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.