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Tabao v People

Facts: Petitioner was driving when his car suddenly ramped on an island
divider, bumping one Rochelle Lanete who was crossing the street. As a result,
she was thrown into the middle of the road on her back. Then, a speeding
Mendez ran over her body. A certain Cielo, a bystander, went inside Mendez
car, sat beside him, got his drivers license, and ordered him to move the car
backwards. Mendez followed his order, but his car hit the center island twice
while backing up. Cielo went out of the car and approached the sprawled body
of Rochelle. Then, the three of them (petitioner, Cielo and Mendez) brought
Rochelle to UST Hospital where she died. Dr. Alteza, the attending physician,
testified that the victim suffered multiple injuries. His medical report shows that
the victim suffered injuries both on the left and right sides of her body. Also,
one Dr. Arizala, the NBI medico-legal officer who conducted an autopsy on
Rochelles body, confirmed that the victim suffered injuries on various parts of
her lower right & left extremities as a result of the initial or primary impact.
However, on trial Dr. Altezas statement allegedly declaring that the victims
injuries on her lower left leg and left thigh were the primary impact injuries,
to w/c the petitioner relies on. P insists that his car could not have bumped
Rochelle cause his car was coming from the right side, while the victim was hit
on the left side of her body. However, the dr.s statement was not based on the
actual incident but on his presumptions, stating on trial: If I would be allowed
to make some presumptions, if the patient was standing up at that time he was
hit by a vehicle, I would presume that the primary impact injuries, injuries hit
first by the vehicle are the injuries of the lower leg and the left thigh. Another
witness, a Police Senior Inspector testified that the petitioners car could not
have bumped the victim because the latters body was not thrown in line with
the car, but on its side. RTC & CA disregarded both testimonies & held pet.
guilty. Hence, he now argues that
Issue:
1. WON Rochelles left side injury was primary impact?
2. WON CA violated Sec. 49 Rule 130 when it disregarded the testimony of
Police Inspector.
Held & Rationale:
1. No. Dr. Alteza was merely making a hypothetical statement that a person
who is presumed to be standing when hit by a vehicle would suffer primary
impact injuries on his lower leg and left thigh. He never declared that Rochelle
suffered primary impact injuries on her lower left extremities.
2. No. Section 49, Rule 130 of the Revised Rules of Court states that the opinion
of a witness on a matter requiring special knowledge, skill, experience or
training, which he is shown to possess, may be received in evidence. The use
of the word may signifies that the use of opinion of an expert witness is
permissive and not mandatory on the part of the courts. Allowing the testimony
does not mean, too, that courts are bound by the testimony of the expert
witness. The testimony of an expert witness must be construed to have been
presented not to sway the court in favor of any of the parties, but to assist the
court in the determination of the issue before it, and is for the court to adopt or

not to adopt depending on its appreciation of the attendant facts and the
applicable law. Here, P/Sr. Insp. Cornelio was not an eyewitness to the incident;
his testimony was merely based on the Traffic Accident Report prepared by
SPO4 Edgar Reyes who himself did not witness the incident. At any rate,
nowhere in P/Sr. Insp. Cornelios testimony did he conclusively state that the
petitioner could not have been involved in the incident.