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IMPORTANT NOTES ON TRIAL TECHNIQUES AND PLEADINGS BASED ON RECENT CASES

SOURCE 0003: PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES VS. GARRY DE LA CRUZ Y DE LA CRUZ (G.R. NO. 185717, 08 JUNE 2011) SUBJECTS: RA 9165; BUY BUST OPERATION IN
DRUG CASE; CHAIN OF COMMAND. (BRIEF TITLE: PEOPLE VS. DE LA CRUZ).

TRIAL NOTE 0008: IF YOU APPEAR AS COUNSEL OF ACCUSED, ONE CHIEF GOAL IS TO ESTABLISH REASONABLE DOUBT THAT ACCUSED COMMITTED THE CRIME. IN
YOUR MEMORANDUM, IT MAY BE BEST TO QUOTE THE FOLLOWING EXCERPT PERTINENT TO REASONABLE DOUBT.

In fine, We repeat what the Court fittingly held in People v. Ong, a case similarly involving a buy-bust operation, thus:
The Constitution mandates that an accused shall be presumed innocent until the contrary is proven beyond reasonable doubt. While appellants defense
engenders suspicion that he probably perpetrated the crime charged, it is not sufficient for a conviction that the evidence establishes a strong suspicion or
probability of guilt. It is the burden of the prosecution to overcome the presumption of innocence by presenting the quantum of evidence required.
In the case at bar, the basis of acquittal is reasonable doubt, the evidence for the prosecution not being sufficient to sustain and prove the guilt of appellants with
moral certainty. By reasonable doubt is not meant that which of possibility may arise but it is that doubt engendered by an investigation of the whole proof and
an inability, after such an investigation, to let the mind rest easy upon the certainty of guilt. An acquittal based on reasonable doubt will prosper even though the
appellants innocence may be doubted, for a criminal conviction rests on the strength of the evidence of the prosecution and not on the weakness of the evidence
of the defense. Suffice it to say, a slightest doubt should be resolved in favor of the accused.
[1][44]


TRIAL NOTE 0009: IF YOU ARE HANDLING A DRUG CASE AND YOUR THEORY IS THAT THERE WAS NON-COMPLIANCE WITH THE CHAIN OF CUSTODY RULE, YOU
MAY CITE THE FOLLOWING EXCERPT FROM THE ABOVE SOURCE CASE:
In sum, considering the multifarious irregularities and non-compliance with the chain of custody, We cannot but acquit accused-appellant on the ground of
reasonable doubt. The law demands that only proof of guilt beyond reasonable doubt can justify a verdict of guilt.
[2][41]
In all criminal prosecutions, without regard to
the nature of the defense which the accused may raise, the burden of proof remains at all times upon the prosecution to establish the guilt of the accused beyond
reasonable doubt.
[3][42]
As the Court often reiterated, it would be better to set free ten men who might probably be guilty of the crime charged than to convict one
innocent man for a crime he did not commit.
[4][43]



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SOURCE 0002: PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE, VS. GONZALO BALDOGO, ACCUSED-APPELLANT (G.R. NO. 128106-07, 24 JANUARY 2003,
CALLEJO, SR., J) SUBJECT: MURDER. (BRIEF TITLE: PEOPLE VS. BALOGO)

TRIAL NOTE 0005:
WHY IS THE DECISION OF A TRIAL COURT ALWAYS AFFIRMED?
BECAUSE THE TRIAL COURT HAS THE UNIQUE ADVANTAGE OF MONITORING AND OBSERVING AT CLOSE RANGE THE ATTITUDE, CONDUCT AND DEPORTMENT OF
WITNESSES.
In contrast, the trial court has the unique advantage of monitoring and observing at close range the attitude, conduct and deportment of witnesses as they narrate
their respective testimonies before said court.

TRIAL NOTE 0006:
IN PLEADINGS, LAWYERS USUALLY CITE THE FACT THAT THE TRIAL JUDGE HAS THE ADVANTAGE OF OBSERVING THE DEMEANOR OF THE WITNESSES IN
CONVINCING THE APPELLATE COURT THAT THE DECISION OF THE TRIAL COURT MUST BE UPHELD. IS THERE A SUAVE, MORE CONVINCING, AUTHORITATIVE,
AND POETIC WAY OF STATING THE ABOVE?
YES. THE FOREIGN DECISION CITED IN SUPPORT OF THE ABOVE WHICH READS:
To him (THE JUDGE) appears the furtive glance, the blush of conscious shame, the hesitation, the sincere or the flippant or sneering tone, the heat, the calmness,
the yawn, the sigh, the candor or lack of it, the scant or full realization of the solemnity of an oath, the carriage and mien. The brazen face of the liar, the glibness
of the schooled witness in reciting a lesson, or the itching overeagerness of the swift witness, as well as the honest face of the truthful one, are alone seen by him.
..Echoing a foreign courts observation, this Court declared:
Truth does not always stalk boldly forth naked, but modest withal, in a printed abstract in a court of last resort. She oft hides in nooks and crannies visible only to
the minds eye of the judge who tries the case. To him appears the furtive glance, the blush of conscious shame, the hesitation, the sincere or the flippant or sneering
tone, the heat, the calmness, the yawn, the sigh, the candor or lack of it, the scant or full realization of the solemnity of an oath, the carriage and mien. The brazen
face of the liar, the glibness of the schooled witness in reciting a lesson, or the itching overeagerness of the swift witness, as well as the honest face of the truthful
one, are alone seen by him.[15] (PEOPLE V. DELOVINO, 247 SCRA 637, 647 (1995).

