Vicente, herein petitioner, is the husband of the deceased Genebe. They have two children, Vince Earl and Leslie Kate, aged three and two years old, respectively. One evening, Vicente, with his two children left their home and went to the house of his mother-in-law, Carmen. Vicente left after dinner.The following morning, Carmen bathed the two children and asked them what happened to their parents. Leslie Kate answered, “Father threw the cellphone, mother’s mouth bled,” while Vince Earl said, “Father choked mama” and “Mama was left home dead.” Carmen did not mind what the children told her and instead told them that their mother was on duty at Gold City. That same day, Genebe was found dead appearing to have committed suicide by hanging herself using nylon rope. However, medical findings apparently show that the hanging was done post mortem. A case for parricide was filed against Vicente.
One of the prosecution witness was Carmen, testifying on the statements made by her grandchildren Vince Earl and Leslie Kate. In order to discredit the evidence of the prosecution, Vicente claims that the testimony of Carmen was purely hearsay and not reliable since the prosecution never presented the children as witnesses to testify as what was told by them to Carmen, their own grandmother. Hence, inadmissible in evidence being hearsay and not statements as part of the res gestae.
ISSUE: Whether the testimony of Carmen as to the statements of her grandchildren qualify as part of res gestae.
The res gestae exception to the hearsay rule provides that the declarations must have been “voluntarily and spontaneously made so nearly contemporaneous as to be in the presence of the transaction which they illustrate and explain, and were made under such circumstances as necessarily to exclude the idea of design or deliberation.“There are three essential requisites to admit evidence as part of the res gestae, namely: (1) that the principal act, the res gestae be a startling occurrence; (2) the statements were made before the declarant had the time to contrive or devise a falsehood; and (3) that the statements must concern the occurrence in question and its immediate attending circumstances.In People v. Salafranca, the Court cited two tests in applying the res gestae rule: (a) the act, declaration or exclamation is so intimately interwoven or connected with the principal fact or event that it characterizes as to be regarded as a part of the transaction itself; and (b) the said evidence clearly negatives any premeditation or purpose to manufacture testimony.
There is no hard and fast rule by which spontaneity may be determined although a number of factors have been considered, including, but not always confined to, (1) the time that has lapsed between the occurrence of the act or transaction and the making of the statement, (2) the place where the statement is made, (3) the condition of the declarant when the utterance is given, (4) the presence or absence of intervening events between the occurrence and the statement relative thereto, and (5) the nature and the circumstances of the statement itself.
In this case, this Court finds that the statements of the petitioner and victim’s three-year-old son and two-year-old daughter were spontaneously made. They had no opportunity or chance to invent a story although they made the statements the morning after the occurrence while being bathed by their grandmother Carmen. Their statements were unreflected and instinctive since a three-year-old and a two-year-old children, given their age, do not have the capability, sophistication or malice to fabricate such an incredible story of a violent altercation between their parents and to impute their own father to the killing of their mother.