Attorneys of the Philippines Legal News

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Can You Use Chat Messages As Evidence?

Chat messages or text messages are often used as evidence in court. However, presenting these electronic evidences has to meet  the following requirements stipulated on Republic Act No. 8792 otherwise known as the Electronic Commerce Act of 2000. 



SECTION 1. Electronic documents as functional equivalent of paper-based documents. – Whenever a rule of evidence refers to the term of writing, document, record, instrument, memorandum or any other form of writing, such term shall be deemed to include an electronic document as defined in these Rules. 

SEC. 2. Admissibility. – An electronic document is admissible in evidence if it complies with the rules on admissibility prescribed by the Rules of Court and related laws and is authenticated in the manner prescribed by these Rules. 

SEC. 3. Privileged communication. – The confidential character of a privileged communications is not solely on the ground that it is in the form of an electronic document.  



SECTION 1. Original of an electronic document. – An electronic document shall be regarded as the equivalent of an original document under the Best Evidence Rule if it is a printout or output readable by sight or other means, shown to reflect the data accurately. 

SEC. 2. Copies as equivalent of the originals. – When a document is in two or more copies executed at or about the same time with identical contents, or is a counterpart produced by the same impression as the original, or from the same matrix, or by mechanical or electronic re-recording, or by chemical reproduction, or by other equivalent techniques which is accurately reproduces the original, such copies or duplicates shall be regarded as the equivalent of the original. 

Notwithstanding the foregoing, copies or duplicates shall not be admissible to the same extent as the original if: 

(a) a genuine question is raised as to the authenticity of the original; or 

(b) in the circumstances it would be unjust or inequitable to admit a copy in lieu of the original.   



SECTION 1. Burden of proving authenticity. – The person seeking to introduce an electronic document in any legal proceeding has the burden of proving its authenticity in the manner provided in this Rule. 

SEC. 2. Manner of authentication. – Before any private electronic document offered as authentic is received in evidence, its authenticity must be proved by any of the following means: 

(a) by evidence that it had been digitally signed by the person purported to have signed the same; 

(b) by evidence that other appropriate security procedures or devices as may be authorized by the Supreme Court or by law for authentication of electronic documents were applied to the document; or 

(c) by other evidence showing its integrity and reliability to the satisfaction of the judge. 

SEC. 3. Proof of electronically notarized document. - A document electronically notarized in accordance with the rules promulgated by the Supreme Court shall be considered as a public document and proved as a notarial document under the Rules of Court.      



SECTION 1. Electronic signature. – An electronic signature or a digital signature authenticate din the manner prescribed hereunder is admissible in evidence as the functional equivalent of the signature of a person on a written document. 

SEC. 2. Authentication of electronic signatures. – An electronic signature may be authenticate in any of the following manner: 

(a) By evidence that a method or process was utilized to establish a digital signature and verity the same; 

(b) By any other means provided by law; or 

(c) By any other means satisfactory to the judge as establishing the genuineness of the electronic signature. 

SEC. 3. Disputable presumptions relation to electronic signature. – Upon the authentication of an electronic signature, it shall be presumed that: 

(a) The electronic signature is that of the person to whom it correlates; 

(b) The electronic signature was affixed by that person with the intention of authenticating or approving the electronic document to which it is related or to indicate such person’s consent to the transaction embodied therein; and 

(c) The methods or processes utilized to affix or verity the electronic signature operated without error or fault. 

SEC. 4. Disputable presumptions relating to digital signatures. – Upon the authentication of a digital signature, it shall be presumed, in addition to those mentioned in the immediately preceding section, that: 

(a) The information contained in a certificate is correct; 

(b) The digital signature was created during the operational period of a certificate; 

(c) The message associated with a digital signature has not been altered from the time it was signed; and 

(d) A certificate had been issued by the certification authority indicated therein 



SECTION 1. Factors for assessing evidentiary weight. - In assessing the evidentiary weight of an electronic document, the following factors may be considered: 

(a) The reliability of the manner or method in which it was generated, stored or communicated, including but not limited to input and output procedures, controls, tests and checks for accuracy and reliability of the electronic data message or document, in the light of all the circumstances as well as any relevant agreement; 

(b) The reliability of the manner in which its originator was identified; 

(c) The integrity of the information and communication system in which it is recorded or stored, including but not limited to the hardware and computer programs or software used as well as programming errors; 

(d) The familiarity of the witness or the person who made the entry with the communication and information system; 

(e) The nature and quality of the information which went into the communication and information system upon which the electronic data message or electronic document was based; or 

(f) Other factors which the court may consider as affecting the accuracy or integrity of the electronic document or electronic data message. 

SEC. 2. Integrity of an information and communication system. – In any dispute involving the integrity of the information and communication system in which an electronic document or electronic data message is recorded or stored, the court may consider, among others, the following factors: 

(a) Whether the information and communication system or other similar device was operated in a manner that did not affect the integrity of the electronic document, and there are no other reasonable grounds to doubt the integrity of the information and communication system; 

(b) Whether the electronic document was recorded or stored by a party to the proceedings with interest adverse to that of the party using it; or 

(c) Whether the electronic document was recorded or stored in the usual and ordinary course of business by a person who is not a party tot he proceedings and who did not act under the control of the party using it. 

