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Sec. 22. Disqualification by reason of marriage.

During their marriage, neither the It should be stressed that as shown by the records, prior to the commission of the
husband nor the wife may testify for or against the other without the consent of the offense, the relationship between petitioner and his wife was already strained. In fact,
affected spouse, except in a civil case by one against the other, or in a criminal case for they were separated de facto almost six months before the incident. Indeed, the
a crime committed by one against the other or the latters direct descendants or evidence and facts presented reveal that the preservation of the marriage between
ascendants. petitioner and Esperanza is no longer an interest the State aims to protect.

Alvarez v. Ramirez People v. Quidato

The reasons given for the rule are: According to Gina Quidato, on the evening of the next day, September 17, 1988,
1. There is identity of interests between husband and wife; accused-appellant and the Malita brothers were drinking tuba at their house. She
2. If one were to testify for or against the other, there is consequent danger of overheard the trio planning to go to her father-in-laws house to get money from the
perjury; latter. She had no idea, however, as to what later transpired because she had fallen
3. The policy of the law is to guard the security and confidences of private life, even asleep before 10:00 p.m. Accused-appellant objected to Gina Quidatos testimony on
at the risk of an occasional failure of justice, and to prevent domestic disunion and the ground that the same was prohibited by the marital disqualification rule found in
unhappiness; and Section 22 of Rule 130 of the Rules of Court. The judge, acknowledging the
4. Where there is want of domestic tranquility there is danger of punishing one applicability of the so-called rule, allowed said testimony only against accused-
spouse through the hostile testimony of the other. appellants co-accused, Reynaldo and Eddie.

But like all other general rules, the marital disqualification rule has its own With regard to Gina Quidatos testimony, the same must also be disregarded, accused-
exceptions, both in civil actions between the spouses and in criminal cases for appellant having timely objected thereto under the marital disqualification rule. As
offenses committed by one against the other. Like the rule itself, the exceptions are correctly observed by the court a quo, the disqualification is between husband and
backed by sound reasons which, in the excepted cases, outweigh those in support of wife, the law not precluding the wife from testifying when it involves other parties or
the general rule. For instance, where the marital and domestic relations are so accused.[14] Hence, Gina Quidato could testify in the murder case against Reynaldo
strained that there is no more harmony to be preserved nor peace and tranquility and Eddie, which was jointly tried with accused-appellants case. This testimony
which may be disturbed, the reason based upon such harmony and tranquility fails. In cannot, however, be used against accused-appellant directly or through the guise of
such a case, identity of interests disappears and the consequent danger of perjury taking judicial notice of the proceedings in the murder case without violating the
based on that identity is non-existent. Likewise, in such a situation, the security and marital disqualification rule. What cannot be done directly cannot be done indirectly
confidences of private life, which the law aims at protecting, will be nothing but ideals, is a rule familiar even to law students.
which through their absence, merely leave a void in the unhappy home.
People v. Pasensoy
Obviously, the offense of arson attributed to petitioner, directly impairs the conjugal
relation between him and his wife Esperanza. His act, as embodied in the Information From Analies testimony, it is all too apparent that the first requisite of self-defense is
for arson filed against him, eradicates all the major aspects of marital life such as absent. The unlawful aggression did not come from the victim but from appellant
trust, confidence, respect and love by which virtues the conjugal relationship survives himself. The aggression not having come from the victim, appellants claim of self-
and flourishes. defense cannot prosper. The trial court relied on Analies testimony to convict
appellant and we find that her testimony is sufficient to support appellants conviction.
As correctly observed by the Court of Appeals:
As the legitimate wife of appellant, Analies testimony would have been disregarded
The act of private respondent in setting fire to the house of his sister-in-law Susan had appellant timely objected to her competency to testify under the marital
Ramirez, knowing fully well that his wife was there, and in fact with the alleged intent disqualification rule. Under this rule, neither the husband nor the wife may testify for
of injuring the latter, is an act totally alien to the harmony and confidences of marital or against the other without the consent of the affected spouse, except in a civil case
relation which the disqualification primarily seeks to protect. The criminal act by one against the other, or in a criminal case for a crime committed by one against
complained of had the effect of directly and vitally impairing the conjugal relation. It the other or the latters direct descendants or ascendants.[19] However, objections to
underscored the fact that the marital and domestic relations between her and the the competency of a husband and wife to testify in a criminal prosecution against the
accused-husband have become so strained that there is no more harmony, peace or other may be waived as in the case of other witnesses generally.[20] The objection to
tranquility to be preserved. The Supreme Court has held that in such a case, identity is the competency of the spouse must be made when he or she is first offered as a
non-existent. In such a situation, the security and confidences of private life which the witness.[21] In this case, the incompetency was waived by appellants failure to make a
law aims to protect are nothing but ideals which through their absence, merely leave a timely objection to the admission of Analies testimony.
void in the unhappy home. (People v. Castaeda, 271 SCRA 504). Thus, there is no
longer any reason to apply the Marital Disqualification Rule. Sec. 23. 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 DARAB Case No. R-03-02-3520-96, which was filed in 1996 or long after Pedro’s
matter of fact occurring before the death of such deceased person or before such death in 1984, has no leg to stand on other than Amanda’s declaration in her July 10,
person became of unsound mind. 1996 Affidavit that Pedro falsely represented to Makapugay and to her that he is the
actual cultivator of the land, and that when she confronted him about this and the
Tan v. CA alleged alternate farming scheme between him and petitioners, Pedro allegedly told
her that "he and his two sisters had an understanding about it and he did not have the
Petitioners are in possession of TCT No. 117898 which evidences their ownership of intention of depriving them of their cultivatory rights."28 Petitioners have no other
the subject properties. On the other hand, private respondent relies simply on the evidence, other than such verbal declaration, which proves the existence of such
allegation that he is entitled to the properties by virtue of a sale between him and arrangement. No written memorandum of such agreement exists, nor have they
Alejandro Tan Keh who is now dead. Obviously, private respondent will rely on parol shown that they actually cultivated the land even if only for one cropping. No receipt
evidence which, under the circumstances obtaining, cannot be allowed without evidencing payment to the landowners of the latter’s share, or any other documentary
violating the Dead Mans Statute found in Section 23, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court. evidence, has been put forward.

