Remedial Law

PRESUMPTIONS: Recent Rulings on the Concept, Disputable Presumptions, and other Evidentiary Presumptions

Disputable presumptions

Presumption in favor of conjugality

Presumption of authenticity and due execution

Presumption of good faith Presumption of sound mind

Presumption of validity

Presumption of innocence of the accused

Presumption of authenticity and due execution

Concept —A presumption is an assumption of fact resulting from a rule of law which requires such fact to be assumed from another fact or group of facts found or otherwise established in the action; it is an inference of the existence or non-existence of a fact which courts are permitted to draw from proof of other facts. (Estate of Poblador, Jr. vs. Manzano, G.R. No. 192391, June 19, 2017)

Disputable presumptions — Under Sec. 3, Rule 131, disputable presumptions are satisfactory, if uncontradicted, but may be contradicted and overcome by other evidence, as in this case. (Estate of Poblador, Jr. vs. Manzano, G.R. No. 192391, June 19, 2017)

Regularity in the performance of official duties –– A document acknowledged before a notary public is a public document that enjoys the presumption of regularity; it is a prima facie evidence of the truth of the facts stated therein and a conclusive presumption of its existence and due execution; to overcome this presumption, there must be presented evidence that is clear and convincing; absent such evidence, the presumption must be upheld. (Sps. Tapayan vs. Martinez, G.R. No. 207786, Jan. 30, 2017) 

In cases involving violations of the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, as amended, credence should be given to the narration of the incident by the prosecution witnesses especially when they are police officers who are presumed to have performed their duties in a regular manner, unless there is evidence to the contrary. (People vs. Pardillo, G.R. No. 219590, June 07, 2017)

Petitioners have equally failed to make a case justifying their non-observance of existing auditing rules and regulations; they failed to faithfully discharge their respective duties and to exercise the required diligence which resulted in the irregular disbursements paid to the employees whose appointments have not been approved by the CSC. (Sambo vs. COA, G.R. No. 223244, June 29, 2017)

The direct account of law enforcement officers enjoy the presumption of regularity in the performance of their duties; unless the presumption is rebutted, it becomes conclusive.  (People vs. Cabiles, G.R. No. 220758, June 07, 2017)

This presumption can be overturned if evidence is presented to prove either of two things, namely: (1) that they were not properly performing their duty; or (2) that they were inspired by any improper motive. (People vs. Barte, G.R. No. 179749, Mar. 01, 2017)

To successfully overcome such presumption of regularity, case law demands that the evidence against it must be clear and convincing; absent the requisite quantum of proof to the contrary, the presumption stands deserving of faith and credit. (Yap vs. Lagtapon, G.R. No. 196347, Jan. 23, 2017)

Disputable presumptions — Acts of public officers are presumed to be regular and valid, unless sufficiently shown to be otherwise. (Cayabyab vs. Dimson, G.R. No. 223862, July 10, 2017)

—      Anent the civil aspect of the B.P. Blg 22 cases, petitioner’s defense of lack of consideration for the checks fails to persuade; apart from having admitted the authenticity and due execution of the promissory note, she also failed to present clear and convincing evidence to overturn the disputable presumptions that there were sufficient considerations for the said contract which she signed as a co-maker, and for the negotiable instruments issued under her name. (Lim vs. People, G.R. No. 224979, Dec. 13, 2017)

Rule 131, Sec. 3, par. (f) provides: Sec. 3. Disputable presumptions. – The following presumptions are satisfactory if uncontradicted, but may be contradicted and overcome by other evidence: x x x (f) That money paid by one to another was due the latter; by alleging that respondent was not entitled to the payment, it was incumbent upon complainant to present evidence to overturn the disputable presumption that the payment was due to respondent. (Palacios, for and in behalf of the AFP Retirement and Separation Benefits System (AFP-RSBS) vs. Atty. Amora, Jr., A.C. No. 11504, Aug. 01, 2017)

Under our Rules of Evidence, it is disputably presumed that a person takes ordinary care of his concerns and that private transactions have been fair and regular; negligence cannot be presumed, and thus, must be proven by him who alleges it. (St. Martin Polyclinic, Inc. vs. LWV Construction Corp., G.R. No. 217426, Dec. 04, 2017)