When Can A Claim Of Self-Defense Be Valid?

Self-defense is such a complex term that an individual has to prove its validity. For instance, if you are not in good terms with your neighbor and the tension led to physical injury, it is difficult prove that the injury was purely to invoke self-defense. Justifying such actions will still depend on the law. For claim of self-defense to be valid, the justifying circumstances under Article 11 of the Revised Penal Code must be taken into consideration. 



Art. 11. Justifying circumstances. — The following do not incur any criminal liability: 

1. Anyone who acts in defense of his person or rights, provided that the following circumstances concur; 

First. Unlawful aggression.

Second. Reasonable necessity of the means employed to prevent or repel it.

Third. Lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the person defending himself.

2. Any one who acts in defense of the person or rights of his spouse, ascendants, descendants, or legitimate, natural or adopted brothers or sisters, or his relatives by affinity in the same degrees and those consanguinity within the fourth civil degree, provided that the first and second requisites prescribed in the next preceding circumstance are present, and the further requisite, in case the revocation was given by the person attacked, that the one making defense had no part therein.

3. Anyone who acts in defense of the person or rights of a stranger, provided that the first and second requisites mentioned in the first circumstance of this Art. are present and that the person defending be not induced by revenge, resentment, or other evil motive.

4. Any person who, in order to avoid an evil or injury, does not act which causes damage to another, provided that the following requisites are present;  

First. That the evil sought to be avoided actually exists;

Second. That the injury feared be greater than that done to avoid it;

Third. That there be no other practical and less harmful means of preventing it.

5. Any person who acts in the fulfillment of a duty or in the lawful exercise of a right or office.

6. Any person who acts in obedience to an order issued by a superior for some lawful purpose.

Preliminary Investigation: Rules Of Criminal Procedure

Investigation must be conducted to determine if there is sufficient evidence that a crime has been committed. Once preliminary investigation has been conducted, the prosecutor will determine if there is indeed a probable cause, which refers to the existence of circumstances and facts as would excite the belief. 

A preliminary investigation will be required in warrantless arrests cases. A person who is lawfully arrested without a warrant involving an offense which requires a preliminary investigation, the complaint or information may be filed by a prosecutor without need of such investigation provided an inquest has been conducted in accordance with existing rules.  


Section  1.  Preliminary  investigation  defined;  when  required.  – Preliminary investigation is an inquiry or proceeding to determine whether  there  is sufficient  ground  to  engender  a  well-founded belief  that  a  crime  has  been  committed  and  the  respondent  is probably guilty thereof, and should be held for trial. 

Except  as  provided  in  Section  7  of  this  Rule,  a  preliminary investigation  is  required  to  be  conducted  before  the  filing  of  a compliant   or   information   for   an   offense   where   the   penalty prescribed  by  law  is  at  least  four  (4)  years,  two  (2)  months  and one (1) day without regard to the fine.  

Procedure in Conducting Preliminary Investigation

The   preliminary   investigation   shall   be conducted in the following manner:

(a)  The  complaint  shall  state  the  address  of  the  respondent  and shall be accompanied by the affidavits of the complainant and his witnesses,  as  well  as  other  supporting  documents  to  establish probable cause. They shall be in such number of copies as there are respondents, plus two (2) copies for the official file. The affidavits shall   be   subscribed   and   sworn   to   before   any   prosecutor   or government  official  authorized  to  administer  oath,  or,  in  their absence  or  unavailability,  before  a  notary  public,  each  of  whom must certify that he personally examined the affiants and that he is satisfied  that  they  voluntarily  executed  and  understood  their affidavits. 

(b)  Within  ten  (10)  days  after  the  filing  of  the  complaint,  the investigating officer shall either dismiss it if he finds no ground to continue  with  the  investigation,  or  issue  a  subpoena  to  the respondent  attaching  to   it  a   copy  of   the  complaint  and  its supporting affidavits and documents. 

The  respondent  shall  have  the  right  to  examine  the  evidence submitted  by  the  complainant  which  he  may  not  have  been furnished  and  to copy  them  at  his  expense.  If  the  evidence  is voluminous,  the  complainant  may  be  required  to  specify  those which  he  intends  to  present against  the  respondent,  and  these shall   be   made   available   for   examination  or   copying   by   the respondent at his expense.

Objects  as  evidence  need  not  be  furnished  a  party  but  shall  be made  available  for  examination,  copying,  or  photographing  at  the expense of the requesting party. 

(c)  Within  ten  (10)  days  from  receipt  of  the  subpoena  with  the complaint and supporting affidavits and documents, the respondent shall  submit  his  counter-affidavit  and  that of  his  witnesses  and other  supporting  documents  relied  upon  for  his  defense.  The counter-affidavits shall be subscribed and sworn to and certified as provided  in  paragraph  (a)  of  this  section,  with  copies  thereof furnished by him  to the complainant.  The respondent shall not be allowed to file a motion to dismiss in lieu of a counter-affidavit. 

