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Rule 130
b. Documentary Evidence

9. Edsa Shagri-la v BF. Corp
G.R. No. 145842 | 2008-06-27
(When secondary evidence may be produced)

The SC consolidated the petitions assailing the decision of the CA.
Edsa Shangri-la Hotel entered into a construction contract with BF Corporation. Among other
things, the contract stipulated for the payment of the contract price on the basis of the work
accomplished as describe in the monthly progress billings. Under this arrangement, BF shall submit a
monthly progress billing to Edsa Shangri-la which would then re-measure the work accomplished and
prepare a Progress Payment Certificate for that months progess billing.
There was a total of 19 progress billing submitted by BF to Edsa Shangr-la. Progress Billing Nos. 1
to 13 were paid by the Hotel. However, despite demands, BF was not able to collect for Progress Billings
Nos. 14 to 19. BF filed a suit for a sum of money and damages before the RTC.
As part of BFs claims, it submitted photocopies of Progress Billings Nos. 14 to 19. 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.
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

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.

The stenographic notes of the following exchanges between Atty. Andres and Atty. Autea,
counsel for BF and ESHRI, respectively, reveal that BF had complied with the requirements:
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. 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 document's execution or existence; (2) there is proof of the cause of the original
document's unavailability; and (3) the offeror is in good faith.