FAQ’s on Remedial Law 3

More FAQ’s on Remedial Law

Will the contradictions between the affidavit and testimony in open court affect the credibility of a witness?

The rule has also always been that the contradictions between the contents of an affiant’s affidavit and his testimony on the witness stand do not always militate against the witness’ credibility because the Supreme Court has long taken judicial notice that affidavits, which are usually taken ex parte, are often incomplete and inaccurate. Indeed, a sworn statement taken ex parte is generally considered to be inferior to a testimony given in open court as the latter is subject to the test of cross examination.

Is an offer of compromise admissible as evidence?

An offer of compromise is not an admission that anything is due, and is not admissible in evidence against the person making the offer. However, in criminal cases which are not allowed by law to be compromised, an offer of compromise by the accused may be received in evidence as an implied admission of guilt.

What are the effects of a compromise agreement?

It is axiomatic that a compromise agreement once approved by the court has the force of res judicata between the parties and should not be disturbed except for vices of consent or forgery.  Being in effect the contract between the parties, a compromise agreement cannot be set aside by the trial court if the parties acted in good faith. In fact, it is immediately executory and not appealable.

What is a cause of action and when is a complaint deemed to have a cause of action?

A cause of action is defined as an act or omission by which a party violates the right of another. A complaint is deemed to have stated a cause of action provided it has indicated the following: (1) the legal right of the plaintiff, (2) the correlative obligation of the defendant, and (3) the act or the omission of the defendant in violation of the said legal right.

When is an arrest without a warrant lawful?

Under Section 5 of Rule 113 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure, a peace officer or a private person may, without a warrant, arrest a person:

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

(b) 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

(c) 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.

In cases falling under paragraphs (a) and (b) hereof, the person arrested without a warrant shall be forthwith delivered to the nearest police station or jail, and he shall be proceeded against in accordance with Rule 112, Section 7.

When may a new trial, based on newly discovered evidence, be granted?

A motion for new trial upon the ground of newly discovered evidence, is properly granted where there is concurrence of the following requisites, namely: a) the evidence had been discovered after trial; b) the evidence could not have been discovered and produced during trial even with the exercise of reasonable diligence; and c) the evidence is material, and not merely corroborative, cumulative, or impeaching and is of such weight that if admitted, would probably alter the result (Tumang v. Court of Appeals, 172 SCRA 332).

What is the “fruit of the poisonous tree” doctrine?

It is an exclusionary rule which states that evidence illegally obtained by the state should not be used to gain other evidence because the illegally obtained evidence taints all evidence subsequently obtained.

When is a party guilty of forum shopping?

A party is guilty of forum shopping when he repetitively avails of several judicial remedies in different courts, simultaneously or successively, all substantially founded on the same transactions and the same essential facts and circumstances, and all raising substantially the same issues either pending in, or already resolved adversely, by some other court.

What is the doctrine of “res ipsa loquitur”?

The doctrine of “res ipsa loquitur” holds a defendant liable where the thing which caused the injury complained of is shown to be under the latter’s management and the accident is such that, in the ordinary course of things, cannot be expected to happen if those who have its management or control use proper care.  It affords reasonable evidence, in the absence of explanation by the defendant, that the accident arose from want of care. It is not a rule of substantive law and, as such, it does not create an independent ground of liability.  Instead, it is regarded as a mode of proof, or a mere procedural convenience since it furnishes a substitute for, and relieves the plaintiff of, the burden of producing specific proof of negligence.

What is a summary hearing?

A summary hearing is defined as “such brief and speedy method of receiving and considering the evidence of guilt as is practicable and consistent with the purpose of hearing which is merely to determine the weight of evidence for the purposes of bail.  On such hearing, the court does not sit to try the merits or to enter into any nice inquiry as to the weight that ought to be allowed to the evidence for or against the accused, nor will it speculate on the outcome of the trial or on what further evidence may be therein offered and admitted.  The course of inquiry may be left to the discretion of the court which may confine itself to receiving such evidence as has reference to substantial matters, avoiding unnecessary examination and cross examination”.

What is the best evidence rule and what are some of its exceptions?

The best evidence rule enshrined in the Revised Rules on Evidence provides that “when the subject of an  inquiry is the contents of a document, no evidence shall be admissible other than the original document itself.” This rule is not without exception.  Some of the exception are when the original has been lost or destroyed; cannot be produced in court without bad faith on the part of the offeror; or when the original is in the custody or under the control of the party against whom the evidence is offered and the latter fails to produce it after reasonable notice.

What is the principle of in pari delicto non oritur actio and what is the exception to this general rule?

The principle of in pari delicto non oritur actio denies all recovery to the guilty parties inter se. It applies to cases where the nullity arises from the illegality of the consideration or the purpose of the contract. When two persons are equally at fault, the law does not relieve them. The exception to this general rule is when the principle is invoked with respect to inexistent contracts.

What is probable cause?

Probable cause has been defined as the existence of such facts and circumstances as would excite the belief, in a reasonable mind, acting on the facts within the knowledge of the prosecutor, that the person charged was guilty of the crime for which he was prosecuted. It has been explained as a reasonable presumption that a matter is, or may be, well founded, such  a  state of  facts in the mind of the prosecutor as would lead a person of ordinary caution and prudence to believe, or entertain an honest or strong suspicion, that a thing is so. The term does not mean “actual and positive cause” nor does it import absolute certainty.  It is merely based on opinion and reasonable belief. Thus a finding of probable cause does not require an inquiry into whether there is sufficient evidence to procure a conviction. It is enough that it is believed that the act or omission complained of constitutes the offense charged, as there is a trial for the reception of evidence of the prosecution in support of the charge.

What is the equipoise doctrine?

The “equipoise doctrine” is the rule which states that when the evidence of the prosecution and the defense are so evenly balanced, the appreciation of such evidence calls for tilting of the scales in favor of the accused. Thus, the evidence for the prosecution must be heavier to overcome the presumption of innocence of the accused.

How should the Rules of Court and other procedural rules be interpreted and applied?

The Rules of Court must be so interpreted and applied as to achieve, not defeat, substantial justice as expeditiously as possible.  Procedural rules should be liberally construed in order to promote their object and assist the parties in obtaining just, speedy and inexpensive determination of every action or proceeding.  Where the rigid application of the rules would frustrate substantial justice, or bar the vindication of a legitimate grievance, the courts are justified in exempting a particular case from the operation of the rules.

When is a dying declaration admissible as evidence?

A dying declaration is admissible when (a) it concerns the cause and the surrounding circumstances of the declarant’s death; (b) it is made when death appears to be imminent, and the declarant is under a consciousness of impending death; (c) the declarant would have been competent to testify had he or she survived; and (d) the dying declaration is offered in a case in which the subject of inquiry involves the declarant’s death.