement ( J P E P A ) ,
informa tion which the government previously refused to disclose. Th e petitioners
assert among others, that the refusal of the gov ernment to disclose the documents
bearing on the J P E P A vio lates their right to information on matters of public
concern, and contravenes other constitutional provisions on transpar ency, such
as the policy of full disclosure of all transactions involving public interest. The y
likewise posit that non-disclo sure of the documents undermines their right to
effective and reasonable participation in all levels of social, political and economic
decision-making.
Respondents do not dispute that the J P E P A as an inter national trade agreement
is a matter of public concern but they claim that a full disclosure of matters
sought by the pe titioners would involve disclosure of diplomatic negotiations
which were then in progress. It is asserted by respondents that diplomatic
negotiations are covered by the doctrine of ex ecutive privilege, thus
constituting an exception to the right to information and the policy of full
public disclosure.
The petitioners on the other hand admit that diplomatic negotiations are entitled
to a reasonable amount of confiden tiality so as not to jeopardize the diplomatic
process but are confidential only at certain stages of the negotiating process after
which such information must be revealed to the public. Th e duty to disclose
allegedly arises when the negotiations have moved from the formulation and
exploratory stage to the firming up of propositions or official recommendations.
In resolving the conflicting claims of the parties the Court first affirmed what it
termed "the well-established jurispru dence that neither the right to information
nor the policy of full disclosure is absolute, there being matters which, albeit
of matters of public concern or public interest, are recognized as privileged in
nature."
Th e Court reiterated what it held in previous cases that the information on inter-
government exchanges prior to the conclusion of treaties and executive agreements may
be sub ject to reasonable safeguards for the sake of national interest. Th e Court then
declared that by applying the principles it had previously adopted, the Court held that
while the final text of the JPEP A may not be left perpetually confidential since there is a
need to discuss the same before it is approved, the offers exchanged by the parties
during the negotiations continue to be privileged even after the JPEP A is published.
Disclosing these exchanges could impair the ability of the Philippines to deal not
only with Japan but with other foreign govern ments in future negotiations.
Reminding the parties of what it had declared in Chavez v. PCGG (384 SCRA
152), that while the constitutional right to information includes official infor mation
on on-going negotiations before a final contract, such information does not cover
recognized exceptions like privi leged information, military and diplomatic secrets
and similar matters affecting national interest. The matters falling under these
exceptions according to the Court, cannot be disclosed even if they constitute definite
propositions. Since diplomatic negotiations enjoy a presumptive privilege against
disclosure, petitioners need to sufficiently show the existence of a public interest
sufficient to overcome the privilege. The court concluded with a finding that the
petitioners have failed to pres ent a sufficient showing of need in their
arguments.
The standard to be employed in determining whether there is a sufficient interest
in favor of disclosure is the strong "sufficient showing of need" which must be
shown whether that party is Congress or a private citizen. The Court also held that
when the government has claimed executive privilege, and it has established that
the information is indeed covered by the same, then the party demanding it, if it
is to overcome the privilege, must show that the information is vital, not sim ply
for the satisfaction of its curiosity, but for its ability to effectively and reasonably
participate in social, political, and economic decision-making.
Closely related to the "presidential communications privilege is the deliberative
process privilege recognized in the United States, which privilege covers
documents reflecting advisory opinions, recommendations and deliberations com
prising part of a process by which governmental decisions and policies are
formulated. Clearly the privilege accorded to diplomatic negotiations
follows as a logical consequence from the privileged character of the deliberative
process (AK- BAYAN v. Aquino, G.R. No. 170516, July 16, 2008).
6.An earlier case, Neri v. Senate Committees on Ac countability of Public Officers
and Investigations (G.R. No. 180643, March 25, 2008) similarly demonstrates the
extent of the right to information on matters alleged to be of public con cern.
Ro mulo Neri , the petitioner in this case, as then direc tor of the NE D A , was
accordingly said to have discussed with the President of the Philippines
regarding the Z T E - N B N deal. The petitioner, upon invitation of the respondents
(Senate Committee on Accountability of Public Officers and Investiga tions,
Senate Committee on Trade and Commerce, and Senate Committee on National
Defense and Security), testified on the Z T E - N B N contract and the bribe offers
in connection with the deal. When asked on the details of the matters he
discussed with the President after he divulged to the latter the bribe offers,
petitioner declined to disclose the details of their con-versation invoking the
privileged nature of the conversation on specifically the following matters:
a.) Whether the President followed up the NB N project;
b. ) Whether Ner i was dictated upon to follow up the project; and
c. Whether the President said to go ahead and ap prove the project after being told
of the alleged bribe.
