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Sison v.

People  Renato Banculo, a cigarette vendor, saw the loyalists


GR No. 108280-83, 16 November 1995, Puno, J. attacking persons in yellow, and saw a man wearing a yellow
Evidence t-shirt (deceased Stephen Salcedo) being chased by a
Rules of Admissibility: Real/Object and Demonstrative Evidence group of persons shouting "Iyan, habulin iyan. Cory iyan!"
They caught Salcedo and boxed and kicked and mauled him
SUMMARY: During a rally staged by Marcos loyalists, a “Coryista” unrelentingly, and eventually caused his death.
was mauled to death. The mauling was captured in several  The mauling of Salcedo was witnessed by bystanders and
photographs used as one of the basis for conviction. TC and CA several press people, both local and foreign. The press took
convicted them of qualified murder with treachery, while the SC pictures and a video of the event which became front-page
sustains the admissibility of the photograph as evidence saying that news the following day, capturing national and international
the actual person/s who took it need not be the ones to identify the attention.
same, but rather any competent witness may do so – and also  A reward of ten thousand pesos (P10,000.00) was put up by
modifying the conviction to simple murder. Brigadier General Alfredo Lim, then Police Chief, for persons
who could give information leading to the arrest of the killers.
DOCTRINE: The rule has always been that photographs, to be Several persons, including Ranulfo Sumilang and Renato
admitted as evidence and given evidentiary weight, must be identified Banculo, cooperated with the police, and on the basis of
by the photographer as to its production and testified as to the their identification, several persons, including the
circumstances under which they were produced. However, it is not accused, were apprehended and investigated.
necessary that the photographer be the one to identify the  Trial court rendered a decision finding Romeo Sison, Nilo
production of the photograph as genuine and to testify what was Pacadar, Joel Tan, Richard de los Santos and Joselito
occurring during its production (in this case, the crime or murder Tamayo guilty as principals in the crime of murder qualified
on the “Coryist” Salcedo). It is sufficient if the photograph is by treachery. CA affirmed the convictions.
identified and testified to by at least a competent witness.  Appellants mainly claim that the Court of Appeals erred in
sustaining the testimonies of the two prosecution
FACTS eyewitnesses, Ranulfo Sumilang and Renato Banculo,
because they are unreliable, doubtful and do not deserve any
 During the time of the newly-installed government of credence because they surfaced only after a reward was
President Cory Aquino, the administration was being openly announced by General Lim. Appellants also contend that it
challenged by Marcos loyalists. On July 27, 1986, Marcos erroneously gave evidentiary weight to the photographs
loyalists staged a rally (without a permit) at the Rizal presented as evidence for lack of proper identification by
Monument in Luneta, led by Atty. Lozano and Atty. Nuega. those person/s who took the same. (Note: the
 Police arrived and asked them to disperse when no permit photographs showed the victim being mauled at Luneta,
could be produced. Resisting, the police forcefully caused the while he was being chased by his assailants, and pleading.
dispersal. Other photographs were published in newspapers of general
 A small group of loyalists converged at the Chinese Garden, circulation.)
Phase III of the Luneta. There, they saw Annie Ferrer, a
popular movie starlet and supporter of President Marcos ISSUE & HOLDING
informed her of their dispersal and Annie Ferrer angrily 1. WON the CA erred in admitting the photographs as evidence?
ordered them "Gulpihin ninyo and mga Cory hecklers!" – NO. Photographs, therefore, can be identified by the
The loyalists replied "Bugbugin!”
photographer or by any other competent witness who Appellant Joselito Tamayo was not identified in any of the
can testify to its exactness and accuracy. pictures. The absence of the two appellants in the
photographs does not exculpate them. The photographs did
RATIO not capture the entire sequence of the killing of Salcedo but
 The rule in this jurisdiction is that photographs, when only segments thereof. While the pictures did not record Sison
presented in evidence, must be identified by the photographer and Tamayo hitting Salcedo, they were unequivocally
as to its production and testified as to the circumstances under identified by Sumilang and Banculo. Appellants' denials and
which they were produced. alibis cannot overcome their eyeball identification.
 Value of photographic evidence lies in its being a correct
representation or reproduction of the original, and its
admissibility is determined by its accuracy in portraying
the scene at the time of the crime.
 The photographer, however, is not the only witness who can
identify the pictures he has taken.
 The correctness of the photograph as a faithful
representation of the object portrayed can be proved
prima facie, either by the testimony of the person who
made it or by other competent witnesses, after which the
court can admit it subject to impeachment as to its accuracy.
 It must be noted that when the accused presented their
evidence, Atty. Dumayas, counsel for accused Tamayo and
Neri some of the photographs to prove that his clients were
not in any of the pictures and therefore could not have
participated in the mauling of the victim and adopted them as
part of the defense exhibits. And at this hearing, Atty.
Dumayas represented all the other accused per
understanding with their respective counsels, including Atty.
Lazaro, who were absent. At cross-examination, no objection
was made by counsel for any of the accused, not until Atty.
Lazaro appeared.
 The use of these photographs by some of the accused to
show their alleged nonparticipation in the crime is an
admission of the exactness and accuracy thereof.
 An analysis of the photographs vis-a-vis the accused's
testimonies reveal that only three of the appellants, namely,
Richard de los Santos, Nilo Pacadar and Joel Tan could be
readily seen in various belligerent poses lunging or hovering
behind or over the victim.
 Appellant Romeo Sison appears only once and he, although
afflicted with hernia, is shown merely running after the victim.