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Best Evidence Rule


1. BEST EVIDENCE RULE

Sec. 3. Original document must be produced; exceptions. — When the subject of inquiry is the contents of a document, no evidence shall be admissible other than the original document itself, except in the following cases:

(a) When the original has been lost or destroyed, or cannot be produced in court, without bad faith on the part of the offeror;

(b) When the original is in the custody or under the control of the party against whom the evidence is offered, and the latter fails to produce it after reasonable notice;

(c) When the original consists of numerous accounts or other documents which cannot be examined in court without great loss of time and the fact sought to be established from them is only the general result of the whole; and

(d) When the original is a public record in the custody of a public officer or is recorded in a public office. (2a)

Sec. 4 Original of document. —

(a) The original of the document is one the contents of which are the subject of inquiry.

(b) When a document is in two or more copies executed at or about the same time, with identical contents, all such copies are equally regarded as originals.

(c) When an entry is repeated in the regular course of business, one being copied from another at or near the time of the transaction, all the entries are likewise equally regarded as originals. (3a) (Rule 130, Rules of Court)

What is the meaning of the Best Evidence Rule?

● When the subject of inquiry is the contents of a document, no evidence shall be admissible other than the original document itself. (Sec. 3, Rule 130)

● Under the best evidence rule, the original document must be produced whenever its contents are the subject of inquiry. (Country Bankers Insurance Corp. vs. Lagman, G.R. No. 165487, July 13, 2011)


When does the Best Evidence Rule apply?

● The best evidence rule applies only when the contents of the document are the subject of inquiry. Where the issue is only as to whether or not such document was actually executed, or exists, or in the circumstances relevant to or surrounding its execution, the best evidence rule does not apply and testimonial evidence is admissible. (People v Tandoy, G.R. No. 80505, December 4, 1990)

● The Best Evidence Rule applies only when the terms of a writing are in issue. When the evidence sought to be introduced concerns external facts, such as the existence, execution or delivery of the writing, without reference to its terms, the Best Evidence Rule cannot be invoked. In such a case, secondary evidence may be admitted even without accounting for the original. (Prodon vs. Heirs of Alvarez, G.R. No. 170604, September 2, 2013)

● Affidavits and depositions are considered as not being the best evidence, hence not admissible if the affiants or deponents are available as witnesses. [Regalado citing 4 Martin, op cit., p. 82]


When is the purpose of the rule?

The primary purpose of the Best Evidence Rule is to ensure that the exact contents of a writing are brought before the court, considering that (a) the precision in presenting to the court the exact words of the writing is of more than average importance, particularly as respects operative or dispositive instruments, such as deeds, wills and contracts, because a slight variation in words may mean a great difference in rights; (b) there is a substantial hazard of inaccuracy in the human process of making a copy by handwriting or typewriting; and (c) as respects oral testimony purporting to give from memory the terms of a writing, there is a special risk of error, greater than in the case of attempts at describing other situations generally. The rule further acts as an insurance against fraud. Verily, if a party is in the possession of the best 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 that its production would expose and defeat. Lastly, the rule protects against misleading inferences resulting from the intentional or unintentional introduction of selected portions of a larger set of writings. (Prodon vs. Heirs of Alvarez)


When is a document considered original?

(a) The original of the document is one the contents of which are the subject of inquiry.

(b) When a document is in two or more copies executed at or about the same time, with identical contents, all such copies are equally regarded as originals.

(c) When an entry is repeated in the regular course of business, one being copied from another at or near the time of the transaction, all the entries are likewise equally regarded as originals. (Sec. 4, Rule 130)


When may secondary evidence be introduced? What are the exceptions to the rule that only original documents may be admissible?

1.  When the original has been lost or destroyed or cannot be produced in court, without bad faith on the part of the offeror;

2.  When the original is in the custody or control of the party against whom it is offered, and the latter fails to produce it after reasonable notice;

3.  When the original is a public record in the custody of a public officer or is recorded in a public office

4.  When the original consists of numerous accounts or cannot be examined by the court without great loss of time and the fact sought to be established from them is only the general result of the whole.


What must the offeror prove before he could be allowed to adduce secondary evidence to prove the contents of the original?

Before a party is allowed to adduce secondary evidence to prove the contents of the original, the offeror must prove the following:

(1) the existence or due execution of the original;

(2) the loss and destruction of the original or the reason for its non-production in court; and

(3) the absence of bad faith on the part of the offeror to which the unavailability of the original can be attributed.