TRIAL NOTE 0007:
ARE THERE EXCEPTIONS TO THE RULE THAT THE DECISION OF THE TRIAL COURT BE AFFIRMED BECAUSE THE JUDGE IS ABLE TO OBSERVE THE DEMEANOR OF THE
WITNESSES?
YES. THE EXCEPTIONS ARE AS FOLLOWS:
(A) WHEN PATENT INCONSISTENCIES IN THE STATEMENTS OF WITNESSES ARE IGNORED BY THE TRIAL COURT;
(B) WHEN THE CONCLUSIONS ARRIVED AT ARE CLEARLY UNSUPPORTED BY THE EVIDENCE; AND
(C) WHEN THE TRIAL COURT IGNORED, MISUNDERSTOOD, MISINTERPRETED AND/OR MISCONSTRUED FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES OF SUBSTANCE WHICH, IF
CONSIDERED, WILL ALTER THE OUTCOME OF THE CASE
The rule, however, is not iron clad. This Court has enumerated exceptions thereto, namely: (a) when patent inconsistencies in the statements of witnesses are
ignored by the trial court; (b) when the conclusions arrived at are clearly unsupported by the evidence; (c) when the trial court ignored, misunderstood,
misinterpreted and/or misconstrued facts and circumstances of substance which, if considered, will alter the outcome of the case.[16] In this case, the trial court
found the youthful Julie credible and her testimony entitled to full probative weight. Accused-appellant has not sufficiently demonstrated to this Court the
application of any of the aforestated exceptions.
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SOURCE 0001: PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES VS. JOSE PEPITO D. COMBATE a.k.a. PEPING (G.R. NO. 189301, 15 DECEMBER 2010) SUBJECTS: FINDINGS OF TRIAL
COURT RESPECTED; INCONSISTENCIES IN TESTIMONY;

TRIAL NOTE 0001:
DO WELL AT THE TRIAL COURT BECAUSE THE FACTUAL FINDINGS OF THE TRIAL COURT ARE ENTITLED TO GREAT WEIGHT.
Time-tested is the doctrine that the trial courts assessment of the credibility of a witness is entitled to great weight, sometimes even with finality.
[1][7]
The Supreme
Court will not interfere with that assessment, absent any indication that the lower court has overlooked some material facts or gravely abused its discretion.
[2][8]


TRIAL NOTE 0002:
MINOR AND INSIGNIFICANT INCONSISTENCIES IN THE TESTIMONY BOLSTER CREDIBILITY OF WITNESSES.
Complementing the above doctrine is the equally established rule that minor and insignificant inconsistencies in the testimony tend to bolster, rather than weaken,
the credibility of witnesses, for they show that the testimony is not contrived or rehearsed.
[3][9]
As the Court put it in People v. Cristobal, Trivial inconsistencies do not
rock the pedestal upon which the credibility of the witness rests, but enhances credibility as they manifest spontaneity and lack of scheming.
[4][10]


TRIAL NOTE 0003:
TESTIMONY OF A WITNESS MUST BE CONSIDERED IN ITS ENTIRETY.
Moreover, the testimony of a witness must be considered in its entirety and not merely on its truncated parts. The technique in deciphering a testimony is not to
consider only its isolated parts and anchor a conclusion on the basis of said parts. In ascertaining the facts established by witnesses, everything stated by them on
direct, cross, and redirect examinations must be calibrated and considered.
[5][11]
It must be stressed in this regard that facts imperfectly or erroneously stated in an
answer to one question may be supplied or explained as qualified by the answer to other question. The principle falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus is not strictly applied
to this jurisdiction.
[6][12]
As explained in People v. Osias:
It is perfectly reasonable to believe the testimony of a witness with respect to some facts and disbelieve it with respect to other facts. And it has been aptly said that
even when witnesses are found to have deliberately falsified in some material particulars, it is not required that the whole of their uncorroborated testimony be
rejected but such portions thereof deemed worthy of belief may be credited.
The primordial consideration is that the witness was present at the scene of the crime and that he positively identified [the accused] as one of the perpetrators of
the crime charged x x x.
[7][13]
(Emphasis supplied.)

TRIAL NOTE 0004:
POSITIVE IDENTIFICATION PREVAILS OVER DEFENSE OF DENIAL
Categorical and consistent positive identification, absent any showing of ill motive on the part of the eyewitness testifying on the matter, prevails over the defense of
denial.
[8][17]
Accused-appellant was positively and categorically identified by the witnesses. They have no reason to perjure and accused-appellant was unable to prove
that the prosecution witnesses were moved by any consideration other than to see that justice is done. Thus, the presumption that their testimonies were not moved
by any ill will and bias stands, and, therefore, their testimonies are entitled to full faith and credit.
[9][18