Appellant was arrested in a buy-bust operation for selling Marijuana in the streets of Makati. RTC convicted the appellant. The appellant appeal to the CA arguing that the RTC erred in admitting a xerox copy of the buy-bust money as evidence. The appellant alleged that the admission of the said evidence is against the best evidence rule of the rules of court.
Whether the Court erred in admitting in evidence against the accused which is merely a xerox copy of the P10.00 bill allegedly used as buy-bust money.
No, This assigned error centers on the trial court’s admission of the P10.00 bill marked which, according to the appellant, is excluded under the best evidence rule for being a mere xerox copy. Apparently, appellant erroneously thinks that said marked money is an ordinary document falling under Sec. 2, Rule 130 of the Revised Rules of Court which excludes the introduction of secondary evidence except in the five (5) instances mentioned therein.
The best evidence rule applies only when the contents of the document are the subject of inquiry. Where the issue is only as to whether or not such document was actually executed, or exists, or in the circumstances relevant to or surrounding its execution, the best evidence rule does not apply and testimonial evidence is admissible.
Since the aforesaid marked money was presented by the prosecution solely for the purpose of establishing its existence and not its contents, other substitutionary evidence, like a xerox copy thereof, is therefore admissible without the need of accounting for the original.
Moreover, the presentation at the trial of the “buy-bust money” was not indispensable to the conviction of the accused-appellant because the sale of the marijuana had been adequately proved by the testimony of the police officers. So long as the marijuana actually sold by the accused-appellant had been submitted as an exhibit, the failure to produce the marked money itself would not constitute a fatal omission.