The correct order of proof is as follows: existence, execution, loss, and contents. (Country Bankers Insurance Corp. vs. Lagman)


Cases:
People v Tandoy
G.R. No. 80505, December 4, 1990

The best evidence rule applies only when the contents of the document are the subject of inquiry. Where the issue is only as to whether or not such document was actually executed, or exists, or in the circumstances relevant to or surrounding its execution, the best evidence rule does not apply and testimonial evidence is admissible. Since the aforesaid marked money was presented by the prosecution solely for the purpose of establishing its existence and not its contents, other substitutionary evidence, like a xerox copy thereof, is therefore admissible without the need of accounting for the original.

Evidence Rule 130

Marital Disqualification Rule


Sec. 22Disqualification by reason of marriage. — 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. . (Rule 130, Rules of Court)

During the marriage may the husband or the wife testify for or against the other without the consent of the affected spouse?


As a general rule, the spouses, during the marriage, may not testify for or against the other without the consent of the affected spouse.


What is the reason for the rule?

1.  There is identity of interests between husband and wife;

2.   If one were to testify for or against the other, there is consequent danger of perjury;

3.  The policy of the law is to guard the security and confidences of private life, even at the risk of an occasional failure of justice, and to prevent domestic disunion and unhappiness; and

4.  Where there is want of domestic tranquility there is danger of punishing one spouse through the hostile testimony of the other. (Alvarez vs. Ramirez, G.R. No. 143439, October 14, 2005)


● The rule forbidding one spouse to testify for or against the other is based on principles which are deemed important to preserve the marriage relation as one of full confidence and affection, and that this is regarded as more important to the public welfare than that the exigencies of the lawsuits should authorize domestic peace to be disregarded for the sake of ferreting out facts within the knowledge of strangers.


What are the exceptions to the rule?

Exceptions:

1.   in a civil case by one against the other, or
2.   in a criminal case for a crime committed by one against
       a.   the other or
       b.   the other’s direct descendants or ascendants


What are the reason for the exception?

The reason for the exception is that the identity of the interest of person disappears and the consequent danger of perjury based on that identity is non-existent. And in such a situation, the security and confidence of private life which the law aims at protecting will be nothing but ideals which, through their absence, merely leave a void in the unhappy home.


What are the requisites for the marital disqualification rule?

1.  Marriage is valid and existing as of the time of the offer of testimony.
2.  The other spouse is a party to the action.
3.  No consent from the spouse-litigant
4.  Not a civil case by one against the other, or a criminal case for a crime committed by one against the other or the latter's direct descendants or ascendants.


May objections to the competency of a husband and wife to testify against the other may be waived? 

Objections to the competency of a husband and wife to testify in a criminal prosecution against the other may be waived as in the case of other witnesses generally. (People vs. Pasensoy, G. R. No. 140634. September 12, 2002)


When should objection to the competency of the spouse must be made?

The objection to the competency of the spouse must be made when he or she is first offered as a witness. (People vs. Pasensoy)


Marital Disqualification Rule vs. Marital Privilege Rule

In business records, the person making the entry must be deceased or unable to testify. In official records, the person making the entry need not be deceased or unable to testify (Rule 130, Sec. 44). Both official and business records are only prima facie evidence.



Cases:


People v. CastaƱeda 
88 SCRA 562 (1979) 

The wife can testify against the husband in a case for falsification of the wife’s signature in public documents to sell share of wife in conjugal property because it is a crime committed by the husband against the wife.


People v. Francisco
78 Phil. 694 (1947) 

Where the accused husband in his testimony imputed the commission of the crime to his wife, he is deemed to have waived his objection to the latter’s testimony in rebuttal.


Alvarez vs. Ramirez
G.R. No. 143439, October 14, 2005

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 alleged intent 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 impairing the conjugal relation. It underscored the fact that 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. The Supreme Court has held that in such a case, identity is non-existent. In such a situation, the security and confidences 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. Thus, there is no longer any reason to apply the Marital Disqualification Rule.

Evidence Rule 130

Confession


Sec. 33Confession. — The declaration of an accused acknowledging his guilt of the offense charged, or of any offense necessarily included therein, may be given in evidence against him. (Rule 130, Rules of Court)

What is confession?

● Confession is the declaration of an accused acknowledging his guilt of the offense charged, or of any offense necessarily included therein.

● Confession is a categorical acknowledgement of guilt made by an accused in a criminal case, without any exculpatory statement or explanation. If there is an allegation of a justification for the act, it is merely an admission.


How confession may be made?

● Confession can be made orally or in writing. If it is in writing, it is NOT required to be under oath.

● A confession is not required to be in any particular form. It may be oral or written, formal or informal in character. It may be recorded on video tape, sound motion pictures, or tape. However, while not required to be in writing to be admissible in evidence, it is advisable, if not otherwise recorded by video tape or other means, to reduce the confession to writing. This adds weight to the confession and helps convince the court that it was freely and voluntarily made. If possible the confession, after being reduced to writing, should be read to the defendant, have it read by defendant, have him sign it, and have it attested by witnesses. (People vs. Satorre, G.R. No. 133858. August 12, 2003)


When is the rule applicable?

