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BEST EVIDENCE RULE

LOON VS. POWER MASTER, INC.


G.R. No. 189404, December 11, 2013

Facts:

 Respondents Power Master, Inc. and Tri-C General Services employed and assigned the petitioners as janitors and
leadsmen in various Philippine Long-Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) offices in Metro Manila area.
 Petitioners filed a complaint for money claims against Power Master, Inc., Tri-C General Services and their officers, the
spouses Homer and Carina Alumisin. They alleged in their complaint that they were not paid minimum wages, overtime,
holiday, premium, service incentive leave, and thirteenth month pays. They further averred that the respondents made
them sign blank payroll sheets. Petitioners amended their complaint and included illegal dismissal as their cause of action.
They claimed that the respondents relieved them from service in retaliation for the filing of their original complaint.
 The respondents did not participate in the proceedings before the Labor Arbiter except on April 19, 2001 and May
21, 2001 when Mr. Romulo Pacia, Jr. appeared on the respondents’ behalf. The respondents’ counsel also appeared in a
preliminary mandatory conference on July 5, 2001. However, the respondents neither filed any position paper nor proffered
pieces of evidence in their defense despite their knowledge of the pendency of the case.
 The Labor Arbiter (LA) partially ruled in favor of the petitioners. The LA awarded the petitioners salary differential,
service incentive leave, and thirteenth month pays. However, the LA denied the petitioners’ claims for backwages,
overtime, holiday, and premium pays.
 Both parties appealed the LA’s ruling with the National Labor Relations Commission. The petitioners disputed the LA’s
denial of their claim for backwages, overtime, holiday and premium pays. Meanwhile, the respondents questioned the
LA’s ruling on the ground that the LA did not acquire jurisdiction over their persons.
 The respondents insisted that they were not personally served with summons and other processes. They also claimed that
they paid the petitioners minimum wages, service incentive leave and thirteenth month pays. As proofs, they attached
photocopied and computerized copies of payroll sheets to their memorandum on appeal.
 The respondents filed an unverified supplemental appeal. They attached photocopied and computerized copies of
list of employees with automated teller machine (ATM) cards to the supplemental appeal. They also attached
documentary evidence showing that the petitioners were dismissed for cause and had been accorded due
process.
 The petitioners filed an Urgent Manifestation and Motion where they asked for the deletion of the supplemental appeal
from the records because it allegedly suffered from infirmities, one of which is that the attached documentary
evidence on the supplemental appeal bore the petitioners’ forged signatures.
 Petitioners filed an Urgent Manifestation with Reiterating Motion to Strike-Off the Record Supplemental
Appeal/Reply, Quitclaims and Spurious Documents Attached to Respondents’ Appeal. The petitioners argued in
this last motion that the payrolls should not be given probative value because they were the respondents’ fabrications. They
reiterated that the genuine payrolls bore their signatures, unlike the respondents’ photocopies of the payrolls. They also
maintained that their signatures in the respondents’ documents (which showed their receipt of thirteenth month pay) had
been forged.
 The NLRC allowed the respondents to submit pieces of evidence for the first time on appeal on the ground
that they had been deprived of due process. The NLRC gave weight to the pieces of evidence attached to the
memorandum on appeal and the supplemental appeal. It maintained that the absence of the petitioners’ signatures in the
payrolls was not an indispensable factor for their authenticity. It pointed out that the payment of money claims was further
evidenced by the list of employees with ATM cards. It also found that the petitioners’ signatures were not forged. It took
judicial notice that many people use at least two or more different signatures.
 The NLRC denied the petitioners’ motion for reconsideration. Aggrieved, the petitioners filed a petition for certiorari under
Rule 65 of the Rules of Court before the CA.
 The CA affirmed the NLRC’s ruling.

Issue:
- Whether or not mere photocopies as documentary evidence filed 6 months from notice of appeal are admissible in evidence
where there is an allegation of forgery by the adverse party.
Ruling:

The Court ruled in the NEGATIVE.

