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Petitioner, the BSB Group, Inc., is a duly organized domestic corporation presided by its
herein representative, Ricardo Bangayan (Bangayan). Respondent Sally Go is Bangayans wife,
who was employed in the company as a cashier, and was engaged to receive and account for the
payments made by the various customers of the company.
In 2002, Bangayan filed with the Manila Prosecutors Office a complaint for estafa and/or
qualified theft against respondent, alleging that several checks representing the aggregate amount
of P1,534,135.50 issued by the company’s customers in payment of their obligation were, instead
of being turned over to the company’s coffers, indorsed by respondent who deposited the same to
her personal banking account maintained at Security Bank and Trust Company (Security Bank).
Accordingly, respondent was charged before the Regional Trial Court of Manila.
Respondent entered a negative plea when arraigned. The trial ensued. On the premise that
respondent had allegedly encashed the subject checks and deposited the corresponding amounts
thereof to her personal banking account, the prosecution moved for the issuance of subpoena duces
tecum /ad testificandum against the respective managers or records custodians of Security Banks
as well as of the Asian Savings Bank (now Metrobank). The trial court granted the motion and
issued the corresponding subpoena.
Respondent filed a motion to quash the subpoena, addressed to Metrobank, noting to the court that
in the complaint-affidavit filed with the prosecutor, there was no mention made of the said bank
account, to which respondent, in addition to the Security Bank account, allegedly deposited the
proceeds of the supposed checks. Interestingly, while respondent characterized the Metrobank
account as irrelevant to the case, she, in the same motion,
nevertheless waived her objection to the irrelevancy of the SecurityBank account mentioned in th
e same complaint-affidavit, inasmuch as she was admittedly willing to address the allegations with
respect thereto.
Petitioner, opposing respondents move, argued for the relevancy of the Metrobank account on the
ground that the complaint-affidavit showed that there were two checks which respondent allegedly
deposited in an account with the said bank. To this, respondent filed a supplemental motion to
quash, invoking the absolutely confidential nature of the Metrobank account under the provisions
of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 1405. The trial court did not sustain respondent; hence, it denied the
motion to quash for lack of merit.
Meanwhile, the prosecution was able to present in court the testimony of Elenita Marasigan
(Marasigan), the representative of Security Bank. In a nutshell, Marasigans testimony sought to
prove that between 1988 and 1989, respondent, while engaged as cashier at the BSB Group, Inc.,
was able to run away with the checks issued to the company by its customers, endorse the same,
and credit the corresponding amounts to her personal deposit account with Security Bank. In the
course of the testimony, the subject checks were presented to Marasigan for identification and
marking as the same checks received by respondent, endorsed, and then deposited in her personal
account with Security Bank.
But before the testimony could be completed, respondent filed a Motion to Suppress, seeking the
exclusion of Marasigans testimony and accompanying documents thus far received, bearing on the
subject Security Bank account. This time respondent invokes, in addition to irrelevancy, the
privilege of confidentiality under R.A. No. 1405.
The Trial court denied said motion as well as the motion for reconsideration filed by the
respondent. CA reversed the decision and ordered that the witness’ testimony be stricken out from
the record.
IV. ISSUE: W/N the pieces of evidence sought to be suppressed in this case, the testimony of
Marasigan, as well as the checks purported to have been stolen and deposited in respondents
Security Bank account, are relevant
Fundamental is the precept in all criminal prosecutions, that the constitutive acts of the offense
must be established with unwavering exactitude and moral certainty because this is the critical and
only requisite to a finding of guilt. Theft is present when a person, with intent to gain but without
violence against or intimidation of persons or force upon things, takes the personal property of
another without the latters consent. It is qualified when, among others, and as alleged in the instant
case, it is committed with abuse of confidence. In turn, whether these elements concur in a way
that overcomes the presumption of guiltlessness, is a question that must pass the test of relevancy
and competency in accordance with Section 3 Rule 128 of the Rules of Court.