Presumption in favor of conjugality –– Art. 160 of the Old Civil Code, applicable provision since the property was acquired prior to the enactment of the Family Code; provides that “all property of the marriage is presumed to belong to the conjugal partnership, unless it be proved that it pertains exclusively to the husband or to the wife”; this presumption is rebuttable, but only with a strong, clear and convincing evidence; there must be a strict proof of exclusive ownership of one of the spouses, and the burden of proof rests upon the party asserting it.(Ko vs. Aramburo, G.R. No. 190995, Aug. 09, 2017)

Presumption of authenticity and due execution — A duly notarized contract enjoys the prima facie presumption of authenticity and due execution, as well as the full faith and credence attached to a public instrument; to overturn this legal presumption, evidence must be clear, convincing, and more than merely preponderant to establish that there was forgery that gave rise to a spurious contract. (Gatanvs. Vinarao, G.R. No. 205912, Oct. 18, 2017)

Presumption of good faith — Bad faith should be established by clear and convincing evidence since the law always presumes good faith. (Sps. Espinoza vs. Sps. Mayandoc, G.R. No. 211170, July 03, 2017)

Presumption of regular performance of official duties — Any doubt on the conduct of the police operations cannot be resolved in the prosecution’s favor by relying on the presumption of regularity in the performance of official functions; the failure to observe the proper procedure negates the operation of the regularity accorded to police officers. (People vs. Macud, G.R. No. 219175, Dec. 14, 2017)

In proceedings involving violations of the Dangerous Drugs Act, the testimonies of police officers as prosecution witnesses are given weight for it is assumed that they have performed their functions in a regular manner; this presumption stands except in cases when there is evidence to the contrary or proof imputing ill-motive on their part, which is wanting in this case. (People vs. Bofill Pangan, G.R. No. 206965, Nov. 29, 2017)

It would be unconstitutional to place a higher value in the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duties, a mere tool of evidence, than in the more substantial presumption of innocence favoring the petitioner as an accused, a right enshrined no less than in the Bill of Rights; preferring the former would ignore the experience in the streets that actually bears witness to so many illegal arrests and unreasonable incriminations of the innocent. (Casona vs. People, G.R. No. 179757, Sept. 13, 2017)

Stands only when no reason exists in the records by which to doubt the regularity of the performance of official duty and even in that instance the presumption of regularity will not be stronger than the presumption of innocence in favor of the accused; otherwise, a mere rule of evidence will defeat the constitutionally enshrined right to be presumed innocent. (People vs. Arposeple, G.R. No. 205787, Nov. 22, 2017)

The presumption of regularity will never be stronger than the presumption of innocence in favor of the accused; otherwise, a mere rule of evidence will defeat the constitutionally enshrined right of an accused. (People vs. Segundo, G.R. No. 205614, July 26, 2017)

The presumption of regularity in the performance of official duties should not even be relied upon because there was concrete and undeniable evidence of lapses committed by the arresting officers in their compliance with the affirmative safeguards; the presumption has been erected only for convenience, to excuse the State from the duty to adduce proof that official duties have been regularly performed by its agents, because of the physically impossible or time-consuming task of detailing all the steps establishing the regular performance of official duties. (Casona vs. People, G.R. No. 179757, Sept. 13, 2017)

Presumption of sound mind — A person is presumed to be of sound mind at any particular time and the condition is presumed to exist, in the absence of proof to the contrary. (Almeda vs. Heirs of Ponciano Almeda, G.R. No. 194189, Sept. 14, 2017)

Presumption of validity— A duly executed contract enjoys the presumption of validity, and the party assailing its regularity has the burden to prove its simulation; a contract or conduct apparently honest and lawful must be treated as such until it is shown to be otherwise by either positive or circumstantial evidence. (Almeda vs. Heirs of Ponciano Almeda, G.R. No. 194189, Sept. 14, 2017)

Presumption of authenticity and due execution of a notarized deed of absolute sale —Petitioners failed to present clear, positive, convincing, and more than preponderant evidence to overcome the presumption of authenticity and due execution of the notarized Deed of Absolute Sale and to prove that the signatures appearing on said Deed are forgeries. (Gatanvs. Vinarao, G.R. No. 205912, Oct. 18, 2017)

