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XIII.

Police officers arrested Mr. Druggie in a buy-bust operation and confiscated from him 10 sachets
of shabu and several marked genuine peso bills worth P5,000.00 used as the buy-bust money during the
buy-bust operation.

At the trial of Mr. Druggie for violation of R.A. No. 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drug Act
of 2002), the Prosecution offered in evidence, among others, photocopies of the confiscated marked
genuine peso bills. The photocopies were offered to prove that Mr. Druggie had engaged at the time of
his arrest in the illegal selling of dangerous drugs.

Invoking the Best Evidence Rule, Atty. Maya Bang, the defense counsel, objected to the
admissibility of the photocopies of the confiscated marked genuine peso bills.

Should the trial judge sustain the objection of the defense counsel? Briefly explain your answer.

SUGGESTED ANSWER:

No, the trial judge should not sustain the objection that invokes the best evidence rule.

The Supreme Court has held that the best evidence rule applies only to documentary evidence, not
to object or testimonial evidence.

Here the marked money is object not documentary evidence since it is being offered to prove not its
contents but its existence and use in the buy-bust operation. [People v. Tandoy, 192 SCRA 28 (1990)]

XIV.

Immediately before he died of gunshot wounds to his chest, Venancio told the attending physician,
in a very feeble voice, that it was Arnulfo, his co-worker, who had shot him. Venancio added that it was
also Arnulfo who had shot Vicente, the man whose cadaver was lying on the bed beside him.

In the prosecution of Arnulfo for the criminal killing of Venancio and Vicente, are all the statements
of Venancio admissible as dying declarations? Explain your answer.

SUGGESTED ANSWER:
No, not all the statements of Venancio are admissible as dying declarations.

Under the Rules on Evidence, a dying declaration is admissible as an exception to the hearsay rule
provided that such declaration relates to the cause of the declarant’s death.

Venancio’s statement that it was Arnulfo who shot him is admissible as a dying declaration. The
same related to Venancio’s own demise. It may be inferred that Venancio had consciousness of his
impending death since he suffered gunshot wounds to his chest which would necessarily be mortal
wounds.

However, Venancio’s statement that it was Arnulfo who shot Vicente is not admissible as a dying
declaration since it did not relate to the cause of the declarant’s death but to the death of another person.

XV.

In an attempt to discredit and impeach a Prosecution witness in a homicide case, the defense
counsel called to the stand a person who had been the boyhood friend and next-door neighbor of the
Prosecution witness for 30 years. One question that the defense counsel asked of the impeaching
witness was: "Can you tell this Honorable Court about the general reputation of the prosecution witness in
your community for aggressiveness and violent tendencies?"

Would you, as the trial prosecutor, interpose your objection to the question of the defense
counsel? Explain your answer.

SUGGESTED ANSWER:

Yes, I as the trial prosecutor, would interpose my objection to defense counsel’s question on the
ground of improper impeachment.

Under the Law on Evidence, an adverse party’s witness may be properly impeached by reputation
evidence provided that it is to the effect that the witness’s general reputation for honesty, truth, or integrity
was bad. [S11 R132] The reputation must only be on character for truthfulness or untruthfulness. [Cordial
v. People, 166 SCRA 17]

Here the evidence is not on the Prosecution witness’s general reputation for honesty, truth, or
integrity but on his aggressive and violent tendencies. The evidence had nothing to do with the witness’s
character for truthfulness or untruthfulness. Hence the impeachment was improper.
III.