The fact in issue appears to be that respondent has taken away cash in the amount of P1,534,135.50
from the coffers of petitioner. In support of this allegation, petitioner seeks to establish the
existence of the elemental act of taking by adducing evidence that respondent, at several times
between 1988 and 1989, deposited some of its checks to her personal account with Security
Bank. Petitioner addresses the incongruence between the allegation of theft of cash in the
Information, on the one hand, and the evidence that respondent had first stolen the checks and
deposited the same in her banking account, on the other hand, by impressing upon the Court that
there obtains no difference between cash and check for purposes of prosecuting respondent for
theft of cash. Petitioner is mistaken.
In theft, the act of unlawful taking connotes deprivation of personal property of one by another
with intent to gain, and it is immaterial that the offender is able or unable to freely dispose of the
property stolen because the deprivation relative to the offended party has already ensued from such
act of execution. The allegation of theft of money, hence, necessitates that evidence presented must
have a tendency to prove that the offender has unlawfully taken money belonging to
another. Interestingly, petitioner has taken pains in attempting to draw a connection between the
evidence subject of the instant review, and the allegation of theft in the Information by claiming
that respondent had fraudulently deposited the checks in her own name. But this line of argument
works more prejudice than favor, because it in effect, seeks to establish the commission, not of
theft, but rather of some other crime, probably estafa.
Moreover, that there is no difference between cash and check is true in other instances. In estafa by
conversion, for instance, whether the thing converted is cash or check, is immaterial in relation to
the formal allegation in an information for that offense; a check, after all, while not regarded as
legal tender, is normally accepted under commercial usage as a substitute for cash, and the credit
it represents in stated monetary value is properly capable of appropriation. And it is in this respect
that what the offender does with the check subsequent to the act of unlawfully taking it becomes
material inasmuch as this offense is a continuing one. In other words, in pursuing a case for this
offense, the prosecution may establish its cause by the presentation of the checks involved. These
checks would then constitute the best evidence to establish their contents and to prove the
elemental act of conversion in support of the proposition that the offender has indeed indorsed the
same in his own name.
Theft, however, is not of such character. Thus, for our purposes, as the Information in this case
accuses respondent of having stolen cash, proof tending to establish that respondent has actualized
her criminal intent by indorsing the checks and depositing the proceeds thereof in her personal
account, becomes not only irrelevant but also immaterial and, on that score, inadmissible in
The Republic, through the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), instituted a
Complaint for Reconveyance, Reversion, Accounting, Restitution and Damages against the
Gimenez Spouses before the Sandiganbayan. The Complaint seeks to recover . . . ill-gotten wealth
. . . acquired by the Gimenez Spouses as dummies, agents, or nominees of former President
Ferdinand E. Marcos and Imelda Marcos.

During trial, the Republic presented documentary evidence attesting to the positions held, business
interests, income, and pertinent transactions of the Gimenez Spouses. The Republic presented the
testimonies of Atty. Tereso Javier, Head of the Sequestered Assets Department of PCGG, and of
Danilo R.V. Daniel, Director of the Research and Development Department of PCGG. Witnesses
testified on the bank accounts and businesses owned or controlled by the Gimenez Spouses.

The Sandiganbayan denied a motion to recall Danilo R.V. Daniel's testimony. The Republic then
manifested that it was "no longer presenting further evidence." Accordingly, the Sandiganbayan
gave the Republic 30 days "to file its formal offer of evidence." The Republic moved "for an
extension of thirty (30) days within which to file its formal offer of evidence." This Motion was
granted by the Sandiganbayan in a Resolution of the same date.
The Republic moved for an additional 15 days within which to file its Formal Offer of Evidence.
This Motion was granted by the Sandiganbayan in a Resolution dated May 8, 2006. 18 Following
this, no additional Motion for extension was filed by the Republic.

In the first assailed Resolution, the Sandiganbayan noted that the Republic failed to file its Formal
Offer of Evidence notwithstanding repeated extensions and the lapse of 75 days from the date it
terminated its presentation of evidence. Thus, it declared that the Republic waived the filing of its
Formal Offer of Evidence.
Ignacio Gimenez filed a Motion to Dismiss on Demurrer to Evidence dated May 30, 2006. He
argued that the Republic showed no right to relief as there was no evidence to support its cause of
action. Fe Roa Gimenez filed a Motion to Dismiss dated June 13, 2006 on the ground of failure to
prosecute. the Republic filed a Motion for Reconsideration [of the first assailed Resolution] and to
Admit Attached Formal Offer of Evidence.
