Cabugao y Sison vs. People

FACTS: Cabugao while eating in a ‘turo turo’ eatery was arrested by SPOI lumibao. And SPO2 Domingo. The two policemen alleged that Cabugao was arrested for selling shabu proven by a valid buy bust operation. Several witnesses testified including the waitress and his father that the two policemen were just fabricating the story. The witness testified that Cabugao was just frisked and arrested while eating. His father on the otherhand presented evidence to dispute the credibility of the two policemen, one is a certified true copy of the proceedings demoting SPO1 Lumibao and another certified true copy of the decision of the Police Regional Director dismissing SPO2 Domingo from service. Cabugao was later on convicted by the lower court giving credence to the policemen.

ISSUE: won the documents are admissible.

HELD: Yes. The Rules of Court requires that grounds for objection must be specified, whether orally or in writing. The result of violating this rule has been spelled out by this Court in a number of cases. In Krohn vs. Court of Appeals, the counsel for the petitioner objected to the testimony of private respondent on the ground that it was privileged but did not question the testimony as hearsay. We held that “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.” In Tan Machan vs. De la Trinidad, the defendant assailed as error the admission of plaintiff’s book of account. We rejected the contention and ruled that an appellate court will not consider any other ground of objection not made at the time the books were admitted in evidence. In the case at bar, the respondent did not assail in the trial court the hearsay character of the documents in question. It is too late in the day to raise the question on appeal. 

At any rate, these documentary pieces of evidence cannot be cavalierly dismissed as irrelevant. They have a material bearing on the credibility of the prosecution witnesses, SPO2 Domingo and SPO1 Lomibao. SPO2 Domingo has been dismissed from the service as of February 28, 1997. At the time of the incident on March 12, 1999, he was no longer a policeman and yet misrepresented himself as one. On the other hand, SPO1 Lomibao has been found guilty of drug use. Their credibility as truth tellers leaves much to be desired.

Saad Agro Industries vs. Republic

FACTS: On 18 October 1967, Socorro Orcullo (Orcullo) filed her application for Free Patent for Lot No. 1434 of Cad-315-D, a parcel of land with an area of 12.8477 hectares located in Barangay Abugon, Sibonga, Cebu. Thereafter, on 14 February 1971, the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources issued Free Patent No. 473408 for Lot No. 1434, while the Registry of Deeds for the Province of Cebu issued Original Certificate of Title (OCT) No. 0-6667 over the said lot. Subsequently, the subject lot was sold to SAAD Agro-Industries, Inc. (petitioner) by one of Orcullo’s heirs.

Sometime in 1995, the Republic of the Philippines, through the Solicitor General, filed a complaint for annulment of title and reversion of the lot covered by Free Patent No. 473408 and OCT No. 0-6667 and reversion of Lot No. 1434 of Cad-315-D to the mass of the public domain, on the ground that the issuance of the said free patent and title for Lot No. 1434 was irregular and erroneous, following the discovery that the lot is allegedly part of the timberland and forest reserve of Sibonga, Cebu. The discovery was made after Pedro Urgello filed a letter-complaint with the Regional Executive Director of the Forest Management Sector, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Region VII, Cebu City, about the alleged illegal cutting of mangrove trees and construction of dikes within the area covered by Urgello’s Fishpond Lease Agreement. On 14 July 1995, Urgello filed a complaint-in-intervention against the heirs of Orcullo, adopting the allegations of respondent. However, the heirs failed to file their answer to the complaint and were thus declared in default. 

ISSUE: won the photocopy presented by the respondent is sufficient.

HELD: No. In this case, respondent claims that the presentation of the original L.C. Map is unnecessary since it is in the custody of a public officer or is recorded in the public office. Evidence, indeed, is admissible when the original of a document is in the custody of a public officer or is recorded in a public office. However, to prove its contents, there is a need to present a certified copy issued by the public officer in custody thereof. In addition, while the L.C. Map may be considered a public document and prima facieevidence of the facts stated therein, the map, to be admissible for any purpose, must be evidenced by an official publication thereof or by a copy attested by the officer having legal custody of the record. 

The rules of admissibility must be applied uniformly. The same rule holds true when the Government is one of the parties. The Government, when it comes to court to litigate with one of its citizens, must submit to the rules of procedure and its rights and privileges at every stage of the proceedings are substantially in every respect the same as those of its citizens; it cannot have a superior advantage. This is so because when a sovereignty submits itself to the jurisdiction of the court and participates therein, its claims and rights are justiciable by every other principle and rule applicable to the claims and rights of the private parties under similar circumstances. Failure to abide by the rules on admissibility renders the L.C. Map submitted by respondent inadmissible as proof to show that the subject lot is part of the forest reserve.