The object and purpose of the rule is to guard against the temptation to give false What the PARAD, DARAB and CA failed to consider and realize is that Amanda’s
testimony in regard of the transaction in question on the part of the surviving party, declaration in her Affidavit covering Pedro’s alleged admission and recognition of the
and further to put the two parties to a suit upon terms of equality in regard to the alternate farming scheme is inadmissible for being a violation of the Dead Man’s
opportunity to giving testimony. If one party to the alleged transaction is precluded Statute,29 which provides that "[i]f one party to the alleged transaction is precluded
from testifying by death, insanity, or other mental disabilities, the other party is not from testifying by death, insanity, or other mental disabilities, the other party is not
entitled to the undue advantage of giving his own uncontradicted and unexplained entitled to the undue advantage of giving his own uncontradicted and unexplained
account of the transaction. account of the transaction." Thus, since Pedro is deceased, and Amanda’s declaration
which pertains to the leasehold agreement affects the 1996 "Kasunduan sa Buwisan
Sanson v. CA ng Lupa" which she as assignor entered into with petitioners, and which is now the
subject matter of the present case and claim against Pedro’s surviving spouse and
Petitioners argue that the testimonies of Sanson and Celedonia as witnesses to each lawful successor-in-interest Dominga, such declaration cannot be admitted and used
others claim against the deceased are not covered by the Dead Mans Statute; besides, against the latter, who is placed in an unfair situation by reason of her being unable to
the administratrix waived the application of the law when she cross-examined them. contradict or disprove such declaration as a result of her husband-declarant Pedro’s
prior death.
The administratrix, on the other hand, cites the ruling of the Court of Appeals in its
decision on review, the pertinent portion of which reads: The more logical Intestate Estate of Tongco v. Vianzon
interpretation is to prohibit parties to a case, with like interest, from testifying in each
others favor as to acts occurring prior to the death of the deceased. It is true that by reason of the provisions of article 1407 of the Civil Code the
presumption is that all the property of the spouses is partnership property in the
Since the law disqualifies parties to a case or assignors to a case without absence of proof that it belongs exclusively to the husband or to the wife. But even
distinguishing between testimony in his own behalf and that in behalf of others, he proceeding on this assumption, we still think that the widow has proved in a decisive
should be disqualified from testifying for his co-parties. The law speaks of parties or and conclusive manner that the property in question belonged exclusively to her, that
assignors of parties to a case. Apparently, the testimonies of Sanson and Saquin on is, it would, unless we are forced to disregard her testimony. No reversible error was
each others behalf, as co-parties to the same case, falls under the prohibition. committed in the denial of the motion for a new trial for it is not at all certain that it
(Citation omitted; underscoring in the original and emphasis supplied) rested on a legal foundation, or that if it had been granted it would have changed the
result.
But Sansons and Celedonias claims against the same estate arose from separate
transactions. Sanson is a third party with respect to Celedonias claim. And Celedonia Counsel for the appellant, however, asserts that if the testimony of the widow be
is a third party with respect to Sansons claim. One is not thus disqualified to testify on discarded, as it should be, then the presumption of the Civil Code, fortified by the
the others transaction. unassailable character of Torrens titles, arises, which means that the entire fabric of
appellee's case is punctured. Counsel relies on that portion of section 383 of the Code
In any event, what the Dead Mans Statute proscribes is the admission of testimonial of Civil Procedure as provides that "Parties or assignors of parties to an action or
evidence upon a claim which arose before the death of the deceased. The proceeding, or persons in whose behalf an action or proceeding is prosecuted, against
incompetency is confined to the giving of testimony.[29] Since the separate claims of an executor or administrator or other representative of a deceased person, . . ., upon a
Sanson and Celedonia are supported by checks-documentary evidence, their claims claim or demand against the estate of such deceased person . . ., cannot testify as to
can be prosecuted on the bases of said checks. any matter of fact occurring before the death of such deceased person . . . ." Counsel is
eminently correct in emphasizing that the object and purpose of this statute is to
Garcia v. Vda. De Caparas guard against the temptation to give false testimony in regard to the transaction is
question on the part of the surviving party. He has, however, neglected the equally Having reached the conclusion that all the parol evidence of appellee was submitted
important rule that the law was designed to aid in arriving at the truth and was not in violation of the Statute of Frauds, or of the rule which prohibits testimony against
designed to suppress the truth. deceased persons, we find unnecessary to discuss the other issues raised in appellants'
brief.
The law twice makes use of the word "against." The actions were not brought "against"
the administratrix of the estate, nor were they brought upon claims "against" the Hko Ah Pao v. Ting
estate. In the first case at bar, the action is one by the administratrix to enforce
demand "by" the estate. In the second case at bar, the same analogy holds true for the Petitioners primarily rely on Angel Sembranos testimony to substantiate their claim.
claim was presented in cadastral proceedings where in one sense there is no plaintiff The latters testimony, however, consists mainly of hearsay, which carries no probative
and there is no defendant. Director of Lands vs. Roman Catholic Archibishop of value.[17] He did not have personal knowledge as to the execution of the contract of
Manila [1920], 41 Phil., 120 — nature of cadastral proceedings; Fortis vs. Gutierrez sale between Arsenio and the Masangkay spouses nor the alleged agreement between
Hermanos [1906], 6 Phil., 100 — in point by analogy; Maxilom vs. Tabotabo [1907], 9 the former and Teng Ching Lay. He could only testify as to what the deceased had
Phil., 390 and Kiel vs. Estate of P. S. Sabert [1924], 46 Phil., 193 — both clearly allegedly told him. Thus, any evidence, whether oral or documentary, is hearsay if its
distinguishable as can be noted by looking at page 197 of the last cited case; Sedgwick evidentiary weight is not based on the personal knowledge of the witness but on the
vs. Sedgwick [1877], 52 Cal., 336, 337; Myers vs. Reinstein [1885], 67 Cal., 89; knowledge of some other person not on the witness stand.
McGregor vs. Donelly [1885], 67 Cal., 149, 152; Booth vs. Pendola [1891], 88 Cal., 36;
Bernardis vs. Allen [1902], 136 Cal., 7; Calmon vs. Sarraille [1904], 142 Cal., 638, 642; Even if the alleged statement of Arsenio to Sembrano relating to the fact that his
Bollinger vs. Wright [1904], 143 Cal., 292, 296; Whitney vs. Fox [1897], 166 U. S. 637, father, Teng Ching Lay, was buying a house in Manila, can be admissible in evidence
648.) Moreover, a waiver was accomplished when the adverse party undertook to as a declaration against his pecuniary interest under Section 38 of Rule 130 of the
cross-examine the interested person with respect to the prohibited matters. (4 Jones Rules of Court,[19] still, the veracity as to whether the deceased actually made this
on Evidence, pp. 767 et seq.; Stair vs. McNulty [1916], 133 Minn., 136; Ann. Cas., statement is subject to scrutiny. Clearly, the RTC and the CA cast doubt on Sembranos
1918D 201.) We are of the opinion that the witness was competent. credibility, and the Court does not find any reason to hold otherwise.

Babao v. Perez 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
There is another flaw that we find in the decision of the court a quo. During the trial of overlooked, misapplied or misunderstood some facts or circumstances of weight and
this case, counsel for appellants objected the admission of the testimony of plaintiff substance or that it gravely abused its discretion. Here, both the RTC and the CA were
Bernardo Babao and that of his mother Cleofe Perez as to what occurred between not convinced of the truthfulness of Sembranos bare testimony. He did not present
Celestina Perez and Santiago Babao, with regard to the agreement on the ground that any documentary proof to support his statements, particularly with regard to the
their testimony was prohibited by section 26(c) of Rule 123 of the Rules of Court. This P200,000 check that he supposedly gave to Arsenio for the payment of the property
rule prohibits parties or assignors of parties to a case, or persons in whose behalf case in question.
is prosecuted, against an executor or administrator of a deceased person upon a claim
or demand against the estate of such deceased person from testifying as to any matter Furthermore, Sembranos testimony on behalf of petitioners is about an alleged
of fact occurring before the death of such deceased person. But the court overruled the declaration against an interest of a person who is dead in an action that is in effect a
opposition saying that said rule did not apply where the complaint against the estate claim against his estate. Such a testimony if coming from a party would be barred by
of a deceased person alleges fraud, citing the case of Ong Chua vs. Carr, 53 Phil., 980. the surviving parties rule, or the dead mans statute, in the Rules of Court.
Here again the court is in error because if in that case the witness was allowed to
testify it was because the existence of fraud was first established by sufficient and And while Sembrano is not a party, he is practically a surrogate of petitioners since he
competent evidence. Here, however, the alleged fraud is predicated upon the was the personal accountant of their predecessor-in-interest and the corporate
existence of the agreement itself which violates the rule of petitio principii. Evidently, accountant of the corporation he controlled.
the fraud to exist must be established by evidence aliunde and not by the same
evidence which is to sought to be prevented. The infringement of the rule is evident. Santos v. Santos

. . . The reason for this rule is that "if death has closed the lips of one party, the policy Lastly, petitioner in her memorandum seeks to expunge the testimony of Rosa
of the law is to close the lips of the other.' Another reason is that `the temptation to Santos-Carreon before the trial court in view of Sec. 23, Rule 130 of the Revised Rules
falsehood and concealment in such cases is considered too great to allow the surviving of Court, otherwise known as the Dead Mans Statute.[19] It is too late for petitioner,
party to testify in his own behalf.' Accordingly, the incompetency applies whether the however, to invoke said rule. The trial court in its order dated February 5, 1990,
deceased died before or after the commencement of the action against him, if at the denied petitioners motion to disqualify respondent Rosa as a witness. Petitioner did
time the testimony was given he was dead and cannot disprove it, since the reason for not appeal therefrom. Trial ensued and Rosa testified as a witness for respondents
the prohibition, which is to discourage perjury, exists in both instances. (Moran, and was cross-examined by petitioners counsel. By her failure to appeal from the
Comments on the Rules of Court, Vol. 3, 1952 Ed., p. 234.).lawphi1.net order allowing Rosa to testify, she waived her right to invoke the dead mans statute.
Further, her counsel cross-examined Rosa on matters that occurred during Salvador’s
lifetime. In Goi vs. CA, 144 SCRA 222, 231 (1986), we held that protection under the whose behalf a case is prosecuted." Records show that respondent offered the
dead mans statute is effectively waived when a counsel for a petitioner cross-examines testimony of Josephine to establish the existence of the partnership between
a private respondent on matters occurring during the deceased’s lifetime. The Court respondent and Jacinto. Petitioners' insistence that Josephine is the alter ego of
of Appeals cannot be faulted in ignoring petitioner on Rosas disqualification. respondent does not make her an assignor because the term "assignor" of a party
means "assignor of a cause of action which has arisen, and not the assignor of a right
Sunga-Chan v. Chua assigned before any cause of action has arisen."15 Plainly then, Josephine is merely a
witness of respondent, the latter being the party plaintiff.
A partnership may be constituted in any form, except where immovable property of
real rights are contributed thereto, in which case a public instrument shall necessary.6 Bordalba v. CA
Hence, based on the intention of the parties, as gathered from the facts and
ascertained from their language and conduct, a verbal contract of partnership may Petitioner filed the instant petition, assailing the decision of the Court of Appeals.
arise.7 The essential profits that must be proven to that a partnership was agreed Petitioner contends that the testimonies given by the witnesses for private
upon are (1) mutual contribution to a common stock, and (2) a joint interest in the respondents which touched on matters occurring prior to the death of her mother
profits.8 Understandably so, in view of the absence of the written contract of should not have been admitted by the trial court, as the same violated the dead man’s
partnership between respondent and Jacinto, respondent resorted to the introduction statute.
of documentary and testimonial evidence to prove said partnership. The crucial issue
to settle then is to whether or not the "Dead Man's Statute" applies to this case so as to Suffice it to state that said rule finds no application in the present case. The dead
render inadmissible respondent's testimony and that of his witness, Josephine. man’s statute does not operate to close the mouth of a witness as to any matter of fact
coming to his knowledge in any other way than through personal dealings with the
The "Dead Man's Statute" provides that if one party to the alleged transaction is deceased person, or communication made by the deceased to the witness.
precluded from testifying by death, insanity, or other mental disabilities, the surviving
party is not entitled to the undue advantage of giving his own uncontradicted and Since the claim of private respondents and the testimony of their witnesses in the
unexplained account of the transaction.9 But before this rule can be successfully present case is based, inter alia, on the 1947 Deed of Extra-judicial Partition and other
invoked to bar the introduction of testimonial evidence, it is necessary that: documents, and not on dealings and communications with the deceased, the
questioned testimonies were properly admitted by the trial court.
"1. The witness is a party or assignor of a party to case or persons in whose behalf a
case in prosecuted. Londres v. CA

