Herrera v. Alba

G.R. No. 148220, 15 June 2005

FACTS:

On 14 May 1998, then thirteen-year-old Rosendo Alba (respondent), represented by his mother Armi Alba, filed before the trial court a petition for compulsory recognition, support and damages against petitioner. On 7 August 1998, petitioner filed his answer with counterclaim where he denied that he is the biological father of respondent. Petitioner also denied physical contact with respondent’s mother.

Respondent filed a motion to direct the taking of DNA paternity testing to abbreviate the proceedings. To support the motion, respondent presented the testimony of Saturnina C. Halos, Ph.D. When she testified, Dr. Halos was an Associate Professor at De La Salle University where she taught Cell Biology. She was also head of the University of the Philippines Natural Sciences Research Institute (UP-NSRI), a DNA analysis laboratory. She was a former professor at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City, where she developed the Molecular Biology Program and taught Molecular Biology. In her testimony, Dr. Halos described the process for DNA paternity testing and asserted that the test had an accuracy rate of 99.9999% in establishing paternity. Petitioner opposed DNA paternity testing and contended that it has not gained acceptability. Petitioner further argued that DNA paternity testing violates his right against self-incrimination.

ISSUE:

Whether or not DNA Paternity testing violates Herrera’s right against self-incrimination.

RULING:

No. It is true that in 1997, the Supreme Court ruled in Pe Lim vs CA that DNA testing is not yet recognized in the Philippines and at the time when he questioned the order of the trial court, the prevailing doctrine was the Pe Lim case; however, in 2002 there is already no question as to the acceptability of DNA test results as admissible object evidence in Philippine courts. This was the decisive ruling in the case of People vs Vallejo (2002).

It is also considered that the Vallejo Guidelines be considered by the courts. The Vallejo Guidelines determines weight and probative value of DNA test results.

The Vallejo Guidelines:

1. how the samples were collected;

2. how they were handled;

3. the possibility of contamination of the samples;

4. the procedure followed in analyzing the samples;

5. whether the proper standards and procedures were followed in conducting the tests; and

6. the qualification of the analyst who conducted the tests.

* Case digest by Desmarc G. Malate, LLB-1, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2017-2018

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