Whe n called for another hearing, petitioner then sent re grets to the Senate for
his inability to appear in the next hear ing and through Secretary Ermita,
requested the respondents to dispense with the petitioner's testimony on the
ground of executive privilege. Th e respondents then asked petitioner to explain
why he should not be cited for contempt. Petitioner explained his side and
requested that he be furnished in ad vance with questionnaires should the
respondents touch on new matters aside from those already asked of him in a
previ ous hearing conducted for eleven straight hours. Without responding
to the petitioner's request and finding the petition er's explanation
unsatisfactory, a contempt order was subse quently issued against the petitioner
including an order for his arrest and detention. Petitioner then assailed the
orders via a petition for certiorari with application for a temporary restraining order
in the Supreme Court after his motion to reconsider the orders were denied.
The Court, in deciding the petition started with the premise recognizing the power
of Congress to conduct inqui ries in aid of legislation, a power which extends even
to pub lic officials. The only way for them to be exempted from the compulsory
process of Congressional subpoena is through a valid claim of executive privilege.
The Court declared it was convinced that the communications elicited by the three
(3) questions are covered by the presidential communication privilege. Citing
foreign precedents and rulings and previous Supreme Court pronouncements, and
specifically citing the case of United States v. Nixon (418 U.S. 813), and
drawing from Nixon, In Re Sealed Case and Judicial Watch, the Court enumerated the
following elements of "presidential communi cations
a.) The protected communications must relate toa"quintessentialandnon-
delegable presidential power.
b. The communication must be authored or "solic ited and received" by a close
advisor of the President or the President himself. The judicial test is that an
advisor must be in "operational proximity" with the President; and
c. The presidential communications privilege remains a qualified privilege that
may be overcome by a showing of adequate need, such that the information
sought "likely contains important evidence" and by the unavailability of the
information elsewhere by an appro priate investigating authority.
The Court then concluded that the communications be tween the petitioner and the
President fall within the privi lege based on the following reasons:
First, the communications relate to a "quintessen tial and non-delegable power" of the
President, i.e., the power to enter into an executive agreement with other countries. This
authority of the President to enter into executive agreements without the concurrence of
the Leg islature has traditionally been recognized in Philippine
Second the communications are "received" by a close advisor of the president. Under the
"operational proximity test" petitioner can be considered a close advi sor, being a member
of President Arroyo's cabinet.
Third, there is no adequate showing of a compelling need that would justify the
limitation of the privilege and of the unavailability of the information elsewhere by ap
propriate investigating authority."
The respondent committees argued that a claim of execu tive privilege does not guard
against a possible disclosure of wrongdoing. Th e Court did not contest the
argument and fur ther declared that the need for evidence in a pending criminal
trial outweighs the President's generalized interest in confi dentiality. Th e
argument was however, brushed aside by the declaration that the present case does
not involve a criminal proceeding where the information sought would help in
meet ing the demands of fair administration of criminal justice. The Court in
the same case likewise held that the right of Con gress or any of its committees
to obtain information in aid of legislation cannot be equated with the people's
right to pub lic information. Th e former cannot claim that every legisla tive
inquiry is an exercise of the people's right to information. Hence, the members of
Congress should not invoke as justifi cation a right properly belonging to the
people.
Th e Neri case reiterated the rule that for the claim of ex ecutive privilege to be
invoked, there must be a formal claim of the privilege, lodged by the head of the
department which has control of the matter, and that a formal and proper claim
of the privilege requires a precise and certain reason for preserving
confidentiality, but Congress must not require the executive to state the reasons
for the claim with such par ticularity as to compel the disclosure of the information
which the privilege is meant to protect. This is a matter of respect for a
coordinate and co-equal department. It was ruled that the letter of Secretary
Ermita to the respondents satisfies the requirement.
Chief Justice Puno's dissenting opinion is of profound le gal interest. In
substance, the venerable Chief Justice opines that there must be a "sufficient
showing or demonstration of specific need" for the withheld information on the part
of the branch of government seeking its disclosure.