A party may only adduce evidence for the first time on appeal if he adequately explains his delay in the submission of evidence and
he sufficiently proves the allegations sought to be proven

In labor cases, strict adherence to the technical rules of procedure is not required. Time and again, we have allowed evidence to be
submitted for the first time on appeal with the NLRC in the interest of substantial justice. Thus, we have consistently supported the
rule that labor officials should use all reasonable means to ascertain the facts in each case speedily and objectively, without regard
to technicalities of law or procedure, in the interest of due process. However, this liberal policy should still be subject to rules of
reason and fairplay. The liberality of procedural rules is qualified by two requirements: (1) a party should adequately explain any
delay in the submission of evidence; and (2) a party should sufficiently prove the allegations sought to be proven. Thus, the CA
grossly erred in ruling that the NLRC did not commit grave abuse of discretion in arbitrarily admitting and giving weight to the
respondents’ pieces of evidence for the first time on appeal.

The respondents failed to adequately explain their delay in the submission of evidence. The CA gravely erred when it overlooked that
the NLRC blindly admitted and arbitrarily gave probative value to the respondents’ evidence despite their failure to adequately explain
their delay in the submission of evidence. Indeed, the NLRC capriciously and whimsically admitted and gave weight to the respondents’
evidence.

The respondents failed to sufficiently prove the allegations sought to be proven

Furthermore, the respondents failed to sufficiently prove the allegations sought to be proven. Why the respondents’ photocopied and
computerized copies of documentary evidence were not presented at the earliest opportunity is a serious question that lends credence
to the petitioners’ claim that the respondents fabricated the evidence for purposes of appeal. While we generally admit in
evidence and give probative value to photocopied documents in administrative proceedings, allegations of forgery
and fabrication should prompt the adverse party to present the original documents for inspection. It was incumbent
upon the respondents to present the originals, especially in this case where the petitioners had submitted their specimen signatures.
Instead, the respondents effectively deprived the petitioners of the opportunity to examine and controvert the alleged spurious
evidence by not adducing the originals. This Court is thus left with no option but to rule that the respondents’ failure to present the
originals raises the presumption that evidence willfully suppressed would be adverse if produced.

DIMAGUILA VS. MONTEIRO


G.R. No. 201011. January 27, 2014
PUBLIC RECORD

Facts:

 Respondent spouses filed their Complaint for Partition and Damages against the petitioners. Later on the complaint was
amended to an action for recovery. Respondent alleged: (1) that the disputed property was originally owned by Buenaseda;
(2) had long been partitioned between her two sons, Perfecto and Vitaliano Dimaguila; and (3) that owned 1/3 of the
portion of Perfecto’s share by virtue of a deed of sale executed between them and one of Perfecto’s heir, Pedro.
 While in their original answer, petitioner alleged that the subject property had already been extra-judicially partitioned
between the heirs of Vitaliano and Perfecto, they subsequently changed their position when the complaint was amended.
They now claimed that the property was not partitioned with specific metes and bounds. What is cleared among the heirs
is their respective shares thereof.
 RTC ruled in favor of Spouses Monteiro. CA affirmed the ruling of the RTC. The CA found that Spouses Monteiro had
established their case by a preponderance of evidence thru their presentation of the Deed of Extrajudicial Partition,
the certified true copy of cadastral map and the municipal assessor's records. Hence, this petition for review on
certiorari where petitioners argued that the cadastral map, which serves as the basis of the alleged partition, is inadmissible
in violation of the best evidence rule and hearsay rule.

Issue:
- Whether or not a certified true copy of cadastral map is inadmissible in evidence on the ground that it violates the best
evidence rule and hearsay rule.

Ruling:

The answer is in the negative.

Anent the best evidence rule, Section 3(d) of Rule 130 of the Rules of Court provides that when the subject of inquiry is the
contents of a document, no evidence shall be admissible other than the original document itself, except when the original is a public
record in the custody of a public officer or is recorded in a public office. Section 7 of the same Rule provides that when the original
of a document is in the custody of a public officer or is recorded in a public office, its contents may be proved by a certified copy
issued by the public officer in custody thereof. Section 24 of Rule 132 provides that the record of public documents may be evidenced
by a copy attested by the officer having the legal custody or the record.

As to the hearsay rule, Section 44 of Rule 130 of the Rules of Court similarly provides that entries in official records are an exception
to the rule. The rule provides that entries in official records made in the performance of the duty of a public officer of the Philippines,
or by a person in the performance of a duty specially enjoined by law, are prima facie evidence of the facts therein stated. The
necessity of this rule consists in the inconvenience and difficulty of requiring the official’s attendance as a witness to testify to the
innumerable transactions in the course of his duty. The document’s trustworthiness consists in the presumption of regularity of
performance of official duty.

