Saturday, February 26, 2022



Rule 130 of the Revised Rules of Court in The Philippines (As Amended) discusses Object (real) Evidence and Documentary Evidence. 

Under Section 1- Object as Evidence are defined as those addressed to the senses of the court. 

When an object is relevant to the fact in issue, it may be exhibited to, examined or viewed by the court. 

On the other hand, in Section 2, Documentary Evidence is defined as consisting of:

  • writings
  • recordings
  • photographs
  • or any material containing letters, words, sounds, numbers, figures, symbols, or their equivalent or other modes of written expression offered as proof of their contents.

Photographs include:

  • still pictures
  • drawings
  • stored images
  • x-ray films
  • motion pictures or
  • videos
The ORIGINAL DOCUMENT RULE is discussed in Section 3-

The original document must be produced. 
When the subject of inquiry is the contents of a document, writing, recording, photograph or other record, no evidence is admissible other than the original document itself.  

The exception include the following cases:

  1. When the original is lost or destroyed, or cannot be produced in court, without bad faith on the part of the offeror;
  2. 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, or the original cannot be obtained by local judicial processes or procedures;
  3. When the original consists of numerous accounts or other documents which cannot be examined in court without great loss of time and the fact sought to be established from them is only the general result of the whole.;
  4. When the original is a public record in the custody of a public officer or is recorded in a public office; and
  5. When the original is not closely-related to a controlling issue. 
Section 5 defines an "original" document as the document itself or any counterpart intended to have the same effect by a person executing or issuing it. 

An "original" of a photograph includes the negative or any print therefrom.

If data is stored in a computer or similar device, any printout or other output readable by sight or other means, shown to reflect the data accurately, is an "original". 

"Duplicate" is defined as a counterpart produced by the same impression as the original or from the same matrix, or by means of photography, including enlargements and miniatures, or by mechanical or electronic re-recording, or by chemical reproduction, or by other equivalent technique which accurately reproduce the original. 

A duplicate is admissible to the same extent as the original unless

(1) a genuine question is raised as to the authenticity of the original, or
(2) in the circumstances, it is unjust or inequitable to admit the duplicate in lieu of the original.


is tackled in Section 5 wherein it is stated that-
When original document has been lost, or destroyed, or cannot be produced in court, the offeror upon proof of its execution of existence and the cause of its unavailability without bad faith on his or her part, may prove its contents by a copy, or by recital of its contents in some authentic document, or by the testimony of witnesses in the order stated. 

 Section 6 is a situation where the original document is in adverse party's custody. In this case, the adverse party must have reasonable notice to produce it. 

If after notice and after satisfactory proof of its existence, he or she fails to produce the document, secondary evidence may be presented as in the case of loss. 

What if the contents are voluminous?

The question is answered in Section 7 on Summaries wherein the contents of documents, record, photographs, or numerous accounts are voluminous and cannot be examined in court without great loss of time, and the fact sought to be established is only the general result of the whole, the contents of such evidence may be presented in the form of a chart, summary, or calculation. 

The originals shall be available for examination or copying , or both, by the adverse party at a reasonable time and place. The court may order that they be produced in court. 

Is the evidence admissible when original document is a public record?

Section 8. says that "When the original of a document is in the custody of a public officer or is recorded in a public office, its contents may be proved by a certified copy issued by the public officer in custody thereof. 

Section 9 provides that a party who calls for the production of a document and inspects the same is not obliged to offer it as evidence. 


Section 10 illuminates on Evidence of written agreements. 

When the terms of an agreement have been reduced to writing, it is considered as containing all the terms agreed upon and there can be, as between the parties and their successors in interest, no evidence of such terms other than the contents of the written agreement. 

However, a party may present evidence to modify, explain or add to the terms of the written agreement if he or she puts in issue in a verified pleading:

(a) An intrinsic ambiguity, mistake or imperfection in the written agreement;
(b) The failure of the written agreement to express the true intent and agreement of the parties thereto;
(c) The validity of the written agreement; or 
(d) The existence of other terms agreed to by the parties or their successors in interest after the execution of the written agreement.

The term agreement includes wills. 


The rules provide that:
  • The language of a writing is to be interpreted according to the legal meaning it bears in the place of its execution, unless the parties intended otherwise. (Sec. 11)
  • In the construction of an instrument, where there are several provisions or particulars, such a construction is, if possible to be adopted as will give effect to all. (Sec. 12)
  • In the construction of an instrument, the intention of the parties is to be pursued; and when a general and a particular provision are inconsistent, the latter is paramount to the former. So a particular intent will control a general one that is inconsistent with it. (Sec. 13)
  • For the proper construction of an instrument, the circumstances under which it was made, including the situation of the subject thereof and of the parties to it may be shown, so that the judge may be placed in the position of those whose language he or she is to interpret. (Sec. 14)
  • The terms of a writing are presumed to have been used in their primary and general acceptation, but evidence is admissible to show that they have a local, technical, or otherwise peculiar signification, and were so used and understood in the particular instance, in which case the agreement must be construed accordingly. (Sec. 15)
  • When an instrument consists partly of written words and partly of a printed form, and the two are inconsistent, the former controls the latter.  (Sec. 16)
  • Experts and interpreters to be used in explaining certain writings. (Sec. 17)
  • When terms of an agreement have been intended in a different sense by the different parties to it, that is to prevail against either party in which he or she supposed the other understood it, and when different constructions of a provision are otherwise equally proper, that is to be taken which is the most favorable to the party in whose favor the provision was made. (Sec. 18)
  • When an instrument is equally susceptible of two interpretations, one in favor of natural right and the other against it, the former is to be adopted. (Sec. 19)
  • An instrument may be construed according to usage, in order to determine its true character. (Sec. 20)

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