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G.R. No.

164457 April 11, 2012 duplicate copies of the receipts petitioner submitted to the office; that
upon completing her audit, she submittedto Go a written report
denominated as "List of Customers Covered by Saleswoman LERIMA
ANNA LERIMA PATULA, Petitioner,
PATULA w/ Differences in Records as per Audit Duly Verified March 16-20,
vs.
1997" marked as Exhibit A; and that based on the report, petitioner had
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.
misappropriated the total amount of₱131,286.92.3

DECISION
During Guivencan’s stint as a witness, the Prosecution marked the ledgers
of petitioner’s various customers allegedly with discrepancies as Exhibits B
BERSAMIN, J.: to YYand their derivatives, inclusive. Each of the ledgers had a first column
that contained the dates of the entries, a second that identified the invoices
In the trial of everycriminal case, a judge must rigidlytest the State’s by the number, a third that statedthe debit, a fourth that noted the credit
evidence of guilt in order to ensure that such evidenceadheres to the basic (or the amounts paid), and a fifth that summed the balances (debit minus
rules of admissibility before pronouncing an accused guilty of the crime credit).Only 49 of theledgerswere formally offered and admitted by the RTC
charged upon such evidence. Nothing less is demanded of the judge; because the 50thledger could no longer be found.
otherwise, the guarantee of due process of law is nullified.The accused
need notadduceanythingto rebut evidence that is discredited for failing the In the course of Guivencan’sdirect-examination,petitioner’s counsel
test.Acquittal should then follow. interposed a continuing objection on the ground that the figuresentered in
Exhibits B to YYand their derivatives, inclusive, were hearsay because the
Antecedents persons who had made the entries were not themselves presented in
court.4 With that, petitioner’s counsel did not anymore cross-examine
Guivencan, apparently regarding her testimony to be irrelevant because she
Petitioner was charged withestafaunder an informationfiled in the Regional thereby tended to prove falsification, an offense not alleged in the
Trial Court (RTC) in DumagueteCitythat averred: information.

That on or about and during the period from March 16 to 20, 1997 and for TheProsecution thenformally offered its documentary exhibits, including
sometime prior thereto, in the City of Dumaguete, Philippines, and within Exhibits B to YYand their derivatives (like the originals and duplicates of the
the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused, being then a receipts supposedly executed and issued by petitioner), inclusive, the
saleswoman of Footlucker’s Chain of Stores, Inc., Dumaguete City, having confirmation sheets used by Guivencan in auditing the accounts served by
collected and received the total sum of ₱131,286.97 from several customers petitioner, and Guivencan’s so-called Summary (Final Report) of
of said company under the express obligation to account for the proceeds Discrepancies.5
of the sales and deliver the collection to the said company, but far from
complying with her obligation and after a reasonable period of time despite
repeated demands therefore, and with intent to defraud the said company, After the Prosecution rested its case, the Defense decided not to file a
did, then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously fail to deliver the demurrer to evidence although it had manifested the intention to do so,
said collection to the said company but instead, did, then and there willfully and instead rested itscase.The Prosecution and Defense submitted their
unlawfully and feloniously misappropriate, misapply and convert the respective memoranda, and submitted the case for decision. 6
proceeds of the sale to her own use and benefit, to the damage and
prejudice of the said company in the aforesaid amount of ₱131,286.97. On January 28, 2004, the RTC, stating that inasmuch as petitioner had opted
"not to present evidence for her defense" the Prosecution’s evidence
Contrary to Art. 315, par 1 (b) of the Revised Penal Code.1 remained "unrefuted and uncontroverted,"7 rendered its decision finding
petitioner guilty of estafa, to wit:

Petitioner pled not guiltyto the offense charged in the information. At pre-
trial, no stipulation of factswas had, and petitioner did not avail herself of Wherefore, in the light of the foregoing facts and circumstances, the Court
plea bargaining. Thereafter, trial on the merits ensued. finds ANNA LERIMA PATULA guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of
Estafa under Art. 315 par (1b) of the Revised Penal Code and accordingly,
she is hereby sentenced to suffer an INDETERMINATE PENALTY of
The Prosecution’s first witness was Lamberto Go, who testified that he was imprisonment of 8 years and 1 day of prision mayor as minimum to 18 years
the branch manager of Footlucker’s Chain of Stores, Inc. (Footlucker’s) in and 4 months of reclusion temporal as maximum with all the accessory
Dumaguete City since October 8, 1994; that petitioner was an employee of penalties provided by law and to indemnify private complainant the
Footlucker’s, starting as a saleslady in 1996 until she became a sales amount of ₱131,286.92 with interest at 12% per annum until fully paid and
representative; that as a sales representative she was authorized to take to pay the costs.
orders from wholesale customers coming from different towns (like Bacong,
Zamboanguita, Valencia, Lumbangan and Mabinay in Negros Oriental, and
Siquijor), and to collect payments from them; that she could issue and sign Pursuant to Sec. 2, Rule 114 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, the
official receipts of Footlucker’s for the payments, which she would then cash bail put up by the accused shall be effective only until the
remit; that she would then submit the receipts for the payments for tallying promulgation of this judgment.
and reconciliation; that at first her volume of sales was quite high, but later
on dropped, leading him to confront her; that she responded that business SO ORDERED.8
was slow; that he summoned the accounting clerk to verify; that the
accounting clerk discovered erasures on some collection receipts; that he
Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration, butthe RTC denied the motion
decided to subject her to an audit by company auditor Karen Guivencan;
on May 7, 2004.9
that he learned from a customer of petitioner’s that the customer’s
outstanding balance had already been fully paid although that balance
appeared unpaid in Footlucker’s records; and that one night later on, Issues
petitioner and her parents went to his house to deny having
misappropriated any money of Footlucker’s and to plead for him not to
Insisting that the RTC’s judgment "grossly violated [her] Constitutional and
push through with a case against her, promising to settle her account on a
statutory right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation
monthly basis; and that she did not settle after that, but stopped reporting
against her because, while the charge against her is estafa under Art. 315,
to work.2
par. 1 (b) of the Revised Penal Code, the evidence presented against her and
upon which her conviction was based, was falsification, an offense not
On March 7, 2002, Go’s cross examination, re-direct examination and re- alleged or included in the Information under which she was arraigned and
crossexamination were completed. pleaded not guilty," and that said judgment likewise "blatantly ignored and
manifestly disregarded the rules on admission of evidence in that the
documentary evidence admitted by the trial court were all private
The only other witness for the Prosecution was Karen Guivencan,
documents, the due execution and authenticity of which were not proved in
whomFootlucker’s employed as its store auditor since November 16, 1995
accordance with Sec. 20 of Rule 132 of the Revised Rules on Evidence,"
until her resignation on March 31, 2001. She declared that Go had
petitioner has directly appealed to the Court via petition for review on
requested her to audit petitioner after some customers had told him that
certiorari, positing the following issues, to wit:
they had already paid their accounts but the office ledger had still reflected
outstandingbalances for them; that she first conducted her audit by going
to the customers in places from Mabinay to Zamboanguitain Negros
Oriental, and then in Siquijor; thatshe discovered in the course of her audit
that the amounts appearing on the original copies of receipts in the
possession of around 50 customers varied from the amounts written on the
1. WHETHER THE ACCUSED OR ANY ACCUSED FOR THAT Nonetheless, in all criminal prosecutions, the Prosecution bears the burden
MATTER , CHARGED OF ESTAFA UNDER ART. 315, PAR. 1 (B) OF to establish the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt. In
THE REVISED PENAL CODE CAN BE CONVICTED UPON OR BY discharging this burden, the Prosecution’s duty is to prove each and every
EVIDENCE OF FALSIFICATION WHICH IS EVEN (SIC) NOT ALLEGED element of the crime charged in the information to warrant a finding of
IN THE INFORMATION. guilt for that crime or for any other crime necessarily included therein. 14 The
Prosecution must further prove the participation of the accused in the
commission of the offense.15 In doing all these, the Prosecution must rely on
2. WHETHER THE ACCUSED’S CONSTITUTIONAL AND STATUTORY
the strength of its own evidence, and not anchor its success upon the
RIGHT TO BE INFORMED OF THE NATURE AND CAUSE OF THE
weakness of the evidence of the accused. The burden of proof placed on
ACCUSATION AGAINST HER WAS VIOLATED WHEN SHE WAS
the Prosecution arises from the presumption of innocence in favor of the
CONVICTED UPON OR BY EVIDENCE OF FALSIFICATION
accused that no less than the Constitution has guaranteed.16Conversely, as
CONSIDERING THAT THE CHARGE AGAINST HER
to his innocence, the accused has no burden of proof, 17 that he must then
IS ESTAFA THROUGH MISAPPROPRIATION UNDER ART. 315, PAR.
be acquitted and set free should the Prosecution not overcome the
1 (B) OF THE REVISED PENAL CODE.
presumption of innocence in his favor.In other words, the weakness of the
defense put up by the accused is inconsequential in the proceedings for as
3. WHETHER OR NOT THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN ADMITTING IN long as the Prosecution has not discharged its burden of proof in
EVIDENCE, EXHIBITS "B" TO "YY"-"YY-2", ALL PRIVATE establishing the commission of the crime charged and in identifying the
DOCUMENTS, THE DUE EXECUTION AND AUTHENTICITY OF accused as the malefactor responsible for it.
WHICH WERE NOT PROVED IN ACCORDANCE WITH SEC. 20, RULE
132 OF THE SAID REVISED RULES ON EVIDENCE ASIDE FROM THE
Did the Prosecution adduce evidence that proved beyond reasonable doubt
FACT THAT SAID EXHIBITS TEND TO PROVE FALSIFICATION BY THE
the guilt of petitioner for the estafa charged in the information?
ACCUSED, A CRIME NEITHER CHARGED NOR ALLEGED IN THE
INFORMATION.
To establish the elements of estafa earlier mentioned, the Prosecution
presented the testimonies of Go and Guivencan, and various
4. WHETHER OR NOT THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN ADMITTING
documentsconsisting of: (a) the receipts allegedly issued by petitioner to
THE TESTIMONY OF KAREN GUIVENCAN DESPITE THE OBJECTION
each of her customers upon their payment, (b) the ledgers listing the
THAT SAID TESTIMONY WHICH TRIED TO PROVE THAT THE
accounts pertaining to each customer with the corresponding notations of
ACCUSED FALSIFIED EXHIBITS "B" TO "YY"-"YY-2"INCLUSIVE
the receipt numbers for each of the payments, and (c) the confirmation
VIOLATED THE ACCUSED’S CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO BE
sheets accomplished by Guivencan herself. 18 The ledgers and receipts were
INFORMED OF THE NATURE AND CAUSE OF THE ACCUSATION
marked and formally offered as Exhibits B to YY, and their derivatives,
AGAINST HER, FOR BEING IRRELEVANT AND IMMATERIAL SINCE
inclusive.
THE CHARGE AGAINST THE ACCUSED IS ESTAFA UNDER ART. 315,
PAR. 1 (B) OF THE REVISED PENAL CODE.
On his part, Go essentially described for the trial court the various duties of
petitioner as Footlucker’s sales representative. On her part, Guivencan
5. WHETHER OR NOT THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN CONCLUDING
conceded having no personal knowledge of the amounts actually received
THAT THE EVIDENCE OF THE PROSECUTION "REMAINS
by petitioner from the customersor remitted by petitioner to
UNREFUTED AND UNCONTROVERTED" DESPITE ACCUSED’S
Footlucker’s.This means that persons other than Guivencan prepared
OBJECTION THAT SAID EVIDENCE IS IMMATERIAL AND
Exhibits B to YY and their derivatives, inclusive,and that Guivencan based
IRRELEVANT TO THE CRIME CHARGED.
her testimony on the entries found in the receipts supposedly issued by
petitioner and in the ledgers held by Footlucker’s corresponding to each
6. WHETHER OR NOT THE DEFENSE’S NOT CROSS-EXAMINING customer, as well as on the unsworn statements of some of the customers.
KAREN GUIVENCAN FOR THE REASON THAT HER TESTIMONY IS Accordingly, her being the only witness who testified on the entries
IMMATERIAL AND IRRELEVANT AS IT TENDED TO PROVE AN effectively deprived the RTC of the reasonable opportunity to validate and
OFFENSE NOT CHARGED IN INFORMATION RESULTED IN THE test the veracity and reliability of the entries as evidence of petitioner’s
ADMISSION OF SAID TESTIMONY AS BEING "UNREFUTED AND misappropriation or conversion through cross-examination by petitioner.
UNCONTROVERTED", AND WHETHER OR NOT THE DEFENSE’S The denial of that opportunity rendered theentire proof of
OBJECTION WOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED WAIVED IF THE misappropriation or conversion hearsay, and thus unreliable and
DEFENSE CROSS-EXAMINED SAID WITNESS. untrustworthy for purposes of determining the guilt or innocence of the
accused.
7. WHETHER OR NOT THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN RULING THAT
EXHIBIT "A", WHICH IS THE LIST OF CUSTOMERS COVERED BY To elucidate why the Prosecution’s hearsay evidence was unreliable and
SALESWOMAN LERIMA PATULA WITH DIFFERENCE IN RECORD IS untrustworthy, and thus devoid of probative value, reference is made
NOT HEARSAY AND SELF-SERVING.10 toSection 36 of Rule 130, Rules of Court, a rule that states that a witness
can testify only to those facts that she knows of her personal knowledge;
The foregoing issues are now restatedas follows: that is, which are derived from her own perception, except as otherwise
provided in the Rules of Court. The personal knowledge of a witness is a
substantive prerequisite for accepting testimonial evidence that establishes
1. Whether or not the failure of the information for estafa to the truth of a disputed fact. A witness bereft ofpersonal knowledge of the
allege the falsification of the duplicate receipts issued by disputed fact cannot be called upon for that purpose because her testimony
petitioner to her customersviolated petitioner’s right to be derives its value not from the credit accorded to her as a witness presently
informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; testifying but from the veracity and competency of the extrajudicial source
of her information.
2. Whether or not the RTC gravely erred in admitting evidence of
the falsification of the duplicate receiptsdespite the information In case a witness is permitted to testify based on what she has heard
not alleging the falsification; another person say about the facts in dispute, the person from whom the
witness derived the information on the facts in dispute is not in court and
3. Whether or not the ledgers and receipts (Exhibits B to YY, and under oath to be examined and cross-examined. The weight of such
their derivatives, inclusive) were admissible as evidence of testimony thendepends not upon theveracity of the witness but upon the
petitioner’s guilt for estafaas charged despite their not being veracity of the other person giving the information to the witness without
duly authenticated;and oath. The information cannot be tested because the declarant is not
standing in court as a witness andcannot, therefore, be cross-examined.
4. Whether or not Guivencan’stestimony onthe ledgers and
receipts (Exhibits B to YY, and their derivatives, inclusive) to It is apparent, too, that a person who relates a hearsay is not obliged to
prove petitioner’s misappropriation or conversion enter into any particular, to answer any question, to solve any difficulties, to
wasinadmissible for being hearsay. reconcile any contradictions, to explain any obscurities, to remove any
ambiguities; and that she entrenches herself in the simple assertion that
she was told so, and leaves the burden entirely upon the dead or absent
Ruling author.19 Thus, the rule against hearsay testimony rests mainly on the
ground that there was no opportunity to cross-examine the declarant. 20 The
The petition is meritorious. testimony may have been given under oath and before a court of justice,
but if it is offered against a party who is afforded no opportunity to cross-
examine the witness, it is hearsay just the same.21
II

Moreover, the theory of the hearsay rule is that when a human utterance is
Testimonial and documentary evidence,being hearsay,
offered as evidence of the truth of the fact asserted, the credit of the
did not prove petitioner’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt
assertor becomes the basis of inference, and, therefore, the assertion can Section 19, Rule 132 of the Rules of Courtdistinguishes between a public
be received as evidence only when made on the witness stand, subject to document and a private document for the purpose of their presentation in
the test of cross-examination. However, if an extrajudicial utterance is evidence, viz:
offered, not as an assertion to prove the matter asserted but without
reference to the truth of the matter asserted, the hearsay rule does not
Section 19. Classes of documents. – For the purpose of their presentation in
apply. For example, in a slander case, if a prosecution witness testifies that
evidence, documents are either public or private.
he heard the accused say that the complainant was a thief, this testimony is
admissible not to prove that the complainant was really a thief, but merely
to show that the accused uttered those words. 22 This kind of utterance Public documents are:
ishearsay in character but is not legal hearsay. 23 The distinction is, therefore,
between (a) the fact that the statement was made, to which the hearsay (a) The written official acts, or records of the official acts of the
rule does not apply, and (b) the truth of the facts asserted in the statement, sovereign authority, official bodies and tribunals, and public
to which the hearsay rule applies.24 officers, whether of the Philippines, or of a foreign country;

Section 36, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court is understandably not the only (b) Documents acknowledged before a notary public except last
rule that explains why testimony that is hearsay should be excluded from wills and testaments, and
consideration. Excluding hearsay also aims to preserve the right of the
opposing party to cross-examine the originaldeclarant claiming to have a
direct knowledge of the transaction or occurrence. 25If hearsay is allowed, (c) Public records, kept in the Philippines, of private documents
the right stands to be denied because the declarant is not in court. 26 It is required by law to be entered therein.
then to be stressed that the right to cross-examine the adverse party’s
witness, All other writings are private.

being the only means of testing the credibility of witnesses and their The nature of documents as either public or private determines how the
testimonies, is essential to the administration of justice. documents may be presented as evidence in court. A public document, by
virtue of its official or sovereign character, or because it has been
To address the problem of controlling inadmissible hearsay as evidence to acknowledged before a notary public (except a notarial will) or a competent
establish the truth in a dispute while also safeguardinga party’s right to public official with the formalities required by law, or because it is a public
cross-examine her adversary’s witness,the Rules of Court offers two record of a private writing authorized by law, is self-authenticating and
solutions. The firstsolution is to require that allthe witnesses in a judicial requires no further authentication in order to be presented as evidence in
trial or hearing be examined only in courtunder oath or affirmation. Section court.In contrast, a private document is any other writing, deed, or
1, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court formalizes this solution,viz: instrument executed by a private person without the intervention of a
notary or other person legally authorized by which some disposition or
agreement is proved or set forth. Lacking the official or sovereign character
Section 1. Examination to be done in open court. - The examination of of a public document, or the solemnities prescribed by law, a private
witnesses presented in a trial or hearing shall be done in open court, and document requires authentication in the manner allowed by law or the
under oath or affirmation. Unless the witness is incapacitated to speak, or Rules of Court before its acceptance as evidence in court. The requirement
the question calls for a different mode of answer, the answers of the of authentication of a private document is excused only in four instances,
witness shall be given orally. (1a) specifically: (a) when the document is an ancient one within the context of
Section 21,28 Rule 132 of the Rules of Court; (b) when the genuineness and
The secondsolution is to require that all witnesses besubject to the cross- authenticity of an actionable document have not been specifically denied
examination by the adverse party. Section 6, Rule 132 of the Rules of under oath by the adverse party;29 (c) when thegenuineness and
Courtensuresthis solutionthusly: authenticity of the document

Section 6. Cross-examination; its purpose and extent. – Upon the have been admitted;30 or (d) when the document is not being offered as
termination of the direct examination, the witness may be cross-examined genuine.31
by the adverse party as to any matters stated in the direct examination, or
connected therewith, with sufficient fullness and freedom to test his There is no question that Exhibits B to YY and their derivatives were private
accuracy and truthfulness and freedom from interest or bias, or the reverse, documents because private individuals executed or generated them for
and to elicit all important facts bearing upon the issue. (8a) private or business purposes or uses. Considering that none of the exhibits
came under any of the four exceptions, they could not be presented and
Although the second solution traces its existence to a Constitutional admitted as evidence against petitioner without the Prosecution dutifully
precept relevant to criminal cases, i.e., Section 14, (2), Article III, of the seeing to their authentication in the manner provided in Section20 of Rule
1987 Constitution,which guarantees that: "In all criminal prosecutions, the 132 of the Rules of Court,viz:
accused shall xxx enjoy the right xxx to meet the witnesses face to face
xxx," the rule requiring the cross-examination by the adverse party equally Section 20. Proof of private documents. – Before any private
applies to non-criminal proceedings. document offered as authentic is received in evidence, its due execution
and authenticity must be proved either:
We thus stress that the rule excluding hearsay as evidence is based upon
serious concerns about the trustworthiness and reliability of hearsay (a) By anyone who saw the document executed or written; or
evidence due to its not being given under oath or solemn affirmation and
due to its not being subjected to cross-examination by the opposing counsel
to test the perception, memory, veracity and articulateness of the out-of- (b) By evidence of the genuineness of the signature or
court declarant or actor upon whose reliability the worth of the out-of- handwriting of the maker.
court statement depends.27
Any other private document need only be identified as that which it is
Based on the foregoing considerations, Guivencan’s testimony as well as claimed to be.
Exhibits B to YY, and their derivatives, inclusive, must be entirely rejected as
proof of petitioner’s misappropriation or conversion. The Prosecutionattempted to have Go authenticate the signature of
petitioner in various receipts, to wit:
III
ATTY. ABIERA:
Lack of their proper authentication rendered
Exhibits B to YY and their derivatives Q. Now, these receipts which you mentioned which do not tally with the
inadmissible as judicial evidence original receipts, do you have copies of these receipts?

Petitioner also contends that the RTC grossly erred in admitting as evidence A. Yes, I have a copy of these receipts, but it’s not now in my possession.
Exhibits B to YY, and their derivatives, inclusive, despite their being private
documents that were not duly authenticated as required by Section 20,
Rule 132 of the Rules of Court. Q. But when asked to present those receipts before this Honorable Court,
can you assure this

(Next Page)
ATTY ABIERA (continuing): Prosecution admitted that the document was a meremachinecopy, not the
original. Thereafter, as if to soften its failed attempt, the Prosecution
expressly promised to produce at a later date the originalsof the receipt
Honorable Court that you will be able to present those receipts?
with serial number FLDT96 No. 20441 and other receipts. But that promise
was not even true, because almost in the same breath the Prosecution
A. Yes. offered to authenticate the signature of petitioner on the receiptsthrougha
different witness (though then still unnamed). As matters turned out in the
Q. You are also familiar with the signature of the accused in this case, Anna end, the effort to have Go authenticate both themachinecopy of the
Lerima Patula? receiptwith serial number FLDT96 No. 20441 and the signature of petitioner
on that receipt was wasteful because the machine copy was
inexplicablyforgotten and was no longer evenincluded in the Prosecution’s
A. Yes. Offer of Documentary Evidence.

