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PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs WEBB

312 SCRA 573

FACTS:

Webb, an accused in the crime of Rape with Homicide, filed a Motion to Take Testimony by Oral
Deposition, to take the testimonies of some vital witnesses residing in the U.S., before the proper
Philippine consular authorities since the Philippine court had no jurisdiction over them and may not
therefore be compelled by subpoena to testify. Respondent further alleged that the taking of the oral
depositions of the aforementioned individuals whose testimonies are allegedly material and
indispensable to establish his innocence of the crime charged is sanctioned by Section 4, Rule 24 of the
Revised Rules of Court. The prosecution thereafter filed an opposition to the said motion averring that
Rule 24, Section 4 of the Rules of Court has no application in criminal cases. The trial court denied the
motion but was thereafter reversed by the COA on appeal.

ISSUE:

Whether or not COA committed reversible error in reversing the trial courts ruling.

RULING:

YES. It need not be overemphasized that the factual circumstances only serves to underscore the
immutable fact that the depositions proposed to be taken from the five U.S. based witnesses would be
merely corroborative or cumulative in nature and in denying respondents motion to take them, the trial
court was but exercising its judgment on what it perceived to be a superfluous exercise on the belief that
the introduction thereof will not reasonably add to the persuasiveness of the evidence already on record.
It is pointed out that the defense has already presented at least fifty-seven (57) witnesses and four
hundred sixty-four (464) documentary exhibits, many of them of the exact nature as those to be produced
or testified to by the proposed foreign deponents. Under the circumstances, We sustain the proposition
that the trial judge commits no grave abuse of discretion if she decides that the evidence on the matter
sought to be proved in the United States could not possibly add anything substantial to the defense
evidence involved.