In the second assailed Resolution, the Sandiganbayan denied the Republic's Motion for
Reconsideration and granted the Gimenez Spouses' Motion to Dismiss. The Sandiganbayan also
found that the Republic failed to prosecute its case for an unreasonable length of time and to
comply with the court's rules. The court also noted that the documentary evidence presented by
the Republic consisted mostly of certified true copies. However, the persons who certified the
documents as copies of the original were not presented. Hence, the evidence lacked probative
value.The Republic filed its Petition for Review on Certiorari before this court.
ISSUE: W/N the Sandiganbayan erred in holding that petitioner Republic of the Philippines
waived the filing of its Formal Offer of Evidence and in granting respondents Ignacio Gimenez
and Fe Roa Gimenez's Motion to Dismiss on demurrer to evidence.
In the second assailed Resolution, the Sandiganbayan granted respondents' Motion to Dismiss
based on the lack of Formal Offer of Evidence of petitioner. At the same time, it observed that the
pieces of documentary evidence presented by petitioner were mostly certified true copies of the
Petitioner faults the Sandiganbayan for making "a general and sweeping statement that the
evidence presented by petitioner lacked probative value for the reason that they are mainly certified
true copies which had not been testified on by the person who certified them. Thus, its right to due
process was violated when the Sandiganbayan rejected petitioner's documentary evidence in the
same Resolution which dismissed the case.

Petitioner argues that: a) respondents unqualifiedly admitted the identity and authenticity of the
documentary evidence presented by petitioner; and b) the documents it presented were public
documents, and there was no need for the identification and authentication of the original
documentary exhibits.

Petitioner claims that the following exhibits were acquired in relation to the PCGG's functions
prescribed under Executive Order No. 1, Section 3(b), and form part of the official records of the
PCGG: "Certifications as to the various positions held in Government by Fe Roa-Gimenez, her
salaries and compensation during her stint as a public officer, the BIR Income Tax Returns and
Statement of Assets and Liabilities showing the declared income of spouses Gimenezes; the
Articles of Incorporation of various corporations showing spouses Gimenezes' interests on various
corporations; and several transactions involving huge amounts of money which prove that they
acted as conduit in the disbursement of government funds."

On the other hand, respondent Ignacio Gimenez argues that petitioner's documents are not "official
issuances of the Philippine government." They are mostly notarized private
documents. Petitioner's evidence has no probative value; hence, a dismissal on demurrer to
evidence is only proper. Respondent Fe Roa Gimenez claims that the Sandiganbayan did not err in
holding that the majority of petitioner's documentary evidence has no probative value, considering
that most of these documents are only photocopies.

The evidence presented by petitioner before the Sandiganbayan deserves better treatment.

For instance, the nature and classification of the documents should have been ruled upon. Save for
certain cases, the original document must be presented during trial when the subject of the inquiry
is the contents of the document. This is the Best Evidence Rule provided under Rule 130, Section
3 of the Rules of Court In case of unavailability of the original document, secondary evidence may
be presented as provided for under Sections 5 to 7 of the same Rule.
Notably, the Sandiganbayan's evaluation of the evidence presented by petitioner was cursory. Its
main reason for granting the Motion to Dismiss on Demurrer to Evidence was that there was no
evidence to consider due to petitioner's failure to file its Formal Offer of Evidence. It brushed off
the totality of evidence on which petitioner built its case.
Even assuming that no documentary evidence was properly offered, this court finds it clear from
the second assailed Resolution that the Sandiganbayan did not even consider other evidence
presented by petitioner during the 19 years of trial. The Sandiganbayan erred in ignoring
petitioner's testimonial evidence without any basis or justification. Numerous exhibits were offered
as part of the testimonies of petitioner's witnesses.
Petitioner presented both testimonial and documentary evidence that tended to establish a
presumption that respondents acquired ill-gotten wealth during respondent Fe Roa Gimenez's
incumbency as public officer and which total amount or value was manifestly out of proportion to
her and her husband's salaries and to their other lawful income or properties.
The court cannot arbitrarily disregard evidence especially when resolving a demurrer to evidence
which tests the sufficiency of the plaintiff's evidence.
