Facts: Editha Siozon went to Rizal Medical Center for checkup. The doctor advised her that she must underfo several laboratory test. It was later found out that her kidneys are both in its proper anatomical position but that her left kidney is not functioning. Hence, she underwent operations. Three doctors and the petitioner conducted the operation. Afterwards, the husband of editha filed a complaint in the Board of Medicine alleging that due to gross negligence, it was the right kidney that was removed instead of the left. Editha Siozon likewise submitted documentary evidence to prove that her kidneys are in its proper anatomical position. The petitioner opposed to the admissibility of evidence for being a mere photocopies hence not competent.
A.) won the evidence presented is admissible
B.) won the anatomical position of the kidneys need not be proved.
A.) Yes. To begin with, it is well settle that rules of evidence are not strictly applied in proceedings before administrative bodies such as the BOM. Although trial courts are enjoined to observe strict enforcement of the rules of evidence, in connection with evidence which may appear to be of doubtful relevancy, incompetency, or admissibility, we have held that:
[I]t is the safest policy to be liberal, not rejecting them on doubtful or technical grounds, but admitting them unless plainly irrelevant, immaterial or incompetent, for the reason that their rejection places them beyond the consideration of the court, if they are thereafter found relevant or competent; on the other hand, their admission, if they turn out later to be irrelevant or incompetent, can easily be remedied by completely discarding them or ignoring them.
From the foregoing, we emphasize the distinction between the admissibility of evidence and the probative weight to be accorded the same pieces of evidence. PNOC Shipping and Transport Corporation v. Court of Appeals teaches: Admissibility of evidence refers to the question of whether or not the circumstance (or evidence) is to be considered at all. On the other hand, the probative value of evidence refers to the question of whether or not it proves an issue.
B.) Yes. The fact sought to be established by the admission of Editha’s exhibits, that her “kidneys were both in their proper anatomical locations at the time” of her operation, need not be proved as it is covered by mandatory judicial notice.
Unquestionably, the rules of evidence are merely the means for ascertaining the truth respecting a matter of fact. Thus, they likewise provide for some facts which are established and need not be proved, such as those covered by judicial notice, both mandatory and discretionary. Laws of nature involving the physical sciences, specifically biology, include the structural make-up and composition of living things such as human beings. In this case, we may take judicial notice that Editha’s kidneys before, and at the time of, her operation, as with most human beings, were in their proper anatomical locations.