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES VS HON. JESUS M. MUPAS


G.R. No. 181892 September 08, 2015
LOST/VOLUMINOUS
Facts:

 On October 5, 1994, Asia's Emerging Dragon Corp. (AEDC) submitted an unsolicited proposal to the Government - through
the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC)and the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA)- for
the construction and development of the NAIA-IPT III under a build operate- and-transfer (BOT) arrangement. The DOTC
and the MIAA invited the public to submit competitive and comparative proposals to AEDC's unsolicited proposal in
accordance with the BOT Law and its implementing rules. Paircargo consortium also submitted their competitive proposal
to build the NAIA-IPT III. Both AEDC and Paircargo offered to build, however, Paircargo submitted a bid superior to AEDC’s
unsolicited proposal, thus DOTC awarded the project to Paircargo (PIATCO).
 PIATCO engaged the services of Takenaka, as well as, Asahikosan, both foreign corporations organized in Japan, for the
construction of the NAIA-IPT, however, PIATCO defaulted on its obligations, and to settle the problem Takenaka and
Asahikosan agreed to defer PIATCO’s payments until June 2003.
 Trial ensued, there has been an issue as to the attendant costs of the construction, PIATCO was required to submit the
original documents to the court, however PIATCO argues that his non-submission is justified under Sec. 3 rule 130 of the
ROC, referring to the submission of numerous accounts.
Issue:

- Whether the non-submission of original documents is justified.


Held:

The court held in the NEGATIVE.

Although the contention of non-submission due to numerous accounts of the document is justifiable under the rule. However, as a
condition precedent to the admission of a summary of numerous documents, the proponent must lay a proper foundation for the
admission of the original documents on which the summary is based. The proponent must prove that the source documents being
summarized are also admissible if presented in court.

Under the best evidence rule, when the subject of inquiry relates to the contents of a document, no evidence shall be admissible
other than the original document itself. In proving the terms of a written document, the original of the document must be produced
in court.—Under the best evidence rule, when the subject of inquiry relates to the contents of a document, no evidence shall be
admissible other than the original document itself. In proving the terms of a written document, the original of the document must be
produced in court. Thus, PIATCO having failed to establish that the photocopied documents he presented in courts are authentic,
theses photocopied documents are deemed as hearsay, and shall not be admissible as evidence, or reference to the claimed attendant
costs of the project.

In the case at bar, PIATCO cannot rely on the affidavit of Atty. Tolentino who allegedly identified the photocopied documents
supporting attendant costs. The Court observed that the alleged affidavit of Atty. Tolentino does not have any signature above his
name as the affiant. Hence, his affidavit cannot be said to have at least substantially complied with the requirements laid down in
Sections 3(a), (b), and/or (d) of Rule 130 of the Rules of Court for the admissibility of photocopies as secondary evidence. We
therefore maintain our ruling that PIATCO’s documents allegedly supporting the attendant costs are hearsay evidence. With respect
to the effect of the alleged non-objection of the parties to the presentation of these photocopy documents, hearsay evidence has no
probative value and should be disregarded whether objected to or not.

MCMP CONSTRUCTION CORP. vs. MONARK EQUIPMENT CORP.


G.R. No. 201001 November 10, 2014
SECONDARY EVIDENCE

Facts:

 MCMP Construction and Monark Equipment Construction Corporation agreed to the lease of heavy equipment by MCMP
from Monark thru a Rental Equiptment Contract (Contract). Thus, Monark delivered five pieces of heavy equipment to
MCMP’s project site in Tanay Rizal, evidenced by Documents Acknowledgment Receipt No. 04667 and 5706, received by
MCMP representatives Jorge and Rose.
 During trial, Reynaldo, Monark’s representative, testified that there were two original copies of the contract, one for
MCMP and one for Monark; however, Monark’s copy was lost and despite diligent efforts, cannot be located, hence he
presented photocopy of the Contract which he had on file.
 MCMP objected to the presentation of the secondary evidence to prove the contents thereof, since there were no diligent
efforts to locate it, but did not produce MCMP’s copy of the contract despite a directive from the trial court to produce it.
 RTC ruled in favour of Monark, ordering MCMP to pay the balance of the rental fees inclusive of interest as well as 25%
attorney fees. MCMP appealed to the Court of Appeals when its motion for reconsideration was denied by the RTC, but the
appeal was also denied, hence it elevated its case to the Supreme Court, on the issue of whether or not secondary evidence
may be presented in the absence of the original. It argues that the custodian of the original document was not presented
to prove its loss; its loss was not even reported to the police; it was only searched by Monark for purposes of the instant
case.

