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Opinion of Expert Witness

Evidence Opinion Rule Rule 130 - Rules of Admissibility

Sec. 49. Opinion of expert witnesses. – The opinion of a witness on a matter requiring special knowledge, skill, experience or training which he is shown to possess, may be received in evidence.


NOTES:

When is an expert evidence admissible?

Expert evidence is admissible only when:

1.  The fact to be proved is one requiring expert knowledge

2.  The witness has been qualified as an expert.


What is meant by "qualifying the witness"?

It means proving that the witness presented is an expert and this is done by asking him preliminary questions as to his education, training, experience and the like.


CASES:

G.R. No. 126669. April 27, 1998


Expert opinions are not ordinarily conclusive in the sense that they must be accepted as true on the subject of their testimony, but are generally regarded as purely ADVISORY; the courts may place whatever weight they choose upon such testimony and may reject it, if they find that it is inconsistent with the facts in the case or otherwise unreasonable



G.R. No. 1344, January 19, 1904
 3 Phil 213

Facts: Trono et al. were accused of ill treatment of three persons arrested, as a result of which one died. Defense admits the fact of arrest but denies ill treatment. Dr. Icasiano testified to the effect that the deceased had not died due to wounds but by hepatic colic, a disease suffered by the deceased for a long time.

Held: We can not give any credit to the testimony of this physician because the facts which would serve as a foundation to his conclusion are manifestly inexact.

In the first place, in his certificate on folio 18 it is stated that the body of the deceased only showed two small bruises on the superior part of the left iliac region. The witness Esteban Perez testified that the deceased had bruises and swellings on the superior part of the left hand, on the neck, on the ribs, and on the abdomen; Raymunda Perez affirms having seen bruises on the abdomen on both sides, on the left arm, and on the left side of the neck; and Candelaria de los Santos likewise saw them on the upper part of the left hand on the left side of the neck and on the ribs. In the second place, the physician affirms that the deceased devoted himself on the night of the occurrence to his customary libations. Nothing is shown in the case to corroborate this illegal habit, and especially nobody testified to having seen the deceased drunk on the night of the occurrence.

In the third place it is stated in said certificate of the physician that the deceased, after the blows the effects whereof are being inquired into went on foot to the town from a distant barrio, and vice versa. This is manifestly untrue, because the proof in this case shows that from the place where the deceased was illtreated he was compelled to walk, being supported by a policeman until he reached the town, and in order to take him from the town to his home it was necessary to use a boat.

These last statements are so unjustified that the physician, Icasiano, when testifying, withdrew them during the trial. Why, then, did he set them forth in the certificate which appears on folio 18?

There is nothing in the case to show that the deceased had ever suffered from hypertrophic cirrhosis. The ailment which the deceased had at the time referred to by the physician, Icasiano, was cholera, according to the mother of the deceased, Candelaria de los Santos, who testified, besides, referring to the time to which this case refers, that her son was of a robust constitution and suferred no ailments whatever.

There are, besides, the following facts to be taken into consideration: After the physician, Icasiano, had examined the deceased, and while the latter was still alive, he told Raymunda Perez that the deceased was suffering from blows with a rifle.

When the death had taken place, the family of the deceased repeatedly requested the physician, Icasiano, to examine the body, which the latter flatly refused to do, and warned them, on the other hand, to bury him quickly, under the pretext that he had died of cholera.

It likewise appears from the testimony of Raymunda Perez that said physician is an intimate friend of the accused, Maximo Angeles.

Expert testimony no doubt constitutes evidence worthy of meriting consideration, although not exclusive, on questions of a professional character. The courts of justice, however, are not bound to submit their findings necessarily to such testimony; they are free to weight them, and they can give or refuse to give them any value as proof, or they can even counterbalance such evidence with the other elements of conviction which may have been adduced during the trial. In the present case there are to be found sufficient data which show in a conclusive manner the seriousness of the wounds inflicted upon the deceased, which from the very first moment prevented him from keeping on his feet, and caused him continuous and sharp pains in the abdomen and retention of the urine — symptoms which constantly showed themselves until death came — which in the absence of satisfactory proof to the contrary may be attributed to these causes, which undoubtedly were sufficient in themselves to bring about the death of the deceased. 

 

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