(d)  If  the  respondent  cannot  be  subpoenaed,  or  if  subpoenaed, does not submit counter-affidavits within the ten (10) day period, the  investigating  office  shall  resolve  the  complaint  based  on  the evidence presented by the complainant. 

(e)  The  investigating  officer  may  set  a  hearing  if  there  are  facts and issues to be clarified from a party or a witness. The parties can be  present  at  the  hearing  but  without  the  right  to  examine  or cross-examine.  They  may,  however,  submit  to  the  investigating officer  questions  which  may  be  asked  to  the  party  or  witness concerned. 

The hearing shall be held within ten (10) days from submission of the counter-affidavits and other documents or from the expiration of the period for their submission. It shall be terminated within five (5) days. 

(f)  Within  ten  (10)  days  after  the  investigation,  the  investigating officer shall determine whether or not there is sufficient ground to hold the respondent for trial. 

Is There A Line That Separates Theft From Robbery?

It is common for most individuals to use theft and robbery interchangeably. After all, they are both considered as crimes against property. However, if you are going to dig deeper into both terms and take law into consideration, you will realize that robbery and theft have their own distinction. 


Art. 293. Who are guilty of robbery. — Any person who, with intent to gain, shall take any personal property belonging to another, by means of violence or intimidation of any person, or using force upon anything shall be guilty of robbery. 

Section One. — Robbery with violence or intimidation of persons.

Art. 295. Robbery with violence against or intimidation of persons; Penalties. — Any person guilty of robbery with the use of violence against or intimidation of any person shall suffer:

1. The penalty of reclusion perpetua to death, when by reason or on occasion of the robbery, the crime of homicide shall have been committed.

2. The penalty of reclusion temporal in its medium period to reclusion perpetua when the robbery shall have been accompanied by rape or intentional mutilation, or if by reason or on occasion of such robbery, any of the physical injuries penalized in subdivision 1 of Article 263 shall have been inflicted; Provided, however, that when the robbery accompanied with rape is committed with a use of a deadly weapon or by two or more persons, the penalty shall be reclusion perpetua to death (As amended by PD No. 767).

3. The penalty of reclusion temporal, when by reason or on occasion of the robbery, any of the physical injuries penalized in subdivision 2 of the article mentioned in the next preceding paragraph, shall have been inflicted.

4. The penalty of prision mayor in its maximum period to reclusion temporal in its medium period, if the violence or intimidation employed in the commission of the robbery shall have been carried to a degree clearly unnecessary for the commission of the crime, or when the course of its execution, the offender shall have inflicted upon any person not responsible for its commission any of the physical injuries covered by sub-divisions 3 and 4 of said Article 23.

5. The penalty of prision correccional in its maximum period to prision mayor in its medium period in other cases. (As amended by R. A. 18).


Art. 308. Who are liable for theft. — Theft is committed by any person who, with intent to gain but without violence against or intimidation of persons nor force upon things, shall take personal property of another without the latter’s consent.

Theft is likewise committed by:

1. Any person who, having found lost property, shall fail to deliver the same to the local authorities or to its owner;

2. Any person who, after having maliciously damaged the property of another, shall remove or make use of the fruits or object of the damage caused by him; and

3. Any person who shall enter an inclosed estate or a field where trespass is forbidden or which belongs to another and without the consent of its owner, shall hunt or fish upon the same or shall gather cereals, or other forest or farm products.

Affidavit Of Desistance: Its Effect On Pursuing A Criminal Case

The common misconception about the affidavit of desistance is that it can bar someone from pursuing a criminal case. In theory, it serves as a waiver of one's right to pursue civil indemnity. If the complaint is made after the institution of a criminal action, the affidavit cannot justify the complaint's dismissal. 

Two Kinds of Desistance Under Article 6 of the Revised Penal Code

1. Factual Desistance-this type of desistance refers to the actual desistance of the actor, made after the crime's attempted stage. In this case, the actor is still considered criminally liable for the attempt. 

2. Legal Desistance-The desistance, in law, obviates criminal liability unless preparatory or over act has already been committed in themselves constitute a felony other than what the actor intended. 

II. Application of Article 6: 

Only to intentional felonies by positive acts but not to: (i). Felonies by omission (ii) Culpable felonies and (iii) Violations of special laws, unless the special law provides for an attempted or frustrated stage. Examples of the exception are The Dangerous Drugs Law which penalizes an attempt to violate some of its provisions, and The Human Security Act of 2007

III. The attempted stage:

"the accused commences the commission of a felonious act directly by overt acts but does not perform all the acts of execution due to some cause or accident other than his own spontaneous desistance”

 A).(1). The attempt which the Penal Code punishes is that which has a connection to a particular, concrete offense, that which is the beginning of the execution of the offense by overt acts of the perpetrator, leading directly to the its realization and commission (2) The act must not be equivocal but indicates a clear intention to commit a particular and specific felony. Thus the act of a notorious criminal in following a woman can not be the attempted stage of any felony.  