The difference between the admissibility of evidence and the determination of its probative weight
is canonical.
Admissibility of evidence refers to the question of whether or not the circumstance (or
evidence) is to [be] considered at all. On the other hand, the probative value of evidence
refers to the question of whether or not it proves an issue. Thus, a letter may be offered in
evidence and admitted as such but its evidentiary weight depends upon the observance of
the rules on evidence. Accordingly, the author of the letter should be presented as witness
to provide the other party to the litigation the opportunity to question him on the contents
of the letter. Being mere hearsay evidence, failure to present the author of the letter renders
its contents suspect. As earlier stated, hearsay evidence, whether objected to or not, has no
probative value.
The Sandiganbayan should have considered Atienza v. Board of Medicine, et al. where this court
held that it is better to admit and consider evidence for determination of its probative value than to
outright reject it based on very rigid and technical grounds.
A liberal application of the Rules is in line with the state's policy to recover ill-gotten wealth. In
case of doubt, courts should proceed with caution in granting a motion to dismiss based on
demurrer to evidence. An order granting demurrer to evidence is a judgment on the merits. This is
because while a demurrer "is an aid or instrument for the expeditious termination of an action," it
specifically "pertains to the merits of the case." To erroneously grant a dismissal simply based on
the delay to formally offer documentary evidence essentially deprives one party of due process.
Lucia Paras (Lucia) was a "concessionaire of a sand and gravel permit at Kabulihan, Toledo City."
Kimwa is a "construction firm that sells concrete aggregates to contractors and haulers in Cebu."
Lucia and Kimwa entered into a contract denominated "Agreement for Supply of Aggregates"
(Agreement) where 40,000 cubic meters of aggregates were "allotted" by Lucia as supplier to
Kimwa. Kimwa was to pick up the allotted aggregates at Lucia's permitted area in Toledo City.
Pursuant to the Agreement, Kimwa hauled 10,000 cubic meters of aggregates. Sometime after this,
however, Kimwa stopped hauling aggregates.Claiming that in so doing, Kimwa violated the
Agreement, Lucia filed the Complaint for breach of contract with damages that is now subject of
this Petition.
In their Complaint, Spouses Paras alleged that sometime in December 1994, Lucia was approached
by Kimwa expressing its interest to purchase gravel and sand from her. Kimwa allegedly asked
that it be "assured" of 40,000 cubic meters worth of aggregates. Lucia countered that her
concession area was due to be rechanneled on May 15, 1995, when her Special Permit
expires. Thus, she emphasized that she would be willing to enter into a contract with Kimwa
"provided the forty thousand cubic meters would be withdrawn or completely extracted and hauled
before 15 May 1995." Kimwa then assured Lucia that it would take only two to three months for
it to completely haul the 40,000 cubic meters of aggregates. Convinced of Kimwa's assurances,
Lucia and Kimwa entered into the Agreement.
Spouses Paras added that within a few days, Kimwa was able to extract and haul 10,000 cubic
meters of aggregates. However, after extracting and hauling this quantity, Kimwa allegedly
transferred to the concession area of a certain Mrs. Remedios dela Torre in violation of their
Agreement. They then addressed demand letters to Kimwa. As these went unheeded, Spouses
Paras filed their Complaint.
In its Answer, Kimwa alleged that it never committed to obtain 40,000 cubic meters of aggregates
from Lucia. It argued that the controversial quantity of 40,000 cubic meters represented only an
upper limit or the maximum quantity that it could haul. It likewise claimed that it neither made
any commitment to haul 40,000 cubic meters of aggregates before May 15, 1995 nor represented
that the hauling of this quantity could be completed in two to three months. It denied that the
hauling of 10,000 cubic meters of aggregates was completed in a matter of days and countered that
it took weeks to do so. It also denied transferring to the concession area of a certain Mrs. Remedios
dela Torre.
Kimwa asserted that the Agreement articulated the parties' true intent that 40,000 cubic meters was
a maximum limit and that May 15, 1995 was never set as a deadline. Invoking the Parol Evidence
Rule, it insisted that Spouses Paras were barred from introducing evidence which would show that
the parties had agreed differently.