Presumption of innocence of the accused –– The right of the accused to be presumed innocent until proven guilty is a constitutionally protected right; the burden lies with the prosecution to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt by establishing each and every element of the crime charged; the presumption of regularity cannot overcome the stronger presumption of innocence in favor of the accused; trial courts have been directed by the Court to apply this differentiation; strict compliance with Sec. 21 of R.A. No. 9165 and the IRR is mandated under the 2010 PNP Manual on Anti-Illegal Drugs Operation and Investigation (2010 AIDSOTF Manual) which was then applicable. (People vs. Callejo, G.R. No. 227427, June 06, 2018)

Presumption of regular performance of official duty –– A presumption of regularity cannot arise where the questioned official acts are patently irregular, as in this case. (People vs. De Guzman,G.R. No. 219955, Feb. 05, 2018)

Entries in official records made in the performance of his duty by a public officer of the Philippines, or by a person in the performance of a duty specifically enjoined by law, are prima facie evidence of the facts therein stated. (People vs. Santos, G.R. No. 223142, Jan. 17, 2018)

Here, the reliance of the RTC and CA on the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty despite the lapses in the procedures undertaken by the buy-bust team is fundamentally unsound because the lapses themselves are affirmative proofs of irregularity; the presumption of regularity in the performance of duty cannot overcome the stronger presumption of innocence in favor of the accused. (People vs. Supat, G.R. No. 217027, June 06, 2018)

Judicial reliance on the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty despite the lapses in the procedures undertaken by the agents of the law is fundamentally unsound because the lapses themselves are affirmative proofs of irregularity; People v. Enriquez, cited; in this case, the presumption of regularity cannot be applied due to the glaring disregard of the established procedure under Sec. 21 of R.A. No. 9165 and its IRR, committed by the buy-bust team. (People vs. Tomawis, G.R. No. 228890, April 18, 2018)

Public officers generally enjoy the presumption of regularity in the performance of official functions; this is a disputable presumption provided under Sec. 3(m) of Rule 131 of the Rules of Court; the presumption can be overturned only if evidence is presented to prove that the public officers were not properly performing their duty or they were inspired by improper motive; in drugs cases, more stringent standards must be used for the presumption of regularity to apply. (People vs. Tomawis, G.R. No. 228890, April 18, 2018)

Since the apprehending team failed to comply with Sec. 21 of R.A. No. 9165, the presumption of regularity cannot work in their favor; this presumption arises only upon compliance with Sec. 21 of R.A. No. 9165, or by clearly or convincingly explaining the justifiable grounds for noncompliance; judicial reliance on the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty despite the lapses in the procedures undertaken is fundamentally unsound because the lapses themselves are affirmative proofs of irregularity. (People vs. Bintaib, G.R. No. 217805, April 02, 2018)

The Court is cognizant of the presumption of regularity in the performance of duties of public officers; the presumption is that unless there is clear and convincing evidence that the police officers were inspired by any improper motive or did not properly perform their duty, their testimonies on the operation deserve full faith and credit; in these cases, the presumption became conclusive when the accused-appellants failed to refute it. (People vs. Abella, G.R. No. 213918, June 27, 2018)

     The evidentiary presumption that official duties had been regularly performed applies when nothing in the record suggests that the law enforcers deviated from the standard conduct of official duty required by law; where the official act is irregular on its face, the presumption cannot arise; also, the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duties can be rebutted by contrary proof, being a mere presumption, and more importantly, it is inferior to and could not prevail over the constitutional presumption of innocence; application. (People vs. Andrada, G.R. No. 232299, June 20, 2018) 

The presumption may only arise when there is a showing that the apprehending officer/team followed the requirements of Sec. 21 or when the saving clause found in the IRR is successfully triggered; judicial reliance on the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty despite the lapses in the procedures undertaken by the agents of the law is fundamentally unsound because the lapses themselves are affirmative proofs of irregularity. (People vs. Ramirez, G.R. No. 225690, Jan. 17, 2018)

     The presumption of regularity cannot prevail over the constitutional presumption of innocence and it cannot by itself constitute proof of guilt beyond reasonable doubt; the presumption of regularity is just a mere presumption disputable by contrary proof; without the presumption of regularity, the testimonies of the police witnesses must stand on their own merits and the defense cannot be hurdled having to dispute these testimonies. (People vs. Ramirez, G.R. No. 225690, Jan. 17, 2018)

