Case 42 People vs. Ulit (2004)
CASE NO. 41 Rule 130 Rules of Admissibility | C. Testimonial Evidence | 4. Testimonial Knowledge Hearsay Evidence Rule 133 Weight and Sufficiency of Evidence THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. FELICIANO ULIT y TAMPOY G.R. Nos. 131799-801 (423 SCRA 374); February 23, 2004
FACTS Regional Trial Court of Makati City, Branch 62 found appellant Feliciano Ulit y Tampoy guilty beyond reasonable doubt of two counts of qualified rape. In the same decision, the appellant was convicted of two counts of acts of lasciviousness. For each count of rape, the trial court sentenced him to suffer the supreme penalty of death, while for each count of acts of lasciviousness, the appellant was sentenced to suffer imprisonment “from eight (8) years, eight (8) months and one (1) day of prision mayor in its medium period, as minimum, to fifteen (15) years, six (6) months and twenty (20) days of reclusion temporal in its medium period, as maximum.” The appellant’s counsel, likewise, objected to the admissibility of Lucelle’s sworn statement on the ground that she was incompetent to give the same because of her mental illness. The trial court admitted the sworn statement of Lucelle in evidence as part of her testimony. ISSUE (1): Whether Lucelle’s sworn statement is hearsay. HELD: NO SC: We do not agree with the ruling of the trial court that the contents of the sworn statement of Lucelle are hearsay, simply because she did not testify thereon and merely identified her signatures therein. By hearsay evidence is meant that kind of evidence which does not derive its value solely from the credence to be attributed to the witness herself but rests solely in part on the veracity and competence of some persons from whom the witness has received the information. It signifies all evidence which is not founded upon the personal knowledge of the witness from whom it is elicited, and which, consequently, is not subject to cross-examination. The basis for the exclusion appears to lie in the fact that such testimony is not subject to the test which can ordinarily be applied for the ascertainment of truth of testimony, since the declarant is not present and available for crossexamination. In criminal cases, the admission of hearsay evidence would be a violation of the constitutional provision that the accused shall enjoy the right to confront and cross-examine the witness testifying against him. Generally, the affidavits of persons who are not presented to testify on the truth of the contents thereof are hearsay evidence. Such affidavit must be formally offered in evidence and accepted by the court; otherwise, it shall not be considered by the court for the simple reason that the court shall consider such evidence formally offered and accepted. ISSUE (2): On plea of guilty of accused, the Rule. HELD: As a rule, this Court has set aside convictions based on pleas of guilty in capital offenses because of the improvidence thereof, and when such plea is the sole basis of the condemnatory judgment. However, where the trial court receives, independently of his plea of guilty, evidence to determine whether the accused committed the crimes charged and the precise degree of his criminal culpability therefor, he may still be convicted if there is ample proof on record, not contingent on the plea of guilty, on which to predicate conviction.