Court uphelds Deaf-mute’s credibility as witness

As I was browsing about latest news on Filipino deaf, I chanced upon this final ruling from Supreme Court of the Philippines regarding the credibility of a deaf-mute witness. The highest court of the land upheld the statements of the deaf-mute Silvestre Sanggalan, who was the main witness in the brutal rape-slay of Aurea Eugenio, a bookkeeper employed by the Centro Escolar University Credit Cooperative in Manila on January 4, 1995.

Her naked cadaver of was found lying beside a creek about 50 meters away from the national highway in Apalit, Pampanga. Sanggalan gave his testimony through sign language, which was interpreted by a sign language expert.

I won’t dwell on the merits of the case. However, I would like to share with you some important points that made the Supreme Court decide to uphold the testimony of this deaf-mute.

Based on the court’s decision in November 22, 2000 entitled “PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. ADEL TUANGCO, NELSON PINEDA, JR. and SONNY TUANGCO, accused“, it states:

A deaf-mute is not incompetent as a witness. All persons who can perceive, and perceiving, can make known their perception to others, may be witnesses. Deaf-mutes are competent witnesses where they

  1. can understand and appreciate the sanctity of an oath;
  2. can comprehend facts they are going to testify on; and
  3. can communicate their ideas through a qualified interpreter.

Based on this, a deaf-mute witness can reliably be used as a witness. I’ll give my other insights about this issue on my next blog. 🙂

For more about the Supreme Court Ruling, visit this link.

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