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Legal Medicine (based on Solis)

Vanguardia, A.M.
Legal Medicine draw a conclusion from the facts which may be useful in the Written (Lex Scripta) Unwritten (Lex non Scripta)
administration of justice. Composed of laws which are Composed of the unwritten laws
Chapter I: General Considerations produced by the country’s based on immemorial customs
He must also possess the power to impart to others verbally or in legislations and which are and usages.
writing all those he has observed. defined, codified and
Legal medicine is a branch of medicine which deals with the
incorporated by the law- Sometimes referred to as case
application of medical knowledge to the purpose of law and in the Medical jurist (medical examiner, medico-legal officer, medico- making body law, common law, jurisprudence
administration of justice. legal expert) – a physician who specializes or is involved primarily or customary law.
with medico-legal studies
It is the application of basic and clinical, medical and paramedical
2. Forensic denotes anything belonging to the court of law or
sciences to elucidate legal matters. P.D. 856 (Code of Sanitation), Sec. 95. Health officers, medical used in court or legal proceedings or something fitted for
officers of law enforcement agencies and members of the medical legal or public argumentations
 The concept and practice of legal medicine in the Philippines staff of accredited hospitals are authorized by law to perform 3. Medicine is a science and art dealing with prevention, cure
is of Spanish origin. autopsies. and alleviation of disease. It is that part of science and art of
restoring and preserving health.
Legal Medicine Forensic Medicine Medical Art. III, Sec. 2, Code of Medical Ethics of the Medical Profession
jurisprudence in the Philippines. “It is the duty of every physician when called It is a science and art of diagnosing, treating, curing and
Primarily the Concerns the Denotes knowledge upon by the judicial authorities, to assist in the administration of preventing disease, relieving pain, and improving the health of a
application of application of of law in relation to justice on matters which are medico-legal in character” person.
medicine to legal medical sciences to the practice of
cases elucidate (clarify) medicine Distinction between an Ordinary Physician and a Medical Jurist 4. Legal is that which pertains to law, arising out of, by virtue
legal problems of or included in law.
It concerns with the Ordinary Physician Medical Jurist
study of the rights, Sees an injury or disease on Sees injury or disease on the It refers to anything comfortable to the letters or rules of law as it
duties, and the point of view of treatment point of view of cause is administered by the court.
obligations of a The purpose is to arrive at a The purpose is to include those
medical definite diagnosis so that bodily lesions in his report and 5. Jurisprudence is a practical science which investigates the
practitioner with appropriate treatment can be testify before the court or nature, origin, development and functions of law.
particular reference instituted before an investigative body;
to those arising thus giving justice to whom it is It is a science of giving a wise interpretation of the law and making
from doctor- due just application of them to all cases as they arise.
patient relationship
Minor or trivial injuries are Must record all bodily injuries
usually ignored inasmuch as even if they are small or minor Principle of Stare Decisis
Rule 138, Sec. 5, par. 2. No applicant shall be admitted to the bar they do not require usual because these injuries may be
examinations unless he has satisfactorily completed the following treatment. proof to qualify the crime or to Principle of stare decisis is a principle that, when the court has
courses in a law school or university duly recognized by the justify the act. laid down a principle of law or interpretation as applied to a
government: civil law, commercial law, remedial law, criminal law, certain state of facts, it will adhere to and apply to all future
public and private international law, political law, labor and social cases where the facts are substantially the same.
Other Definitions
legislation, medical jurisprudence, taxation and legal ethics.
1. Law is a rule of conduct, just and obligatory, laid down by Branches of Law where Legal Medicine may be Applied
Scope of Legal Medicine:
legitimate power for common observance and benefit.
 It includes knowledge of the nature and extent of wounds 1. Civil law is a mass of precepts that determines and regulates
The word “law” includes regulations and circulars which are
has been acquired in surgery, abortion in gynecology, issued to implement a law and have, therefore, the effect of law. the relation of assistance, authority and obedience between
sudden death and effects of trauma in pathology. members of a family and those which exist among members
 Knowledge on anatomy, biochemistry, physics and other Characteristics of Law: of a society for the protection of private interest.
allied sciences.
1. It is a rule of conduct a. Determination and termination of civil personality (Art. 40)
Nature of the Study of Legal Medicine: 2. It is dictated by legitimate power; and b. The limitation or restriction of natural person’s capacity to
3. Compulsory and obligatory to all act (Art. 23 and 39)
Knowledge of legal medicine means the ability to acquire facts, c. Marriage and legal separation
the power to arrange those facts in their logical order, and to Form of Law d. Paternity and filiation
e. Testamentary capacity of a person making a will
Legal Medicine (based on Solis)
Vanguardia, A.M.
Rule 128, Sec. 3. Admissibility of evidence — Evidence is
2. Criminal law is that branch or division of law which defines a 3. Art. 6, CC. Rights may be waived, unless the waiver is admissible when it is relevant to the issue and is not excluded by
crimes, treats of their nature and provides for their contrary to law, public order, public policy morals or good the law of these rules.
punishment. customs, or prejudicial to a third person with a right
recognized by law. Rule 128, Sec. 4. Relevancy; collateral matters — Evidence must
Art. 14, CC. Penal law and those of public security and safety shall have such a relation to the fact in issue as to induce belief in its
be obligatory upon all who live and sojourn in the Philippine Right is the power, privilege, faculty which entitles a man to have, existence or non-existence. Evidence on collateral matters shall
territory, subject to the principles of public international law and or to do, or to receive from another within the limits prescribed not be allowed, except when it tends in any reasonable degree to
to treaty stipulations. by law. establish the probability or improbability of the fact in issue.