2. The action is against an executor or administrator or other representative of a In a desperate bid to compel the Court to disregard the evidence of private
deceased person or a person of unsound mind; respondents, petitioners question the admissibility of the testimony of Consolacion on
the ground that it violates the Dead Mans Statute. Petitioners contend that
3. The subject-matter of the action is a claim or demand against the estate of such Consolacions testimony as to how the alteration of the Absolute Sale took place
deceased person or against person of unsound mind; should have been disregarded since at the time that Consolacion testified, death had
already sealed the lips of Filomena, precluding petitioners from refuting Consolacions
4. His testimony refers to any matter of fact of which occurred before the death of version.
such deceased person or before such person became of unsound mind."10
The contention is without basis. The foregoing prohibition applies to a case against
Two reasons forestall the application of the "Dead Man's Statute" to this case. the administrator or representative of an estate upon a claim against the estate of the
deceased person.[30] The present case was not filed against the administrator of the
First, petitioners filed a compulsory counterclaim11 against respondents in their estate, nor was it filed upon claims against the estate since it was the heirs of
answer before the trial court, and with the filing of their counterclaim, petitioners Filomena who filed the complaint against private respondents. Even assuming that
themselves effectively removed this case from the ambit of the "Dead Man's Consolacions testimony was within the purview of the Dead Mans Statute, the fact
Statute".12 Well entrenched is the rule that when it is the executor or administrator or that the counsel of petitioners failed to timely object to the admissibility of
representatives of the estates that sets up the counterclaim, the plaintiff, herein Consolacions testimony is a waiver of the prohibition.[31] The waiver was made more
respondent, may testify to occurrences before the death of the deceased to defeat the evident when the counsel of petitioners cross-examined Consolacion. Petitioners
counterclaim.13 Moreover, as defendant in the counterclaim, respondent is not cannot now invoke the rule they knowingly waived.
disqualified from testifying as to matters of facts occurring before the death of the
deceased, said action not having been brought against but by the estate or Cequena v. Bolante
representatives of the deceased.
Petitioners dispute the CA's ruling that the affidavit was not the best evidence of their
Second, the testimony of Josephine is not covered by the "Dead Man's Statute" for the father's ownership of the disputed land, because the "affiant was not placed on the
simple reason that she is not "a party or assignor of a party to a case or persons in witness stand." They contend that it was unnecessary to present a witness to establish
the authenticity of the affidavit because it was a declaration against respondent's The case at bar, although instituted against the heirs of Praxedes Villanueva after the
interest and was an ancient document. As a declaration against interest, it was an estate of the latter had been distributed to them, remains within the ambit of the
exception to the hearsay rule. As a necessary and trustworthy document, it was protection. The reason is that the defendants-heirs are properly the "representatives"
admissible in evidence. And because it was executed on March 24, 1953, it was a self- of the deceased, not only because they succeeded to the decedent's right by descent or
authenticating ancient document. operation of law, but more importantly because they are so placed in litigation that
they are called on to defend which they have obtained from the deceased and make
The petitioners allegations are untenable. Before a private document offered as the defense which the deceased might have made if living, or to establish a claim
authentic can be received in evidence, its due execution and authenticity must be which deceased might have been interested to establish, if living.
proved first.[8] And before a document is admitted as an exception to the hearsay rule
under the Dead Man's Statute, the offeror must show (a) that the declarant is dead, Such protection, however, was effectively waived when counsel for petitioners cross-
insane or unable to testify; (b) that the declaration concerns a fact cognizable by the examined private respondent Vicente. "A waiver occurs when plaintiff's deposition is
declarant; (c) that at the time the declaration was made, he was aware that the same taken by the representative of the estate or when counsel for the representative cross-
was contrary to his interest; and (d) that circumstances render improbable the examined the plaintiff as to matters occurring during deceased's lifetime. It must
existence of any motive to falsify.[9]Esmsc further be observed that petitioners presented a counterclaim against private
respondent Vicente. When Vicente thus took the witness stand, it was in a dual
In this case, one of the affiants happens to be the respondent, who is still alive and capacity as plaintiff in the action for recovery of property and as defendant in the
who testified that the signature in the affidavit was not hers. A declaration against counterclaim for accounting and surrender of fields nos. 4 and 13. Evidently, as
interest is not admissible if the declarant is available to testify as a witness.[10] Such defendant in the counterclaim, he was not disqualified from testifying as to matters of
declarant should be confronted with the statement against interest as a prior fact occurring before the death of Praxedes Villanueva, said action not having been
inconsistent statement. brought against, but by the estate or representatives of the estate/deceased person.

The affidavit cannot be considered an ancient document either. An ancient document Likewise, under a great majority of statutes, the adverse party is competent to testify
is one that is (1) more than 30 years old, (2) found in the proper custody, and (3) to transactions or communications with the deceased or incompetent person which
unblemished by any alteration or by any circumstance of suspicion.[11] It must on its were made with an agent of such person in cases in which the agent is still alive and
face appear to be genuine. The petitioners herein failed, however, to explain how the competent to testify. But the testimony of the adverse party must be confined to those
purported signature of Eduarda Apiado could have been affixed to the subject transactions or communications which were had with the agent. The
affidavit if, according to the witness, she was an illiterate woman who never had any contract/promise to sell under consideration was signed by petitioner Goñi as
formal schooling. This circumstance casts suspicion on its authenticity. attorney-in-fact (apoderado) of Praxedes Villanueva. He was privy to the
circumstances surrounding the execution of such contract and therefore could either
Not all notarized documents are exempted from the rule on authentication. Thus, an confirm or deny any allegations made by private respondent Vicente with respect to
affidavit does not automatically become a public document just because it contains a said contract. The inequality or injustice sought to be avoided by Section 20(a) of Rule
notarial jurat. Furthermore, the affidavit in question does not state how the 130, where one of the parties no longer has the opportunity to either confirm or rebut
ownership of the subject land was transferred from Sinforoso Mendoza to Margarito the testimony of the other because death has permanently sealed the former's lips,
Mendoza. By itself, an affidavit is not a mode of acquiring ownership. does not actually exist in the case at bar, for the reason that petitioner Goñi could and
did not negate the binding effect of the contract/promise to sell. Thus, while
Goni v. CA admitting the existence of the said contract/promise to sell, petitioner Goñi testified
that the same was subsequently novated into a verbal contract of lease over fields nos.
We find that neither the trial nor appellate court erred in ruling for the admissibility 4 and 13 of the Hacienda Dulce Nombre de Maria.
in evidence of private respondent Vicente's testimony. Under ordinary circumstances,
private respondent Vicente would be disqualified by reason of interest from testifying Asturias v. CA
as to any matter of fact occurring before the death of Praxedes T. Villanueva, such
disqualification being anchored on Section 20(a) of Rule 130, commonly known as the The contention of the petitioners is that both the trial court and the Court of Appeals
Survivorship Disqualification Rule or Dead Man Statute. erred in admitting and giving credence to the oral testimony of plaintiff Miras tending
to vary the terms of the pacto de retro sale (Exh. 1 or B), contrary to the survivorship
The object and purpose of the rule is to guard against the temptation to give false disqualification rule [Sec. 26(c), Rule 123, Rules of Court in not holding that the
testimony in regard to the transaction in question on the part of the surviving party action of plaintiff has already prescribed and that defendants-petitioners acquired
and further to put the two parties to a suit upon terms of equality in regard to the title to the land by prescription, and in ordering them to refund the alleged usurious
opportunity of giving testimony. It is designed to close the lips of the party plaintiff interest and the fruits of the land since 1930.
when death has closed the lips of the party defendant, in order to remove from the
surviving party the temptation to falsehood and the possibility of fictitious claims The contention that under the rule of survivorship disqualification, the testimony of
against the deceased. respondent Miras is inadmissible to vary the terms of the pacto de retro sale,
untenable because, as found by the Court of Appeals, no timely objection has been
made against the admission of such evidence. Furthermore, one of the petitioners (a) The husband or the wife, during or after the marriage, cannot be examined
(Fell Asturias) was made to testify on such prohibited matters overed by the exclusion without the consent of the other as to any communication received in confidence by
rule (t.s.n., May 27, 1953, PP. 65 70-71). In view of this, petitioners are correctly deem one from the other during the marriage except in a civil case by one against the other,
to have waived the benefit and protection of the rule. or in a criminal case for a crime committed by one against the other or the latter's
direct descendants or ascendants;
Fitzsimmons v. Atlantic
(b) An attorney cannot, without the consent of his client, be examined as to any
The appellee admits in his brief in those states where the "dead man's statute" communication made by the client to him, or his advice given thereon in the course
disqualifies only parties to an action, officers and stockholders of the corporation, of, or with a view to, professional employment, nor can an attorney's secretary,
have been allowed to testify in favor of the corporation, while in those states where stenographer, or clerk be examined, without the consent of the client and his
"parties and persons interested in the outcome of the litigation" are disqualified under employer, concerning any fact the knowledge of which has been acquired in such
the statute, officers and stockholders of the corporation have been held to be capacity;
incompetent to testify against the estate of a deceased person.
(c) A person authorized to practice medicine, surgery or obstetrics cannot in a
The weight of authority sustains appellant's first assignment of error. Inasmuch as civil case, without the consent of the patient, be examined as to any advice or
section 26(c) of Rule 123 disqualifies only parties or assignors of parties, we are treatment given by him or any information which he may have acquired in attending
constrained to hold that the officers and/or stockholders of a corporation are not such patient in a professional capacity, which information was necessary to enable
disqualified from testifying, for or against the corporation which is a party to an him to act in capacity, and which would blacken the reputation of the patient;
action upon a claim or demand against the estate of a deceased person, as to any
matter of fact occurring before the death of such deceased person. (d) A minister or priest cannot, without the consent of the person making the
confession, be examined as to any confession made to or any advice given by him in
It results that the trial court erred in not admitting the testimony of Messrs. Belden his professional character in the course of discipline enjoined by the church to which
and Garmezy. It is not necessary, however, to remand the case for the purpose of the minister or priest belongs;
taking the testimony of said witnesses because it would be merely corroborative, if at
all, and in any event what said witnesses would have testified, if permitted, already (e) A public officer cannot be examined during his term of office or afterwards,
appears in the record as hereinabove set forth, and we can consider it together with as to communications made to him in official confidence, when the court finds that
the testimony of the chief accountant and the assistant accountant who, according to the public interest would suffer by the disclosure.
the appellant itself, were "the only ones in the best of position to testify on the status
of the personal account" of the deceased Fitzsimmons. Eagleridge v. Cameron Granville