B). Overt or external act is some physical deed or activity, indicating the intention to commit a particular crime, more than a mere planning or preparation, which if carried out to is complete termination following its natural course, without being frustrated by external obstacles nor by the voluntary desistance of the perpetrator, will logically and necessarily ripen into a concrete offense

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C). Examples:

1.  The accused pressed a chemically -soaked cloth on the mouth of the woman to induce her to sleep, while he lay on top of her and pressed his body to her. The act is not the overt act that will logically and necessarily ripen into rape.  They constitute unjust vexation. ( Note: it would be attempted rape if he tried to undress the victim or touch her private parts) ( Balleros vs. People, Feb, 22, 2006)

2. One found inside a house but no article was found on him, is liable for trespass and not for attempted theft or robbery even if he is a notorious robber

3. One found removing the glass window panes or making a hole in the wall is not liable for attempted robbery but for attempted trespass

D) The accused has not yet passed the subjective phase or that phase encompassed from the time an act is executed which begins the commission of the crime until the time of the performance of the last act necessary to produce the crime, but where the accused has still control over his actions and their results. 

E).The accused was not able to continue performing the acts to produce the crime. He was prevented by external forces and not because he himself chose not to continue. Such as when his weap0n was snatched, or his intended victim managed to escape, or he was overpowered or arrested.

F). If the accused voluntarily desisted i.e he himself decided not to continue with his criminal purpose, then he is not liable.

1. Reason: This is an absolutory cause by way of reward to those who, having set one foot on the verge of crimes, heed the call of their conscience and return to the path of righteousness.  .

2. The reason for the desistance is immaterial

3. Exceptions: when the accused is liable despite his desistance

a). when the act performed prior to the desistance already constituted the attempted stage of the intended felony. For example: the accused, with intent to kill, shot at the victim but missed after which he “desisted”, his acts already constituted attempted homicide

b). When the acts performed already gave rise to the intended felony. The decision not to continue is not a legal but factual desistance. As in the case of a thief who returned what he stole.

c). When the acts performed constitute a separate offense. Pointing a gun at another and threatening to kill, and then desisting gives rise to grave threats.

List Of Crimes Punishable By Proposed Death Penalty

The aim to enact death penal bill into a law still has a long way to go. People have mixed opinions and reactions regarding death penalty. Reviving death penalty will impose more serious punishment to those who trade, sell, transport and distribute dangerous drugs regardless of purity and quantity. If a person is caught possessing at least 10 grams of any dangerous drugs or 500 grams of marijuana, these criminal offenses will be punishable by death. If foreigners bring in illegal drugs into the country, they too will be executed regardless of the quantity and purity of substance. 

Lawmakers would also like to push through with the inclusion of non-drug related crimes such as murder, kidnapping and rape. For rape cases, the penalty will depend on how and when it happened. Aside from drug trade, corruption is also prevalent especially among government officials. They too are not spared because if found guilty of committing plunder amounting to P50 million or more, the crime will be punished with death. 

Proposed Crimes To Be Punished By Death

1. Treason

2. Qualified Piracy

3. Qualified Bribery

4. Parricide

5. Murder

6. Infanticide

7. Rape (Depends on when and hot it was committed)

8. Kidnapping and Serious Illegal Detention

9. Robbery with violence against or intimidation of persons

10.Destructive Arson


12.Importation of Dangerous Drugs

13.Sale, Trading, Administration, Distribution of Dangerous Drugs

14.Maintenance of a den, dive or resort where drugs are used

15.Manufacture of Dangerous Drugs

16.Possession of Dangerous Drugs (of certain quantities)

17.Cultivation of Plants Classified as Dangerous Drugs

18.Unlawful Prescription of Dangerous Drugs

19.Criminal Liability for Planting of Evidence



          Source: House Committee On Justice

Proposed Law May Incarcerate Kids As Young As 9 Years Old

Children are known for their wide-eyed innocence. People who have already journeyed into adulthood often wish to go back to their childhood years because of children's carefree spirit. This is why when kids commit a crime, many people will pin the blame on parents because they are supposed to mold and guide children. 

However, if a child grows in a cruel society where basic rights such as the right to education is denied, children may wake up to harsh reality. Their world crumbles down before it is even built. The proliferation of drugs no longer comes as a surprise in the country and children who become criminally liable are no longer new to taking illegal drugs. 

Since many crimes are committed by children as young as 9 years, a law has been proposed to put a lid on this problem. This means that the minimum age of criminal responsibility will be reduced from 15 to 9. Republic Act No. 9344 states that 15 is the minimum age of criminal responsibility. 

Republic Act No. 9344

Sec. 6. Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility. - A child fifteen (15) years of age or under at the time of the commission of the offense shall be exempt from criminal liability. However, the child shall be subjected to an intervention program pursuant to Section 20 of this Act.

A child above fifteen (15) years but below eighteen (18) years of age shall likewise be exempt from criminal liability and be subjected to an intervention program, unless he/she has acted with discernment, in which case, such child shall be subjected to the appropriate proceedings in accordance with this Act.

The exemption from criminal liability herein established does not include exemption from civil liability, which shall be enforced in accordance with existing laws.

Sec. 7. Determination of Age. - The child in conflict with the law shall enjoy the presumption of minority. He/She shall enjoy all the rights of a child in conflict with the law until he/she is proven to be eighteen (18) years old or older. The age of a child may be determined from the child's birth certificate, baptismal certificate or any other pertinent documents. In the absence of these documents, age may be based on information from the child himself/herself, testimonies of other persons, the physical appearance of the child and other relevant evidence. In case of doubt as to the age of the child, it shall be resolved in his/her favor.

