Objections to documents written in unofficial language; admissibility

Petitioners fault the CA for admitting OCT No. 352 in evidence on the ground that it is written in Spanish language. They posit that (d)ocumentary evidence in an unofficial language shall not be admitted as evidence, unless accompanied with a translation into English or Filipino.

The argument is untenable. The requirement that documents written in an unofficial language must be accompanied with a translation in English or Filipino as a prerequisite for its admission in evidence must be insisted upon by the parties at the trial to enable the court, where a translation has been impugned as incorrect, to decide the issue. Where such document, not so accompanied with a translation in English or Filipino, is offered in evidence and not objected to, either by the parties or the court, it must be presumed that the language in which the document is written is understood by all, and the document is admissible in evidence.

Moreover, Section 36, Rule 132 of the Revised Rules of Evidence provides:

SECTION 36. Objection. Objection to evidence offered orally must be made immediately after the offer is made.

Objection to a question propounded in the course of the oral examination of a witness shall be made as soon as the grounds therefor shall become reasonably apparent.

An offer of evidence in writing shall be objected to within three (3) days after notice of the offer unless a different period is allowed by the court.
In any case, the grounds for the objections must be specified.

Since petitioners did not object to the offer of said documentary evidence on time, it is now too late in the day for them to question its admissibility. The rule is that evidence not objected may be deemed admitted and may be validly considered by the court in arriving at its judgment. This is true even if by its nature, the evidence is inadmissible and would have surely been rejected if it had been challenged at the proper time.

As a matter of fact, instead of objecting, petitioners admitted the contents of Exhibit A, that is, OCT No. 352 in their comment on respondents formal offer of documentary evidence. In the said comment, petitioners alleged, among others, that Exhibits A, B, C, D, E, F and G, are admitted but not for the purpose they are offered because these exhibits being public and official documents are the best evidence of that they contain and not for what a party would like it to prove. Said evidence was admitted by the RTC. Once admitted without objection, even though not admissible under an objection, The Supreme Court is not inclined now to reject it. Consequently, the evidence that was not objected to became property of the case, and all parties to the case are considered amenable to any favorable or unfavorable effects resulting from the said evidence. (G.R. No. 169454; December 27, 2007)