Icard v. Masigan Indeed, Rule 27 contains the proviso that the documents sought to be produced and
inspected must not be privileged against disclosure. Rule 130, Section 24 describes
The administrator's appeal to this Court rests mainly on the theory that the probate the types of privileged communication. These are communication between or
court erred in allowing the claimant to testify to the services rendered by him in favor involving the following: (a) between husband and wife; (b) between attorney and
of his father, because the action being one against the administrator of a deceased client; (c) between physician and patient; (d) between priest and penitent; and (e)
person, plaintiff cannot be allowed to testify as to any matter of fact which occurred public officers and public interest.
before the death of such deceased person, under section 383, paragraph 7, of Act No.
190, now Rule 123, section 26, paragraph (c), of the Rules of Court. Privileged communications under the rules of evidence is premised on an accepted
need to protect a trust relationship. It has not been shown that the parties to the deed
Section 383, par. 7, of the Code of Civil Procedure, which is now Rule 123, section 26, of assignment fall under any of the foregoing categories.
paragraph (c), of the Rules of Court, is designed to close the lips of the party plaintiff
when death has closed the lips of the party defendant, in order to remove from the This court has previously cited other privileged matters such as the following: "(a)
surviving party the temptation to falsehood and the possibility of fictitious claims editors may not be compelled to disclose the source of published news; (b) voters may
against the deceased. Where, as in the instant case, the purpose of the oral testimony not be compelled to disclose for whom they voted; (c) trade secrets; (d) information
is to prove a lesser claim than what might be warranted by clear written evidence, to contained in tax census returns; . . . (d) bank deposits"62 (pursuant to the Secrecy of
avoid prejudice to the estate of the deceased, the law has certainly no reason for its Bank Deposits Act); (e) national security matters and intelligence information;63 and
application. Ratione cessante, cessat ipsa lex. (f) criminal matters.64 Nonetheless, the LSPA does not fall within any of these classes
of information. Moreover, the privilegeis not absolute, and the court may compel
Section 24. Disqualification by reason of privileged communication. — The disclosure where it is indispensable for doing justice.
following persons cannot testify as to matters learned in confidence in the following
cases: At any rate, respondent failed to discharge the burden of showing that the LSPA is a
privileged document. Respondent did not present any law or regulation that considers
bank documents such as the LSPA as classified information. Its contention that the the policy of a pharmaceutical company prohibiting its employees from marrying
Special Purpose Vehicle Act65 only requires the creditor-bank to give notice to the employees of any competitor company, on the rationalization that the company has a
debtor of the transfer of his or her account to a special purpose vehicle, and that the right to guard its trade secrets, manufacturing formulas, marketing strategies and
assignee-special purpose vehicle has no obligation to disclose other financial other confidential programs and information from competitors. Notably, it was in a
documents related to the sale, is untenable. The Special Purpose Vehicle Act does not labor-related case that this Court made a stark ruling on the proper determination of
explicitly declare these financial documents as privileged matters. Further, as trade secrets.
discussed, petitioners are not precluded from inquiring as to the true consideration of
the assignment, precisely because the same law in relation to Article 1634 allows the What is clear from the factual findings of the RTC and the Court of Appeals is that the
debtor to extinguish its debt by reimbursing the assignee-special purpose vehicle of chemical formulation of respondents products is not known to the general public and
the actual price the latter paid for the assignment. is unique only to it. Both courts uniformly ruled that these ingredients are not within
the knowledge of the public.
An assignment of a credit "produce[s] no effect as against third persons, unless it
appears ina public instrument[.]" It strains reason why the LSPA, which by law must Indeed, the privilege is not absolute; the trial court may compel disclosure where it is
be a publicinstrument to be binding against third persons such as petitioners-debtors, indispensable for doing justice. We do not, however, find reason to except
is privileged and confidential. respondents trade secrets from the application of the rule on privilege. The revelation
of respondents trade secrets serves no better purpose to the disposition of the main
Air Philippines v. Pennswell case pending with the RTC, which is on the collection of a sum of money. As can be
gleaned from the facts, petitioner received respondents goods in trade in the normal
There are, however, other privileged matters that are not mentioned by Rule 130. course of business. To be sure, there are defenses under the laws of contracts and
Among them are the following: (a) editors may not be compelled to disclose the sales available to petitioner. On the other hand, the greater interest of justice ought to
source of published news; (b) voters may not be compelled to disclose for whom they favor respondent as the holder of trade secrets. If we were to weigh the conflicting
voted; (c) trade secrets; (d) information contained in tax census returns; and (d) bank interests between the parties, we rule in favor of the greater interest of respondent.
deposits. Trade secrets should receive greater protection from discovery, because they derive
economic value from being generally unknown and not readily ascertainable by the
We, thus, rule against the petitioner. We affirm the ruling of the Court of Appeals public. To the mind of this Court, petitioner was not able to show a compelling reason
which upheld the finding of the RTC that there is substantial basis for respondent to for us to lift the veil of confidentiality which shields respondents trade secrets.
seek protection of the law for its proprietary rights over the detailed chemical
composition of its products. Zulueta v. CA