Q. Why are you familiar with the signature of the accused in this case? It is true that the original of the receipt bearing serial number FLDT96 No.
20441was subsequentlypresented as Exhibit Bthrough Guivencan.
A. I used to see her signatures in the payroll and in the receipts also. However,the Prosecution did not establishthat the signature appearing on
Exhibit B was the same signature that Go had earliersought to identify to be
the signature of petitioner (Exhibit A-1) on the machine copy (Exhibit A).
Q. Okay, I have here a machine copy of a receipt which we would present This is borne out by the fact that the Prosecution abandoned Exhibit A as
this,or offer the same as soon as the original receipts can be presented, but the marking nomenclature for the machine copyof the receipt bearing serial
for purposes only of your testimony, I’m going to point to you a certain number FLDT96 No. 20441 for all intents and purposes of this case, and
signature over this receipt number FLDT96 20441, a receipt from Cirila used the same nomenclature to referinstead toan entirely
Askin, kindly go over the signature and tell the Honorable Court whether differentdocument entitled "List of Customers covered by ANA LERIMA
you are familiar with the signature? PATULA w/difference in Records as per Audit duly verified March 16-20,
1997."
A. Yes, that is her signature.
In her case, Guivencan’s identification of petitioner’s signature on two
INTERPRETER: receipts based alone on the fact that the signatures contained the legible
family name of Patula was ineffectual, and exposed yet another deep flaw
infecting the documentary evidence against petitioner. Apparently,
Witness is pointing to a signature above the printed word "collector".
Guivencan could not honestly identify petitioner’s signature on the receipts
either because she lacked familiarity with such signature, or because she
(Next Page) had not seen petitioner affix her signature on the receipts, as the following
excerpts from her testimony bear out:
ATTY. ABIERA:
ATTY. ZERNA to witness:
Q. Is this the only receipt wherein the name, the signature rather, of the
accused in this case appears? Q. There are two (2) receipts attached here in the confirmation sheet, will
you go over these Miss witness?
A. That is not the only one, there are many receipts.
A. This was the last payment which is fully paid by the customer. The other
ATTY. ABIERA: receipt is the one showing her payment prior to the last payment.

In order to save time, Your Honor, we will just be presenting the original COURT:
receipts Your Honor, because it’s quite voluminous, so we will just forego
with the testimony of the witness but we will just present the same using Q. Where did you get those two (2) receipts?
the testimony of another witness, for purposes of identifying the signature
of the accused. We will request that this signature which has been
A. From the customer.
identified to by the witness in this case be marked, Your Honor, with the
reservation to present the original copy and present the same to offer as
our exhibits but for the meantime, this is only for the purposes of Q. And who issued those receipts?
recording, Your Honor, which we request the same, the receipt which has
just been identified awhile ago be marked as our Exhibit "A" You Honor. A. The saleswoman, Miss Patula.

COURT: ATTY. ZERNA:

Mark the receipt as Exhibit "A". We pray, Your Honor, that this receipt identified be marked as Exhibit "B-3",
receipt number 20441.
ATTY. ABIERA:
(Next Page)
And the signature be bracketed and be marked as Exhibit "A-1".
COURT:
(Next Page)
Mark it.
COURT:
ATTY. ZERNA:
Bracket the signature &mark it as Exh. "A-1". What is the number of that
receipt? The signature of the collector be marked as –

ATTY. ABIERA: Q. By the way, there is a signature above the name of the collector, are your
familiar with that signature?(shown to witness)
Receipt No. 20441 dated August 4, 1996 the statement that: received from
Cirila Askin.32 A. Yes.

xxx Q. Whose signature is that?

As the excerpts indicate, Go’s attempt at authentication of the signature of A. Miss Patula.
petitioner on the receipt with serial number FLDT96 No. 20441 (a document
that was marked as Exhibit A, while the purported signature of petitioner
thereon was marked as Exhibit A-1) immediately fizzled out after the Q. How do you know?
A. It can be recognized because of the word Patula. Make a follow-up question and what was the result when you copied that
amount in the ledger and you had it confirmed by the customers, what was
the result when you had it confirmed by the customers?
Q. Are you familiar with her signature?

WITNESS:
A. Yes.

A. She has no more balance but in our office she has still a balance of
ATTY. ZERNA:
₱10,971.75.

We pray that the signature be bracketed and marked as Exhibit "B-3-a"


ATTY. ZERNA to witness:

COURT:
Q. Do you have a-what’s the basis of saying that the balance of this
customer is still ₱10,971.75
Mark it.
(Next Page)
ATTY. ZERNA:
ATTY. ZERNA (continuing):
The other receipt number 20045 be marked as Exhibit "B-4" and the
signature as Exhibit "B-4-a".
[i]n your office?

COURT:
COURT:

Mark it. 33
That was already answered pañero, the office has a ledger.

xxx
Q. Now, did you bring the ledger with you?

ATTY. ZERNA:
A. No, Ma’am.35

Q. Ms. Witness, here is a receipt colored white, number 26603 issued to


(Continuation of the Direct Examination of
one Divina Cadilig. Will you please identify this receipt if this is the receipt
Karen Guivencan on August 13, 2002)
of your office?

ATTY. ZERNA to witness:


A.Yes.

Q. Okay, You said there are discrepancies between the original and the
Q.There is a signature over the portion for the collector. Whose signature is
duplicate, will you please enlighten the Honorable Court on that
this?
discrepancy which you said?

A.Ms. Patula.
A. Like in this case of Cirila Askin, she has already fully paid. Her ledger
shows a zero balance she has fully paid while in the original
Q.How do you know that this is her signature?
(Next page)
A.Because we can read the Patula.34
WITNESS (continuing):
We also have similar impressions of lack of proper authentication as to the
ledgers the Prosecution presented to prove the discrepancies between the
[r]eceipt she has a balance of Ten Thousand Seven hundred Ninety-one
amountspetitioner hadallegedly received from the customers and the
Pesos and Seventy-five Centavos (10,791.75).
amounts she had actually remitted to Footlucker’s. Guivencanexclusively
relied on the entries of the unauthenticated ledgersto support her audit
report on petitioner’s supposed misappropriation or conversion, revealing COURT:
her lack of independent knowledge of the veracity of the entries, as the
following excerpts of her testimony show:
Q. What about the duplicate receipt, how much is indicated there?

ATTY. ZERNA to witness:


A. The customer has no duplicate copy because it was already forwarded to
the Manila Office.
Q. What is your basis of saying that your office records showed that this
Cecilia Askin has an account of ₱10,791.75?
Q. What then is your basis in the entries in the ledger showing that it has
already a zero balance?
ATTY. DIEZ:
A. This is the copy of the customer while in the office, in the original receipt
The question answers itself, You Honor, what is the basis, office record. she has still a balance.

COURT: xxx

Let the witness answer. ATTY. ZERNA:

WITNESS: The confirmation sheet ---

A. I made the basis on our ledger in the office. I just copied that and COURT:
showed it to the customers for confirmation.
The confirmation sheet was the one you referred to as the receipt in your
ATTY. ZERNA to witness: earlier testimony? Is that what you referred to as the receipts, the original
receipts?
Q. What about the receipts?
A. This is what I copied from the ledger.
COURT:
Q. So where was that(sic) original receipt which you said showed that that I think, I remember in the last setting also, she testified where those entries
particular customer still has a balance of Ten Thousand something? were taken. So, you answer the query of counsel.

A. The receipt is no longer here. xxx

Q. You mean the entry of that receipt was already entered in the ledger? ATTY. DIEZ:

A. Yes.36 Your Honor please, to avoid delay, may I interpose a continuing objection to
the questions profounded(sic) on those ledgers on the ground that, as I
have said, it is hearsay.
In the face of the palpable flaws infecting the Prosecution’s evidence, it
should come as no surprise that petitioner’s counsel interposed timely
objections. Yet, the RTC mysteriously overruled the objections and COURT:
allowedthe Prosecutionto present the unauthenticated ledgers, as follows:
Okey(sic). Let the continuing objection be noted.
(Continuation of the Direct Examination of
Witness Karen Guivencan on September 11, 2002)
Q – (To Witness) The clerk who allegedly was the one who prepared the
entries on those ledgers, is she still connected with Footluckers?
ATTY. ZERNA:
A – She is no longer connected now, Your Honor,
CONTINUATION OF DIRECT-EXAMINATION
COURT:
Q – Ms. Witness, last time around you were showing us several ledgers.
Where is it now?
Alright proceed.

A – It is here.
(Next Page)

Q – Here is a ledger of one Divina Cadilig. This Divina Cadilig, how much is
ATTY. ZERNA:
her account in your office?

Your Honor, these are entries in the normal course of business. So, exempt
ATTY. DIEZ:
from the hearsay rule.

Your Honor please before the witness will proceed to answer the question,
COURT:
let me interpose our objection on the ground that this ledger has not been
duly identified to by the person who made the same. This witness will be
testifying on hearsay matters because the supposed ledger was not Okey(sic), proceed.37
identified to by the person who made the same.
The mystery shrouding the RTC’s soft treatment of the Prosecution’s flawed
COURT: presentation was avoidable simply by the RTC adhering to the instructions
of the rules earlier quoted, as well as withSection 22 of Rule 132 of the
Rules of Court,which contains instructions on how to prove the genuineness
Those ledgers were already presented in the last hearing. I think they were
of a handwriting in a judicial proceeding, as follows:
already duly identified by this witness. As a matter of fact, it was she who
brought them to court
Section 22. How genuineness of handwriting proved. – The handwriting of a
person may be proved by any witness who believes it to be the handwriting
(Next Page)
of such person because he has seen the person write, or has seen writing
purporting to be his upon which the witness has acted or been charged, and
COURT (cont.): has thus acquired knowledge of the handwriting of such person. Evidence
respecting the handwriting may also be given by a comparison, made by
the witness or the court, with writings admitted or treated as genuine by
because these were the ledgers on file in their office.
the party against whom the evidence is offered, or proved to be genuine to
the satisfaction of the judge. (Emphases supplied)
ATTY. DIEZ
If it is already clear that Go and Guivencan had not themselves seen the
That is correct, Your Honor, but the person who made the entries is not this execution or signing of the documents,the Prosecution surely did not
witness, Your Honor. How do we know that the entries there is (sic) correct authenticate Exhibits B to YY and their derivatives conformably with the
on the receipts submitted to their office. aforequoted rules. Hence, Exhibits B to YY, and their derivatives, inclusive,
were inescapably bereft of probative value as evidence. That was the
COURT: onlyfair and just result, as the Court held in Malayan Insurance Co., Inc. v.
Philippine Nails and Wires Corporation:38

Precisely, she brought along the receipts also to support that. Let the
witness answer. On the first issue, petitioner Malayan Insurance Co., Inc., contends that
Jeanne King’s testimony was hearsay because she had no personal
knowledge of the execution of the documents supporting respondent’s
WITNESS: cause of action, such as the sales contract, invoice, packing list, bill of
lading, SGS Report, and the Marine Cargo Policy. Petitioner avers that even
A – It’s the office clerk in-charge. though King was personally assigned to handle and monitor the
importation of Philippine Nails and Wires Corporation, herein respondent,
this cannot be equated with personal knowledge of the facts which gave
COURT: rise to respondent’s cause of action. Further, petitioner asserts, even
though she personally prepared the summary of weight of steel billets
The one who prepared the ledger is the office clerk. received by respondent, she did not have personal knowledge of the weight
of steel billets actually shipped and delivered.
ATTY. ZERNA:
At the outset, we must stress that respondent’s cause of action is founded
on breach of insurance contract covering cargo consisting of imported steel
She is an auditor, Your Honor. She has been qualified and she is the auditor
billets. To hold petitioner liable, respondent has to prove, first, its
of Footluckers.
importation of 10,053.400 metric tons of steel billets valued at
₱67,156,300.00, and second, the actual steel billets delivered to and
COURT: received by the importer, namely the respondent. Witness Jeanne King,
who was assigned to handle respondent’s importations, including their
insurance coverage, has personal knowledge of the volume of steel billets
being imported, and therefore competent to testify thereon. Her testimony (e) The entries were made in the ordinary or regular course of
is not hearsay, as this doctrine is defined in Section 36, Rule 130 of the business or duty.41
Rules of Court.However, she is not qualified to testify on the shortage in the
delivery of the imported steel billets. She did not have personal knowledge
The Court has to acquit petitioner for failure of the State to establish her
of the actual steel billets received. Even though she prepared the summary
guilt beyond reasonable doubt. The Court reiterates that in the trial of
of the received steel billets, she based the summary only on the receipts
every criminal case, a judge must rigidly test the State’s evidence of guilt in
prepared by other persons. Her testimony on steel billets received was
order to ensure that such evidence adhered to the basic rules of
hearsay. It has no probative value even if not objected to at the trial.
admissibility before pronouncing an accused guilty of the crime charged
upon such evidence. The failure of the judge to do so herein nullified the
On the second issue, petitioner avers that King failed to properly guarantee of due of process of law in favor of the accused, who had no
authenticate respondent’s documentary evidence. Under Section 20, Rule obligation to prove her innocence. Heracquittal should follow.
132, Rules of Court, before a private document is admitted in evidence, it
must be authenticated either by the person who executed it, the person
IV
before whom its execution was acknowledged, any person who was present
and saw it executed, or who after its execution, saw it and recognized the
signatures, or the person to whom the parties to the instruments had No reliable evidence on damage
previously confessed execution thereof. In this case, respondent admits
that King was none of the aforementioned persons. She merely made the Conformably with finding the evidence of guilt unreliable, the Court
summary of the weight of steel billets based on the unauthenticated bill of declares that the disposition by the RTC ordering petitioner to indemnify
lading and the SGS report. Thus, the summary of steel billets actually Footlucker’s in the amount of ₱131,286.92 with interest of 12% per annum
received had no proven real basis, and King’s testimony on this point could until fully paid was not yet shown to be factually founded. Yet, she cannot
not be taken at face value. now be absolved of civil liability on that basis. Heracquittal has to
bedeclared as without prejudice to the filing of a civil action against her for
xxx Under the rules on evidence, documents are either public or private. the recovery of any amount that she may still owe to Footlucker’s.1âwphi1
Private documents are those that do not fall under any of the enumerations
in Section 19, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court.Section 20of the same law, in WHEREFORE, the Court SETS ASIDE ANDREVERSESthe decision convicting
turn, provides that before any private document is received in evidence, its ANNA LERIMA PATULAof estafa as charged, and ACQUITS her for failure of
due execution and authenticity must be proved either by anyone who saw the Prosecution to prove her guilt beyond reasonable doubt, without
the document executed or written, or by evidence of the genuineness of prejudice to a civil action brought against her for the recoveryof any
the signature or handwriting of the maker. Here, respondent’s documentary amount still owing in favor of Footlucker’s Chain of Stores, Inc.
exhibits are private documents. They are not among those enumerated in
Section 19, thus, their due execution and authenticity need to be proved
before they can be admitted in evidence.With the exception concerning the
summary of the weight of the steel billets imported, respondent presented
no supporting evidence concerning their authenticity. Consequently, they
cannot be utilized to prove less of the insured cargo and/or the short
delivery of the imported steel billets. In sum, we find no sufficient
competent evidence to prove petitioner’s liability.

That the Prosecution’s evidence was left uncontested because petitioner


decided not to subject Guivencan to cross-examination, and did not tender
her contrary evidencewas inconsequential. Although the trial court had
overruled the seasonable objections to Guivencan’s testimony
bypetitioner’s counsel due to the hearsay character, it could not be denied
thathearsay evidence, whether objected to or not, had no probative
value.39 Verily, the flaws of the Prosecution’s evidence were fundamental
and substantive, not merely technical and procedural, and were defects
that the adverse party’s waiver of her cross-examination or failure to
rebutcould not set right or cure. Nor did the trial court’s overruling of
petitioner’s objections imbue the flawed evidence with any virtue and
value.

Curiously, the RTC excepted the entries in the ledgers from the application
of the hearsay rule by also terselystating that the ledgers "were prepared in
the regular course of business."40 Seemingly, the RTC applied Section 43,
Rule 130 of the Rules of Court, to wit:

Section 43. Entries in the course of business. – Entries made at, or near the
time of the transactions to which they refer, by a person deceased, or
unable to testify, who was in a position to know the facts therein stated,
may be received as prima facie evidence, if such person made the entries in
his professional capacity or in the performance of duty and in the ordinary
or regular course of business or duty.

This was another grave error of the RTC.The terse yet sweeping mannerof
justifying the application of Section 43 was unacceptable due to the need to
show the concurrence of the several requisites before entries in the course
of business could be excepted from the hearsay rule. The requisites are as
follows:

(a) The person who made the entry must be dead or unable to
testify;

(b) The entries were made at or near the time of the transactions
to which they refer;

(c) The entrant was in a position to know the facts stated in the
entries;

(d) The entries were made in his professional capacity or in the


performance of a duty, whether legal, contractual, moral, or
religious;
On the same night, SPO3 Mendoza and PO1 Coronel were on board their
patrol vehicle performing their routine patrol duty when they met two
men, later identified as the accused, who were running at a fast speed.
When asked why they were running, the accused did not answer prompting
the policemen to chase them. The policemen, however, were unsuccessful
in catching them and when it became evident that they could no longer find
them, they continued patrolling the area. There they saw Januario lying on
the street in front of Dom’s studio. As he was severely injured, the
policemen immediately boarded Januario to the patrol vehicle and brought
him to the Zigzag Hospital. While inside the vehicle, SPO3 Mendoza asked
Januario who hurt him. He answered that it was "Jay-R and his uncle" who
stabbed him. The uncle turned out to be the appellant herein, while Jay-R is
his co-accused who remains at-large.7

G.R. No. 198022 April 7, 2014 At the Zigzag Hospital, Januario was attended to by Dr. Rasa who found him
in critical condition. Three fatal wounds caused by a bladed weapon were
found in Januario’s body which eventually caused his death.8
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee,
vs.
SONNY GATARIN y CABALLERO @ "JAY-R" and EDUARDO Maria Castillo, for her part, testified on how she learned of what happened
QUISAYAS, Accused, to her husband, the victim herein, the amount allegedly stolen from her
husband, as well as on the expenses and loss incurred by reason of
Januario’s death. She, further, quantified the sorrow and anxiety the family
EDUARDO QUISAYAS, Accused-Appellant. suffered by reason of such death.9

DECISION In his defense, appellant denied the accusation against him. He claimed
that he is from the Province of Samar but has been residing in Cupang,
PERALTA, J.: Muntinlupa City since 1987. He denied knowing, much more residing in,
Mabini, Batangas, as he only heard about the province from his employer
who happens to be a resident therein. He claimed that he did not know
Assailed in this appeal is the Court of Appeals (CA) Decision 1 dated February
Januario and that he was, in fact, working in Muntinlupa City on the date
23, 2011 in CA-G.R. CR H.C. No. 03593 affirming the Regional Trial Court
and time the crime was allegedly committed.10
(RTC)2 Decision3 dated June 20, 2008 in Criminal Case No. 13838 convicting
appellant Eduardo Quisayas of Robbery with Homicide committed against
the victim Januario Castillo y Masangcay (Januario). The prosecution’s rebuttal witness Mr. Bienvenido Caponpon, however,
belied appellant’s claim and insisted that appellant was renting a house in
Mabini, Batangas and that he was seen there until the day the crime was
The facts of the case follow:
committed.11

Appellant and accused Sonny Gatarin y Caballero were charged in an


On June 20, 2008, the RTC rendered a Decision against the appellant, the
Information4 with Robbery with Homicide committed as follows:
dispositive portion of which reads:

That on or about the 3rd day of November, 2004, at about 8:00 o’clock (sic)
WHEREFORE, the People having proven the guilt of accused Eduardo
in the evening, at Barangay Poblacion, Municipality of Mabini, Province of
Quisayas beyond reasonable doubt, he is hereby declared "GUILTY" of the
Batangas, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court,
offense as charged. Accordingly, he is hereby sentenced to a prison term of
the above-named accused, armed with a bladed weapon, conspiring and
Reclusion Perpetua.
confederating together, acting in common accord and mutually helping
each other, with intent to gain, without the knowledge and consent of the
owner thereof and with violence against or intimidation of person, did then Further, he is hereby ordered to pay herein offended party of the following:
and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously take, rob, and carry away
cash money amounting to Twenty Thousand Pesos (₱20,000.00), Philippine (a) civil indemnity in the amount of Php50,000.00
Currency, belonging to Januario Castillo y Masangcay alias "Ka Maning," to
the damage and prejudice of the latter in the aforementioned amount and
that on the occasion and by reason of said robbery, the said accused with (b) actual damages in the amount of Php20,000.00, plus Php35,310.00
intent to kill and taking advantage of their superior strength, did then and (funeral and hospital expenses), and
there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault and stab with the
said weapon Januario Castillo y Masangcay alias "Ka Maning," thereby (c) moral damages in the amount of Php100,000.00
inflicting upon the latter the stab wounds to [the] anterior chest and right
shoulder and right axilla, which directly caused his death.
SO ORDERED.12

Contrary to law.5
The trial court gave credence to the testimony of Maria Castillo not only as
to the fact of taking money from Januario but also the amount taken. 13 The
Appellant was arrested, while his co-accused remained at-large. When fact of death was, likewise, found by the court to have been adequately
arraigned, he pleaded "Not Guilty." Trial on the merits thereafter ensued. proven by the testimony of Dr. Rasa. 14 Though there was no evidence
whether the unlawful taking preceded the killing of Januario, the court held
The prosecution presented the testimonies of the following witnesses: (1) that there was direct and intimate connection between the two acts.15
Maria Castillo, the victim’s wife; (2) Howel Umali (Umali), who allegedly
saw how the accused mauled the victim; (3) SPO3 Gregorio G. Mendoza As to the identity of the perpetrators, the court considered the victim’s
(SPO3 Mendoza) of the Mabini Police Station, who saw the victim lying on response to SPO3 Mendoza’s question as to who committed the crime
the floor and the accused running away from the crime scene, and testified against him as part of the res gestae, which is an exception to the hearsay
on the dying declaration of Januario; (4) Dr. Catalino Ike A. Rasa Jr. (Dr. rule.16 As to appellant’s defense of alibi, the court gave more weight to the
Rasa), who attended to the victim when he was brought to the hospital; prosecution’s rebuttal evidence that indeed the former was an actual
and (5) PO1 Rogelio Dizon Coronel (PO1 Coronel), who saw the accused resident of Mabini, Batangas.17
running fast near the crime scene and who, likewise, testified on Januario’s
ante mortem statement.
On appeal, the CA affirmed the RTC decision. Contrary, however, to the
RTC’s conclusion, the appellate court considered Januario’s statement to
From the testimonies of the above-named witnesses, the prosecution SPO3 Mendoza, that the accused were the ones who stabbed him and took
established the following facts: his wallet, not only as part of res gestae but also as a dying declaration. 18

On November 3, 2004, at 8 o’clock in the evening, Umali was riding a bicycle Hence, the appeal before the Court.
on his way home when he saw Januario being mauled by two persons
opposite Dom’s Studio in Poblacion, Mabini, Batangas. Upon seeing the
incident, he stayed in front of the church until such time that the accused We find appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt not of robbery with
ran away and were chased by policemen who alighted from the police homicide but of murder.
patrol vehicle.6
The trial court’s factual findings, including its assessment of the credibility ATTY. EBORA:
of the witnesses, the probative weight of their testimonies, and the
conclusions drawn from the factual findings are accorded great respect and
We will object. That will be misleading.
even conclusive effect. We, nevertheless, fully scrutinize the records, since
the penalty of reclusion perpetua that the CA imposed on appellant
demands no less than this kind of careful and deliberate consideration.19 COURT:

To sustain a conviction for robbery with homicide, the prosecution must If she is aware.
prove the following elements: (1) the taking of personal property belonging
to another; (2) with intent to gain; (3) with the use of violence or ATTY. EBORA:
intimidation against a person; and (4) on the occasion or by reason of the
robbery, the crime of homicide, as used in the generic sense, was
committed.20 We submit.