This rule is applicable only in criminal cases.


Confession of judgment – made in a civil case where the party expressly admits his liability


Judicial confession vs. Extrajudicial confession

1.  Judicial confession is made before a court in which the case is pending and in the course of legal proceedings therein. Extrajudicial confession is made in any other place or occasion.

2.  Judicial confession, by itself, can sustain a conviction. Extrajudicial confession cannot sustain a conviction unless corroborated by evidence of the corpus delicti.

3. A judicial confession is admissible against the declarants co-accused since the latter are afforded opportunity to cross-examine the former. An extrajudicial confession may be given in evidence against the confessant but not against his co-accused as they are deprived of the opportunity to cross-examine him. 


Exceptions to the rule that confessions of an accused may be given in evidence against him and incompetent against his co-accused:

a) When several accused are tried together, confession made by one of them during the trial implicating the others is evidence against the latter (People vs. Impit Gumaling, 61 Phil. 165);

It is true that under the rule, statements made by a conspirator against a co-conspirator are admissible only when made during the existence of the conspiracy. However, as the Court ruled in People v. Buntag, if the declarant repeats the statement in court, his extrajudicial confession becomes a judicial admission, making the testimony admissible as to both conspirators. (People vs. Janjalani, G.R. No. 188314, January 10, 2011)

b) When one of the defendants is discharged from the information and testifies as a witness for the prosecution, the confession made in the course of his testimony is admissible against his co-defendants, if corroborated by indisputable proof (People vs. Bautista,40 Phil. 389);

c) If a defendant after having been apprised of the confession of his co-defendant ratifies or confirms said confession, the same is admissible against him (People vs. Orenciada and Cenita,47 Phil. 970);

d) Interlocking confessions – Where several extra-judicial confession had been made by several persons charged with an offense and there could have been no collusion with reference to said several confessions, the fact that the statements therein are in all material respects identical, is confirmatory of the confession of the co-defendant, and is admissible against his other co-defendants (People vs. Badilla, 48 Phil. 718);

e) A statement made by one defendant after his arrest, in the presence of his co-defendant, confessing his guilt and implicating his co-defendant who failed to contradict or deny it, is admissible against his codefendant (22 CJS 1441);

f) When the confession is of a conspirator and made after conspiracy in furtherance of its object, the same is admissible against his co-conspirator; and

g) The confession of one conspirator made after the termination of a conspiracy is admissible against his co-conspirator if made in his presence and assented to by him, or admitted its truth or failed to contradict or deny it (Wharton on Evidence).


Cases:
People v. Yip Wai Ming(1996)

Any confession, including a re-enactment, without admonition of the right to silence and to counsel,
and without counsel chosen by the accused is inadmissible in evidence.

People v. Sarmiento, 147 SCRA 252 (1987) 

A confession, to be admissible, must have been executed in the presence of counsel. Waiver of right to counsel must be with the assistance of counsel.


People v. Marra, 236 SCRA 565 (1994) 

Where the confession was made even before the accused was under custodial investigation, it is admissible even if he was not assisted by counsel. Custodial investigation involves any questioning initiated by law enforcement officers after a person has been taken into custody or otherwise deprived of his freedom of action in any significant way. Only after the investigation ceases to be a general inquiry into an unsolved crime and begins to focus on a particular suspect, the suspect is taken into custody, and the police carries out a process of interrogations that lends itself to eliciting incriminating statements that the accused is said to be under custodial investigation.


People v. Sumayo, 70 SCRA 488 (1976) 

Where the extra-judicial confessions of the accused are consistent in many material details and manifest amazing consistency and accuracy in the narration of events and of facts which could not have been known to the police investigators if the same were not voluntarily given by the accused, such statements are admissible against the accused on the doctrine of interlocking confessions.

Evidence Rule 130

Physician-Patient Privilege Communication Rule


Sec. 24. Disqualification by reason of privileged communication. — The following persons cannot testify as to matters learned in confidence in the following cases:
x x x
(c) 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 professional capacity, which information was necessary to enable him to act in capacity, and which would blacken the reputation of the patient; (Rule 130, Rules of Court)

What does the physician-patient privileged communication rule mean? 

The physician-patient privileged communication rule essentially means that a physician who gets information while professionally attending a patient cannot in a civil case be examined without the patient’s consent as to any facts which would blacken the latter’s reputation. (Chan vs. Chan, G.R. No. 179786, July 24, 2013)


What is the rationale for the rule?