On May 16, 2001, the Regional Trial Court rendered the Decision in favor of Spouses Paras. The
trial court noted that the Agreement stipulated that the allotted aggregates were set aside
exclusively for Kimwa. It reasoned that it was contrary to human experience for Kimwa to have
entered into an Agreement with Lucia without verifying the latter's authority as a
concessionaire. Considering that the Special Permit granted to Lucia clearly indicated that her
authority was good for only six (6) months from November 14, 1994, the trial court noted that
Kimwa must have been aware that the 40,000 cubic meters of aggregates allotted to it must
necessarily be hauled by May 15, 1995. As it failed to do so, it was liable to Spouses Paras for the
total sum of P720,000.00, the value of the 30,000 cubic-meters of aggregates that Kimwa did not
haul, in addition to attorney's fees and costs of suit.
On appeal, the Court of Appeals reversed the Regional Trial Court's Decision. It faulted the trial
court for basing its findings on evidence presented which were supposedly in violation of the Parol
Evidence Rule. It noted that the Agreement was clear that Kimwa was under no obligation to haul
40,000 cubic meters of aggregates by May 15, 1995.
In a subsequent Resolution, the Court of Appeals denied reconsideration to Spouses Paras. Hence,
this petition.
W/N respondent Kimwa Construction and Development Corporation is liable to petitioners
Spouses Paras for (admittedly) failing to haul 30,000 cubic meters of aggregates from petitioner
Lucia Paras' permitted area by May 15, 1995
Rule 130, Section 9 of the Revised Rules on Evidence provides for the Parol Evidence Rule, the
rule on admissibility of documentary evidence when the terms of an agreement have been reduced
into writing.
Per this rule, reduction to written form, regardless of the formalities observed, "forbids any
addition to, or contradiction of, the terms of a written agreement by testimony or other evidence
purporting to show that different terms were agreed upon by the parties, varying the purport of the
written contract." This, however, is merely a general rule. Two (2) things must be established for
parol evidence to be admitted: first, that the existence of any of the four (4) exceptions has been
put in issue in a party's pleading or has not been objected to by the adverse party; and second, that
the parol evidence sought to be presented serves to form the basis of the conclusion proposed by
the presenting party.
Here, the Court of Appeals found fault in the Regional Trial Court for basing its findings "on the
basis of evidence presented in violation of the parol evidence rule." It proceeded to fault petitioners
Spouses Paras for showing "no proof of [respondent Kimwa's] obligation." Then, it stated that
"[t]he stipulations in the agreement between the parties leave no room for interpretation."

The Court of Appeals is in serious error.

Contrary to the Court of Appeal's conclusion, petitioners Spouses Paras pleaded in the Complaint
they filed before the trial court a mistake or imperfection in the Agreement, as well as the
Agreement's failure to express the true intent of the parties. Further, respondent Kimwa, through
its Answer, also responded to petitioners Spouses Paras' pleading of these issues. This is, thus, an
exceptional case allowing admission of parol evidence.
It is true that petitioners Spouses Paras' Complaint does not specifically state words and phrases
such as "mistake," "imperfection," or "failure to express the true intent of the parties."
Nevertheless, it is evident that the crux of petitioners Spouses Paras' Complaint is their assertion
that the Agreement "entered into on 6 December 1994 or thereabouts" was founded on the parties'
supposed understanding that the quantity of aggregates allotted in favor of respondent Kimwa must
be hauled by May 15, 1995, lest such hauling be rendered impossible by the rechanneling of
petitioner Lucia Paras' permitted area. This assertion is the very foundation of petitioners' having
come to court for relief.
Proof of how petitioners Spouses Paras successfully pleaded and put this in issue in their
Complaint is how respondent Kimwa felt it necessary to respond to it or address it in its Answer.
Considering how the Agreement's mistake, imperfection, or supposed failure to express the parties'
true intent was successfully put in issue in petitioners Spouses Paras' Complaint (and even
responded to by respondent Kimwa in its Answer), this case falls under the exceptions provided
by Rule 130, Section 9 of the Revised Rules on Evidence. Accordingly, the testimonial and
documentary parol evidence sought to be introduced by petitioners Spouses Paras, which attest to
these supposed flaws and what they aver to have been the parties' true intent, may be admitted and
Spouses Aristeo Mayo and Salud Masangkay sold for P70,000 the property subject of this
case to Arsenio Ting where a TCT was subsequently issued in his favor.