Clearly, in accordance with our statutory laws, this Court has declared that intellectual Indeed the documents and papers in question are inadmissible in evidence. The
and industrial property rights cases are not simple property cases. Without limiting constitutional injunction declaring "the privacy of communication and
such industrial property rights to trademarks and trade names, this Court has ruled correspondence [to be] inviolable" is no less applicable simply because it is the wife
that all agreements concerning intellectual property are intimately connected with (who thinks herself aggrieved by her husband's infidelity) who is the party against
economic development. The protection of industrial property encourages investments whom the constitutional provision is to be enforced. The only exception to the
in new ideas and inventions and stimulates creative efforts for the satisfaction of prohibition in the Constitution is if there is a "lawful order [from a] court or when
human needs. It speeds up transfer of technology and industrialization, and thereby public safety or order requires otherwise, as prescribed by law.” Any violation of this
bring about social and economic progress. Verily, the protection of industrial secrets provision renders the evidence obtained inadmissible "for any purpose in any
is inextricably linked to the advancement of our economy and fosters healthy proceeding."
competition in trade.
The intimacies between husband and wife do not justify any one of them in breaking
Jurisprudence has consistently acknowledged the private character of trade secrets. the drawers and cabinets of the other and in ransacking them for any telltale evidence
There is a privilege not to disclose ones trade secrets. Foremost, this Court has of marital infidelity. A person, by contracting marriage, does not shed his/her
declared that trade secrets and banking transactions are among the recognized integrity or his right to privacy as an individual and the constitutional protection is
restrictions to the right of the people to information as embodied in the Constitution. ever available to him or to her.
We said that the drafters of the Constitution also unequivocally affirmed that, aside
from national security matters and intelligence information, trade or industrial The law insures absolute freedom of communication between the spouses by making
secrets (pursuant to the Intellectual Property Code and other related laws) as well as it privileged. Neither husband nor wife may testify for or against the other without the
banking transactions (pursuant to the Secrecy of Bank Deposits Act), are also consent of the affected spouse while the marriage subsists. Neither may be examined
exempted from compulsory disclosure. without the consent of the other as to any communication received in confidence by
one from the other during the marriage, save for specified exceptions.7 But one thing
Significantly, our cases on labor are replete with examples of a protectionist stance is freedom of communication; quite another is a compulsion for each one to share
towards the trade secrets of employers. For instance, this Court upheld the validity of
what one knows with the other. And this has nothing to do with the duty of fidelity privilege is thereby extinguished and the communication, if otherwise competent,
that each owes to the other. becomes admissible. (28 R.C.L., 530 and authorities there cited.) Such is the view of
the majority of this court.
Lacurom v. Jacoba
Professor Wigmore states the rule as follows: For documents of communication
The marital privilege rule, being a rule of evidence, may be waived by failure of the coming into the possession of a third person, a distinction should obtain, analogous to
claimant to object timely to its presentation or by any conduct that may be construed that already indicated for a client's communications (ante, par. 2325, 2326); i. e., if
as implied consent.[43] This waiver applies to Jacoba who impliedly admitted they were obtained from the addressee by voluntary delivery, they should still be
authorship of the 30 July 2001 motion. privileged (for otherwise the privilege could by collusion be practically nullified for
written communications); but if they were obtained surreptitiously or otherwise
U.S. v. Antipolo without the addressee's consent, the privilege should cease. (5 Wigmore on Evidence,
2nd ed., par. 2339.)
At common law, neither a husband nor a wife was a competent witness for or against
the other in any judicial proceedings, civil or criminal, to which the other was a party. The letter in question was obtained through a search for which no warrant appears to
. . . If either were recognized as a competent witness against the other who was have been issued and counsel for the defendant cites the causes of Boyd and Boyd vs.
accused of crime, . . . a very serious injury would be done to the harmony and United States (116 U.S., 616) and Silverthorne Lumber Co. and Silverthorne vs. United
happiness of husband and wife and the confidence which should exist between them. States (251 U.S., 385) as authority for the proposition that documents obtained by
illegal searches of the defendant's effects are not admissible in evidence in a criminal
In Greenleaf's classical work on evidence, in section 337 [vol. I], the author says, in case.
stating the reasons for the rule at common law:
The letter Exhibit L must, however, be excluded for reasons not discussed in the
The great object of the rule is to secure domestic happiness by placing the protecting briefs. The letter was written by the wife of the defendant and if she had testified at
seal of the law upon all confidential communications between husband and wife; and the trial the letter might have been admissible to impeach her testimony, but she was
whatever has come to the knowledge of either by means of the hallowed confidence not put on the witness-stand and the letter was therefore not offered for that purpose.
which that relation inspires, cannot be afterwards divulged in testimony even though If the defendant either by answer or otherwise had indicated his assent to the
the other party be no longer living. statements contained in the letter it might also have been admissible, but such is not
the case here; the fact that he had the letter in his possession is no indication of
This case does not fall with the text of the statute or the reason upon which it is based. acquiescence or assent on his part. The letter is therefore nothing but pure hearsay
The purpose of section 58 is to protect accused persons against statements made in and its admission in evidence violates the constitutional right of the defendant in a
the confidence engendered by the marital relation, and to relieve the husband or wife criminal case to be confronted with the witnesses for the prosecution and have the
to whom such confidential communications might have been made from the opportunity to cross-examine them. In this respect there can be no difference between
obligation of revealing them to the prejudice of the other spouse. Obviously, when a an ordinary communication and one originally privileged.
person at the point of death as a result of injuries he has suffered makes a statement
regarding the manner in which he received those injuries, the communication so Hilado v. David
made is in no sense confidential. On the contrary, such a communication is made for
the express purpose that it may be communicated after the death of the declarant to Section 26 (e), Rule 123 of the Rules of Court provides that "an attorney cannot,
the authorities concerned in inquiring into the cause of his death. without the consent of his client, be examined as to any communication made by the
client to him, or his advice given thereon in the course of professional employment;"
People v. Carlos and section 19 (e) of Rule 127 imposes upon an attorney the duty "to maintain
inviolate the confidence, and at every peril to himself, to preserve the secrets of his
The court below found that the crime was committed with premeditation and client." There is no law or provision in the Rules of Court prohibiting attorneys in
therefore constituted murder. This finding can only be sustained by taking into express terms from acting on behalf of both parties to a controversy whose interests
consideration Exhibit L, a letter written to the defendant by his wife and siezed by the are opposed to each other, but such prohibition is necessarily implied in the
police in searching his effects on the day of his arrest. It is dated May 25, 1924, two injunctions above quoted. (In re De la Rosa, 27 Phil., 258.) In fact the prohibition
days before the commission of the crime and shows that the writer feared that the derives validity from sources higher than written laws and rules. As has been aptly
defendant contemplated resorting to physical violence in dealing with the deceased. said in In re Merron, 22 N. M., 252, L.R.A., 1917B, 378, "information so received is
sacred to the employment to which it pertains," and "to permit it to be used in the
Counsel for the defendant argues vigorously that the letter was a privileged interest of another, or, worse still, in the interest of the adverse party, is to strike at
communication and therefore not admissible in evidence. The numerical weight of the element of confidence which lies at the basis of, and affords the essential security
authority is, however, to the effect that where a privileged communication from one in, the relation of attorney and client."
spouse to another comes into the hands of a third party, whether legally or not,
without collusion and voluntary disclosure on the part of either of the spouses, the
That only copies of pleadings already filed in court were furnished to Attorney Agrava
and that, this being so, no secret communication was transmitted to him by the Regala v. Sandiganbayan
plaintiff, would not vary the situation even if we should discard Mrs. Hilado's
statement that other papers, personal and private in character, were turned in by her. As a matter of public policy, a clients identity should not be shrouded in mystery.[30]
Precedents are at hand to support the doctrine that the mere relation of attorney and Under this premise, the general rule in our jurisdiction as well as in the United States
client ought to preclude the attorney from accepting the opposite party's retainer in is that a lawyer may not invoke the privilege and refuse to divulge the name or
the same litigation regardless of what information was received by him from his first identity of his client.[31]
client.
The reasons advanced for the general rule are well established.
The principle which forbids an attorney who has been engaged to represent a client
from thereafter appearing on behalf of the client's opponent applies equally even First, the court has a right to know that the client whose privileged information is
though during the continuance of the employment nothing of a confidential nature sought to be protected is flesh and blood.
was revealed to the attorney by the client. (Christian vs. Waialua Agricultural Co., 30
Hawaii, 553, Footnote 7, C. J. S., 828.) Second, the privilege begins to exist only after the attorney-client relationship has
been established. The attorney-client privilege does not attach until there is a client.
Where it appeared that an attorney, representing one party in litigation, had formerly
represented the adverse party with respect to the same matter involved in the Third, the privilege generally pertains to the subject matter of the relationship.
litigation, the court need not inquire as to how much knowledge the attorney acquired
from his former during that relationship, before refusing to permit the attorney to Finally, due process considerations require that the opposing party should, as a
represent the adverse party. (Brown vs. Miller, 52 App. D. C. 330; 286, F. 994.) general rule, know his adversary. A party suing or sued is entitled to know who his
opponent is.[32] He cannot be obliged to grope in the dark against unknown
In order that a court may prevent an attorney from appearing against a former client, forces.[33]
it is unnecessary that the ascertain in detail the extent to which the former client's
affairs might have a bearing on the matters involved in the subsequent litigation on Notwithstanding these considerations, the general rule is however qualified by some
the attorney's knowledge thereof. (Boyd vs. Second Judicial Dist. Court, 274 P., 7; 51 important exceptions.
Nev., 264.)
1) Client identity is privileged where a strong probability exists that revealing
This rule has been so strictly that it has been held an attorney, on terminating his the clients name would implicate that client in the very activity for which he
employment, cannot thereafter act as counsel against his client in the same general sought the lawyers advice.
matter, even though, while acting for his former client, he acquired no knowledge 2) Where disclosure would open the client to civil liability, his identity is
which could operate to his client's disadvantage in the subsequent adverse privileged. For instance, the peculiar facts and circumstances of Neugass v.
employment. (Pierce vs. Palmer [1910], 31 R. I., 432; 77 Atl., 201, Ann. Cas., 1912S, Terminal Cab Corporation,[37] prompted the New York Supreme Court to
181.) allow a lawyers claim to the effect that he could not reveal the name of his
client because this would expose the latter to civil litigation.
Communications between attorney and client are, in a great number of litigations, a 3) Where the governments lawyers have no case against an attorneys client
complicated affair, consisting of entangled relevant and irrelevant, secret and well unless, by revealing the clients name, the said name would furnish the only
known facts. In the complexity of what is said in the course of the dealings between an link that would form the chain of testimony necessary to convict an
attorney and a client, inquiry of the nature suggested would lead to the revelation, in individual of a crime, the clients name is privileged.
advance of the trial, of other matters that might only further prejudice the
complainant's cause. And the theory would be productive of other un salutary results. Summarizing these exceptions, information relating to the identity of a client may fall
To make the passing of confidential communication a condition precedent; i.e., to within the ambit of the privilege when the clients name itself has an independent
make the employment conditioned on the scope and character of the knowledge significance, such that disclosure would then reveal client confidences.[46]
acquired by an attorney in determining his right to change sides, would not enhance
the freedom of litigants, which is to be sedulously fostered, to consult with lawyers The circumstances involving the engagement of lawyers in the case at bench,
upon what they believe are their rights in litigation. The condition would of necessity therefore, clearly reveal that the instant case falls under at least two exceptions to the
call for an investigation of what information the attorney has received and in what general rule. First, disclosure of the alleged client's name would lead to establish said
way it is or it is not in conflict with his new position. Litigants would in consequence client's connection with the very fact in issue of the case, which is privileged
be wary in going to an attorney, lest by an unfortunate turn of the proceedings, if an information, because the privilege, as stated earlier, protects the subject matter or the
investigation be held, the court should accept the attorney's inaccurate version of the substance (without which there would be no attorney-client relationship).
facts that came to him. "Now the abstinence from seeking legal advice in a good cause
is by hypothesis an evil which is fatal to the administration of justice." (John H. The link between the alleged criminal offense and the legal advice or legal service
Wigmore's Evidence, 1923, Section 2285, 2290, 2291.) sought was duly established in the case at bar, by no less than the PCGG itself. The
key lies in the three specific conditions laid down by the PCGG which constitutes course of any personal employment, relating to the subject thereof, and which may be
petitioners ticket to non-prosecution should they accede thereto: supposed to be drawn out in consequence of the relation in which the parties stand to
each other, are under the seal of confidence and entitled to protection as privileged
(a) the disclosure of the identity of its clients; communications."[50] Where the communicated information, which clearly falls
within the privilege, would suggest possible criminal activity but there would be not
(b) submission of documents substantiating the lawyer-client relationship; and much in the information known to the prosecution which would sustain a charge
except that revealing the name of the client would open up other privileged
(c) the submission of the deeds of assignment petitioners executed in favor of their information which would substantiate the prosecutions suspicions, then the clients
clients covering their respective shareholdings. identity is so inextricably linked to the subject matter itself that it falls within the
protection. The Baird exception, applicable to the instant case, is consonant with the
From these conditions, particularly the third, we can readily deduce that the clients principal policy behind the privilege, i.e., that for the purpose of promoting freedom
indeed consulted the petitioners, in their capacity as lawyers, regarding the financial of consultation of legal advisors by clients, apprehension of compelled disclosure from
and corporate structure, framework and set-up of the corporations in question. In attorneys must be eliminated. This exception has likewise been sustained in In re
turn, petitioners gave their professional advice in the form of, among others, the Grand Jury Proceedings[51] and Tillotson v. Boughner.[52] What these cases
aforementioned deeds of assignment covering their clients shareholdings. unanimously seek to avoid is the exploitation of the general rule in what may amount
to a fishing expedition by the prosecution.
There is no question that the preparation of the aforestated documents was part and
parcel of petitioners legal service to their clients. More important, it constituted an There are, after all, alternative sources of information available to the prosecutor
integral part of their duties as lawyers. Petitioners, therefore, have a legitimate fear which do not depend on utilizing a defendant's counsel as a convenient and readily
that identifying their clients would implicate them in the very activity for which legal available source of information in the building of a case against the latter. Compelling
advice had been sought, i.e., the alleged accumulation of ill-gotten wealth in the disclosure of the client's name in circumstances such as the one which exists in the
aforementioned corporations. case at bench amounts to sanctioning fishing expeditions by lazy prosecutors and
litigants which we cannot and will not countenance. When the nature of the
Furthermore, under the third main exception, revelation of the client's name would transaction would be revealed by disclosure of an attorney's retainer, such retainer is
obviously provide the necessary link for the prosecution to build its case, where none obviously protected by the privilege.[53] It follows that petitioner attorneys in the
otherwise exists. It is the link, in the words of Baird, that would inevitably form the instant case owe their client(s) a duty and an obligation not to disclose the latter's
chain of testimony necessary to convict the (client) of a... crime."[47] identity which in turn requires them to invoke the privilege.