● This rule is intended to encourage the patient to open up to the physician, relate to him the history of his ailment, and give him access to his body, enabling the physician to make a correct diagnosis of that ailment and provide the appropriate cure. Any fear that a physician could be compelled in the future to come to court and narrate all that had transpired between him and the patient might prompt the latter to clam up, thus putting his own health at  great risk. (Chan vs. Chan)

●This rule on the physician-patient privilege is intended to facilitate and make safe full and confidential disclosure by the patient to the physician of all facts, circumstances and symptoms, untrammeled by apprehension of their subsequent and enforced disclosure and publication on the witness stand, to the end that the physician may form a correct opinion, and be enabled safely and efficaciously to treat his patient. It rests in public policy and is for the general interest of the community. (Lim vs. CA)


What requisites must concur in order that the privilege may be successfully claimed?

In order that the privilege may be successfully claimed, the following requisites must concur:

1.  the privilege is claimed in a civil case;

2. the person against whom the privilege is claimed is one duly authorized to practice medicine, surgery or obstetrics;

3. such person acquired the information while he was attending to the patient in his professional capacity;

4.  the information was necessary to enable him to act in that capacity; and

5. the information was confidential, and, if disclosed, would blacken the reputation of the patient. (Lim vs. CA, G.R. No. 91114. September 25, 1992)


Is the physician-patient privilege rule violated by permitting a physician to give expert opinion testimony in response to a strictly hypothetical question in a lawsuit involving the physical mental condition of a patient whom he has attended professionally?

The statutory physician-patient privilege, though duly claimed, is not violated by permitting a physician to give expert opinion testimony in response to a strictly hypothetical question in a lawsuit involving the physical mental condition of a patient whom he has attended professionally, where his opinion is based strictly upon the hypothetical facts stated, excluding and disregarding any personal professional knowledge he may have concerning such patient. But in order to avoid the bar of the physician-patient privilege where it is asserted in such a case, the physician must base his opinion solely upon the facts hypothesized in the question, excluding from consideration his personal knowledge of the patient acquired through the physician and patient relationship. If he cannot or does not exclude from consideration his personal professional knowledge of the patient’s condition he should not be permitted to testify as to his expert opinion. (Lim vs. CA)


Cases:

Lim vs CA
G.R. No. 91114. September 25, 1992

Facts: Juan filed a petition for annulment of his marriage with Nelly on the ground that the latter has been allegedly suffering from a mental illness called schizophrenia "before, during and after the marriage and until the present." During trial, Juan's counsel announced that he would present as his next witness Dr. Lydia Acampado, a Doctor of Medicine who specializes in Psychiatry. Said counsel forthwith orally applied for the issuance of a subpoena ad testificandum. Nelly's counsel opposed the motion on the ground that the testimony sought to be elicited from the witness is privileged since the latter had examined the Nelly in a professional capacity and had diagnosed her to be suffering from schizophrenia. Juan's counsel contended, however, that Dr. Acampado would be presented as an expert witness and would not testify on any information acquired while attending to Nelly in a professional capacity. The trial court denied the motion and allowed the witness to testify. Dr. Acampado thus took the witness stand, was qualified as an expert witness and was asked hypothetical questions related to her field of expertise. She neither revealed the illness she examined and treated the Nelly for nor disclosed the results of her examination and the medicines she had prescribed.

Issue: Was the information given by the physician in her testimony in open court a privileged communication?

Held: No. The physician may be considered to be acting in his professional capacity when he attends to the patient for curative, preventive, or palliative treatment. Thus, only disclosures which would have been made to the physician to enable him "safely and efficaciously to treat his patient" are covered by the privilege. It is to be emphasized that "it is the tenor only of the communication that is privileged. The mere fact of making a communication, as well as the date of a consultation and the number of consultations, are therefore not privileged from disclosure, so long as the subject communicated is not stated." One who claims this privilege must prove the presence of these aforementioned requisites.

Petitioner failed to discharge that burden. In the first place, Dr. Acampado was presented and qualified as an expert witness. She did not disclose anything obtained in the course of her examination, interview and treatment of the petitioner; moreover, the facts and conditions alleged in the hypothetical problem did not refer to and had no bearing on whatever information or findings the doctor obtained while attending to the patient. There is, as well, no showing that Dr. Acampado’s answers to the questions propounded to her relating to the hypothetical problem were influenced by the information obtained from the petitioner. Otherwise stated, her expert opinion excluded whatever information or knowledge she had about the petitioner which was acquired by reason of the physician-patient relationship existing between them. As an expert witness, her testimony before the trial court cannot then be excluded.