Any person contesting the age of the child in conflict with the law prior to the filing of the information in any appropriate court may file a case in a summary proceeding for the determination of age before the Family Court which shall decide the case within twenty-four (24) hours from receipt of the appropriate pleadings of all interested parties.

If a case has been filed against the child in conflict with the law and is pending in the appropriate court, the person shall file a motion to determine the age of the child in the same court where the case is pending. Pending hearing on the said motion, proceedings on the main case shall be suspended.

In all proceedings, law enforcement officers, prosecutors, judges and other government officials concerned shall exert all efforts at determining the age of the child in conflict with the law.

Does A Warrant Of Arrest Expire?

A warrant of arrest has to meet the requisites according to the law to be considered valid. It should also be issued by a competent authority, who will also direct the arrest of an individual. The person arrested will be bound to answer for the offense committed. This rule can be found under Rule 112 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure. 

The arresting officer must execute a warrant of arrest within 10 days from receipt. It should also be noted that the officer is required to make a report to the judge who issued a warrant and state the reason why the accused has not been arrested within 10 days after the expiration. 

When it comes to the validity of the warrant of arrest, it will be considered valid unless recalled or served. 

Section 5. When warrant of arrest may issue. — (a) By the Regional Trial Court. — Within 10 days from the filing of the complaint or information, the judge shall personally evaluate the resolution of the prosecutor and its supporting evidence. He may immediately dismiss the case if the evidence on record clearly fails to establish probable cause. If he finds probable cause, he shall issue a warrant of arrest, or a commitment order if the accused has already been arrested pursuant to a warrant issued by the judge who conducted the preliminary investigation or when the complaint or information was filed pursuant to section 6 of this Rule. In case of doubt on the existence of probable cause, the judge may order the prosecutor to present additional evidence within five days from notice and the issue must be resolved by the court within 30 days from the filing of the complaint or information.

(b) By the Municipal Trial Court. When required pursuant to the second paragraph of section 1 of this Rule, the preliminary investigation of cases falling under the original jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court in Cities, Municipal Trial Court, or Municipal Circuit Trial Court may be conducted by the prosecutor. The procedure for the issuance of a warrant of arrest by the judge shall be governed by paragraph (a) of this section. (As amended by A.M. No. 05-8-26-SC.)

Lawful Warrantless Arrest

Even without a warrant of arrest, a peace officer can still arrest the accused if the following conditions are met:

(a) When a person is in hot pursuit;

(b) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense;

(c) When an offense has in fact just been committed, and he has personal knowledge of facts indicating that the person to be arrested has committed it; and

(d) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal establishment or place where he is serving final judgment or temporarily confined while his case is pending, or has escaped while being transferred from one confinement to another.

What Makes A Contract Legally Binding?

When you enter into an agreement, it means there is a meeting of minds which involves fulfilling the obligation to render service or give something. The law considers this agreement as a contract. However, there can be some confusions on the validity of a contract especially if it lacks notarization. Does this mean a contract becomes invalid if it was not notarized? 

It is important to note that a contract can be considered legally binding if it has been made with the consent of contracting parties. The elements of consent, cause and subject must also be present and with that said, contracts can either be verbal or written. 

Art. 1318. There is no contract unless the following requisites concur:

(1) Consent of the contracting parties;

(2) Object certain which is the subject matter of the contract;

(3) Cause of the obligation which is established. 

Notarization converts the contract into a public document hence, the following should appear in a public document under Article 1358 of the Civil Code. 

Art. 1358. The following must appear in a public document:

(1) Acts and contracts which have for their object the creation, transmission, modification or extinguishment of real rights over immovable property; sales of real property or of an interest therein a governed by Articles 1403, No. 2, and 1405;

(2) The cession, repudiation or renunciation of hereditary rights or of those of the conjugal partnership of gains;

(3) The power to administer property, or any other power which has for its object an act appearing or which should appear in a public document, or should prejudice a third person;

(4) The cession of actions or rights proceeding from an act appearing in a public document.

All other contracts where the amount involved exceeds five hundred pesos must appear in writing, even a private one. But sales of goods, chattels or things in action are governed by Articles, 1403, No. 2 and 1405. 

Even if it is a private contract, the contracts where the amount involved is more than five hundred pesos must be written with the exception of chattels, sales of goods and other things in action as they are governed by Articles 1403, no. 2 and 1405. A contract need not be notarized if it only involves a movable property. This means that a contract is still enforceable and valid if it has been proven that the requirement is indispensable and absolute. 

On A Scale Of 1 to Edgar Matobato, How Credible Are You

Everyone riveted to the TV screen while waiting for extra judicial killings witness, Edgar Matobato to spill the beans. The plot thickens as the truth unfolds (or so we thought). Everyone one in the senate took turns of throwing questions to determine Matobato's credibility. Of course, those who are glued to their TV screen were just waiting for the witness to open a can of worms. There is currently a web of controversies rippling around war on drugs, and it is no secret that some members of the senate are also doing their own investigation. The investigation involves digging deeper into the proliferation of Extra Judicial Killings under the Duterte regime.

