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People vs. Invencion Case Digest


The filial privilege rule is not strictly a rule on disqualification because a descendant is not incompetent or disqualified to testify against an ascendant. The rule refers to a privilege not to testify, which can be invoked or waived like other privileges. 


Facts:

Artemio Invencion was charged before the RTC of Tarlac with thirteen counts of rape committed against his 16-year-old daughter, Cynthia (his daughter with his first common-law-wife, Gloria Pagala).

During the trial, the prosecution presented Elven Invencion, the son of Artemio with his second common-law wife. Elven testified that that sometime before the end of the school year in 1996, while he was sleeping in one room with his father, Cynthia, and two other younger brothers, he was awakened by Cynthia’s loud cries. Looking towards her, he saw his father on top of Cynthia, doing a pumping motion.

After about two minutes, his father put on his short pants. Elven further testified that Artemio was a very strict and cruel father and a drunkard. He angrily prohibited Cynthia from entertaining any of her suitors.

The trial court convicted Artemio for one count of rape. Artemio challenges the competency and credibility of Elven as a witness. He argues that Elven, as his son, should have been disqualified as a witness against him under pursuant to the rule on filial privilege.


Issue:

Should Elven Invencion be disqualified as a witness pursuant to the rule on filial privilege? 


Held:

No. The competency of Elven to testify is not affected by Section 25, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court, otherwise known as the rule on “filial privilege.” This rule is not strictly a rule on disqualification because a descendant is not incompetent or disqualified to testify against an ascendant. The rule refers to a privilege not to testify, which can be invoked or waived like other privileges. As correctly observed by the lower court, Elven was not compelled to testify against his father; he chose to waive that filial privilege when he voluntarily testified against Artemio. Elven declared that he was testifying as a witness against his father of his own accord and only “to tell the truth.” Hence, his testimony is entitled to full credence. (People vs. Invencion, G.R. No. 131636. March 5, 2003)

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