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Jessie Flores v.

People (new case)


A. Facts
• Petitioner PO2 Flores was arrested via an entrapment operation pursuant to a
complaint by Roderick France
- the taxi driven by France figured in a vehicular accident with a passenger
jeepney
- accused confiscated France’s driver’s license and then demanded from him the
amount of P2,000 as a condition for the return of such
• France went to the headquarters of PAOCTF in Camp Crame to file a complaint
against PO2 Flores
- 4 P500-peso bills were dusted with ultraviolet fluorescent powder
• Headed by PO2 Ilao, the PAOCTF team proceeded to the Police Station of PO2 Flores
together with France for the entrapment operation
- PO2 Flores opened his drawer and asked France to drop the money inside —
Flores counted the money using his left hand
• As soon as France asked for the return of his Driver’s License, the PAOCTF team went
inside the Station
- they arrested Flores and confiscated the things inside his drawer including the
marked money
• PO2 Flores was turned over for ultraviolet examination

B. Evidence offered by proponent (prosecution)


• Photocopies of the Complaint Sheet and Karagdagang Sinumpaang Salaysay executed
by France
• Photocopies of the marked money used in the entrapment operation
• Laboratory report of the forensic chemist which found traces of ultraviolet powder on
the index finger of the accused

C. Ground/s relied by adverse party to object to the admissibility of the evidence


• Petitioner avers that the RTC incorrectly convicted him by giving weight on the pieces
of evidence in violation of the Best Evidence Rule
- prosecution’s exhibits were mere photocopies
- original pieces of the marked money were never presented
• Petitioner also assails the failure of the prosecution to present the forensic chemist
who made the laboratory report

D. Relevant issue/s
1. WON the non-presentation of the original pieces of the marked money is fatal to the
cause of the prosecution — NO
2. WON the presence of ultraviolet fluorescent powder is an indispensable evidence to
prove receipt of the marked money

E. Ruling of the SC
1. The BER applies only when the contents of the document are the subject of the
inquiry. Where the issue is only as to WON such document was actually executed,
exists, or in the circumstances relevant to or surrounding its execution, the BER does not
apply and testimonial evidence is admissible.
In this case, the marked money was presented by the prosecution solely for the purpose
of establishing its existence and not its contents. Therefore, other substitute evidence,
like a xerox copy thereof, is admissible without the need of accounting for the original.

2. There is no rule requiring that the police officers must apply fluorescent powder to
the buy-bust money to prove the commission of the offense. Also, the courts did not
give weight on the laboratory report as it is merely corroborative evidence which is not
material enough to alter the judgment in either way. The CA instead stressed on the
straightforward, candid and categorical testimony of France, corroborated by PO2 Ilao,
as to how petitioner took the money of France in exchange for the latter's driver's
license.

F. Ruling of the Court in relation to the proposed amendments


The same rule is provided for under the proposed amendments that the BER applies
only when the contents of the document are the subject of the inquiry.

However, even if the contents of the document are the subject of the inquiry, the xerox
copy thereof is now considered as an original. The xerox falls under the definition of a
duplicate which is a counterpart produced by the same impression as the original.
Under the proposed amendments, a duplicate is admissible to the same extent as the
original, as a general rule.

Also, WON under the existing Rules of under the proposed amendments, the same Rule
applies that laboratory reports of forensic chemists fall as entries in official records
because it was made by a public officer in the performance of his duty. As such, there is
no need to present the forensic chemist in court as the laboratory report is prima facie
evidence of the facts therein stated.