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LEGAL MEDICINE (SY 2013-2014) 1

PEOPLE VS. YATAR (2004) comprising the sperm specimen is identical to Yatar’s
On June 30, 1998, Kathylyn Uba stayed in her Yatar was accused of the special complex crime of Rape
grandmother’s (Isabel Dawang’s) house, despite her with Homicide and was convicted for the same by the
intention to go forth Tuguegarao City, as her other Regional Trial Court of Tabuk, Kalinga. Thereafter, he
former’s housemate-relatives left in the morning. At made an appeal to the Honorable Supreme Court in
10:00 am, accused-appellant Joel Yatar was seen at the order to assail the court a quo’s decision.
back of the same house where Kathylyn stayed during
said date. At 12:30 pm, Judilyn, Kathylyn’s first cousin On appeal, Yatar avers that: (1) the trial court erred in
saw Yatar, who was then wearing a white shirt with collar giving much weight to the evidence DNA testing or
and black pants, descended from the second floor and analysis done on him, in lieu of the seminal fluid found
was pacing back and forth at the back of Isabel inside the victim’s (cadaver) vaginal canal; (2) the blood
Dawang’s house, Judilyn didn’t find this unusual since sample taken from is violative of his constitutional right
Yatar and his wife used to live therein. At 1:30 PM, Yatar against self-incrimination; and the conduct of DNA
called upon Judilyn, telling the latter that he would not testing is also in violation on prohibition against ex-post
be getting the lumber he had been gathering. This time, facto laws.
Judilyn noticed that Yatar is now wearing a black shirt
(without collar) and blue pants; and noticed that the
latter’s eyes were “reddish and sharp”. Accused-appellant MAIN ISSUE
asked about the whereabouts of Judilyn’s husband, as
the former purports to talk with the latter. Then, Yatar Whether or not the result of the DNA testing done on
immediately left when Judilyn’s husband arrived. In the the sperm specimen may be used as evidence for Yatar’s
evening, when Isabel Dawang arrived home, she found conviction?
the lights of her house turned off, the door of the
ground floor opened, and the containers, which she
asked Kathylyn to fill up, were still empty. Upon HELD
ascending the second floor to check whether the
teenage girl is upstairs, Isabel found that the door Noteworthy is the fact this case was decided on 2004,
therein was tied with rope. When Isabel succeeded which was three (3) years before the Rules on DNA
opening the tied door with a knife, and as she groped in evidence took effect.

the darkness of the second level of her house, she felt

The Supreme Court in this case ruled based on the US
Kathylyn’s lifeless and naked body, with some intestines
case of Daubert vs. Merrell Dow as a precedent. In the
protruding out from it. Soon after, police came to the
said US jurisprudence, it was ruled that pertinent
scene of the crime to provide assistance. Therein, they
evidence based on scientifically valid principles could be
found Kathylyn’s clothes and undergarments beside her
used, so long as the same is RELEVANT and RELIABLE.
body. Amongst others, a white collared shirt splattered
Hence, it was called then as the DAUBERT TEST.
with blood was also found 50-meters away from Isabel’s
EVIDENCE may be used as the legal basis. Sec. 7
Meanwhile, semen has also been found upon
of the Rules on DNA evidence, which took effect
examination of Kathylyn’s cadaver. When subjected
on 2007, provides for the factors to be
under DNA testing, results showed that the DNA


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considered in assessing the probative weight or from the victim’s vaginal canal, the trial
value to be given on evidence derived or court considered the qualification of the
generated from DNA testing. Such factors, are, DNA analyst, the facility or laboratory in
to wit: which the DNA testing had been
(a) The chain of custody, including how the performed, and the methodology used
biological samples were collected, how in performing the DNA test. In the said
they were handled, and the possibility of case, the DNA test was done at the UP
contamination of the samples; (b) The
National Science Research Institute
DNA testing methodology, including the
(NSRI). The method used was
procedure followed in analyzing the
Polymerase chain reaction (PCR)
samples, the advantages and
amplification method by Short
disadvantages of the procedure, and
compliance with the scientifically valid
Tandem Repeat (STR) analysis, which
standards in conducting the tests; (c) enables a tiny amount of DNA sequence
The forensic DNA laboratory, including to be replicated exponentially in a span
accreditation by any reputable of few hours. Hence, sufficient DNA
standards-setting institution and the analysis may be made easier even with
qualification of the analyst who small DNA samples at hand. The analyst
conducted the tests. If the laboratory is
who performed the procedure was Dr.
not accredited, the relevant experience
Maria Corazon Abogado de Ungria,
of the laboratory in forensic casework
who is a duly qualified expert witness on
and credibility shall be properly
DNA print or identification techniques.
established; and (d) The reliability of the
testing result, as hereinafter provided.
 APPLICATION – DAUBERT TEST: Hence, apart from the other sets of
The Honorable Supreme Court in this case circumstantial evidence correctly appreciated by
upheld the probative value of the DNA test the trial court, the said DNA evidence is
result yielded from the analysis of Yatar’s blood sufficient to be admitted as evidence to warrant
sample from that of the semen specimen the accused-appellant’s conviction of the crime
obtained from the cadaver’s vaginal canal. of Rape with Homicide.
Accordingly, it held that the DNA evidence is
both reliable and relevant.
ANNOTATIONS – WHAT IS DNA? – culled from this
 In ascertaining the relevance of the
evidence in a case, it must be
determined whether or not the same
directly relates to a fact in issue, as to  DNA is a molecule that encodes the genetic
induce belief in its existence or non- information in all living organisms.23 A person’s

existence. In this case, the evidence is DNA is the same in each cell and it does not
relevant in determining the perpetrator change throughout a person’s lifetime; the DNA

of the crime; in a person’s blood is the same as the DNA

 In giving probative value on the DNA found in his saliva, sweat, bone, the root and
testing result, yielded from the analysis shaft of hair, earwax, mucus, urine, skin tissue,
of Yatar’s blood sample from that of the and vaginal and rectal cells.24 Most importantly,
biological sample (semen) obtained because of polymorphisms in human genetic


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structure, no two individuals have the same

DNA, with the notable exception of identical

 DNA print or identification technology has been

advanced as a uniquely effective means to link a
suspect to a crime, or to exonerate a wrongly
accused suspect, where biological evidence has
been left. For purposes of criminal investigation,
DNA identification is a fertile source of both
inculpatory and exculpatory evidence. It can
assist immensely in effecting a more accurate
account of the crime committed, efficiently
facilitating the conviction of the guilty, securing
the acquittal of the innocent, and ensuring the
proper administration of justice in every case.

 DNA evidence collected from a crime scene can

link a suspect to a crime or eliminate one from
suspicion in the same principle as fingerprints
are used.26 Incidents involving sexual assault
would leave biological evidence such as hair,
skin tissue, semen, blood, or saliva which can be
left on the victim’s body or at the crime scene.
Hair and fiber from clothing, carpets, bedding, or
furniture could also be transferred to the victim’s
body during the assault.27 Forensic DNA
evidence is helpful in proving that there was
physical contact between an assailant and a
victim. If properly collected from the victim,
crime scene or assailant, DNA can be compared
with known samples to place the suspect at the
scene of the crime.