While passing by a dark uninhabited part of their barangay, PO2 Asintado observed shadows and heard
screams from a distance. PO2 Asintado hid himself behind the bushes and saw a man beating a woman
whom he recognized as his neighbor, Kulasa. When Kulasa was already in agony, the man stabbed her
and she fell on the ground. The man hurriedly left thereafter.
PO2 Asintado immediately went to Kulasa’s rescue. Kulasa, who was then in a state of hysteria, kept
mentioning to PO2 Asintado “Si Rene, gusto akong patayin! Sinaksak niya ako!” When PO2 Asintado was
about to carry her, Kulasa refused and said “Kaya ko. Mababaw lang to. Habulin mo si Rene.”
The following day, Rene learned of Kulasa’s death and, bothered by his conscience, surrendered to the
authorities with his counsel. As his surrender was broadcasted all over media, Rene opted to release his
statement to the press which goes:

“I believe that I am entitled to the presumption of innocence until my guilt is proven beyond reasonable
doubt. Although I admit that I performed acts that may take one’s life away, I hope and pray that justice
will be served the right way. God bless us all.
(Sgd.)
Rene”

The trial court convicted Rene of homicide on the basis of PO2 Asintado’s
testimony, Kulasa’s statements, and Rene’s statement to the press. On appeal, Rene raises the following
errors:

1. The trial court erred in giving weight to PO2 Asintado’s testimony, as the latter did not have any
personal knowledge of the facts in issue, and violated Rene’s right to due process when it
considered Kulasa’s statements despite lack of opportunity for her cross-examination.
2. The trial court erred in holding that Rene’s statement to the press was a confession which, standing
alone, would be sufficient to warrant conviction.
Resolve. (4%)

ANSWER:

Rene’s appeal is denied for lack of merit.

1.

The contention that the trial court erred in giving weight to PO2 Asintado’s testimony since he did
not have personal knowledge of the facts in issue is without merit. The contention in effect
challenges Kulasa’s statement for being hearsay.

Under the Rules of Evidence, a statement made immediately subsequent to a startling


occurrence is excepted from the hearsay rule as part of the res gestae.
Here Kulasa’s statement was made immediately subsequent to a starling occurrence, that is, her
stabbing by Rene, and was made in a state of hysteria, showing that she was under the influence of the
startling occurrence. Hence testimony regarding the statement is excepted from the hearsay rule.

Since Kulasa’s statement is an exception to the hearsay rule, Rene cannot complain that his right
to due process was violated when the trial court considered Kulasa’s statement despite lack of
opportunity to cross-examine her.

There should be no serious question about the admissibility against an accused of hearsay where
this hearsay falls under an exception to the hearsay rule, especially here where the declarant is dead and
thus unavailable to testify. (ANTONIO R. BAUTISTA, BASIC EVIDENCE 214-215 [2004 ed.]). In U.S. v.
Gil, 13 Phil. 530 (1909), the Supreme Court upheld dying declarations as an exception to the
confrontation clause since “such declarations have always been regarded as an exception to the general
rule regarding hearsay evidence.”

2.

The argument that the trial court erred in holding that Rene’s statement to the press was a
confession which, standing alone, would be sufficient to warrant conviction is meritorious.

Firstly, Rene’s statement is not a confession but an admission. A confession is one wherein a
person acknowledges his guilt of a crime, which Rene did not do. Secondly, even assuming it is a
confession, standing alone it would not be sufficient to warrant conviction since it is an extrajudicial
confession which is not sufficient ground for conviction unless corroborated by evidence of corpus
delicti. (S3 R133).

Nonetheless this was a harmless error since the admission of Rene was corroborated by the
testimony of PO2 Asintado on Kulasa’s statement.

XI.

A search warrant was issued for the purpose of looking for unlicensed firearms in the house of Ass-asin,
a notorious gun for hire. When the police served the warrant, they also sought the assistance of barangay
tanods who were assigned to look at other portions of the premises around the house. In a nipa hut thirty
(30) meters away from the house of Ass-asin, a barangay tanod came upon a kilo of marijuana that was
wrapped in newsprint. He took it and this was later used by the authorities to charge Ass-asin with illegal
possession of marijuana. Ass-asin objected to the introduction of such evidence claiming that it was
illegally seized. Is the objection of Assasin valid? (4%)

ANSWER:

Yes, the objection of Ass-asin is valid.