     The presumption of regularity in the performance of duties by public officers can be overturned if evidence is presented to prove either of two things, namely: (1) that they were not properly performing their duty, or (2) that they were inspired by any improper motive; application. (People vs. Alboka, G.R. No. 212195, Feb. 21, 2018)

     The presumption of regularity in the performance of duty of the arresting officers as found by the RTC and the CA finds no application in this case; such presumption stands only when no reason exists in the records by which to doubt the regularity of the performance of official duty; and even in that instance the presumption of regularity will not be stronger than the presumption of innocence in favor of the accused; in this case, the police officers’ failure to observe the chain of custody rule without any explanation negates the presumption; effect. (People vs. Battung, G.R. No. 230717, June 20, 2018)

     The presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty cannot work in favor of the law enforcers since the records reveal inexcusable lapses, which are affirmative proofs of irregularity, in observing the requisites of the law; the presumption may only arise when there is a showing that the apprehending officer/team followed the requirements of Sec. 21 or when the saving clause is successfully triggered. (People vs. Mola, G.R. No. 226481, April 18, 2018)

     The presumption of regularity of performance of official duty stands only when no reason exists in the records by which to doubt the regularity of the performance of official duty; applied to dangerous drugs cases, the prosecution cannot rely on the presumption when there is a showing that the apprehending officers failed to comply with the requirements laid down in Sec. 21; in any case, the presumption of regularity cannot be stronger than the presumption of innocence in favor of the accused; otherwise, a mere rule of evidence will defeat the constitutionally enshrined right to be presumed innocent. (People vs. Luna, G.R. No. 219164, March 21, 2018)

     The presumption only applies when there is nothing to suggest that the police officers deviated from the standard conduct of official duty required by law.  (People vs. Ahmad, G.R. No. 228955, March 14, 2018)

The prosecution cannot find cover in the presumption of regularity in the performance of the police officers’ duty, and the RTC erred in applying this presumption as against compliance with Sec. 21 of R.A. No. 9165; in a prosecution under R.A. No. 9165, all the requirements of Sec. 21 thereof should be proven; there is no presumption that a buy-bust team has complied with the requirements of this section; The Court reiterates its reminder in People v. Mamangon. (People vs. Sood, G.R. No. 227394, June 06, 2018)

The prosecution cannot rely on the presumption of regularity in the performance of official functions and weakness of the defense’s evidence to bolster its case; the failure to observe the proper procedure negates the operation of the regularity accorded to police officers. (People vs. Alvarado, G.R. No. 234048, April 23, 2018)

While it is true that there is a dearth of evidence on record to prove that the police officer was motivated by ill will to testify against the accused or that the police officers did not perform their duties faithfully, still, the testimony of the prosecution’s lone witness proves insufficient to convict the accused; such presumption is not conclusive and cannot prevail over the constitutional right of the accused to be presumed innocent or to constitute proof of guilt beyond reasonable doubt; the prosecution must rely on the strength of its evidence and not on the weakness of the defense. (People vs. Angeles, G.R. No. 218947, June 20, 2018)

Presumption of regular performance of official duty and preservation of the integrity of evidence –– Invocation of the disputable presumptions that the police officers regularly performed their official duty and that the integrity of the evidence is presumed to be preserved, will not suffice to uphold appellant’s conviction; judicial reliance on the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty despite the lapses in the procedures undertaken by the agents of the law is fundamentally flawed because the lapses themselves are affirmative proofs of irregularity; the presumption may only arise when there is a showing that the apprehending officers/team followed the requirements of Sec. 21 or when the saving clause found in the IRR is successfully triggered; here, the presumption of regularity had been contradicted and overcome by evidence of non-compliance with the law. (People vs. Sipin, G.R. No. 224290, June 11, 2018)

Presumption of regularity in handling exhibits and of proper discharge of duties –– At no time during the trial did the defense question the integrity of the evidence: by questioning either the chain of custody or the evidence of bad faith or ill will on the part of the police, or by proof that the evidence had been tampered with; under these circumstances, the presumption of regularity in the handling of the exhibits by the buy-bust team and the presumption that they had properly discharged their duties should apply. (People vs. Beringuil, G.R. No. 220141, June 27, 2018)

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