People of the Philippines vs Romy Fallones

February 19, 2014
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Remedial Law – Evidence – Res Gestae

In the morning of June 29, 2004 Amalia was told by her mother to look for her sister Alice. Alice was an 18 years old girl with the mind of a 5 year old. Amalia looked for Alice all over the neighborhood until she neared the house of Romy Fallones. As she approached the house of Fallones, she heard a familiar cry:

“Tama na! Tama na!”

It was Alice’s voice. Immediately, she ran up to Fallones’ door and knocked repeatedly until Fallones opened the door.

Behind Fallones she saw Alice. Alice said:

“Amalia, may napkin na binigay si Romy o.”

Alice grabbed her sister who had a bloodied shorts. They went to the barangay office where Alice was able to positively identify Fallones as the person who sexually abused her.

A rape case was filed against Fallones. During trial, Alice died. Amalia testified on what she heard during the incident. Eventually, Fallones was convicted of rape.

On appeal, Fallones argued that the testimony of Amalia on what she heard was hearsay for she only heard the cry of Alice but did not see the act of rape.

ISSUE: Whether or not the testimony of Amalia is admissible despite being hearsay.

HELD: Yes. It is exempted from the hearsay rule under the principle of Res Gestae.

Res gestae refers to statements made by the participants or the victims of, or the spectators to, a crime immediately before, during, or after its commission. These statements are a spontaneous reaction or utterance inspired by the excitement of the occasion, without any opportunity for the declarant to fabricate a false statement. An important consideration is whether there intervened, between the occurrence and the statement, any circumstance calculated to divert the mind and thus restore the mental balance of the declarant; and afford an opportunity for deliberation.

For spontaneous statements to be admitted in evidence, the following must concur:

1) the principal act, the res gestae, is a startling occurrence;

2) the statements were made before the declarant had time to contrive or devise; and

3) the statements concerned the occurrence in question and its immediately attending circumstances.

In this case, the utterances of Alice “Tama na! Tama na!” were made during a startling event (when Fallones was penetrating her). When Fallones opened the door upon Amalia’s incessant knocking, Alice came out from behind him, uttering “Amalia, may napkin na binigay si Romy o.” The admissibility of Alice’s spontaneous statements rests on the valid assumption that they were spoken under circumstances where there had been no chance to contrive. It is difficult to lie in an excited state and the impulsiveness of the expression is a guaranty of trustworthiness.

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