First, in order to sustain a conviction for the crime of robbery with COURT:
homicide, it is necessary that the robbery itself be proven as conclusively as
any other essential element of the crime. 21 In order for the crime of robbery You ask her if she is aware who the perpetrators are.
with homicide to exist, it must be established that a robbery has actually
taken place and that, as a consequence or on the occasion of robbery, a
homicide be committed.22 ATTY. MASANGYA:

For there to be robbery, there must be taking of personal property Q Madam Witness, were you informed who are the perpetrators of the
belonging to another, with intent to gain, by means of violence against or crime on your husband?
intimidation of any person or by using force upon on things. 23 Both the RTC
and the CA concluded that robbery was committed based on the WITNESS:
testimonies of Maria Castillo, SPO3 Mendoza, and PO1 Coronel. A closer
look at the testimonies of these witnesses, however, failed to convince us
A Not yet, sir. It was not told to me by the policemen because the
that indeed robbery took place.
policemen were in a hurry.

Maria Castillo’s testimony was offered by the prosecution to prove that her
ATTY. MASANGYA:
husband, the victim herein, was a victim of robbery with homicide and that
he is a businessman, and that she suffered damages by reason of such
death. The pertinent portion of her direct testimony is quoted below for a Q After the policemen went to your house, was there [any] person who
closer scrutiny: informed you who were the perpetrators of the crime?

ATTY. MASANGYA: A Yes, sir. My niece.

Q The victim in this case Januario Castillo, how are you related to him? Q And who is that niece of yours, Madam Witness?

WITNESS: A Josephine Borbon, sir.

A My husband, sir. Q Did Miss Borbon tell you about the identity of the perpetrators of the
crime, Madam Witness?
Q On November 3, 2004, do you remember of any unusual incident that has
occurred? A Yes, sir.

A Yes, sir. Q And who are the persons did Miss Borbon mention?

Q And what is that event? A My former helper Sonny Gatarin and his uncle Eduardo Quisayas, sir.

A At around 8:30 o’clock in the evening of November 3, 2004 while I was at Q You were told that your husband was robbed, how much was taken from
home, policemen arrived and informed me that my husband was wounded, your husband, Madam Witness?
sir.
A ₱20,000.00.
Q Did these police officers inform you the location (sic) of where your
husband was located? Q And can you tell, Madam Witness, why is your husband carrying that
amount of money at the time of his death?
A According to the policemen, my husband was at Zigzag Hospital, sir.
A Yes, sir.
Q Did you go to Zigzag Hospital, Madam Witness?
WITNESS:
A Yes, sir.
A Those were the earnings for that day for he delivered merchandise and
Q What happened, Madam Witness, when you arrived at the hospital? groceries, sir.

A I was informed by the nurse there that my husband was already dead. ATTY. MASANGYA:

ATTY. MASANGYA: Q Do you know, Madam Witness, if your husband is engaged in any
business?
Q Were you informed of the cause of the death of your husband?
A Yes, sir.
WITNESS:
Q And what is your proof in saying your husband is engaged in business?
A According to them my husband was wounded, many wounds and he was
robbed, sir. A Our business was we delivered bottled goods and groceries, sir.

Q Madam Witness, were you able to know who are the persons responsible Q The business wherein your husband is engaged has an existing license
for the death of your husband? with the appropriate local government?
A Yes, sir. PO1 Coronel’s Answers to the questions propounded by the Presiding
Judge:
Q If a copy will be shown to you, will you be able to identify the same?
THE COURT:
A Yes, sir.
Alright, the Court will ask.
Q I am showing to you [a] certified copy of [the] Mayor’s permit previously
marked as Exhibit "H"? Q When did you talk with the victim?

A This is it, sir. A When we were inside the patrol car, your Honor.

Q If you know, Madam Witness, how much is your husband earning in his Q What exactly did you ask from the victim?
sari-sari or grocery business?
A I asked him who stabbed him, your Honor.
WITNESS:
Q Did you tell the victim his condition?
A Yes, sir.
A No, your Honor.
ATTY. MASANGYA:
Q You just asked the victim who stabbed him?
Q How much is he earning at the time?
A Yes, your Honor.
A He earns ₱40,000.00.
Q What was the answer of the victim?
Q In a month or year?
A That he was stabbed by Jay-ar and his uncle, your Honor.
A ₱40,000.00 a month, sir.
Q And no other question did you ask him?
Q How do you feel or confront the situation that your husband is already
dead?
A None, your Honor.

A We felt deep sorrow together with my three (3) children, sir. (Witness is
x x x x28
crying)

Direct Testimony of SPO3 Mendoza:


x x x x24

xxxx
From the above testimony, it can be inferred that Maria Castillo obviously
was not at the scene of the crime on that fateful night as she was only
informed that the incident took place and that Januario was brought to the Q And when you saw Januario Castillo lying on the street, what did you do?
Zigzag Hospital. It, likewise, appears that she had no personal knowledge
that Januario was robbed. While she claimed that ₱20,000.00 was illegally A We lifted him and boarded him in our vehicle then we brought him to the
taken from him, no evidence was presented to show that Januario indeed hospital.
had that amount at that time and that the same was in his possession. As
Maria Castillo claimed that the said amount was allegedly received from
their clients in their grocery business, said fact could have been proven by Q While you were travelling, were you able to talk to the victim Januario
receipts or testimonies of said clients. The prosecution’s failure to present Castillo?
such evidence creates doubt as to the existence of the money.
A Yes, sir.
The trial and appellate courts likewise relied on the testimony of SPO3
Mendoza and PO1 Coronel on the statement of Januario after the Q What was your conversation all about?
commission of the crime. While both policemen testified as to the dying
declaration of Januario pertaining to the cause and circumstances
surrounding his death, only PO1 Coronel testified during his direct A I asked Ka Maning Castillo as to who stabbed him and he answered Jay-R
examination that when asked who stabbed him, Januario replied that it was and his uncle.
"Jay-Ar and his uncle who stabbed him and took his wallet." 25 In response
to the Presiding Judge’s clarificatory question, however, PO1 Coronel x x x x29
admitted that when he asked Januario who stabbed him, he replied that it
was Jay-Ar and his uncle. After which, no further question was asked. 26 On
It is, therefore, clear from the foregoing that the evidence presented to
the other hand, nowhere in SPO3 Mendoza’s testimony did he talk about
prove the robbery aspect of the special complex crime of robbery with
the alleged taking of wallet. The pertinent portions of their testimonies
homicide, does not show that robbery actually took place. The prosecution
read:
did not convincingly establish the corpus delicti of the crime of robbery.

Direct Examination of PO1 Coronel:


Corpus delicti has been defined as the body or substance of the crime and,
in its primary sense, refers to the fact that a crime has actually been
xxxx committed. As applied to a particular offense, it means the actual
commission by someone of the particular crime charged. 30 In this case, the
Q: What did you do next after boarding him inside your vehicle? element of taking, as well as the existence of the money alleged to have
been lost and stolen by appellant, was not adequately established. 31 We
find no sufficient evidence to show either the amount of money stolen, or if
A We brought him at the Zigzag Hospital and we asked him who stabbed any amount was in fact stolen from Januario. Even if we consider Januario’s
him. dying declaration, the same pertains only to the stabbing incident and not
to the alleged robbery.
Q What was his reply Mr. Witness?
Moreover, assuming that robbery was indeed committed, the prosecution
A He told us that Jay-ar and his uncle stabbed him and took his wallet. must establish with certitude that the killing was a mere incident to the
robbery, the latter being the perpetrator’s main purpose and objective. It is
not enough to suppose that the purpose of the author of the homicide was
x x x x27 to rob; a mere presumption of such fact is not sufficient. 32 Stated in a
different manner, a conviction requires certitude that the robbery is the
main purpose, and objective of the malefactor and the killing is merely Januario when he was brought to the hospital, also testified as to the
incidental to the robbery. The intent to rob must precede the taking of nature and extent of the injury sustained by Januario. He clearly stated that
human life but the killing may occur before, during or after the Januario sustained three fatal injuries which caused his death. The
robbery.33 What is crucial for a conviction for the crime of robbery with pertinent portion of Dr. Rasa’s testimony reads:
homicide is for the prosecution to firmly establish the offender’s intent to
take personal property before the killing, regardless of the time when the
ATTY. MASANGYA:
homicide is actually carried out.34 In this case, there was no showing of the
appellant’s intention, determined by their acts prior to, contemporaneous
with, and subsequent to the commission of the crime, to commit Q How many injuries were sustained by the victim, Mr. Witness?
robbery.35 No shred of evidence is on record that could support the
conclusion that appellant’s primary motive was to rob Januario and that he A Three.
was able to accomplish it.36 Mere speculation and probabilities cannot
substitute for proof required in establishing the guilt of an accused beyond
reasonable doubt.37 Where the evidence does not conclusively prove the Q In what parts of the body was the victim injured?
robbery, the killing of Januario would be classified either as a simple
homicide or murder, depending upon the absence or presence of any A The victim sustained three injuries: one on the left side of the parasternal
qualifying circumstance, and not the crime of robbery with homicide. 38 To border the heart (sic) and it penetrated, and then the second one was on
establish the fact that appellant and his co-accused killed the victim by the right side of the chest near the shoulder and the third one was under
stabbing him with a bladed weapon, the prosecution presented Umali as an the armpit also to the chest.
eyewitness to the mauling incident. It was this same witness who identified
the perpetrators. The trial and appellate courts also relied on the statement
of Januario as to the circumstances of his death, testified to by PO1 Coronel ATTY. MASANGYA:
and SPO3 Mendoza as dying declaration and as part of res gestae.
Q Which of those injuries caused the death of the victim?
A dying declaration, although generally inadmissible as evidence due to its
hearsay character, may nonetheless be admitted when the following A All of them are fatal, because the one over the heart penetrated the heart
requisites concur, namely: (a) the declaration concerns the cause and the and the aorta. The one in the anterior chest near the right shoulder hit the
surrounding circumstances of the declarant's death; (b) it is made when blood vessels of the armpit and the wound under the armpit apparently hit
death appears to be imminent and the declarant is under a consciousness the lungs.
of impending death; (c) the declarant would have been competent to testify
had he or she survived; and (d) the dying declaration is offered in a case in
x x x x43
which the subject of inquiry involves the declarant's death.39

This same physician issued the Medical Certificate explaining the location of
In the case at bar, it appears that not all the requisites of a dying
the stab wounds as well as the cause of death of Januario, to wit:
declaration are present. From the records, no questions relative to the
second requisite was propounded to Januario. It does not appear that the
declarant was under the consciousness of his impending death when he Location of Stab Wounds:
made the statements. The rule is that, in order to make a dying declaration
admissible, a fixed belief in inevitable and imminent death must be entered 1. Stab wound penetrating 2nd inter-costal space left para-sternal border,
by the declarant. It is the belief in impending death and not the rapid 6" deep penetrating the heart chambers and aorta
succession of death in point of fact that renders a dying declaration
admissible. The test is whether the declarant has abandoned all hopes of
survival and looked on death as certainly impending. 40 Thus, the utterances 2. Stab wound over the right anterior deltoid muscle, penetrating
made by Januario could not be considered as a dying declaration.
3" into the right axilla space; injuring the axilla blood vessels.
However, even if Januario’s utterances could not be appreciated as a dying
declaration, his statements may still be appreciated as part of the res 3. Stab wound over the right axilla, penetrating to the right chest cavity.
gestae. Res gestae refers to the circumstances, facts, and declarations that
grow out of the main fact and serve to illustrate its character and are so
spontaneous and contemporaneous with the main fact as to exclude the CAUSES OF DEATH
idea of deliberation and fabrication. The test of admissibility of evidence as
a part of the res gestae is, therefore, whether the act, declaration, or Immediate Cause: Hypovolemic Shock
exclamation, is so interwoven or connected with the principal fact or event
that it characterizes as to be regarded as a part of the transaction itself, and
Antecedent Cause: Multiple stab wounds to the anterior chest, right
also whether it clearly negates any premeditation or purpose to
manufacture testimony.41
axilla, and right axilla penetrating the chest cavity.
The requisites for admissibility of a declaration as part of the res gestae
concur herein. When Januario gave the identity of the assailants to SPO3 x x x x44
Mendoza, he was referring to a startling occurrence which is the stabbing
by appellant and his co-accused. At that time, Januario and the witness From the testimony of the eyewitness and corroborated by the medical
were in the vehicle that would bring him to the hospital, and thus, had no certificate of Dr. Rasa, it can be inferred that indeed the qualifying
time to contrive his identification of the assailant. His utterance about circumstance of abuse of superior strength attended the commission of the
appellant and his co-accused having stabbed him, in answer to the question crime. To be sure, with two assailants younger than the victim, armed with
of SPO3 Mendoza, was made in spontaneity and only in reaction to the a bladed weapon and inflicting multiple mortal wounds on the victim, there
startling occurrence. Definitely, the statement is relevant because it is definitely abuse of superior strength deliberately taken advantage of by
identified the accused as the authors of the crime. Verily, the killing of appellant and his co-accused in order to consummate the offense.
Januario, perpetrated by appellant, is adequately proven by the
prosecution.
Now on the penalty. Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code provides:
From the evidence presented, we find that as alleged in the information,
abuse of superior strength attended the commission of the crime, and thus, ART. 248. Murder. – Any person who, not falling within the provisions of
qualifies the offense to murder. Abuse of superior strength is considered article 246 shall kill another, shall be guilty of murder and shall be punished
whenever there is a notorious inequality of forces between the victim and by reclusion perpetua to death if committed with any of the following
the aggressor, assessing a superiority of strength notoriously advantageous attendant circumstances:
for the aggressor which the latter selected or took advantage of in the
commission of the crime.42 1. With treachery, taking advantage of superior strength, with the aid of
armed men, or employing means to weaken the defense or of means or
It is clear from the records of the case that Januario was then fifty-four (54) persons to insure or afford impunity.
years old. Appellant, on the other hand, was then forty (40) years old.
Appellant committed the crime with his co-accused, his nephew. Clearly, x x x x45
assailants are younger than the victim. These two accused were seen by
Umali as the persons who mauled Januario. Moreover, assailants were
armed with a bladed weapon, while Januario was unarmed. This same There being neither mitigating nor aggravating circumstances, appellant
bladed weapon was used in repeatedly stabbing Januario, who no longer shall be meted the penalty of reclusion perpetua.
showed any act of defense. Dr. Rasa, the medical doctor who attended to
Finally, the award of damages. In murder, the grant of civil indemnity which
has been fixed by jurisprudence at ₱50,000.00 requires no proof other than
the fact of death as a result of the crime and proof of the accused’s
responsibility therefor. Moral damages, on the other hand, which in this
case is also ₱50,000.00 are awarded in view of the violent death of the
victim.46 Moreover, exemplary damages in the amount of ₱30,000.00
should likewise be given, considering that the offense was attended by an
aggravating circumstance whether ordinary, or qualifying as in this case. As
duly proven by Maria Castillo, actual damages representing the hospital and
funeral expenses, as evidenced by receipts in the amount of ₱35,300.00, be
awarded. Finally, in addition and in conformity with current policy, we also
impose on all the monetary awards for damages an interest at the legal rate
of six percent (6%) from date of finality of this decision until full payment. 47

WHEREFORE, premises considered, we MODIFY the Court of Appeals


Decision dated February 23, 2011 in CA-G.R. CR H.C. No. 03593, affirming
the Regional Trial Court Decision dated June 20, 2008 in Criminal Case No.
13838, convicting appellant Eduardo Quisayas of Robbery with Homicide.
We find appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of MURDER
and is sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua.

We, likewise, ORDER appellant TO PAY the heirs of the victim Januario
Castillo y Masangcay the following: (1) ₱35,300.00 actual damages; (2)
₱50,000.00 civil indemnity; (3) ₱50,000.00 moral damages; (4) ₱30,000.00
exemplary damages; plus (5) six percent (6%) interest on all damages
awarded from the date of the finality of this decision until full payment.

SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 214453 June 17, 2015 On the other hand, the RTC gave no credence to Palanas’s defense of alibi. It
observed that it was not physically impossible for Palanas to be at the locus
criminis as his own witness even stated that the distance between Pasig City and
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee,
Parañaque City could be traversed in less than one (1) hour. 14

vs.
BERNABE P. PALANAS alias "ABE", Accused-Appellant.
Dissatisfied, Palanas appealed his conviction to the CA. 15

DECISION
The CA Ruling
PERLAS-BERNABE, J.:
In a Decision dated January 16, 2014, the CA affirmed the RTC’s ruling with
16

modification increasing the amounts awarded to the heirs of SPO2 Borre to


Before the Court is an ordinary appeal filed by accused-appellant Bernabe P.
1

₱75,000.00 as civil indemnity, and ₱30,000.00 as exemplary damages.


Palanas alias "Abe" (Palanas) assailing the Decision dated January 16, 2014 of
2

the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR HC No. 04925, which affirmed the
Decision dated October 20, 2010, of the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City, Branch
3
The CA found all the elements of the crime of Murder to be present, giving
157 (RTC) in Criminal Case No. 133352-H finding Palanas guilty beyond probative weight to the dying declaration of SPO2 Borre that it was Palanas who
reasonable doubt of the crime of Murder under the Revised Penal Code (RPC). shot him. It also found the presence of treachery as SPO2 Borre was in no
position to defend himself when he was successively shot. 17

The Facts
Aggrieved, Palanas filed the instant appeal. 18

An Information was filed before the RTC charging Palanas of the murder ofSP02
4

Ramon Borrey Orio (SP02 Borre), viz.: The Issue Before the Court

On or about March 26, 2006, in Pasig City, and within the jurisdiction of this The issue for the Court’s resolution is whether or not Palanas’s conviction for the
Honorable Court, the accused [Palanas], acting in conspiracy with one male crime of Murder should be upheld.
person who is at-large, whose true identity and where about[s] are still unknown
acted as co-principal in the killing of one SPO2 Ramon Borre y Orio, committed
The Court's Ruling
as follows: said male person, armed with a gun, with intent to kill and with the
qualifying circumstances of treachery and evident premeditation, did then and
there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault, and shot one SPO2 The appeal is bereft of merit.
Ramon Borre yOrio on his head and different parts of his body which directly
caused his death, and thereafter, took the firearm of the said victim, boarded a
motorcycle driven by the accused who thereafter, drove the motorcycle away Murder is defined and penalized under Article 248 of the RPC, as amended by
Republic Act No. (RA) 7659, as follows: 19

from the scene of the crime.