Matobato reiterated everything he knew about the extra judicial killings in vivid details. However, it appeared that the more he opened his mouth, the more he got himself into trouble. People who watched the senate hearing took to social media to express their disappointment, dismay and a bit of appreciation for Matobato's chutzpah. Yes, there were mixed reactions about the issue, but most of which are negative. 

Due to the series of inconsistencies on Matobato's statement, Senator Panfilo Lacson could not help but question the alleged Davao Death Squad member's credibility. The question is, are there necessary steps that supposed witnesses have to take to determine their credibility?


1. Qualification of Witnesses

Section 20.    Witnesses; their qualifications. — Except as provided in the next succeeding section, all persons who can perceive, and perceiving, can make their known perception to others, may be witnesses.

Religious or political belief, interest in the outcome of the case, or conviction of a crime unless otherwise provided by law, shall not be ground for disqualification. (18a)

Section 21.    Disqualification by reason of mental incapacity or immaturity. — The following persons cannot be witnesses:

(a) Those whose mental condition, at the time of their production for examination, is such that they are incapable of intelligently making known their perception to others;

(b) Children whose mental maturity is such as to render them incapable of perceiving the facts respecting which they are examined and of relating them truthfully. (19a)

Section 22.    Disqualification by reason of marriage. — During their marriage, neither the husband nor the wife may testify for or against the other without the consent of the affected spouse, except in a civil case by one against the other, or in a criminal case for a crime committed by one against the other or the latter's direct descendants or ascendants. (20a)

Section 23.    Disqualification by reason of death or insanity of adverse party. — Parties or assignor of parties to a case, or persons in whose behalf a case is prosecuted, against an executor or administrator or other representative of a deceased person, or against a person of unsound mind, upon a claim or demand against the estate of such deceased person or against such person of unsound mind, cannot testify as to any matter of fact occurring before the death of such deceased person or before such person became of unsound mind. (20a)

Section 24.    Disqualification by reason of privileged communication. — The following persons cannot testify as to matters learned in confidence in the following cases:

(a) The husband or the wife, during or after the marriage, cannot be examined without the consent of the other as to any communication received in confidence by one from the other during the marriage except in a civil case by one against the other, or in a criminal case for a crime committed by one against the other or the latter's direct descendants or ascendants;

(b) An attorney cannot, 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, or with a view to, professional employment, nor can an attorney's secretary, stenographer, or clerk be examined, without the consent of the client and his employer, concerning any fact the knowledge of which has been acquired in such capacity;

(c) A person authorized to practice medicine, surgery or obstetrics cannot in a civil case, without the consent of the patient, be examined as to any advice or treatment given by him or any information which he may have acquired in attending such patient in a professional capacity, which information was necessary to enable him to act in capacity, and which would blacken the reputation of the patient;

(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 his professional character in the course of discipline enjoined by the church to which the minister or priest belongs;

(e) A public officer cannot be examined during his term of office or afterwards, as to communications made to him in official confidence, when the court finds that the public interest would suffer by the disclosure. (21a)

Murder Versus Homicide: How Can You Tell The Difference

One of the most controversial cases that is currently undergoing further investigation is the case of two arrested suspects for illegal drug possession who were killed by Pasay City cops. The suspects for the possession of illegal drugs were Renato Bertes and Jaypee Bertes, residents of Ignacio Street in Pasay City. According to the investigation, only one handcuff was used for restraining two drug suspects. Things went out of hand upon their return to the detention cell. When PO2 Alipio Balo was removing the handcuff, Renato attempted to grab the gun. Balo was able to take control of the gun and shot Renato while PO1 Michael Tomas shot Jaypee.

Murder charges were filed against two policemen involved in the killing of the drug suspects. Although the investigation held on August 22, covered other cases of extra judicial killing, the case of the two policemen were the first to undergo scrutiny. Senior Supt. Nolasco Bathan was in the hot seat as Senator Leila de Lima, chair of justice and human rights committee asked for the basis of filing the murder case. Bathan was not able to give a clear answer, leading De Lima to probe more. Bathan said that the murder charges were filed because someone got killed. De Lima wanted to know why file murder charges instead of homicide. What is the difference between homicide and murder?


Premeditation refers to the action of planning something beforehand. This means that the killer has already made a decision to kill or thought about killing another person. This may require meticulous planning to make the killing appear to be an accident.

"Art. 248. Murder. — Any person who, not falling within the provisions of Article 246 shall kill another, shall be guilty of murder and shall be punished by reclusion temporal in its maximum period to death, if committed with any of the following attendant circumstances:

1. With treachery, taking advantage of superior strength, with the aid of armed men, or employing means to weaken the defense or of means or persons to insure or afford impunity.

2. In consideration of a price, reward, or promise.

3. By means of inundation, fire, poison, explosion, shipwreck, stranding of a vessel, derailment or assault upon a street car or locomotive, fall of an airship, by means of motor vehicles, or with the use of any other means involving great waste and ruin.

