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People vs.


G.R. No. 145225 April 2, 2004


Private complainant Evelyn G. Canchela (Evelyn), is a mental retardate which was found
pregnant by her aunt. When asked how she became pregnant Evelyn answered that the accused
Salvador Golimlim had sexual intercourse with her while holding a knife. Evelyn then assisted by
her aunt filed a criminal complaint for rape. The accused, on being confronted with the
accusation, simply said that it is not true "because her mind is not normal," she having
"mentioned many other names of men who had sexual intercourse with her." Finding for the
prosecution, the trial court, convicted appellant as charged. On appeal the accused argues that
Evelyns testimony is not categorical and is replete with contradictions, thus engendering grave
doubts as to his criminal culpability.


Whether or not a mental retardate is disqualified as a witness that would render his/her
testimony bereft of truth.


No. A mental retardate or a feebleminded person is not, per se, disqualified from being a
witness, her mental condition not being a vitiation of her credibility. It is now universally accepted
that intellectual weakness, no matter what form it assumes, is not a valid objection to the
competency of a witness so long as the latter can still give a fairly intelligent and reasonable
narrative of the matter testified to. It cannot then be gainsaid that a mental retardate can be a
witness, depending on his or her ability to relate what he or she knows. If his or her testimony is
coherent, the same is admissible in court.
Alvarez vs. Ramirez

G.R. No. 143439 October 14, 2005


Respondent Susan Ramirez filed a complaint against the petitioner and accused Maximo
Alvarez for arson. The prosecution then presented for witness Esperanza Alvarez, the sister of
the complainant and the estranged wife of the accused. In the course of Esperanzas direct
testimony against petitioner, the latter showed uncontrolled emotions, prompting the trial judge
to suspend the proceedings. Petitioner, through counsel, filed a motion to disqualify Esperanza
from testifying against him pursuant to Rule 130 of the Revised Rules of Court on marital
disqualification. The trial court disqualified Esperanza Alvarez from further testifying and deleted
her testimony from the records. The prosecution filed a motion for reconsideration but was
subsequently denied. On appeal the Appellate Court rendered a decision nullifying and setting
aside the assailed orders issued by the trial court.


Whether or not a wife can testify against her husband in a criminal case.


Yes. The Supreme Court ruled that the marital disqualification rule has its own exceptions,
both in civil actions between the spouses and in criminal cases for offenses committed by one
against the other. Like the rule itself, the exceptions are backed by sound reasons which, in the
excepted cases, outweigh those in support of the general rule. For instance, where the marital
and domestic relations are so strained that there is no more harmony to be preserved nor peace
and tranquility which may be disturbed, the reason based upon such harmony and tranquility
fails. In such a case, identity of interests disappears and the consequent danger of perjury based
on that identity is non-existent. Likewise, in such a situation, the security and confidences of
private life, which the law aims at protecting, will be nothing but ideals, which through their
absence, merely leave a void in the unhappy home.

Obviously, the offense of arson attributed to petitioner, directly impairs the conjugal
relation between him and his wife Esperanza. The act of petitioner in setting fire to the house of
his sister-in-law Susan Ramirez, knowing fully well that his wife was there, and in fact with the
alleged intent of injuring the latter, is an act totally alien to the harmony and confidences of
marital relation which the disqualification primarily seeks to protect.
People vs. Castaeda, Jr.,

88 SCRA 562 February 27, 1979


Private respondent BENJAMIN F. MANALOTO was charged with falsification of public document
when he made it appear that his spouse Victoria M. Manaloto gave her marital consent through
her signature in a deed of sale for the sale of a house and lot belonging to the conjugal
partnership when in fact and in truth she did not. At the trial, the prosecution called the
complaint-wife to the witness stand but the defense moved to disqualify her as a witness. The
prosecution opposed said motion to disqualify on the ground that the case falls under the
exception to the rule, contending that it is a "criminal case for a crime committed by one against
the other." Notwithstanding such opposition, respondent Judge granted the motion,
disqualifying Victoria Manaloto from testifying for or against her husband. A motion for
reconsideration petition was filed but was denied.


Whether or not the criminal case for Falsification of Public Document filed against the
husband who allegedly forged the signature of his wife may be considered as a criminal
case for a crime committed by a husband against his wife and, therefore, an exception to the rule
on marital disqualification.


shall not be a witness against the other except in a criminal prosecution for a crime committed
(by) one against the other.

