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Evidence

Admissions; contradiction. Section 4 of Rule 129 of the Rules of Court provides that

an admission made by a party in the course of the proceedings in the same case

does not require proof, and may be contradicted only by showing that it was made

through palpable mistake. The petitioners argue that such admission was the

palpable mistake of their former counsel in his rush to file the answer, a copy of

which was not provided to them. This contention is unacceptable. It is a purely

self-serving claim unsupported by any iota of evidence. Bare allegations,

unsubstantiated by evidence, are not equivalent to proof. Theresita, Juan, Asuncion,

Patrocinia, Ricardo, and Gloria, all surnamed Dimaguila v. Jose and Sonia A.

Monteiro,G.R. No. 201011, January 27, 2014.

Admissions; rendered conclusive through estoppel. Article 1431 of the Civil Code

provides that through estoppel, an admission is rendered conclusive upon the

person making it, and cannot be denied or disproved as against the person relying

thereon. The respondent spouses had clearly relied on the petitioners admission

and so amended their original complaint for partition to one for recovery of

possession of a portion of the subject property. Thus, the petitioners are now

estopped from denying or attempting to prove that there was no partition of the

property. Theresita, Juan, Asuncion, Patrocinia, Ricardo, and Gloria, all surnamed

Dimaguila v. Jose and Sonia A. Monteiro,G.R. No. 201011, January 27, 2014.
Best evidence rule; concept and exception. 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.

Certified true copies of the cadastral map of Liliw and the corresponding list of

claimants of the area covered by the map were presented by two public officers. x x

x The cadastral maps and the list of claimants, as certified true copies of original

public records, fall under the exception to the best evidence rule. Theresita, Juan,

Asuncion, Patrocinia, Ricardo, and Gloria, all surnamed Dimaguila v. Jose and Sonia

A. Monteiro, G.R. No. 201011, January 27, 2014.

Burden of proof in civil cases; quantum of evidence. Land Bank failed to prove that

the amount allegedly miscredited to Oates account came from

the proceeds of the pre-terminated loans of its clients. It is worth emphasizing that

in civil cases, the party making the allegations has the burden of proving them by
preponderance of evidence. Mere allegation is not sufficient. Land Bank of the

Philippines v. Emmanuel C. Oate,G.R. No. 192371, January 15, 2014.

Hearsay rule; entries in official records as exception. 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 officials attendance as a witness to testify to the

innumerable transactions in the course of his duty. The documents

trustworthiness consists in the presumption of regularity of performance of official

duty.

Cadastral maps are the output of cadastral surveys. The DENR is the department

tasked to execute, supervise and manage the conduct of cadastral surveys. It is,

therefore, clear that the cadastral map and the corresponding list of claimants

qualify as entries in official records as they were prepared by the DENR, as

mandated by law. As such, they are exceptions to the hearsay rule and are prima

facie evidence of the facts stated therein. Theresita, Juan, Asuncion, Patrocinia,

Ricardo, and Gloria, all surnamed Dimaguila v. Jose and Sonia A. Monteiro,G.R. No.

201011, January 27, 2014.


Judicial notice; discretionary notice of records of other cases. The taking of judicial

notice is a matter of expediency and convenience for it fulfills the purpose that the

evidence is intended to achieve, and in this sense, it is equivalent to proof.

Generally, courts are not authorized to take judicial notice of the contents of the

records of other cases even when said cases have been tried or are pending in the

same court or before the same judge. They may, however, take judicial notice of a

decision or the facts prevailing in another case sitting in the same court if: (1) the

parties present them in evidence, absent any opposition from the other party; or (2)

the court, in its discretion, resolves to do so. In either case, the courts must observe

the clear boundary provided by Section 3, Rule 129 of the Rules of Court. Land

Bank of the Philippines v. Yatco Agricultural Enterprises,G.R. No. 172551, January

15, 2014.

Offer of evidence; court considers evidence only when formally offered; exceptions.

Section 34, Rule 132 of the Revised Rules on Evidence provides the general rule, to

wit:

Section 34. The Court shall consider no evidence which has not been

formally offered. The purpose for which the evidence is offered must

be specified.

From the above provision, it is clear that the court considers the evidence only

when it is formally offered. The offer of evidence is necessary because it is the duty

of the trial court to base its findings of fact and its judgment only and strictly on the
evidence offered by the parties. A piece of document will remain a scrap of paper

without probative value unless and until admitted by the court in evidence for the

purpose or purposes for which it is offered. The formal offer of evidence allows the

parties the chance to object to the presentation of an evidence which may not be

admissible for the purpose it is being offered.

However, there are instances when the Court relaxed the foregoing rule and

allowed evidence not formally offered to be admitted. Citing People v. Napat-a and

People. v. Mate the Court in Heirs of Romana Saves, et al., v. Heirs of Escolastico

Saves, et al. (632 SCRA 236 [2010]), enumerated the requirements for the evidence

to be considered despite failure to formally offer it, namely: first, the same must

have been duly identified by testimony duly recorded and, second, the same must

have been incorporated in the records of the case. In People v. Vivencio De Roxas

et al. (116 Phil 977 [1962]), the Court also considered exhibits which were not

formally offered by the prosecution but were repeatedly referred to in the course of

the trial by the counsel of the accused.

In the instant case, the Court finds that the above requisites are attendant to

warrant the relaxation of the rule and admit the evidence of the petitioners not

formally offered. As can be seen in the records of the case, the petitioners were

able to present evidence that have been duly identified by testimony duly recorded.

To identify is to prove the identity of a person or a thing. Identification means proof

of identity; the proving that a person, subject or article before the court is the very
same that he or it is alleged, charged or reputed to be. Rodolfo Laborte, et al. v.

Pagsanjan Tourism Consumers Cooperative, et al.,G.R. No. 183860, January 15,

2014.

Preponderance of evidence; definition. Spouses Monteiro, as plaintiffs in the

original case, had the burden of proof to establish their case by a preponderance of

evidence, which is the weight, credit, and value of the aggregate evidence on either

side, synonymous with the term greater weight of the evidence.

Preponderance of evidence is evidence which is more convincing to the court as

worthy of belief than that which is offered in opposition thereto. Theresita, Juan,

Asuncion, Patrocinia, Ricardo, and Gloria, all surnamed Dimaguila v. Jose and Sonia

A. Monteiro,G.R. No. 201011, January 27, 2014.

Question of law distinguished from question of fact. A question of law exists when

the doubt or controversy concerns the correct application of law or jurisprudence

to a certain set of facts, or when the issue does not call for an examination of the

probative value of the evidence presented, the truth or falsehood of facts being

admitted. A question of fact exists when the doubt or difference arises as to the

truth or falsehood of facts or when the query invites calibration of the whole

evidence considering mainly the credibility of the witnesses, the existence and

relevancy of specific surrounding circumstances as well as their relation to each

other and to the whole, and the probability of the situation.Eastern Shipping Lines,
Inc. v. BPI/MS Insurance Corp., and Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co., Ltd.,G.R. No.

193986, January 15, 2014.

Question of law distinguished from question of fact. A question of law exists when

the doubt centers on what the law is on a certain set of undisputed facts, while a

question of fact exists when the doubt centers on the truth or falsity of the alleged

facts. Whether the conditions for the right to repurchase were complied with, or

whether there was a tender of payment is a question of fact.Roberto R. David,

represented by his Attorney-in-Fact Atty. Proceso M. Nacino v. Eduardo C. David,

acting through his Attorney-in-Fact Edwin C. David,G.R. No. 162365. January 15,

2014.