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005 Edsa Shangri-La v.

BF Corporation
GR No. 145842, June 27, 2008
TOPIC: Rule 130
PONENTE: Velasco, Jr.

NOTES: (if applicable)

FACTS: (chronological order)

1. Edsa Shangila Hotels and Resorts Inc. (ESHRI) contracted with BF Corp. to build the Edsa Shangri-La
Hotel on May 1, 1991.
1.1 their construction contract was denominated as Agreement for the Execution of Builders Work for
the EDSA Shangrila Hotel Project.
1.2 In the contract, the manner of payment agreed upon was that BF shall submit a monthly
progress billing to ESHRI which would then re-measure the work accomplished
and prepare a Progress Payment Certificate for that months progress billing.
2. Since the start of the construction up to June 30, 1992, BF submitted a total of 19 monthly progress
2.1 as per records ESHRI paid a total of 85m plus for the progress billings of 1 to 13.
2.2 For progress billings 14 to 19, BF claimed that no re-measure was done by ESHRI and no payments
were made.
3. BF filed a case with the RTC a complaint for collection of sum of money after several futile attempts to
collect from ESHRI.
3.1 As part of BFs claims, it submitted photocopies of Progress Billings Nos. 14 to 19.
3.2 ESHRI on the other hand alleged over payments for billings 1 to 13 and also alleged that BF
performed inferior work.
4. RTC: ruled in favor of BF.
4.1 24.7m as unpaid construction work; 5.8m as retention sum; legal interest; 3m in moral, exemplary
and attorneys fees.
4.2 (no reason provided as to why RTC ruled in favor of BF)
4.3 MR of ESHRI denied.
5. ESHRI appealed to CA.
6. CA: affirmed the RTC in toto.
7. Petition to SC by ESHRI.
7.1 Edsa Shangri-la argued that BF Corp ought to have laid the basis for the presentation of the
photocopies as secondary evidence before the court admitted the evidence.
7.2 BF claims that it had complied with the laying-the basis requirement. BF explained that it could not
present the original of the documents since they were in the possession of ESHRI which refused to
hand them over to BF despite requests.
Whether or not BF has complied with the laying the basis requirement for the admission of the photocopies as
secondary evidence?
HELD: Yes.
1. The only actual rule that the term best evidence denotes is the rule requiring that the original of a
writing must, as a general proposition, be produced [17] and secondary evidence of its contents is not
admissible except where the original cannot be had. Rule 130, Section 3 of the Rules of Court enunciates
the best evidence rule:
SEC. 3. Original document must be produced; exceptions. When the subject of inquiry is
the contents of a document, no evidence shall be admissible other than the original document
itself, except in the following cases:


When the original has been lost or destroyed, or cannot be produced in court,
without bad faith on the part of the offeror;

(b) When the original is in the custody or under the control of the party against
whom the evidence is offered, and the latter fails to produce it after reasonable
notice; (Emphasis added.)

Complementing the above provision is Sec. 6 of Rule 130, which reads:

SEC. 6. When original document is in adverse partys custody or control. If the document
is in the custody or under control of the adverse party, he must have reasonable notice to produce
it. If after such notice and after satisfactory proof of its existence, he fails to produce the
document, secondary evidence may be presented as in the case of loss.

2. Secondary evidence of the contents of a written instrument or document refers to

evidence other than the original instrument or document itself. A party may present
secondary evidence of the contents of a writing not only when the original is lost or
destroyed, but also when it is in the custody or under the control of the adverse
party. In either instance, however, certain explanations must be given before a
party can resort to secondary evidence.

3. Four factual premises are readily deducible from the above exchanges, to wit: (1) the existence of the
original documents which ESHRI had possession of; (2) a request was made on ESHRI to produce the
documents; (3) ESHRI was afforded sufficient time to produce them; and (4) ESHRI was not inclined
to produce them.
Clearly, the circumstances obtaining in this case fall under the exception under Sec. 3(b) of Rule 130.
3.1 In other words, the conditions sine qua non for the presentation and reception of the photocopies of
the original document as secondary evidence have been met. These are: (1) there is proof of the original
documents execution or existence; (2) there is proof of the cause of the original documents
unavailability; and (3) the offeror is in good faith.