Bansig vs. Celera

FACTS: In her complaint, Bansig narrated that, on May 8, 1997, respondent and Gracemarie R. Bunagan (Bunagan), entered into a contract of marriage, as evidenced by a certified xerox copy of the certificate of marriage issued by the City Civil Registry of Manila. Bansig is the sister of Gracemarie R. Bunagan, legal wife of respondent.

However, notwithstanding respondent’s marriage with Bunagan, respondent contracted another marriage on January 8, 1998 with a certain Ma. Cielo Paz Torres Alba (Alba), as evidenced by a certified xerox copy of the certificate of marriage issued by the City Registration Officer of San Juan, Manila. Bansig stressed that the marriage between respondent and Bunagan was still valid and in full legal existence when he contracted his second marriage with Alba, and that the first marriage had never been annulled or rendered void by any lawful authority. Bansig alleged that respondent’s act of contracting marriage with Alba, while his marriage is still subsisting, constitutes grossly immoral and conduct unbecoming of a member of the Bar, which renders him unfit to continue his membership in the Bar.

ISSUE: won the certified xerox copy of the marriage certificate is sufficient.

HELD: Yes. The certified xerox copies of the marriage contracts, issued by a public officer in custody thereof, are admissible as the best evidence of their contents, as provided for under Section 7 of Rule 130 of the Rules of Court,to wit: 

Sec. 7. Evidence admissible when original document is a public record. — When the original of a document is in the custody of a 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.

Moreover, the certified xerox copies of the marriage certificates, other than being admissible in evidence, also clearly indicate that respondent contracted the second marriage while the first marriage is subsisting. By itself, the certified xerox copies of the marriage certificates would already have been sufficient to establish the existence of two marriages entered into by respondent. The certified xerox copies should be accorded the full faith and credence given to public documents. For purposes of this disbarment proceeding, these Marriage Certificates bearing the name of respondent are competent and convincing evidence to prove that he committed bigamy, which renders him unfit to continue as a member of the Bar. 

Republic vs. Development Resources Corp.

FACTS: Eighty-seven years ago on October 14, 1922 the Court of First Instance of Davao, sitting as cadastral court, adjudicated Lot 544 of Cad-102 in Davao City, consisting of 260,818 square meters, in favor of Antonio Matute. Three years later, or on December 15, 1925 the Register of Deeds issued Original Certificate of Title (OCT) 493 to him by virtue of Decree 195328. Since then, several transfer certificates of title (TCTs) derived from OCT 493 were issued, including TCT 44671, covering Lot 1 of Pcs-16678, with an area of 36,485 sq m and TCT 44675, covering Lot 5 also of Pcs-16678 with an area of 33,415 sq m, both in the name of respondent Development Resources Corporation (DRC). On April 5, 1993 petitioner Republic, acting through the Office of the Solicitor General, filed a complaint before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Davao City for cancellation of TCT 44671 and TCT 44675 and for the reversion of Lots 1 and 5 of Pcs-16678 to the public domain. The Republic claimed that no valid title vested in 1922 on Antonio Matute, respondent DRC’s predecessor, because all of Lot 544 from which the two lots came was still a public forest and inalienable on October 14, 1922. The Republic asserted that only on August 6, 1923 was Lot 544 declared alienable based on LC Map 47. The Republic presented a certification to this effect from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). DRC, on the other hand, contended that its two lots could no longer be reverted to the public domain because they are now private properties held by purchasers in good faith. 

ISSUE: won the the vidence presented by the petitioner is sufficient.

HELD: No. The Court held in SAAD Agro-Industries, Inc. v. Republic of the Philippines that a mere photocopy of an LC Map is not a competent evidence of the existence of such map. While evidence is admissible when the original of a document is in the custody of a public officer or is recorded in a public office, as in this case, there is a need to present a certified copy of it issued by the public officer having custody of the document to prove its contents.

The Republic of course claims that its version of LC Map 47 should be regarded as the original itself because it was the official copy of the region furnished by the National Mapping and Resources Inventory Authority where the original is kept. But, as admitted by Crisanto Galo, the Land Evaluation Coordinator for DENR Region XI, the copy they presented was neither marked nor certified as a reproduction of the original. Hence, it cannot be considered as an official copy, more so an original copy.