"Two standards must be met to show the specific eed; one is evidentiary; the other
is constitutional."
In the case at bar, we cannot assess the validity of the claim of the Executive Secretary
that disclosure ofthe withheld information may impair our diplomatic rela tions with
the People's Republic of China. There is but a bare assertion in the letter of Secretary
Ermita that the context in which executive privilege is invoked is that the information
sought to be disclosed might impair our dip lomatic as well as our economic relations
with the People's Republic of China." There is absolutely no explanation of fered by the
Executive Secretary on how diplomatic se crets will be exposed at the expense of our
national in terest if petitioner answers the three disputed questions propounded by the
respondent Senate committees. In the Oral Argument petitioner Neri similarly
failed to explain how democratic secrets will be compromised if the three disputed
questions would reveal privileged demo cratic secrets. The Court cannot engage in
guesswork in resolving this important issue."
Privileged Communications under the Rules on Electronic Evidence
Privileged communications apply even to electronic evi dence. Under Section 3, Rule 3 of the
Rules on Electronic Evi dence, the confidential character of a privileged communica tion is not
lost solely on the ground that it is in the form of an electronic document.
Parental and Filial Privilege
Tw o privileges are embodied in Section 25 of Rule 130, namely: (a ) the parental
privilege rule; and (b ) the filial privilege rule.
Under the parental privilege rule, a parent cannot be compelled to testify against his
child or direct descendants. Under the filial privilege rule, a child may not be compelled to
testify against his parents or direct ascendants.
A person however, may testify against his parents or children voluntarily but if he refuses to do
so, the rule protects him from any compulsion. Said rule applies to both criminal and civil
cases since the rule makes no distinction (Section 25, Rule 130, Rules of Court).
Th e rule states:
"Section 25. Parental and filial privilege. No per son may be compelled to testify against his
parents, other direct ascendants, children or other direct de scendants."

Ba r 1998
C is the child of the spouses H and W. H sued his wife for judicial declaration of nullity
of marriage under Art. 36 of the Family Code. In the trial, the following testified over
the objection of W: C, H and D, a doctor of medicine who used to treat W. Rule on W's
objection which are the following:
(a)
(b) C cannot testify against her because of the doc trine on parental privilege.
(c)
In criminal cases, the Family Code of the Philippines, lays down as a general
rule, a policy substantially the same as Section 25, Rule 130 of the Rules of
Court. Under the Famil y Code, no descendant shall be compelled, in a criminal
case, to testify against his parents and grandparents. The Code however,
specifically provides for an exception. The descendant may be compelled to give his
testimony in the following instances:
a) when such testimony is indispensable in a crime committed against said descendant, or
b. in a crime committed by one parent against the other (Art. 215, Family Code of the
Philippines).
Th e relevant article provides:
"Art. 215 No descendant shall be compelled, in a criminal case, to testify against his parents and
grandparents, except when such testimony is indispensable in a crime, against the descendant or
by one parent against the other."

Suggested answer:
(a)
(b) W cannot invoke the privilege which belongs to the child. C may testify if he wants to
although he may not be compelled to do so (Section 25, Rule 130, Rules of Court).
Other Privileged Communications Not Found in the Rules of Court
Section 24 of Rule 130 deals with the types of dis qualifications by reason of
privileged communication, to wit:
a) communication between husband and wife; (b ) communica tion between
attorney and client; (c) communication between physician and patient; (d )
communication between priest and penitent; and (e ) public officers and public
interest.
2. There are, however, other privileged matters that are not mentioned by
Rule 130. Amon g them are the follow ing: (a ) editors may not be compelled to disclose
the source of published news; (b) voters may not be compelled to disclose for whom they voted; (c)
trade secrets; (d ) information contained in tax census returns; and (d ) bank deposits (Air
Philippines v. Pennswell Inc., G.R. No. 172835, December 13, 2007).
3. Under Art . 233 of the Labor Code of the Philippines, infor mation and statements made at
conciliation proceedings shall be treated as confidential. Under Section 6 of R.A . No . 9194
amending Section 9 of R.A . No . 9160 (Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001),
institutions covered by the law and its officers and employees who communicate a suspicious
transaction to the Anti-Money Laundering Council, are barred from disclos ing the fact of such
report to other persons.