USE THE SEARCH FOR ALL YOUR LEGAL RESEARCH NEEDS:

WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

 

 

I. INTRODUCTION

 

Weight of Evidence: - The balance of evidence and in whose favor it tilts. This refers to the indication of the greater evidence between the parties . This depends on the judicial evaluation within the guidelines provided by the rules and by jurisprudence.

Sufficiency of Evidence- refers to the adequacy of evidence. Such evidence in character, weight, or amount, as will legally justify the judicial action demanded or prayed by the parties.

 

This refers to the question as to whether the evidence amounts or meets the required quantum needed to arrive at a decision in a civil, criminal, or administrative case; or to prove matters of defense or mitigation or to overcome a prima facie case or a presumption

 

II. HIERARCHY OF EVIDENTIARY VALUES

 

a). Proof beyond reasonable doubt

b). Clear and convincing proof

c). Preponderance of Evidence

d). Substantial evidence

 

      2. a). Conclusive- overwhelming or incontrovertible

          b). Prima Facie- that which suffices until rebutted

          c). Probable Cause- as that required for filing of an Information  in Court or for the issuance of a warrant of arrest

 

III. QUANTUM OF EVIDENCE REQUIRED

 

   A. Criminal cases: Proof of Guilt Must be Beyond

reasonable doubt.

  

1. That degree of proof, which, excluding the possibility of error, produces moral certainty.  If the inculpatory facts are capable of two or more explanations, one of which is consistent with the innocence of the accused and the other consistent with his guilt, then the evidence does not fulfill the test of moral certainty and is not sufficient to support a conviction.

  

B. Civil Cases: Preponderance of Evidence. This means that he weight, credit and value of the aggregate evidenced of one is superior to the other

.   

IV.  RULES IN THE EVALUATION OF EVIDENCE

 

1. Courts shall  consider and take into consideration : (a) all facts which were presented during the trial whether testimonial, object, or documentary (b) all facts which were stipulated or judicially admitted (c) those judicially noticed and (d) all facts which are presumed

 

2.  No extraneous matters shall be considered even if the Court knows them as existing in his personal capacity

 

3. In determining the weight and sufficiency of a party’s evidence, the court shall consider :

          

A.) All the facts and circumstances of the case.

         

B). The testimonial characteristics of a witness such as:

        

 i). The manner of testifying by a witness which includes his conduct and behavior on the witness stand, the emphasis, gestures, and inflection of his voice in answering questions. This is the reason why the rules require the witness to personally testify in open court.

ii). The intelligence of the witness. This refers o this position to perceive by the sue of his organs of sense, his opportunity for accurate observation and faithful recollection of the facts to which he is testifying.

       This intelligence must be coupled with integrity, a general reputation for truth, honesty and integrity. This is because a witness to be believed must be truthful in his narration of correct facts.

iii). The means and opportunity of knowing the facts which includes his presence and observation of the facts.

iv). The nature of the facts to which the witness is testifying such as: whether he did the act as a participant, whether he saw the occurrence of an accident as he was a passenger; the identity of a person who is an old acquaintance; thus as to the circumstances of the birth a person, the mother would be the best witness on this point mother.

v). The absence or presence of interest or basis for bias or prejudice.

vi). Personal Credibility of the witness, referring to his general reputation for truth, honesty or integrity  as for example: (i) the case of an young girl who makes a complaint for rape ; as for instance the accused claiming self defense who is well built, broad shouldered a boxer and expert in martial arts claiming the victim of assault by an ordinary person

viii). The probability or improbability of the testimony

 

C. The number of witnesses. However witnesses are to been weighed not numbered because quantitative superiority does not necessarily mean legal preponderance. Thus an accused may be convicted based solely on the testimony of one witness.

       But where the evidence for both parties is principally testimonial where the version of each exhibit equal tendency to be true and accurate, and the witnesses have not betrayed themselves by major contradictions  or other indications of falsehood, there exists every reason to measure preponderance by numerical advantage.             . 