Krohn vs. CA
G.R. No. 108854 June 14, 1994

Facts: Edgar filed a petition for the annulment of his marriage with Ma. Paz before the trial court.  In his petition, he cited the Confidential Psychiatric Evaluation Report which Ma. Paz merely denied in her Answer as "either unfounded or irrelevant."

At the hearing, Edgar took the witness stand and tried to testify on the contents of the Confidential Psychiatric Evaluation Report. This was objected to on the ground that it violated the rule on privileged communication between physician and patient. Edgar contends that the prohibition applies only to a physician and is not applicable to the case at bar where the person sought to be barred from testifying on the privileged communication is the husband and not the physician of the petitioner.

Held: In the instant case, the person against whom the privilege is claimed is not one duly authorized to practice medicine, surgery or obstetrics. He is simply the patient's husband who wishes to testify on a document executed by medical practitioners. Plainly and clearly, this does not fall within the claimed prohibition. Neither can his testimony be considered a circumvention of the prohibition because his testimony cannot have the force and effect of the testimony of the physician who examined the patient and executed the report.

Counsel for petitioner indulged heavily in objecting to the testimony of private respondent on the ground that it was privileged. He invoked the rule on privileged communications but never questioned the testimony as hearsay. It was a fatal mistake. For, in failing to object to the testimony on the ground that it was hearsay, counsel waived his right to make such objection and, consequently, the evidence offered may be admitted.


Chan vs. Chan
G.R. No. 179786, July 24, 2013

Facts: Josielenefiled a petition for the declaration of nullity of her marriage to respondent Johnny. During the pre-trial conference, Josielene pre-marked the Philhealth Claim Form 1 that Johnny attached to his answer as proof that he was forcibly confined at the rehabilitation unit of a hospital. The form carried a physician’s handwritten note that Johnny suffered from “methamphetamine and alcohol abuse.” Following up on this point, Josielene filed with the RTC a request for the issuance of a subpoena duces tecum addressed to Medical City, covering Johnny’s medical records when he was there confined. Johnny opposed the motion, arguing that the medical records were covered by physician-patient privilege.

Held: The case presents a procedural issue, given that the time to object to the admission of evidence, such as the hospital records, would be at the time they are offered. The offer could be made part of the physician’s testimony or as independent evidence that he had made entries in those records that concern the patient’s health problems.

Since the offer of evidence is made at the trial, Josielene’s request for subpoena duces tecum is premature. She will have to wait for trial to begin before making a request for the issuance of a subpoena duces tecum covering Johnny’s hospital records. It is when those records are produced for examination at the trial, that Johnny may opt to object, not just to their admission in evidence, but more so to their disclosure.

It is of course possible to treat Josielene’s motion for the issuance of a subpoena duces tecum covering the hospital records as a motion for production of documents, a discovery procedure available to a litigant prior to trial. Section 1, Rule 27 of the Rules of Civil Procedure provides: x x x

But the above right to compel the production of documents has a limitation: the documents to be disclosed are “not privileged.”

Josielene of course claims that the hospital records subject of this case are not privileged since it is the “testimonial” evidence of the physician that may be regarded as privileged. Section 24(c) of Rule 130 states that the physician “cannot in a civil case, without the consent of the patient, be examined” regarding their professional conversation. The privilege, says Josielene, does not cover the hospital records, but only the examination of the physician at the trial.

 To allow, however, the disclosure during discovery procedure of the hospital records—the results of tests that the physician ordered, the diagnosis of the patient’s illness, and the advice or treatment he gave him— would be to allow access to evidence that is inadmissible without the patient’s consent. Physician memorializes all these information in the patient’s records. Disclosing them would be the equivalent of compelling the physician to testify on privileged matters he gained while dealing with the patient, without the latter’s prior consent.

Evidence Rule 130

Evidence: Rule 130 - Rules of Admissibility


Rule 130
Rules of Admissibility


A. OBJECT (REAL) EVIDENCE

Sec. 1. Object as evidence. — Objects as evidence are those addressed to the senses of the court. When an object is relevant to the fact in issue, it may be exhibited to, examined or viewed by the court. (1a)


B. DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE

Sec. 2. Documentary evidence. — Documents as evidence consist of writing or any material containing letters, words, numbers, figures, symbols or other modes of written expression offered as proof of their contents. (n)



Sec. 3. Original document must be produced; exceptions. — When the subject of inquiry is the contents of a document, no evidence shall be admissible other than the original document itself, except in the following cases:

(a) When the original has been lost or destroyed, or cannot be produced in court, without bad faith on the part of the offeror;

(b) When the original is in the custody or under the control of the party against whom the evidence is offered, and the latter fails to produce it after reasonable notice;

(c) When the original consists of numerous accounts or other documents which cannot be examined in court without great loss of time and the fact sought to be established from them is only the general result of the whole; and

(d) When the original is a public record in the custody of a public officer or is recorded in a public office. (2a)

Sec. 4. Original of document. —


(a) The original of the document is one the contents of which are the subject of inquiry.

