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DRA.

LEILA DELA LLANA v REBECCA BIONG negligence caused her whiplash injury was not established because of the
[GR No. 182356] | [Dec 4, 2013] | [BRION, J.] deficiency of the presented evidence during trial. We point out in this respect
that courts cannot take judicial notice that vehicular accidents cause whiplash
DOCTRINE injuries. This proposition is not public knowledge, or is capable of
Remedial Law; Evidence; Burden of Proof; He who alleges has the burden of unquestionable demonstration, or ought to be known to judges because of their
proving his allegation by preponderance of evidence or greater weight of credible judicial functions. We have no expertise in the field of medicine. Justices and
evidence.—In civil cases, a party who alleges a fact has the burden of proving it. judges are only tasked to apply and interpret the law on the basis of the parties’
He who alleges has the burden of proving his allegation by preponderance of pieces of evidence and their corresponding legal arguments.
evidence or greater weight of credible evidence. The reason for this rule is that
bare allegations, unsubstantiated by evidence, are not equivalent to proof. In FACTS
short, mere allegations are not evidence. In the present case, the burden of ● March 30, 2000, at around 11pm, Juan dela Llana was driving a 1997
proving the proximate causation between Joel’s negligence and Dra. dela Llana’s Toyota Corolla car along North Ave
whiplash injury rests on Dra. dela Llana. She must establish by preponderance ○ Sister Dra Leila was seated at the front passenger seat;
of evidence that Joel’s negligence, in its natural and continuous sequence, Calimlim was at the backseat
unbroken by any efficient intervening cause, produced her whiplash injury, and ● Juan stopped the car across the Veterans Hospital when the signal light
without which her whiplash injury would not have occurred. turned red.
○ A few seconds later, a dump truck containing gravel and sand
Same; Same; Hearsay Evidence Rule; It is a basic rule that evidence, whether oral rammed the car’s rear end.
or documentary, is hearsay if its probative value is not based on the personal ○ Rear end collapsed, windshield shattered. Glass splinters flew,
knowledge of the witness but on the knowledge of another person who is not on puncturing Dra dela Llana
the witness stand. Hearsay evidence, whether objected to or not, cannot be given ● Traffic investigation dated March 30 identified driver as Joel Primero
credence.—Even if we consider the medical certificate in the disposition of this ○ Recklessly imprudent in driving
case, the medical certificate has no probative value for being hearsay. It is a ○ Employer was Biong, under the business Pongkay Trading
basic rule that evidence, whether oral or documentary, is hearsay if its ● First week of May 2000, Dela Llana felt mild to moderate pain on the
probative value is not based on the personal knowledge of the witness but on left side of her neck and shoulder
the knowledge of another person who is not on the witness stand. Hearsay ○ Became more intense and severe
evidence, whether objected to or not, cannot be given credence except in very ○ Health deteriorated that she could no longer move her left arm
unusual circumstance that is not found in the present case. Furthermore, ● June 9, 2000, she consulted with Dr. Rosalinda Milla, rehab med
admissibility of evidence should not be equated with weight of evidence. The specialist
admissibility of evidence depends on its relevance and competence, while the ○ She suffered from a whiplash injury, caused by the
weight of evidence pertains to evidence already admitted and its tendency to compression of the nerve running to her left arm and hand
convince and persuade. Thus, a particular item of evidence may be admissible, ○ Required to undergo PT
but its evidentiary weight depends on judicial evaluation within the guidelines ○ In 3 months of extensive PT, condition did not improve
provided by the Rules of Court. ● She consulted other doctors
○ Neuro-surgeon suggested that she undergo a cervical spine
Same; Same; Judicial Notice; Courts cannot take judicial notice that vehicular surgery to release the compression of her nerve
accidents cause whiplash injuries.—A perusal of the pieces of evidence presented ○ Oct 19, 2000, Dr. Eric Flores, neuro-surgeon, operated on her
by the parties before the trial court shows that Dra. dela Llana did not present spine and neck
any testimonial or documentary evidence that directly shows the causal relation ○ Although the operation released the impingement of the nerve,
between the vehicular accident and Dra. dela Llana’s injury. Her claim that Joel’s she was incapacitated from the practice of her profession
● Oct 16, 2000. Leila demanded from Biong compensation. Rebecca ○ [Nutrimix Feeds Corp v CA] Courts will not hesitate to rule in
refused favor of the other party if there is no evidence or evidence is
● May 8, 2001. Dra Leila sued Rebecca for damages too slight to warrant an inference establishing the fact in issue,
○ Lost mobility of her arm as a result of the vehicular accident ○ Noted the interval between collision and date when she began
○ Claimed Php150k for medical expenses to suffer the symptoms was lengthy
○ Average monthly income of Php30k since June 2000 ○ Courts cannot take judicial notice that vehicular accidents
● REBECCA: Leila had no cause of action as no reasonable relation existed cause whiplash injuries.
between the vehicular accident and the injury ○ Failure to present expert witness was fatal to her claim
○ Illness became manifest one month and one week from the ○ Med cert did not explain how and why the vehicular accident
accident caused the injury
● TRIAL. Dra Leila presented herself as an ordinary witness. Joel as ● LEILA: Nutrimix does not apply. She has established by preponderance
hostile witness. of evidence that Joel’s negligent act was the proximate cause
○ She reiterated that she lost the mobility of her arm because of ○ Pics of damaged car show the collision was strong
the accident ○ Dr. Milla categorically stated in the med cert that she suffered
○ She identified and authenticated a med cert dated Nov 20, from whiplash injury
2000 issued by Dr. Milla ○ Testimony that the accident caused the injury is credible
○ Med cert stated that she suffered from a whiplash injury because she was a surgeon
○ Joel testified that his truck hit the car because the brakes got ○ Uncorroborated med cert is credible if uncontroverted
stuck. ○ Expert opinion is unnecessary if the opinion merely relates to
○ REBECCA, in defense: Leila was physically fit and strong after matters of common knowledge. Judge qualified as an expert to
the accident determine the causation between reckless driving and injury.
■ Diligence of a good father of a family in the selection ● REBECCA: factual issues, beyond R45.
and supervision of Joel
● Certification of Good moral character ISSUE AND RATIO
● Brgy, police, and NBI clearances WON Joel’s reckless driving is the proximate cause of Dra. dela Llana’s
● After driving skills test whiplash injury -
■ Alberto Marcelo, licensed driver-mechanic testified
that he checked the truck and affirmed that it was in RE: burden of proof see: doctrine
good condition prior to the accident. Dra. dela Llana anchors her claim mainly on three pieces of evidence: (1) the
● RTC ruled in favor of Leila dela Llana. pictures of her damaged car, (2) the medical certificate dated November 20,
○ Proximate cause of injury was Joel’s reckless driving 2000, and (3) her testimonial evidence. However, none of these pieces of
○ a whiplash injury is an injury caused by the sudden jerking of evidence show the causal relation between the vehicular accident and the
the spine in the neck area whiplash injury. In other words, Dra. dela Llana, during trial, did not adduce the
○ Joel had been driving for 15 hours on the day of the accident factum probans or the evidentiary facts by which the factum probandum or the
○ Joel’s negligence gave rise to the presumption that Rebecca did ultimate fact can be established.
not exercise the diligence of a good father of a family
● CA reversed RTC ruling. A. The pictures of the damaged car only demonstrate the impact of the
○ Dra Leila failed to establish a reasonable connection between collision Dra. dela Llana contends that the pictures of the damaged car show
the vehicular accident and her whiplash injury by that the massive impact of the collision caused her whiplash injury. We are not
preponderance of evidence persuaded by this bare claim. Her insistence that these pictures show the
causation grossly belies common logic. These pictures indeed demonstrate the
impact of the collision. However, it is a far-fetched assumption that the whiplash C. Dra. dela Llana’s opinion t hat Joel’s negligence caused h er whiplash
injury can also be inferred from these pictures. injury has no p robative value
Despite the fact that Dra. dela Llana is a physician and even assuming that she is
B. The medical certificate cannot be considered because it w as not admitted in an expert in neurology, we cannot give weight to her opinion that Joel’s reckless
evidence Furthermore, the medical certificate, marked as Exhibit “H” during driving caused her whiplash injury without violating the rules on evidence.
trial, should not be considered in resolving this case for the reason that it was
not admitted in evidence by the RTC in an order dated September 23, 2004. Difference between an ordinary witness and an expert witness
Thus, the CA erred in even considering this documentary evidence in its Ordinary witness’ opinion may be received in evidence re:
resolution of the case. It is a basic rule that evidence which has not been a. identity of a person about whom he has adequate knowledge
admitted cannot be validly considered by the courts in arriving at their B. handwriting with which he has sufficient familiarity
judgments. However, even if we consider the medical certificate in the C. the mental sanity of a person
disposition of this case, the medical certificate has no probative value for being
hearsay. Witness may also testify on his impressions of the emotion, behavior, condition
See Doctrine for more or appearance of a person