Contrary to Law. 5
Art. 248. Murder. — Any person who, not falling within the provisions of Article
246, shall kill another, shall be guilty of murder and shall be punished by
reclusion perpetua to death if committed with any of the following attendant
The prosecution presents the following version of the facts: circumstances:

At around 6:40 in the morning of March 26, 2006, SPO2 Borre took his five (5)- 1. With treachery, taking advantage of superior strength, with the aid of armed
month-old grandson outside his residence at Block 14, Kenneth Street corner men, or employing means to weaken the defense, or of means or persons to
Eusebio Avenue, Pasig City. PO3 Leopoldo Zapanta (PO3 Zapanta), who slept at insure or afford impunity.
SPO2 Borre’s residence, was watching television when four (4) successive
gunshots rang out. PO3 Zapanta looked through the open door of SPO2 Borre’s
xxxx
house and saw two (2) men armed with .38 caliber revolvers standing a meter
away from SPO2 Borre. He saw Palanas deliver the fourth shot to SPO2 Borre,
but he could not identify the other shooter. Thereafter, the two (2) assailants Treachery is a well-established concept in criminal law. "There is treachery when
fled on a motorcycle. PO3 Zapanta, together with SPO2 Borre’s stepson Ramil
6
the offender commits any of the crimes against a person, employing means,
Ranola (Ramil), brought SPO2 Borre to the Pasig City General Hospital. On the methods or forms in the execution thereof which tend directly and specially to
way to the hospital, SPO2 Borre told Ramil and PO3 Zapanta that it was "Abe," insure its execution, without risk to himself arising from the defense which the
"Aspog," or "Abe Palanas" – referring to his neighbor, Palanas – who shot him. offended party might make." There are two (2) conditions therefore that must
20

This statement was repeated to his wife, Resurreccion Borre (Resurreccion), who be met for treachery to be appreciated: (a) the employment of means of
followed him at the hospital. At around 11 o’clock in the morning of even date, execution that gives the person attacked no opportunity to defend himself or to
SPO2 Borre died due to gunshot wounds on his head and trunk. 7
retaliate; and (b) the means of execution was deliberately or consciously
adopted. 21

For his part, Palanas interposed the defense of denial and alibi. He claimed that
on March 25, 2006 he was in Parañaque City attending to the needs of his sick The essence of treachery is that the attack comes without warning in a swift,
father. The next day, he went to a baptism in Tondo, Manila and stayed there deliberate, and unexpected manner, granting the victim no chance to resist or
from morning until 9 o’clock in the evening, after which he returned to his father escape. The attack must be sudden and unexpected rendering the victim unable
1avvphi1

in Parañaque City. He maintained that he was not aware of the death of SPO2 and unprepared to put up a defense. With the foregoing in mind, the Court
22

Borre until he was informed by a neighbor that Resurreccion was accusing him of agrees with the findings of the RTC and the CA that Palanas killed SPO2 Borre,
killing her husband. He also denied any knowledge why Resurreccion would and that the qualifying circumstance of treachery attended the same. The
blame him for SPO2 Borre’s death. 8
records show that SPO2 Borre was outside carrying his grandson when two (2)
assailants shot him. During the attack, SPO2 Borre had no opportunity to raise
any meaningful defense against his assailants; and consequently, he suffered
The RTC Ruling
multiple gunshot wounds on his head and trunk, causing his death. 23

In a Decision dated October 20, 2010, the RTC convicted Palanas of the crime of
9

The CA is also correct in admitting SPO2 Borre’s statements on his way to the
Murder and sentenced him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua, and
ordered him to pay the heirs of SPO2 Borre the amounts of: (a) ₱50,000.00 as hospital as evidence, both as a dying declaration and as part of the res gestae.
civil indemnity; (b) ₱25,000.00 as exemplary damages; (c) ₱50,000.00 as moral
damages; and (d) ₱2,464,865.07 as actual damages.
10 11
For a dying declaration to constitute an exception to the hearsay evidence
24

rule, four (4) conditions must concur: (a) the declaration must concern the
25

cause and surrounding circumstances of the declarant’s death; (b) that at the
The RTC found that the prosecution had established beyond reasonable doubt
that Palanas and his companion were the ones who killed SPO2 Borre through time the declaration was made, the declarant is conscious of his impending
death; (c) the declarant was competent as a witness; and (d) the declaration is
the positive identification of the eyewitnesses to the incident. Moreover, SPO2
Borre’s statements that Palanas shot him constituted an ante mortem statement offered in a criminal case for Homicide, Murder, or Parricide where the declarant
is the victim. On the other hand, a statement to be deemed to form part of the
26
and formed part of the res gestae, and, thus, admissible as evidence against
Palanas. It further opined that treachery attended SPO2 Borre’s killing as he had res gestae, and thus, constitute another exception to the rule on hearsay
27

evidence, requires the concurrence of the following requisites: (a) the principal
no inkling that the attack would take place, and that he was in no position to
mount any feasible defense. The RTC, however, did not appreciate evident
12
act, the res gestae, is a startling occurrence; (b) the statements were made
before the declarant had time to contrive or devise; and (c) the statements must
premeditation because of the absence of the following elements: (a) the time
when the offender determined to commit the crime; (b) an act manifestly concern the occurrence in question and its immediately attending
circumstances. 28
indicating that the accused clung to his determination; and (c) a sufficient lapse
of time between determination and execution to allow himself time to reflect
upon the consequences of his act. 13
In the case at bar, SPO2 Borre’s statements constitute a dying declaration, given
that they pertained to the cause and circumstances of his death and taking into
consideration the number and severity of his wounds, it may be reasonably
presumed that he uttered the same under a fixed belief that his own death was
already imminent. This declaration is considered evidence of the highest order
29

and is entitled to utmost credence since no person aware of his impending death
would make a careless and false accusation. Verily, because the declaration was
30

made in extremity, when the party is at the point of death and when every
motive of falsehood is silenced and the mind is induced by the most powerful
considerations to speak the truth, the law deems this as a situation so solemn
and awful as creating an obligation equal to that which is imposed by an oath
administered in court. 31

In the same vein, SPO2 Borre’s statements may likewise be deemed to form part
of the res gestae. "Res gestae refers to the circumstances, facts, and declarations
that grow out of the main fact and serve to illustrate its character and are so
spontaneous and contemporaneous with the main fact as to exclude the idea of
deliberation and fabrication. The test of admissibility of evidence as a part of the
res gestae is, therefore, whether the act, declaration, or exclamation is so
intimately interwoven or connected with the principal fact or event that it
characterizes as to be regarded as a part of the transaction itself, and also
whether it clearly negates any premeditation or purpose to manufacture
testimony." In this case, SPO2 Borre’s statements refer to a startling occurrence,
32

i.e., him being shot by Palanas and his companion. While on his way to the
hospital, SPO2 Borre had no time to contrive the identification of his assailants.
Hence, his utterance was made in spontaneity and only in reaction to the
startling occurrence. Definitely, such statement is relevant because it identified
Palanas as one of the authors of the crime. Therefore, the killing of SPO2 Borre,
perpetrated by Palanas, is adequately proven by the prosecution. 33

On the other hand, the Court does not find credence in Palanas’s defense of alibi.
It is axiomatic that alibi is an inherently weak defense, and may only be
34

considered if the following circumstances are shown: (a) he was somewhere else
when the crime occurred; and (b) it would be physically impossible for him to be
at the locus criminis at the time of the alleged crime. In this case, the RTC
35

correctly observed that aside from the admission that travel from Parañaque
Cityto Pasig City only takes about one (1) hour, the incident occurred on a
Sunday when traffic is not usually heavy. Moreover, Palanas had access to a
motorcycle that allowed him to travel faster on the date and time of the
incident. Under the circumstances, there is the possibility that Palanas could
36

have been present at the locus criminis at the time of the shooting. Accordingly,
his defense of alibi must fall.

Anent the proper penalty to be imposed upon Palanas, Section 3 of RA


9346 provides that "[p]ersons convicted of offenses punished with reclusion
37

perpetua, or whose sentences will be reduced to reclusion perpetua, by reason


of this Act, shall not be eligible for parole under Act No. 4103, otherwise known
as the Indeterminate Sentence Law, as amended." Pursuant thereto, Palanas
should be sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua, without
eligibility for parole. 38

Finally, to conform with prevailing jurisprudence, the Court increases the


amounts of damages awarded to the heirs of SPO2 Borre, as follows: (a)
₱75,000.00 as civil indemnity; (b) ₱75,000.00 as moral damages; and (c)
₱30,000.00 as exemplary damages, all with interest at the rate of six percent
39

(6%) per annum from the date of finality of judgment until the same are fully
paid.40

WHEREFORE, the appeal is DENIED. The Decision dated January 16, 2014 of the
Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR HC No. 04925 finding accused-appellant Bernabe
P. Palanas alias "Abe", GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Murder
as defined and punished under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code is hereby
AFFIRMED WITH MODIFICATION, in that he is sentenced to suffer the penalty of
reclusion perpetua without eligibility for parole, and ordered to pay the heirs of
SPO2 ₱2,464,865.07 as actual damages, all with legal interest at the rate of six

percent (6%) per annum from the finality of judgment until full payment.

SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 113685 June 19, 1997 1. If the kidnapping or detention shall have lasted more than five
days.
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs. 2. If it shall have been committed simulating public authority.
THEODORE BERNAL, JOHN DOE and PETER DOE, accused-appellants.
3. If any serious physical injuries shall have been inflicted upon the
ROMERO, J.: person kidnapped or detained, or if threats to kill him shall have
been made.
Accused-appellant Theodore Bernal, together with two other persons whose
identities and whereabouts are still unknown, were charged with the crime of 4. If the person kidnapped or detained shall be a minor, female or a
kidnapping in Criminal Case No. 26658-92 of the Regional Trial Court of Davao public officer.
City, Branch 10, under an information dated July 13, 1992, which reads as
1

follows:
The penalty shall be death where the kidnapping or detention was
committed for the purpose of extorting ransom from the victim or
That on or about August 5, 1991, in the City of Davao, Philippines, any other person, even if none of the circumstances above-
and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above- mentioned were present in the commission of the offense.
mentioned accused, armed with hand guns, conspiring,
confederating and cooperating together and helping one another,
For the charge of kidnapping to prosper, the deprivation of the victim's liberty,
and by means of force, violence, intimidation and threat, wilfully,
which is the essential element of the offense, must be duly proved. In the case at
unlawfully, and feloniously grabbed and kidnapped one Bienvenido
bar, Bernal indisputably acted in conspiracy with the two other unknown
Openda, Jr., while the latter was drinking liquor with his friends as
individuals "as shown by their concerted acts evidentiary of a unity of thought
Bolton Isla, this City and was brought, handcuffed and carried away
and community of purpose." Proof of conspiracy is perhaps most frequently
7

using the PU then fled together with Bienvenido Openda, Jr., thereby
made by evidence of a chain of circumstances only. The circumstances present in
8

depriving the said Bienvenido Openda, Jr. of his liberty against his
this case sufficiently indicate the participation of Bernal in the disappearance of
will.
Openda, Jr.

CONTRARY TO LAW.
The prosecution has profferred sufficient evidence to show that, indeed, Bernal,
together with his two companions, abducted Openda, Jr. on August 5, 1991. A
A plea of not guilty having been entered by Bernal during his arraignment, trial certain Adonis Sagarino, a childhood friend and neighbor of the victim, testified
ensued. The prosecution presented four witnesses. On the other hand,
2
that he saw Bernal at the billiard hall at about 11:00 a.m. with his two
Theodore Bernal testified for his defense. companions and overheard him dispatching one of them to "Tarsing's Store" to
check if a certain person was still there. This person later turned out to be
Openda, Jr. He added that after the latter's presence was confirmed, the three
The materials facts and events as found by the court a quo are:
men left the billiard hall. Minutes later, Openda, Jr., already handcuffed, passed
by the billiard hall with Bernal's companions.
It appears that on August 5, 1991, around 11:30 in the morning, while Roberto
Racasa and Openda, Jr. were engaged in a drinking spree, they invited Bernal,
Equally important is the testimony of Roberto Racasa, a resident of Bucana,
who was passing by, to join them.
Davao City who knew both Bernal and the victim, the former being his neighbor
and compadre. He narrated that he and the victim were drinking at "Tarsing's
After a few minutes, Bernal decided to leave both men, apparently because he Store" on that fateful day when Bernal passed by and had a drink with them.
was going to fetch his child. Thereafter, two men arrived, approached Openda, After a few minutes, Bernal decided to leave, after which, two men came to the
Jr., and asked the latter if he was "Payat." When he said yes, one of them
3
store and asked for "Payat." When Openda, Jr. confirmed that he was indeed
suddenly pulled out a handgun while the other handcuffed him and told him "Payat," hew was handcuffed and taken away by the unidentified men.
"not to run because they were policemen" and because he had an "atraso" or a
score to settle with them. They then hastily took him away. Racasa immediately
Likewise, a certain Salito Enriquez, a tailor and a friend of Openda, Jr., testified
went to the house of Openda, Jr. and informed the latter's mother of the
that sometime in January 1991, Openda, Jr. confided to him that he and Bernal's
abduction.
wife Naty were having an affair. One time, Naty even gave Openda, Jr. money
which they used to pay for a motel room. He advised Naty "not to do it again
The theory of the prosecution, as culled from the testimony of a certain Salito because she (was) a married woman. Undoubtedly, his wife's infidelity was
9

Enriquez, tends to establish that Openda, Jr. had an illicit affair with Bernal's wife ample reason for Bernal to contemplate revenge.
Naty and this was the motive behind the former's kidnapping. Until now,
Openda, Jr. is still missing.
Motive is generally irrelevant, unless it is utilized in establishing the identity of
the perpetrator. Coupled with enough circumstantial evidence of facts from
On the other hand, the defense asserts that Openda Jr. was a drug-pusher which it may be reasonably inferred that the accused was the malefactor, motive
arrested by the police on August 5, 1991, and hence, was never kidnapped. 4
may be sufficient to support a conviction. Openda, Jr.'s revelation to Enriquez
10

regarding his illicit relationship with Bernal's wife is admissible in evidence,


pursuant to Section 38, Rule 130 of the Revised Rules on Evidence, viz.:
On December 10, 1993, the court a quo rendered judgment finding Bernal
5

"guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of kidnapping for the abduction
and disappearance of Bienvenido Openda Jr. under Article 267 of the Revised Sec. 38. Declaration against interest. — The declaration made by a
Penal Code and hereby sentences him to reclusion perpetua and to indemnify his person deceased, or unable to testify, against the interest of the
mother Teresita Openda in the amount of P50,000.00 for her mental anguish and declarant, if the fact asserted in the declaration was at the time it
moral suffering."6
was made so far contrary to declarant's own interest, that a
reasonable man in his position would not have made the declaration
unless he believed it to be true, may be received in evidence against
Bernal assails the lower court for giving weight and credence to the prosecution himself or his successors-in-interest and against third persons.
witnesses' allegedly illusory testimonies and for convicting him when his guilt
was not proved beyond reasonable doubt.
With the deletion of the phrase "pecuniary or moral interest" from the present
provision, it is safe to assume that "declaration against interest" has been
We find no compelling reason to overturn the decision of the lower court.
expanded to include all kinds of interest, that is, pecuniary, proprietary, moral or
even penal. 11

The Court notes that up to this day, neither the victim nor his body has been
found. This, however, does not preclude the Court from ruling on the merits of
A statement may be admissible when it complies with the following requisites,
the case. In Kidnapping, what is important is to determine and prove the fact of to wit: "(1) that the declarant is dead or unable to testify; (2) that it relates to a
seizure, and the subsequent disappearance of the victim will not exonerate an
fact against the interest of the declarant; (3) that at the time he made said
accused from prosecution therefor. Otherwise, kidnappers can easily avoid declaration the declarant was aware that the same was contrary to his aforesaid
punishment by the simple expedient of disposing of their victim's bodies.
interest; and (4) that the declarant had no motive to falsify and believed such
declaration to be true." 12

Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code provides thus:


Openda, Jr., having been missing since his abduction, cannot be called upon to
Art. 267. — Kidnapping and serious illegal detention. — testify. His confession to Enriquez, definitely a declaration against his own
interest, since his affair with Naty Bernal was a crime, is admissible in
evidence because no sane person will be presumed to tell a falsehood to his
13

Any private individual who shall kidnap or detain another, or in any own detriment. 14

other manner deprive him of his liberty, shall suffer the penalty
of reclusion perpetua to death:
In his brief, Bernal highlights supposed inconsistencies in Sagarino's testimony.
He alleges that the latter could not have seen the actual handcuffing because
"Tarsing's Store" could not be seen from the billiard hall. Sagarino's testimony
shows that after Bernal and two others left the billiard hall, the latter came back the store, the latter could have already brought home his son before proceeding
with Openda, Jr., already handcuffed. alone to the billiard hall where he was seem by Segarino. 19

Q The three of them together? Bernal would like the Court to dismiss Sagarino's testimony by imputing revenge
as his motive for testifying. He alleges that on July 29, 1991, or six days before
the alleged kidnapping, five policemen arrived at Kasilak, Bucana on board a
A Yes, sir.
patrol car asking for Openda, Jr., Sagarino, Joseph Mendoza, Dansoy Madelo and
Dagoy Balagan. He replied that they were residents of the place and staying at
Q And what about you, where did you stay? the billiard hall and mahjong house. The policemen departed and went to the
places he mentioned.
A I just stayed in the billiard hall.
Q Minutes later do you know what
happened?
Q While you stay (sic) in the billiard hall, after
a while, what did you see next?
A They came back.
A The two came back.
Q What did you do after they came back?
Q Who were these two whom you said who
(sic) came back? A I asked these police officers if they found
these (sic) persons they were looking (for) ?
A The companions of Bernal.
Q What was their answer?
Q And what did these two men do?
A They answered in the negative.
A They apprehended Jun-jun Openda. 15

Q Since the answer is in the negative, what


did you do ?
From this proceeding, Bernal wrongly inferred that Sagarino actually saw
Openda, Jr. arrested. The lower court correctly rejected this argument by holding
that: A I asked the police officers why they were
looking for these persons.(?)
But Sagarino has not said that he saw the actual handcuffing of
Openda, Jr. at the Tarsing or Tarcing store. On the contrary, he says Q What was the answer of the policemen?
that he had not known who the person was that Bernal referred to
when he requested one of this two companions to go see if that
A The police officer said that those people
person was still there at the store, and that he came to know that he
were wanted by them because accordingly
was Openda, Jr. only after he saw Openda, Jr. pass by the billiard hall
(sic) they were marijuana pushers. 20

already handcuffed, with the two unidentified companions of Bernal


with him, on their way out to the main road. 16

Bernal's position is that no abduction or kidnapping ever took place but that an
arrest was made by pursuing policemen. This contention is quite improbable, if
If one had a direct view of "Tarsing's Store" from the billiard hall, Bernal would
not highly preposterous.
not have requested his companion to check if Openda, Jr. were still there
drinking with Racasa. Another discrepancy pointed out by Bernal arose from the
testimonies of Racasa and Sagarino. Racasa, on cross-examination, stated: The trial court correctly appreciated the testimony of Sagarino, it being free from
any ill-motive against Bernal. If the latter's allegations were true, then Sagarino
should have been arrested by the police at the time he gave his testimony in
Q After Theodore Bernal left you have seen
court. No such arrest was, however, made.
him also returned (sic) with his child, is that
correct?
The court a quo committed no error in finding the testimonies of Enriquez,
Racasa and Sagarino sufficient to convict Bernal. The court said that Sagarino's
A Yes, sir, because I was still in the store. 17

forthright answers to the questions of the prosecutor and defense counsel


clearly establish the participation of Bernal in the abduction or kidnapping or
On the other hand, Sagarino averred that: Openda, Jr. Evidence, to be believed, must not only proceed from the mouth of a
credible witness, but must be credible in itself. This Court once again finds
21

occasion to reiterate the established rule that the findings of fact of a trial court
Q When Theodore Bernal left the place, how
carry great weight and are entitled to respect on appeal, absent any strong and
long (sic) were you able to see him again? cogent reason to the contrary, since it is in a better position to decided the
question of credibility of witnesses.22

A Quite a time, sir, because when they left, his


two companions came back and proceeded to We note that after a lapse of a considerable length of time, the victim has yet to
Tarcing Store and arrested Jun-jun Openda.
resurface. Considering the circumstances, it is safe to assume that Openda, Jr. is
When these two men brought out Jun-jun already dead.
Openda, fifteen minutes later, Bernal came.

Finally, the Solicitor General, pursuant to the Indeterminate Sentence Law,


Q Do you know where this Bernal from? (sic) recommended to this Court the penalty of seventeen (17) years of reclusion
temporal, as minimum, to reclusion perpetua, as maximum. The maximum
A He was coming from outside. penalty must be determined in accordance with rules and provision of the
Revised Penal Code. With respect to the minimum penalty, however, "it is left
entirely within the discretion of the court to fix it anywhere within the range of
Q He has with him his son? the penalty next lower without reference to the periods into which it may be
subdivided." Consistent with this ruling, this Court imposes reclusion temporal,
23

A He was with nobody, sir. in its maximum period, as the minimum penalty, to reclusion perpetua, as
maximum.

Q Are you sure of that?


WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the instant appeal is DISMISSED and the
appealed decision dated November 18, 1993, is AFFIRMED in toto.
A Yes, sir.

Costs against accused-appellant Theodore Bernal.


Q He was alone?

SO ORDERED.
A Yes, sir. 18

The testimonies of Racasa and Sagarino are not absolutely inconsistent with
each other as to be irreconcilable. Considering the proximity of the store from
the billiard hall, there is a possibility that when Racasa saw Bernal with his son at G.R. No. 121027 July 31, 1997
CORAZON DEZOLLER TISON and RENE R. DEZOLLER, petitioners, certificate of Martin and Teodora Guerrero. 4 Petitioners thereafter rested
vs. their case and submitted a written offer of these exhibits to which a
COURT OF APPEALS and TEODORA DOMINGO, respondents. Comment5 was filed by herein private respondent.