Issue:
- Whether the appellate court should have disallowed the presentation of secondary evidence to prove the existence of the
Contract, following the Best Evidence Rule.

Ruling:

The Court ruled in the NEGATIVE.

The Best Evidence Rule, a basic postulate requiring the production of the original document whenever its contents are the subject of
inquiry, is contained in Section 3 of Rule 130 of the Rules of Court which provides:

“Section 3. Original document must be produced; exceptions.—When the subject of inquiry is the contents of a document, no evidence
shall be admissible other than the original document itself, except in the following cases:

(a) When the original has been lost or destroyed, or cannot be produced in court, without bad
faith on the part of the offeror;

(b) When the original is in the custody or under the control of the party against whom the evidence is offered, and the
latter fails to produce it after reasonable notice;

(c) When the original consists of numerous accounts or other documents which cannot be examined in court without great loss of
time and the fact sought to be established from them is only the general result of the whole; and

(d) When the original is a public record in the custody of a public officer or is recorded in a public office.”

Relative thereto, Sections 5 and 6 of Rule 130 provide the relevant rules on the presentation of secondary
evidence to prove the contents of a lost document:

“Section 5. When original document is unavailable. — When the original document has been lost or destroyed, or cannot be produced
in court, the offeror, upon proof of its execution or existence and the cause of its unavailability without bad faith on his part, may
prove its contents by a copy, or by a recital of its contents in some authentic document, or by the testimony of witnesses in the order
stated.

Section 6. When original document is in adverse party’s custody or control. — If the document is in the custody or under the control
of adverse party, he must have reasonable notice to produce it. If after such notice and after satisfactory proof of its existence, he
fails to produce the document, secondary evidence may be presented as in the case of its loss.”

The Court set down the requirements before a party may present secondary evidence to prove the contents of the original document
whenever the original copy has been lost:

Before a party is allowed to adduce secondary evidence to prove the contents of the original, the offeror must prove the following:
(1) the existence or due execution of the original; (2) the loss and destruction of the original or the reason for its non-production in
court; and (3) on the part of the offeror, the absence of bad faith to which the unavailability of the original can be attributed. The
correct order of proof is as follows: existence, execution, loss, and contents.

In the instant case, the CA correctly ruled that the above requisites are present. Both the CA and the RTC gave credence to the
testimony of Peregrino that the original Contract in the possession of Monark has been lost and that diligent efforts were exerted to
find the same but to no avail. Such testimony has remained uncontroverted.

As has been repeatedly held by this Court, “findings of facts and assessment of credibility of witnesses are matters best left to the
trial court.” Hence, the Court will respect the evaluation of the trial court on the credibility of Peregrino. MCMP contends that the
Contract presented by Monark is not the contract that they entered into. Yet, it has failed to present a copy of the Contract even
despite the request of the trial court for it to produce its copy of the Contract. Normal business practice dictates that MCMP should
have asked for and retained a copy of their agreement. Thus, MCMP’s failure to present the same and even explain its failure, not
only justifies the presentation by Monark of secondary evidence in accordance with Section 6 of Rule 130 of the Rules of Court, but
it also gives rise to the disputable presumption adverse to MCMP under Section 3 (e) of Rule 131 of the Rules of Court that “evidence
willfully suppressed would be adverse if produced.”
PAROL EVIDENCE RULE

RAFAEL S. ORTAÑEZ vs. THE COURT OF APPEALS, et al.


G.R. No. 107372. January 23, 1997

Facts:
 Private respondents sold to petitioner two (2) parcels of registered land for a consideration of
P35,000.00 and P20,000.00, respectively as evidence by two (2) deed of sale.
 Private respondents received the payments for the above-mentioned lots, but failed to deliver the
titles to petitioner. When the latter demanded from the former the delivery of said titles, Private
respondents, refused on the ground that the title of the first lot is in the possession of another
person, and petitioner’s acquisition of the title of the other lot is subject to certain conditions.
 Petitioner sued private respondents for specific performance before the RTC. In their answer with
counterclaim private respondents merely alleged the existence of the following oral conditions
which were never reflected in the deeds of sale.

Issue:
- Whether or not parol evidence relating to certain stipulated condition made orally may be
admitted in evidence in addition to those expressly provided in a contract.

Ruling:

The answer is in the negative.