a. Circumstances affecting criminal liability Waiving is the intention for voluntary relinquishment, Type of Medical Evidence
b. Crimes against person abandonment or throwing away, renunciation, surrendering of a
c. Crimes against chastity known right. 1. Autoptic or Real Evidence – evidence made known or
addressed to the senses of the court.
3. Remedial Law that branch or division of law which deals 4. Art. 11, CC. Customs which are contrary to law, public order
with the rules concerning pleadings, practice and or public policy shall not be countenanced Rule 130, Sec. 1. Object as evidence — Objects as evidence are
procedures in all courts of the Philippines. those addressed to the senses of the court. When an object is
Art. 12, CC. A custom must be proved as a fact according to the relevant to the fact in issue, it may be exhibited to, examined or
a. Physical and mental examination of a person rules of evidence. viewed by the court.
b. Proceedings for hospitalization of an insane person
c. Rules on evidence Custom is a usage or practice of the people, which by common Limitations to the Presentation of Autoptic Evidence
adoption and acquiescence and by long and unvarying habit, has
4. Special Laws become compulsory and has acquired the force of a law with a. Indecency or impropriety
respect to the place and subject matter to which it relates. b. Repulsive objects and those offensive to sensibilities
a. Dangerous Drugs Act
b. Youth and Child Welfare Code  It constitutes sources of supplementary law in default of XPN: If such evidence is necessary in the adjudication of the case,
c. Insurance Law specific legislation. it may be presented. This will depend on the sound discretion of
d. Code of Sanitation the court.
e. Labor Code 5. Art. 7, CC. Laws are repealed only by subsequent ones, and
f. Employee’s Compensation Law their violation or non-observance shall not be excused by 2. Testimonial Evidence – a physician may be presented as an
disuse, or custom or practice to the contrary. ordinary witness or expert witness
Some Basic Principles Governing Application and Effects of Law
When the courts declared a law to be inconsistent with the a. Ordinary witness
1. Art. 3, CC. Ignorance of the law excuses no one from Constitution, the former shall be void and the latter shall govern.
compliance therewith Rule 130, Sec. 20. Witnesses; their qualifications — Except as
Administrative or executive acts, orders and regulations shall be provided in the next succeeding Sec., all persons who can
Reason for the law: To prevent ignorance of the law as a means valid only when they are not contrary to the laws or the perceive, and perceiving, can make their known perception to
of defense for violation of law (refers to all kinds of laws) Constitution. others, may be witnesses.