People vs. Cayabyab

FACTS: Alpha Jane was born on November 26, 1994, and the eldest among the six children of Conrado and Metchie Bertiz. She was six years and nine months old when the rape was committed on August 7, 2001. 

On that day, at around 6:00 p.m., Alpha Jane was at home in Manlunas St., Lagoon Area, Villamor Airbase, Pasay City, taking care of her younger siblings. Her mother went to buy kerosene, while her father was out. On the guise of teaching arithmetic, appellant went to the victim’s house and asked her to lie down on her father’s bed. When she refused, appellant removed her clothes and his own clothes, then forced her to lie down on the bed and laid on top of her and inserted his penis into her vagina. Alpha Jane shouted in pain which startled the appellant who sprayed her with tear gas and left. Her mother, Metchie arrived shortly thereafter and Alpha Jane told her what had happened. She immediately reported the incident to the barangay officials and brought Alpha Jane to the Philippine Air Force General Hospital for medical examination. She also sought assistance from the police at the 521st Air Police Squadron who, after gathering information from the victim, arrested the appellant at his house. Alpha Jane was brought to the PNP Crime Laboratory at Camp Crame the following day, and on August 10, 2001, to the Child Protection Unit (CPU) at UP-PGH for further medical examinations, which both found hymenal abrasions and lacerations, respectively, on the victim’s genitalia.

ISSUE: won the photocopy of birth certificate may be admitted.

HELD: Yes. We are not unaware of our ruling in People v. Mantis that a mere photocopy of the birth certificate, in the absence of any showing that the original copy was lost or destroyed, or was unavailable, without the fault of the prosecution, does not prove the victim’s minority, for said photocopy does not qualify as competent evidence for that purpose. However, there are other exceptions to the “best evidence rule” as expressly provided under Section 3, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court, which reads: . . . (d) When the original is a public record in the custody of a public officer or is recorded in a public office. Without doubt, a certificate of live birth is a public record in the custody of the local civil registrar who is a public officer. Clearly, therefore, the presentation of the photocopy of the birth certificate of Alpha Jane is admissible as secondary evidence to prove its contents. Production of the original may be dispensed with, in the trial court’s discretion, whenever in the case at hand the opponent does not bona fide dispute the contents of the document and no other useful purpose will be served by requiring production. In the case at bar, the defense did not dispute the contents of the photocopied birth certificate; in fact it admitted the same. Having failed to raise a valid and timely objection against the presentation of this secondary evidence the same became a primary evidence, and deemed admitted and the other party is bound thereby. In fine, we find that the prosecution sufficiently proved that Alpha Jane was only six-years-old, being born on November 26, 1994, when the rape incident happened on August 7, 2001.

People vs. Mantis

FACTS: Mary Jane had been sexually molested by her stepfather since the age of 7. It was only after she became pregnant that she decided to tell her mother and the police authority of what her stepfather had been doing to her. She was born in 1986 and became pregnant in 1999. During the proceedings, she merely presented a photocopy of her birth certificate. The RTC admitted the same proving the crime of statutory rape hence the accused was convicted of statutory rape punishable by death.

ISSUE: won the photocopy of birth certificate falls under the exception of best evidence rule.

HELD: No. In these cases, private complainant testified that she was born on September 28, 1986. Her testimony was supported by a photocopy of her “Certificate of Live Birth” showing that she was born in September 1986. But an examination of the prosecution’s exhibits shows that the prosecution has failed to present in evidence the original copy of Mary Jane’s birth certificate. Further, there is no showing that the original certificate of birth was lost or destroyed, or was unavailable, without the fault of the prosecution. Decisions of this Court relating to the rape of minors invariably state that in order to justify the imposition of the death penalty, there must be independent evidence proving the age of the victim, other than the testimonies of prosecution witnesses and the absence of denial by the accused. A certified true copy of the certificate of live birth showing the complainant’s age or some other authentic document such as a baptismal certificate or a school record has been recognized as competent evidence.A mere photocopy of said certificate, however, does not prove the victim’s minority, for said photocopy does not qualify as competent evidence for that purpose. As repeatedly held by this Court, in a capital case, we are bound by the standards of strict scrutiny, given the gravity of the death sentence and the irreversibility of its execution. Hence, appellant herein could be held liable only for two counts of simple rape and the sentence of death imposed upon him for each count of rape must be reduced to reclusion perpetua.

