T ESTIMONIAL E VIDENCE. Qualification of Witnesses. Sec. 20: Witnesses; their qualifications. RULES:. * Witness. – one who, being present, personally sees or perceives a thing, a beholder, spectator or eyewitness; one who testifies to what he has seen or heard, or otherwise observed.
Qualification of Witnesses
– one who, being present, personally sees or perceives a thing, a beholder, spectator or eyewitness; one who testifies to what he has seen or heard, or otherwise observed.
All persons who can perceive, and perceiving, can make known their perception to others may be witnesses. Religious or political belief, interest in the outcome of the case, or conviction of a crime shall be a ground for disqualification unless otherwise provided by law.
* Prosecution witness
- It is a person who is not an accused and who is called to testify relating to a criminal case.
2. Exception: When a person is disqualified:
a. By reason of his mental condition or mental maturity;
b. Be reason of public policy;
c. By reason of confidential communication; or
d. When disqualified by law or these Rules.
* State witness
– It is one of two or more persons jointly charged with the commission of a crime but who is discharged with his consent so he that he can be a witness for the state.
When deaf mutes are competent witnesses
a. where they can understand and appreciate the sanctity of an oath;
b. can comprehend facts they are going to testify on; and
c. can communicate their ideas through a qualified interpreter.
a. Transactional immunity – A witness can no longer be prosecuted for any offense whatsoever arising out of the act or transaction.
b. Use-and-derivative-use immunity – A witness is only assured that his or her particular testimony and evidence derived from it will not be used against him or her in a subsequent prosecution.
b. to remember
c. to relate
d. to recognize a duty to tell the truth
1. Voir Dire – literally means to speak the truth.
2. Voir Dire Examination – denotes the preliminary examination under oath which the court may make of one presented as a witness (or juror), where his competence, interest, etc. is objected to.
1. Generally, the following persons cannot be
a. Insane, unless his testimony is offered during a lucid interval;
b. Minor, subject to exceptions.
When the court subjects the witness to voirdire, the court reminds him or her
about the consequences of the truth. When the court is satisfied that the
influence of fear or hope has been ruled out, then the confession of the witness
can be deemed voluntary.
3. The Rule on Examination of a Child Witness; Presumption of Competency: Under the new Child Witness Rule, every child is presumed qualified to be a witness. Only when substantial doubt exists regarding the ability of the child to perceive, remember, communicate, distinguish truth from falsehood or appreciate the duty to tell the truth in court will the court, motuproprio or on motion of a party, conduct a competency examination of a child. The court mayappoint a guardian ad litem to promote the child’s best interest.
2. Test of Competency:
a. Sufficiency of understanding to appreciate the nature and obligation of an oath,
b. Sufficiency of capacity to observe, and
c. Describes correctly the facts in regard to
which he is called to testify.
1. Marital Disqualification Rule – neither husband nor wife may testify for or against the other without the consent of the other spouse during the marriage.
a. In a civil case by one against the other, or
b. In a criminal case for a crime committed by one against the other.
The right to invoke this disqualification belongs to the spouse-party, therefore, he or she alone can claim or waive it.
a. Spouses are legally married, and
b. Either spouse must be a party to the case.
1. Dead Man’s Statute or Survivor Disqualification Rule – provides that if one party to the alleged transaction is precluded from testifying by death, insanity or other mental disabilities, the surviving party is not entitled to undue advantage of giving his own uncontradicted and unexplained account of the transaction.
To guard against the temptation to give false testimony on the part of the surviving party, and put the parties to the suit upon the terms of equality in regard to opportunity to produce evidence.
a rule of law that, to protect a particular relationship or interest, either permits a witness to refrain from giving testimony he otherwise could be compelled to give, or permits someone, usually one of the parties, to prevent the witness from revealing certain information.
A. Marital Privilege Rule/Spousal Immunity
(a) That the spouses must have been legally married;
(b) That the privilege is claimed, with regard to communication, oral or written, made during the marriage;
(c) That said communication was made confidentially; and
(d) That the action or proceedings where the privilege is claimed is not by one spouse against the other.
(a) In a civil case instituted by one against the other, and
(b) In a criminal case for a crime committed by one against the other.
B. Attorney-Client Privilege Rule
a) There must be a relation of attorney and client,
b) Communication by client to attorney, or advice given thereon by the latter to the former; and
c) Communication or advice must have been made to the attorney in the course of or with a view to professional employment.
C. Physician-Patient Privilege Rule
a) The action in which the advice or treatment given or any Information is to be used is a civil case;
b) The relation of physician and patient existed between the person claiming the privilege or his legal representative and the physician;
c) The advice or treatment given by him or any information was acquired by the physician while professionally attending the patient;
d) The information was necessary for the performance of his professional duty; and
• The disclosure of the information would tend to blacken the reputation of the patient.
Persons Disqualified in the Rule
a) Any person authorized to practice medicine, surgery, or obstetrics
D. Priest-Penitent Privilege Rule
a) The minister or priest must be so according to the sect or denomination to which he belongs;
b) the communication is made to him in his professional capacity or character; and
c) it is made in the course of discipline enjoined by the rules or practices of his sect or denomination.
E. Privileged Communication to Public Officer
a) The communication must have been made to a public officer;
b) The communication was made in official confidence; and
c) Public interest would suffer by the disclosure of the communication.
F. Other Privilege Matters
2) Sources of information by newspaperman
4) Trade secrets
2. Evidentiary Admission – When the term admission is used without any qualifying adjective, the customary meaning is an evidentiary admission, that is, words in oral or written form or conduct of a party or a representative offered in evidence against a party.