 “Ignorance of the law” may refer to the literal wordings of Medical Evidence Religious or political belief, interest in the outcome of the case, or
the law and also to the meaning or interpretation given to conviction of a crime unless otherwise provided by law, shall not
the law. Rule 128, Sec. 1. Evidence is the means, sanctioned by the Rules, be ground for disqualification.
of ascertaining in a judicial proceeding the truth respecting a
2. Art. 4, CC. Laws shall have no retroactive effect, unless the matter of fact. Sec. 24. Disqualification by reason of privileged communication
contrary is provided — The following persons cannot testify as to matters learned in
 if the means employed to prove a fact is medical in nature confidence in the following cases:
XPN: then it becomes a medical evidence
(c)A person authorized to practice medicine, surgery or obstetrics
1. When the law provides the contrary Rule 128, Sec. 2. Scope — The rules of evidence shall be the same cannot in a civil case, without the consent of the patient, be
2. Penal laws, if favorable to the accused who is not habitually in all courts and in all trials and hearings, except as otherwise examined as to any advice or treatment given by him or any
delinquent provided by law or these rules. information which he may have acquired in attending such
3. When the statute is remedial in nature patient in a professional capacity, which information was
4. When the law creates new substantive right
Legal Medicine (based on Solis)
Vanguardia, A.M.
necessary to enable him to act in capacity, and which would 5. Physical Evidence – these are articles and materials which a. Skin lesion – kind, measurement, other descriptive
blacken the reputation of the patient; are found in connection with the investigation and which aid information of the lesion itself, location, orientation
in establishing the identity of the perpetrator or the b. Penetrating wound (kind, shape, other information from the
Rule 130, Sec. 36. Testimony generally confined to personal circumstances under which the crime was committed, or in wound itself, location, orientation, direction, other
knowledge; hearsay excluded — A witness can testify only to general assist in the prosecution of a criminal. structures involved, complications and foreign elements that
those facts which he knows of his personal knowledge; that is, may be present)
which are derived from his own perception, except as otherwise Criminalistics – the application of sciences such as physics, c. Hymenal laceration – location, degree, duration,
provided in these rules. chemistry, medicine and other biological sciences in crime complication
detection and investigation. d. Person – requirements in portrait parle.
Rule 130, Sec. 37. Dying declaration — The declaration of a dying
person, made under the consciousness of an impending death, Different kinds of Physical Evidence 4. Manikin Method – in a miniature model of a scene or of a
may be received in any case wherein his death is the subject of human body indicating marks of the various aspects of the
inquiry, as evidence of the cause and surrounding circumstances things to be preserved.
of such death. a. Corpus delicti evidence – objects or substances which may 5. Preservation in the Mind of the Witness – a person who
be a part of the body of the crime. perceived something relevant for proper adjudication to
b. Expert Witness b. Associative evidence – physical evidence which link a transmit to others what he perceived.
suspect to a crime. 6. Special Methods
Rule 130, Sec. 48. General rule — The opinion of witness is not c. Tracing evidence – physical evidence which may assist the
admissible, except as indicated in the following Sections. investigator in locating the suspect. a. Whole human body – embalming
b. Soft tissues – 10% formalin solution
Rule 130, Sec. 49. Opinion of expert witness — The opinion of a Preservation of Evidence c. Blood – refrigeration, sealed bottle container, addition of
witness on a matter requiring special knowledge, skill, experience chemical preservatives.
or training which he shown to posses, may be received in Methods of Preserving Evidence: d. Stains – drying, placing in sealed container
evidence e. Poison – sealed container
1. Photographs, audio and/or video tape, micro-film,
3. Experimental Evidence photostat, Xerox, voice taping, etc. Kinds of Evidence Necessary for Conviction
4. Documentary Evidence 2. Sketching – rough drawing of the scene or object
1. Direct evidence – that which proves the fact in dispute
Black’s. Document is an instrument on which is recorded by Kinds of sketch: without the aid of any interference or presumption
means of letters, figures, or marks intended to be used for the 2. Circumstantial evidence – the proof of fact or facts from
purpose of recording that matter which may be evidentially used. a. Rough sketch – at the time of the crime scene or during which, taken either singly or collectively, the existence of a
The term applies to writings, to words printed, lithographed or examination particular fact in dispute may be inferred as a necessary or
photographed; to seals, plates, or stones on which inscriptions are b. Finished sketch – a sketch prepared from the rough sketch probable consequence.
cut or engraved; to photographs and pictures; to maps or plans. for court presentation
Rule 132, Sec. 4. Circumstantial evidence, when sufficient —
Medical Documentary Evidence may be: Essential elements to be included in a sketch: Circumstantial evidence is sufficient for conviction if:

a. Medical certification or report on: a. Measurement must be accurate (a) There is more than one circumstances;
b. Compass direction must always be indicated to facilitate (b) The facts from which the inferences are derived are proven;
1. Medical exam proper orientation in the case of crime scene and
2. Physical exam c. Essential item which has a bearing in the investigation must (c) The combination of all the circumstances is such as to
3. Necropsy (autopsy) be included produce a conviction beyond reasonable doubt.
4. Laboratory d. Scale and proportion must be stated by mere estimation
5. Exhumation e. There must be a title and legend to tell what it is and the Weight and Sufficiency of Evidence
6. Birth meaning of certain marks indicated thereon
7. Death Rule 133, Sec. 1. Preponderance of evidence, how determined —
3. Description – putting into words the person or thing to be In civil cases, the party having burden of proof must establish his
b. Medical expert opinion preserved. case by a preponderance of evidence. In determining where the
c. Deposition – a written record of evidence given orally and preponderance or superior weight of evidence on the issues
transcribed in writing in the form of questions by the Minimum standard requirements which must be satisfied in the involved lies, the court may consider all the facts and
interrogator and the answer of the deponent and signed by description of the person or thing to make it complete: circumstances of the case, the witnesses' manner of testifying,
the latter their intelligence, their means and opportunity of knowing the
facts to which there are testifying, the nature of the facts to which
Legal Medicine (based on Solis)
Vanguardia, A.M.
they testify, the probability or improbability of their testimony,
their interest or want of interest, and also their personal
credibility so far as the same may legitimately appear upon the
trial. The court may also consider the number of witnesses,
though the preponderance is not necessarily with the greater
number.

Factors to be considered:

a. All the facts and circumstances of the case


b. The witnesses’ manner of testifying, their intelligence, their
means and opportunities of knowing the facts to which they
are testifying
c. The nature of the facts to which the witnesses testify
d. The probability and improbability of the witnesses’
testimony
e. The interest or want of interest of the witness
f. Credibility of the witness so far as the same may legitimately
appear upon the trial.
g. The number of the witnesses presented, although
preponderance is not necessarily with the greatest number.

Rule 133, Sec. 2. Proof beyond reasonable doubt — In a criminal


case, the accused is entitled to an acquittal, unless his guilt is
shown beyond reasonable doubt. Proof beyond reasonable doubt
does not mean such a degree of proof, excluding possibility of
error, produces absolute certainly. Moral certainly only is
required, or that degree of proof which produces conviction in an
unprejudiced mind.