Who are qualified to be witnesses?
Any person who can perceive, and perceiving, and can make known their perception to others. (Rule 130 Sec. 21)
- “Can perceive” – this means that the person can make use of at least one of his five senses to be qualified as a witness. For example, a blind can be a witness if can perceive by way of hearing or touching.
- “Perceiving” – the state in which a person continually perceives. A dead person has perceived but is not continually perceiving.
- “Make known their perception” – to manifest such perceptions before the courtroom or judicial proceedings. A person can have perceived and is perceiving, but if he only make known such perceptions before social media or before his neighbords, there is no probative or judicial relevance to such perception.
What grounds are not qualified for disqualification as a witness?
Religious or political belief, interest in the outcome of the case, or conviction of a crime – these shall not be grounds for disqualifications unless otherwise provided by law. A person’s political leanings or religion does not make him less of a witness. (Rule 130 Sec. 21)
What is the most important element for a witness’s testimony?
He can only testify as to his personal knowledge of the facts. Other than personal knowledge, it is considered as hearsay. (Rule 130 Sec. 22)
Is testimonial evidence good? Is it a type of evidence?
Testimonial evidence is the least credible type of evidence under Rule 130. The most credible evidence is Object Evidence (Rule 130 Sec. 1) which includes DNA evidence, thumbprints, and corpus delicti. The next credible is Documentary Evidence under Rule 130 Sec. 2.
Can the confession of the accused to a witness be considered hearsay?
No. In the case of People vs. Gaddi, the accused Gaddi confessed to Guzman that he murdered Esguerra. In defense, Gaddi argued that Guzman’s testimony is hearsay. The Supreme Court held that confession constitutes evidence of high order since it is supported by the strong presumption that no person of normal mind would deliberately and knowingly confess to a crime unless prompted by truth and his conscience [People v. Salvador]. (Rule 130 Sec. 23)
This case talks about the “Doctrine of Independent Irrelevant Statement.” This differentiates (a) “the truth of that statement testimony.”; (b) “what is that statement” and (c) the fact that such statement was made. The admissibility of Guzman’s testimony is not “the fact of the crime” but the fact that statement was made by Gaddi.
|“Confession is an evidence of high order.”
The Hearsay Rule only prohibits a witness from testifying as to those facts which he merely learned from other persons but not as to those facts which he “…derived from his own perception.”
|Facts learned from other persons vs. Facts derived from one’s own perception – The first one is what is prohibited by the Hearsay Rule
Can spouses testify against each other? (Marital Disqualification Rule)
As a general rule, no. Under Rule 130 Sec. 23, the spouses cannot testify against each other during their marriage without the consent of the affected spouses. However, the exceptions are civil cases by one against the other, or criminal cases where one spouse committed a crime against the other or the latter’s direct descendants or ascendants.
- There is identity of interests between husband and wife;
- If one were to testify for or against the other, there is consequent danger of perjury;
- The policy of the law is to guard the security and confidences of private life, even at the risk of an occasional failure of justice, and to prevent domestic disunion and unhappiness; andcralawlibrary
- Where there is want of domestic tranquility there is danger of punishing one spouse through the hostile testimony of the other.
What this rule protects are testimonies that “directly attacks, or directly and vitally impairs, the conjugal relation.”
As an exemption, spouses can testify against each other 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.
If the relationship of the spouses are so strained that there is no more harmony, peace or tranquility to be preserved… there is no more reason to apply the Marital Disqualification Rule.
What is an example of testimonial evidence?
A testimony will never become an evidence if not properly presented or offered in a court. When it is offfered, it will transcribed by the court and will serve as basis for judgment.
Below is an example of a transcript of a testimonial evidence from Alvarez vs. Ramirez:
|Q: When you were able to find the source, incidentally what was the source of that scent?A: When I stand by the window, sir, I saw a man pouring the gasoline in the house of my sister (and witness pointing to the person of the accused inside the court room).
Q: For the record, Mrs. Witness, can you state the name of that person, if you know?A: He is my husband, sir, Maximo Alvarez.
Q: If that Maximo Alvarez you were able to see, can you identify him?cralawlibraryA: Yes, sir.
Q: If you can see him inside the Court room, can you please point him?cralawlibraryA: Witness pointing to a person and when asked to stand and asked his name, he gave his name as Maximo Alvarez.”