An important distinction must be made between a case where a client takes on the In fine, the crux of petitioners' objections ultimately hinges on their expectation that if
services of an attorney for illicit purposes, seeking advice about how to go around the the prosecution has a case against their clients, the latter's case should be built upon
law for the purpose of committing illegal activities and a case where a client thinks he evidence painstakingly gathered by them from their own sources and not from
might have previously committed something illegal and consults his attorney about it. compelled testimony requiring them to reveal the name of their clients, information
The first case clearly does not fall within the privilege because the same cannot be which unavoidably reveals much about the nature of the transaction which may or
invoked for purposes illegal. The second case falls within the exception because may not be illegal. The logical nexus between name and nature of transaction is so
whether or not the act for which the advice turns out to be illegal, his name cannot be intimate in this case that it would be difficult to simply dissociate one from the other.
used or disclosed if the disclosure leads to evidence, not yet in the hands of the In this sense, the name is as much "communication" as information revealed directly
prosecution, which might lead to possible action against him. about the transaction in question itself, a communication which is clearly and
distinctly privileged. A lawyer cannot reveal such communication without exposing
These cases may be readily distinguished, because the privilege cannot be invoked or himself to charges of violating a principle which forms the bulwark of the entire
used as a shield for an illegal act, as in the first example; while the prosecution may attorney-client relationship.
not have a case against the client in the second example and cannot use the attorney
client relationship to build up a case against the latter. The reason for the first rule is The uberrimei fidei relationship between a lawyer and his client therefore imposes a
that it is not within the professional character of a lawyer to give advice on the strict liability for negligence on the former. The ethical duties owing to the client,
commission of a crime.[48] The reason for the second has been stated in the cases including confidentiality, loyalty, competence, diligence as well as the responsibility to
above discussed and are founded on the same policy grounds for which the attorney- keep clients informed and protect their rights to make decisions have been zealously
client privilege, in general, exists. sustained. In Milbank, Tweed, Hadley and McCloy v. Boon,[54] the US Second
District Court rejected the plea of the petitioner law firm that it breached its fiduciary
In Matter of Shawmut Mining Co., supra, the appellate court therein stated that duty to its client by helping the latter's former agent in closing a deal for the agent's
"under such conditions no case has ever yet gone to the length of compelling an benefit only after its client hesitated in proceeding with the transaction, thus causing
attorney, at the instance of a hostile litigant, to disclose not only his retainer, but the no harm to its client. The Court instead ruled that breaches of a fiduciary relationship
nature of the transactions to which it related, when such information could be made in any context comprise a special breed of cases that often loosen normally stringent
the basis of a suit against his client.[49] "Communications made to an attorney in the requirements of causation and damages, and found in favor of the client.
approximately fifteen million shares representing roughly 3.3% of the total capital
To the same effect is the ruling in Searcy, Denney, Scarola, Barnhart, and Shipley P.A. stock of UCPB as of 31 March 1987. The PCGG wanted to establish through the
v. Scheller[55] requiring strict obligation of lawyers vis-a-vis clients. In this case, a ACCRA lawyers that Mr. Cojuangco is their client and it was Cojuangco who furnished
contingent fee lawyer was fired shortly before the end of completion of his work, and all the monies to the subscription payment; hence, petitioners acted as dummies,
sought payment quantum meruit of work done. The court, however, found that the nominees and/or agents by allowing themselves, among others, to be used as
lawyer was fired for cause after he sought to pressure his client into signing a new fee instrument in accumulating ill-gotten wealth through government concessions, etc.,
agreement while settlement negotiations were at a critical stage. While the client which acts constitute gross abuse of official position and authority, flagrant breach of
found a new lawyer during the interregnum, events forced the client to settle for less public trust, unjust enrichment, violation of the Constitution and laws of the Republic
than what was originally offered. Reiterating the principle of fiduciary duty of lawyers of the Philippines.
to clients in Meinhard v. Salmon[56] famously attributed to Justice Benjamin
Cardozo that "Not honesty alone, but the punctilio of an honor the most sensitive, is By compelling petitioners, not only to reveal the identity of their clients, but worse, to
then the standard of behavior," the US Court found that the lawyer involved was fired submit to the PCGG documents substantiating the client-lawyer relationship, as well
for cause, thus deserved no attorney's fees at all. as deeds of assignment petitioners executed in favor of its clients covering their
respective shareholdings, the PCGG would exact from petitioners a link that would
The utmost zeal given by Courts to the protection of the lawyer-client confidentiality inevitably form the chain of testimony necessary to convict the (client) of a crime.
privilege and lawyer's loyalty to his client is evident in the duration of the protection,
which exists not only during the relationship, but extends even after the termination Saura v. Agdeppa
of the relationship.[57]
The request for the information regarding the sale of the property and to account for
Such are the unrelenting duties required of lawyers vis-a-vis their clients because the the proceeds is not a violation of the attorney-client privilege. The information
law, which the lawyers are sworn to uphold, in the words of Oliver Wendell requested by petitioners is not privileged. The petitioners are only asking for the
Holmes,[58] "xxx is an exacting goddess, demanding of her votaries in intellectual disclosure of the amount of the sale or account for the proceeds. Petitioners certainly
and moral discipline." The Court, no less, is not prepared to accept respondents have the right to ask for such information since they own the property as co-heirs of
position without denigrating the noble profession that is lawyering, so extolled by the late Ramon E. Saura and as co-administrators of the property. Hence, respondent
Justice Holmes in this wise: cannot refuse to divulge such information to them and hide behind the cloak of the
attorney-client relationship.
Every calling is great when greatly pursued. But what other gives such scope to realize
the spontaneous energy of one's soul? In what other does one plunge so deep in the Sanvicente v. People
stream of life - so share its passions its battles, its despair, its triumphs, both as
witness and actor? x x x But that is not all. What a subject is this in which we are It can not be denied that the contents of Exhibit LL, particularly with regard to the
united - this abstraction called the Law, wherein as in a magic mirror, we see details of the shooting communicated by petitioner to Atty. Valmonte, is privileged
reflected, not only in our lives, but the lives of all men that have been. When I think because it is connected with the business for which petitioner retained the services of
on this majestic theme my eyes dazzle. If we are to speak of the law as our mistress, the latter.[39] More specifically, said communication was relayed by petitioner to
we who are here know that she is a mistress only to be won with sustained and lonely Atty. Valmonte in order to seek his professional advice or assistance in relation to the
passion - only to be won by straining all the faculties by which man is likened to God. subject matter of the employment, or to explain something in connection with it, so as
to enable him to better advice his client or manage the litigation.
We have no choice but to uphold petitioners' right not to reveal the identity of their
clients under pain of the breach of fiduciary duty owing to their clients, because the Gonzales v. CA
facts of the instant case clearly fall within recognized exceptions to the rule that the
clients name is not privileged information. As to Dr. Arenas affidavit, the same was objected to by private respondents as being
privileged communication under Section 24 (c), Rule 130 of the Rules of Court.[11]
If we were to sustain respondent PCGG that the lawyer-client confidential privilege The rule on confidential communications between physician and patient requires
under the circumstances obtaining here does not cover the identity of the client, then that: a) the action in which the advice or treatment given or any information is to be
it would expose the lawyers themselves to possible litigation by their clients in view of used is a civil case; b) the relation of physician and patient existed between the person
the strict fiduciary responsibility imposed on them in the exercise of their duties. claiming the privilege or his legal representative and the physician; c) the advice or
treatment given by him or any information was acquired by the physician while
The complaint in Civil Case No. 0033 alleged that the defendants therein, including professionally attending the patient; d) the information was necessary for the
herein petitioners and Eduardo Cojuangco, Jr. conspired with each other in setting up performance of his professional duty; and e) the disclosure of the information would
through the use of coconut levy funds the financial and corporate framework and tend to blacken the reputation of the patient.[12]
structures that led to the establishment of UCPB, UNICOM and others and that
through insidious means and machinations, ACCRA, using its wholly-owned Petitioners do not dispute that the affidavit meets the first four requisites. They assert,
investment arm, ACCRA Investments Corporation, became the holder of however, that the finding as to Ricardo Abads sterility does not blacken the character
of the deceased. Petitioners conveniently forget that Ricardo Abads sterility arose 2. This element of confidentiality must be essential to the full and satisfactory
when the latter contracted gonorrhea, a fact which most assuredly blackens his maintenance of the relation between the parties.
reputation. In fact, given that society holds virility at a premium, sterility alone,
without the attendant embarrassment of contracting a sexually-transmitted disease, 3. The relation must be one which in the opinion of the community ought to be
would be sufficient to blacken the reputation of any patient. We thus hold the affidavit sedulously fostered
inadmissible in evidence. And the same remains inadmissible in evidence,
notwithstanding the death of Ricardo Abad. As stated by the trial court: 4. The injury that would inure to the relation by the disclosure of the
communications must be greater than the benefit thereby gained for the correct
In the case of Westover vs. Aetna Life Insurance Company, 99 N.Y. 59, it was pointed disposal of litigation." 15
out that: The privilege of secrecy is not abolished or terminated because of death as
stated in established precedents. It is an established rule that the purpose of the law The physician may be considered to be acting in his professional capacity when he
would be thwarted and the policy intended to be promoted thereby would be defeated, attends to the patient for curative, preventive, or palliative treatment. Thus, only
if death removed the seal of secrecy, from the communications and disclosures which disclosures which would have been made to the physician to enable him "safely and
a patient should make to his physician. After one has gone to his grave, the living are efficaciously to treat his patient" are covered by the privilege. 16 It is to be emphasized
not permitted to impair his name and disgrace his memory by dragging to light that "it is the tenor only of the communication that is privileged. The mere fact of
communications and disclosures made under the seal of the statute. making a communication, as well as the date of a consultation and the number of
consultations, are therefore not privileged from disclosure, so long as the subject
Lim v. CA communicated is not stated." 17