Arsenio Ting was the son of Teng Ching Lay by his first marriage.
Arsenio died in 1972, predeceasing his father, Teng Ching Lay, and leaving as compulsory heirs,
the surviving spouse, Germana, and respondents who were all minors at that time.
In the intestate proceedings for the settlement of Arsenio’s estate before the CFI, the court issued
an Order approving the project of partition which included, among others, the property in question
which was adjudicated in favor of respondents.
In view of the Order of the CFI adjudicating the disputed property in favor of respondents, TCT
No. 63991 was cancelled and in lieu thereof, TCT No. 134412 was issued in the name of
respondents on July 3, 1979.
An estate tax return signed by petitioner Anna Teng was filed for the estate of Teng Ching Lay
whose given address when he was alive was in Buhangin, Butuan City. The residence of
petitioners who were listed as heirs was stated to be on A. Vasquez Street, Ermita, Manila, which
is the property in question. Appearing on the dorsal side of the estate tax return was a list of
properties belonging to Teng Ching Lay. The only properties that were listed, however, were those
located in Cavite and Butuan City.
Respondents, through counsel, sent a demand letter to petitioners to vacate the property in
question. When the latter refused, respondents instituted an ejectment case against them in the
MeTC of Manila.
Petitioners, in turn, filed a complaint for the cancellation of title and partition with damages and
prayer for a restraining order and/or preliminary injunction against respondents before the RTC
of Manila. Petitioners, who have been residing in the property since 1961, demanded
the reconveyance of its title in their favor on the ground that Arsenio merely held the property in
trust for Teng Ching Lay.
According to petitioners, Teng Ching Lay purchased the property from the spouses Aristeo Mayo
and Salud Masangkay but it was made to appear in the contract of sale that Arsenio was the vendee
because of the constitutional prohibition against aliens owning land in the Philippines. They claim
that they became aware of the TCT in the name of respondents only when the latter instituted
an ejectment suit against them, and notwithstanding the efforts on their part to settle the dispute,
respondents refused to recognize their ownership of the property.
Petitioners principal witness was Angel Sembrano, corporate accountant of Triumph Timber, Inc.,
and Teng Ching Lays personal accountant. According to Sembrano, he met Arsenio when he was
hired as an accountant of Triumph Timber, Inc. in 1959. As Teng Ching Lays personal accountant
from 1960 to 1989, he prepared the latters income tax returns and purchases. In June of
1961, Arsenio allegedly told him that his father was going to buy a house in Manila, and directed
him to prepare a voucher and a check of the corporation for P200,000 payable to Teng Ching Lay.
Said voucher and check, however, along with the other records of the corporation, were allegedly
lost during the flood that hit Butuan City in 1981.
Sembrano likewise stated that when he went to Manila in November of 1961, Teng Ching Lay
brought him to the house that he purportedly bought but since he was a Chinese national at that
time, the title to the property was placed in the name of Arsenio.
On cross-examination, Sembrano mentioned that he did not know who the vendor of the property
was but the purchase price, as he was supposedly told by Arsenio, was P150,000; that not all the
documents of the corporation were presented in the proceedings at the SEC; that he did not know
where the proceeds of the check went; and, that TengChing Lay filed income tax returns for 1961
and 1962. He insisted that Arsenio informed him that the check was intended for the purchase
price of the house and lot in Manila, and that he even saw the unsigned deed of conveyance.
Respondents, on the other hand, contended that the property was paid for and legally acquired by
their father, Arsenio, and that it was among those adjudicated to them by virtue of a special
proceedings before the CFI of Agusan del Norte and Butuan City. They asked for the dismissal of
the complaint, and filed a counterclaim that prayed for damages as well as compensation for the
use of a portion of the property by petitioners.
Meanwhile, on February 24, 1993, the MeTC rendered a decision in the ejectment case ordering
petitioners to vacate the premises. Petitioners appealed to the RTC of Manila but the RTC affirmed
the decision of the MeTC, stating that petitioners failed to take earnest efforts to reach a
compromise agreement with respondents prior to the filing of the ejectment case.