3. Judicial Admission – refers to an admission, verbal or written, made by a party in the course of the proceedings in the same case, which does not require proof. The admissions may be contradicted only by showing that it was made through palpable mistake or that no such admission was made.
Form of Admission
1) Judicial, in which case it is conclusive.
2) Extrajudicial, in which case it is rebuttable.
1. The act, declaration or omission of a party as to a relevant fact may be given in evidence against him.
2. Self-serving declarations, which are unsworn statements made by the declarant out of court and which are favorable to his interest are not admissible.
1. Compromise – an agreement made between two or more parties as a settlement of matters in dispute.
2. Privies – denotes the idea of succession not only by right of heirship and testamentary legacy, but also that of succession by singular title, derived from acts inter vivos, as by assignment, subrogation or purchase – in fact any act whereby the successor is substituted in the place of the predecessor in interest.
In criminal cases, except those involving quasi-offenses (criminal negligence) or those allowed by law to be compromised, an offer of compromise by the accused may be received in evidence as an implied admission of guilt.
Compromise in Criminal Cases:
Criminal Cases Where Compromise Allowed
Violation of the NIRC (Tax Code)
b. Quasi-offenses under Art. 365, RPC
The Good Samaritan Rule:
An offer to pay or the payment of medical, hospital or other expenses occasioned by an injury is not admissible in evidence as proof of civil or criminal liability for the injury.
The rights of a party cannot be prejudiced by an act, declaration, or omission of another.
It is based from the maxim “res inter aliosactaalterinocere non debet” (things done between strangers ought not to injure those who are not parties to it)
It is well-settled that a party is not bound by any agreement of which he has no knowledge and to which he has not given his consent and that his rights cannot be prejudiced by the declaration, act or omission of another, except by virtue of a particular relation between them.
a. By a co-partner or agent (Sec. 29)
b. By a conspirator (Sec. 30)
c. By privies (Sec. 31)
d. By Silence (Sec. 32)
Sections 29, 30 and 31 are collectively classified as
Requisites of Admission by Co-Partner:
a. The partnership be previously proven by evidence other than the admission itself.
b. The acts or declarations refer to a matter within the scope of his authority.
c. The acts or declarations were made during the existence of the partnership.
Principle of Conditional Admissibility:
Inasmuch as it must often happen that the admission of only one partner can be proved at a time, declarations may be received where the existence of a partnership is alleged without proof of the partnership at that time. Here, as in other cases, the order of the testimony is within the discretion of the judge.
Requisites of Admission by Agent:
a. The agency be previously proved by evidence other than the admission itself.
b. The admission refers to a matter within the scope of his authority.
c. The admission was made during the existence of the agency.
Requisites of Admission by Joint Owner, Joint Debtor, or other Person Jointly Interested with the Party:
a. There exists a joint interest between the joint owner, joint debtor or other person jointly interested with the party and such party, which joint interest must first be made to appear by evidence other than the act or declaration itself.
b. The act or declaration was made while the interest was subsisting.
c. The act relates to the subject matter of the joint interest for otherwise it would be immaterial and irrelevant.
Requisites of Admission by coconspirator:
a. The conspiracy be first proved be evidence other than the admission itself.
b. The admission relates to the common object.
c. It has been made while the declarant was engage
The Principle of Implied Conspiracy:
Principle of Adoption:
Conspiracy may be justified by circumstantial evidence, that is, their community of purpose and their unity of design in the contemporaneous or simultaneous performance of the act of assaulting the deceased. Although the intent may be classified as instantaneous, it sprung from the turn of events, thereby uniting the criminal design of the slayer immediately before the commission of the offense.
Where several extrajudicial confessions had been made by several persons charged with the same offense and without the possibility of collusion among them, the fact that the statements are in all respects identical is confirmatory of the confessions of the codefendants and are admissible against other persons implicated therein. This is an exception to the hearsay and res inter aliosacta rule.
Where one joins a conspiracy after its formation and actively participates in it, he adopts the previous acts and declarations of his fellow conspirators, so that such acts and declarations, although done or made before he joined the conspiracy are admissible against him.
Extrajudicial confession is binding only against the confessant, except:
d. If they are charged as co-conspirators of the crime which was confessed by one of the accused and said confession is used only as a corroborating evidence;
e. Where the confession is used as circumstantial evidence to show the probability of participation by the coconspirators;
f. Where the confessant testified for his co-defendant;
g. Where the co-conspirator’s extrajudicial confession is corroborated by otherevidence.
Admission by Privies:
Admission by Silence.
Where one derives title to property from another, the act, declaration, or omission of the latter, while holding the title, in relation to the property, is evidence against the former.
Basis: The maxim Qui tacetconsentirevidetur (he who is silent appears to consent) is received on the theory that the failure to deny what is asserted in the presence of a party is an implied admission of the truth of the statement.
Admission by Silence.
1) Hearing and understanding of the statement by the party,
2) Opportunity and necessity of denying the statements,
3) Statement must refer to a matter affecting his right or interest,
4) Facts were within his knowledge, and
5) Facts admitted or the inference to be drawn from his silence would be material to the issue.
1. Evidence that one did or did not do a certain thing at one time is not admissible to prove that he did or did not do the same or similar thing at another time.
It is well-settled that evidence is not admissible which shows, or tends to show, that the accused in a criminal case has committed a crime wholly independent from the offense for which he is on trial. A man may be a notorious criminal, and may have committed many crimes and still be innocent of the crime charged on trial.