This rule on the physician-patient privilege is intended to facilitate and make safe full One who claims this privilege must prove the presence of these aforementioned
and confidential disclosure by the patient to the physician of all facts, circumstances requisites. 18
and symptoms, untrammeled by apprehension of their subsequent and enforced
disclosure and publication on the witness stand, to the end that the physician may Our careful evaluation of the submitted pleadings leads Us to no other course of
form a correct opinion, and be enabled safely and efficaciously to treat his patient. It action but to agree with the respondent Court’s observation that the petitioner failed
rests in public policy and is for the general interest of the community. to discharge that burden. In the first place, Dr. Acampado was presented and
qualified as an expert witness. As correctly held by the Court of Appeals, she did not
Since the object of the privilege is to protect the patient, it may be waived if no timely disclose anything obtained in the course of her examination, interview and treatment
objection is made to the physician’s testimony. of the petitioner; moreover, the facts and conditions alleged in the hypothetical
problem did not refer to and had no bearing on whatever information or findings the
In order that the privilege may be successfully claimed, the following requisites must doctor obtained while attending to the patient. There is, as well, no showing that Dr.
concur:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph Acampado’s answers to the questions propounded to her relating to the hypothetical
problem were influenced by the information obtained from the petitioner. Otherwise
"1. the privilege is claimed in a civil case; stated, her expert opinion excluded whatever information or knowledge she had about
the petitioner which was acquired by reason of the physician-patient relationship
2. the person against whom the privilege is claimed is one duly authorized to existing between them. As an expert witness, her testimony before the trial court
practice medicine, surgery or obstetrics; cannot then be excluded. The rule on this point is summarized as follows:chanrobles
virtual lawlibrary
3. such person acquired the information while he was attending to the patient
in his professional capacity; "The predominating view, with some scant authority otherwise, is that the statutory
physician-patient privilege, though duly claimed, is not violated by permitting a
4. the information was necessary to enable him to act in that capacity; and physician to give expert opinion testimony in response to a strictly hypothetical
question in a lawsuit involving the physical mental condition of a patient whom he
5. the information was confidential, and, if disclosed, would blacken the has attended professionally, where his opinion is based strictly upon the hypothetical
reputation (formerly character) of the patient." 14 facts stated, excluding and disregarding any personal professional knowledge he may
have concerning such patient. But in order to avoid the bar of the physician-patient
These requisites conform with the four (4) fundamental conditions necessary for the privilege where it is asserted in such a case, the physician must base his opinion solely
establishment of a privilege against the disclosure of certain communications, to upon the facts hypothesized in the question, excluding from consideration his
wit:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph personal knowledge of the patient acquired through the physician and patient
relationship. If he cannot or does not exclude from consideration his personal
"1. The communications must originate in a confidence that they will not be professional knowledge of the patient’s condition he should not be permitted to testify
disclosed. as to his expert opinion."
Chan v. Chan privilege and of the unavailability of the information elsewhere by an appropriate
investigating authority.
The physician-patient privileged communication rule essentially means that a
physician who gets information while professionally attending a patient cannot in a PNB v. Gancayco
civil case be examined without the patient’s consent as to any facts which would
blacken the latter’s reputation. This rule is intended to encourage the patient to open The truth is that these laws are so repugnant to each other than no reconciliation is
up to the physician, relate to him the history of his ailment, and give him access to his possible. Thus, while Republic Act No. 1405 provides that bank deposits are
body, enabling the physician to make a correct diagnosis of that ailment and provide "absolutely confidential ... and [therefore] may not be examined, inquired or looked
the appropriate cure. Any fear that a physician could be compelled in the future to into," except in those cases enumerated therein, the Anti-Graft Law directs in
come to court and narrate all that had transpired between him and the patient might mandatory terms that bank deposits "shall be taken into consideration in the
prompt the latter to clam up, thus putting his own health at great risk. enforcement of this section, notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary."
The only conclusion possible is that section 8 of the Anti-Graft Law is intended to
amend section 2 of Republic Act No. 1405 by providing additional exception to the
Since the offer of evidence is made at the trial, Josielene’s request for subpoena duces rule against the disclosure of bank deposits.
tecum is premature. She will have to wait for trial to begin before making a request for
the issuance of a subpoena duces tecum covering Johnny’s hospital records. It is when Indeed, it is said that if the new law is inconsistent with or repugnant to the old law,
those records are produced for examination at the trial, that Johnny may opt to the presumption against the intent to repeal by implication is overthrown because the
object, not just to their admission in evidence, but more so to their disclosure. Section inconsistency or repugnancy reveals an intent to repeal the existing law. And whether
24(c), Rule 130 of the Rules of Evidence quoted above is about non-disclosure of a statute, either in its entirety or in part, has been repealed by implication is
privileged matters. ultimately a matter of legislative intent. (Crawford, The Construction of Statutes, Secs.
309-310. Cf. Iloilo Palay and Corn Planters Ass'n v. Feliciano, G.R. No. L-24022,
Krohn v. CA March 3, 1965).

