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Entries in Official Records

Sec. 44Entries 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.
 (Rule 130, Rules of Court)

Requisites for admissibility

(a) The entries were made by a public officer in the performance of his duties or by a person in the performance of a duty specially enjoined by law;

(b) The entrant had personal knowledge of the facts stated by him or such facts were acquired by him from reports made by persons under a legal duty to submit the same

(c) Such entries were entered in a regular manner in the official records.

Examples of official record

- An official record may be a register, a cash book, official return or certificate.
- Registry of Births, Marriages and Deaths
- Certificate of Death
- Sheriff's Return
- Police blotter
- Motor vehicle accident report

● Baptismal certificates or parochial records of baptism are not official records. [Fortus v. Novero, (1968)]

How may entries in public or official books or records be proved?

Entries in official records may be proved and evidence in the manner provided by Sections 24 and 25 of Rule 132 - by the production of books or records themselves or by a copy certified by the legal custodian thereof.

Entries in the official records vs. entries in the course of business

Both official and business records are prima facie evidence of the facts stated therein. In official records, the person making the entry need not be deceased or unable to testify, but he must be a public officer or a person in the performance of a duty specially enjoined by law. In business records, the person making the entry must be deceased or unable to testify.


People vs Cabuang
G.R. No. 103292. January 27, 1993

Entries in official records like a police blotter are only prima facie evidence of the facts therein set out, since the entries in the police blotter could well be incomplete or inaccurate. Testimony given in open court during the trial is commonly much more lengthy and detailed than the brief entries made in the police blotter and the trial court cannot base its findings on a police report merely, but must necessarily consider all other evidence gathered in the course of the police investigation and presented in court.

Franco-Cruz vs CA
G.R. No. 172238, September 17, 2008

Respondents, in maintaining their cause of action against petitioner, relied on the January 4, 1998 Traffic Accident Report of Balajadia, who conducted a spot investigation after the occurrence of the accident, wherein he stated that the Franco Transit bus was “registered under the name of Marializa Franco-Cruz of Batac, Ilocos Norte.” How Balajadia arrived at such statement, he did not indicate in his Report.  Neither did he pass on it when he took the witness stand on February 11, 1999.

Rule 130, Section 44 of the Rules of Court, provides: x x x  

For the entries in Balajadia’s Report to qualify as prima facie evidence of the facts therein stated, the following conditions must be present: 

x x x (a) that the entry was made by a public officer, or by another person specially enjoined by the law to do so; (b) that it was made by the public officer in the performance of his duties or by such other person in the performance of a duty enjoined by law; and (c) that the public officer or other person had sufficient knowledge of the facts by him stated, which must have been acquired by him personally or through official information. 

Balajadia’s statement that the Franco Transit bus was “registered under the name of Marializa Franco-Cruz of Batac, Ilocos Norte” was not shown, however, to have been based on his personal knowledge or that he had sufficient knowledge thereof acquired by him personally or officially. 

It bears emphasis that the presentation by respondents of evidence ex-parte did not relieve them of the burden of proving their claims against petitioner.

People vs. Nuque
58 O.G. 8442

The motor vehicle accident report of a police officer, made in the performance of his duties and at about the time of the accident, if based upon information given to him by the drivers of the vehicles who figured in and had personal knowledge of the accident is admissible and is prima facie evidence of the facts therein stated, being entries in official records.

Manalo vs. Robles Trans. Co. Inc.
23 SCRA 1330 (1968)

A sheriff’s return is an official statement by a public official in the performance of a duty especially enjoined by law and is prima facie evidence of the facts therein stated. Being an exception to the hearsay evidence rule, the sheriff need not testify in court as to the facts stated in said return.

Fortus v. Novero
G.R. No. L-22378 June 29, 1968

Facts: Ciriaca Angelo was the owner of the parcel of land. She had only one child, Crisanta Ilagan. Crisanta predeceased her mother. Crisanta was married to Fermin Fortus. They had an only son, the Victorino Fortus. Ciriaca died intestate. The property therefore passed on to Victorino Fortus. However, Victorino never caused the OCT to be cancelled and to have another issued in his name. Ciriaca’s estate was therefore not yet closed.

Victorino Fortus and Julia Fortus were husband and wife but were childless. Upon Victorino's death, Julia executed an affidavit of extra-judicial summary settlement of Ciriaca’s estate and had it registered. Rosario Novero, claiming to be an illegitimate child of Victorino with Patricia Novero, initiated proceedings for summary settlement of Ciriaca’s estate. Julia opposed, along with the Fortuses, who claim to be Victorino’s half-brother and sisters. They claim to be the legitimate children of Fermin Fortus with Jacoba Aguil.

The Fortuses did not present the marriage contract or certificate of their alleged parents, but sought to present secondary evidence. The SC found the testimonial evidence the Fortuses presented to lay the basis for introduction of secondary evidence were inconsistent, incredible  and insufficient to establish than an original marriage contract was indeed executed. However, the Fortuses presented baptismal certificates of some of them to prove the marriage of their parents. Note that they must prove marriage because otherwise, they would be illegitimate relatives of Victorino which would disqualify them from inheriting from him.

Held: The record of baptism attests to the fact of the administration of the sacrament on the date stated therein, but not the truth of the statements therein made as to the parentage of the child baptized. Neither are the baptismal certificates public documents or public writings, because the parochial records of baptisms are not public or official records, as they are not kept by public officers, and are not proof of relationship or filiation of the child baptized.

Furthermore, though the Fortuses invoke that since for the past 30 years their parents had deported themselves in public as husband and wife and had been living under the same roof, the legal presumption is that they had entered into a lawful marriage. This presumption, however, is only applicable where there is no clear and concrete evidence showing otherwise. In this case, however, there is a certificate from the Division of Archives to the effect that 'no copy of the marriage record of spouses Fermin Fortus and Jacoba Aguil supposed to have been solemnized in the year 1902 and 1905 in the Municipality of Rosario, Batangas had been received by said office for file', and this certification is further strengthened by the affirmation of Clemente Barbosa, a clerk in the office of the municipal treasurer of Rosario, Batangas, that there was no record of such marriage supposedly contracted between the spouses Fermin Fortus and Jacoba Aguil from 1902 and 1922 of the Municipality of Rosario, Batangas. At most, the baptismal certificates were only a prima facie proof which oppositor Julia Fortus had overcome by satisfactory evidence to the effect that Fermin Fortus and Jacoba Aguil were never married and hence all of their children are not legitimate brothers or half brothers and therefore have no right to inherit from Victorino Fortus.

Johnson v. Lutz,
Africa v. Caltex, 16 SCRA 448 (1966)
People v. Leones, 117 SCRA 382 (1982)
Manalo v. Robles Trans. Co., Inc., 99 Phil. 729 (1956)
People v. Cabuang, 217 SCRA 675 (1993)
People v. Gabriel, G.R. No. L-107735, Feb. 1, 1996

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