On September 30, 1994, the RTC, in the aforestated civil case, rendered its decision dismissing
the complaint filed by petitioners on the ground that petitioners failed to prove that Arsenio was
merely holding the subject property in trust for his father, Teng Ching Lay. On appeal, the CA
affirmed the decision of the RTC.
ISSUE: W/N the testimony of Sembrano is admissible
In civil cases, the burden of proof to be established by a preponderance of evidence is on the party
who is asserting the affirmative of an issue. Preponderance of evidence means probability of truth.
It is evidence that is more convincing to the court as worthy of belief than that which is offered in
opposition thereto.
Petitioners primarily rely on Angel Sembranos testimony to substantiate their claim. The latters
testimony, however, consists mainly of hearsay, which carries no probative value. He did not have
personal knowledge as to the execution of the contract of sale between Arsenio and
the Masangkay spouses nor the alleged agreement between the former and Teng Ching Lay. He
could only testify as to what the deceased had allegedly told him. Thus, any evidence, whether oral
or documentary, is hearsay if its evidentiary weight is not based on the personal knowledge of the
witness but on the knowledge of some other person not on the witness stand.
Even if the alleged statement of Arsenio to Sembrano relating to the fact that his
father, Teng Ching Lay, was buying a house in Manila, can be admissible in evidence as a
declaration against his pecuniary interest under Section 38 of Rule 130 of the Rules of Court, still,
the veracity as to whether the deceased actually made this statement is subject to scrutiny. Clearly,
the RTC and the CA cast doubt on Sembrano’s credibility, and the Court does not find any reason
to hold otherwise.
Time and again, the Court has held that it will not interfere with the trial courts assessment
regarding the credibility of witnesses, absent any showing that it overlooked, misapplied or
misunderstood some facts or circumstances of weight and substance or that it gravely abused its
discretion. Here, both the RTC and the CA were not convinced of the truthfulness
of Sembrano’s bare testimony. He did not present any documentary proof to support his
statements, particularly with regard to the P200,000 check that he supposedly gave to Arsenio for
the payment of the property in question.
Furthermore, Sembrano’s testimony on behalf of petitioners is about an alleged declaration against
an interest of a person who is dead in an action that is in effect a claim against his estate. Such a
testimony if coming from a party would be barred by the surviving parties rule, or the dead mans
statute, in the Rules of Court:
Section 23, Rule 130. Disqualification by reason of death or insanity of adverse party. Parties or
assignors of parties to a case, or persons in whose behalf a case is prosecuted, against an executor
or administrator or other representative of a deceased person, or against a person of unsound mind,
upon a claim or demand against the estate of such deceased person or against such person of
unsound mind, cannot testify as to any matter of fact occurring before the death of such deceased
person or before such person became of unsound mind.
And while Sembrano is not a party, he is practically a surrogate of petitioners since he was the
personal accountant of their predecessor-in-interest and the corporate accountant of the corporation
he controlled.
At any event, the issues propounded by petitioners have been discussed lengthily and ruled upon
by the RTC and the CA in their respective decisions. Hence, the Court does not deem it necessary
to further delve into these matters. The evidence on record supports the assailed findings and
conclusions specifically with regard to the ownership of the property in question that is reflected
in the Torrens title which was issued in the name of Arsenio pursuant to the deed of sale.
Petitioner was charged with estafa under an information filed in the Regional Trial Court (RTC).
Petitioner pled not guilty to the offense charged in the information.
The Prosecutions first witness was Lamberto Go, who testified that he was the branch manager of
Footluckers Chain of Stores, Inc. (Footluckers) in Dumaguete City since October 8, 1994; that
petitioner was an employee of Footluckers, starting as a saleslady in 1996 until she became a sales
representative; that as a sales representative she was authorized to take orders from wholesale
customers coming from different towns and to collect payments from them; that at first her volume
of sales was quite high, but later on dropped, leading him to confront her; that she responded that
business was slow; that he decided to subject her to an audit by company auditor Karen Guivencan;
that he learned from a customer of petitioners that the customers outstanding balance had already
been fully paid although that balance appeared unpaid in Footluckers records.