 

4. The Court has the power to stop the further presentation of evidence on the same point as when the additional evidence is only corroborative or the point has already been established, or when it results to unnecessary delay

 

5. As to the testimony of a witness:

 

A). the court must consider everything stated by the witness during the direct, cross, re-direct and re-cross examinations        

 

B). the testimony of a witness maybe believed in part and disbelieved in other parts, depending on the corroborative evidence and the probabilities and improbabilities of the case. It is accepted as a matter of common sense that if certain parts of the testimony are true, his testimony can not be disregarded entirely.

           Contrast this with the so called “Falsus in unos, falsus in omnibus”

         

  6. The Preference of Evidence must be observed in case of conflict:

 

A). Physical or Object evidence is evidence of the highest order and prevails over contrary testimonial evidence

        

B). Documentary over testimonial evidence

        

C). Positive over negative evidence. E.G. positive identification over alibi; an assertion of the occurrence of a thing over a plain denial. “Denials, if unsubstantiated by clear and convincing evidence, are deemed negative and self-serving evidence unworthy of credence.” ( Wa-acon vs. People, 510 SCRA 429)

         

D). Direct over circumstantial

         

E). Testimony in open court over sworn statements or affidavits  

 

F). The “Admitted Facts Rule”- evidence of whatever description must yield to the extent that it conflicts with admitted or clearly established facts”. Thus courts give superior credit to witnesses whose testimonies on material points are in accord with facts already established ( Frondarina vs. Malazarte 510 SCRA 223)

 

7. Rule in criminal cases

            

     A.  For conviction   

i). For conviction: the prosecution must adduce proof of guilt beyond reasonable doubt i.e. moral certainty not absolute certainty

ii). Every doubt is to be resolved in favor of the accused

iii) Accusation is not synonymous with guilt

 iv Accused need not present evidence if the evidence against him is weak because conviction must be on the strength of the evidence of the prosecution and not on the weakness of the evidence of the accused

 

B. Affirmative Defenses be shown by clear, positive and convincing evidence

 

C. Two Witness Rule in Treason

 

D. If conviction is based on circumstantial evidence. The requirements under section 4 must be present

      i). There must be more than one circumstance

      ii). The facts from which the inferences are derived are proven

      iii). The combination of all such circumstances produces conviction beyond reasonable doubt

 

E. If based on Extra Judicial Confession, same must be corroborated by evidence of corpus delicti

 

IV. CREDIBLE EVIDENCE: Evidence to be believed requires:

 

A.) That it be credible in itself i.e. such as the common experience and observation of mankind can approve as probable under the circumstances. Testimony must be natural, reasonable and probable as to make it easy to believe

 

B). Must come from a credible source- a credible witness is one who testifies in a categorical, straightforward spontaneous and frank manner and remains consistent on cross examination

 

V. APPRECIATION OF EVIDENCE BY TRIAL COURT by trial court generally accorded respect by appellate courts as the former have first hand contact with the evidence and were able to observe the witness as they testified.

 

      In matters concerning the credibility of witnesses, appellate courts will generally not disturb the findings of trial courts unless they neglected, ignored or misappreciated material and substantial facts, which could materially affect the results of the case.

 

VI. EVIDENCE ON MOTION –When a motion is based on facts not appearing of record the court may hear the matter on affidavits or depositions presented by the respective parties, but the court may direct that the matter be wholly or partially on oral testimony or depositions.

 

    A.  This refers to collateral issues or motions based on facts not appearing on record such as (i) proof of service by publication (ii) relief from order of default (iii) Taking of depositions (iv) motion for new trial (v) relief from judgment (vi) issuance of writ of preliminary injunction 


 Visit the site's Law Firm by clicking the above image to avail of Free Legal Advice or for us to assist you in your legal needs.

Free Legal Advice