The parol evidence herein introduced is inadmissible. Section 9 of Rule 130 of the Rules of Court, when
the terms of an agreement were reduced to writing, as in this case, it is deemed to contain all the terms
agreed upon and no evidence of such terms can be admitted other than the contents thereof.

Considering that the written deeds of sale were the only repository of the truth, whatever is not found in
said instruments must have been waived and abandoned by the parties. Examining the deeds of sale, we
cannot even make an inference that the sale was subject to any condition. As a contract, it is the law
between the parties. Oral testimony on the alleged conditions, coming from a party who has an interest in
the outcome of the case, depending exclusively on human memory, is not as reliable as written or
documentary evidence. Spoken words could be notoriously unreliable unlike a written contract which
speaks of a uniform language.

Parol evidence herein sought to be introduced would vary, contradict or defeat the operation of a valid
instrument, hence, contrary to the rule that “the parol evidence rule forbids any addition to the terms of a
written instrument by testimony purporting to show that, at or before the signing of the document, other or
different terms were orally agreed upon by the parties.” Although parol evidence is admissible to explain
the meaning of a contract, "it cannot serve the purpose of incorporating into the contract additional
contemporaneous conditions which are not mentioned at all in the writing unless there has been fraud or
mistake." No such fraud or mistake exists in this case.

The Court is not persuaded by private respondents’ contention that they “put in issue by the pleadings”
the failure of the written agreement to express the true intent of the parties. Record shows that private
respondents did not expressly plead that the deeds of sale were incomplete or that it did not reflect the
intention of the buyer (petitioner) and the seller (private respondents). Such issue must be “squarely
presented.” Private respondents merely alleged that the sale was subject to four (4) conditions which they
tried to prove during trial by parol evidence. Obviously, this cannot be done, because they did not plead
any of the exceptions mentioned in the parol evidence rule. Their case is covered by the general rule that
the contents of the writing are the only repository of the terms of the agreement.
Lapulapu Foundation, Inc. vs. Court of Appeals
G.R. No. 126006. January 29, 2004

Facts:

 Respondent bank filed instant collection suit against Petitioner Foundation and previous president
Tan for failure to pay four matured loan as evidenced by promissory notes signed by Tan in his
capacity as president of the said Foundation.
 In disclaiming any liability for the loans, the petitioner Foundation maintains that said loans were
contracted by petitioner Tan in his personal capacity. On the other hand, while admitting that the
loans were his personal obligation, petitioner Tan avers that the same is not yet due as he had an
unwritten agreement with the respondent Bank that these loans would be renewed on a year-to-
year basis and paid from the proceeds of his shares of stock in the Lapulapu Industries Corp.
 Trial Court ruled petitioners are liable to the bank solidarily. On appeal, the CA affirmed the
judgment of the court a quo. CA likewise rejected petitioner Tans assertion that there was an
unwritten agreement between him and the respondent Bank that he would pay the loans from the
proceeds of his shares of stocks in the Lapulapu Industries Corp.

Issue:
- : Whether or not an alleged unwritten agreement between the creditor and the debtor which is not
reflected on the promissory note (PN) evidencing the loan is admissible in evidence in addition to
the terms of the promissory note.

Ruling:

The answer is in the NEGATIVE.

Evidence of a prior or contemporaneous verbal agreement is generally not admissible to vary, contradict or
defeat the operation of a valid contract. While parol evidence is admissible to explain the meaning of written
contracts, it cannot serve the purpose of incorporating into the contract additional contemporaneous
conditions which are not mentioned at all in writing, unless there has been fraud or mistake. No such
allegation had been made by the petitioners in this case.

The parol evidence rule likewise constrains this Court to reject petitioner Tans claim regarding the purported
unwritten agreement between him and the respondent Bank on the payment of the obligation. Section 9,
Rule 130 of the of the Revised Rules of Court provides that when the terms of an agreement have been
reduced to writing, it is to be considered as containing all the terms agreed upon and there can be, between
the parties and their successors-in-interest, no evidence of such terms other than the contents of the written
agreement.

In this case, the promissory notes are the law between the petitioners and the respondent Bank. Nowhere
was it stated therein that they would be renewed on a year-to-year basis or rolled-over annually until paid
from the proceeds of petitioner Tans shares in the Lapu-Lapu Industries Corp. Accordingly, this purported
unwritten agreement could not be made to vary or contradict the terms and conditions in the promissory
notes.