Definition of res gestae, its rule and its requisites to be admissible as evidence

The statement of Haide to his mother that he had just been shot by the group of Berting –  uttered in the immediate aftermath of the shooting where he was the victim –  was a true part of the res gestae. The statement was admissible against the accused as an exception to the hearsay rule under Section 42, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court, which provides:

Section 42. Part of the res gestae. – Statements made by a person while a startling occurrence is taking place or immediately prior or subsequent thereto with respect to the circumstances thereof, may be given in evidence as part of the res gestae. So, also, statements accompanying an equivocal act material to the issue, and giving it a legal significance, may be received as part of the res gestae. (36 a)

            The term res gestae refers to “those circumstances which are the undesigned incidents of a particular litigated act and which are admissible when illustrative of such act.”[31] In a general way, res gestae includes the circumstances, facts, and declarations that grow out of the main fact and serve to illustrate its character and which are so spontaneous and contemporaneous with the main fact as to exclude the idea of deliberation and fabrication.[32] The rule on res gestae encompasses the exclamations and statements made by either the participants, victims, or spectators to a crime immediately before, during, or immediately after the commission of the crime when the circumstances are such that the statements were made as a spontaneous reaction or utterance inspired by the excitement of the occasion and there was no opportunity for the declarant to deliberate and to fabricate a false statement.[33]

          The test of admissibility of evidence as a part of the res gestae is whether the act, declaration, or exclamation is so intimately interwoven or connected with the principal fact or event that it characterizes as to be regarded a part of the principal fact or event itself, and also whether it clearly negatives any premeditation or purpose to manufacture testimony.[34] A declaration or an utterance is thus deemed as part of the res gestae that is admissible in evidence as an exception to the hearsay rule when the following requisites concur: (a) the principal act, the res gestae, is a startling occurrence; (b) the statements were made before the declarant had time to contrive or devise; and (c) the statements must concern the occurrence in question and its immediately attending circumstances.[35]

          We find that the requisites concurred herein. Firstly, the principal act – the shooting of Haide – was a startling occurrence. Secondly, his statement to his mother about being shot by the group of Berting was made before Haide had time to contrive or to devise considering that it was uttered immediately after the shooting. And, thirdly, the statement directly concerned the startling occurrence itself and its attending circumstance (that is, the identities of the assailants). Verily, the statement was reliable as part of the res gestae for being uttered in spontaneity and only in reaction to the startling occurrence.

About Erineus

Born on December 28, 1965, Surallah, South Cotabato, Southern Mindanao, Philippines.
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