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People of the Philippines vs.

Julito Franco (#8)

Facts:

The trial court convicted appellant Franco of the crime of robbery with homicide based of his alleged
extrajudicial confession. However, the said extrajudicial confession was not offered in evidence by the
prosecution. Neither was its contents recited by the appellant in his testimony.

According to the defense, and based on the records, there was no single person witnessed the incident.
Thus, according to the accused-appellant, the trial court committed grave abuse of discretion for convicting
him.

Hence, this petition before the Supreme Court.

Issue:

Whether or not the accused – appellant’s extra-judicial confession which was not offered in evidence would
warrant the accused-appellant’s conviction of the said crime.

Ruling:

The Supreme Court ruled that the court shall consider no evidence which has not been formally offered. So
fundamental is this injunction that litigants alike are corollary enjoined to formally offer any evidence which
they desire the court to consider. Chief Justice Moran explained the rationale behind the rule in this wise:

“…the offer is necessary because it is the duty of a judge to rest his findings of facts and his judgment
only and strictly upon the evidence offered by the parties to the suit.

It cannot be argued either that since the extrajudicial confession has been identified and marked as Exhibit
“N” by the prosecution in the course of the cross-examination of the appellant, then it may now be validly
considered by the trial court. Indeed, there is a significant distinction between identification of documentary
evidence and its formal offer. The former is done in the course of the trial and is accompanied by the marking
of the evidence as an exhibit, while the latter is done only when the party rests its case. According to the
Supreme Court, the mere fact that a particular document is identified and marked as an exhibit does not
mean that it has thereby already been offered as part of the evidence of a party.
Nuez vs. Cruz – Apao (#10)

Facts:

The Complainant had a pending case with the Court of Appeals for more than two years. Complainant filed an
illegal dismissal case against PAGCOR before the Civil Service Commission (CSC). The CSC ordered
complainant’s reinstatement but a Writ of Preliminary Injunction and a Temporary Restraining Order was
issued by the CA in favor of PAGCOR, thus complainant was not reinstated to his former job pending
adjudication of the case. Desiring an expeditious decision of his case, he sought the assistance of respondent
after learning of the latter’s employment with the CA from her sister, Magdalena David. During their first
telephone conversation and thereafter through a series of messages they exchanged via SMS, complainant
informed respondent of the particulars of his pending case. Allegedly, complainant thought that respondent
would be able to advise him on how to achieve an early resolution of his case. However, the respondent
replied that a favorable and speedy decision of his case was attainable but the person who was to draft the
decision was in return asking One Million Pesos (Php1,000,000.00). The complainant asked for a reduction of
the said amount since he did not have such amount because he had been jobless for a long time.
Respondent denied the request, which caused the complainant to seek the assistance of an Imbestigador
wherein an entrapment was formulated so as to apprehend the respondent. Thus, an administrative case for
Dishonesty and Grave Misconduct was filed against the respondent Elvira Cruz-Apao which resulted to the
latter’s dismissal from the service. Hence, a petition was filed before the present court.

Issue: Whether or not, the text messages were admissible in evidence in the resolution of the case.

Ruling:

Complainant was able to prove by his testimony in conjunction with the text messages from respondent duly
presented before the Committee that the latter asked for One Million Pesos (Php1,000,000.00) in exchange
for a favorable decision of the former’s pending case with the CA. The text messages were properly admitted
by the Committee since the same are now covered by Section 1(k), Rule 2 of the Rules on Electronic
Evidence which provides:

“Ephemeral electronic communication refers to telephone conversations, text messages….and other


electronic forms of communication the evidence of which is not covered or retained.

Under Section 2, Rule 11 of the Rules on Electronic Evidence, Ephemeral electronic communications shall be
proven by the testimony of a person who was a party to the same or who has personal knowledge thereof…In
this case, complainant who was the recipient of said messages and therefore had personal knowledge thereof
testified on their contents and import. Respondent herself admitted that the telephone number reflected in
complainants cellphone from which the messages originated was hers. Moreover, any doubt respondent may
have had as to the admissibility of the text messages had been laid to rest when she and her counsel signed
and attested to the veracity of the text messages between her and complainant. It is also well to remember
that in administrative cases, technical rules of procedure and evidence are not strictly applied.
Rustan Ang y Pascua vs. CA (#12)

Facts:

Complainant Irish and accused Rustan were former sweethearts but their relationship had ended when
Rustan had taken a live-in partner (now his wife), whom he had gotten pregnant. However, before Rustan got
married he made a proposal and convince Irish to elope with him, saying that he did not love the woman he
was about to marry. Irish rejected the proposal, and changed her cellphone number but Rustan found a way
to get her number and sent through Multimedia Message Service (SMS) a picture of a naked woman with
spread legs with Irish’s face superimposed on the figure. He boasted that it would be easy for him to create
similarly scandalous pictures of Irish and threatened her to spread the picture he sent through the internet.

Because of fear, Irish sought the help of the Vice Mayor of Maria Aurora who referred her to the Police. The
police, after hearing Irish’s report, arrested Rustan and a case for Violation of Section 5(h) of RA No. 9262
otherwise known as the Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004 was filed. The accused
– appellant was convicted, hence, a petition for review was filed before the Supreme Court.

Issue: Whether or not the RTC properly admitted in evidence the obscene picture in the case?