The only other witness for the Prosecution was Karen Guivencan, whom Footluckers employed as
its store auditor since November 16, 1995 until her resignation on March 31, 2001. She declared
that Go had requested her to audit petitioner after some customers had told him that they had
already paid their accounts but the office ledger had still reflected outstanding balances for them;
that she discovered in the course of her audit that the amounts appearing on the original copies of
receipts in the possession of around 50 customers varied from the amounts written on the duplicate
copies of the receipts petitioner submitted to the office; that upon completing her audit, she
submitted to Go a written report denominated as List of Customers Covered by Saleswoman
LERIMA PATULA w/ Differences in Records as per Audit Duly Verified March 16-20, 1997
marked as Exhibit A.
During Guivencans stint as a witness, the Prosecution marked the ledgers of petitioners various
customers allegedly with discrepancies as Exhibits B to YY and their derivatives, inclusive. In the
course of Guivencans direct-examination,petitioners counsel interposed a continuing objection on
the ground that the figures entered in Exhibits B to YY and their derivatives, inclusive, were
hearsay because the persons who had made the entries were not themselves presented in court.
With that, petitioners counsel did not anymore cross-examine Guivencan, apparently regarding her
testimony to be irrelevant because she thereby tended to prove falsification, an offense not alleged
in the information.
The Prosecution then formally offered its documentary exhibits, including Exhibits B to YY and
their derivatives (like the originals and duplicates of the receipts supposedly executed and issued
by petitioner), inclusive, the confirmation sheets used by Guivencan in auditing the accounts
served by petitioner, and Guivencans so-called Summary (Final Report) of Discrepancies.
After the Prosecution rested its case, the Defense decided not to file a demurrer to evidence
although it had manifested the intention to do so, and instead rested its case. The Prosecution and
Defense submitted their respective memoranda, and submitted the case for decision.
RTC, stating that inasmuch as petitioner had opted not to present evidence for her defense the
Prosecution’s evidence remained unrefuted and uncontroverted, rendered its decision finding
petitioner guilty of estafa,
ISSUE: W/N Guivencan’s testimony on the ledgers and receipts (Exhibits B to YY, and their
derivatives, inclusive) to prove petitioner’s misappropriation or conversion was inadmissible for
being hearsay.
To elucidate why the Prosecutions hearsay evidence was unreliable and untrustworthy, and thus
devoid of probative value, reference is made toSection 36 of Rule 130, Rules of Court, a rule that
states that a witness can testify only to those facts that she knows of her personal knowledge; that
is, which are derived from her own perception, except as otherwise provided in the Rules of Court.
The personal knowledge of a witness is a substantive prerequisite for accepting testimonial
evidence that establishes the truth of a disputed fact. A witness bereft ofpersonal knowledge of the
disputed fact cannot be called upon for that purpose because her testimony derives its value not
from the credit accorded to her as a witness presently testifying but from the veracity and
competency of the extrajudicial source of her information.
In case a witness is permitted to testify based on what she has heard another person say about the
facts in dispute, the person from whom the witness derived the information on the facts in dispute
is not in court and under oath to be examined and cross-examined. The weight of such testimony
then depends not upon the veracity of the witness but upon the veracity of the other person giving
the information to the witness without oath. The information cannot be tested because the declarant
is not standing in court as a witness and cannot, therefore, be cross-examined. Thus, the rule against
hearsay testimony rests mainly on the ground that there was no opportunity to cross-examine the
In this case, Go essentially described for the trial court the various duties of petitioner as
Footluckers sales representative. On her part, Guivencan conceded having no personal knowledge
of the amounts actually received by petitioner from the customers or remitted by petitioner to
Footluckers. This means that persons other than Guivencan prepared Exhibits B to YY and their
derivatives, inclusive, and that Guivencan based her testimony on the entries found in the receipts
supposedly issued by petitioner and in the ledgers held by Footluckers corresponding to each
customer, as well as on the unsworn statements of some of the customers. Accordingly, her being
the only witness who testified on the entries effectively deprived the RTC of the reasonable
opportunity to validate and test the veracity and reliability of the entries as evidence of petitioner’s
misappropriation or conversion through cross-examination by petitioner. The denial of that
opportunity rendered the entire proof of misappropriation or conversion hearsay, and thus
unreliable and untrustworthy for purposes of determining the guilt or innocence of the accused.