4. On occasion of any of the calamities enumerated in the preceding paragraph, or of an earthquake, eruption of a volcano, destructive cyclone, epidemic or other public calamity.

5. With evident premeditation.

6. With cruelty, by deliberately and inhumanly augmenting the suffering of the victim, or outraging or scoffing at his person or corpse.

Art. 249. Homicide. — Any person who, not falling within the provisions of Article 246, shall kill another without the attendance of any of the circumstances enumerated in the next preceding article, shall be deemed guilty of homicide and be punished by reclusion temporal."

When Can An Individual Be Found Guilty Of The Crime Of Serious Physical Injuries?

Although we try to leave a peaceful and trouble-free life as much as possible, there are times when we reach our boiling point causing us to explode at the slightest provocation. When you go overboard and cross lines, it is easy to use self-defense as an excuse for losing your temper. However, there is a law that corresponds to such violations. Whether it is a simple argument or suppressed anger and hate between parties, there is a consequence for the person who has inflicted physical pain to another person.

We may already be familiar with serious physical injuries, but how serious is serious? Is there supporting and tangible evidence that must be presented in order to support such claims? Article 262 to 266 tackles issues that physical injuries encompass.


"Art. 262. Mutilation. — The penalty of reclusion temporal to reclusion perpetua shall be imposed upon any person who shall intentionally mutilate another by depriving him, either totally or partially, or some essential organ of reproduction.

Any other intentional mutilation shall be punished by prision mayor in its medium and maximum periods.

Art. 263. Serious physical injuries. — Any person who shall wound, beat, or assault another, shall be guilty of the crime of serious physical injuries and shall suffer:

1. The penalty of prision mayor, if in consequence of the physical injuries inflicted, the injured person shall become insane, imbecile, impotent, or blind;

2. The penalty of prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods, if in consequence of the physical injuries inflicted, the person injured shall have lost the use of speech or the power to hear or to smell, or shall have lost an eye, a hand, a foot, an arm, or a leg or shall have lost the use of any such member, or shall have become incapacitated for the work in which he was therefor habitually engaged;

3. The penalty of prision correccional in its minimum and medium periods, if in consequence of the physical injuries inflicted, the person injured shall have become deformed, or shall have lost any other part of his body, or shall have lost the use thereof, or shall have been ill or incapacitated for the performance of the work in which he as habitually engaged for a period of more than ninety days;

4. The penalty of arresto mayor in its maximum period to prision correccional in its minimum period, if the physical injuries inflicted shall have caused the illness or incapacity for labor of the injured person for more than thirty days.

If the offense shall have been committed against any of the persons enumerated in Article 246, or with attendance of any of the circumstances mentioned in Article 248, the case covered by subdivision number 1 of this Article shall be punished by reclusion temporal in its medium and maximum periods; the case covered by subdivision number 2 by prision correccional in its maximum period to prision mayor in its minimum period; the case covered by subdivision number 3 by prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods; and the case covered by subdivision number 4 by prision correccional in its minimum and medium periods.

The provisions of the preceding paragraph shall not be applicable to a parent who shall inflict physical injuries upon his child by excessive chastisement.

Art. 264. Administering injurious substances or beverages. — The penalties established by the next preceding article shall be applicable in the respective case to any person who, without intent to kill, shall inflict upon another any serious, physical injury, by knowingly administering to him any injurious substance or beverages or by taking advantage of his weakness of mind or credulity.

Art. 265. Less serious physical injuries. — Any person who shall inflict upon another physical injuries not described in the preceding articles, but which shall incapacitate the offended party for labor for ten days or more, or shall require medical assistance for the same period, shall be guilty of less serious physical injuries and shall suffer the penalty of arresto mayor.

Whenever less serious physical injuries shall have been inflicted with the manifest intent to kill or offend the injured person, or under circumstances adding ignominy to the offense in addition to the penalty of arresto mayor, a fine not exceeding 500 pesos shall be imposed.

Any less serious physical injuries inflicted upon the offender’s parents, ascendants, guardians, curators, teachers, or persons of rank, or persons in authority, shall be punished by prision correccional in its minimum and medium periods, provided that, in the case of persons in authority, the deed does not constitute the crime of assault upon such person.

Art. 266. Slight physical injuries and maltreatment. — The crime of slight physical injuries shall be punished:

1. By arresto menor when the offender has inflicted physical injuries which shall incapacitate the offended party for labor from one to nine days, or shall require medical attendance during the same period.

2. By arresto menor or a fine not exceeding 20 pesos and censure when the offender has caused physical injuries which do not prevent the offended party from engaging in his habitual work nor require medical assistance.

3. By arresto menor in its minimum period or a fine not exceeding 50 pesos when the offender shall ill-treat another by deed without causing any injury.”

Strange Laws You Never Knew Existed: Part 15 Of 15 You Can Legally Kill People

You can lose your temper once you reach your boiling point. It can be due to a number of reasons such as betrayal. What would you do if your spouse commits adultery? Some can easily forgive a person and start a new life, but there are those who just cannot bury the hatchet. This means they can put matters into their own hands by killing the person responsible for committing such a crime.