REGALADO, J.: Subsequently, private respondent filed a Demurrer to Plaintiff's Evidence on


the ground that petitioners failed to prove their legitimate filiation with the
deceased Teodora Guerrero in accordance with Article 172 of the Family
The present appeal by certiorari seeks the reversal of the judgment
Code. It is further averred that the testimony of petitioner Corazon Dezoller
rendered by respondent Court of Appeals on June 30, 1995 1 which affirmed
Tison regarding her relationship with her alleged father and aunt is self-
the Order of December 3, 1992 issued by the Regional Trial Court of Quezon
serving, uncorroborated and incompetent, and that it falls short of the
City, Branch 98, granting herein private respondent's Demurrer to Plaintiff's
quantum of proof required under Article 172 of the Family Code to establish
Evidence filed in Civil Case No. Q-88-1054 pending therein.
filiation. Also, the certification issued by the Office of the Local Civil
Registrar of Himamaylan, Negros Occidental is merely proof of the alleged
The present appellate review involves an action for reconveyance filed by destruction of the records referred to therein, and the joint affidavit
herein petitioners against herein private respondent before the Regional executed by Pablo Verzosa and Meliton Sitjar certifying to the date, place of
Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 98, docketed as the aforesaid Civil Case birth and parentage of herein petitioners is inadmissible for being hearsay
No. Q-88-1054, over a parcel of land with a house and apartment thereon since the affiants were never presented for cross-examination.6
located at San Francisco del Monte, Quezon City and which was originally
owned by the spouses Martin Guerrero and Teodora Dezoller Guerrero. It
On December 3, 1992, the trial court issued an order granting the demurrer
appears that petitioners Corazon Tison and Rene Dezoller are the niece and
to evidence and dismissing the complaint for reconveyance.7
nephew, respectively, of the deceased Teodora Dezoller Guerrero who is the
sister of petitioner's father, Hermogenes Dezoller. Teodora Dezoller
Guerrero died on March 5, 1983 without any ascendant or descendant, and In upholding the dismissal, respondent Court of Appeals declared that the
was survived only by her husband, Martin Guerrero, and herein petitioners. documentary evidence presented by herein petitioners, such as the
Petitioners' father, Hermogenes, died on October 3, 1973, hence they seek baptismal certificates, family picture, and joint affidavits are all
to inherit from Teodora Dezoller Guerrero by right of representation. inadmissible and insufficient to prove and establish filiation. Hence, this
appeal.
The records reveal that upon the death of Teodora Dezoller Guerrero, her
surviving spouse, Martin, executed on September 15, 1986 an Affidavit of We find for petitioners.
Extrajudicial Settlement2 adjudicating unto himself, allegedly as sole heir,
the land in dispute which is covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No.
The bone of contention in private respondent's demurrer to evidence is
66886, as a consequence of which Transfer Certificate of Title No. 358074
whether or not herein petitioners failed to meet the quantum of proof
was issued in the name of Martin Guerrero. On January 2, 1988, Martin
required by Article 172 of the Family Code to establish legitimacy and
Guerrero sold the lot to herein private respondent Teodora Domingo and
filiation. There are two points for consideration before us: first is the issue
thereafter, Transfer Certificate of Title No. 374012 was issued in the latter's
on petitioner's legitimacy, and second is the question regarding their
name.
filiation with Teodora Dezoller Guerrero.

Martin Guerrero died on October 25, 1988. Subsequently, herein petitioners


I. It is not debatable that the documentary evidence adduced by
filed an action for reconveyance on November 2, 1988, claiming that they
petitioners, taken separately and independently of each other, are not per
are entitled to inherit one-half of the property in question by right of
se sufficient proof of legitimacy nor even of pedigree. It is important to
representation.
note, however, that the rulings of both lower courts in the case are basically
premised on the erroneous assumption that, in the first place, the issue of
At the pre-trial conference, the following issues were presented by both legitimacy may be validly controverted in an action for reconveyance, and,
parties for resolution: in the second place, that herein petitioners have the onus probandi to
prove their legitimacy and, corollarily, their filiation. We disagree on both
counts.
(1) whether or not the plaintiffs (herein petitioners)
are the nephew and niece of the late Teodora
Dezoller; It seems that both the court a quo and respondent appellate court have
regrettably overlooked the universally recognized presumption on
legitimacy. There is no presumption of the law more firmly established and
(2) whether or not the plaintiffs are entitled to inherit
founded on sounder morality and more convincing reason than the
by right of representation from the estate of the late
presumption that children born in wedlock are legitimate. 8And well settled
Teodora Dezoller;
is the rule that the issue of legitimacy cannot be attacked collaterally.

(3) whether or not defendant (herein private


The rationale for these rules has been explained in this wise:
respondent) must reconvey the reserved participation
of the plaintiffs to the estate of the late Teodora
Dezoller under Section 4, Rule 74 of the Rules of Court The presumption of legitimacy in the Family Code . . .
which was duly annotated on the title of the actually fixes a civil status for the child born in
defendant; wedlock, and that civil status cannot be attacked
collaterally. The legitimacy of the child can be
impugned only in a direct action brought for that
(4) whether or not the plaintiffs are entitled to
purpose, by the proper parties, and within the period
damages, moral and exemplary, plus attorney's fees
limited by law.
for the willful and malicious refusal of defendant to
reconvey the participation of plaintiffs in the estate of
Teodora Dezoller, despite demands and knowing fully The legitimacy of the child cannot be contested by
well that plaintiffs are the niece and nephew of said way of defense or as a collateral issue in another
deceased; and action for a different purpose. The necessity of an
independent action directly impugning the legitimacy
is more clearly expressed in the Mexican Code (Article
(5) whether or not the subject property now in
335) which provides: "The contest of the legitimacy of
litigation can be considered as conjugal property of
a child by the husband or his heirs must be made by
the spouses Martin Guerrero and Teodora Dezoller
proper complaint before the competent court; any
Guerrero.3
contest made in any other way is void." This principle
applies under our Family Code. Articles 170 and 171
During the hearing, petitioner Corazon Dezoller Tison was presented as the of the code confirm this view, because they refer to
lone witness, with the following documentary evidence offered to prove "the action to impugn the legitimacy." This action can
petitioners' filiation to their father and their aunt, to wit: a family picture; be brought only by the husband or his heirs and
baptismal certificates of Teodora and Hermogenes Dezoller; certificates of within the periods fixed in the present articles.
destroyed records of birth of Teodora Dezoller and Hermogenes Dezoller;
death certificates of Hermogenes Dezoller and Teodora Dezoller Guerrero;
Upon the expiration of the periods provided in Article
certification of destroyed records of live birth of Corazon and Rene Dezoller;
170, the action to impugn the legitimacy of a child can
joint affidavits of Pablo Verzosa and Meliton Sitjar attesting to the parents,
no longer be brought. The status conferred by the
date and place of birth of Corazon and Rene Dezoller; joint affidavit of
presumption, therefore, becomes fixed, and can no
Juliana Cariaga and Manuela Cariaga attesting to the fact of marriage
longer be questioned. The obvious intention of the
between Martin Guerrero and Teodora Dezoller; and the marriage
law is to prevent the status of a child born in wedlock suit involving the subject matter of the declaration, but before any
from being in a state of uncertainty for a long time. It controversy has arisen thereon.
also aims to force early action to settle any doubt as
to the paternity of such child, so that the evidence
There is no dispute with respect to the first, second and fourth elements.
material to the matter, which must necessarily be
What remains for analysis is the third element, that is, whether or not the
facts occurring during the period of the conception of
other documents offered in evidence sufficiently corroborated the
the child, may still be easily available.
declaration made by Teodora Dezoller Guerrero in her lifetime regarding the
pedigree of petitioner Corazon Dezoller Tison or, if at all, it is necessary to
xxx xxx xxx present evidence other than such declaration.

Only the husband can contest the legitimacy of a child American jurisdiction has it that a distinction must be made as to when the
born to his wife. He is the one directly confronted relationship of the declarant may be proved by the very declaration itself,
with the scandal and ridicule which the infidelity of or by other declarations of said declarant, and when it must be supported
his wife produces; and he should decide whether to by evidence aliunde. The rule is stated thus:
conceal that infidelity or expose it, in view of the
moral and economic interest involved. It is only in
One situation to be noted is that where one seeks to
exceptional cases that his heir are allowed to contest
set up a claim through, but not from, the declarant
such legitimacy. Outside of these cases, none — even
and to establish the admissibility of a declaration
his heirs — can impugn legitimacy; that would
regarding claimant's pedigree, he may not do by
amount to an insult to his memory.9
declarant's own statements as to declarant's
relationship to the particular family. The reason is
The issue, therefore, as to whether petitioners are the legitimate children of that declarant's declaration of his own relationship is
Hermogenes Dezoller cannot be properly controverted in the present action of a self-serving nature. Accordingly there must be
for reconveyance. This is aside, of course, from the further consideration precedent proof from other sources that declarant is
that private respondent is not the proper party to impugn the legitimacy of what he claimed to be, namely, a member of the
herein petitioners. The presumption consequently continues to operate in particular family; otherwise the requirement to
favor of petitioners unless and until it is rebutted. admissibility that declarant's relationship to the
common family must appear is not met. But when the
party claiming seeks to establish relationship in order
Even assuming that the issue is allowed to be resolved in this case, the
to claim directly from the declarant or the declarant's
burden of proof rests not on herein petitioners who have the benefit of the
estate, the situation and the policy of the law
presumption in their favor, but on private respondent who is disputing the
applicable are quite different. In such case the
same. This fact alone should have been sufficient cause for the trial court to
declaration of the decedent, whose estate is in
exercise appropriate caution before acting, as it did, on the demurrer to
controversy, that he was related to the one who
evidence. It would have delimited the issues for resolution, as well as the
claims his estate, is admissible without other proof of
time and effort necessitated thereby.
the fact of relationship. While the nature of the
declaration is then disserving, that is not the real
Ordinarily, when a fact is presumed, it implies that the party in whose favor ground for its admission. Such declarations do not
the presumption exists does not have to introduce evidence to establish derive their evidential value from that consideration,
that fact, and in any litigation where that fact is put in issue, the party although it is a useful, if not an artificial, aid in
denying it must bear the burden of proof to overthrow the determining the class to which the declarations
presumption. 10 The presumption of legitimacy is so strong that it is clear belong. The distinction we have note is sufficiently
that its effect is to shift the burden of persuasion to the party claiming apparent; in the one case the declarations are self-
illegitimacy. 11 And in order to destroy the presumption, the party against serving, in the other they are competent from reasons
whom it operates must adduce substantial and credible evidence to the of necessity. 17 (Emphasis ours.)
contrary.12
The general rule, therefore, is that where the party claiming seeks recovery
Where there is an entire lack of competent evidence to the contrary, 13 and against a relative common to both claimant and declarant, but not from the
unless or until it is rebutted, it has been held that a presumption may stand declarant himself or the declarant's estate, the relationship of the declarant
in lieu of evidence and support a finding or decision. 14 Perforce, a to the common relative may not be proved by the declaration itself. There
presumption must be followed if it is uncontroverted. This is based on the must be some independent proof of this fact. 18 As an exception, the
theory that a presumption is prima facie proof of the fact presumed, and requirement that there be other proof than the declarations of the
unless the fact thus established prima facie by the legal presumption of its declarant as to the relationship, does not apply where it is sought to reach
truth is disproved, it must stand as proved. 15 the estate of the declarant himself and not merely to establish a right
through his declarations to the property of some other member of the
Indubitably, when private respondent opted not to present countervailing family. 19
evidence to overcome the presumption, by merely filing a demurrer to
evidence instead, she in effect impliedly admitted the truth of such fact. We are sufficiently convinced, and so hold, that the present case is one
Indeed, she overlooked or disregarded the evidential rule that instance where the general requirement on evidence aliunde may be
presumptions like judicial notice and admissions, relieve the proponent relaxed. Petitioners are claiming a right to part of the estate of the
from presenting evidence on the facts he alleged and such facts are thereby declarant herself. Conformably, the declaration made by Teodora Dezoller
considered as duly proved. Guerrero that petitioner Corazon is her niece, is admissible and constitutes
sufficient proof of such relationship, notwithstanding the fact that there
II. The weight and sufficiency of the evidence regarding petitioner's was no other preliminary evidence thereof, the reason being such
relationship with Teodora Dezoller Guerrero, whose estate is the subject of declaration is rendered competent by virtue of the necessity of receiving
the present controversy, requires a more intensive and extensive such evidence to avoid a failure of justice. 20 More importantly, there is in
examination. the present case an absolute failure by all and sundry to refute that
declaration made by the decedent.

Petitioners' evidence, as earlier explained, consists mainly of the testimony


of Corazon Dezoller Tison, the baptismal, death and marriage certificates, From the foregoing disquisitions, it may thus be safely concluded, on the
the various certifications from the civil registrar, a family picture, and sole basis of the decedent's declaration and without need for further proof
several joint affidavits executed by third persons all of which she identified thereof, that petitioners are the niece and nephew of Teodora Dezoller
and explained in the course and as part of her testimony. Guerrero. As held in one case, 21 where the subject of the declaration is the
declarant's own relationship to another person, it seems absurb to require,
as a foundation for the admission of the declaration, proof of the very fact
The primary proof to be considered in ascertaining the relationship which the declaration is offered to establish. The preliminary proof would
between the parties concerned is the testimony of Corazon Dezoller Tison render the main evidence unnecessary.
to the effect that Teodora Dezoller Guerrero in her lifetime, or sometime in
1946, categorically declared that the former is Teodora's niece. 16 Such a
statement is considered a declaration about pedigree which is admissible, Applying the general rule in the present case would nonetheless produce
as an exception to the hearsay rule, under Section 39, Rule 130 of the Rules the same result. For while the documentary evidence submitted by
of Court, subject to the following conditions: (1) that the declarant is dead petitioners do not strictly conform to the rules on their admissibility, we are
or unable to testify; (2) that the declarant be related to the person whose however of the considered opinion that the same may be admitted by
pedigree is the subject of inquiry; (3) that such relationship be shown by reason of private respondent's failure to interpose any timely objection
evidence other than the declaration; and (4) that the declaration was thereto at the time they were being offered in evidence. 22 It is elementary
made ante litem motam, that is, not only before the commencement of the that an objection shall
be made at the time when an alleged inadmissible document is offered in alienate his total undivided three-fourths (3/4) share in the entire property
evidence, 23 otherwise, the objection shall be treated as waived, 24 since the to herein private respondent. Resultantly, petitioners and private
right to object is merely a privilege which the party may waive. 25 respondent are deemed co-owners of the property covered by Transfer
Certificate of Title No. 374012 in the proportion of an undivided one-fourth
(1/4) and three-fourths (3/4) share thereof, respectively.
As explained in Abrenica vs. Gonda, et al., 26 it has been repeatedly laid
down as a rule of evidence that a protest or objection against the admission
of any evidence must be made at the proper time, otherwise it will be All told, on the basis of the foregoing considerations, the demurrer to
deemed to have been waived. The proper time is when from the question plaintiff's evidence should have been, as it is hereby, denied. Nonetheless,
addressed to the witness, or from the answer thereto, or from the private respondent may no longer be allowed to present evidence by
presentation of the proof, the inadmissibility of the evidence is, or may be reason of the mandate under Section 1 of revised Rule 3 of the Rules of
inferred. Court which provides that "if the motion is granted but on appeal the order
of dismissal is reversed he shall be deemed to have waived the right to
present evidence." 33
Thus, a failure to except to the evidence because it does not conform with
the statute is a waiver if the provisions of the law. That objection to a
question put to a witness must be made at the time the question is asked. WHEREFORE, the questioned judgment of respondent Court of Appeals is
An objection to the admission of evidence on the ground of incompetency, hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE, and herein petitioners and private
taken after the testimony has been given, is too late. 27Thus, for instance, respondent are declared co-owners of the subject property with an
failure to object to parol evidence given on the stand, where the party is in undivided one-fourth (1/4) and three-fourths (3/4) share therein,
a position to object, is a waiver of any objections thereto. 28 respectively.

The situation is aggravated by the fact that counsel for private respondent SO ORDERED.
unreservedly cross-examined petitioners,as the lone witness, on the
documentary evidence that were offered. At no time was the issue of the
supposed inadmissibility thereof, or the possible basis for objection
thereto, ever raised. Instead, private respondent's counsel elicited answers
from the witness on the circumstances and regularity of her obtention of
said documents: The observations later made by private respondent in her
comment to petitioners' offer of exhibits, although the grounds therefor
were already apparent at the time these documents were being adduced in
evidence during the testimony of Corazon Dezoller Tison but which
objections were not timely raised therein, may no longer serve to rectify
the legal consequences which resulted therefrom. Hence, even assuming ex
gratia argumenti that these documents are inadmissible for being hearsay,
but on account of herein private respondent's failure to object thereto, the
same may be admitted and considered as sufficient to prove the facts
therein asserted. 29

Accordingly, the Certificate of Marriage (Exhibit S) wherein it is indicated


that the parents of Teodora Dezoller are Isabelo Dezoller and Cecilia Calpo,
as well as the Certificates of Baptism of Teodora Dezoller 30 (Exhibit H) and
Hermogenes Dezoller (Exhibit J) which both reflect the names of their
parents as Isabelo Dezoller and Cecilia Calpo, to show that Hermogenes
Dezoller is the brother of Teodora Dezoller Guerrero; and the Death
Certificate of Hermogenes Dezoller (Exhibit K) the entries wherein were
made by petitioner Corazon Dezoller Tison as his daughter, together with
the Joint Affidavits of Pablo Verzosa and Meliton Sitjar (Exhibits N and P), to
prove that herein petitioners are the children of Hermogenes Dezoller —
these can be deemed to have sufficiently established the relationship
between the declarant and herein petitioners. This is in consonance with
the rule that a prima facie showing is sufficient and that only slight proof of
the relationship is required. 31 Finally, it may not be amiss to consider as in
the nature of circumstantial evidence the fact that both the declarant and
the claimants, who are the subject of the declaration, bear the surname
Dezoller. 32

III. The following provisions of the Civil Code provide for the manner by
which the estate of the decedent shall be divided in this case, to wit:

Art. 975. When children of one or more brothers or


sisters of the deceased survive, they shall inherit from
the latter by representation, if they survive with their
uncles or aunts. But if they alone survive, they shall
inherit in equal portions.

Art. 995. In the absence of legitimate descendants


and ascendants, and illegitimate children and their
descendants, whether legitimate or illegitimate, the
surviving spouse shall inherit the entire estate,
without prejudice to the rights of brothers and sisters,
nephews and nieces, should there be any, under
Article 1001.

Art. 1001. Should brothers and sisters or their


children survive with the widow or widower, the
latter shall be entitled to one-half of the inheritance
and the brothers and sisters or theirs children to the
other half.

Upon the death of Teodora Dezoller Guerrero, one-half of the subject


property was automatically reserved to the surviving spouse, Martin G.R. No. 124853 February 24, 1998
Guerrero, as his share in the conjugal partnership. Applying the
aforequoted statutory provisions, the remaining half shall be equally
divided between the widower and herein petitioners who are entitled to FRANCISCO L. JISON, petitioner,
jointly inherit in their own right. Hence, Martin Guerrero could only validly vs.
COURT OF APPEALS and MONINA JISON, respondents.
DAVIDE, JR., J.: Arsenio Duatin, a 77-year old retired laborer, testified that from 1947 until
1977, he worked as FRANCISCO's houseboy at the latter's house on 12th
Street, Capitol Subdivision, Bacolod City. Arsenio met MONINA in 1967,
This is a petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court of the 27
when Felipe Lagarto, the bookkeeper at Nelly Garden, informed Arsenio
April 1995 decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No.
that MONINA, FRANCISCO's daughter, would arrive at Bacolod City with a
328601 which reversed the decision of Branch 24 of the Regional Trial Court
letter of introduction from Lagarto.
(RTC) of Iloilo City in Civil Case No. 16373.2 The latter dismissed the
complaint of private respondent Monina Jison (hereafter MONINA) for
recognition as an illegitimate child of petitioner Francisco Jison (hereafter Initially, Arsenio identified seven (7) black-and-white photographs (Exhs. X-
FRANCISCO). 5 to X-11) of MONINA,8 and as he paid for the telephone bills, he likewise
identified six (6) telephone cards (Exhs. G to L). Arsenio then declared that
when MONINA arrived in Bacolod City, she introduced herself to him as
In issue is whether or not public respondent Court of Appeals committed
FRANCISCO's daughter. She stayed at FRANCISCO's house, but when the
reversible error, which, in this instance, necessitates an inquiry into the
latter and his wife would come over, Arsenio would "conceal the presence
facts. While as a general rule, factual issues are not within the province of
of MONINA because Mrs. Jison did not like to see her face." Once, Arsenio
this Court, nevertheless, in light of the conflicting findings of facts of the
hid MONINA in the house of FRANCISCO's sister, Mrs. Luisa Jison Alano, in
trial court and the Court of Appeals, this case falls under an exception to
Silay City; another time, at the residence of FRANCISCO's cousin, Mrs.
this rule?3
Concha Lopez Cuaycong. Finally, Arsenio declared that the last time he saw
MONINA was when she left for Manila, after having finished her schooling
In her complaint4 filed with the RTC on 13 March 1985, MONINA alleged at La Salle College in Bacolod City.
that FRANCISCO had been married to a certain Lilia Lopez Jison since 1940.
At the end of 1945 or the start of 1946, however, FRANCISCO impregnated
On re-direct and upon questions by the court, Arsenio disclosed that it was
Esperanza F. Amolar (who was then employed as the nanny of FRANCISCO's
FRANCISCO who instructed that MONINA be hidden whenever FRANCISCO
daughter, Lourdes). As a result, MONINA was born on 6 August 1946, in
and his wife were around; that although FRANCISCO and MONINA saw each
Dingle, Iloilo, and since childhood, had enjoyed the continuous, implied
other at the Bacolod house only once, they called each other "through long
recognition as an illegitimate child of FRANCISCO by his acts and that of his
distance;" and that MONINA addressed FRANCISCO as "Daddy" during their
family. MONINA further alleged that FRANCISCO gave her support and
lone meeting at the Bacolod house and were "affectionate" to each other.
spent for her education, such that she obtained a Master's degree, became
Arsenio likewise declared that MONINA stayed at FRANCISCO's Bacolod
a certified public accountant (CPA) and eventually, a Central Bank examiner.
house twice: first for a month, then for about a week the second time. On
In view of FRANCISCO's refusal to expressly recognize her, MONINA prayed
both occasions, however, FRANCISCO and his wife were abroad. Finally,
for a judicial declaration of her illegitimate status and that FRANCISCO
Arsenio recalled that FRANCISCO likewise bade Arsenio to treat MONINA
support and treat her as such.
like his (FRANCISCO's) other daughters.

