Facts: The complainant here was raped by her father twice. The first was on September 5, 1997 and the second was on November 7, 1997. The first incident happened while she was sleeping. She was threatened by his father using a knife. The second raped happened after washing the dishes. Afterwards, she told about it to her neighbor and was advised to seek the help of the police. She was 13 years old back then. The prosecution was not able to obtain birthcertificate and she herself doesnt know her exact age. The Defense agree with the judicial notice. The RTC convicted him for two counts of rape and sentenced him to death.
Issue: won the RTC correctly took judicial notice about her age.
Held: No. Judicial notice is the cognizance of certain facts which judges may properly take and act on without proof because they already know them. Under the Rules of Court, judicial notice may either be mandatory or discretionary.
With respect to other matters not falling within the mandatory or discretionary judicial notice, the court can take judicial notice of a fact pursuant to the procedure in Section 3 of Rule 129 of the Rules of Court which requires that — SEC. 3. Judicial notice, when hearing necessary. — During the trial, the court, on its own initiative, or on request of a party, may announce its intention to take judicial notice of any matter and allow the parties to be heard thereon. After the trial, and before judgment or on appeal, the proper court, on its own initiative or on request of a party, may take judicial notice of any matter and allow the parties to be heard thereon if such matter is decisive of a material issue in the case.
In this case, judicial notice of the age of the victim is improper, despite the defense counsel’s admission thereof, acceding to the prosecution’s motion. As required by Section 3 of Rule 129, as to any other matters such as age, a hearing is required before courts can take judicial notice of such fact. Generally, the age of the victim may be proven by the birth or baptismal certificate of the victim, or in the absence thereof, upon showing that said documents were lost or destroyed, by other documentary or oral evidence sufficient for the purpose.