(b) When a document is in two or more copies executed at or about the same time, with identical contents, all such copies are equally regarded as originals.

(c) When an entry is repeated in the regular course of business, one being copied from another at or near the time of the transaction, all the entries are likewise equally regarded as originals. (3a)

2. SECONDARY EVIDENCE

Sec. 5. When original document is unavailable. — When the original document has been lost or destroyed, or cannot be produced in court, the offeror, upon proof of its execution or existence and the cause of its unavailability without bad faith on his part, may prove its contents by a copy, or by a recital of its contents in some authentic document, or by the testimony of witnesses in the order stated. (4a)

Sec. 6. When original document is in adverse party's custody or control. — If the document is in the custody or under the control of adverse party, he must have reasonable notice to produce it. If after such notice and after satisfactory proof of its existence, he fails to produce the document, secondary evidence may be presented as in the case of its loss. (5a)

Sec. 7. Evidence admissible when original document is a public record. — When the original of document is in the custody of public officer or is recorded in a public office, its contents may be proved by a certified copy issued by the public officer in custody thereof. (2a)

Sec. 8. Party who calls for document not bound to offer it. — A party who calls for the production of a document and inspects the same is not obliged to offer it as evidence. (6a)


3. PAROL EVIDENCE RULE

Sec. 9. Evidence of written agreements. — When the terms of an agreement have been reduced to writing, it is considered as containing all the terms agreed upon and there can be, between the parties and their successors in interest, no evidence of such terms other than the contents of the written agreement.

However, a party may present evidence to modify, explain or add to the terms of written agreement if he puts in issue in his pleading:


(a) An intrinsic ambiguity, mistake or imperfection in the written agreement;

(b) The failure of the written agreement to express the true intent and agreement of the parties thereto;

(c) The validity of the written agreement; or

(d) The existence of other terms agreed to by the parties or their successors in interest after the execution of the written agreement.

The term "agreement" includes wills. (7a)

4. INTERPRETATION OF DOCUMENTS

Sec. 10. Interpretation of a writing according to its legal meaning. — The language of a writing is to be interpreted according to the legal meaning it bears in the place of its execution, unless the parties intended otherwise. (8)

Sec. 11. Instrument construed so as to give effect to all provisions. — In the construction of an instrument, where there are several provisions or particulars, such a construction is, if possible, to be adopted as will give effect to all. (9)

Sec. 12. Interpretation according to intention; general and particular provisions. — In the construction of an instrument, the intention of the parties is to be pursued; and when a general and a particular provision are inconsistent, the latter is paramount to the former. So a particular intent will control a general one that is inconsistent with it. (10)

Sec. 13. Interpretation according to circumstances. — For the proper construction of an instrument, the circumstances under which it was made, including the situation of the subject thereof and of the parties to it, may be shown, so that the judge may be placed in the position of those who language he is to interpret. (11)

Sec. 14. Peculiar signification of terms. — The terms of a writing are presumed to have been used in their primary and general acceptation, but evidence is admissible to show that they have a local, technical, or otherwise peculiar signification, and were so used and understood in the particular instance, in which case the agreement must be construed accordingly. (12)

Sec. 15. Written words control printed. — When an instrument consists partly of written words and partly of a printed form, and the two are inconsistent, the former controls the latter. (13)

Sec. 16. Experts and interpreters to be used in explaining certain writings. — When the characters in which an instrument is written are difficult to be deciphered, or the language is not understood by the court, the evidence of persons skilled in deciphering the characters, or who understand the language, is admissible to declare the characters or the meaning of the language. (14)

Sec. 17. Of Two constructions, which preferred. — When the terms of an agreement have been intended in a different sense by the different parties to it, that sense is to prevail against either party in which he supposed the other understood it, and when different constructions of a provision are otherwise equally proper, that is to be taken which is the most favorable to the party in whose favor the provision was made. (15)

Sec. 18. Construction in favor of natural right. — When an instrument is equally susceptible of two interpretations, one in favor of natural right and the other against it, the former is to be adopted. (16)

Sec. 19. Interpretation according to usage. —An instrument may be construed according to usage, in order to determine its true character. (17)


C. TESTIMONIAL EVIDENCE

1. QUALIFICATION OF WITNESSES

Sec. 20. Witnesses; their qualifications. — Except as provided in the next succeeding section, all persons who can perceive, and perceiving, can make their known 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 ground for disqualification. (18a)

