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Rule 131. BURDEN OF PROOF AND PRESUMPTIONS

 

 

Section 1. Burden of Proof… the Duty of a party to present evidence on the facts in issue necessary to establish his claim by the amount of evidence required by law. This is also known as the Onus Probandi

 

I. Introduction.

 

Relationship between allegation and proof. He who alleges must prove. Allegations do not prove themselves. Although plaintiff’s causes of actions are couched in the strongest terms and most persuasive language, the allegations are of no consequence unless they are substantiated. Similarly, in criminal cases, the offense and the aggravating circumstances charged in an Information remain just accusations until they are shown to be true by the presentation of evidence. Defendant is not relieved from liability simply because the raises a defenses. 

 

II. Distinguished from related concepts:

 

1. Burden of Proof Proper or Burden of Persuasion or Risk of Non Persuasion- the duty of the party alleging the case to prove it.

a). This lies with the plaintiff

b). This lies too with the defendant as to his defenses and counter-claim

 

2. Burden of Evidence or Burden of Going Forward- The duty or logical necessity imposed upon a party, at any time during the trial, to establish a prima facie case in his favor or to overcome a prima facie case against him

 

“… when the prosecution has succeeded in discharging the burden of proof by presenting evidence sufficient to convince the court of the truth of the allegations in the Information, or has established a prima facie case against the accused, the burden of evidence shifts to the accused making it incumbent upon him to adduce evidence in order to meet and nullify, if not overthrow, that prima facie evidence”. ( PP vs. Villanueva, 506 SCRA 280) 

 

3. Points of distinction:

a). The former never shifts but remains constant with the party while the latter shifts from one party to the other as the trial progresses

b). In civil cases where it leis is determined by the pleadings while the latter is determined by the rules of logic.

 

III. Who has the Burden of Proof Proper

 

1. The general rule is- he who would lose the case if no evidence is presented. Hence it is the plaintiff as to his causes of action, and the defendant as to his counterclaim.

2. In criminal cases, the burden of proving guilt is always the plaintiff/prosecution. But if the accused sets up an affirmative defense, the burden is on him to prove such by “clear, affirmative and strong evidence”

 

The foregoing rests on the maxim: EL INCOMBIT PROBOTION QUI DECIT NON QUI NEGAT ( He who asserts, not he who denies, must prove}

 

IV. The Equipoise Rule: where the evidence of the parties is evenly balanced, the case will be resolved against the plaintiff, thus in criminal cases the accused must be acquitted and in civil cases, the complaint must be dismissed.

 

V. What to prove in criminal cases:

 

A. By the Prosecution:

 

1. Each and every element of the crime charged in the Information

2. Where there be two or more accused, the prosecution must prove the conspiracy and the participation of each of the several accused in the commission of the crime

3. All aggravating circumstances, whether ordinary, special or qualifying, as are alleged in the Information

4. The civil liability based on the crime  

 

B. By the Accused

 

1. Non-Liability

      a). His Affirmative Defenses by clear, positive and convincing evidence

      b). His negative defenses such as denial alibi, or mistake in identity

2 Lesser liability:  the offenses is a lesser offense or lesser stage of commission, or that his participation is of lesser degree

3. Mitigating circumstances     

 

VI. Rule as to Negative Allegations

 

A. General Rule: Negative allegations need not be proved

B. Exceptions:

 

1. In civil cases- if it constitutes part of the statement of the cause of action of the plaintiff

a). Actions based on non-payment or non-delivery of money or goods

b) Actions based on non-compliance with a legal obligation, such as giving of support, or of a contractual obligation or with the terms or conditions of a contract

c). Allegations of lack of due care on the part of the defendant

 

2. Criminal Cases:

 

a). if the negative allegation is an essential element of the offense charged or when the charge is predicated on a negative allegation.

i). Lack of permit or license in offenses involving firearms

ii). Lack of permit or authority to recruit

iii). Absence of a Building Permit

iv).Absence of consent of the victim in sex crimes, theft or robbery; Arbitrary Detention requiring proof of absence of formal charges filed within the required period  

v). Lack of care or failure to obey traffic rules, or to take necessary precautions, in case of reckless imprudence 

 

b). (i) If the negative of an issue does not permit of direct proof or (ii) the facts are more immediately within the knowledge of the accused in which case the onus probandi rest upon the accused ( PP. vs. Macalaban, 395 SCRA 461)

 

Example: Rule as to Drug Cases. Unlike in offenses involving firearms, the prosecution has no burden to prove the lack of authority from the Dangerous Drugs Board or government agency for the accused to sell, transport or possess dangerous drugs. It is the accused who must prove he is exempted from obtaining a license or permit. The reason is because this is a matter which is purely within his knowledge ( PP. vs. Johnson, 348 SCRA 526).

 

G. When the Burden of Proof is Dispensed With

1. In case of facts which were judicially admitted

2. As to facts Judicially noticed

3. As to facts conclusively presumed

4. As to facts which are irrelevant

5. As to facts which  exclusively within knowledge of the adverse party

6. As to negative allegations

 

 

PRESUMPTIONS

 

I. Introduction: The facts in issue are either (i) proved by the presentation of testimonial, documentary or object evidence or they are (ii) presumed

 

II. Concept: An assumption or conclusion as to the existence of a fact based on another fact or group of facts which were already established. These are based on human experience or common sense, or laws of nature.