Lorenzana vs. Lelina

FACTS: The repondent bought a land from her mother. This land rpresents the undivided half of his mothers conjugal property. After which, he was notified in the Officia of Agrarian in Ilocos Sur that the petitioner is claiming ownership over the same property. The petitioner alleged that she was the highest biddr when the same was sold in a public auction. Lelina in his answer, alleged that the property of his mother should not be held answerable to the debt of his father since it is an exclusive property of his mother. During the proceedings, to substantiate its ownership, the respondent presented the copy of the deed of absolut sale covering the disputed land. The petitioner initially disputed the contents of the deed but did not object as to its admissibility. The rtc ruled infavor of the respondent. She then alleged that the evidence should not have been admitted since it is a mere photocopy. 

ISSUE: won the photocopy of the deed of absolute sale was correctly admitted.

HELD: Yes. The best evidence rule requires that when the subject of inquiry is the contents of a document, no evidence is admissible other than the original document itself except in the instances mentioned in Section 3, Rule 130 of the Revised Rules of Court. As such, mere photocopies of documents are inadmissible pursuant to the best evidence rule.Nevertheless, evidence not objected to is deemed admitted and may be validly considered by the court in arriving at its judgment. Courts are not precluded to accept in evidence a mere photocopy of a document when no objection was raised when it was formally offered. 

In order to exclude evidence, the objection to admissibility of evidence must be made at the proper time, and the grounds specified. Objection to evidence must be made at the time it is formally offered. In case of documentary evidence, offer is made after all the witnesses of the party making the offer have testified, specifying the purpose for which the evidence is being offered. It is only at this time, and not at any other, that objection to the documentary evidence may be made. And when a party failed to interpose a timely objection to evidence at the time they were offered in evidence, such objection shall be considered as waived. This is true even if by its nature the evidence is inadmissible and would have surely been rejected if it had been challenged at the proper time. Moreover, grounds for objection must be specified in any case. Grounds for objections not raised at the proper time shall be considered waived, even if the evidence was objected to on some other ground. Thus, even on appeal, the appellate court may not consider any other ground of objection, except those that were raised at the proper time.

In this case, the objection to the Deed of Absolute Sale was belatedly raised. Respondent submitted his Formal Offer of Evidence on February 12, 2003 which included the Deed of Absolute Sale as Exhibit A. While petitioner filed a Comment and Objection on February 21, 2003, she only objected to the Deed of Absolute Sale for being self-serving. In the Order dated February 27, 2003, the RTC admitted the Deed of Absolute Sale, rejecting the objection of petitioner. Having failed to object on the ground of inadmissibility under the best evidence rule, petitioner is now deemed to have waived her objection on this ground and cannot raise it for the first time on appeal.

Josef vs. People

FACTS: From June to August, 1991, petitioner, a Marikina-based manufacturer and seller of shoes, purchased materials from respondent Agustin Alarilla, a seller of leather products from Meycauayan, Bulacan, for which the former issued a total of 26 postdated checks against his account with the Associated Bank and Far East Bank & Trust Company (Marikina Branches). When private respondent presented these checks for encashment, they were dishonored because the accounts against which they were drawn were closed. Private respondent informed petitioner of the dishonor and demanded payment of their value. After some negotiations, petitioner drew and delivered a new set of postdated checks in replacement of the dishonored ones. Private respondent, in turn, returned to petitioner the originals of the dishonored postdated checks but retained photocopies thereof. When private respondent deposited the replacement checks in his account with the Westmont Bank, these were also dishonored by the drawee bank. As a result, the private respondent filed criminal complaints against petitioner for violation of BP 22 with the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Bulacan. After preliminary investigation, the Provincial Prosecutor filed 26 Informations against petitioner with the RTC of Bulacan for violation of BP 22, entitled People v. Josef, Criminal Case Nos. 2113-M-93 to 2138-M-93, for the original 26 postdated checks.

The trial court convicted petitioner on all counts and imposed the penalty of six months for each conviction. The Court of Appeals, in the assailed decision, affirmed the trial court. 

ISSUE: won the photocopy of check is admissible.

HELD: Yes. By admitting that the originals were in his possession and even producing them in open court, petitioner cured whatever flaw might have existed in the prosecution’s evidence. The fact that these originals were all stamped “account closed” merely confirmed the allegations of the respondent that the checks were dishonored by reason of the account being closed. Because they were entirely consistent with its main theory, the prosecution correctly adopted these originals as its own evidence. In addition, by petitioner’s own admission, five of the original checks were lost, thus rendering the photocopies thereof admissible as exceptions to the Best Evidence Rule.