Sec. 21. Disqualification by reason of mental incapacity or immaturity. — The following persons cannot be witnesses:


(a) Those whose mental condition, at the time of their production for examination, is such that they are incapable of intelligently making known their perception to others;

(b) Children whose mental maturity is such as to render them incapable of perceiving the facts respecting which they are examined and of relating them truthfully. (19a)

Sec. 22. Disqualification by reason of marriage. — 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. (20a)

Sec. 23. Disqualification by reason of death or insanity of adverse party. — Parties or assignor of parties to a case, or persons in whose behalf a case is prosecuted, against an executor or administrator or other representative of a deceased person, or against a person of unsound mind, upon a claim or demand against the estate of such deceased person or against such person of unsound mind, cannot testify as to any matter of fact occurring before the death of such deceased person or before such person became of unsound mind. (20a)

Sec. 24. Disqualification by reason of privileged communication. — The following persons cannot testify as to matters learned in confidence in the following cases:

(a) The husband or the wife, during or after the marriage, 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;

(b) 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 an attorney's secretary, stenographer, or clerk be examined, without the consent of the client and his employer, concerning any fact the knowledge of which has been acquired in such capacity;

(c) 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 professional capacity, which information was necessary to enable him to act in capacity, and which would blacken the reputation of the patient;

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

(e) 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. (21a)


2. TESTIMONIAL PRIVILEGE

Sec. 25. Parental and filial privilege. — No person may be compelled to testify against his parents, other direct ascendants, children or other direct descendants. (20a)


3. ADMISSIONS AND CONFESSIONS

Sec. 26 . Admission of a party. — The act, declaration or omission of a party as to a relevant fact may be given in evidence against him. (22)

Sec. 27. Offer of compromise not admissible. — In civil cases, an offer of compromise is not an admission of any liability, and is not admissible in evidence against the offeror.

In criminal cases, except those involving quasi-offenses (criminal negligence) or those allowed by law to be compromised, an offer of compromised by the accused may be received in evidence as an implied admission of guilt.

A plea of guilty later withdrawn, or an unaccepted offer of a plea of guilty to lesser offense, is not admissible in evidence against the accused who made the plea or offer.

An offer to pay or the payment of medical, hospital or other expenses occasioned by an injury is not admissible in evidence as proof of civil or criminal liability for the injury. (24a)

Sec. 28. Admission by third party. — The rights of a party cannot be prejudiced by an act, declaration, or omission of another, except as hereinafter provided. (25a)

Sec. 29. Admission by co-partner or agent. — The act or declaration of a partner or agent of the party within the scope of his authority and during the existence of the partnership or agency, may be given in evidence against such party after the partnership or agency is shown by evidence other than such act or declaration. The same rule applies to the act or declaration of a joint owner, joint debtor, or other person jointly interested with the party. (26a)

Sec. 30. Admission by conspirator. — The act or declaration of a conspirator relating to the conspiracy and during its existence, may be given in evidence against the co-conspirator after the conspiracy is shown by evidence other than such act of declaration. (27)

Sec. 31. Admission by privies. — Where one derives title to property from another, the act, declaration, or omission of the latter, while holding the title, in relation to the property, is evidence against the former. (28)

Sec. 32. Admission by silence. — An act or declaration made in the presence and within the hearing or observation of a party who does or says nothing when the act or declaration is such as naturally to call for action or comment if not true, and when proper and possible for him to do so, may be given in evidence against him. (23a)

Sec. 33. Confession. — The declaration of an accused acknowledging his guilt of the offense charged, or of any offense necessarily included therein, may be given in evidence against him. (29a)


4. PREVIOUS CONDUCT AS EVIDENCE

Sec. 34. Similar acts as evidence. — Evidence that one did or did not do a certain thing at one time is not admissible to prove that he did or did not do the same or similar thing at another time; but it may be received to prove a specific intent or knowledge; identity, plan, system, scheme, habit, custom or usage, and the like. (48a)

Sec. 35. Unaccepted offer. — An offer in writing to pay a particular sum of money or to deliver a written instrument or specific personal property is, if rejected without valid cause, equivalent to the actual production and tender of the money, instrument, or property. (49a)


5. TESTIMONIAL KNOWLEDGE

Sec. 36. Testimony generally confined to personal knowledge; hearsay excluded. — A witness can testify only to those facts which he knows of his personal knowledge; that is, which are derived from his own perception, except as otherwise provided in these rules. (30a)


6. EXCEPTIONS TO THE HEARSAY RULE

Sec. 37. Dying declaration. — The declaration of a dying person, made under the consciousness of an impending death, may be received in any case wherein his death is the subject of inquiry, as evidence of the cause and surrounding circumstances of such death. (31a)

