Trillanes camp: Testimonies, not application form, 'best evidence' if senator applied for amnesty
Kristine Joy Patag ( - October 12, 2018 - 4:15pm

MANILA, Philippines — Judge Elmo Alameda said on Friday that the hearing would have ended if Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV presented the application form, the “best evidence” in his case. But lawyer Reynaldo Robles raised that the argument does not apply to Trillanes' case. 

Speaking to reporters after the hearing on Friday, Robles said that the “best evidence rule” only applies if the case is focused on the “contents of the document.”

“If they are discussing the contents of the document, wouldn’t the best evidence be the document itself?” Robles said in Filipino.

“What we are talking about is whether he filed or not: The act of physical filing. So, all evidence should be admitted. In fact, testimonial evidence would be the best evidence,” the lawyer said.

He added that the contents of the form would only come in second. “We have the form, we know what is in the document , and we have testimonies that it was complete and an admission [of guilt] is in the document.”

‘Best evidence rule’

The Rules of Court’s “Best Evidence Rule” states: “When the subject of inquiry is the contents of a document, no evidence shall be admissible other than the original document itself.”

It also listed under the exceptions: “When the original is a public record in the custody of public officer or is recorded in a public office.”

Trillanes’ application form

When Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 150 first heard the Department of Justice’s motion for warrant, Alameda asked Robles to present Trillanes’ application form.

“The court needs the actual application form,” the judge said last September 14, adding that this would be the primary evidence in the case.”

Robles said that the senator could not find the form but he argued that they have testimonies to prove that he filed an application.

Alameda later granted DOJ’s motion for the issuance of warrant and hold departure order.

READ: Makati court orders Trillanes' arrest for rebellion case

In his ruling on September 25, the judge pointed out: “Evidently, he failed to present the original hard copy, duplicate copy, or even a photocopy showing that he personally accomplished and filed with the DND Amnesty Committee his Official Amnesty Application Form duly acknowledged and stamp marked received by said office.”

Trillanes’ camp has challenged the said ruling and said that it was “premature” and lack factual basis. They also asked for a testimonial trial for the motion hearing.

Alameda conducted a hearing on Friday, October 12, where the DOJ opposed their plea for hearing.

The judge allowed Robles to file their reply to the comment within five days.

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