Article 247 states:

“ Death or physical injuries under exceptional circumstances. — Any legally married person who, having surprised his spouse in the act of committing sexual intercourse with another person, shall kill any of them or both of them in the act or immediately thereafter, or shall inflict upon them any serious physical injuries, shall suffer the penalty of destierro.

If he shall inflict upon them physical injuries of any other kind, he shall be exempt from punishment.

These rules shall be applicable, under the same circumstances, to parents with respect to their daughters under eighteen years of age, and their seducers, while the daughters are living with their parents.

Any person who shall promote or facilitate the prostitution of his wife or daughter, or shall otherwise have consented to the infidelity of the other spouse, shall not be entitled to the benefits of this article.”

The law only applies if the following elements are present:

“1. The offender is any legally married person;

2. The offender surprises his spouse in the act of committing sexual intercourse with another person;

3. The offender kills or seriously injures any or both of them;

4. The offender kills or seriously injures during the act of sexual intercourse or immediately thereafter.”

The Aguinaldo Condonation Legal Doctrine

Anti-corruption advocates were quite disappointed when Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr. invoked the Aguinaldo doctrine, questioning his order of suspension last March. The decision was made by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales. The Makati Mayor claimed that he was no longer held responsible nor liable for the construction of Makati Science High School Building (MSHSB) because such liability has already been rendered ineffective by his reelection in 2013.  The same doctrine was used for defending himself against anomalous and shady transaction involved in the construction of the Makati City Hall Parking Building II. Perhaps, the existence of Aguinaldo Doctrine has been misused and abused by politicians who still aspire to run for 2016 elections in spite of pending administrative cases. 

The Aguinaldo doctrine removes the elected officials’ liabilities for administrative offenses that were committed in previous terms once they are reelected. It is so easy for elected officials to evade liabilities so long as they are reelected into office. The doctrine also emphasizes that the law only applies to administrative cases. If elected official has a pending criminal case, the acts will not be pardoned and the judicial processes will push through. Anti-corruption advocates believe that scrapping this doctrine can reduce graft and corruption in the country. 

As stated in the doctrine: “Offenses committed, or acts done, during a previous term are generally held not to furnish cause for removal and this is especially true were the Constitution provides that the penalty in proceeding for removal shall not extend beyond the removal from office, and disqualification from holding office for a term for which the officer was elected or appointed.”

“The Court should ever remove a public officer for acts done prior to his present term of office. To do otherwise would be to deprive the people of their right to elect their officers. When a people have elected a man to office, it must be assumed that they did this with knowledge of his life and character, and that they disregarded or forgave his fault or misconduct, if he had been guilty of any. It is not for the court, by reason of such fault or misconduct, to practically overrule the will of the people. (Lizares v. Hechanova, et al., 17 SCRA 58, 59-60 [1966]) (See also Oliveros v. Villaluz, 57 SCRA 163 [1974])”

“Equally without merit is petitioner's claim that before he could be suspended or removed from office, proof beyond reasonable doubt is required inasmuch as he is charged with a penal offense of disloyalty to the Republic which is defined and penalized under Article 137 of the Revised Penal Code. Petitioner is not being prosecuted criminally under the provisions of the Revised Penal Code, but administratively with the end in view of removing petitioner as the duly elected Governor of Cagayan Province for acts of disloyalty to the Republic where the quantum of proof required is only substantial evidence.”

How To Choose A Criminal Defense Lawyer?

In a situation where you need to seek help from a criminal defense lawyer, setting some criteria will help you bypass the daunting selection process. If you are going to rely on the Internet for some information, you need to be specific with the type of lawyer you are looking for as you will get thousands of search results. While it can be hard to make up your mind, knowing the qualities you need to look for will save you from wasting both your time and money. When you are looking for a criminal defense lawyer, it is important that you take your time. If you are being offered the lowest service cost, you should consider this as a warning sign because the quality of the service might be compromised. Here are some tips you can use for searching for a criminal defense lawyer: 

1. Choose a lawyer with years of experience. 

If you want to increase the chances of gaining a positive outcome of the verdict, you should prioritize lawyers with substantial experience in criminal defense. Make sure the criminal defense lawyer you choose is capable of assisting your needs. If you are charged with a federal crime, you should also choose a lawyer who specializes in federal law. 

2. Get some references in different ways.

You can also obtain some prospects through referrals, courtroom observation, professional organizations and Internet search. List all of your prospects and schedule an interview so you will find out if you have gotten a hold of the right person for the job. 

3. Ask some questions. 

Aside from setting your personal criteria, knowing the questions to ask can get you in the right direction. There are some essential questions you need to ask for you to know if your prospect is really a good fit. You can ask the lawyer’s experience in handling criminal cases, their payment policies or the approaches they use during jury trials. 

4. Verify the information provided by the prospective lawyer.

You might already been told regarding your prospects’ qualification but you have to check on the veracity of their claims. If a lawyer claims to be an expert as a criminal defense lawyer, you need to check several factors such as their track record for winning a case. 

5. Read feedback and reviews. 

You have to find out if the lawyers have a good reputation to his colleagues and previous clients. There are feedback and reviews you can read from various sources. They are helpful in terms of providing background information of your prospective lawyer.