In his answer,5 FRANCISCO alleged that he could not have had sexual
The testimony of Zafiro Ledesma, a 74-year old banker and former mayor of
relations with Esperanza Amolar during the period specified in the
Iloilo City, initially touched on how he and his wife were related to
complaint as she had ceased to be in his employ as early as 1944, and did
FRANCISCO, FRANCISCO's wife and MONINA. Zafiro first identified Exhibit R,
not know of her whereabouts since then; further, he never recognized
a diagram of the family trees of the Jison and Lopez families, which showed
MONINA, expressly or impliedly, as his illegitimate child. As affirmative and
that former Vice-President Fernando Lopez was the first cousin of
special defenses, FRANCISCO contended that MONINA had no right or cause
FRANCISCO's wife, then told the court that the family of Vice-President
of action against him and that her action was barred by estoppel, laches
Lopez treated MONINA "very well because she is considered a relative . . .
and/or prescription. He thus prayed for dismissal of the complaint and an
by reputation, by actual perception." Zafiro likewise identified Exhibits X-13
award of damages due to the malicious filing of the complaint.
to X-18, photographs taken at the 14 April 1985 birthday celebration of Mrs.
Fernando Lopez, which showed MONINA with the former Vice-President
After MONINA filed her reply, 6 pre-trial was conducted where the parties and other members of the Lopez family.
stipulated on the following issues:
Zafiro further testified that while MONINA lived with Mrs. Cuaycong, the
1. Did Francisco Jison have any sexual relation[s] with Esperanza latter paid for some of MONINA's school needs and even asked MONINA to
Am[o]lar about the end of 1945 or the start of 1946? work in a hospital owned by Mrs. Cuaycong; and that another first cousin of
FRANCISCO's wife, a certain Remedios Lopez Franco, likewise helped
2. Is Monina Jison the recognized illegitimate daughter of MONINA with her studies and problems, and even attended MONINA's
Francisco Jison by the latter's own acts and those of his family? graduation in 1978 when she obtained a masteral degree in Business
Administration, as evidenced by another photograph (Exh. X-12). Moreover,
upon Remedios' recommendation, MONINA was employed as a secretary at
3. Is Monina Jison barred from instituting or prosecuting the Merchant Financing Company, which was managed by a certain Danthea
present action by estoppel, laches and/or prescription? Lopez, the wife of another first cousin of FRANCISCO's wife, and among
whose directors were Zafiro himself, his wife and Danthea's husband. In
4. Damages.7 closing, Zafiro identified MONINA's Social Security Record (Exh. W), which
was signed by Danthea as employer and where MONINA designated
Remedios as the beneficiary.
At trial on the merits, MONINA presented a total of eleven (11) witnesses,
namely: herself, Ruben Castellanes, Sr., Adela Casabuena, Arsenio Duatin,
Zafiro Ledesma, Danthea Lopez, Romeo Bilbao, Rudy Tiangson, Alfredo Danthea Lopez, a 58-year old housekeeper, declared that FRANCISCO was
Baylosis, Dominador Zavariz and Lope Amolar. the first cousin of her husband, Eusebio D. Lopez; and that she came to
know MONINA in the latter part of 1965 when Remedios Franco
recommended MONINA for employment at Merchant Financing Co., which
Ruben Castellanes, Sr., a 63-year old resident of Iloilo City, testified that he Danthea managed at that time. Remedios introduced MONINA to Danthea
had worked for FRANCISCO for a total of six (6) years at Nelly Garden, "as being reputedly the daughter of Mr. Frank Jison;" and on several
FRANCISCO's Iloilo residence. Towards the end of the Japanese occupation, occasions thereafter, Remedios made Danthea and the latter's husband
FRANCISCO's wife suffered a miscarriage or abortion, thereby depriving understand that MONINA was "reputedly the daughter of [FRANCISCO]"
FRANCISCO of consortium; thereafter, FRANCISCO's wife managed a While MONINA worked at Merchant Financing, Danthea knew that
nightclub on the ground floor of Nelly Garden which operated daily from MONINA lived with Remedios; however, in the latter part of 1966, as
6:00 p.m. till 3:00 a.m. of the following day, thereby allowing FRANCISCO Remedios left for Manila and MONINA was still studying at San Agustin
free access to MONINA's mother, Esperanza Amolar, who was nicknamed University, Danthea and her husband invited MONINA to live with them.
Pansay. During MONINA's 6-month stay with them, she was not charged for board
and lodging and was treated as a relative, not a mere employee, all owing
Adela Casabuena, a 61-year old farmer, testified that she served as the yaya to what Remedios had said regarding MONINA's filiation. As Danthea
("nanny") of Lourdes from July 1946 up to February 1947. Although Pansay understood, MONINA resigned from Merchant Financing as she was called
had left Nelly Garden two (2) weeks before Adela started working for the by Mrs. Cuaycong, a first cousin of Danthea's husband who lived in Bacolod
Jisons, Pansay returned sometime in September 1946, or about one month City.
after she gave birth to MONINA, to ask FRANCISCO for support. As a result,
Pansay and Lilia Jison, FRANCISCO's wife, quarreled in the living room, and Romeo Bilbao, a 43-year old seaman, testified that he had worked for
in the course thereof, Pansay claimed that FRANCISCO was the father of her FRANCISCO from 1969 up to 1980 at Nelly Garden in various capacities: as a
baby. To which, Lilia replied: "I did not tell you to make that baby so it is procurement officer, hacienda overseer and, later, as hacienda
your fault." During the quarrel which lasted from 10:30 till 11:00 a.m., administrator. Sometime in May, 1971, Romeo saw and heard MONINA ask
FRANCISCO was supposedly inside the house listening. "her Daddy" (meaning FRANCISCO) for the money he promised to give her,
but FRANCISCO answered that he did not have the money to give, then told
MONINA to go see Mr. Jose Cruz in Bacolod City. Then in the middle of
September that year, FRANCISCO told Romeo to pick up Mr. Cruz at the
Iloilo pier and bring him to the office of Atty. Benjamin Tirol. At said office, at Nelly Garden, in the room of Don Vicente (father of FRANCISCO's wife),
Atty. Tirol, Mr. Cruz and MONINA entered a room while Romeo waited where she asked for a Christmas gift "and she was calling Don Vicente, Lolo
outside. When they came out, Atty. Tirol had papers for MONINA to sign, (grandfather)." At that time, FRANCISCO and his wife were not around.
but she refused. Atty. Tirol said that a check would be released to MONINA Then sometime in 1961, when Dominador went to Mr. Legarto's office to
if she signed the papers, so MONINA acceded, although Atty. Tirol intended get the marketing expenses, Dominador saw MONINA once more claiming
not to give MONINA a copy of the document she signed. Thereafter, Mr. her allowance.
Cruz gave MONINA a check (Exh. Q), then MONINA grabbed a copy of the
document she signed and ran outside. Romeo then brought Mr. Cruz to
Dominador further testified that in February 1966, after he had stopped
Nelly Garden. As to his motive for testifying, Romeo stated that he wanted
working for FRANCISCO, Dominador was at Mrs. Franco's residence as she
to help MONINA be recognized as FRANCISCO'S daughter.
recommended him for employment with her sister, Mrs. Concha Cuaycong.
There, he saw MONINA, who was then about 15 years old, together with
Rudy Tingson, a 45-year old antique dealer, testified that in 1963-1964, he Mrs. Franco's daughter and son. Mrs. Franco pointed at MONINA and asked
was employed by FRANCISCO's wife at the Baguio Military Institute in Dominador if he knew who MONINA was. Dominador answered that
Baguio City; then in 1965, Rudy worked at FRANCISCO's office at Nelly MONINA was FRANCISCO's daughter with Pansay, and then Mrs. Franco
Garden recording hacienda expenses, typing vouchers and office papers, remarked that MONINA was staying with her (Mrs. Franco) and that she
and, at times, acting as paymaster for the haciendas. From the nature of his was sending MONINA to school at the University of San Agustin.
work, Rudy knew the persons receiving money from FRANCISCO's office,
and clearly remembered that in 1965, as part of his job, Rudy gave MONINA
Lope Amolar, a 50-year old resident of Dingle, Iloilo, and the younger
her allowance from FRANCISCO four (4) times, upon instructions of a
brother of Esperanza Amolar (Pansay), testified that he worked for
certain Mr. Lagarto to give MONINA P15.00 a month. Rudy likewise recalled
FRANCISCO as a houseboy from March to November 1945 at Nelly Garden.
that he first met MONINA in 1965, and that she would go to Nelly Garden
Thereafter, FRANCISCO sent Lope to work at Elena Apartments in Manila.
whenever FRANCISCO's wife was not around. On some of these occasions,
By November 1945, Pansay was also working at Elena Apartments, where
MONINA would speak with and address FRANCISCO as "Daddy," without
she revealed to Lope that FRANCISCO impregnated her. Lope then
objection from FRANCISCO. In fact, in 1965, Rudy saw FRANCISCO give
confronted FRANCISCO, who told Lope "don't get hurt and don't cause any
MONINA money thrice. Rudy further declared that in April 1965,
trouble, because I am willing to support your Inday Pansay and my child."
FRANCISCO's office paid P250.00 to Funeraria Bernal for the funeral
Three (3) days after this confrontation, Lope asked for and received
expenses of MONINA's mother. Finally, as to Rudy's motives for testifying,
permission from FRANCISCO to resign because he (Lope) was hurt.
he told the court that he simply wanted to held bring out the truth "and
nothing but the truth," and that MONINA's filiation was common
knowledge among the people in the office at Nelly Garden. On 21 October 1986, MONINA herself took the witness stand. At that time,
she was 40 years old and a Central Bank Examiner. She affirmed that as
evidenced by certifications from the Office of the Local Civil Registrar (Exhs.
On re-direct, Rudy declared that the moneys given by FRANCISCO's office to
E and F) and baptismal certificates (Exhs. C and D), she was born on 6
MONINA were not reflected in the books of the office, but were kept in a
August 1946 in Barangay Tabugon, Dingle, Iloilo, to Esperanza Amolar (who
separate book, as Mr. Lagarto explained that FRANCISCO's wife and children
passed away on 20 April 1965) and FRANCISCO. 9 MONINA first studied at
"should not know [of] this." Rudy further revealed that as to the garden
Sagrado where she stayed as a boarder. While at Sagrado from 1952 until
"meetings" between FRANCISCO and MONINA, Rudy saw MONINA kiss
1955 (up to Grade 4), her father, FRANCISCO, paid for her tuition fees and
FRANCISCO on the cheek both upon arriving and before leaving, and
other school expenses. She either received the money from FRANCISCO or
FRANCISCO's reaction upon seeing her was to smile and say in the Visayan
from Mr. Lagarto, or saw FRANCISCO give money to her mother, or Mr.
dialect: "Kamusta ka iha?" ("How are you, daughter?"); and that MONINA
Lagarto would pay Sagrado directly. After Sagrado, MONINA studied in
was free to go inside the house as the household staff knew of her filiation,
different schools,10but FRANCISCO continuously answered for her schooling.
and that, sometimes, MONINA would join them for lunch.

For her college education, MONINA enrolled at the University of Iloilo, but
Alfredo Baylosis, a 62-year old retired accountant, testified that he worked
she later dropped due to an accident which required a week's
for FRANCISCO at Central Santos-Lopez in Iloilo from 1951 up to 1961, then
hospitalization. Although FRANCISCO paid for part of the hospitalization
at Nelly Garden from 1961 until 1972. Alfredo first served FRANCISCO as a
expenses, her mother shouldered most of them. In 1963, she enrolled at
bookkeeper, then when Mr. Lagarto died in 1967 or 1969, Alfredo replaced
the University of San Agustin, where she stayed with Mrs. Franco who paid
Mr. Lagarto as office manager.
for MONINA's tuition fees. However, expenses for books, school supplies,
uniforms and the like were shouldered by FRANCISCO. At the start of each
Alfredo knew MONINA since 1961 as she used to go to Nelly Garden to semester, MONINA would show FRANCISCO that she was enrolled, then he
claim her P15.00 monthly allowance given upon FRANCISCO's standing would ask her to canvass prices, then give her the money she needed. After
order. Alfredo further declared that MONINA's filiation was pretty well- finishing two (2) semesters at University of San Agustin, as evidenced by
known in the office, that he had seen MONINA and FRANCISCO go from the her transcript of records (Exh. Z showing the FRANCISCO was listed as
main building to the office, with FRANCISCO's arm on MONINA's shoulder; Parent/Guardian [Exh. Z-1], she transferred to "De Paul College," just in
and that the office paid for the burial expenses of Pansay, but this was not front of Mrs. Franco's house, and studied there for a year. Thereafter,
recorded in the books in order to hide it from FRANCISCO's wife. Alfredo MONINA enrolled at Western Institute of Technology (WIT), where she
also disclosed that the disbursements for MONINA's allowance started in obtained a bachelor's degree in Commerce in April 1967. During her senior
1961 and were recorded in a separate cash book. In 1967, the allowances year, she stayed with Eusebio and Danthea Lopez at Hotel Kahirup, owned
ceased when MONINA stopped schooling and was employed in Bacolod by said couple. She passed the CPA board exams in 1974, and took up an
City with Miller, Cruz & Co., which served as FRANCISCO's accountant- M.B.A. at De La Salle University as evidenced by her transcript (Exh. AA),
auditor. Once, when Alfredo went to the offices of Miller, Cruz & Co. to see wherein FRANCISCO was likewise listed as "Guardian" (Exhs. AA-1 and AA-
the manager, Mr. Atienza, and arrange for the preparation of FRANCISCO's 2).
income tax return, Alfredo chanced upon MONINA. When Alfredo asked
her how she came to work there, she answered that "her Daddy,"
MONINA enumerated the different members of the household staff at Nelly
FRANCISCO, recommended her, a fact confirmed by Mr. Atienza Alfredo
Garden, to wit: Luz, the household cook; the houseboys Silvestre and
then claimed that Mr. Jose Cruz, a partner at Miller, Cruz & Co., was the
Doming; the housemaid Natang; the yaya of the adopted triplets, Deling;
most trusted man of FRANCISCO.
the yaya of Lolo Vicente, Adelina; and others. MONINA likewise
enumerated the members of the office staff (Messrs. Baylosis, Lagarto,
Dominador Savariz, a 55-year old caretaker, testified that he worked as Tingson, Diasnes, Jalandoni, Supertisioso, Doroy, and other), and identified
FRANCISCO's houseboy at Nelly Garden from November 1953 up to 1965. them from a photograph marked as Exhibit X-2. She then corroborated the
One morning in April 1954, MONINA and her mother Pansay went to Nelly prior testimony regarding her employment at Merchant Financing Co., and
Garden and spoke with FRANCISCO for about an hour, during which time, her having lived at Hotel Kahirup and at Mrs. Cuaycong's residence in
Dominador was vacuuming the carpet about six (6) to seven (7) meters Bacolod City, while working at the hospital owned by Mrs. Cuaycong.
away. Due to the noise of the vacuum cleaner, FRANCISCO and MONINA
spoke in loud voices, thus Dominador overheard their conversation. As
MONINA further testified that in March 1968, she went to Manila and met
FRANCISCO asked Pansay why they came, Pansay answered that they came
FRANCISCO at Elena Apartments at the corner of Romero and Salas Streets,
to ask for the "sustenance" of his child MONINA. FRANCISCO then touched
Ermita. She told FRANCISCO that she was going for a vacation in Baguio City
MONINA's head and asked: "How are you Hija?," to which MONINA
with Mrs. Franco's mother, with whom she stayed up to June 1968. Upon
answered: "Good morning, Daddy." After FRANCISCO told Pansay and
her return from Baguio City, MONINA told FRANCISCO that she wanted to
MONINA to wait, he pulled something from his wallet and said to Pansay. "I
work, so the latter arranged for her employment at Miller & Cruz in Bacolod
am giving this for a child."
City. MONINA went to Bacolod City, was interviewed by Mr. Jose Cruz, a
partner at Miller & Cruz, who told her she would start working first week of
In May 1954, Dominador saw MONINA at Mr. Lagarto's office where September, sans examination. She resigned from Miller & Cruz in 1971 and
Dominador was to get "the day's expenses," while MONINA was claiming lived with Mrs. Cuaycong at her Forbes Park residence in Makati. MONINA
her allowance from Mr. Diasnes. The next month, Dominador saw MONINA went to see FRANCISCO, told him that she resigned and asked him for
at Nelly Garden and heard in the office that MONINA was there to get her money to go to Spain, but FRANCISCO refused as she could not speak
allowance "from her Daddy." In December 1960, Dominador saw MONINA Spanish and would not be able find a job. The two quarreled and
FRANCISCO ordered a helper to send MONINA out of the house. In the FRANCISCO declared that Pansay's employment ceased as of October, 1
process, MONINA broke many glasses at the pantry and cut her hand, after 1944, and that while employed by him, Pansay would sleep with the other
which, FRANCISCO hugged her, gave her medicine, calmed her down, asked female helpers on the first floor of his residence, while he, his wife and
her to return to Bacolod City and promised that he would giver her the daughter slept in a room on the second floor. At that time, his household
money. staff was composed of three (3) female workers and two (2) male workers.
After Pansay left in October 1944, she never communicated with him again,
neither did he know of her whereabouts. FRANCISCO staunchly denied
MONINA returned to Bacolod City by plane, using a Filipinas Orient Airways
having had sexual relations with Pansay and disavowed any knowledge
plane ticket (Exh. M) which FRANCISCO gave. She called Mr. Cruz, then Atty.
about MONINA's birth. In the same vein, he denied having paid for
Tirol, as instructed by Mr. Cruz. These calls were evidenced by PLDT long
MONINA's tuition fees, in person or otherwise, and asserted that he never
distance toll card (Exhs. G to L), with annotations at the back reading;
knew that Mr. Lagarto paid for these fees. Moreover, FRANCISCO could not
"charged and paid under the name of Frank L. Jison" and were signed by
believe that Lagarto would pay for these fees despite absence of
Arsenio Duatin (Exhs. G-1 to L-1). PLDT issued a certification as to the
instructions or approval from FRANCISCO. He likewise categorically denied
veracity of the contents of the toll cards (Exh. BB). Likewise introduced in
that he told anyone, be it Danthea Lopez, Zafiro Ledesma, Concha Cuaycong
evidence was a letter of introduction prepared by Mr. Cruz addressed to
or Remedios Franco, that MONINA was his daughter.
Atty. Tirol, on MONINA's behalf (Exh. N).

