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RELEVANT,

COMPETENT

MATERIAL,

Whats a relevant evidence?


An evidence is relevant if it
induces belief as to its existence
or non-existence. There must be
a relationship between the two.
The evidence must be related to
the proposition sought to be
established. In such a way that
it may prove or disprove a fact
in issue.
What is the test of relevancy? It
is logic, common-sense and
human experience. The test
there is, is it logical to suppose
that evidence X is equal to Fact
Y? Is it in accordance with
common sense that evidence X
equals fact Y. Or Is it in
accordance
with
human
experience that evidence X
equals Fact Y? Its always about
reasoning.
Example: In a prosecution for
reckless imprudence resulting in
homicide
arising
from
a
vehicular accident. Whats the
issue there? Whether or not the
accused is guilty of fault or
negligence causing damage to
the victim. Its about the
existence or non-existence of
negligence on the part of the
accused. Thats the proposition
sought to be established that
the factum probandum. Now
what would be your factum
probans to prove that the driver
is indeed at fault? One is maybe
the drive was drunk, so you
need now to prove that he was
drunk, you present the device
that can test the presence of
alcohol in his system, witnesses
to prove that few minutes before
the accident the driver attended
the party and consumed bottles
of beer.
Question: Is evidence that the
drive was drunk at the time of
the accident relevant? Does the
fact of his being drunk have any
relation to the issue of whether
or not he was negligent? To
answer this you resort to logic.
Is it logical to say that a drunk

driver is likely to be negligent?


Logic and human experience
would tell us yes, if the answer
is yes then the evidence of him
being drunk is relevant because
it has a relation to the fact in
issue as to induce belief in its
existence or non-existence.
How do you compare this with
Material evidence?
It is an evidence to prove a fact
in issue. In other words if the
evidence, if the fact sought to
be established by the evidence
is an issue in the case that
evidence is material. Conversely
if the evidence is presented to
prove a fact which is not an
issue to the case is immaterial.
What is the test for materiality?
It is substantive law. You look at
the law if that fact is an issue.
Or if not the law, the rules of
pleadings, is it an issue in the
case based on the pleadings of
the parties. An example of an
evidence
is
not
material
because of some substantive
law is a prosecution for statutory
rape. Mr. Miralles testifies that it
was a consensual sex between
him and a grade 4 girl. You can
always object to the testimony
of Miralles because substantive
law has it that in statutory rape
consent is not an issue. You can
say objection your honor, that
evidence is immaterial
Another is the prosecution of bp
22. The gravamen of the offense
is the issuance of check which is
not sufficiently funded. The
circumstances of issuing a check
is not material whether the
check was issued for purposes
of
accommodation
or
with/without
consideration.
What is punished is the fact of
issuance even if it is not funded.
Now if prosecuted with BP 22
and his defense he testifies that
it was with no consideration
because it was issued as
security for the loan. You can
always object. The purpose of
the issuance is not material so
long as issuance is established

and the
unfunded.

fact

that

it

was

Now
by
their
respective
concepts, it is obvious that
relevance and materiality are
different evidentiary concepts.
They are independent from each
other, some authors suggest
that there are evidences which
are considered as relevant but
immaterial
/
material
but
irrelevant.
Relevant but immaterial.
In a complaint for sum of
money, based on actionable
document i.e. the promissory
note. Under the Civil procedure,
the defendant is required to
specifically deny under oath the
genuineness and due execution
of the note if that is his defense.
Failure to deny under oath
results in an implied admission
of the genuineness and due
execution of the note. Whats
the effect? Any defense that is
inconsistent
with
the
genuineness and due execution
is not allowed. Because it
ceases to be an issue so during
the trial the defendant in his
answer failed to deny under
oath, in his answer he stated the
note was a forgery. So there was
no valid effective denial so
implied admission. During the
trial, the defendant may not be
allowed to present an evidence
say
for
example
an
NBI
document examiner testifying
that the signature of the
promissory note is a forgery.
Because forgery is not an issue
when there was failure to deny
under oath.
Forgery is relevant because it
tends to prove the allegation of
a loan. So for purposes of the
issue of whether or not the
defendant is indebted to the
plaintiff is relevant evidence.
But it may be objected to
because
it
is
immaterial
because by the rules on the
pleadings whatever is admitted
may not be controverted.

Material but Irrelevant


Mr. Miralles is charged with
Robbery,
the
prosecution
theorizes that Mr. Miralles is
very poor and his poverty is the
motivating factor that drove him
to robbery. Mr. Miralles denied
that he is impoverished. He had
enough daw, because for him
life is so simple. Here comes the
prosecution presents the friend
of Mr. Miralles who will testify as
to his financial state of being
poor. If Miralles denies this, then
it becomes a factual issue. But
is it relevant? We have to test
the admissibility of this evidence
by the parameters of relevancy.
So youd ask is it logical to say
that the fact he is poor he must
be guilty of robbery. Is it
common sense or consistent
with human nature that a poor
man is driven to commit
robbery. The answer may be yes
or
no
depending
on
the
appreciation of the judge.
In our jurisdiction, what are the
requisites of admissibility of
evidence?
Under our own ROC, there are
only 2 requisites : 1. Relevancy
2. Competency (not excluded by
the rules or laws). Conspicuous
by its absence is materiality of
evidence.
Does it mean therefore, so long
as it is relevant or competent
even if it is immaterial it is
admissible?
But you may have witnessed the
impeachment
proceedings
where lawyers object to the
relevancy and materiality of
evidence as if equating one for
the other.
So whats the rule in the
Philippines? Justice Hererra in
his book is of the mind that the
concept of relevancy has two
components = 1. Materiality and
2. Probative value
IOW , For evidence to be
relevant it has to be material
and
has
probative
value.

Material if it is directed to prove


a fact in issue. Probative value
means that it has a relation to
the fact in issue as to induce
belief the existence or nonexistence. In the Philippines ,
materiality is subsumed in
the context of relevancy that
is why in our rules the only
require mentioned there is
relevancy and competency. So,
for practical purposes, if the
evidence is immaterial, you

object to the ADMISSION of


evidence on the ground that it is
immaterial, or better still, on the
ground that it is irrelevant, in
this context it is the same. So
that is how to reconcile the
concept
of
relevancy
and
materiality vis--vis the rules on
admissibility. You might wonder
there that materiality is not
mentioned
there
as
a
component of admissibility.