With more reason must the exception apply to the instant case where the victim of the
crime and the person who stands to be directly prejudiced by the falsification is not a third person
but the wife herself. And it is undeniable that the act comp of had the effect of directly and vitally
impairing the conjugal relation. This is apparent not only in the act Of the wife in personally
lodging her complaint, but also in her insistent efforts in connection with the instant petition,
which seeks to set aside the order disqualifying her from testifying against her husband. Taken
collectively, the actuations of the witness-wife underscore the fact that the martial and domestic
relations between her and the accused-husband have become so strained that there is no more
harmony to be preserved said nor peace and tranquility which may be disturbed. In such a case,
as We have occasion to point out in previous decisions, "identity of interests disappears and the
consequent danger of perjury based on that Identity is nonexistent. Likewise, in such a situation,
the security and confidence of private life which the law aims at protecting will be nothing but
Ideals which, through their absence, merely leave a void in the unhappy home. Thus, there is no
reason to apply the martial disqualification rule.
Razon vs. Intermediate Appellate Court
207 SCRA 234 March 16, 1992


Private respondent Vicente B. Chuidian filed a complaint praying that petitioner Enrique B. Razon
be ordered to deliver certificates of stocks representing the shareholdings of the deceased Juan
T. Chuidian in the E. Razon, Inc. In his answer petitioner alleged that all the shares of stock in the
name of stockholders of record of the corporation were fully paid for by petitioner; that said
shares are subject to the agreement between petitioner and incorporators; that the shares of
stock were actually owned and remained in the possession of petitioner and that neither the late
Juan T. Chuidian nor the private respondent had paid any mount whatsoever for the shares of
stock in question. Private respondent on the other hand shown that he is the administrator of
the intestate estate of Juan Chudian and further argued that from the time the certificate of stock
was issued on April 1966 up to April 1971, Enrique Razon had not questioned the ownership by
Juan T. Chuidian of the shares of stock in question and had not brought any action to have the
certificate of stock over the said shares cancelled. That the shares of stock were delivered by the
late Chuidian to Enrique because it was the latter who paid for all the subscription on the shares
of stock in the defendant corporation and the understanding was that he (defendant Razon) was
the owner of the said shares of stock and was to have possession thereof until such time as he
was paid therefor by the other nominal incorporators/stockholders. The trail court and the
appellate court favored private respondent. On appeal petitioner Enrique Razon assails the
appellate court's decision on its alleged misapplication of the dead man's statute rule under
Section 20(a) Rule 130 of the Rules of Court. According to him, the "dead man's statute" rule is
not applicable to the instant case. Moreover, the private respondent, as plaintiff in the case did
not object to his oral testimony regarding the oral agreement between him and the deceased
Juan T. Chuidian that the ownership of the shares of stock was actually vested in the petitioner
unless the deceased opted to pay the same; and that the petitioner was subjected to a rigid cross
examination regarding such testimony.


Whether or not the dead mans statue is applicable to a case against the administrator or
its representative of an estate upon a claim against the estate of the deceased person.

The rule, however, delimits the prohibition it contemplates in that it is applicable to a

case against the administrator or its representative of an estate upon a claim against the estate
of the deceased person.

In the instant case, the testimony excluded by the appellate court is that of the defendant
(petitioner herein) to the affect that the late Juan Chuidian, (the father of private respondent
Vicente Chuidian, the administrator of the estate of Juan Chuidian) and the defendant agreed in
the lifetime of Juan Chuidian that the 1,500 shares of stock in E. Razon, Inc. are actually owned
by the defendant unless the deceased Juan Chuidian opted to pay the same which never
happened. The case was filed by the administrator of the estate of the late Juan Chuidian to
recover shares of stock in E. Razon, Inc. allegedly owned by the late Juan T. Chuidian.

It is clear, therefore, that the testimony of the petitioner is not within the prohibition of
the rule. The case was not filed against the administrator of the estate, nor was it filed upon
claims against the estate.

Furthermore, the records show that the private respondent never objected to the
testimony of the petitioner as regards the true nature of his transaction with the late elder
Chuidian. The petitioner's testimony was subject to cross-examination by the private
respondent's counsel. Hence, granting that the petitioner's testimony is within the prohibition of
Section 20(a), Rule 130 of the Rules of Court, the private respondent is deemed to have waived
the rule.