Sec. 38. Declaration against interest. — The declaration made by a person deceased, or unable to testify, against the interest of the declarant, if the fact is asserted in the declaration was at the time it was made so far contrary to declarant's own interest, that a reasonable man in his position would not have made the declaration unless he believed it to be true, may be received in evidence against himself or his successors in interest and against third persons. (32a)

Sec. 39. Act or declaration about pedigree. — The act or declaration of a person deceased, or unable to testify, in respect to the pedigree of another person related to him by birth or marriage, may be received in evidence where it occurred before the controversy, and the relationship between the two persons is shown by evidence other than such act or declaration. The word "pedigree" includes relationship, family genealogy, birth, marriage, death, the dates when and the places where these fast occurred, and the names of the relatives. It embraces also facts of family history intimately connected with pedigree. (33a)

Sec. 40. Family reputation or tradition regarding pedigree. — The reputation or tradition existing in a family previous to the controversy, in respect to the pedigree of any one of its members, may be received in evidence if the witness testifying thereon be also a member of the family, either by consanguinity or affinity. Entries in family bibles or other family books or charts, engravings on rings, family portraits and the like, may be received as evidence of pedigree. (34a)

Sec. 41. Common reputation. — Common reputation existing previous to the controversy, respecting facts of public or general interest more than thirty years old, or respecting marriage or moral character, may be given in evidence. Monuments and inscriptions in public places may be received as evidence of common reputation. (35)

Sec. 42. Part of res gestae. — Statements made by a person while a starting occurrence is taking place or immediately prior or subsequent thereto with respect to the circumstances thereof, may be given in evidence as part of res gestae. So, also, statements accompanying an equivocal act material to the issue, and giving it a legal significance, may be received as part of the res gestae. (36a)

Sec. 43. Entries in the course of business. — Entries made at, or near the time of transactions to which they refer, by a person deceased, or unable to testify, who was in a position to know the facts therein stated, may be received as prima facie evidence, if such person made the entries in his professional capacity or in the performance of duty and in the ordinary or regular course of business or duty. (37a)

Sec. 44. Entries in official records. — Entries in official records made in the performance of his duty by a public officer of the Philippines, or by a person in the performance of a duty specially enjoined by law, are prima facie evidence of the facts therein stated. (38)

Sec. 45. Commercial lists and the like. — Evidence of statements of matters of interest to persons engaged in an occupation contained in a list, register, periodical, or other published compilation is admissible as tending to prove the truth of any relevant matter so stated if that compilation is published for use by persons engaged in that occupation and is generally used and relied upon by them therein. (39)

Sec. 46. Learned treatises. — A published treatise, periodical or pamphlet on a subject of history, law, science, or art is admissible as tending to prove the truth of a matter stated therein if the court takes judicial notice, or a witness expert in the subject testifies, that the writer of the statement in the treatise, periodical or pamphlet is recognized in his profession or calling as expert in the subject. (40a)

Sec. 47. Testimony or deposition at a former proceeding. — The testimony or deposition of a witness deceased or unable to testify, given in a former case or proceeding, judicial or administrative, involving the same parties and subject matter, may be given in evidence against the adverse party who had the opportunity to cross-examine him. (41a)


7. OPINION RULE

Sec. 48. General rule. — The opinion of witness is not admissible, except as indicated in the following sections. (42)

Sec. 49. Opinion of expert witness. — The opinion of a witness on a matter requiring special knowledge, skill, experience or training which he shown to posses, may be received in evidence. (43a)

Sec. 50. Opinion of ordinary witnesses. — The opinion of a witness for which proper basis is given, may be received in evidence regarding —


(a) the identity of a person about whom he has adequate knowledge;

(b) A handwriting with which he has sufficient familiarity; and

(c) The mental sanity of a person with whom he is sufficiently acquainted.
The witness may also testify on his impressions of the emotion, behavior, condition or appearance of a person. (44a)


8. CHARACTER EVIDENCE

Sec. 51 . Character evidence not generally admissible; exceptions: —

(a) In Criminal Cases:

(1) The accused may prove his good moral character which is pertinent to the moral trait involved in the offense charged.

(2) Unless in rebuttal, the prosecution may not prove his bad moral character which is pertinent to the moral trait involved in the offense charged.

(3) The good or bad moral character of the offended party may be proved if it tends to establish in any reasonable degree the probability or improbability of the offense charged.

(b) In Civil Cases:

Evidence of the moral character of a party in civil case is admissible only when pertinent to the issue of character involved in the case.

(c) In the case provided for in Rule 132, Section 14, (46a, 47a) (Rule 130, Rules of Court)


Evidence Rule 130

 

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