During trial, Dra. dela Llana testified: Expert witness opinion received in evidence on matter requiring special
“Q: Did your physician tell you, more or less, what was the reason why you knowledge, skill, experience or training which he has shown to possess.
were feeling that pain in your left arm?
A: Well, I got a certificate from her and in that certificate, she stated that Courts do not immediately accord probative value to an admitted expert
my condition was due to a compression of the nerve, which supplied my testimony, much less to an unobjected ordinary testimony respecting special
left arm and my left hand. knowledge. The reason is that the probative value of an expert testimony does
Court: By the way, what is the name of this physician, Dra.? not lie in a simple exposition of the expert’s opinion. Rather, its weight lies in
Witness: Her name is Dra. Rosalinda Milla. She is a Rehabilitation Medicine the assistance that the expert witness may afford the courts by demonstrating
Specialist. the facts which serve as a basis for his opinion and the reasons on which the
Atty. Yusingco: You mentioned that this Dra. Rosalinda Milla made or logic of his conclusions is founded.
issued a medical certificate. What relation does this medical certificate,
marked as Exhibit H have to do with that certificate, you said was made by Dra. Leila’s medical opinion cannot be given probative value. As an ordinary
Dra. Milla? witness, she was not competent to testify on the nature, and cause and effects of
Witness: This is the medical certificate that Dra. Milla made out for me. whiplash injury.

It was Dr. Milla who had personal knowledge of the contents of the medical SC cannot take JN that vehicular accidents cause whiplash injuries
certificate. But she was not presented to testify in court and was not able to Dra. dela Llana did not present any testimonial or documentary evidence that
identify and affirm the contents of the med cert. Rebecca was deprived of the directly shows the causal relation between the vehicular accident and Dra. dela
opportunity to cross-examine Dr. Milla. Llana’s injury.

Med cert did not explain the chain of causation in fact between the reckless CA DECISION AFFIRMED.
driving and whiplash injury. It did not categorically state that the whiplash
injury was a result of the vehicular accident.