People vs. Casingal

FACTS: Zaldy Casingal was charged and convicted with the crimes of Murder and Illegal Possession of Firearm and Ammunition. During the trial, the prosecution presented Edgardo Mula Cruz who testified that on the May 8, 1995 local elections, at about 8:15 in the evening, he was near the gate of Sawat Elementary School in Brgy. Sawat, Urbiztondo, Pangasinan waiting for Diosdado Palisoc who went home to get food. Cruz was talking with friends when he saw Palisoc coming. Then, he heard a gunshot. When he turned his head towards its direction, he saw Palisoc, at first, facing accused Zaldy Casingal then he fell to the ground. Casingal, who was carrying a U.S. carbine caliber .30, ran towards the house of Francisca Galpao. One of the policemen assigned for the elections brought Palisoc to the hospital, but Palisoc expired in the operating room. Some bloodstains, a fired bullet and a cartridge of a caliber .30 were recovered at the scene of the crime. The following day, Casingal was arrested, and pursuant to a search warrant, one carbine caliber .30 with serial no. 5611988, one long magazine and 30 rounds of live ammunition were found in the house of Francisca Galpao. For the defense, Casingal testified that it was Ernesto Payaoan who shot the victim. However, Payaoan immediately passed to him the firearm and instructed him to run and bring the gun to the house of Francisca Galpao. ITAaHc

As to the applicable law, the Court declared that on June 6, 1997, Republic Act 8294 amended P.D. 1866 which codified the laws on illegal possession of firearms. Among its amendments was that if homicide or murder is committed with the use of an unlicensed firearm, such use shall be considered as a special aggravating circumstance.

ISSUE: won the prsentation of photocopy of certification from police would be sufficient.

HELD: No. To the charge of illegal possession of firearm, . . . the accused cannot be charged separately with this offense. It can only be treated as a special qualifying circumstance. Even then, the prosecution was not able to prove that the accused lacked the license or permit to own or possess the firearm. While the prosecution presented a photocopy of a certification issued by the PNP Firearms and Explosives Unit stating that the accused was not a licensed holder of a firearm of any kind and caliber; it failed to submit the original of the same. Rule 130, Sec. 3 of the Rules of Court provides: “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 . . .” The subject certification does not fall under the exception. Hence, we cannot give any evidentiary value to the photocopy of the certification. Neither did the prosecution present the testimony of a representative of the PNP Firearms and Explosive Unit to establish that the accused is not licensed to possess carbine caliber .30 with serial number 5611988. This omission is fatal to the prosecution. In fine, the crime of the accused cannot be qualified as having been committed with an unlicensed, illegally possessed firearm.

Manila Mining Corporation vs. Tan

FACTS: Miguel Tan, doing business under the name and style of Manila Mandarin Marketing, was engaged in the business of selling electrical materials.

From August 19 to November 26, 1997, Manila Mining Corporation (MMC) ordered and received various electrical materials from Tan valued at P2,347,880. MMC agreed to pay the purchase price within 30 days from delivery, or be charged interest of 18% per annum, and in case of suit to collect the same, to pay attorney’s fees equal to 25% of the claim. MMC made partial payments in the amount of P464,636. But despite repeated demands, it failed to give the remaining balance of P1,883,244, which was covered by nine invoices.On September 3, 2001, Tan filed a collection suit against MMC at the Manila RTC. After Tan completed presenting evidence, MMC filed a Demurrer to Evidence. On December 18, 2003, the RTC issued an Order, denying the demurrer and directing MMC to present evidence. MMC offered as sole witness Rainier Ibarrola, its accountant from year 2000 to 2002. Ibarrola confirmed that it was standard office procedure for a supplier to present the original sales invoice and purchase order when claiming to be paid. He testified that the absence of stamp marks on the invoices and purchase orders negated receipt of said documents by MMC’s representatives.

ISSUE: won the presentation of original invoices is necessary to satisfy best evidence rule.

HELD: No. As regards respondent’s failure to present the original documents, suffice it to say that the best evidence rule applies only if the contents of the writing are directly in issue. Where the existence of the writing or its general purport is all that is in issue, secondary evidence may be introduced in proof. MMC did not deny the contents of the invoices and purchase orders. Its lone contention was that Tan did not submit the original copies to facilitate payment. But we are in agreement that photocopies of the documents were admissible in evidence to prove the contract of sale between the parties.