FRANCISCO also disclosed that upon his return from the United States in
MONINA also declared that Atty. Tirol then told her that she would have to
1971, he fired Alfredo Baylosis upon discovering that Alfredo had taken
go to Iloilo and sign a certain affidavit, before Mr. Cruz would turn over the
advantage of his position during the former's absence. FRANCISCO likewise
money promised by FRANCISCO. She went to Atty. Tirol's office in Iloilo, but
fired Rudy Tingson and Romeo Bilbao, but did not give the reasons therefor.
after going over the draft of the affidavit, refused to sign it as it stated that
she was not FRANCISCO's daughter. She explained that all she had agreed
with FRANCISCO was that he would pay for her fare to go abroad, and that Finally, FRANCISCO denied knowledge of MONINA's long distance calls from
since she was a little girl, she knew about her illegitimacy. She started his Bacolod residence; nevertheless, when he subsequently discovered this,
crying, begged Atty. Tirol to change the affidavit, to which Atty. Tirol he fired certain people in his office for their failure to report this anomaly.
responded that he was also a father and did not want this to happen to his As regards the caretaker of his Bacolod residence, FRANCISCO explained
children as they could not be blamed for being brought into the world. She that since MONINA lived at Mrs. Cuaycong's residence, the caretaker
then wrote a letter (Exh. O) to FRANCISCO and sent it to the latter's Forbes thought that he could allow people who lived at the Cuaycong residence to
Park residence (Bauhinia Place) by JRS courier service (Exhs. O-5 to O-7). use the facilities at his (FRANCISCO's) house.
MONINA subsequently met FRANCISCO in Bacolod City where they
discussed the affidavit which she refused to sign. FRANCISCO told her that
Nonito Jalandoni, bookkeeper and paymaster at Nelly's Garden from 1963
the affidavit was for his wife, that in case she heard about MONINA going
up to 1974, then from 1980 up to 1986, the assistant overseer of Hacienda
abroad, the affidavit would "keep her peace."
Lopez, testified that he did not know MONINA; that he learned of her only
in June 1988, when he was informed by FRANCISCO that MONINA had sued
MONINA then narrated that the first time she went to Atty. Tirol's office, him; and that he never saw MONINA at Nelly's Garden, neither did he know
she was accompanied by one Atty. Fernando Divinagracia, who advised her of any instructions for anyone at Nelly's Garden to give money to MONINA.
that the affidavit (Exh. P)11 would "boomerang" against FRANCISCO "as it is
contrary to law." MONINA returned to Bacolod City, then met with Atty.
Teodoro Zulla, FRANCISCO's bookkeeper and paymaster from 1951 up to
Tirol once more to reiterate her plea, but Atty. Tirol did not relent. Thus, on
1986, testified that FRANCISCO dismissed Alfredo Baylosis due to certain
the morning of 20 or 21 September 1971, she signed the affidavit as she
unspecified discrepancies; and that he never saw MONINA receive funds
was jobless and needed the money to support herself and finish her
from either Mr. Lagarto or Mr. Baylosis. Upon questions from the trial court,
studies. In exchange for signing the document, MONINA received a Bank of
however, Teodoro admitted that he prepared vouchers for only one of
Asia check for P15,000.00 (Exh. Q), which was less than the P25,000.00
FRANCISCO's haciendas, and not vouchers pertaining to the latter's
which FRANCISCO allegedly promised to give. As Atty. Tirol seemed hesitant
personal expenses.
to give her a copy of the affidavit after notarizing it, MONINA merely
grabbed a copy and immediately left.
Iñigo Supertisioso testified that he worked for FRANCISCO at Nelly's Garden
from 1964 up to 1984 as a field inspector, paymaster, cashier and,
MONINA then prepared to travel abroad, for which purpose, she procured
eventually, officer-in-charge (OIC). He confirmed Alfredo Baylosis' dismissal
letters of introduction (Exhs. S and T) from a cousin, Mike Alano (son of
due to these unspecified irregularities, then denied that FRANCISCO ever
FRANCISCO's elder sister Luisa); and an uncle, Emilio Jison (FRANCISCO's
ordered that MONINA be given her allowance. Likewise, Iñigo never heard
elder brother), addressed to another cousin, Beth Jison (Emilio's daughter),
FRANCISCO mention that MONINA was his (FRANCISCO's) daughter.
for Beth to assist MONINA. Exhibit S contained a statement (Exh. S-1)
expressly recognizing that MONINA was FRANCISCO's daughter. Ultimately
though, MONINA decided not to go abroad, opting instead to spend the Lourdes Ledesma, FRANCISCO's daughter, testified that she saw (but did not
proceeds of the P15,000.00 check for her CPA review, board exam and know) MONINA at the Our Lady of Mercy Hospital, on the occasion of the
graduate studies. After finishing her graduate studies, she again planned to birth of Lourdes' first son, Mark. Over lunch one day, Lourdes' aunt casually
travel abroad, for which reason, she obtained a letter of introduction from introduced Lourdes and MONINA to each other, but they were referred to
former Vice President Fernando Lopez addressed to then United States only by their first names. Then sometime in 1983 or 1984, MONINA
Consul Vernon McAnnich (Exh. V). allegedly went to Lourdes' house in Sta. Clara Subdivision requesting for a
letter of introduction or referral as MONINA was then job-hunting.
However, Lourdes did not comply with the request.
As to other acts tending to show her filiation, MONINA related that on one
occasion, as FRANCISCO's wife was going to arrive at the latter's Bacolod
City residence, FRANCISCO called Arsenio Duatin and instructed Arsenio to Jose Cruz, a partner at Miller, Cruz & Co., testified that MONINA worked at
hide MONINA. Thus, MONINA stayed with Mrs. Luisa Jison for the duration Miller & Cruz from 1968 up to 1971, however, he did not personally
of the stay of FRANCISCO's wife. MONINA also claimed that she knew Vice interview her before she was accepted for employment. Moreover,
President Fernando Lopez and his wife, Mariquit, even before starting to go MONINA underwent the usual screening procedure before being hired. Jose
to school. Thus, MONINA asked for a recommendation letter (Exh. U) from recalled that one of the accountants, a certain Mr. Atienza, reported that
Mrs. Mariquit Lopez for possible employment with Mrs. Rosario Lopez MONINA claimed to be FRANCISCO's daughter. Jose then told Mr. Atienza to
Cooper, another second cousin of FRANCISCO. In Exhibit U, Mrs. Lopez speak with MONINA and see if he (Mr. Atienza) could stop her from
expressly recognized MONINA as FRANCISCO's daughter. As additional spreading this rumor. Mr. Atienza reported that he spoke with MONINA,
proof of her close relationship with the family of Vice President Lopez, who told him that she planned to leave for the United States and needed
MONINA identified photographs taken at a birthday celebration on 14 April P20,000.00 for that purpose, and in exchange, she would sign a document
1985. disclaiming filiation with FRANCISCO. Thus, Jose instructed Mr. Atienza to
request that MONINA meet with Jose, and at that meeting, MONINA
confirmed Mr. Atienza's report. Jose then informed Atty. Tirol, FRANCISCO's
MONINA finally claimed that she knew the three (3) children of FRANCISCO
personal lawyer, about the matter.
by wife, namely, Lourdes, Francisco, Jr., (Junior) and Elena, but MONINA
had met only Lourdes and Junior. MONINA's testimony dealt lengthily on
her dealings with Junior and the two (2) occasions when she met with Atty. Tirol told Jose to send MONINA and her lawyer to his (Atty. Tirol's)
Lourdes. The last time MONINA saw FRANCISCO was in March 1979, when office in Iloilo. Jose then wrote out a letter of introduction for MONINA
she sought his blessings to get married. addressed to Atty. Tirol Jose relayed Atty. Tirol's message to MONINA
through Mr. Atienza, then later, Atty. Tirol told Jose to go to Iloilo with a
clerk for P15,000.00 Jose complied, and at Atty. Tirol's office, Jose saw
In his defense, FRANCISCO offered his deposition taken before then Judge
MONINA, Atty. Tirol and his secretary reading some documents. MONINA
Romeo Callejo of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 48. As
then expressed her willingness to sign the document, sans revisions. Jose
additional witnesses, FRANCISCO presented Nonito Jalandoni, Teodoro
alleged that he drew the P15,000.00 from his personal funds, subject to
Zulla, Iñigo Supertisioso, Lourdes Ledesma, Jose Cruz and Dolores Argenal.
reimbursement from and due to an understanding with FRANCISCO.
Dolores Argenal, a househelper at Nelly Garden from May 1944 up to May As to the third issue, the trial court held that MONINA was not barred by
1946, testified that she knew that Pansay was Lourdes' nanny; that Lourdes prescription for it was of "the perception . . . that the benefits of Article 268
slept in her parents' room; that she had not seen FRANCISCO give special accorded to legitimate children may be availed of or extended to
treatment to Pansay; that there was no "unusual relationship" between illegitimate children in the same manner as the Family Code has so
FRANCISCO and Pansay, and if there was any, Dolores would have easily provided;" or by laches, "which is [a] creation of equity applied only to
detected it since she slept in the same room as Pansay. Dolores further bring equitable results, and . . . addressed to the sound discretion of the
declared that whenever FRANCISCO's wife was out of town, Pansay would court [and] the circumstances [here] would show that whether plaintiff
bring Lourdes downstairs at nighttime, and that Pansay would not sleep in filed this case immediately upon the death of her mother Esperanza in 1965
the room where FRANCISCO slept. Finally, Dolores declared that Pansay or twenty years thereafter in 1985, . . . there seems to be no inequitable
stopped working for FRANCISCO and his wife in October, 1944. result to defendant as related to the situation of plaintiff."

The reception of evidence having been concluded, the parties filed their The RTC ruled, however, that MONINA was barred by estoppel by deed
respective memoranda. because of the affidavit (Exh. P/Exh. 2) which she signed "when she was
already twenty-five years, a professional and . . . under the able guidance of
counsel."
It need be recalled that Judge Catalino Castañeda, Jr. presided over trial up
to 21 October 1986, thereby hearing only the testimonies of MONINA's
witnesses and about half of MONINA's testimony on direct examination. Finally, the RTC denied FRANCISCO's claim for damages, finding that
Judge Norberto E. Devera, Jr. heard the rest of MONINA's testimony and MONINA did not file the complaint with malice, she having been "propelled
those of FRANCISCO's witnesses. by an honest belief, founded on probable cause."

In its decision of 12 November 199012 the trial court, through Judge Devera, MONINA seasonably appealed to the Court of Appeals (CA-G.R. CV No.
dismissed the complaint with costs against MONINA. In the opening 32860) and sought reversal of the trial court's decision on the grounds that:
paragraph thereof, it observed:
I
This is a complaint for recognition of an illegitimate child
instituted by plaintiff Monina Jison against defendant Francisco
THE TRIAL COURT WAS ERRONEOUSLY PREDISPOSED TO
Jison. This complaint was filed on March 13, 1985 at the time
ADJUDGE THIS CASE AGAINST APPELLANT DUE TO ITS
when plaintiff, reckoned from her death of birth, was already
MISPERCEPTION THAT APPELLANT'S DELAY IN FILING HER
thirty-nine years old. Noteworthy also is the fact that it was
COMPLAINT WAS FATAL TO HER CASE.
instituted twenty years after the death of plaintiff's mother,
Esperanza Amolar. For the years between plaintiff's birth and
Esperanza's death, no action of any kind was instituted against II
defendant either by plaintiff, her mother Esperanza or the
latter's parents. Neither had plaintiff brought such an action THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN ITS REJECTION OF THE TESTIMONIES
against defendant immediately upon her mother's death on April OF APPELLANT'S WITNESSES AS TAILOR-MADE, INADEQUATE
20, 1965, considering that she was then already nineteen years AND INCREDIBLE.
old or, within a reasonable time thereafter. Twenty years more
had to supervene before this complaint was eventually
instituted. III

The trial court then proceeded to discuss the four issues stipulated at pre- THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN ITS REJECTION OF THE
trial, without, however, summarizing the testimonies of the witnesses nor ADMISSIBILITY OF THE CERTIFIED COPIES OF PUBLIC
referring to the testimonies of the witnesses other than those mentioned in DOCUMENTS PRESENTED BY APPELLANT AS PART OF HER
the discussion of the issues. EVIDENCE.

The trial court resolved the first issue in the negative, holding that it was IV
improbable for witness Lope Amolar to have noticed that Pansay was
pregnant upon seeing her at the Elena Apartments in November 1945, since THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN ITS REQUIREMENT THAT A WITNESS
Pansay was then only in her first month of pregnancy; that there was no TO THE ACTUAL ACT O COPULATION BETWEEN THE APPELLEE
positive assertion that "copulation did indeed take place between Francisco AND APPELLANT'S MOTHER SHOULD HAVE POSITIVELY TESTIFIED
and Esperanza;" and that MONINA's attempt to show opportunity on the TO SAID EFFECT.
part of FRANCISCO failed to consider "that there was also the opportunity
for copulation between Esperanza and one of the several domestic helpers
admittedly also residing at Nelly's Garden at that time." The RTC also ruled V
that the probative value of the birth and baptismal certificates of MONINA
paled in light of jurisprudence, especially when the misspellings therein THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN REJECTING THE ADMISSIBILITY OF
were considered. THE DULY IDENTIFIED NOTES AND LETTER OF THE RELATIVES OF
THE APPELLEE AS HEARSAY.
The trial court likewise resolved the second issue in the negative, finding
that MONINA's evidence thereon "may either be one of three categories, VI
namely: hearsay evidence, incredulous evidence, or self-serving evidence."
To the first category belonged the testimonies of Adela Casabuena and
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN CONCLUDING THAT APPELLANT'S
Alfredo Baylosis, whose knowledge of MONINA's filiation was based, as to
AFFIDAVIT (EXH. P) SERVED AS A BAR AGAINST HER CLAIM FOR
the former, on "utterances of defendant's wife Lilia and Esperanza allegedly
RECOGNITION INSTEAD OF REINFORCING SAID CLAIM.13
during the heat of their quarrel," while as to the latter, Alfredo's conclusion
was based "from the rumors going [around] that plaintiff is defendant's
daughter, front his personal observation of plaintiff's facial appearance Expectedly, FRANCISCO refuted these alleged errors in his Appellee's Brief. 14
which he compared with that of defendant's and from the way the two
(plaintiff and defendant) acted and treated each other on one occasion that In its decision of 27 April 1995,15 the Court of Appeals initially declared that
he had then opportunity to closely observe them together." To the second as no vested or acquired rights were affected, the instant case was
category belonged that of Dominador Savariz, as: governed by Article 175, in relation to Articles 172 and 173, of the Family
Code.16 While the Court of Appeals rejected the certifications issued by the
At each precise time that Esperanza allegedly visited Nelly's Local Civil Registrar of Dingle, Iloilo (Exhs. E and F) as FRANCISCO did not
Garden and allegedly on those occasions when defendant's wife, sign them, said court focused its discussion on the other means by which
Lilia was in Manila, this witness was there and allegedly heard illegitimate filiation could be proved, i.e., the open and continuous
pieces of conversation between defendant and Esperanza related possession of the status of an illegitimate child or, by any other means
to the paternity of the latter's child. . . allowed by the Rules of Court and special laws, such as "the baptismal
certificate of the child, a judicial admission, a family bible wherein the
name of the child is entered, common reputation respecting pedigree,
The RTC then placed MONINA's testimony regarding the acts of recognition
admission by silence, testimonies of witnesses . . ." 17 To the Court of
accorded her by FRANCISCO's relatives under the third category, since the
Appeals, the "bottom line issue" was whether or not MONINA established
latter were never presented as witnesses, for which reason the trial court
her filiation as FRANCISCO's illegitimate daughter by preponderance of
excluded the letters from FRANCISCO's relatives (Exhs. S to V).
evidence, as to which issue said court found:
[N]ot just preponderant but overwhelming evidence on record to In fine, We hold that [MONINA's] filiation as [FRANCISCO's]
prove that [MONINA] is the illegitimate daughter of illegitimate daughter has been conclusively, established by the
[FRANCISCO] and that she had continuously enjoyed such status uncontroverted testimonies of Lope Amolar, Adela Casabuena
by direct acts of [FRANCISCO] and/or his relatives. and Dominador Savariz to the effect that appellee himself had
admitted his paternity of the appellee, and also by the
testimonies of appellant; Arsenio Duatin, Romeo Bilbao, Rudy
In so ruling, the Court of Appeals observed that the testimonies of Lope
Tingson and Alfredo Baylosis unerringly demonstrating that by
Amolar, Adela Casabuena and Dominador Savariz were already sufficient to
his own conduct or overt acts like sending appellant to school,
establish MONINA's filiation:
paying for her tuition fees, school uniforms, books, board and
lodging at the Colegio del Sagrado Corazon de Jesus, defraying
As adverted to earlier, the trial court discredited Lope Amolar's appellant's hospitalization expenses, providing her with [a]
testimony by saying that Lope could not have detected monthly allowance, paying for the funeral expenses of
Esperanza's pregnant state in November, 1945 since at that point appellant's mother, acknowledging appellant's paternal
in time [sic] she was still in the initial stage of pregnancy. greetings and calling appellant his "Hija" or child, instructing his
Apparently, the trial court paid more emphasis on the date office personnel to give appellant's monthly allowance,
mentioned by Lope Amolar than on the tenor and import his recommending appellant for employment at the Miller, Cruz &
testimony. As . . . Lope . . . was asked about an incident that Co., allowing appellant to use his house in Bacolod and paying
transpired more than 41 years back, [u]nder the circumstances, for her long distance telephone calls, having appellant spend her
it is unreasonable to expect that Lope could still be dead right on vacation in his apartment in Manila and also at his Forbes
the specific month in 1945 that [he] met and confronted his residence, allowing appellant to use his surname in her
sister. At any rate, what is important is not the month that they scholastic and other records (Exhs. Z, AA, AA-1, to AA-5, W & W-
met but the essence of his testimony that his sister pointed to 5), appellee had continuously recognized appellant as his
their employer [FRANCISCO] as the one responsible for her illegitimate daughter. Added to these are the acts of
pregnancy, and that upon being confronted, [FRANCISCO] [FRANCISCO's] relatives acknowledging or treating [MONINA] as
assured him of support for Esperanza and their child. It would [FRANCISCO's] daughter (Exh. U) or as their relative (Exhs. T &
appear then that in an attempt to find fault with Lope's V). On this point, witness Zafiro Ledesma, former Mayor of Iloilo
testimony, the trial court has fallen oblivious to the fact that City, whose spouse belongs to the Lopez clan just like
even [FRANCISCO], in his deposition, did not deny that he was [FRANCISCO], testified that [MONINA) has been considered by
confronted by Lope about what he had done to Esperanza during the Lopezes as a relative. He identified pictures of the appellee in
which he unequivocally acknowledged paternity by assuring the company of the Lopezes (Exhs X-16 & X-17). Another witness,
Lope of support for both Esperanza and their child. Danthea H. Lopez, whose husband Eusebio Lopez is appellee's
first cousin, testified that appellant was introduced to her by
The Court of Appeals further noted that Casabuena and Savariz "testified appellee's cousin, Remedios Lopez Franco, as the daughter of
on something that they personally observed or witnessed," which matters appellee Francisco Jison, for which reason, she took her in as [a]
FRANCISCO "did not deny or refute." Finally, said court aptly held: secretary in the Merchant's Financing Corporation of which she
was the manager, and further allowed her to stay with her family
free of board and lodging. Still on this aspect, Dominador Savariz
Taking into account all the foregoing uncontroverted testimonies declared that sometime in February, 1966 appellee's relative,
. . . let alone such circumstantial evidence as [MONINA's] Birth Ms. Remedios Lopez Franco pointed to appellant as the daughter
Certificates . . . and Baptismal Certificates which invariably bear of appellee Francisco Jison.
the name of [FRANCISCO] as her father, We cannot go along with
the trial court's theory that [MONINA's] illegitimate filiation has
not been satisfactorily established. Finally, the Certifications of the Local Civil Registrar of Dingle
(Exhs E and F) as well as [MONINA's] Baptismal Certificates (Exhs
C & D) which the trial court admitted in evidence as part of
xxx xxx xxx [MONINA's] testimony, may serve as circumstantial evidence to
further reinforce [MONINA's] claim that she is [FRANCISCO's]
Significantly, [MONINA's] testimony finds ample corroboration illegitimate daughter by Esperanza Amolar.
from [FRANCISCO's] former employees, Arsenio Duatin, Rudy
Tingson and Alfredo Baylosis. . . . True it is that a trial judge's assessment of the credibility of
witnesses is accorded great respect on appeal. But the rule
xxx xxx xxx admits of certain exceptions. One such exception is where the
judge who rendered the judgment was not the one who heard
the witnesses testify. [citations omitted] The other is where the
Carefully evaluating appellant's evidence on her enjoyment of trial court had overlooked, misunderstood or misappreciated
the status of an illegitimate daughter of [FRANCISCO] vis-a- some facts or circumstances of weight and substance which, if
vis [FRANCISCO's] controversion thereof, We find more weight in properly considered, might affect the result of the case.
the former. The positive testimonies of [MONINA] and [her] [citations omitted] In the present case, both exceptions obtain.
witnesses . . . all bearing on [FRANCISCO's] acts and/or conduct All of [MONINA's] witnesses . . . whose testimonies were not
indubitably showing that he had continuously acknowledged given credence did not testify before the judge who rendered the
[MONINA] as his illegitimate daughter have not been disputed judgment . . .
succeessfully [sic] refuted. In fact, [FRANCISCO] himself, in his
deposition, only casually dismissed [MONINA's] exhaustive and
detailed testimony as untrue, and with respect to those given by The Court of Appeals then decreed:
[MONINA's] witnesses, he merely explained that he had fired
[them] from their employment. Needless to state, [FRANCISCO's] WHEREFORE, premises considered, the judgment of the trial
vague denial is grossly inadequate to overcome the probative court is SET ASIDE and another one is hereby entered for
weight of [MONINA's] testimonial evidence. appellant Monina Jison, declaring her as the illegitimate
daughter of appellee Francisco Jison, and entitled to all rights
Even the affidavit (Exh 2) which [FRANCISCO] had foisted on the and privileges granted by law.
trial court . . . does not hold sway in the face of [MONINA's]
logical explanation that she at first did agree to sign the affidavit Costs against appellee.
which contained untruthful statements. In fact, she promptly
complained to [FRANCISCO] who, however explained to her that
the affidavit was only for the consumption of his spouse . . . SO ORDERED.
Further, the testimony of Jose Cruz concerning the events that
led to the execution of the affidavit . . . could not have been true, His motion for reconsideration having been denied by the Court of Appeals
for as pointed out by [MONINA] she signed the affidavit . . . in its resolution of 29 March 1996, 18 FRANCISCO filed the instant petition.
almost five months after she had resigned from the Miller, Cruz He urges us to reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals, alleging that
& Co. . . . said court committed errors of law:

At any rate, if [MONINA] were not his illegitimate daughter, it I.


