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Home Insurance Corp. v CA and Mabuhay Brokerage Co. Inc.

G.R. No. 109293 August 18, 1993


FACTS: On April 25, 1979, INDERECO consigned to Nestle two hydraulic
engines from the U.S and shipped to Manila. Upon its arrival on May 17,
1979, it was turned over to E. Razon Arrastre, the cargo was later hauled by
Mabuhay Brokerage Co. to its warehouse, where it stayed until July 26, 1979.
When it was delivered to Nestle, the latter found out that the engines were
damaged. Nestle subsequently filed a claim against E. Razon, Mabuhay, the
Port Authority, and its insurer, the Home Insurance Corporation. When the
other companies denied liability, Home Insurance paid the claim and was
issued a subrogation receipt. Mabuhay alone was sued by Home Insurance
for the recovery of the amount it had paid to Nestle. Mabuhay again denied
liability.
After trial, the RTC of Manila rendered judgment dismissing the
complaint on the basis that the insurance contract between the corporation
and the consignee was not presented and that the other supporting
documents were all only photocopies. No explanation was given for the
failure of the plaintiffs to submit the originals.
This was later on affirmed by the CA on appeal. The CA stressed out
that it could be excused from presenting the original of the insurance
contract only if there was proof that this had been lost. The unrebutted
claim, however, is that the original was in its possession all the time.
ISSUE: Whether photocopies to support to existence of an insurance
contract can be admissible as evidence?
HELD: No. Rule 130, Section 3, of the Rules of Court is quite clear:
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:
a) 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;
c) When the original consists of numerous accounts or other documents
which cannot be examined in court without great loss of time and the

fact sought to be established from them is only the general result of


the whole; and
d) When the original is a public record in the custody of a public officer or
is recorded in a public office.
It is curious that the Home Insurance disregarded this rule, knowing that the
best evidence of the insurance contract was its original copy, which was
presumably in its possession.