Under the Constitution, the right of the people against unlawful search is inviolable except in
cases where a valid search warrant was issued or in exceptional cases where the law provides for a
warrantless search. (Sec. 2, Art. III, Constitution). Under the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine, items
seized by virtue of an unlawful search are inadmissible in evidence. (Sec. 3[2], Art. III,
Constitution).

Here the the seizure of the marijuana was illegal since it was not pursuant to a search
warrant. The search warrant was for the search and seizure of unlicensed firearms not marijuana. Nor
would the exception regarding items seized under plain view apply. The marijuana was wrapped in
newsprint and clearly not in plain sight. Hence the marijuana may not be introduced in evidence over
Ass-asin’s objection.

XII.
XIII.

A foreign dog trained to sniff dangerous drugs from packages, was hired by FDP Corporation, a door to
door forwarder company, to sniff packages in their depot at the international airport. In one of the
routinary inspections of packages waiting to be sent to the United States of America (USA), the dog sat
beside one of the packages, a signal that the package contained dangerous drugs. Thereafter, the guards
opened the package and found two (2) kilograms of cocaine. The owner of the package was arrested and
charges were filed against him. During the trial, the prosecution, through the trainer who was present
during the incident and an expert in this kind of field, testified that the dog was highly trained to sniff
packages to determine if the contents were dangerous drugs and the sniffing technique of these highly
trained dogs was accepted worldwide and had been successful in dangerous drugs operations. The
prosecution moved to admit this evidence to justify the opening of the package. The accused objected on
the grounds that: (i) the guards had no personal knowledge of the contents of the package before it was
opened; (ii) the testimony of the trainer of the dog is hearsay; and (iii) the accused could not cross-
examine the dog. Decide. (4%)

ANSWER:

The accused’s objections are overruled.

The objection that the guards had no personal knowledge of the contents of the package before it
was opened is misplaced. The one testifying is the trainer not the guards and he had personal
knowledge of the circumstances since he was present during the incident. Besides there is no rule of
evidence that one cannot testify about the contents of a package if he did not have prior personal
knowledge of its contents before opening it.

The objection that the testimony of the trainer of the dog is hearsay is not valid. Hearsay is an
out-of-court declaration made by a person which is offered for the truth of the matter asserted.

Here what is involved is a dog who is not a person who can make an out-of-court declaration.
(Lempert & Saltzburg, A MODERN APPROACH TO EVIDENCE 370-371 [1982]). A dog is not treated as
a declarant or witness who can be cross-examined. (People v. Centolella, 305 N.Y.S.2d 279). Hence
testimony that the dog sat beside the package is not testimony about an out-of-court declaration and thus
not hearsay.

The objection that the accused could not cross-examine the dog is without merit. Under the
Constitution, the accused’s right of confrontation refers to witnesses. As previously discussed, a dog is
not a witness who can be cross-examined.

Note: It is urged that utmost liberality be exercised in grading this number. The answer is not
found in Philippine law and jurisprudence and even in commentaries by writers on evidence.

XVIII

John filed a petition for declaration of nullity of his marriage to Anne on the ground of psychological
incapacity under Article 36 of the Family Code. He obtained a copy of the confidential psychiatric
evaluation report on his wife from the secretary of the psychiatrist. Can he testify on the said report
without offending the rule on privileged communication? Explain. (5%)

SUGGESTED ANSWER:

Yes, John can testify on the psychiatric report without offending the rule on privileged communication.
In a case involving similar facts, the Supreme Court held that there is no violation of physician-patient
privilege since the one testifying is not the psychiatrist. The privilege bars only the physician, not other
persons. (Krohn v. Court of Appeals, 233 SCRA 146).
There is no violation of marital communication privilege since the report is not a confidential
communication between spouses.
There is also no violation of the marital disqualification rule since the case involves an exception, that is, a
civil case by one spouse against the other.