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In the movie The Verdict, the Defense Lawyer noted that Ms.

Costello
is a rebuttal witness. He states that as the court had no prior notice of Ms.
Costello's appearance and as a surprise witness, she may serve only to rebut
direct testimony. As her only evidentiary rebuttal is the admitting form which
has been disallowed, It was requested that her entire testimony be disallowed
and that the jury be advised that they must totally disregard her entire
appearance before the Court.
The Judge ruled in favor of the defense and strike out the entire
testimony of Ms. Costello. The Judge further instructed the Jury not to
consider the testimony of Ms. Costello. However, the Jury disregard this
ruling and held in favor of the plaintiff.
It is a well settled rule that a party who has the burden of proof must
introduce, at the first instance, all the evidence he relies upon 1 and such
evidence cannot be given piecemeal. 2 The obvious rationale of the
requirement is to avoid injurious surprises to the other party and the
consequent delay in the administration of justice.
A partys declaration of the completion of the presentation of his
evidence prevents him from introducing further evidence; 3 but where the
evidence is rebuttal in character, whose necessity, for instance, arose from
the shifting of the burden of evidence from one party to the other; 4 or where
the evidence sought to be presented is in the nature of newly discovered
evidence,5 the partys right to introduce further evidence must be recognized.
Otherwise, the aggrieved party may avail of the remedy of certiorari under
Rule 65 of the Rules of Court.
Under the Rules of Court, the presentation of Rebuttal Evidence by the
Plaintiff comes after the presentation of evidence by the defense.
In Lopez v. Liboro,6 the Court made the following pronouncement:
After the parties have produced their respective direct
proofs, they are allowed to offer rebutting evidence only, but,
it has been held, the court, for good reasons, in the
furtherance of justice, may permit them to offer evidence
upon their original case, and its ruling will not be disturbed in
the appellate court where no abuse of discretion
appears. So, generally, additional evidence is allowed when
it is newly discovered, or where it has been omitted through
inadvertence or mistake, or where the purpose of the
evidence is to correct evidence previously offered. The
1 James M. Henderson, 6 Commentaries on the Law of Evidence in Civil Cases Based Upon the Works of Burr W.
Jones, 2502, pp. 4950-4951.
2 Director of Lands v. Roman Archbishop of Manila, 41 Phil. 121 (1920).
3 John Henry Wigmore, 6 A Treatise on the Anglo-American System of Evidence in Trials at Common Law, 1940,
p. 519.
4 Director of Lands v. Roman Archbishop of Manila, supra note 2
5 Seares v. Hernando, etc., et al., 196 Phil. 487 (1981).
6 81 Phil. 431 (1948).

omission to present evidence on the testator's knowledge of


Spanish had not been deliberate. It was due to a
misapprehension or oversight.
Likewise, in Director of Lands v. Roman Archbishop of Manila,7 The Court
ruled:
The strict rule is that the plaintiff must try his case out when
he commences. Nevertheless, a relaxation of the rule is
permitted in the sound discretion of the court. The proper
rule for the exercise of this discretion, it has been said by an
eminent author, is, that material testimony should not be
excluded because offered by the plaintiff after the defendant
has rested, although not in rebuttal, unless it has been kept
back by a trick, and for the purpose of deceiving the
defendant and affecting his case injuriously.
These principles find their echo in Philippine remedial law.
While the general rule is rightly recognized, the Code of Civil
Procedure authorizes the judge for special reasons, to
change the order of the trial, and "for good reason, in the
furtherance of justice," to permit the parties to offer evidence
upon their original case. These exceptions are made
stronger when one considers the character of registration
proceedings and the fact that where so many parties are
involved, and action is taken quickly and abruptly, conformity
with precise legal rules should not always be expected. Even
at the risk of violating legal formul, an opportunity should be
given to parties to submit additional corroborative evidence
in support of their claims of title, if the ends of justice so
require
In his commentaries, Chief Justice Moran had this to say:
However, the court for good reasons, may, in the furtherance
of justice, permit the parties to offer evidence upon their
original case, and its ruling will not be disturbed where no
abuse
of
discretion
appears,
Generally, additional
evidence is allowed when x x x; but it may be properly
disallowed where it was withheld deliberately and without
justification.8
Under these guidelines, I hold that the Jury in the Movie the Verdict
made the right decision in ignoring the ruling of the judge to strike out the
testimony of the rebuttal witness. It should be noted that in the long line of
7
8

Supra note 2, at 124


Manuel V. Moran, supra note 66, at 141, citing 64 C.J. 160-163.

cases decided by the Supreme Court, procedural rules and technicalities were
disregarded in order for Justice and Equity to prevail. The purpose of the
rules and procedure is to make sure that everyone can have their day in court.
It is not meant to defeat the substantial law but rather to uphold the same. It
is not meant to derail justice but rather to give life to it.