 

III. Classification:

Praesumption Legis: these are presumptions which the law directs to be made by the court

a). Juris tantum- or prima facie, rebuttable or disputable  presumption or those which may be overcome or disproved

b). Juris et de Jure: conclusive or those which the law does not  allow to be contradicted

c). Statutory and Constitutional

 

Praesumption Hominis ( Fact) these are presumptions which may be made as a result of the mental processes of inductive or deductive reasoning from a fact

 

IV. Evidentiary Value:

1. Presumptions cannot substitute for evidence. They are to be indulged in only when there is no evidence as to the fact in issue or there is great difficulty in obtaining direct evidence of the fact in issue

2. Once there is evidence of the fact in issue, the presumption ceases

3. The role and importance of presumptions is to relieve a party of the difficulty of complying with the burden of proof. 

      Thus there is no need to present the Bank Representative in case of Violation  of B.P. 22

4. In case of Conflicting Presumptions or whenever several presumptions arise from the same set o facts, the rule is: (1) that which has the weightier reason prevails otherwise all will be considered as equal and therefore all will be disregarded and (b) Constitutional prevails over statutory presumptions.

5.  When there is a presumption of law, the onus probandi (burden of proof)  generally imposed upon the State, is now shifted to the party against whom the inference is made  to adduce satisfactory evidence to rebut the presumption and hence, to demolish the prima facie case. Such prima facie evidence , if unexplained or uncontroverted, can counter balance the presumption of innocence to warrant a conviction ( Wa-acon vs. PP)

 

V. Components of a Presumption

 

1. The Ultimate Fact or the Presumed Fact

 

2. The basic fact or factual basis because a presumption can not arise or be based on another presumption. This may either be:

 

a). A fact within Judicial Knowledge in which case the presumption becomes operative at the moment the case is filed  or at any time thereafter. The basic fact need not be proven.

 

For example: The presumption of innocence becomes operative the moment an Information is filed in Court. So also the presumption of sanity of parties and witnesses or the presumption of good moral character of every party arises whenever a case is filed in court and at the time the witnesss testify.

 

 b). The basic fact which must be proven.

 

For example: The presumption of a child being that of the husband arises only after it is proven: that the parents were validly married and the child was born thereafter. The presumption that a public officer was regularly appointed or elected after it is first shown he was acting as a public officer. Likewise the presumption of survivorship.

            

 Note: There must be a rational connection between the Ultimate Fact and the Basic Fact

 

Sec. 2 Conclusive Presumptions: The following are instances of conclusive presumptions .

 

       1. Estoppel in Pais: whenever a party has, by his own declaration, act or omission, intentionally and deliberately led another to believe a particular thing to be true, and to act upon such belief, he cannot in any litigation arising out of such declaration, act or omission, be permitted to falsify it.

 

       2. Estoppel Against a Tenant:  the tenant is not permitted to deny title of his landlord at the time of the commencement of the relation of landlord and tenant between them .

 

A. Estoppel in General: a principle which bars a person from denying or asserting anything to the contrary of that which has been established as the truth arising from his own acts or representations. It may be: (1). Estoppel in Pais or equity (2).By deed  i.e document and (3). By Record or Judgment i.e those found and established as true by a court of competent jurisdiction

 

B. Estoppel in Pais: The essence is intentional misrepresentation

 

     1. Requirements:

a). As to the party estopped: (i). a conduct amounting to false representation or concealment of material facts (ii). an intention that the conduct be acted upon or that it will influence the other party and  (iii) knowledge of the true facts

b). As to the party claiming estoppel: (i) an absolute lack of knowledge or of the means of knowledge as to the true facts, not lack of diligence (ii) reliance in good faith upon the conduct of the other party and (iii) the action or inaction resulted to his damage or injury

 

     2. Illustrations

a). A man who represents himself to be the true owner  in a sale will not be permitted later to deny the sale after he acquire title thereto

b). Estoppel to deny validity of sale as when the wife, in collusion with the husband, concealed her true status induce her parents to believe she is single and to a  property  which in truth is conjugal. The husband cannot deny the validity of the deed

c). The heirs who represented the minors in a suit for partition cannot impugn the validity of the judgment for lack of proper authorization

d) Jurisdiction by estoppel

e). Agency/Partnership by estoppel

f) But estoppel does not apply to the government for acts of the public officials  

 

C. Estoppel Against a Tenant

 

1. The relationship is that between parties to an original contract of lease ( not sublease) involving a real property . The tenant refers to the lessee. What is deemed conclusive as to the tenant is the ownership of the lessor over property.

2. The lessee cannot use his physical  possession over the property as basis to dispossess the lessor of the latter’s ownership. The law seeks to protect owners of real property from being deprived of their ownership by those in actual  physical possession who are their own lessees.

 

3. However the downside of the law is that it does not jibe with the proposition that the land should be owned by those who actually till and utilize the land over those whose sole connection to the land is merely a piece of document.

 

4. However, the lessee may assert ownership if after the lease, he acquires the property is in his own right, such as when he buys it in an execution sale 

 

Sec. 3. Enumerates the disputable presumptions which are applicable in civil, criminal, political, commercial and remedial laws. 


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