In the instant case, the person against whom the privilege is claimed is not one duly With regard to the claim that disclosure would be contrary to the policy making bank
authorized to practice medicine, surgery or obstetrics. He is simply the patient's deposits confidential, it is enough to point out that while section 2 of Republic Act
husband who wishes to testify on a document executed by medical practitioners. 1405 declares bank deposits to be "absolutely confidential," it nevertheless allows
Plainly and clearly, this does not fall within the claimed prohibition. Neither can his such disclosure in the following instances: (1) Upon written permission of the
testimony be considered a circumvention of the prohibition because his testimony depositor; (2) In cases of impeachment; (3) Upon order of a competent court in cases
cannot have the force and effect of the testimony of the physician who examined the of bribery or dereliction of duty of public officials; (4) In cases where the money
patient and executed the report. deposited is the subject matter of the litigation. Cases of unexplained wealth are
similar to cases of bribery or dereliction of duty and no reason is seen why these two
Neri v. Senate Committee classes of cases cannot be excepted from the rule making bank deposits confidential.
The policy as to one cannot be different from the policy as to the other. This policy
In the case at bar, Executive Secretary Ermita premised his claim of executive express the motion that a public office is a public trust and any person who enters
privilege on the ground that the communications elicited by the three (3) questions upon its discharge does so with the full knowledge that his life, so far as relevant to his
"fall under conversation and correspondence between the President and public duty, is open to public scrutiny.
officials" necessary in "her executive and policy decision-making process" and, that
"the information sought to be disclosed might impair our diplomatic as well as Banco Filipino v. Purisima
economic relations with the People's Republic of China." Simply put, the bases are
presidential communications privilege and executive privilege on matters relating to In our decision in Philippine National Bank v. Gancayco, rendered on September 30,
diplomacy or foreign relations. 1966, 11 we upheld the judgment of the Trial Court "sustaining the power of the
defendants (special prosecutors of the Department of Justice) to compel the
Using the above elements, we are convinced that, indeed, the communications elicited disclosure (by PNB) of bank accounts of ACCFA Administrator Jimenez (then under
by the three (3) questions are covered by the presidential communications privilege. investigation for unexplained wealth), .. (it being ruled) that, by enacting section 8 of
First, the communications relate to a "quintessential and non-delegable power" of the the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, Congress clearly intended to provide an
President, i.e. the power to enter into an executive agreement with other countries. additional ground for the examination of bank deposits .. (for) without such provision,
This authority of the President to enter into executive agreements without the the .. prosecutors would be hampered if not altogether frustrated in the prosection of
concurrence of the Legislature has traditionally been recognized in Philippine those charged with having acquired unexplained wealth while in public office.
jurisprudence.45 Second, the communications are "received" by a close advisor of the
President. Under the "operational proximity" test, petitioner can be considered a close People v. Estrada
advisor, being a member of President Arroyo's cabinet. And third, there is no
adequate showing of a compelling need that would justify the limitation of the
In order to be held liable for a violation of CA No. 142, the user of the alias must have money deposited under Trust Account No. 858, was, therefore, intended not merely to
held himself out as a person who shall publicly be known under that other name. In remain with the bank but to be invested by it elsewhere. To hold that this type of
other words, the intent to publicly use the alias must be manifest. account is not protected by R.A. 1405 would encourage private hoarding of funds that
could otherwise be invested by bank in other ventures, contrary to the policy behind
To our mind, the presence of Lacquian and Chua when Estrada signed as Jose Velarde the law.
and opened Trust Account No. C-163 does not necessarily indicate his intention to be
publicly known henceforth as Jose Velarde. In relation to Estrada, Lacquian and Chua Section 2 of the same law in fact even more clearly shows that the term deposits was
were not part of the public who had no access to Estradas privacy and to the intended to be understood broadly:
confidential matters that transpired in Malacaan where he sat as President; Lacquian
was the Chief of Staff with whom he shared matters of the highest and strictest SECTION 2. All deposits of whatever nature with bank or banking institutions in the
confidence, while Chua was a lawyer-friend bound by his oath of office and ties of Philippines including investments in bonds issued by the Government of the
friendship to keep and maintain the privacy and secrecy of his affairs. Thus, Estrada Philippines, its political subdivisions and its instrumentalities, are hereby considered
could not be said to have intended his signing as Jose Velarde to be for public as of an absolutely confidential nature and may not be examined, inquired or looked
consumption by the fact alone that Lacquian and Chua were also inside the room at into by any person, government official, bureau or office, except upon written
that time. The same holds true for Estradas alleged representations with Ortaliza and permission of the depositor, or in cases of impeachment, or upon order of a
Dichavez, assuming the evidence for these representations to be admissible. All of competent court in cases of bribery or dereliction of duty of public officials, or in cases
Estradas representations to these people were made in privacy and in secrecy, with no where the money deposited or invested is the subject matter of the litigation.
iota of intention of publicity. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)

The nature, too, of the transaction on which the indictment rests, affords Estrada a The phrase of whatever nature proscribes any restrictive interpretation of deposits.
reasonable expectation of privacy, as the alleged criminal act related to the opening of Moreover, it is clear from the immediately quoted provision that, generally, the law
a trust account a transaction that R.A. No. 1405 considers absolutely confidential in applies not only to money which is deposited but also to those which are invested.
nature. We previously rejected, in Ejercito v. Sandiganbayan, the Peoples nitpicking This further shows that the law was not intended to apply only to deposits in the strict
argument on the alleged dichotomy between bank deposits and trust transactions, sense of the word. Otherwise, there would have been no need to add the phrase or
when we said: invested.

The contention that trust accounts are not covered by the term deposits, as used in Clearly, therefore, R.A. 1405 is broad enough to cover Trust Account No. 858.[36]
R.A. 1405, by the mere fact that they do not entail a creditor-debtor relationship
between the trustor and the bank, does not lie. An examination of the law shows that We have consistently ruled that bank deposits under R.A. No. 1405 (the Secrecy of
the term deposits used therein is to be understood broadly and not limited only to Bank Deposits Law) are statutorily protected or recognized zones of privacy.[37]
accounts which give rise to a creditor-debtor relationship between the depositor and Given the private nature of Estradas act of signing the documents as Jose Velarde
the bank. related to the opening of the trust account, the People cannot claim that there was
already a public use of alias when Ocampo and Curato witnessed the signing. We need
not even consider here the impact of the obligations imposed by R.A. No.1405 on the
bank officers; what is essentially significant is the privacy situation that is necessarily
The policy behind the law is laid down in Section 1: implied in these kinds of transactions. This statutorily guaranteed privacy and secrecy
effectively negate a conclusion that the transaction was done publicly or with the
SECTION 1. It is hereby declared to be the policy of the Government to give intent to use the alias publicly.
encouragement to the people to deposit their money in banking institutions and to
discourage private hoarding so that the same may be properly utilized by banks in Pentagon Steel Corp. v. CA
authorized loans to assist in the economic development of the country. (Underscoring
supplied) The petitioner contends that the CA cannot use the parties actions and/or agreements
during the negotiation for a compromise agreement as basis for the conclusion that
If the money deposited under an account may be used by bank for authorized loans to the respondent was illegally dismissed because an offer of compromise is not
third persons, then such account, regardless of whether it creates a creditor-debtor admissible in evidence under Section 27, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court.
relationship between the depositor and the bank, falls under the category of accounts
which the law precisely seeks to protect for the purpose of boosting the economic We agree with the petitioner, but for a different reason. The correct reason for the CAs
development of the country. error in considering the actions and agreements during the conciliation proceedings
before the labor arbiter is Article 233 of the Labor Code which states that
Trust Account No. 858 is, without doubt, one such account. The Trust Agreement [i]nformation and statements made at conciliation proceedings shall be treated as
between petitioner and Urban Bank provides that the trust account covers deposit, privileged communication and shall not be used as evidence in the Commission.
placement or investment of funds by Urban Bank for and in behalf of petitioner. The Conciliators and similar officials shall not testify in any court or body regarding any
matters taken up at conciliation proceedings conducted by them. This was the
provision we cited in Nissan Motors Philippines, Inc. v. Secretary of Labor when we
pointedly disallowed the award made by the public respondent Secretary; the award
was based on the information NCMB Administrator Olalia secured from the
confidential position given him by the company during conciliation.

In the present case, we find that the CA did indeed consider the statements the parties
made during conciliation; thus, the CA erred by considering excluded materials in
arriving at its conclusion. The reasons behind the exclusion are two-fold.

First, since the law favors the settlement of controversies out of court, a person is
entitled to buy his or her peace without danger of being prejudiced in case his or her
efforts fail; hence, any communication made toward that end will be regarded as
privileged. Indeed, if every offer to buy peace could be used as evidence against a
person who presents it, many settlements would be prevented and unnecessary
litigation would result, since no prudent person would dare offer or entertain a
compromise if his or her compromise position could be exploited as a confession of
weakness.

Second, offers for compromise are irrelevant because they are not intended as
admissions by the parties making them. A true offer of compromise does not, in legal
contemplation, involve an admission on the part of a defendant that he or she is
legally liable, or on the part of a plaintiff, that his or her claim is groundless or even
doubtful, since it is made with a view to avoid controversy and save the expense of
litigation. It is the distinguishing mark of an offer of compromise that it is made
tentatively, hypothetically, and in contemplation of mutual concessions.

While we agree with the petitioner that the CA should not have considered the
agreements and/or statements made by the parties during the conciliation
proceedings, the CAs conclusion on illegal dismissal, however, was not grounded
solely on the parties statements during conciliation, but was amply supported by
other evidence on record, which we discuss below. Based on these other pieces of
evidence, the respondent was illegally dismissed; hence, our ruling regarding the
statement made during conciliation has no effect at all on our final conclusion.