Ruling:

Yes. The Supreme Court affirms the decision of the CA. Rustan is raising his objection to the admissibility of
the obscene picture for the first time before the Supreme Court. The objection is too late since he should have
the objection at the time it was offered in evidence. He should be deemed to have already waived such
ground for objection. The rules on Electronic Evidence applies only to civil actions, quasi-judicial proceedings,
and administrative proceedings.
People vs Cabintoy

Facts:

A case was filed against accused- appellants Raul Cabintoy and Celso Fernando, together with one Fernando
Garcia who is still at large for the commission of the crime of robbery with homicide. The conviction of the said
accused-appellants was primarily based on extrajudicial confessions they had been executed. Based on the
records, the extrajudicial confessions were executed by the accused-appellants without the assistance of
counsel and without prior valid waivers; hence, it was unconstitutional. Thus, the accused-appellants filed a
petition for review before the Supreme Court.

Issue:

Whether or not the extrajudicial confessions are admissible in evidence in court.

Ruling:

No. Because at the time the questioned confessions were executed, there were no prior valid waivers of their
constitutional rights by Cabintoy and Fernando. This defect alone is sufficient to tender the confessions
inadmissible in evidence against accused-appellants. Moreover, the confessions do not indicate that both
accused were represented by counsel during the investigation. The settled rule is that an uncounselled
extrajudicial confession without a valid waiver of the rights to counsel is inadmissible in evidence.

The court, however, has ruled before in a number of cases that even if the confession of the accused were
“gospel truth”, if it was made without the assistance of counsel and without a valid waiver of such assistance,
the confession is inadmissible in evidence regardless of the absence of coercion or even if it had been
voluntarily given.
IBM Philippines Inc. vs. NLRC (#9)

Facts:

Private Respondent Angel D. Israel was an employee of IBM Philippines, Inc. as Office Products Customer
Engineer. For the next sixteen (16) years, he occupied two other positions in the company, received
numerous awards, and represented the company in various seminars and conferences in and out of the
country. However, when he was placed under the direct supervision of Victor V. Reyes, he was charged of
habitual tardiness and absenteeism leading to his termination from his employment. The termination was
made through a letter informing Israel that his employment in the company was to be terminated due to
habitual tardiness and absenteeism. Israel then filed a complaint for illegal dismissal before the Labor Arbiter
of the Department of Labor and Employment. The Labor Arbiter rendered decision against Israel, thus the
latter appealed to the NLRC, and the NLRC reversed the LA’s decision because the respondent had
presented only the unauthenticated and unsigned computer printouts of DTRs of the complainant only when
they were required to present the authenticated and signed of the same, and for failure to observe the due
process of law in dismissing the respondent.

Hence, this petition.

Issue:

Whether or not, the unauthenticated computer printouts of DTRs are admissible in evidence.

Ruling:

No. Because when the court asked the petitioner to present the original documents, the latter failed to do so.
Section 3 of Rule 130 of the Rules of Court requires that the original documents shall be produced, except
only when such document falls within the exceptions provided for under the said Rule.

In the case at bench, the requirement for the production of the authenticated and signed DTRs of the private
complainant does not fall within the said exceptions provided for under the said Rule. The purpose of the rule
requiring the production of the best evidence is the prevention of fraud, because if a party is in possession of
such evidence and withholds it, and seeks to substitute inferior evidence in its place, the presumption
naturally arises that the better evidence is withheld for fraudulent purposes which its production would expose
and defeat.

Furthermore, private respondent’s DTRs for the period complained of by petitioner show that while his
attendance record may not have been perfect, it was at least satisfactory. The days when private respondent
did not report to the office were credited either as vacation or as sick leaves. On days when he was away on
business trips, his destination was shown. The DTRs were signed by petitioner Victor Reyes.
Magtolis vs Salud

Facts:

Respondent is charged and held liable for offenses on inefficiency and incompetence of official duty; conduct
grossly prejudicial to the best interest of the service; and directly and indirectly having financial and material
interest in an official transaction considering his undue interest in the service of the order of release and
actual release of Melchor Lagua.

Complainant called the respondent to her office. When confronted, the respondent denied extorting or
receiving money for Lagua’s release, or in any other case. He, however, admitted serving the copies of
resolution and order of release intended for Lagua and his counsel to Art Baluran. Complainant then lodged
the complaint against the respondent in a letter dated November 14, 2003.

The weight of respondent’s guilt was primarily based on his admission of the text messages when the same
were presented during the hearing.

Hence, this petition.

Issue:

Whether or not the admission of txt messages as evidence constitutes a violation of right to privacy of the
accused?

Ruling:

No. The respondent’s claim that the admission of the text messages as evidence against him constitutes a
violation of his right to privacy is unavailing. Text messages have been classified as “ephemeral electronic
communication” under Section 1(k), Rule 2 of the Rules on Electronic Evidence, and “shall be proven by the
testimony of a person who was a party to the same or has personal knowledge thereof. “ Any question as to
the admissibility of such messages is now moot and academic, as the respondent himself, as well as his
counsel, already admitted that he was the sender of the first three messages on Atty. Madarang’s cell phone.
This was also the ruling of the Court in the recent case of Zaldy Nuez v. Elvira Cruz –Apao. In that case, the
Court, in finding the respondent therein guilty of dishonesty and grave misconduct, considered text messages
addressed to the complainant asking for a million pesos in exchange for a favorable decision in case pending
before the CA. The Court had the occasion to state:

…The text messages were properly admitted by the Committee since the same are now covered by Section
1(k), Rule 2 of the Rules on Electronic Evidence, which provides:

“Ephemeral electronic communication” refers to telephone conversation, text messages…and other electronic
forms of communication the evidence of which is not recorded or retained”