It is also settled that the court cannot disregard evidence which would ordinarily be
incompetent under the rules but has been rendered admissible by the failure of a party to object
thereto. Thus: . . . The acceptance of an incompetent witness to testify in a civil suit, as well as
the allowance of improper questions that may be put to him while on the stand is a matter resting
in the discretion of the litigant. He may assert his right by timely objection or he may waive it,
expressly or by silence. In any case the option rests with him. Once admitted, the testimony is in
the case for what it is worth and the judge has no power to disregard it for the sole reason that
it could have been excluded, if it had been objected to, nor to strike it out on its own motion
Sunga-Chan vs. Chua

G.R. No. 143340 August 15, 2001


Respondent Lamberto T. Chua verbally entered into a partnership with Jacinto L. Sunga
in the distribution of Shellane Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) in Manila. For business
convenience, respondent and Jacinto allegedly agreed to register the business name of their
partnership, SHELLITE GAS APPLIANCE CENTER (hereafter Shellite), under the name of Jacinto as
a sole proprietorship. Upon Jacintos death a few years later, his surviving wife, petitioner Cecilia
and particularly his daughter, petitioner Lilibeth, took over the operations, control, custody,
disposition and management of Shellite without respondents consent. Respondent then
demanded upon petitioners for accounting, inventory, appraisal, and restitution of his net shares
in the partnership. Petitioners failure to comply prompted the respondent to file a complaint for
winding up of partnership affairs, accounting, appraisal and recovery of shares. Petitioners filed
their Answer with Compulsory Counterclaims, contending that they are not liable for partnership
shares, unreceived income/profits, and that respondent does not have a cause of action against
them. The Trial Court and the Court of Appeals rendered judgement in favor of the respondent.
On appeal, petitioner now question the correctness of the finding of the trial court and the Court
of Appeals that a partnership existed between respondent and Jacinto until Jacintos death. In
the absence of any written document to show such partnership between respondent and Jacinto,
petitioners argue that these courts were proscribed from hearing the testimonies of respondent
and his witness, to prove the alleged partnership three years after Jacintos death. To support
this argument, petitioners invoke the Dead Mans Statute or Survivorship Rule under Section 23,
Rule 130 of the Rules of Court.


Whether or not testimonies can be admitted to prove certain claims against a deceased

Yes. Before The Dead Mans Statute can be successfully invoked to bar the introduction
of testimonial evidence, it is necessary that:
1. The witness is a party or assignor of a party to a case or persons in whose behalf a
case is prosecuted.
2. The action is against an executor or administrator or other representative of a
deceased person or a person of unsound mind;
3. The subject-matter of the action is a claim or demand against the estate of such
deceased person or against person of unsound mind;
4. His testimony refers to any matter of fact which occurred before the death of such
deceased person or before such person became of unsound mind.
Petitioners filed a compulsory counterclaimi against respondent in their answer before the
trial court, and with the filing of their counterclaim, petitioners themselves effectively removed
this case from the ambit of the Dead Mans Statute. Well entrenched is the rule that when it is
the executor or administrator or representatives of the estate that sets up the counterclaim, the
respondent, may testify to occurrences before the death of the deceased to defeat the
counterclaim. Moreover, as defendant in the counterclaim, respondent is not disqualified from
testifying as to matters of fact occurring before the death of the deceased, said action not having
been brought against but by the estate or representatives of the deceased.
The testimony of respondents witness is not covered by the Dead Mans Statute for the
simple reason that she is not a party or assignor of a party to a case or persons in whose behalf
a case is prosecuted. Records show that respondent offered the testimony of Josephine to
establish the existence of the partnership between respondent and Jacinto. Petitioners insistence
that Josephine is the alter ego of respondent does not make her an assignor because the term
assignor of a party means assignor of a cause of action which has arisen, and not the assignor of
a right assigned before any cause of action has arisen. Plainly then, Josephine is merely a witness
of respondent, the latter being the party plaintiff.
Bordalba vs. CA
G.R. No. 112443 January 25, 2002

