Wednesday, September 7, 2011

All's Well That Ends Well

In last week’s blog entry entitled “Photoshop Can Get You Landed in Jail!”, I recounted the woeful tale of ill-fated lovers torn apart by a pregnant girlfriend and tantalizing photoshopped pictures. Among the most notable insights gathered from the case of Rustan Ang vs Court of Appeals is the reiteration of the dictum that “Rules on Electronic Evidence” is not applicable to criminal proceedings.

For everyone’s information, this case was decided on 20 April 2010. And as far as Google is concerned, this appears to be the latest jurisprudence discussing the cases covered by the application of the “Rules on Electronic Evidence.”

Despite the categorical statement of the Court denouncing the applicability of said rule with respect to criminal proceedings, I found myself unable to accept the Court’s proposition. After all, I distinctly remember Professor Vinluan discuss in our Evidence class that the “Rules on Electronic Evidence” embraces criminal cases as well.

The minute I uploaded my entry, I immediately wanted to issue a caveat, but I decided against it until I find conclusive evidence to support my suspicion. Two (2) days later, after interviewing countless bar reviewees and searching the internet, I was finally vindicated. My hunch was right! The Rules on Electronic Evidence is indeed APPLICABLE to criminal cases.

Pursuant to A.M. No. 01-7-01-SC issued on 24 September 2002, Section 2 Rule 1 of the Rules on Electronic Evidence was amended to read as follows:

SEC. 2 Cases covered. – These Rules shall apply to the criminal and civil actions and proceeding, as well as quasi-judicial and administrative cases.

Furthermore, said amendment was supposed to take effect on 14 October 2002. At this point, allow me to emphasize the fact that the crime was committed on 05 June 2005 … almost two (2) years after the effectivity of the abovementioned amendment! Hence, said amendment should have been taken into account by the court in deciding the case. After all, they were the ones who issued it.

Nevertheless, despite this oversight, I believe the court still made the right decision. The Court pointed out that the petitioner only objected to the admissibility of the picture for the first time on appeal. He should have objected to its admissibility at the time it was offered for evidence. Thus, he is deemed to have waived such ground for objection. Consequently, the pictures must be admitted.

This is just another one of the many cases the Court decided right based on the wrong reason. But who cares, right? After all, all's well that ends well. *Sigh*

Entry # 12

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