would have been uncalled for, if not absurd, for [FRANCISCO] or
his lawyer to have secured [MONINA's] sworn statement . . . On
. . . IN REVERSING THE DECISION OF THE TRIAL COURT AND
the contrary, in asking [MONINA] to sign the said affidavit at the
DECLARING PRIVATE RESPONDENT AS THE ILLEGITIMATE CHILD
cost of P15,000. [FRANCISCO] clearly betrayed his intention to
OF PETITIONER, CONSIDERING [THE] IMPOSSIBILITY OF SEXUAL
conceal or suppress his paternity of [MONINA] . . .
CONTACT BETWEEN THE PETITIONER AND THE PRIVATE
RESPONDENTS MOTHER AT THE TIME CONCEPTION WAS ever facilitated her employment thereat. Hence, in light of Baluyot
SUPPOSED TO HAVE OCCURRED. v. Baluyot,21 the quantum of evidence to prove paternity by clear and
convincing evidence, not merely a preponderance thereof, was not met.
II.
With respect to the third assigned error, FRANCISCO argues that the Court
of Appeals' reliance on the certifications of the Local Civil Registrar (Exhs. E
. . . IN REVERSING THE TRIAL COURT'S FINDING CONSIDERING
and F) and Baptismal Certificates (Exhs. C and D) as circumstantial evidence
THAT PRIVATE RESPONDENTS TESTIMONIAL EVIDENCE OF
is misplaced. First, their genuineness could not be ascertained as the
PATERNITY AND FILIATION IS NOT CLEAR AND CONVINCING.
persons who issued them did not testify. Second, in light of Reyes v. Court
of Appeals,22 the contents of the baptismal certificates were hearsay, as the
III. data was based only on what was told to the priest who solemnized the
baptism, who likewise was not presented as a witness. Additionally, the
. . . IN GIVING CREDENCE TO DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE name of the father appearing therein was "Franque Jison," which was not
PRESENTED BY THE PRIVATE RESPONDENT AS EVIDENCE OF FRANCISCO's name. Third, in both Exhibits E and F, the names of the child's
FILIATION CONSIDERING THAT THE SAME ARE HEARSAY, SELF- parents were listed as "Frank Heson" and "Esperanza Amador" (not
SERVING AND CANNOT BIND THE PETITIONER UNDER THE BASIC Amolar). FRANCISCO further points out that in Exhibit F, the status of the
RULES OF EVIDENCE. child is listen as "legitimate," while the father's occupation as "laborer."
Most importantly, there was no showing that FRANCISCO signed Exhibits E
and F or that he was the one who reported the child's birth to the Office of
IV. the Local Civil Registrar. As to MONINA's educational records, FRANCISCO
invokes Bañas v. Bañas23 which recognized that school records are prepared
. . . IN INTERPRETING THE PRIVATE RESPONDENTS SWORN by school authorities, not by putative parents, thus incompetent to prove
STATEMENT (EXH. "P" /EXH. "2") IN A MANNER NOT IN paternity. And, as to the photographs presented by MONINA, FRANCISCO
CONSONANCE WITH THE RULINGS OF THE HONORABLE cites Colorado v. Court of Appeals,24 and further asserts that MONINA did
SUPREME COURT. not present any of the persons with whom she is seen in the pictures to
testify thereon; besides these persons were, at best, mere second cousins
of FRANCISCO. He likewise assails the various notes and letters written by
V. his relatives (Exhs. S to V) as they were not identified by the authors.
Finally, he stresses that MONINA did not testify as to the telephone cards
. . . IN NOT CONSIDERING THE LONG AND UNEXPLAINED DELAY (Exhs. G to L) nor did these reveal the circumstances surrounding the calls
IN THE FILING OF THE PRESENT PATERNITY SUIT AS EQUIVALENT she made from his residence.
TO LACHES.
Anent the fourth assigned error, FRANCISCO contends that the Court of
As regards the first error, FRANCISCO insists that taking into account the Appeals' interpretation of MONINA's affidavit of 21 September 1971 ran
second paragraph of MONINA's complaint wherein she claimed that he and counter to Dequito v. Llamas,25 and overlooked that at the time of
Pansay had sexual relations "by about the end of 1945 or the start of 1946," execution, MONINA was more than 25 years old and assisted by counsel.
it was physically impossable for him and Pansay to have had sexual contact
which resulted in MONINA's birth, considering that: As to the last assigned error, FRANCISCO bewails the Court of Appeals'
failure to consider the long and unexplained delay in the filing of the case.
The normal period of human pregnancy is nine (9) months. If as
claimed by private respondent in her complaint that her mother In her comment, MONINA forcefully refuted FRANCISCO's arguments,
was impregnated by FRANCISCO "at the end of 1945 or the start leading FRANCISCO to file his reply thereto.
of 1946", she would have been born sometime in late September
or early October and not August 6, 1946 . . . The instant case
finds factual and legal parallels in Constantino On 20 November 1996, we gave due course to this petition and required the
vs. Mendez,19 thus: . . . parties to submit their respective memoranda, which they subsequently
did.
FRANCISCO further claims that his testimony that Pansay was no longer
employed by him at the time in question was unrebutted, moreover, other A painstaking review of the evidence and arguments fails to support
men had access to Pansay during the time of or even after her employment petitioner.
by him.
Before addressing the merits of the controversy, we first dispose of
As to the second error, FRANCISCO submits that MONINA's testimonial preliminary matters relating to the applicable law and the guiding principles
evidence is "shaky, contradictory and unreliable," and proceeds to attack in paternity suits. As to the former, plainly, the Family Code of the
the credibility of her witnesses by claiming, in the main, that: (a) Lope Philippines (Executive Order No. 209) governs the present controversy. As
Amolar could not have detected Pansay pregnancy in November 1945 when correctly cited by the Court of Appeals, Uyguangco 26 served as a judicial
they met since she would have been only one (1) month pregnant then; (b) confirmation of Article 256 of the Family Code 27 regarding its retroactive
Dominador Savariz did not in fact witness the meeting between effect unless there be impairment of vested rights, which does not hold true
FRANCISCO, Pansay and MONINA; (c) Zafiro Ledesma had an ulterior motive here, it appearing that neither the putative parent nor the child has passed
in testifying for MONINA as he owned a bank in Iloilo which was then under away and the former having actually resisted the latter's claim below.
Central Bank supervision and MONINA was the Bank Examiner assigned to
Iloilo; and (d) Danthea Lopez was not related to him by blood and whatever Under Article 175 of the Family Code, illegitimate filiation, such as
favorable treatment MONINA received from Danthea was due to the MONINA's, may be established in the same way and on the same evidence
former's employment at Merchants' Financing Company and additional as that of legitimate children. Article 172 thereof provides the various forms
services rendered at Kahirup Hotel; besides Danthea admitted that she had of evidence by which legitimate filiation is established, thus:
no personal knowledge as to the issue of paternity and filiation of the
contending parties, hence Sections 39 and 40 20 of Rule 130 of the Rules of
Court did not come into play. FRANCISCO likewise re-echoes the view of the Art. 172. The filiation of legitimate children is established by any
trial court as regards the testimonies of Adela Casabuena and Alfredo of the following:
Baylosis.
(1) The record of birth appearing in the civil
FRANCISCO further asserts that MONINA's testimony that he answered for register or a final judgment; or
her schooling was self-serving and uncorroborated by any receipt or other
documentary evidence; and assuming he did, such should be interpreted as (2) An admission of legitimate filiation in a
a manifestation of kindness shown towards the family of a former public document or a private handwritten
household helper. instrument signed by the parent
concerned.
Anent the treatment given by his relatives to MONINA as his daughter,
FRANCISCO points to the fact that Pansay was the former laundrywoman of In the absence of the foregoing evidence,
Mrs. Franco; MONINA resided with the families of Eusebio Lopez and the legitimate filiation shall be proved by:
Concha Cuaycong because she was in their employ at Kahirup Hotel and
Our Lady of Mercy Hospital, respectively; MONINA failed to present Mrs.
(1) The open and continuous possession of
Franco, Eusebio Lopez and Mrs. Cuaycong; and MONINA's employment at
the status of a legitimate child; or
the accounting firm of Miller, Cruz & Co. was attributable to her educational
attainment, there being absolutely no evidence to prove that FRANCISCO
(2) Any other means allowed by the Rules of Court and special 2) FRANCISCO recognized MONINA as his child through his overt
laws. acts and conduct which the Court of Appeals took pains to
enumerate, thus:
This Article reproduces, with amendments, Articles 265, 266 and 267 of the
Civil Code. [L]ike sending appellant to school, paying
for her tuition fees, school uniforms,
books, board and lodging at the Colegio del
For the success of an action to establish illegitimate filiation under the
Sagrado de Jesus, defraying appellant's
second paragraph. which MONINA relies upon given that she has none of
hospitalization expenses, providing her
the evidence mentioned in the first paragraph, a "high standard of
with [a] monthly allowance, paying for the
proof"28 is required. Specifically, to prove open and continuous possession
funeral expenses of appellant's mother,
of the status of an illegitimate child, there must be evidence of the
acknowledging appellant's paternal
manifestation of the permanent intention of the supposed father to
greetings and calling appellant his "Hija" or
consider the child as his, by continuous and clear manifestations of parental
child, instructing his office personnel to
affection and care, which cannot be attributed to pure charity. Such acts
give appellant's monthly allowance,
must be of such a nature that they reveal not only the conviction of
recommending appellant to use his house
paternity, but also the apparent desire to have and treat the child as such in
in Bacolod and paying for her long distance
all relations in society and in life, not accidentally, but continuously. 29
telephone calls, having appellant spend
her long distance telephone calls, having
By "continuous" is meant uninterrupted and consistent, but does not appellant spend her vacation in his
require any particular length of time.30 apartment in Manila and also at his Forbes
residence, allowing appellant to use his
The foregoing standard of proof required to establish one's filiation is surname in her scholastic and other
founded on the principle that an order for recognition and support may records (Exhs Z, AA, AA-1 to AA-5, W & W-
create an unwholesome atmosphere or may be an irritant in the family or 5) . . .
lives of the parties, so that it must be issued only if paternity or filiation is
established by clear and convincing evidence.31 3) Such recognition has been consistently shown and manifested
throughout the years publicly, 35spontaneously, continuously and
The foregoing discussion, however, must be situated within the general in an uninterrupted manner.36
rules on evidence, in light of the burden of proof in civil cases, i.e.,
preponderance of evidence, and the shifting of the burden of evidence in Accordingly, in light of the totality of the evidence on record, the second
such cases. Simply put, he who alleges the affirmative of the issue has the assigned error must fail.
burden of proof, and upon the plaintiff in a civil case, the burden of proof
never parts. However, in the course of trial in a civil case, once plaintiff
There is some merit, however, in the third assigned error against the
makes out a prima facie case in his favor, the duty or the burden of
probative value of some of MONINA's documentary evidence.
evidence shifts to defendant to controvert plaintiff's prima facie case,
otherwise, a verdict must be returned in favor of plaintiff. Moreover, in civil
cases, the party having the burden of proof must produce a preponderance MONINA's reliance on the certification issued by the Local Civil Registrar
of evidence thereon, with plaintiff having to rely on the strength of his own concerning her birth (Exhs. E and F) is clearly misplaced. It is settled that a
evidence and not upon the weakness of the defendant's. The concept of certificate of live birth purportedly identifying the putative father is not
"preponderance of evidence" refers to evidence which is of greater weight, competent evidence as to the issue of paternity, when there is no showing
or more convincing, that which is offered in opposition to it; at bottom, it that the putative father had a hand in the preparation of said certificates,
means probability of truth.32 and the Local Civil Registrar is devoid of authority to record the paternity of
an illegitimate child upon the information of a third person. 37 Simply put, if
the alleged father did not intervene in the birth certificate, e.g., supplying
With these in mind, we now proceed to resolve the merits of the instant
the information himself, the inscription of his name by the mother or
controversy.
doctor or registrar is null and void; the mere certificate by the registrar
without the signature of the father is not proof of voluntary
FRANCISCO's arguments in support of his first assigned error deserve scant acknowledgment on the latter's part.38 In like manner, FRANCISCO's lack of
consideration. While it has been observed that unlawful intercourse will participation in the preparation of the baptismal certificates (Exhs. C and D)
not be presumed merely from proof of an opportunity for such and school records (Exhs. Z and AA) renders these documents incompetent
indulgence,33 this does not favor FRANCISCO. Akin to the crime of rape to prove paternity, the former being competent merely to prove the
where, in most instances, the only witnesses to the felony are the administration of the sacrament of baptism on the date so
participants in the sexual act themselves, in deciding paternity suits, the specified.39 However, despite the inadmissibility of the school records per
issue of whether sexual intercourse actually occurred inevitably redounds se to prove the paternity, they may be admitted as part of MONINA's
to the victim's or mother's word, as against the accused's or putative testimony to corroborate her claim that FRANCISCO spent for her
father's protestations. In the instant case, MONINA's mother could no education.
longer testify as to the fact of intercourse, as she had, unfortunately, passed
away long before the institution of the complaint for recognition. But this
We likewise disagree with the ruling of the Court of Appeals that the
did not mean that MONINA could no longer prove her filiation. The fact of
certificates issued by the Local Civil Registrar and the baptismal certificates
her birth and her parentage may be established by evidence other than the
may be taken as circumstantial evidence to prove MONINA's filiation. Since
testimony of her mother. The paramount question then is whether
they are per se inadmissible in evidence as proof of such filiation, they
MONINA's evidence is coherent, logical and natural. 34
cannot be admitted indirectly as circumstantial evidence to prove the same.

The complaint stated that FRANCISCO had carnal knowledge of Pansay "by
As to Exhibits "S," "T," "U" and "V," the various notes and letters written by
about the end of 1945." We agree with MONINA that this was broad
FRANCISCO's relatives, namely Mike Alano, Emilio Jison, Mariquit Lopez and
enough to cover the fourth quarter of said year, hence her birth on 6 August
Fernando Lopez, respectively, allegedly attesting to MONINA's filiation,
1946 could still be attributed to sexual relations between FRANCISCO and
while their due execution and authenticity are not in issue, 40 as MONINA
MONINA's mother. In any event, since it was established that her mother
witnessed the authors signing the documents, nevertheless, under Rule
was still in the employ of FRANCISCO at the time MONINA was conceived as
130, Section 39, the contents of these documents may not be admitted,
determined by the date of her birth, sexual contact between FRANCISCO
there being no showing that the declarants-authors were dead or unable to
and MONINA's mother was not at all impossible, especially in light of the
testify, neither was the relationship between the declarants and MONINA
overwhelming evidence, as hereafter shown, that FRANCISCO fathered
shown by evidence other than the documents in question. 41 As to the
MONINA, has recognized her as his daughter and that MONINA has been
admissibility of these documents under Rule 130, Section 40, however, this
enjoying the open and continuous possession of the status as FRANCISCO's
requires further elaboration.
illegitimate daughter.

Rule 130, Section 40, provides:


We readily conclude that the testimonial evidence offered by MONINA,
woven by her narration of circumstances and events that occurred through
the years, concerning her relationship with FRANCISCO, coupled with the Sec. 40. Family reputation or tradition regarding pedigree. — The
testimonies of her witnesses, overwhelmingly established the following reputation or tradition existing in a family previous to the
facts: controversy, in respect to the pedigree of any one of its
members, may be received in evidence if the witness testifying
thereon be also a member of the family, either by consanguinity
1) FRANCISCO is MONINA's father and she was conceived at the
or affinity. Entries in family bibles or other family books or
time when her mother was in the employ of the former;
charts, engravings on rings, family portraits and the like may be identity of MONINA's father. Hence, coupled with the assessment of the
received as evidence of pedigree. (emphasis supplied) credibility of the testimonial evidence of the parties discussed above, it is
evident that the standard to contradict a notarial document, i.e. clear and
convincing evidence and more than merely preponderant, 49 has been met
It is evident that this provision may be divided into two (2) parts: the
by MONINA
portion containing the first underscored clause which pertains to
testimonial evidence, under which the documents in question may not be
admitted as the authors thereof did not take the witness stand; and the Plainly then, the burden of evidence fully shifted to FRANCISCO.
section containing the second underscored phrase. What must then be
ascertained is whether Exhibits S to V, as private documents, fall within the
Two (2) glaring points in FRANCISCO's defense beg to be addressed: First,
scope of the clause "and the like" as qualified by the preceding phrase
that his testimony was comprised of mere denials, rife with bare,
"[e]ntries in family bibles or other family books or charts, engravings on
unsubstantiated responses such as "That is not true," "I do not believe
rights [and] family portraits,"
that," or "None that I know." In declining then to lend credence to
FRANCISCO's testimony, we resort to a guiding principle in adjudging the
We hold that the scope of the enumeration contained in the second portion credibility of a witness and the truthfulness of his statements, laid down as
of this provision, in light of the rule of ejusdem generis, is limited to objects early as 1921:
which are commonly known as "family possessions," or those articles which
represent, in effect, a family's joint statement of its belief as to the pedigree
The experience of courts and the general observation of
of a person.42These have been described as objects "openly exhibited and
humanity teach us that the natural limitations of our inventive
well known to the family," 43 or those "which, if preserved in a family, may
faculties are such that if a witness undertakes to fabricate and
be regarded as giving a family tradition." 44 Other examples of these objects
deliver in court a false narrative containing numerous details, he
which are regarded as reflective of a family's reputation or tradition
is almost certain to fall into fatal inconsistencies, to make
regarding pedigree are inscriptions on tombstones, 45 monuments or coffin
statements which can be readily refuted, or to expose in his
plates.46
demeanor the falsity of his message.

Plainly then, Exhibits S to V, as private documents not constituting "family


For this reason it will be found that perjurers usually confine
possessions" as discussed above, may not be admitted on the basis of Rule
themselves to the incidents immediately related to the principal
130, Section 40. Neither may these exhibits be admitted on the basis of
fact about which they testify, and when asked about collateral
Rule 130, Section 41 regarding common reputation, 47 it having been
facts by which their truthfulness could be tested, their answers
observed that:
not infrequently take the stereotyped form of such expressions
as "I don't know" or "I don't remember." . . .50
[T]he weight of authority appears to be in favor of the theory
that it is the general repute, the common reputation in the
Second, the reasons for the dismissals of Tingson, Baylosis and Savariz were
family, and not the common reputation in community, that is a
unspecified or likewise unsubstantiated, hence FRANCISCO's attempt to
material element of evidence going to establish pedigree. . . .
prove ill-motive on their part to falsely testify in MONINA's favor may not
[Thus] matters of pedigree may be proved by reputation in the
succeed. As may be gleaned, the only detail which FRANCISCO could furnish
family, and not by reputation in the neighborhood or vicinity,
as to the circumstances surrounding the dismissals of his former employees
except where the pedigree in question is marriage which may be
was that Baylosis allegedly "took advantage of his position" while
proved by common reputation in the community.48
FRANCISCO was in the United States. But aside from this bare claim,
FRANCISCO's account is barren, hence unable to provide the basis for a
Their inadmissibility notwithstanding, Exhibits "S" to "V," inclusive, may, in finding of bias against FRANCISCO on the part of his former employees.
like manner as MONINA's school records, properly be admitted as part of
her testimony to strengthen her claim that, indeed, relatives of FRANCISCO
As to FRANCISCO's other witnesses, nothing substantial could be obtained
recognized her as his daughter.
either. Nonito Jalandoni avowed that he only came to know of MONINA in
June 1988;51 that during his employment at Nelly Garden from 1963 up to
We now direct our attention to MONINA's 21 September 1971 affidavit 1974, he did not recall ever having seen MONINA there, neither did he
(Exh. P/Exh. 2), subject of the fourth assigned error, where she attests that know of any instructions from FRANCISCO nor Mr. Lagarto (FRANCISCO's
FRANCISCO is not her father. MONINA contends that she signed it under office manager before passing away) regarding the disbursement of
duress, i.e., she was jobless, had no savings and needed the money to MONINA's allowance.52 Teodoro Zulla corroborated Jalandoni's testimony
support herself and finish her studies. Moreover, she signed Exhibit P upon regarding not having seen MONINA at Nelly Garden and MONINA's
the advice of Atty. Divinagracia that filiation could not be waived and that allowance; declared that Alfredo Baylosis was dismissed due to
FRANCISCO's ploy would "boomerang" upon him. On the other hand, discrepancies discovered after an audit, without any further elaboration,
FRANCISCO asserts that full credence should be afforded Exhibit P as however; but admitted that he never prepared the vouchers pertaining to
MONINA was already 25 years old at the time of its execution and was FRANCISCO's personal expenses, merely those intended for one of
advised by counsel; further, being a notarized document, its genuineness FRANCISCO's haciendas.53 Then, Iñigo Superticioso confirmed that according
and due execution could not be questioned. He relies on the testimony of to the report of a certain Mr. Atienza, Baylosis "was dismissed by Mr. Jison
Jose Cruz, a partner at the accounting firm of Miller & Cruz, who declared for irregularities," while Superticioso was informed by FRANCISCO that
that he intervened in the matter as MONINA was spreading rumors about Tingson was dismissed for loss of confidence. Superticioso likewise denied
her filiation within the firm, which might have had deleterious effects upon that MONINA received money from FRANCISCO's office, neither was there a
the relationship between the firm and FRANCISCO. standing order from FRANCISCO to release funds to her.54

On this issue, we find for MONINA and agree with the following It is at once obvious that the testimonies of these witnesses for FRANCISCO
observations of the Court of Appeals: are likewise insufficient to overcome MONINA's evidence. The former
merely consist of denials as regards the latter's having gone to Nelly Garden
or having received her allowance from FRANCISCO's office, which, being in
Even the affidavit (Exh 2) which [FRANCISCO] had foisted on the
the form of negative testimony, necessarily stand infirm as against positive
trial court . . . does not hold sway in the face of [MONINA's]
testimony;55 bare assertions as regards the dismissal of Baylosis; ignorance
logical explanation that she at first did agree to sign the affidavit
of FRANCISCO's personal expenses incapable of evincing that FRANCISCO
which contained untruthful statements. In fact, she promptly
did not provide MONINA with an allowance; or hearsay evidence as regards
complained to [FRANCISCO] who, however explained to her that
the cause for the dismissals of Baylosis and Tingson. But what then serves
the affidavit was only for the consumption of his spouse . . .
as the coup de grace is that despite Superticioso's claim that he did not
know MONINA,56 when confronted with Exhibit H, a telephone toll ticket
At any rate, if [MONINA] were not his illegitimate daughter, it indicating that on 18 May 1971, MONINA called a certain "Eñing" at
would have been uncalled for, if not absurd, for [FRANCISCO] of FRANCISCO's office, Superticioso admitted that his nickname was "Iñing"
his lawyer to have secured [MONINA's] sworn statement . . . On and that there was no other person named "Iñing" in FRANCISCO's office.57
the contrary, in asking [MONINA] to sign the said affidavit at the
cost of P15,000. [FRANCISCO] clearly betrayed his intention to
All told, MONINA's evidence hurdled "the high standard of proof" required
conceal or suppress his paternity of [MONINA] . . .
for the success of an action to establish one's illegitimate filiation when
relying upon the provisions regarding "open and continuous possession'' or
Indeed, if MONINA were truly not FRANCISCO's illegitimate daughter, it "any other means allowed by the Rules of Court and special laws;"
would have been unnecessary for him to have gone to such great lengths in moreover, MONINA proved her filiation by more than mere preponderance
order that MONINA denounce her filiation. For as clearly established before of evidence.
the trial court and properly appreciated by the Court of Appeals, MONINA
had resigned from Miller & Cruz five (5) months prior to the execution of
The last assigned error concerning laches likewise fails to convince. The
the sworn statement in question, hence negating FRANCISCO's theory of
essential elements of laches are: (1) conduct on the part of the defendant,
the need to quash rumors circulating within Miller & Cruz regarding the
or of one under whom he claims, giving rise to the situation of which the
complaint seeks a remedy; (2) delay in asserting the complainant's rights,
the complainant having had knowledge or notice of the defendant's
conduct as having been afforded an opportunity to institute a suit; (3) lack
of knowledge or notice on the part of the defendant that the complaint
would assert the right in which he bases his suit; and (4) injury or prejudice
to the defendant in the event relief is accorded to the complaint, or the suit
is not held barred.58 The last element is the origin of the doctrine that sale
demands apply only where by reason of the lapse of time it would be
inequitable to allow a party to enforce his legal rights. 59

As FRANCISCO set up, laches as an affirmative defense, it was incumbent


upon him to prove the existence of its elements. However, he only
succeeded in showing MONINA's delay in asserting her claim, but miserably
failed to prove the last element. In any event, it must be stressed that
laches is based upon grounds of public policy which requires, for the peace
of society, the discouragement of state claims, and is principally a question
of the inequity or unfairness of permitting a right or claim to be enforced or
asserted. There is no absolute rule as to what constitutes laches; each case
is to be determined according to its particular circumstances. The question
of laches is addressed to the sound discretion of the court, and since it is an
equitable doctrine, its application is controlled by equitable considerations.
It cannot be worked to defeat justice or to perpetuate fraud and
injustice.60 Since the instant case involves paternity and filiation, even if
illegitimate, MONINA filed her action well within the period granted her by
a positive provision of law. A denial then of her action on ground of laches
would clearly be inequitable and unjust.

WHEREFORE, IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the petition is hereby DENIED


and the challenged decision of the Court of Appeals of 27 April 1995 in CA-
G.R. CV No. 32860 is AFFIRMED.