By: Domingo Angelo F. Cayosa

On April 28, 2020, Fortun Narvasa & Salazar (FNS) conducted its webinar on the “2019 Proposed Amendments to the Revised Rules on Evidence” with fifty-nine (59) participants composed of practicing lawyers and law students.

Capping off the webinar series, FNS Associates Michelle Ann Rose S.L. Angeles and Harradier P. Isnani discussed changes to the revised rules on evidence. The following are some of these changes:

  • New definitions of the following: documents as evidence, photographs, original of a document and of a photograph, duplicate, psychotherapist, hearsay and statements that are not hearsay.
  • hearings on judicial notice – the new rules now allow hearings on matters sought to be taken judicial notice of even during pre-trial; these hearings are now mandatory
  • Documentary evidence – consists of recordings and photographs or any material containing sounds
  • Manner by which voluminous accounts may be presented – the contents of such evidence may be presented in the form of a chart, summary, or calculation. The originals thereof must be available for examination or copying.
  • Requirement to the exceptions on the parole evidence rule – The four exceptions to the Parol Evidence Rule now require a verified pleading
  • Qualifications of witnesses – the provision on disqualification by reason of mental incapacity or immaturity has been deleted. The new rule restricts qualified witnesses to those who can make known their perception to others.
  • Addition to attorney-client privilege – the new rules now covers a person who is not a lawyer, but is reasonably believed by the client to be licensed to engage in the practice, as well as any other person assisting the attorney.
  • Addition to physician-patient privilege – It now also includes psychotherapists and persons reasonably believed by the patient to be authorized to practice medicine or psychotherapy.
  • Addition to priest-penitent privilege – the disqualification now includes any person reasonably believed to be a minister or priest.
  • Trade Secrets as privileged communication – a person cannot be compelled to testify about any trade secret, unless the non- disclosure will conceal fraud or otherwise work injustice.
  • Conduct or statements made in compromise negotiations inadmissible – except if such evidence otherwise discoverable or offered for another purpose
  • Act or declaration about pedigree – the new rule includes relationship by adoption.
  • Res Gestae must be under the stress of excitement caused by the occurrence – this codified case law
  • Records of Regularly Conducted Business Activity – it is no longer required that the person who made the entry must be dead, outside the country or unable to testify.
  • Residual Exception – statements not covered by the abovementioned exceptions but having equivalent circumstantial guarantees of trustworthiness shall be admissible
  • Presumptions in civil actions and proceedings and Presumption against an accused in criminal cases
  • Cross-examination – may be on any relevant matter even if it is not in the direct examination.
  • Impeachment by evidence of conviction of crime – A witness may now be impeached by evidence that the witness was previously convicted by final judgment
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