Petitioner Teresita Bordalba was successfully granted a Free Patent and Original
Certificate of Title No. over a lot. Thereafter, petitioner caused the subdivision as well as the
disposition of two parcels thereof. Upon learning of the issuance in favor of petitioner of the
aforesaid Free Patent and Original Certificate of Title as well as the conveyances made by
petitioner involving the lot subject of the controversy, private respondents filed a complaint
against petitioner. Respondents averred that the questioned lots were possessed by them
since time immemorial. Petitioner on the other hand claimed ownership as the lot was
acquired by her through purchase from her mother, who was in possession of the lot in the
concept of an owner. The trial court and the CA ruled in favor of private respondents.
Petitioner then appealed contending that the testimonies given by the witnesses for private
respondents which touched on matters occurring prior to the death of her mother should
not have been admitted by the trial court, as the same violated the dead mans statute.

Whether or not testimonies given by a witnesses which touched on matters occurring
prior to the death of the alleged owner be admitted as evidence.

Yes. The dead mans statute does not operate to close the mouth of a witness as to
any matter of fact coming to his knowledge in any other way than through personal dealings
with the deceased person, or communication made by the deceased to the witness.
Chan vs. Chan.

G.R. No. 179786 July 24, 2013


Petitioner Josielene Lara Chan (Josielene) filed a petition for the declaration of nullity of
her marriage to respondent Johnny Chan (Johnny), the dissolution of their conjugal partnership
of gains, and the award of custody of their children to her. Josielene claimed that Johnny failed
to care for and support his family and that a psychiatrist diagnosed him as mentally deficient due
to incessant drinking and excessive use of prohibited drugs. Indeed, she had convinced him to
undergo hospital confinement for detoxification and rehabilitation. Johnny resisted the action,
claiming that it was Josielene who failed in her wifely duties. Josielene filed for the issuance of a
subpoena duces tecum, covering Johnnys medical records when he was there confined. The
request was accompanied by a motion to "be allowed to submit in evidence" the records sought
by subpoena duces tecum. Johnny opposed the motion, arguing that the medical records were
covered by physician-patient privilege. The trial court sustained the opposition and denied
Josielenes motion. On appeal the CA also denied Josielenes petition. It ruled that, if courts were
to allow the production of medical records, then patients would be left with no assurance that
whatever relevant disclosures they may have made to their physicians would be kept
confidential. The prohibition covers not only testimonies, but also affidavits, certificates, and
pertinent hospital records. The CA added that, although Johnny can waive the privilege, he did
not do so in this case.


Whether or not hospital records sought by subpoena duces tecum be denied on the
ground that these are covered by the privileged character of the physician-patient


Yes. The physician-patient privileged communication rule essentially means that a

physician who gets information while professionally attending a patient cannot in a civil case be
examined without the patients consent as to any facts which would blacken the latters
reputation. This rule is intended to encourage the patient to open up to the physician, relate to
him the history of his ailment, and give him access to his body, enabling the physician to make a
correct diagnosis of that ailment and provide the appropriate cure. Any fear that a physician
could be compelled in the future to come to court and narrate all that had transpired between
him and the patient might prompt the latter to clam up, thus putting his own health at great risk.
Lacurom vs. Jacoba

A.C. No. 5921 March 10, 2006


Complainant Judge Ubaldino A. Lacurom ("Judge Lacurom"), charged respondents

respondent-spouses Atty. Ellis F. Jacoba and Atty. Olivia Velasco-Jacoba for a violation on the
Rules of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Atty. Velasco-Jacoba allegedly send a very
disrespectful, insulting and humiliating motion. Judge Lacurom found Velasco-Jacoba guilty of
contempt and penalized her with imprisonment for five days and a fine. Velasco-Jacoba moved
for reconsideration on the ground that she signed the pleading handed to her without reading it,
in "trusting blind faith" on her husband and partner in a law firm with whom she "entrusted her
whole life and future." Atty. Jacoba did no controvert his wifes statement on his first motion but
asserted the inadmissibility as evidence of Velasco-Jacobas statement pointing to him as the
author of the motion on his appeal.

Whether or not the marital privilege rule bars the admissibility of evidence.

No. The marital privilege rule, being a rule of evidence, may be waived by failure of
the claimant to object timely to its presentation or by any conduct that may be construed as
implied consent. This waiver applies to those who impliedly admitted authorship.