Friday, July 21, 2017

Best evidence rule not applied - G.R. No. 179470, April 20, 2010 –

"x x x.

Nissan’s reliance on the best evidence rule is misplaced. The best evidence rule is the rule which requires the highest grade of evidence to prove a disputed fact.[29]. However, the same applies only when the contents of a document are the subject of the inquiry.[30] In this case, the contents of the service contract between Nissan and United have not been put in issue. Neither United nor Nissan disputes the contents of the service contract; as in fact, both parties quoted and relied on the same provision of the contract (paragraph 17) to support their respective claims and defenses. Thus, the best evidence rule finds no application here.

The real issue in this case is whether or not Nissan committed a breach of contract, thereby entitling United to damages in the amount equivalent to 30 days’ service.

We rule in the affirmative.

At the heart of the controversy is paragraph 17 of the service contract, which reads:

However, violations committed by either party on the provisions of this Contract shall be sufficient ground for the termination of this contract, without the necessity of prior notice, otherwise a thirty (30) days prior written notice shall be observed.[31]

Nissan argues that the failure of United’s security guards to report for duty on two occasions, without justifiable cause, constitutes a violation of the provisions of the service contract, sufficient to entitle Nissan to terminate the same without the necessity of a 30-day prior notice.

We hold otherwise.

As the Metropolitan Trial Court of Las Piñas City stated in its decision, Nissan did not adduce any evidence to substantiate its claim that the terms of the contract were violated by United.

What Nissan failed to do is to point out or indicate the specific provisions of the service contract which were violated by United as a result of the latter’s lapses in security. In so failing, Nissan’s act of unilaterally terminating the contract constitutes a breach thereof, entitling United to collect actual damages.

x x x."